Response to Kyle Bristow Regarding Lansing Neo-Nazi Event

Earlier this week, Kyle Bristow–former chair and current member of Michigan State University’s Young Americans for Freedom–cited seven alleged errors in Mediamouse.org’s reporting on his involvement in a talk by the Canadian neo-Nazi Paul Fromm.

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On Monday, Kyle Bristow, the former chair of Michigan State University’s (MSU) chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), posted a comment on the website YAF Watch in which he outlined seven alleged errors in an article that Mediamouse.org wrote about his involvement in a recent talk by Canadian neo-Nazi Paul Fromm in Lansing. Bristow, writing under the name “Godfrey de Bouillon” (a participant in the crusades whom Bristow appears to idolize as one who fought against Islam), wrote “That article on MediaMouse.org is based on lies.”

However, going through each of his points raises questions about the accuracy of Bristow’s statements and also offers an opportunity to provide useful information to our readers.

First, Bristow claimed that:

“1. The event was not cancelled. It was held at another location, which was the original intent once we found out that leftists would try to shut down the private event. The Cadillac Club was used only as a staging point.”

This may be a debate about semantics and word choice. The event, which was announced by Bristow back on March 9 as being at the Cadillac Club, was eventually cancelled due to pressure from Michigan Against White Supremacy. The original intent was to hold it at the Cadillac Club and it was always promoted as being there beforehand. The event may have been held elsewhere–indeed that we have heard reports that it was–but for all practical purposes the event as planned was cancelled.

“2. The claim that I [Bristow] planned the event because I told people about it via Facebook is asinine. Did I also plan the Michigan Republican Convention because I told people about that event via Facebook, too?”

Bristow was clearly involved in organizing the event–he did more than just send out messages via Facebook. He was scheduled to speak at the Paul Fromm event and he asks people who want to attend to email him at KyleBristow@gmail.com. Moreover, in the message posted below, it is worth noting that he says John Mangopoulos is “hosting” Jared Taylor, no such language is used for the Fromm event:

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On April 10, he again said that he was giving a presentation with Paul Fromm and posted details about expenses that seem to indicate knowledge of the expenses associated with the event:

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If Bristow really did not organize the event, he should tell us who did.

“3. The MSU-YAF contingent at the event was more than just Ogonowski and I. You would be surprised with the number of members we have gained since the Walid Shoebat event, which occurred without left-wing scum trying to shout the speaker down. Ever since we began to have our meetings off campus, where the leftists can’t track us, things have been going much better. Recruitment and funding are both through the roof.”

We only reported that Bristow and Ogonowski attended because that was the information we had via YAF Watch. The fact that he admits that more members of MSU-YAF attended makes a clear argument that MSU-YAF is indeed a “hate group” that is increasingly favoring racist ideologies.

“4. Evan Thomas, Evan Kuettner, or Evan Cutner (as maws.wordpress.com called him) is not a real person. He is as real as Santa Claus. The picture used on MediaMouse.org is of some guy with a cell phone whom I do not personally know, but did attend the Nick Griffin event.”

To be sure, we do not know if “Evan Thomas” is the real name of the person that Bristow references. We do know that it is the name most often used by a racist organizer who posts using the name “David Starr Jordan” on the white supremacist website Stormfront.org.” Evan Thomas has been a racist organizer since he was a teenager:

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Bristow is right that Evan Thomas attended the Nick Griffin speech, Mediamouse.org wrote about how he attended with other members of Stormfront.org. However, it is interesting that Bristow says he does not know him. In posts on Stormfront.org, one of the attendees said that they ate dinner with Nick Griffin and Evan Thomas following the lecture. Considering that Griffin left with Bristow, it seems reasonable to assume that Bristow was at this dinner if it happened:

“5. The event had nothing to do with racism, white supremacy, or any variation of what is called racialism. It was only about free speech, and believe it or not, liberal / Marxist college professors from UM and WMU were present for the event. Whites even made up a minority of the people in attendance for the speeches!”

The event had everything to do with racism. Paul Fromm is a neo-Nazi. While we cannot verify its accuracy, someone who posted a comment on Mediamouse.org from the Courtyard by Mariott Hotel in Lansing claiming that the speech happened said “Paul Fromm spoke a marvelous piece about the demographic changes threat to western civilization.” Based Fromm’s previous comments, “demographic changes” should be read as “immigration” by people of color which he opposes. It’s also intersting that “liberal / Marxist” individuals would be in attendence since Bristow specifically said that the event was being kept private to keep out leftists and the media.

“6. Nick Griffin is not a “fascist.” He is no different than Pat Buchanan, Tom Tancredo, Geert Wilders, or any other conservative with nationalistic leanings. A “fascist,” as defined by Mussolini, is someone who promotes corporatism. The true contemporary fascists are the ones who advocate for the warfare / welfare state (i.e., neoconservatives).”

