Greg Johnson is an American white nationalist1 regularly appearing as speaker on international far-right events. He is known for his role as editor-in-chief of the white nationalist imprint Counter Currents Publishing, which has been called "one of the pillars of alt-right publishing".2 Through the imprint, he has published over 40 books, several of which he wrote himself either under his real name or the pseudonym Trevor Lynch.3 He is based in Seattle, Washington.
Johnson supports the creation of a white ethnostate in which only white people would live.3 In an introduction to his book New Right vs. Old Right (2014), Johnson defines ethnonationalism as "the idea that every distinct ethnic group should enjoy political sovereignty and an ethnically homogeneous homeland or homelands." According to Johnson, this is opposed by multiculturalism.4
Johnson has claimed that white nationalism is not the same as white supremacy because "...it is not our [white nationalists'] preference to rule over other groups. Although if forced to live under multicultural systems, we are going to take our own side and try to make sure that our values reign supreme."3 He has also praised the late British fascist leader Oswald Mosley.5
Johnson has been secretive about his personal life, and few photos of him have been published.16 Johnson grew up in the small logging and mining town of Libby, MT, graduating from high school in 1982. Little is known about his life after leaving home to attend college. Eventually he received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America, and subsequently taught philosophy at Morehouse College from February 1994 to December 1997.37 In 2002, he joined the faculty of the Pacific School of Religion as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Swedenborgian Studies.38
Feud with Richard Spencer
In 2014, the white nationalist National Policy Institute (NPI) held a conference in Budapest, Hungary, to which the Hungarian government responded by threatening to arrest and deport anyone who attended the conference. Johnson, who had planned to attend, cancelled these plans and asked for a refund of his registration fees. Undeterred by the Hungarian government's threats, NPI founder Richard B. Spencer held the conference anyway, after which he was arrested and banned from Hungary for several years. Johnson subsequently wrote of Spencer that the "final straw" for him "...was Richard’s disastrous mishandling of the Budapest conference. When a foreign government tells you that your conference is banned and that the police will take the necessary steps to make sure it does not take place, you do not vow defiance." He also attacked Spencer's wife Nina Kouprianova, arguing that she was controlling her husband's actions and that she was not a white nationalist.910
In June 2017, Hope not Hate's Patrik Hermansson went undercover to interview multiple alt-right figures, including Johnson, at the Puget Sound-area white nationalist convention the Northwest Forum, which Johnson organized. When speaking to Hermansson at the convention, Johnson stated that Counter Currents was seeing a significant rise in traffic, and expressed support for the concept of ethnostates, arguing that Jews should be expelled to Israel.117 Also that year, David Lewis of the Stranger went undercover at another Northwest Forum meeting, where he learned about Johnson's "secret agent" plan. This plan according to Lewis calls for Johnson and his fellow white nationalists to pretend to support diversity so "they [can] move into positions of power where they can hire other racists and keep non-whites from getting into the company."7
Johnson spoke consecutively at the far-right Scandza Forum, organized by Fróði Midjord. He spoke on the very first issue of the Forum on "Heideggers black notebooks," basically trying to exonerating Heidegger from anti-semitism.
On July 1, 2017, Greg Johnson spoke at the Scandza Forum in Oslo, Norway.
In April 2018, Johnson appeared on the Scandza Forum in Stockholm, Sweden, organised by Fróði Midjord.
Below a summary of Johnson's speech at the 2nd Paneuropa Conference in Kyiv 2018:12
"The next lecturer of honor was Greg Johnson, the intellectual engine behind American Alt-Right, theorist of White Nationalism, Editor-in-Chief of Counter-Currents Portal and a publishing house of the same title, a highly productive author whose books are also being translated into Ukrainian. He arrived to Ukraine with the copies of his new book, “White Nationalist Manifesto.” And the topic of his speech was directly related to the ideas and suggestions expressed in the Manifesto as they fell under scrutiny of the mastermind of liberal utopia, Francis Fukuyama himself, worried about the rise of ethnonationalism and white identitarianism in America. Referring to the title of Fukuyama’s new book, it was as follows: “Fukuyama on Identity Politics.”
Greg Johnson’s very participation in the Second Paneuropa conference was much anticipated and symbolic, for thanks to figures like Richard Spencer Alt-Right has been long associated with the pro-Kremlin stance. Greg Johnson’s support for the geopolitical program of National Corps, that is, the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Intermarium as a platform for alternative European integration, as well as a high esteem of the Third Conference of the Intermarium Support Group, which he attended, opens new horizons for the true “euroatlantic” cooperation.
Such an opportunity is especially important in the context of the ongoing right-populist turn in the world, which, as of now, ended with an election of Jair Bolnosaro in Brazil. Another extension of the latter is Donald Trump’s support for The Three Seas Initiative promoted by the presidents of Poland and Croatia Andrzej Duda and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who are also considered “right-populist.” It’s no wonder that Francis Fukuyama, as Greg Johnson put it, was trying to loosen the belt of mass migration policies and relieve the growing discontent of a society by making a concession to its expectations. To a big surprise of Greg Johnson, it was the best he came up with. Neither Fukuyama, nor authors of the books with eloquent titles revolving around the idea of “populism against democracy” (the epitome of which being “The People vs. Democracy. Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It” by Yascha Mounk) could find a hole in the reasoning of white nationalists and identitarians.
Moreover, Fukuyama, according to Greg Johnson, in fact, agreed with all the arguments and premises of his intellectual rivals, first of all, that a need to identify oneself as part of some bigger whole is inherent in human nature. His main counterargument, though, was super weak: that there is or should be something stronger than all of those dividing identities, and this is some mythical liberal culture. In Greg Johnson’s opinion, Fukuyama fails to define it, and this is the most sophisticated mind of the opposite camp. Fun fact: the second most popular book in the section of political science on Amazon is Greg Johnson’s “White Nationalist Manifesto,” and the most sold is Fukuyama’s book “On Identity.”
