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News and Commentary

9 January 2011

Interview with Jaenelle Antas

Alex Kurtagic

I first encountered Jaenelle Antas through her association with British historian David Irving, for whom she has organised a number of speaking tours and for whom she currently runs Focal Point's mail order operations in the United States. As not everyone gets to work closely with the world's most controversial historian, or to experience the wild fringes of the publishing industry and lecture circuit, I decided to find out more about the person behind the face. We discover an intelligent, thoughtful, and professional person, and we also learn about her new bookshop venture, Lighthouse Literature.

You must be an object of perplexity for the casual, apolitical observer. On the one hand, you are an intelligent young woman, from a middle class background, with a university education; but on the other, you subscribe to a system of beliefs most would consider abhorrent, notorious, and morally depraved. Explain for the apolitical reader how this came to be.

This is a hard question for me to answer because there were a lot of factors that had to fall into place for me to end up where I am now, so I’ll just talk about what I consider to have been the most significant of those because to go into every detail would fill up a pretty good sized book.

Like most other small town Minnesotans, I had no real notion of diversity growing up. Rural Minnesota is very white. I certainly wasn’t a liberal growing up, but race issues were not part of my provincial existence. I didn’t encounter non-whites on a regular basis until I started attending college ten years ago. At that time, we were starting to see an influx of immigrants from Somalia and Southeast Asia and there were a few of them at my college. They kept to themselves and I never had any classes with them. I neither liked nor disliked them and paid them very little attention.

It wasn’t until I moved to Indianapolis five and a half years ago that I got a taste of reality. My neighbourhood is very diverse—whites are certainly in the minority. At that time I was not driving due to a bad car accident earlier that year and I took public transportation to get to my university. I was the only white girl on the bus and put up with daily harassment. It was clear that the bus was not “white territory”, shall we say.

My university itself was also much more diverse than my old school back in Minnesota and also much more liberal, the way these cloistered ivory towers tend to be, filled with academics whose job it is to insist upon and enforce reality denial. I felt like race politics played a very prominent role on campus, which bothered me, especially in classes where it was pretty much a requirement to talk about it and only one kind of opinion was allowed. The racial clubs on campus were also very prominent.

My first semester there was a major reality check. I was used to being able to speak my mind and question things, so I said a lot of bold things in class that I would probably advise other students not to do. More than one professor marked me down for it and specifically stated that I was marked down because of my opinions. One told me views “like mine” (whatever that means) were unacceptable and showed that I did not understand the material (a.k.a. had not accepted the brainwashing). Another professor flat out said she would fail me if I didn’t do a class project showing how minority students were discriminated against. After that semester, I either kept my mouth shut or found more subtle ways of saying things and graduated summa cum laude. The hypocrisy of the university educational system, though, solidified many views in my mind and created the foundation for the evolution of my beliefs on race and politics.

What were the books and authors that had the greatest impact on your thinking and outlook, and why?

I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that the first book that really had a profound impact on me was Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”. I read it when I was 18 and was fascinated by it and maybe even brainwashed by it to some extent, as most Randroids are. I became what I call a “vacuum libertarian”—one of those ultra individualists who believes he needs absolutely no one, ever, but wouldn’t last two days out in the woods with only a pocket knife. Once I got to college and started taking a lot of philosophy classes and political theory classes, I quickly moved away from that type of thinking. While I still agree with much of what she says about selfishness and altruism, I interpret it very differently now than I used to, and I also disagree fundamentally with her view of human nature and some of her basic values.

More influential on my thinking now would be the classics: Plato and Aristotle. Plato’s ideas I like in regards to governments and societies and Aristotle’s I like in regards to morality and “goodness” such as it is. In a more modern form of Aristotle, I like Alasdair MacIntyre, minus his fervent religiosity. Politically, I am a big fan of Edmund Burke’s brand of conservatism and I’ve found a lot of kernels of wisdom in Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America”. And while I don’t agree with him necessarily, I found Rousseau’s discussions on positive freedom to be thought provoking and worthy of further consideration—quite a leap from Randian ideas of freedom!

