Note: The normal Taki post is up. This week it is not tied into the Monday post here, but rather to a special post over at American Greatness. I read and reviewed Paul Gottfried’s latest book, Antifascism: The Course of a Crusade. If you can drop a positive comment over there, that would be good. Fair warning, the comment section there is a full SD below what you get here. I also have some notes about my trip here.
Conferences are an American past time. We have conferences for serious things like business issues and community topics. We also have conferences for less serious issues like politics, social issues, academics, books and hobbies. The conference industry is big business in America. There are people who make their living organizing the details of conferences. Every decent sized venue has people dedicated to managing and directing conferences.
You can rank these things by their production values. The more important the event the better the production values. The well supported operations can hire good people and a first-class facility for the conference. At the other end, the conference is put on by volunteers who have a passion for the topic. They rent a ballroom at one of the hotels near the airport and hope to get enough attendees to cover the cost. In the end it is just people with the same hobby in a room having hotel food.
AFPAC III was near the top-end of the conference spectrum. It was not at the level of CPAC or global corporate events, but it was just below. There was well over one thousand people in attendance. The facility could hold a few hundred more, but beyond that this event will be moving into the big-boy size facilities. To give some perspective, if you were in the back of the room, you needed the giant video screens to follow the speeches as you could not see the speaker.
That is the other thing you see at the higher end of these things. There was a stage with the podium, in the middle and two massive video screens. The room is setup with a first-rate sound system that lets the people in the back hear the speech, without the people in the front going deaf. The video screens had the graphics and video shorts you see at these things to keep people excited between speeches. Again, it was not at the CPAC level, but they can feel the breath of AFPAC on their neck.
Therein the lies the second observation about AFPAC that is important. There is something happening here. CPAC gets all the beautiful people in their finest to tell one another everything if going to be okay. AFPAC draws the Dirt People in their finest, who know everything is not going to be okay. CPAC only lacks the smell of fresh cut flowers to feel like a well attended funeral for a rich man. AFPAC has the smell of revolution in the air and the energy that comes with it.
The energy is the third thing worth noting. On a personal note, I have been to a lot of conferences for all sorts of things. I have never felt like I was in the middle of an electrical storm until AFPAC. Most of that is due to the youth of the audience, but even the geezers were ready to spit on their hands and hoist the black flag. Rock concerts are not this fired up. If you are showing a bit of gray in the beard and want to feel good about the future, attend AFPAC IV.
The show itself was much better than you normally get at these things. The speakers know they are standing in front of a young crowd hungry for red meat. A Catholic priest opened the show with a prayer, then Nick gave the crowd a short talk, which was the signal to strap in and enjoy the ride. Marjorie Taylor Green spoke first. She is a fountain of political bumper sticker quotes. That is politics today. Then it was a run of famous live streamers with a few other politicians mixed in.
The speaker list and its arrangement are where you see the growing pains for AFPAC as it was a bit too much red meat. Pols are always going to be a fountain of applause lines as that is their business. Live streamers are not the sort of people used to organizing a speech around a topic or set of themes. As a result, they fall back on the zingers and conversational style they do on their show. The effect is something like a motivational seminar rather than a political conference.
In future events, they would be wise to bound this with two professional speakers who know how to deliver a speech that people remember the next day. The big boys will have a speaker open with a speech that gets the audience thinking, then a series of speakers to pump up the crowd. The next to last speaker is the closed parenthesis to the first speaker. The star, in this case Nick Fuentes, comes out to close the show with a speech that binds the energy with the message.
The same can be said for the security, which was done by lots of young men volunteering for the job. Like the speeches, they had tons of energy, but not the structure people come to expect at an event this size. They got the job done by being wildly overzealous, not terribly efficient. In the future, a professional team to manage the young men would be wise. It is not that they did not get the job done. It is that they missed a chance to impress with it.
The final criticism is that it went too late. The event started with a cocktail hour where the special guests mingled with about two hundred attendees. Inevitably, these go on too long, which was the case here. Then it took too long to get a thousand people seated, so the first speech started at 8:00 PM. Of course, in a room pulsing with energy, the speeches went on longer than scheduled. By the time Fuentes closed the show it was pushing 1:00 AM and the crowd was running low on energy.
Again, this is the bucket of great problems to have if you are the organizers. It is easy to remedy going forward and offers something new in the future. They should probably have a VIP dinner on Friday night for three hundred people. They meet the guests and get a dinner speech from Nick. The next day is a full day event with breaks to let people rest up, socialize and all that stuff. It should build up to the evening portion that gets everyone pumped up to conquer the world.
Of course, that is only possible if the numbers grow and that does not seem like a problem, given what has happened thus far. AFPAC I was a small affair held in the third-rate motel in Northern Virginia. Maybe 150 people were in attendance. To go from that to ten times the crowd at a major facility is special. That is the right word for what is happening with this youth movement. It is not without some challenges and it will hit some bumps along the way, but something special is happening.
That is the question that I had as I packed up for home. I chatted with many young people and I have some knowledge of the people organizing it. I have followed Nick’s career since I met him four years ago. Right now, this is just a thing that is happening, but no one can define. That has its benefits, but it comes with risk. At some point soon it has to be more than just a lot of young guys looking for something that welcomes them as young men in a world hostile to young men.
In the near future, this thing will need a superstructure of ideas to hold it together once the blows start coming from the establishment. The blows will not be name calling from the simpleton army of the SPLC. One day soon, senior Republicans will be told by their handlers to denounce this movement and its leaders. It has to have the strength to withstand that sort of assault and answer back. That comes from having a superstructure of ideas and objectives.
That has always been the problem with populist politics in America. It has the numbers and the energy, but it always lacks a positive message. People will sacrifice for only so long in opposition. Eventually, they cut deals in their mind to accommodate that which they oppose in order to get on with their life. On the other hand, people will sacrifice their lives for a dream, a dream for their children. Populism tends to live in mere opposition, so it tends to fade.
That is the unique opportunity of AFPAC and the movement it represents. Nick Fuentes comes in for a lot of criticism, but he is smart and committed. He is not the same man he was when I met him. He possesses a self-awareness you rarely see in anyone that gets famous in politics. It is extra-rare in outsider politics. Being the big fish in the small pond tends to make people feel like gods. They wake up every morning wondering who has been talking about them since they went to bed.
Fuentes, in contrast, is thinking much bigger than being the big fish in a small pond and he knows he is a big fish in a small pond. He also knows he will not be allowed in the big pond, so he is committed to building a bigger pond. If Pat Buchanan and the paleos had possessed this degree of self-awareness and realism, we might not be in the situation where we have to hope the youth will solve the problems left to them by their parents and grandparents.
A sign that these guys have the right stuff to build a genuine opposition is something Fuentes did in his speech. He gave a moving tribute to Jared Taylor that was heartfelt and sincere. Fuentes is loyal and you could see that in his tribute to Taylor. This is a young man with a code. He sticks by those who stick by him. That is not always good in politics, but that is the problem with our politics. No one in it has code. We are ruled by sociopaths, not men with a code. We need more men with code.
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