NAME: Kevin DeAnna
HOME BASE: Virginia
Kevin DeAnna is not the dumbest guy in the White Power scene, but we only make that assessment for one reason. He is smart enough not to say the trigger words that would peg him among mainstreamers as a white supremacist. That gives him the opportunity to say things like, “I’m…enjoying the casual labeling of us as ‘white supremacist’ even though no one can seem to point to anything that we said that is so offensive.” Needless to say, this is also what gets him access to the conservative mainstream at least, but that’s not saying much. For one thing conservatives won’t work too hard to remove the hatemongers in their circles and seem to be all too happy to work with them. The rest of the world however, won’t give people like him that much of a pass, and they call him out for what he is. That brings us to the other thing: what he says is one thing, but when you see that the people he chooses to work with are a who’s who of suit-and-tie Nazis and the like, you learn quickly that it is ultimately not what he says, but rather what he does – or tries to do – that makes the difference.
A former Executive Director of William F. Buckley’s Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), Kevin DeAnna ran an outfit called Youth for Western Civilization (YWC). The group’s mission statement says that they wish “to organize, educate, and train activists dedicated to the revival of Western Civilization.” Just so we are clear on what they mean by “Western Civilization”, DeAnna told Justin Elliot of Salon.com that to them, Western Civilization is “a cultural compound of Christian, classical and then the folk traditions of Europe.” In DeAnna’s interview and on the YWC website, the late political scientist Samuel Huntington and particularly his book Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity is cited as the inspiration for the organization. The book has been denounced as racist and anti-Catholic particularly because Huntington calls for a re-affirmation of the country’s Anglo-Protestant heritage, noting other cultures, particularly what he saw was the fast-rising Latino culture, being a threat to the stability of the United States that needs to be fought against. And to anyone who says that we are a nation of immigrants, i.e., people who came here from someplace else, DeAnna doesn’t want to be thrown into that lot. “America is not a nation of immigrants,” he once wrote. “America is a nation of pioneers and conquerers (sic), the product of a particular people and a particular culture.” And we have already established what was “particular” about those people and their culture, in Kev’s mind.
With this in mind, it is particularly telling, given how coy these clowns are, how upset they get when this question about the Western Civilization definition comes up. In their FAQ answer to this question, they write, “The fact that we even have to answer this question shows why our group is necessary. It would be amusing to ask the multicultural groups on campus to “define their culture” and see what they say.” We doubt “the multicultural groups on campus” would be upset over anyone asking, being that many of them answer without anyone needing to ask.
Youth for Western Civilization had its official launch at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February 2009, but they had been around well before that. Their URL was reserved as far back as 2004, and a YouTube video of a 2007 Robert A. Taft Club event included a special thanks to the organization. In fact, they have provided founding documents on their website listing their founding date as Dec. 4, 2006. Listed as initial directors with DeAnna are his Leadership Institute colleagues Luke Pelican, who One People’s Project met at an event at the National Press Club on March 20, 2007 celebrating the late white supremacist Sam Francis, and Craig Burgers of Michigan State University (MSU). Both Pelican and Burgers were onetime chairs of the MSU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) an organization founded by William F. Buckley in the 1960s. This particular chapter has the dubious distinction of being listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Burgers caught hell in 2005 for an online posting that reportedly defended then-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s statement defending Mussolini and World War II era anti-Jewish laws.
DeAnna doesn’t really fool anyone, and he has had his teeth kicked in quite a few times. His misogyny provided him with his most brusing ass whippin’. While he was a student at William and Mary College, he along with his friend Marcus Epstein edited a student publication called The Remnant. Published since 1989, it was in 2005 that those two killed it. Pretty much the only thing one would find online about this publication is how in April and May of that year, DeAnna as Remnant editor published a series of articles attacking a woman who said in 2003 when she was 16-years-old she was raped by frat-boy Kenneth Ian Lang. Lang eventually accepted a plea, admitting to having had sex with an underage girl, and to have provided alcohol to a minor. To the Remnant, according to an editorial, that made Lang “the only real victim,” and the 16-year-old a ”wannabe victim,” a ”con artist” and “the girl who lied.” DeAnna decided to go a step or two further in an editorial by saying that from the start he thought that the girl’s story was “too theatrical” to be true, and said that it was obvious that “it would have been almost impossible for Kenneth Lang to put on a condom while simultaneously holding down a desperately struggling victim.” To make matters worse, this attack on the 16-year-old was a few months after they championed another frat boy accused of rape by attacking the rape victim, a woman’s rights activist. That attack included newspaper staff distributing flyers identifying the rape victim and accusing her of lying just like they did the 16-year-old, saying she “was trying to draw attention to an issue she thought was important,” according to an editorial. All of this came to a head when the 16-year-old victim filed a lawsuit against the Remnant, DeAnna and Epstein in 2006, saying in the suit that they “knew that the statement was false, and that it would cause great harm to [the victim’s] reputation and to her emotional and mental well-being.” They ended up settling out of court the following year.
2006 was the year that DeAnna, Epstein, Dick Spencer who would later put together the racist blog Alternative Right, and current editor of Pat Buchanan’s The American Conservative Daniel McCarthy started the Robert A. Taft Club. Epstein once referred to this group’s mission as bringing out-the-Beltway politics into the Beltway, but that meant some rather shady characters had access to the DC Beltway politics. Among the people that they held events for were American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor, National Review’s John Derbyshire, the fascist clowns of the Flemish separatist party Vlaams Belang and mainstreamers like Rep. Ron Paul, veteran conservative propagandist Richard Vigurie and Human Events editor Terry Jeffries, Novice conservative propagandist James O’Keefe actually attended and reportedly helped out at a Taft Club forum in 2006.