During an hour long video conversation with Olena Semenyaka and a subsequent lecture at Plomin Club entitled “Changes on the Western Front” on October 16, Greg Johnson shared his impressions about the activities of the Ukrainian nationalist movement and disclosed a particular political context of the revival of the white identity policies. He told the audience the story of American Alt-Right, more precisely, its rise and fall.
For the beginning of Alt-Right was indeed promising and impressive: as Greg Johnson unequivocally put it, to a great extent, it was a merit of American Alt-Right that Donald Trump came to power in the US, especially in the late phase of election. At this point, according to Greg Johnson, Alt-Right has shown their strongest side: a decentralized and thus creative and active network movement which unveiled the lies of the American government and was appreciated by the American society for its bravery and ethos. Yet, the decline began when the leadership principle was applied to this decentralized Alt-Right network, and the movement made an attempt to compete with the strongest sides of the regime: power structures, uncountable bureaucratic functionaries, and an inexhaustible financial resource. These changes, initiated by the self-appointed leader of Alt-Right, Richard Spencer, Greg Johnson went on to say, eventually have brought the movement on the verge of collapse. It happened after The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville when the police openly allied with antifa, and weakness of the “reformed” Alt-Right has become too obvious to attract the followers.
The signs of decline, though, appeared much earlier: Greg Johnson expressed his regret about the lost opportunity to transform Alt-Right into the mass movement due to the fear of some activists to compromise the ideological core of Alt-Right. In his opinion, any movement striving to alter the course of history should not shy away from “mainstreamization” and should be confident instead of its ability to educate or lead the masses. Famous Spencer’s “Hail Trump!.. Hail Victory!” was the first borderline which distanced Alt-Right from the perspective of popular support and involvement. Denouncement of public figures who dared to associate themselves with Alt-Right was a yet another test for the movement which it failed to pass by protecting them. Nevertheless, Greg Johnson believes that the strongest sides of Alt-Right are still relevant, and Internet keeps playing against the globalists who simply cannot shut it down.
During the lecture and the video interview with Greg Johnson, many other issues were discussed: the West’s fear and secret attraction to the “barbarians from the East” like participants of a huge militarized March of the Nation in Kyiv, Greg Jonson’s upcoming books dealing with the philosophical substantiation of the white identity policies, misunderstanding of White Nationalism, the topic “ethnonationalism vs. white melting pot” in particular, common premises of White Nationalism and ecological thinking, Greg Johnson’s take on right-wing forms of political escapism, and much more."
On March 13, 2019, Johnson is scheduled to talk on the Scandza Forum13 taking place in Stockholm, Sweden, this year under the headline "Anarcho-Tyranny." The Intermarium Support Group announced the event in a Facebook post that states:
"The event in Sweden, a strategic ally of the Intermarium Union, will be attended by a Ukrainian representative and a secretary of the Intermarium Support Group Olena Semenyaka. Other renowned speakers (Jared Taylor, Greg Johnson, Mark Collett and Fróði Midjord, the founder of the Scandza Forum) are revealed in the conference poster!"14
- 1. a. b. David Lewis, "We Snuck into Seattle's Super Secret White Nationalist Convention," The Stranger, 4 October 2017, https://www.thestranger.com/news/2017/10/04/25451102/we-snuck-into-seattles-super-secret-white-nationalist-convention.
- 2. Colin Daileda, "Meet the pillars of the white nationalist alt-right movement," Mashable, 27 August 2016, https://mashable.com/2016/08/27/alt-right-white-men-pillars-of-movement/?europe=true#BqBWIXpqSSqW.
- 3. a. b. c. d. e. "Greg Johnson," Southern Poverty Law Center, 25 February 2014, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/greg-johnson.
- 4. Greg Johnson, New Right vs. Old Right (San Francisco: Counter-Currents Publishing, 2014).
- 5. "Financing Hate," Southern Poverty Law Center, 25 February 2014, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2014/financing-hate.
- 6. Patrik Hermansson, "The International Alternative Right," Hope not Hate, https://alternativeright.hopenothate.com/my-year-inside-the-international-alt-right.
- 7. a. b. c. Stephen Cohen, "Inside Seattle's secretive white nationalist groups," seattlepi.com, 4 October 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20180827114723/https://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Seattle-s-secret-white-supremacist-groups-12239219.php.
- 8. "Gregory R. Johnson," Pacific School of Religion, https://web.archive.org/web/20030715010656/http://psr.edu/page.cfm?l=250.
- 9. Keegan Hankes, "White nationalism's exploding civil war," Salon, 23 October 2014, https://www.salon.com/2014/10/23/white_nationalisms_exploding_civil_war_partner/.
- 10. Casey Michel, "Meet the Moscow Mouthpiece Married to a Racist Alt-Right Boss," The Daily Beast, 20 December 2016, https://www.thedailybeast.com/meet-the-moscow-mouthpiece-married-to-a-racist-alt-right-boss.
- 11. Katie Herzog, "Seattle's "Nazi Ceramicist" Charles Krafft Is in the News Again," The Stranger, 20 September 2017, https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/09/20/25425048/seattles-nazi-artist-charles-krafft-is-in-the-news-again.
- 12. "2nd Paneuropa Conference was held in Kyiv," Ukrainian Traditionalist Club, 3 November 2018, http://uktk.org/2nd-paneuropa-conference-was-held-in-kyiv/.
- 13. Scandza Forum Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ScandzaForum.
- 14. Facebook post by the Intermarium Support Group, January 30, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/intermariumsupportgroup/photos/a.172349573457635/284174035608521.