Last week Kevin DeAnna, the founder of Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), announced that he is leaving the group. Since its introduction into the conservative movement in 2009, YWC has been widely criticized for its associations with white nationalists and other assorted right-wing hardliners, which has seen DeAnna spend the past three years attempting to defend the organization from accusations of racism.
Doing so seems to have taken its toll.
YWC has solicited the help of white nationalist Jared Taylor for fundraising purposes in the past—just one of their moves which has drawn such intense criticism. Taylor runs the racist publication American Renaissance, stating back in 2005 that:
“The races are different. Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western Civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.”
YWC has also continually invited many controversial figures to speak on college campuses, including white nationalist Richard Spencer of the blog Alternative Right. YWC’s own blog has also made headlines for the wrong reasons recently when a post called for the hanging of Nelson Mandela, labeling him a “bloodthirsty terrorist.”
But the question remains, with such a history embroiled in controversy and self-defense, why is DeAnna leaving now? There are a few possible reasons.
DeAnna cited being “old” as one of his reasons, but this doesn’t give us a clear indication. The stress of constantly defending YWC is one possibility, but internal strife could be another. DeAnna has stated that he is moving on to a new job, reportedly with World Net Daily.
So, in what state does DeAnna leave YWC? That is difficult to judge because it impossible to determine how active YWC really is. And so, another reason maybe extend from DeAnna also lamenting in his departure announcement the extreme difficulty involved in getting YWC chapters approved on campuses because of its history. YWC claims to have many more active members and chapters than it actually reports, but there is little proof of that these members actually exist. The YWC website was down for about a month recently, as well. Supposedly it was due to be updated, but when it reappeared again last week, nothing had changed.
Nevertheless, DeAnna’s exit comes at a traumatic time for YWC.
The controversy around the Nelson Mandela blog has yet to die down, and the group has come under attack from not only the left but large sections of the right, too, who have attempted to distance themselves from the group’s white nationalist leanings. DeAnna leaving does not mean that YWC will disappear, but the loss of the group’s founder and “visionary” could have an extremely detrimental effect on YWC and its future activities.