Between 2007 and 2008 you did volunteer work for the Indiana Libertarian Party. Many Americans come to White advocacy via Objectivism and Libertarianism, and it is often possible to see libertarian tendencies among White advocates. To what do you attribute this curious phenomenon? After all, isn’t libertarianism in a way diametrically opposite to the intellectual tradition favoured by White advocates, including the European New Right and its forbear, the Conservative Revolution?

I was actually on their payroll during that time and did volunteer work for an even longer period, but they probably don’t like to admit that now. Apparently, their vaunted tolerance and free speech advocacy only applies to certain ideas and certain people.

To answer the question, I think libertarianism among whites is to be expected, but I also see aspects of that kind of ideology as being one of our suicidal tendencies. Libertarianism was born out of the Enlightenment which is inherently and exclusively European in origin. It’s natural for whites to be drawn to libertarian ideals.

These are ideals that we do need to protect and preserve. They are an important part of our heritage and those ideals are what give us our above-average standard of living today. The idea that government should serve its people and not the other way around was radical thinking in its day, as was the idea that people should be able to have some kind of socioeconomic mobility whereby they could improve their lot in life through hard work—the fruit of which belonged solely to the one who produced it. Enlightenment ideas made the West great.

However, taken to its logical conclusion, libertarianism will eventually lead to our destruction if we allow those ideals to apply to other groups who do not share them. While we are busy being tolerant of Muslims, inviting them into our countries, letting them build mosques, and offering them access to social programs originally designed to benefit our citizens, they are busy working towards our destruction and openly making threats against us. But we believe in free speech, free religion, and tolerance, so we put up with it, wringing our hands all the while, and convincing ourselves they will eventually come around to our way of doing things. Not likely. There is a great book by Lee Harris called “The Suicide of Reason” which goes into detail about why the Muslims will win. The basic premise of his argument is that Muslims will win because they think tribally and we don’t. And he is exactly right.

Libertarianism has eroded our sense of tribal ties and we will therefore be easily defeated by a group that still thinks in terms of “us” and “them”. We can’t defeat “them” when there is no “us”.

From 2008 onwards you have been associated with David Irving. How did you first become aware of him?

I met David in 2008 when he spoke in Louisville. I’d never read any of his books, but I went because a friend had told me he was a really good speaker. All I knew at that time was that he had recently come out of prison in Austria and that he’d been jailed for saying something politically incorrect. Being a free speech sort of gal, I was interested to hear his side of the story.

Certainly, some of the situations an assistant of David Irving is likely to encounter are rather unique. We all know about the attempts of violent anti-fa thugs to disrupt his talks and the game of cat and mouse that entails organising such events. Yet most observers doubtless only known the half of it; and surely many have all manner of preconceptions. Give us some insights as to the most peculiar, most challenging, and less well understood aspects of this job.

Most of his talks don’t meet with resistance, at least here in the US. There are some cities that are always guaranteed to produce antifa and we know which those are. Last year, I organised two tours for David and traveled with him. In the summer we visited the west coast, where we had some violence, the worst being Portland and Seattle. But the east coast, which we visited in the fall, was much worse and I admittedly wasn’t prepared for it. Had I been made properly aware of what we were getting into there, I would have made arrangements for more security, but I was totally clueless. Future tours will have added security measures in place for high risk cities. Some people say David doesn’t care about security, only about making money. To them, I would say it’s pretty hard to make money when antifa are turning over the tables and getting us kicked out of our venues before we’ve even started.

As far as unique challenges... He’s never asked it of me, but I always make a point to acquire some basic languages skills for anywhere I’ll be going, especially if David does not already speak the local language. I try to learn at least enough that I could communicate with the police or a doctor if necessary. For example, when David was invited and then uninvited to speak at the Literary Festival in Norway, I spent three months learning as much Norwegian as I could and I got good enough that I could translate a lot of the newspaper articles. It was extremely helpful to know what the press was saying before we went there, as there was a lot of resistance to his visit. And of course, it’s always nice to know how to read a menu so you don’t end up with something gross on your plate.

