Report from Budapest by Jared Taylor, American Renaissance
A full report on the "forbidden" NPI conference.
It was a bold idea from the beginning. The National Policy Institute (NPI), an American organization, was to hold a conference in Budapest on “The Future of Europe.” In addition to well-known identitarians such as Philippe Vardon of France, Markus Willinger of Germany, and myself, the controversial Russian academic Alexander Dugin, was to take part. Hungary’s Jobbik party would provide essential support on the ground, and one of its elected representatives was to address the meeting.
However, about two weeks before the conference, Prime Minister Victor Orban came under pressure from the Hungarian Socialist Party and condemned the conference. His statement mentioned Prof. Dugin by name, and characterized NPI as a “xenophobic and exclusionary” organization. Those of us scheduled to take part began to worry that pressure would build on the Larus Event Center to cancel its contract to host the conference.
Things got worse. A little more than a week before the conference, the Interior Ministry issued a statement forbidding the meeting, and warning that all speakers would be stopped at the border or deported if found within Hungary. Again, Prof. Dugin was cited as a particularly offensive speaker, but others were cited as “racists” who might violate the Hungarian fundamental law that forbids “violating the human dignity of others.”
I arrived on September 29, the Monday before the weekend of the conference, and had no trouble with border control. Others were not so lucky. William Regnery, the NPI board chairman, was scheduled to fly in for a Tuesday meeting with the general manager of the Novotel City Center hotel, where a number of conference events were planned. Mr. Regnery had asked me to attend the meeting with him, but when I got to the hotel, I was dismayed to learn that Mr. Regnery had not arrived. The hotel manager confirmed that the Larus Center had canceled its contract. He also said that many people attending the conference were booked at the hotel and that since the meeting was now forbidden, he had to make a decision about whether to hold the rooms.
Later that day I later learned that Mr. Regnery had been stopped at the Hungarian border by the police, put in a detention cell overnight, and deported to London. That same day, the hotel manager unilaterally canceled all the room reservations and planned events.
Likewise on Tuesday, I was shocked to learn that Jobbik support had completely melted away, and that no one was looking for an alternate venue. I knew that Jobbik representative Marton Gyongyosi, who had been scheduled to speak, had withdrawn, accusing the organizers of “racism,” but I assumed we still had some local Hungarian support. I was wrong. We had no one. Mr. Regnery telephoned from London and asked me to find a suitable venue. We were also in contact with Richard Spencer, the director of NPI, who asked me to find a private room in a restaurant for a dinner–for an estimated 70 people.
The forbidden conference was now big news. The press was full of stories about Russian extremists and American “racists” about to converge in Budapest. I was afraid it would arouse suspicions if an American phoned up restaurants trying to book a last-minute dinner for 70. I decided to wait until the next day, when I knew a Hungarian-American would be arriving, who could make calls in Hungarian.
We finally got to work on Wednesday, and found a charming, traditional restaurant that was willing to serve as many as 100 people in a private room. We took a taxi to the restaurant, worked up a menu, and made a down payment. We had a venue!–so long as we could keep it secret. We scouted the neighborhood and established a redirection point nearby so that we could tell people to meet there and be taken to the restaurant rather than reveal its name and address in advance. Mr. Spencer was thus able to send e-mail messages to everyone registered for the conference, telling them that the event was still on, and that they were to meet Saturday evening at the redirection point.
Mr. Spencer was to arrive the next day, and we were all worried he would get the same treatment as Mr. Regnery, but he slipped across the Austrian-Hungarian border by train without attracting attention. He gave a number of interviews to the press, and he and I met Thursday evening to toast to the success of the conference.