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  • Anthony Leonardi

What is the Alt-Right?

On October 19, Richard Spencer, chairman of the white supremacist think-tank the National Policy Institute, took the stage at the University of Florida’s Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Upon his entrance, he was greeted with the chant, “Go Home Spencer! Go Home Spencer! Go Home Spencer!”.

After the event was scheduled, The President of the University of Florida, Kent Fuchs, issued the following statement:

“Over the past several months our nation’s great public research universities have increasingly become the targets of individuals and groups who intend to gain national publicity for their messages of racism and hate by inciting protest, which has led to violence. We have watched this occur at the University of Virginia and the University of California, Berkeley. Now, one of these individuals, Richard Spencer, a white nationalist from the National Policy Institute, and his followers intend to do the same here at the University of Florida on Thursday, October 19.

The values of our universities are not shared by Mr. Spencer, the National Policy Institute or his followers. Our campuses are places where people from all races, origins, and religions are valued equally, welcomed and treated with love, not hate. Our mission is to engage in the world’s preeminent scholarship and education for the public good, not to sow lies, discord, and violence.”

Although President Fuchs intended to target hate groups and racist ideologies, some understood his statement as a disparagement towards conservatism. Fuchs mentioned that individuals with messages of hate and racism attempted to speak at the University of California, Berkeley. The only right-leaning individual who spoke at the University of California, Berkeley was Ben Shapiro, who is not a part of the alt-Right. Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos, both outspoken political personalities, were both prevented from speaking at Berkeley due to increased threats to their personal safety. The alt-Right’s once ambiguous political platform has become more focused. This change requires a new analysis which identifies the characteristics of its leadership and the foundations of its “ideal” political structure.

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