Sometimes my job can be rather domestic. For a long time, David had only one pair of trousers which he had loved to death and I remember mending those on a regular basis. He still has them, but now he fixes them himself with staples because I told him they aren’t worth mending anymore and I won’t do it. I’ve also done some rudimentary dental work on him. He has an affinity for chewy candies which have occasionally necessitated the reattachment of a crown or two using a bright light, latex gloves, and dental cement.

But most of my time is spent handling business operations for David’s store, www.irvingbooks.com, and taking care of the customers. I do this by myself and it is definitely a full time job, but I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and for the most part I really enjoy running a business.

On a personal level, David Irving is known for being difficult. What were your first impressions of him and of the role when you started in 2008? How did you adapt to the surreal universe of this great English eccentric? Where there perceptions that later proved inaccurate? And what have you learnt from the experience?

David can be very charming when he wants to be, but he does have a temper that is very easily triggered by even the slightest frustrations, which directs at the person standing nearest to him, which is usually me. That hasn’t changed over the years, but I’ve gotten better at dealing with it.

He is very much a workaholic. There are two kinds of working people: those who work to live and those who live to work. David is definitely the latter. The concept of taking time off is totally foreign to him. It’s difficult (impossible) to get him to realise that I need a break once in a while to avoid burnout and that calling me when I’m “off duty” is not okay. It’s one thing to work 24/7 when you’re the sole beneficiary of your work. It’s another to work 24/7 for someone else’s benefit. Granted, he’s gotten a lot of books written, but it is definitely not a lifestyle I aspire to myself!

It is clear you have had a positive influence on Focal Point. What innovations can you claim credit for? Which ones were met with the most resistance? Which ones proved the most successful?

Thank you. It’s nice to know my hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Most recently, we led a tour of WWII sites in Poland for a group of about a dozen select guests. The tour itself was not my idea and in fact I was not in favour of doing it, but somehow I ended up doing all the planning and organising for it. There are some things I will do differently next time, based on feedback our guests gave us, but overall the trip went really well and everyone had a good time. I could have done without the media attention, though. It was very invasive of our guests’ privacy and the journalists took up so much of David’s time that he wasn’t able to spend as much time with the guests.

We’ve also been busy reprinting all of David’s older books that had been out of print. I secured the initial funding to start that project and in the last 12 months, we’ve put about a dozen titles back in print, which have sold really well. One, the Morgenthau Plan, we have published in English for the first time, and we have plans to put some of his other German language titles into English as well during the coming two years.

As for resistance from David... he really wanted the new bookstore (the one that replaced the old one destroyed by hackers in November 2009) to be 1994ified and he was not happy about the new design at first. I’m willing to hear and consider suggestions from him, but I put my foot down there. The new store looks better than the old one—I got rid of the ugly peach color and streamlined everything into a cleaner and simpler user interface—and is much more modern and with all the bells and whistles people have come to expect. It took a few months, but he now likes the new store. I pretty much have a free hand to do what I want with it now and I take advantage of that. It’s definitely a pet project of mine.

Your involvement in the wild fringes of the publishing world has elicited some mainstream media attention, an experience that no doubt proved educational. What did you learn from that experience and what would you advice as the best way to deal with that type of public scrutiny?

I was surprised when people started writing about me. I mean, I’m just a nobody! Why would anybody bother to write about me? I wasn’t sure what to think of it. Some people have said hurtful things and others have said untrue things. I couldn’t imagine why people would write those things about me, but I guess I’m guilty by association. However, David has had black, Hispanic, and Asian girls working for him in the past, and I bet none of them would ever be subjected to media abuse. I think if I didn’t have a typically German look they would probably leave me alone. So who are the racists, really? Here they are attacking me because I am, as one news article once referred to me, “sufficiently Aryan looking”, but really, I can’t help the way I look anymore than anyone else can.

