|Spencer with one of his biggest fans (above) and Jason Jorjani of Arktos|
Richard Spencer has been on a kind of journey over the last few years. It started in December 2013 when he shut down the original Alternative Right site and founded the "more respectable" Radix, and has since moved on through a close association with the more trollish and LARPy wing of the movement and the now famous/ notorious hailgate scandal that is still playing out in Whitefish where Andrew Anglin is still threatening a Neo-Nazi march.
Now Spencer looks set for his next big move, according to an article in the Atlantic, which even seems vaguely supportive:
"This month, Spencer's rebooting again: He is renting a 'hub' for the alt-right movement in a townhouse in Alexandria, Virginia. Spencer and Jason Jorjani, the editor-in-chief of Arktos, a publishing arm associated with the alt-right, have bought the domain name altright.com. ...
Spencer's new headquarters reflects his increasing effort to mainstream the alt-right as its preferred candidate prepares to enter the White House, and to cement himself as its leading voice...Spencer expects his registration of altright.com may prove similarly contentious. “I’m sure this is going to be controversial because if there’s one thing you can count on it’s petty infighting and things like that,” he said...
They plan to use the site to publish work from Spencer’s Radix Journal, as well as Arktos and its associated journal Right On. They also plan to hire a “news hound” to aggregate stories of interest to the alt-right; from those about and by them to stories about figures like Dugin."
This is all very interesting but let's take a little time to review Spencer's fascinating trajectory that has finally led him to this point.
As I said above, it started in December 2013 when he closed down the original Alt-Right site alternativeright.com without the agreement of the two men who had been running the site for the previous year-and-a-half and who had provided most of its content since 2010, Andy Nowicki and Colin Liddell.
Spencer's decision to do this and found Radix was in essence a disavowal of the Alt-Right as it then stood. Why was this? Even then it was starting to develop shitposty and trollish characteristics - see Colin Liddell's justly famous "Is Black Genocide Right?" and "Holocaust Amnesia Day" which triggered Rachel Maddow so much.
It was also tainted with the ”stain of the manosphere,” serving as a platform to the strongly misogynist writings of Matt Forney. See his excellent "Women are Just Slabs of Meat."
Another aspect that weighed on Spencer's decision was the need to be more pro-Russian, something he was unable to do with "Anglo-American supremacists" Liddell and Nowicki on board.
Spencer wanted something more "academic," "respectable," and pro-Russian and Radix was the result. But Radix was nowhere near the success that Alternative Right was. In comparison it was a low-energy damp squib, often with days between blog posts and articles, although it certainly looked nice.
Spencer's move to a more intellectualized approach was also designed to facilitate a foray into book publishing, an important source of revenue to support his endeavors and lifestyle.
But Spencer soon started to have doubts about this direction. Book publishing is a famously difficult, labor-intensive, and not necessarily profitable business in the modern era of soundbites, memes, shitposting, and Tweets. Also the edgy book-publishing slot was already amply occupied by Arktos and Greg Johnson's Counter-Currents.
Also sites like TRS and the Daily Stormer started to show what could be done with the shock tactics that Spencer and Liddell had pioneered in the early days of the Alt-Right, although this often involved them identifying themselves too closely with the toxic brand of Nazism.
This was one danger that Liddell in particular had been very aware of, as testified by his various wrangles with Anglin and his, as of now, still amicable falling out with TRS.
Thus from a push towards intellectual respectability, Spencer was now strongly drawn towards the trollish side of the movement, associating with the TRS "goys" and even allowing himself to cozy up to the arch-troll Anglin himself. This is the reason why Anglin is now threatening to organize a Neo-Nazi march through Whitefish, Spencer's base until now. It also saw Spencer making a big push into Twitterspace.
Spencer's move towards the Nazi-LARPing, triggering, troll side of the Alt-Right culminated in last November's NPI Conference, which featured Enoch of TRS sieg-heiling from the stage, special guest Tia Tequila sieg-heiling with Jewish attendees, and a closing speech by Spencer in which a handful of attendees responded to his Teutonic good looks and rhetorical flourish of "hail Trump, hail victory, hail our people" by doing yet more Nazi salutes, with elements of the mainstream media present to conveniently film them.
This certainly got results in sheer publicity terms because this is exactly the image of White identitarianism that the failing mainstream media wanted to run with in the post-election period. Spencer's fame and notoriety accordingly shot up like a rocket.
But there were also serious consequences. People that Spencer had long been associated with like Peter Brimelow of VDare and Jared Taylor of American Renaissance were deeply embarrassed by what became known as "hailgate"; and this incident also became a weapon used against conference speaker Millennial Woes in the UK, where he was soon doxxed and driven into exile abroad.
It also redounded on Spencer himself, drawing cowardly attacks on his own family in Whitefish.
Now Spencer looks set once again to move in a new direction, moving away from both the trollish and more "respectable" approaches he has flirted with in the past, while trying to keep the useful elements of both, in short trying to combine the viral appeal of the troll with the moral validation of the respectable approach. We wish him the greatest success in this endeavor.