There is a new student organization on campus which is making waves this week. The group is part of a national organization called Youth for Western Civilization. This group, which bills itself as “America’s Right Wing Youth Movement” is bringing controversial former congressman and anti-immigrant activist Tom Tancredo to speak at UNC today (Bingham 103, 6:30 PM).
On their website, YWC claims to be a group dedicated to preserving western culture on college campuses. They argue that “the cultural, political, and especially academic elites in this country hate the West and seek to destroy its identity and freedoms” and as a result “we do not believe it is worth conserving and adopt a revolutionary mindset towards the status quo. The existing power structure must be overthrown.”
YWC says they are not conservative, for they do not want to conserve the existing power structure. Rather, they say that they “are a right wing movement that seeks fundamental change in our society.” They do not concern themselves with issues such as taxes, the economy or foreign policy. Instead, they maintain that “the leftist assault on the West must be repulsed on the firm grounds of identity.” These politics of identity in practice translates into strong anti-immigrant sentiment (both legal and illegal). Indeed, all speakers (Tancredo and Bay Buchanan) that YWC has brought to UNC have been speaking out against allowing Hispanic immigration into the United States.
However, a closer look at YWC reveals more sinister leanings.
The national Vice President of YWC is Marcus Epstein, who is a regular contributor to VDare.com. VDare.com is a racist anti-immigrant blog which has criticed the US government for “encouraging the garbage of Africa to come here” and argues that Africans are on average mentally retarded. (Ed. Note: Previous version incorrectly identified Epstein as a VDare.com editor)
National YWC president Kevin DeAnna has told Carolina Review that Epstein is not the vice president of YWC, but according to the Vanderbilt Orbis, Epstein is in fact the vice president of the organization. Epstein identifies himself as the vice president of YWC while writing for The American Cause. According to Epstein, he is a close personal friend of Kevin DeAnna.
On their website, the YWC states that they want to “Create a social movement on campus where a right wing subculture — similar to the left wing subculture that currently exists — will provide a healthy alternative to a poisonous and bigoted left wing campus climate.” Their goals:
Initially, we would like to set up as many active campus chapters as possible that will host events such as speakers, debates, and protests.
In the medium term, we want these groups to take over student governments, defend against left wing organizations and create new right wing groups. We also want to change the social atmosphere of the school, with YWC becoming the focus of social life at the school as well as political activism.
In other words, YWC wants to become the right wing version of Students for a Democratic Society.
Given YWC’s stated goals and associations, it is surprising to know that their faculty sponsor at UNC has not even read the organization’s national charter. Professor Clemens says that he does not agree with everything that they told him they stood for, but that he sponsored the group to foster “a diversity of opinion.”
Riley Matheson, the president of the UNC chapter of YWC, has interned with Epstein. We have not heard Matheson himself say anything explicitly racist, but his association with Epstein is troubling. YWC’s national leadership, especially Epstein, are clearly associated with racist organizations. Considering this, as well as their penchant for revolutionary rhetoric, YWC’s intentions are suspect.
YWC’s leadership insist that their group is not racist. But because of the reasons for suspicion outline in this post, the burden of proof is on YWC to demonstrate what they actually believe.
Ed. Note: The previous version of this post re-printed several other claims about YWC president Kevin DeAnna from other sources that upon further investigation could not be substantiated beyond one group’s word against another.