As noted earlier, Youth for Western Civilization started in 2006 as well, and at one time, Marcus Epstein was listed as its Vice-President. After it was revealed in 2009 that he had to plead guilty for a 2007 racial attack on a black woman in Washington, DC, however, all of a sudden he had nothing to do with the founding of the group. That stands to reason. It is important for YWC to maintain some sort of distance between those that become controversial in the mainstream (and just before DeAnna introduced Islamophobe Robert Spencer at a YWC-sponsored event at American University where he is currently a grad student, he made clear to note that Epstein was not one of the founders), but that doesn’t mean they stay away from the neo-Nazis and white supremacists if the controversy isn’t there. On the contrary, they are all about them, DeAnna making appearances on white nationalist podcasts and conferences that are either organized or attended by those DC “paleoconservatives” (the aforementioned suit-and-tie Nazis) that have mainstream conservative cred. In many respects, Youth for Western Civilization is a college campus version of the Robert A. Taft Club. That would fit right in with the mission of the Arlington, VA-based Leadership Institute, which works to build right-wing activists on college campuses. DeAnna and the other founders work at Leadership Institute, and YWC itself seems to be a project of the organization.
YWC’s main thing is to incorporate itself into a certain issue involving people of color and make their own personal little race war out of it, framing it as fighting multiculturalism. We have seen that with both the anti-immigration efforts against Hispanics and anti-Muslim attacks such as the controversy over the Park 51 Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan. DeAnna makes it clear in his writings and speeches that his attacks in particular on immigration (and even he often leaves out “illegal” as the neo-cons prefer to use) is in truth him using it as a tool to attack multiculturalism. “If you lose this issue nothing else matters, and I don’t think anyone really gets this,” he said in October 2010 at something called the Immigration Writers’ Workshop in Arlington, VA, which was sponsored by the Social Contract, a journal published by white nationalist John Tanton, the founder of the modern day anti-immigrant movement. “And as I said, even to make tactical progress on this issue, you have to engage the entire idea of multiculturalism on a college campus. And Youth for Western Civilization is dedicated to that goal and I think that’s why the left views us as such a threat, maybe their only threat on a college campus.”
As with anything, Youth for Western Civilization is only a threat as much as they are allowed to go on without opposition. Vigilance against groups like this is always important, especially before they actually become a threat. We can also throw in general principle as well, because the truth of the matter is no one who values the freedoms others fought and died for and enjoy will not ignore it when a Kevin DeAnna type comes to try and take them away.
And the biggest issue is that DeAnna does this with the blessings of the mainstream right, something that sets them apart from other white supremacist groups. A perfect example is how despite the fact that the Council of Conservative Citizens has been banned from the annual Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC over a decade ago, YWC not only held what they called its “inaugural banquet” there in 2009, but has maintained a presence at CPAC the following two years. That has meant an uptick in known white supremacists attending the conference – including many members of the banned Council of Conservative Citizens. The anti-racist blog Imagine 2050 noted that at the 2011 CPAC, a YWC-sponsored panel on immigration featured former Congresspersons Virgil Goode and Tom Tancredo (the YWC honorary chair who is always caught associating with the white supremacist crowd), as well as current Congressperson Lou Barletta, who as mayor of Hazelton, PA became a hero among the right with his draconian laws against immigrants, and one of the founders of the Minuteklan Project Jim Gilchrist.
But here’s where it gets a little curious. The group Imagine 2050 notes that in the audience were William Johnson, chairman of the white nationalist political party American Third Position (A3P), Jared Taylor, and YWC members who have attended Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) conferences in the past. Also there was YWC member Tim Dionisopoulos, a member of the anti-immigrant group Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement, who at an anti-immigrant event in Rhode Island where he quoted Sam Francis and recently has been hosting as a member of the Providence College Republicans dubious characters like James O’Keefe, the eugenics-promoting writer John Derbyshire and Dick Spencer, all past associates of either Youth for Western Civilization and/or the Robert A. Taft Club. A look at the video reveals that DeAnna’s old bud Marcus Epstein also attended.
Imagine 2050 also says that the Youth for Western Civilization’s booth at CPAC was distributing free copies of the Social Contract, while the booth right next to YWC’s was occupied by the anti-immigrant organization ProEnglish, founded by John Tanton, who still sits on the organization’s board of directors.
Now while YWC has been able to build among conservatives, going beyond those circles has been a bit of a task. As we said at the beginning no one else is willing to give this group the kind of passes their base will, and that brings us to the one real bit of media attention they have ever been able to get. In 2009, fresh from their official jump off at CPAC, YWC members at the University of North Carolina invited Tom Tancredo to speak there. That didn’t go over well with much of the student body and hundreds of students went to the event and not just disrupted the speech Tancredo was trying to give, but chased him off campus after things got so raucous that a window was shattered and police had to shut down the event.
Tancredo returned the following year, but during that year YWC on the campus went through Hell, losing one faculty advisor after another, and one of them had to resign after he responded to the anger generated towards him for taking up the position by writing, “I have a Colt 45 and I know how to use it. ” And it should be noted that not all conservatives are blind to the problems YWC poses. Rep. Dick Armey, who heads up Freedom Works, which is known best for backing the teabaggers and their efforts, has boasted in the past about how he has been able to keep Tom Tancredo off the stage at some of the teabagger events. And DeAnna never misses an opportunity to cry about this on his podcasts and speaking engagements.
But this is pretty much how it goes for Kevin DeAnna and Youth for Western Civilization. His white supremacist supporters have expressed surprise that a group this blatant has managed to get this far, but this is indeed as far as YWC is going to get. DeAnna has a wife and kid these days, and we are guessing all this pays well for him at least. So he’s going to keep up with the lost cause. The rest of us will just keep making him lose it.