In this interview with German journalist Manuel Ochsenreiter, Richard and Nina Spencer speak freely about the recent death threats and smears directed against them. Richard is credited with coining the term ‘alt-right’.
Mrs. and Mr. Spencer, the last few weeks were quite rough for both of you: a targeted campaign in traditional and social media is being directed against your family, addresses thought to belong to you were published on the Internet, and you face harassments and threats of physical violence. The apparent reason for this campaign was the fact that Richard Spencer became well known as one of the leaders of the so-called “alt-right” within the last number of months during the US election campaign because of some provocative and controversial public events. Can you comment on this?
Richard Spencer: I have been a political commentator in various capacities for over a decade. Currently, I am often described as one of the leaders of the alt-right: an umbrella kind of movement in the U.S., which unites a number of anti-establishment currents and which is seeking the way out of the profound cultural, political, and even philosophical crisis in the West. My focus is challenging soulless, consumerist globalization: forging a positive identity for various peoples of European descent by reasserting their cultural and historic roots domestically and opposing interventionist wars abroad. This recent and unprecedented spike in media attention is, in part, the result of Hillary Clinton’s August campaign speech, in which she attempted to link Donald Trump to the alt-right movement by explicitly naming it in order to undermine her opponent. Whereas Trump’s election was a formidable slap in the face of the globally-oriented establishment, Trump is not alt-right. In a way, he represents an older America-first vision, which, while positive, does not question the foundations of the aforementioned crisis in the U.S., Europe, and beyond. Nonetheless, establishment media have been adamant to undermine Trump even after his victory by focusing on our movement to the point of deliberate misrepresentation by using all the usual descriptive keywords that such character assassination typically employs. This occurred despite the fact that I have always emphasized the necessity to discard the ideologies of the 20th century. The media campaign led to an ongoing mob-like attack that goes far beyond me as a political activist and commentator.
What do threats and harassment entail?
Richard Spencer: The last few weeks have involved a full spectrum of threats and harassment: text and social-media messages advocating physical harm, publication of several addresses thought to belong to the Spencer family in different U.S. states (I can only guess how many innocent people may be affected by this illegal act), invasion of privacy of various family members and friends of the extended family, and even quantifiable harm to the businesses and livelihood of those, who are removed by 2–3 degrees of separation from me, do not share my politics and have never even met me! A few centuries ago, these spiritual descendants of the Puritans would have been running around with pitch forks and torches looking for witches. Some threats even made it into the national media: prominent journalist Michael Hirsh was asked to resign from a major U.S. publication Politico for publishing—on social media—two addresses thought to belong to me and inviting people with baseball bats to pay me a visit.
Nina Spencer is currently under attack by some media sources but also by well-known as well as anonymous internet activists. Almost all the attacks are defamatory in content, concerning your Russian family background. Do you find it strange that self-declared “anti-racism fighters,” “social justice warriors,” and “human-rights activists” are conducting these campaigns?
Nina Spencer: This is one of the most noteworthy and ironic aspects of the current witch hunt. In fact, a business associate of one extended Spencer family member—who has never even met Richard and does not share his views—is having his/her business threatened. This associate is openly gay, and is being harassed by a so-called “human rights” organization that claims to support LGBT causes as one of their key focal points. As for Russophobia, this is one accepted form of discrimination in the Western establishment. Do a mental exercise, in which you replace headlines about Russians with another ethnic, religious, and other group, and you would likely blush. In terms of harassing me, specifically, “anti-racist” keyboard warriors employ all the usual negative stereotypes, starting from the one about mail-order brides from Eastern Europe. My ethnic background—the fact that I am 1/4 Southern European (Georgian) is also questioned, not to mention mocking my appearance. If I didn’t see that these comments were coming from “human rights” activists, I just might have to take them for the strongest proponents of the ideology they claim to oppose.