Nick Griffin, and the British National Party (BNP) of which he is a part, is fascist. Bristow’s definition of fascism as simply “corporatism” is incredibly simplistic. Even the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fascism in a more nuanced manner as:

“a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”

Those who write about rightwing movements acknowledge that fascism is a complex ideology that borrows components from Marixsm, liberalism, and conservatism while simultaneously being hostile to all three. Writing for the Political Research Associates, Matthew Lyons describes fascism as:

“a form of extreme right-wing ideology that celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community transcending all other loyalties. It emphasizes a myth of national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or destruction. To this end, fascism calls for a “spiritual revolution” against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism, and seeks to purge “alien” forces and groups that threaten the organic community. Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical unity, and the regenerative power of violence. Often, but not always, it promotes racial superiority doctrines, ethnic persecution, imperialist expansion, and genocide. At the same time, fascists may embrace a form of internationalism based on either racial or ideological solidarity across national boundaries. Usually fascism espouses open male supremacy, though sometimes it may also promote female solidarity and new opportunities for women of the privileged nation or race.”

To this end, both Nick Griffin and the party he leads (the BNP) are fascist. The founder of the party, John Tyndall, and Nick Griffin both got their start in fascist politics in the 1970s as part of the National Front. Searchlight Magazine describes the BNP’s ideology:

“The BNP’s racism is its most public expression of bigotry. However, what distinguishes the BNP as a fascist organisation is its fusion of nationalism, anti-communism, anti-rationality and crucially antisemitism and racism. The fact that its entire world view is refracted through the prism of antisemitism and race distinguishes it from all legitimate political parties. Yes, the other political parties have racists in them, they even pass racist immigration laws, but they don’t reduce everything to race. This was the Nazi contribution to European fascism – where race is all. This makes the BNP not only a fascist party but a nazi one.”

Nick Griffin has lead an effort to “mainstream” the BNP while at the same time the Party continues to refine its fascist ideology. While the language may be slightly toned down, it still campaigns on racist platforms and holds the same racist positions.

“7. Jared Taylor is not a “white supremacist.” He is married to a Jewish woman, and in his book “Paved With Good Intentions,” he ridiculed racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan by writing:

“A look beneath the white sheets of the Ku Klux Klan does not reveal college professors and bank presidents but high-school dropouts and gas station attendants. Is this minuscule band of losers supposed to be capable of oppressing an entire race? Are they the people who set the tone for America?””

Jared Taylor is a white supremacist. Mediamouse.org wrote at length about Taylor’s racism back in December of last year. While it is true that Taylor is not an anti-Semite, the fact that he is “married to a Jewish woman” does nothing to prove that he is not a white supremacist. Similarly, his rejection of the Ku Klux Klan does not prove that he is not a racist. Taylor and his American Renaissance newspaper use statistics–often selectively excerpted or cited–to try to “prove” differences between races. Taylor has also regularly spoken at events organized by white supremacists and has links to the larger white supremacist movement in the United States.

MSU YAF Member Played Key Role in Organizing Neo-Nazi Visit

Kyle Bristow, a controversial student activist at Michigan State University and a former chair person of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter, was actively involved in organizing a recent speaking engagement by Canadian neo-Nazi Paul Fromm.

Last week Friday, Mediamouse.org reprinted an announcement from Michigan Against White Supremacy indicating that Canadian neo-Nazi Paul Fromm would be speaking in Lansing. When the announcement was made, Michigan Against White Supremacy said it believed that Kyle Bristow, a current member and former chair of Michigan State University’s Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), and Evan Thomas, an active white supremacist in Michigan, had organized Fromm’s visit.

A post by YAF-Watch, a blog tracking Michigan State’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter, confirmed that Kyle Bristow was there, along with the current chair of MSU YAF, Matt Ogonowski. Photos submitted to Mediamouse.org also show Bristow in attendance:

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However, Bristow did far more than just attend the event–he actively organized it. Messages from Facebook–an online social networking website–show Bristow had an active role in organizing the event. A message from Bristow submitted to Mediamouse.org said “Don’t tell anyone, but there are two private events that are going to be in the Lansing area that I wanted to let you know about. The first will occur on April 12. Paul Fromm will be speaking (along with me!) on the issue of how right-wingers can build a movement.” Bristow later wrote “It is a word-of-mouth kind of thing only. We don’t want the leftists knowing about them.”

Bristow appears to have collaborated on the event with Evan Thomas, a white supremacist in Michigan. Back in October of 2007, Mediamouse.org reported that Evan Thomas attended a YAF event and reportedly ate dinner with the featured speaker, Nick Griffin, afterwards. In addition to organizing speaking engagements for a variety of racist organizations here in Michigan, Thomas has been active on the national level, speaking at racist gatherings and even providing musical entertainment (he is apparently an accomplished musician and has played at events organized by the white supremacist National Coalition). Thomas–who made the reservations under the name “Evan Kuettner”–is pictured here outside of the canceled Paul Fromm speaking engagement:

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Essentially, the Paul Fromm event–while cancelled due to the efforts of Michigan Against White Supremacy–shows that Kyle Bristow has firmly aligned himself with the racist movement and has collaborated with a Michigan white supremacist to co-organize an event. He even took the usual approach of running the event as a “private meeting” and making no announcement of its public location. Of course, this should not be a surprise to anyone that has followed Bristow and Young Americans for Freedom over the past several months. The organization brought Nick Griffin, a British fascist, to Michigan State University as part of a speaking tour organized by a white supremacist and attempted to bring another prominent white supremacist, Jared Taylor, to the school.