As far as learning experiences go, I no longer talk to the press. They never write anything favourable about David and I know now that I can expect the same treatment. As far as dealing with it, I just ignore it. Well, I do read it because one should always know what one’s online reputation is. You don’t want your grandmother coming to you one day, announcing she has just learned how to use Google and having that be the first you hear about what people have said about you online.  But at the end of the day, I’m just myself and what anybody writes about me, especially strangers, doesn’t change who I am and it doesn’t change how my real friends think of me. The people who matter don’t need to read about me in a newspaper or a blog to know what kind of person I am.

In my article for TOO, I argued that White women are White advocacy’s natural allies: many non-European cultures afford women a lower social status than they enjoy in European cultures, so the latter’s sunset would mean loss of status for women under a non-European hegemony. Yet, strangely, some of those who self-identify as White advocates and who bemoan the lack of political progress neglect this key factor, or, worse, substantiate through their attitudes the Leftist stereotype of White advocacy having nothing better to offer women than serial pregnancy and a lifetime of household chores. There are certainly many women who would rather not be forced into wage slavery, and would welcome a society that did not make it impossible for them to fulfill a traditional role; but, on the other hand, there are also many other women—very talented ones—whose inclinations and aptitudes make them better suited for other roles, or who would like to combine them with the traditional one. In any event, it seems odd for a movement so preoccupied with the preservation of the race to ignore the half that makes the babies. And even odder to actively alienate half its potential support base with expressions of oriental misogyny. What are your thoughts on this matter?

I read that article and I thought, “YES! This guy gets it!”

I could probably talk all day on this subject, but I’ll try to sum up my main thoughts.

It’s tough being a woman in pro-White circles. Being active and being a woman means you will encounter a lot of people who don’t take you seriously, who lecture you about how many children they think you should have and tell you that you are worthless if you haven’t had any, and who think that you have no right to be doing what you are doing. And it’s not just the men you hear it from; sometimes other women are even worse.

But I believe if this movement is actually to start moving somewhere, then women have to be actively involved. Having babies is not good enough. It’s important, but it’s not the be all and end all of our survival. I think any man or woman who wants to engage in activism should be welcomed and supported.

I often say that if you want to attract women to a fringe movement like this one, you must offer them something better than mainstream society. As you say, we’ve got to offer more than serial pregnancy and a lifetime of menial chores. Those things are not the modern woman’s dream and it is not going to attract women. That doesn’t mean modern women aren’t interested in having families (we are), but the pro-white movement seems to go out of its way to frame motherhood and housewifery in a negative context and make it sound as unappealing as possible.

I do think we as a society need to make it easier for women play a variety of roles, instead of relegating them to that of just housewife or worker bee, but not both. The feminist movement was really a failure in my eyes because it didn’t liberate women. It just gave us a new master, replacing the kitchen with a cubicle.

I think if WN men are serious about attracting women, they need to offer us REAL options. Not the “one or the other” option we currently have, but something that would allow us to help provide for our families while still being involved mothers. They need to stop talking about going back in time to the way things used to be and start working within the framework of reality. Look forward, not back.

You recently opened, along with Matt Parrott, a bookstore in Indiana, Lighthouse Literature. Please tell us about this project. What are your aims and aspirations with it and how do you see it evolving over the next five years?

Lighthouse Literature is an e-commerce store, www.lighthouseliterature.com, and we carry a variety of books that we believe will appeal to “our people”, from the armchair politician to the housewife to the child. We’re still in the process of building our inventory, but we are open now and have about 30 titles and counting.

We developed this idea primarily to solve our problems with funding our activism. This is the problem of every pro-white organisation. It’s difficult to conduct large scale activism relying solely on the occasional small donation. We wanted something that could potentially generate enough revenue that we can accomplish our goals and address local and state issues in a timely fashion. For example, if we want to put up a billboard supporting a piece of legislation, we need to do it while that issue is still fresh in the public’s mind and there is not always time to make an appeal for donations that may or may not be successful.

