‘Patriots in Action!’, Turning Point USA tweeted on Thursday, above a picture of their seven-strong student group at Fresno State University in California. The patriots are acting because last week a Fresno State professor named Daniel Cady interrupted their pro-Second Amendment campus protest by calling them ‘so, so pathetic’.
‘GOOGLE “Kalergi Plan”’ are the words on the giant beach ball held by one of Charlie Kirk’s magnificent seven, Nick Sciaroni. Kirk and TPUSA luminary Candace Owens are perhaps too busy palling around with the president to police their members’ behavior, but they might not want to associate their movement with the ‘Kalergi Plan’. As a quick look online — wear gloves and a mask — will reveal, the ‘Kalergi Plan’ is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about ‘white genocide’ and ‘race replacement’ with roots in Nazi propaganda. Cockburn looks forward to Nick Sciaroni’s explanation of how he came to promote this dimwitted hatred, and why he feels it’s just right for TPUSA’s blend of far-right campus outreach. He’s yet to respond to a request for comment.
It’s just as well that you can’t libel the dead. If it was possible, then Turning Point USA and anyone else who propagates the ‘Kalergi theory’ would be in court, instead of floating in the blocked drains of the internet. The real Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894-1972) was the Austrian-Japanese son of an Austro-Hungarian diplomat, and a pioneering theorist of European integration. In 1923, the year of Hitler’s failed ‘Beer Hall Putsch’ in Munich, Coudenhove-Kalergi wrote Pan-Europa, a call for the building of a liberal Europe, united by its common cultural inheritances, not the racial lunacy then on offer in Munich. Coudenhove-Kalergi, who had a Jewish wife, despised Hitler, and Hitler, it seems, despised the ‘bastard Coudenhove’.
After 1945, Coudenhove-Kalergi continued working for European peace, and the integration of Europe’s peoples, including its surviving Jews. It’s strange that of all the figures who worked for a ‘United States of Europe’ between the 1920s and 1970s, only Coudenhove-Kalergi’s name should be attached to a racist conspiracy theory. But not that strange. The Nazis had attacked Coudenhove-Kalergi in their propaganda. As the postwar fascists quietly reformed, the old fascist propaganda fed into the new, neofascist propaganda. The internet spread it from Europe to the United States, and now it appears on the propaganda of Turning Point USA.
This isn’t the first time that Turning Point USA’s members have associated Charlie Kirk’s organization with racism and internet conspiracy theories. In 2017, the New Yorker exposed screenshots from national field director, Crystal Clanton, who wrote, ‘I hate black people. Like fuck them all… I hate blacks. End of story.’ Last October, the Miami New Times reported that Florida International University’s TPUSA group had been sharing ‘Pepe the Frog’ memes showing Syrian men raping a Swedish woman at gunpoint.
When one of TPUSA’s Florida International University members asked how ‘edgy’ a ‘meme game’ was acceptable in the group chat ‘TPUSA FIU Fun’, another member replied, ‘avoid using the n word and don’t reference Richard Spencer too much and don’t Jew hate just cause all the time’.
The image has since vanished from the TPUSA Twitter feed. Perhaps they are learning not to highlight ideas they like from the Nazi era. And after all, isn’t learning what college is all about?