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Youth for Western Civilization: a National Conference of Old Hatred


Guest Blogger • Jun 23, 2011

by Michael Dranove

The growth of Youth for Western Civilization (YWC) may have been stunted when in 2007 their then vice president, Marcus Epstein, plead guilty to a class 6 felony hate crime, as such leadership would make any rational person immediately wary of joining the group. But the budding far-right group didn’t die-on-the-vine after his gross exploits.

And this weekend YWC proved so by holding its first ever national conference in Washington DC.

The group attempts to portray itself as nothing more than a conservative political group; however, YWC has close ties to Jared Taylor, a self-proclaimed white nationalist who started and edits American Renaissance, a magazine that reflects his own bigoted worldview. Not too long ago even, YWC and Taylor set out to jointly raise some funds via Taylor’s own mailing list.

What’s more, YWC chapters at campuses around the country have also arranged speaking events for white nationalist Richard Spencer.

As of this writing, sources estimate that there are perhaps around ten official YWC chapters on college campuses in the United States. Obviously, one might guess that “expansion,” an age-old Western ideal, would’ve have been a paramount topic at their recent gathering.

It’s surely on the mind of Kevin DeAnna, founder and president of YWC, who was trained by The Leadership Institute, a far-right organization which claims to inculcate upwards of 10,000 new leaders every year. DeAnna still works for The Leadership Institute as a field organizer. Past trainees, incidentally, include Karl Rove and scandal ridden Congressman Jack Abramoff.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) might’ve thrown a wrench into their expansion plans, though, as the watchdog group issued a group history of YWC and its founders to coincide with the start of their conference. SPLC outlined how DeAnna and Epstein began their long and colorful history in 2001 at the College of William & Mary, where they both joined the editorial board of the right wing newspaper The Remnant.

For the next two years DeAnna and Epstein published a slew of articles attacking women and rape victims across their campus. During this time The Remnant published an article which claimed that “the wage gap between men and women [is] due to women’s ‘different work habits’ and ‘occupational preferences,’ rather than any kind of discrimination.”

For YWC, apparently sexism is also an essential value of Western culture.
Following their graduation, Epstein would later be arrested for racially abusing and physically attacking an African-American woman at Jefferson and M Street in Washington DC. This incident, which sheds deserved negative light upon the group, apparently led to Epstein gradually being phased out of YWC in 2009—a full two years after the incident took place, and only after the attack began to garner some serious public attention.

As for their goals of expansion, news agencies reported that their conference sucked-in around twenty five attendees.

Low numbers, indeed, but that’s not discouraging DeAnna, who defined YWC’s activities to present as “…just prologue.”

He then warned that “Now it really begins.”

If DeAnna is right then this is the most recent beginning in a long line of unsuccessful beginnings for the group. Regardless, the future activities of YWC should and will be carefully watched.

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