New guard and old guard white nationalists are set to descend on Arizona State University next week. Kai Schwemmer, a 19-year-old influencer with the white nationalist America First youth movement, and Jared Taylor, the founder of a white nationalist think tank, are scheduled to speak on university grounds next Monday and Friday respectively.
Taylor was the longtime editor of the American Renaissance, a now-defunct magazine and website that presents racism and eugenics with a “pseudo-academic polish.” He also sponsors conferences by the same name at which “racist ‘intellectuals’ rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists,” the Southern Poverty Law Center explains.
Schwemmer, meanwhile, is a follower of a white nationalist youth movement headed by Nick Fuentes. The groyper influencer “launders stylized takes on White nationalist ideology for a Gen-Z audience through his popular Kai Clips account on TikTok,” Political Research Associate’s Ben Lorber reports. Now, Schwemmer has expanded his takes to the explicitly racist, misogynist, homophobic, and antisemitic Cozy streaming platform, where he streams regularly.
Schwemmer announced his scheduled Aug. 29 appearance at ASU on a Monday night livestream on Cozy, adding that Tyler Russell, the self-appointed leader of the “Canadian branch” of the America First movement, may be a speaker as well. He revealed that Jared Taylor, a figure Schwemmer affectionately called “Uncle Jared,” would speak at the university just days later.
“I’m gonna be doing a speech at ASU, at Arizona State University,” Schwemmer said. “I think it’ll be on the 29th. Actually, it’s literally in a week. We’ll be doing a speech there. It might be Tyler Russell as well, but me for sure.”
“Guess who else is going to be speaking like a few days after Tyler and I are potentially speaking?” Schwemmer said. “It’s gonna be Jared Taylor, old head of the dissident right, major, major player. Jared Taylor is going to be speaking only like three days after the speech event I’m doing. That’s going to be a big deal. This is going to be his first campus speech in over a decade.”
Urging his followers to fly out to Arizona for a week to see both speeches, Schwemmer admitted that attendance would likely be sparse. “What they’re worried about right now is just filling up the seats,” he said.
A description of the event on Baam! Tickets shows that Taylor was invited to speak by the ASU student group College Republicans United. Baam! Tickets has since stopped ticket sales. The student group appears to be affiliated with the white nationalist America First movement, with the group’s Gab profile declaring, “America First at Arizona State University!” Another Gab post the group shared urged people to follow Fuentes, and from photos on the university website, the group has invited speakers like Michelle Malkin—referred to as “Mommy Malkin” by groypers—and Joe Arpaio—the far-right former Arizona sheriff who was first known nationally for jailing people in tents in triple-digit summer heat and using them on chain gangs.
American Renaissance says the topic of Taylor’s Sept. 2 speech will be titled “If We Do Nothing: A Defense of White Identity Politics.” According to a post promoting the speech on the American Renaissance website, Eventbrite declined to host ticket sales on its platform.
Right Wing Watch reached out to Arizona State University about Taylor’s and Schwemmer’s appearances Wednesday.
“Arizona State University permits registered student organizations to host guest speakers and use university facilities for student events. The presence of an invited speaker on campus does not in any way imply university endorsement,” a spokesperson for Arizona State University stated.
This wouldn’t be the first time in recent years Taylor was invited to speak at a university by an America First student group. The student organization America First at the University of Alabama invited Taylor to speak there in 2018, but the speech was canceled after the student group lost its registered status with the university.
As Jared Holt reported for Right Wing Watch in 2019, American Renaissance, with Taylor at its helm, has been grooming the next generation of young white nationalist YouTubers and podcasters via its conferences and other outreach, even providing a 19-year-old Fuentes a primetime speaking slot at that year’s conference. Now, those white nationalists have a new conference: the annual America First Political Action Conference headed by Fuentes.
Schwemmer said he met with Taylor at AFPAC III, held in February. That conference made headlines for the special guest appearance of the far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who served as white nationalists’ latest vehicle into the mainstream GOP. But the event also served as a meeting of the minds between old guard white nationalists like Taylor and the up-and-coming groypers of the America First movement.
Update 8/29/22: This story has been updated to reflect that Bamm! Tickets has since closed ticket sales for the event on its platform. This story also erroneously referred to Political Research Associates as “Public Research Associates.” It has been corrected.
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