In light of the innumerable pages of fodder handed into the polytheist arena, we will give a brief run-down. (The following information is cut, pasted, copied, linked, etc., and posted, here, as a means to provide a synopsis.) *Gagging sound* Enjoy...
The National Policy Institute is an American white nationalist think tank based in Whitefish, Montana. It describes itself as the right's answer to the Southern Poverty Law Center... recently held their 2011 national conference, and Brian Powell from Media Matters was there to cover it.
The Supremacy Cause: Inside The White Nationalist Movement
[The artwork on the NPI Conference Name tags]
According to the conference's panel of scholars, a culture that doesn't recognize the preeminence of the white race is literally doomed to fail... One's race is one's family -- a group of people that have survived and evolved over thousands of years because of their reliance on and recognition of people that look like themselves...The white race, which they know to be genetically superior to non-white lineages, is threatened by massive non-white immigration movements and widespread political liberalism promoting a universal egalitarian moral code that shuns conversations about race.
From a political standpoint, the speakers believe that affirmative action, social welfare programs, lax immigration laws and an activist judiciary hell-bent on undermining federalism have stacked the deck in favor of non-whites in America.
"Why aren't there more females in this room?" asked one incredulous [NPI] attendee.
Why, indeed? After figuring out the NPI agenda and, stepping out for a much-needed lunch break, Mr. Powell gets four unwelcome guests at his table... pro-white males (who coincidentally belong to the AFA). He describes them, thusly:
I was exposed to a strange, almost primordial vein of white tribalism running through the network of conference attendees...four well-groomed white males smiled politely...I noticed that a couple of the guys wore unusual T-shaped metal brooches on their jackets and ties that they later referred to as the "Hammer of Thor."
They talked about runes, and were offered a place to stay by a man they didn't seem to know. If you have a hammer, he said to them, you always have a place to stay...
My curiosity got the better of me, and after some coaxing and snooping (e.g., craning my neck to watch them writing down information on their group for another young attendee), I discovered to my surprise that they were part of something called the Asatrú Folk Assembly.
There are a few issues with this "coincidentalness"; as the Wild Hunt seems to sum up, perfectly:
...Why were so many AFA members attending a blatantly racist conference...and will the AFA condemn the views displayed at NPI as against their stated values? Will these members be ejected for going against its own boundaries in matters of race? If not, what does that mean for the future of the AFA? Will the wider Pagan movement, including other Asatru organizations, have to reconsider its relationship with them?
Goodness gracious, what questions! Well, someone had to address them - so, Steve McNallen from the AFA decided to do just that:
At no time was there any attempt to speak for the AFA or to identify the ideals of the AFA with the subject matter of the conference... The AFA will not dictate to its members which meetings they are permitted to attend as private individuals.
Let me very clearly state these two points: 1. The AFA will never advocate, condone, or excuse illegal or dishonorable acts directed at any person because of their race. 2. That said, men and women of European descent have exactly the same right to meet and to promote their collective interests as do any other group. To demonize them for doing this, when every other group is encouraged to do so, is to indulge in a vicious double standard.
Another well-known heathen (who is not a member of the AFA) has been addressing the issues ever since the Wild Hunt's post...
I’ve been fielding a lot of questions regarding Heathenry, Ancestor Veneration, and Racism. Let me start out by pointing out that these are three very different things.
Heathenry is the umbrella term for a body of religions that focus on restoring the pre-Christian practices and beliefs of Northern –the Germanic and Scandinavian parts of—Europe.
Ancestor veneration is a fundamental spiritual practice of nearly every engaged, indigenous faith including Heathenry. It involves honoring those who came before us and who paved the way for our lives today.
Racism is a vile belief that one race is better than another, that peoples’ capacities and talents are determined by their race, and that some races are more deserving of rights than others. Racism is total, unadulterated bullshit.
Could I be any clearer? http://krasskova.weebly.com/blog.html There is nothing within Heathen cosmology and lore to encourage any type of racism or white power crap. Our ancestors intermarried, traveled, traded, and were remarkably uncaring when it came to a person’s race.
And, that is 100% correct... So, why all the hubbub? Because while Mr. Powell was shocked by his first-ever meeting with "modern-day Vikings", his questioning 'how' they are affiliated with an obviously racist entity as the NPI was insufficiently answered. No. I take that back - no one at the NPI conference seemed to clarify that white-supremacists can wear the guises of many different people and religions - not just Asatru.
The other questions brought up by the Wild Hunt are merely speculative, and pose a sensationalist concern that ushers in additional subscribers. I am quite sure that all the Heathen authors writing for the Wild Hunt have put in their two cents, but, have gone unheeded.
Why were so many AFA members attending a blatantly racist conference? To answer this, I can only point out the obvious: There weren't "so many" AFA members attending this conference"! The AFA has over 300 memberships. Four men and one "ruddy Englishman" do not constitute a lot when you compare the numbers of the organization.
This is like running into four schoolmates at church, and then claiming that your school is Methodist! How come people miss out on this sort of information? Tsk. Tsk... Perhaps some of that political dribble being discussed at the NPI conference is true! ...a dilution of the current white prominence, would "result in a serious reduction of national IQ," ... Oops! Too late!
No one clarified for the ignorant Mr. Powell that there are absolutely no political ambitions of the AFA beyond religious recognition in society; although, there are coincidental memberships of politicians within Asatru kindreds. Just as there are attendees at an NPI conference that coincidentally hold memberships within the AFA. Coincidences are everywhere!
Mr. Powell even pointed out that a stranger to these "four" approached them, saying: "If you have a hammer, you always have a place to stay." Mr. Powell cannot even clarify at this moment whether, or not this stranger was an attendee of the NPI conference. Even more ironic is the fact that Mr. Powell assumes the stranger to be a member of the AFA, themselves!
He seems to have assessed a lot of people attending this conference in his article. I am quite sure he would have clarified for his readers IF this "stranger" was "another person at the NPI conference" or not. I am quite certain that had another faction of Asatru been in attendance at the conference he would have mentioned that, too! However, he didn't.
Perhaps, Mr. Powell is unfamiliar with hospitality in heathen circles? Or, more likely, Mr. Powell is unfamiliar with Asatru. Period. As a liberal journalist, perhaps, Mr. Powell should do more research into religions and factions that defy the right-wing conservative Republican party before speculating in public posts about religious organizations whose memberships are constructed from Americans who have a consistutional right to their own, individual opinions... autonomous from their religious institutions.