Notes From the Margins…

Turning Point: All the Young (Alt-Right) Dudes

  • February 05, 2019
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As we sleepwalk towards the Brexit iceberg on 29 March, we should remember that the hardright ‘populists’  who have been dreaming of this outcome for so long don’t see it as an end, but as part of an ongoing process.

For some of them it’s a famous victory in a wider ethnonationalist assault on the international institutions that underpin ‘globalism.’

Others see it has an opportunity to reconfigure British society.   But what kind of society do they want to build?

Some of the answers can be found in the campus-based organisation Turning Point USA, which launched its British version this weekend with a ghoulish cast of ‘young people’, most of whom are connected to the Tufton Road/Matthew Elliot stable.

TP is chaired by ex-Bullington Club yob and millionaire son George Farmer, who has given more than £60, 000 to the Tory Party and received an invitation dinner with Theresa May as a sign of her appreciation.

All of these dismal luminaries appeared in a clunkingly dim video that went out on social media over the weekend.

 

As the accompanying tweet suggests, Turning Point wants to convince ‘young people’ that they have been brainwashed by the left since, like, forever, and promote a new cultural revolution against this ideological tyranny.

It’s fair to say that the British video is not much of a call to arms, with its half-baked, barely-articulate messaging, and a succession of pampered buffoons asking questions such as ‘Why does the left hate everything good?’ that are so devoid of even a semblance of meaning that they begin to make you feel like the guy in Munch’s The Scream just for having heard such idiocy.

But TP’s aspiration to turn British youth on to ‘conservative values’  has attracted support from from the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Priti Patel and Steve Baker.   So it’s worth taking a bit of a closer look into this dank well and see what’s lying at the bottom of it.

Turning Point USA was established in 2012 by a young Republican activist named Charlie Kirk (on the right of the featured picture).  Its website describes itself as a ‘conservative grassroots movement’ whose mission is to ‘identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.’

These goals are accompanied by ‘innovative social messaging’ like this.

 

 

Much of this would be laughable, but TPUSA is only unintentionally funny.   It now has more than 1000 college chapters in the US.  Its annual budget has gone up from $78, 890 in 2012 to $8, 248,059 in 2016.

As a registered charity, many of its donors are not known, but an International Business Times investigation found that most known financial contributions came from big Republican donors, many of whom, like Kirk himself, are avid Trumpites.    According to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, many  TPUSA donors are connected to the energy industry and what Kirk calls the ‘fossil-fuel space.’

TPUSA also published a booklet for college students with a forward by Kirk, on ’10 Ways in which fossil fuels improve our lives.’

In addition to being anti-climate change TPUSA is anti-feminist and anti-LGBT, and some of its college chapters are steeped in serious political slime.  The national organisation has compiled a McCarthyite black list of ‘biased’ professors deemed to be too leftist or liberal or too willing to promote ‘myths’ about fossil fuels and climate change.

Charlie Kirk is a contributor to Steve Bannon’s alt-right propaganda site Breitbart.  A number of TPUSA campus events have been supported and attended by white supremacist and white national organisations, which is not entirely surprising given that TPUSA’s National Field Director Crystal Clanton once texted ‘ I hate black people. Like fuck them all . . . I hate blacks. End of story.’

None of this stopped Kirk from claiming that ‘Turning Point needs more Crystals; so does America.’

And why not?  Because racism is like, just a label that intolerant libtards and cucks use to brainwash you, right?

Despite claims to the contrary, TPUSA also has connections to far-right organisations such as the ‘western chauvinist’ Proud Boys and American Renaissance.  In February,  Kaitlin Bennett, president of the TPUSA Kent State University resigned from the organisation because TPUSA’s field director Frankie O’Laughlin was ‘liking tweets from notorious Charlottesville attendee and white nationalist icon, James Allsup.’

One former Afro-American employee later left the organisation after attending a TPUSA national student summit, where speakers ‘ spoke badly about all these black women having babies out of wedlock.  It was really offensive.’

TPUSA events have also had a notable anti-Muslim tinge.   Last month Sophia Witt, director of Israel outreach for TPUSA told its annual student summit to ‘expose Islam’ for the ‘ugly thing’ that it is at a session on ‘ Addressing Terrorism on Campuses.

In a slideshow Witt accused Muslim students and professors or promoting terrorism and claimed ‘ I don’t even want to call it “radical Islam” – it’s just Islam.’

In addition to this TPUSA is anti-feminist, anti-Black Lives Matter, and anti-LGBT.

In effect, therefore the initiative that Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel praised yesterday is part of a ideological and financial pathway in which radicalised mainstream conservatism merges with the far-right – supported by astroturf lobbying groups.  Its a pathway that connects Donald Trump, the Republican Party, Farage, Anne-Marie Waters, Aaron Banks’s Westmonster site, Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson, and the extreme right of the Tory Party.

That is bad enough, but TP’s arrival in the UK is also an indication of how Brexiters on both sides of the Atlanic see the future of the country: an asset-stripped libertarian theme park with government stripped to the bone, purged of ‘leftist brainwashing’ about feminism, climate change, racism etc – all dressed up as a cultural ‘free speech’ insurrection and financed by corporations and millionaires.

And you wonder why so many of us oppose Brexit?

Because it was obvious, all the way back in 2016 that something like was being planned.  The arrival of Turning Point is just one small step towards its realisation.

 

 

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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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