Neo-Nazi Paul Fromm in Lansing for Third Time

Paul Fromm–a Canadian neo-Nazi who was scheduled to speak in Lansing today–is no stranger to Michigan. He has appeared in the state at least three times in the past few years as part of his ongoing involvement with the racist right.

Yesterday, Michigan Against White Supremacy announced that Paul Fromm–a prominent Canadian neo-Nazi and racist–was speaking today in Lansing. While the group attached links to more information about Fromm, Mediamouse.org felt it was important to provide (a bit more detail) on Fromm’s background, the groups with whom he has worked, and his history of involvement in the racist right.

While a Canadian racist may seem outside of the purview of what we usually cover, this is at least the third time that Fromm has spoken in Michigan. In the fall of 2006, he spoke at a meeting organized by the European American Association and in August of 2007, he spoke at a conference organized by the Council of Conservative Citizens. In both cases, his appearances seem to have been organized by Evan Thomas, a racist organizer based in Michigan who has a long history of organizing in Michigan. Thomas is pictured below with Fromm (note: the “myself” in the caption does not refer to the author of this article):

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Michigan Against White Supremacy has reported that Thomas booked Fromm’s appearance today in Lansing.

For those of us living in Michigan or the United States more generally, Paul Fromm’s name is not particularly familiar. Even among folks that follow the racist right, Fromm has not been investigated thoroughly. For example, the Southern Poverty Law Center has generally only mentioned Fromm in passing, focusing on his involvement in lectures organized by others–such as David Duke (pictured below)–rather than for his politics. Given the number of times that Fromm has appeared in the United States–at gatherings organized by groups such as North East White Pride, American Renaissance, and the US Taxpayers Party–his activities merit more attention.

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Paul Fromm has a long history of involvement with the racist right in Canada. In the 1960s and 1970s, he founded three groups: the Edmund Burke Society, the Canadian Association for Free Expression, and Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform. The Edmund Burke Society, which he co-founded while still in college, was allegedly morphed into the openly Nazi Western Guard Party that fell apart in the 1980s. However, Fromm’s Canadian Association for Free Expression and Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform are still active. The Canadian Association for Free Expression (CAFE) has opposed the Canadian Human Rights Commission and has defended a variety of racists, including Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel. Citizens for Foreign Aide Reform (C-FAR) advocates racist restrictions on immigration and foreign aid. He also founded the Canada First Immigration Reform Committee that advocates reduced immigration and opposes immigration by people of color.

During Fromm’s life, he has also sought to enter mainstream politics. While these attempts have often been overshadowed by his involvement in racist groups like the Heritage Front, Fromm has pursued electoral office in varying capacities. In 1976, he was elected to the Metro Toronto School Board and in the 1980s; he was involved with the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. He was asked to resign his position in the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada after he made statements in the media in which he said he thought breeding a “supreme race” for intelligence was a good idea and calling for Vietnamese refugees to be sent to “desert islands” off the Philippines and Indonesia rather than be accepted into Canada where they would “upset the racial balance.” In the 1990s, he was involved in the Reform Party of Canada but was asked to “disassociate” after members complained about racist comments in his speeches. Throughout this period, Fromm continued to be involved in the racist right and spoke at events including a celebration of Adolph Hitler’s birthday.

More recently in 2007, Paul Fromm spoke to the Aryan Guards–a neo-Nazi group based in Calgary, Alberta:

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Fromm, who is holding the upper left corner of the flag in the picture, praised the group saying:

“There’s a new group of young folks in Calgary who call themselves ‘The Aryan Guard.’ The name may be a little in-your-face and dramatic, but these folks have acted responsibly staging a peaceful protest against “anti-racists,” leafleting about uncontrolled immigration, and, most recently, protesting against Moslem women being allowed to vote disguised in burkas.”

Fromm–who was fired from his teaching position in 1997 after being reprimanded and transferred after videos showing him speaking at white supremacist rallies–also recently had his teaching certificate revoked (http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=903). The Ontario College of Teachers said that Fromm’s involvement in the racist right was an embarrassment to his profession and ran contrary to the values of the Canadian educational system.

However, it’s not just the Canadian and United States racist right with whom Fromm has been involved. He has also spoken to the Friends of the British National Party, a group based in the United States that provides support to the fascist British National Party (BNP). Here’s Fromm addressing the group (note the “white pride” flag on his left):

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Fromm–who may try to deny that he is a racist or a “Nazi”–is clearly a part of the racist right and has worked with many groups and individuals who are openly a part of that movement. Given his numerous appearances in Michigan, it’s important that folks be familiar with him in order to counter his message of racism and oppression more effectively.