Richard Spencer has emerged as the face of modern white nationalism. President of the National Policy Institute, and coiner of the term “alt-right,” Spencer leads a small but highly caustic movement of racial agitators. As noted during a now infamous conference held in Washington D.C. last month, during which Spencer and his cohort exchanged Nazi salutes, white nationalists feel emboldened by the ascendancy of President-elect Donald Trump.
For his part, Trump has admirably denounced the alt-right and taken actions leading up to his inauguration which run counter to the white-nationalist agenda. Indeed, Spencer has overtly stated that Trump is not an adherent of the alt-right. The movement stands emboldened nonetheless, due to the underlying themes which emerged during the campaign. The leap from “America first” to “whites first” proves short for a passionate few.
With fresh energy comes fresh provocation, as noted in the Missoulian:
A white supremacist website called The Daily Stormer has posted a call to “TAKE ACTION” against Jewish people in Whitefish, providing personal contact information and urging a “troll storm” against them.
The story claims the “vicious, evil race” has harmed the Whitefish business of Richard Spencer’s mother. It quotes a story from the British newspaper Daily Mail that said Sherry Spencer “said she is being forced to sell a building she owns in the small town because residents are rebelling against her son.”
The site posted phone numbers, email addresses, and Twitter handles for the Whitefish residents it alleges are harassing Sherry Spencer, along with a disclaimer that it opposes violence.
Were Spencer’s mother truly harassed, she could seek legal remedy like any other citizen. It seems far more likely that any business difficulty she has endured results from the attention drawn by her son’s recent activities. It turns out most people aren’t too keen on supporting the business of a white nationalist. Whether Spencer’s mother shares his views or not, the association probably doesn’t help.
Ironically, if the Stormer’s call to troll Jews in Whitefish prompts action, it will stand as genuine harassment. The disclaimer opposing violence acknowledges the likelihood that such harassment may become criminal.