In 2013, Matthew Heimbach — a young rising star in the white supremacist world who had led the White Student Union at Towson University in Maryland — joined with Matthew Parrott to found a white nationalist group they dubbed the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN). Featuring a blog and a podcast, the group’s mission was “to provide resources and support to independent groups of high school and college students throughout North America who are learning about the Traditionalist School of thought” — a reference to an ideology that calls for a return to “traditional” values, including the central claim that nations should be racially and culturally homogenous. Heimbach and Parrot went on, in 2015, to create the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) as the political wing of the TYN.
The TWP’s goal, according to a platform statement on its website, is this: “While we have candidates for political office and will run campaigns, that work is secondary to our first priority, which is local organizing and advocacy for real-life working families who share our identitarian and traditionalist vision.” (Identitarianism is a closely related ideology that emerged in recent years in Europe.) The group uses the slogan “Local solutions to the globalist problem,” a reference to the idea that globalization, the knitting together of nations and national economies throughout the developed world, is destroying racially homogenous communities and nations.
The TWP/TYN is part and parcel of the American “Alternative Right,” an umbrella term for a racist ideology that scorns mainstream conservatism and argues that white people and white culture in America are under threat from the forces of political correctness and multiculturalism. It is also “traditionalist” and “identitarian.”
The group’s version of “traditionalism” has its roots in the “radical traditionalism” espoused by mid-20th century Italian “philosopher” Julius Evola, a fascist thinker who believed that Jews were to blame for the modern materialism and democracy that he thought subverted the natural order of the world. The TWP website includes the group’s definition of traditionalism: “Traditionalism, properly applied, makes us as autonomous and self-governing as possible in relation to the modernist societies that we live in.” It defines traditions as “positive cultural interactions that have existed over a long period of time” and says “those traditions have existed for a long time, because they work. They have formed European-American mores.” The traditionalist ideology sees adherence to those “mores” as the best way to organize society, and argues that a traditionalist lifestyle can successfully supplant the state, since “the family is the natural enemy of the state.”
“Identitarianism” refers to a movement that emerged in recent years in France that advocates for culturally and ethnically homogenous communities and blames liberals for selling out their country. Generation Identitaire, the youth wing of the anti-immigrant Bloc Identitaire movement in France, is known for its racist and xenophobic anti-Muslim stunts, like serving soups containing pork in Muslim neighborhoods. The ideology has its roots in the European New Right, or Nouvelle Droite, founded by French academic Alain de Benoist, who advocated against melting-pot societies and immigration while claiming to oppose biological racism.
The TWP positions itself as being in favor of diversity — what it terms “ethnopluralism.” But what it means by that word is a diversity of nations around the globe that are each racially and culturally homogenous. In a section on its website defining the term, it says that “ethnopluralists argue that the liberal multiculturalism is false, as it promotes a melting pot which leads to the disappearance of ethnicities, cultures or races through miscegenation and therefore is in fact monoculturalism.” TWP is against racial intermarriage, no surprise given its platform statements.
The “Folk” section of the TWP platform puts the group’s white nationalist views, and associated anti-immigrant vitriol, clearly on display. It says that communities should be able to determine their own “religious and ethnic character” without government interference, that American 14th Amendment birthright citizenship should be revoked, and that the borders should be secured with National Guard troops. One platform plank, “Stop Discrimination Against Whites,” claims that “our government is stacking the deck against White families,” and says that TWP “opposes all racial quotas in education, hiring, and government contracts.”