We eventually came up with the idea of a bookstore because we believe we can turn it into something that benefits the movement as a whole, not just Hoosier Nation. Currently, there is no one-stop shop for pro-white literature. Other sites have bookstores, but their offerings are usually small and they look like they were designed as an afterthought and don’t look like what people expect from legitimate, trustworthy webstores.

We would like to partner with other sympathetic websites who would like their own bookstores but don’t want the hassle of maintaining it or dealing with inventory and shipping, or those who want a better store or want to combine their stores with ours. By partnering with them, we would set up a store for them and they would be paid a commission for any sales that come through their site. In other words, they get paid to loan us their traffic but don’t actually need to manage a store and an inventory themselves. They’re free to run their websites and continue putting out pro-white web content while at the same time generating some cash that might help them continue to stay afloat.

In addition to promoting our ideas, one of our chief goals is to help pro-white authors and publishers connect with their target audience. Obviously we would like to carry their books on our store- in fact, I believe we have one of your titles coming in soon!- but we would also like to help promote their work through interviews and advertising. Some of our people who have written books are relatively well known, but we’ve got a lot of great up and coming authors who aren’t yet a household name within the movement and we would like to help them become so.

A few people have asked me how we plan to compete with larger booksellers. Not only will we have a lot of books that won’t be easy to find at your local chain bookstore, but I believe we can offer superior customer service and a more personal shopping experience. I’ve had a lot of good feedback from my customers over at David Irving’s store, saying they like getting a personal email back in response to their questions, that they like how quickly their orders get shipped out and always arrive in good condition, and that they can make personal requests regarding their orders. They know they can count on me to deliver fast and reliable service. I’ve been working in the retail service industry since I was 15 years old and I have very strong beliefs about treating customers well. I believe that if a customer does not walk away with a smile on their face and feeling like they got good value for their money, then I have not done my job. One of the benefits of running a smaller store over working for a large corporation is that I have a lot more flexibility to accommodate my customers’ wants and needs and I will always make an attempt to do so. Customer service and satisfaction will be a driving principle behind Lighthouse Literature. I want people to know they can buy with confidence and that they will be treated well.

What are your thoughts on the e-book? Will it be good for the publishing industry? Or will it lead to a repeat of the situation we have already encountered with music over the past decade, with illegal downloads devastating the industry?

I am strongly opposed to stealing copyrighted files. I deal with a lot of piracy and digital theft in my work for David. It amazes me how many people think they have the right to someone else’s labour. I’ve seen the work that goes into David’s books and the expense. The research is costly and takes years. The writing itself takes several months. If everyone stole books, then nobody could afford to write them anymore.

However, I do think e-books are quickly becoming the next big thing, much the way iTunes and other similar services have revolutionised the music industry, and I would like to offer them both on Irving Books and Lighthouse Literature, once I figure out how to make them myself or find someone else who does.

You are not the first person I come across in the political arena who is interested in Black Metal, and I have, in parallel, also come across people in the Black Metal scene who are interested in Whiteness and pro-White activism. I have my own theories as to the reasons for this overlap (see my TOQ essay, Black Metal: Conservative Revolution in Modern Popular Culture). What are your theories? Why do you think you are interested in these fringe subcultures (BM and WN)?

I don’t see black metal as being a racial thing. I see it as being a cultural thing. Now, race and culture are closely related and I would be completely baffled by, for example, a black person who might claim to be into black metal. I would wonder what on earth about it speaks to him because he has no connection to the heritage from which it is derived. 

Black metal is a musical genre which frequently relies on themes of early European traditions. This in itself probably speaks to people who are pro-white and who have an interest in their racial and cultural origins. A lot of lyrical content of black metal celebrates and glorifies our heritage. You don’t find that in a lot of other music.

But I would not say black metal is inherently pro-white. A lot of people who are pro-white will be turned off by the overtly anti-Christian and Satanic themes, which are typically an integral part of black metal. I also find that a lot of people who enjoy black metal are not necessarily racially aware. Some black metal bands have intentionally distanced themselves from anything pro-white. Maybe this is because they could otherwise face hate crimes prosecution in their countries, I don’t know. But in any case, I don’t think we can claim black metal for our own and say, yes, this is pro-white music because it isn’t necessarily.

I’m not sure NSBM is as thriving a sub-genre as it was a few years ago, but considering the state of affairs in countries where black metal thrives, I think it is likely we might see some kind of resurgence of NSBM or something like it, to the extent that it is legal in places like Norway, Sweden, etc. Black metal, to me, is all about the ugliness of humanity and the degeneration of society and I can’t imagine any self-respecting black metal musician stepping out of their house in Oslo or Stockholm or wherever and not being completely disgusted by the way their city and their country, and indeed all of Europe, are turning into third world cesspools thanks to mass immigration and policies of multiculturalism.

But will such a resurgence spark some kind of revolution for our people? No, probably not. Black metal is too obscure and I find it hard to believe that any kind of music, by itself, is going to start a revolution.

As for my own interest, to be perfectly honest, black metal is not my favourite genre. I do relate to the lyrical themes, but some black metal (like Burzum – sorry, Varg!) I just don’t care for the sound of it. There are some bands and some albums that I do especially like. I very much enjoy Nokturnal Mortum, Emperor, Deathspell Omega, just to name a few. But I think maybe because I’m a singer, I tend to gravitate more towards “singable” music and tend to choose that more often to listen to than black metal. I really have to be in a certain mood for black metal.  

A point I have consistently made is that there needs to be more than simply expressions of anger and discontent, more than apocalyptic vaticinations, more than just analysis of all that is wrong with the modern world and the egalitarian dispensation; there needs to be, in addition, a vision of what we are fighting for—and that vision has to be more than just a return to an idealised past, which is impossible anyway. What does a world in which we have won the argument look like?

I agree. We can’t return to the past. We need to deal with the reality we have in front of us. Until people stop focusing on the “good old days” and start focusing on solutions that work within the context of our current reality, we cannot make progress with this movement.

I don’t spend a lot of time envisioning what things would be like if we “won”. I don’t think we can ever really win because public opinion constantly changes and while we might sway one generation, there is nothing to stop subsequent generations from making the same mistakes.

I tend to focus my activism on “bits and pieces”. It’s hard to know what the finished product might look like, or if we will ever get there in our lifetimes. Right now, immigration is a big deal and so I focus a lot on that, but that doesn’t mean other issues aren’t important and don’t need to be dealt with. It’s just that we need to focus our efforts and not spread our resources too thin.

The fight for survival is an ongoing fight. You can’t just stop fighting once you reach a certain point of satisfaction or comfort because there will always be threats to our survival. Complacency is death.

How do you imagine your life in 25 years?

In 25 years, I will be pretty old. It’s hard to imagine that far ahead. Right now, being in my mid-20s, my life is still taking shape and there are so many things on which I am undecided, some trivial and some major. Without knowing how those things will turn out, it is very hard to make any kind of educated guess about what things will be like 25 years down the road. I hope the projects I am working on now will be successful or that I will find better ones to pursue and I hope my life will have become relatively stable and happy.

How would you like to be remembered in 100 years?

I don’t have any real desire to be named in the history books or anything. I try to do my part to be a good friend, take care of my family, and improve my community. My grandmother is a really wonderful woman who has spent much of her life giving back to others, both in her career as a nurse and now in retirement as an active community leader and volunteer. I really admire her and I would be happy if I could do at least half as much good for people as she has, though I still have a long way to go. The way I will remember my grandmother and describe her to the future generations of our family who won’t get a chance to know her is the way I would like to be remembered, as well. I can’t think of anything more flattering than to be compared to her. She would probably be hideously embarrassed if I ever said this to her face, though.

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