Originally published December 19th, 2023.
At the end of the last piece I promised to start writing about the failure – really, the idiocy – of the political strategy chosen by the National Just Podcasts Party. However, some responses to that article were good enough to justify writing a short followup piece that bridges to the critique of podcasting, conventions, and sign holding that served as a replacement for the political party actually running for office.
In the last piece, I feel that I may have given the wrong idea with regards to the Pool Party/Support Group leaders. It’s true that many of them were terrible, and there were no checks and balances in place to ensure quality. However, many of them were great, and worked tirelessly to do work for the Pool Parties, and later the NJP, that they were never compensated for.
I received a great email on this subject from an ex-NJP member who quit over a year ago. I asked him if I could quote from him directly, and haven’t received a response. Until I do so, I’ll just summarize.
He claimed that, about once or twice per month, their PP Leader would spend an entire day traveling around their respective state to meet and vet new recruits. His leader even paid for his meal when they arrived at the restaurant for vetting, and later donated some items to him when he was having some problems that I can’t get into. Similarly, a few of the rank and file members of his group traveled almost halfway across the US to attend some protests. To his knowledge, no one, not the leaders or the rank and file, were ever reimbursed for any of this despite the deep pockets of the NJP.
I got another email from a different character, named “Monty”. He had left a short comment on the site, but sent me a much, much longer version of the story over two emails, and was happy to be quoted.
Monty’s (somewhat edited for brevity),
I was initially vetted around 2016-2017. Even back then it was a long process that took me around 6 months of polite but regular reminders to the local vetting coordinator, but I eventually got in and was part of the region’s Discord server. It was a fun group, mostly idle chatting and sharing memes, but the people had positive energy and we met up regularly IRL for normal social outings. I’ve seen some people talk about having to dox themselves by sharing their social media information during their vetting, but that was never something I had to do at any point.
Some people commented that it was crazy to have these Discord servers running after the Identity Evropa doxxing fiasco. My understanding is that Telegram chats have entirely replaced Discord, as of about half a decade ago. They use Threema, or other software for additional communication.
A few years in the group, I got firsthand experience of the very worst kinds of people that sometimes make their way into these circles. A druggie who somehow got vetted into the pool party threatened a good friend of mine (who somehow didn’t pass vetting). This was an awful experience and I only briefly bring this up to say the process was not as airtight as some people claim and this was a predictable case of a bad apple making it through the vetting process, a process that was never systematically over-hauled or adjusted when the NJP was created, at least to my knowledge.
The NJP vetting system was the worst of all worlds. Time consuming for everyone involved, yet totally unrigourous.
Well after this unfortunate event and the creation of the NJP, I moved states for unrelated reasons. I wanted to still be a part of the social network I’d been in for years, so I got put in contact with the SG of my new state and was vouched for by my then SG leader. Despite what should have been a quick and painless process this took nearly 6 months of emails before I could even be re-vetted. Let me just say this again, I was a known SG member who had been around since 2017, was well liked, and was personally vouched for by my SG leader, and this process still took me around 6 months.
Other people online have mentioned how the culture and quality of Supporter Groups varied between states, and I can confirm first-hand that is very true. My first SG covered one US state and had a TG chat of 40-50 people who would make friends with each other and meet up IRL. My second SG encompassed several states and had maybe 60 members, of which probably 40 or more members never engaged in the group at all, and IRL meetings were far apart both in terms of time and geography. My first SG didn’t do much political work, but there was some attempt at local outreach with educational flyers and personal communication with locals, and there were occasional internal donation drives for NJP party causes. My second SG did basically none of that to my knowledge besides once posting a GiftSendGo link, [which had something to do with a family friend of the McKevitts].
Learning how little political action was done by these groups means that I might have to downgrade my estimation of the volunteer man-hours squandered by the NJP. I assumed something like one hour per week-member, on average. It’s possible I still underestimated, but it also sounds like many groups never did anything, and had the majority of their members permanently AWOL. This does mean that NJP “leadership” squandered less effort, but only by being even lazier and even more incompetent and unserious than previously thought possible.
I mentioned in my comment on your article that I was ejected from the group by an extremely-online fragile narcissist, let’s call him “Dork”. Of the approximately 60 chat members, the the most frequent users of the chat were total Telegram-addicts, spending 10-14 hours a day in idle chatting and sharing memes, to the point that when I’d wake up for work I’d regularly see 800+ unread messages, the vast majority of which was from only 4 or 5 members talking back and forth to each other. “Dork” was a mod and was one of these extremely-online people, his personality could summed up as “anti-social Terrence McKenna with a superiority complex.” For reasons I don’t understand, “Dork” had a hostile fixation with me and would frequently reply to things I would say in chat with passive-aggressive insults, even long after the point when I had completely stopped trying to be nice to him and just didn’t interact with him at all. Between his long, insane ramblings and his hatred of me, the fact I was ignoring him seemed to have made him throw a tantrum in chat, after which he removed me from the group.
One of my big takeaways from this bizarre experience of mine was that both the Pool Parties and later the NJP SGs were terrible at bringing new people in, and in some cases were even worse at retaining people. After being unilaterally expelled by one overly-emotional unhinged weirdo who was inexplicably put in a position of authority, I (a paying party member who had been around since 2017) sought remediation and dispute resolution. In hindsight the notion of me returning was more than the NJP ever deserved given the state of the “Party” and of who they had running Supporter Groups.Despite my basic and professional attempt at conflict resolution, I was only ever given the cold shoulder by almost everyone and no remediation or resolution was ever contemplated, let alone attempted. The structure for such a basic thing was as non-existent as the will to do so. What was nominally a local chapter of a “political” “party” was just an immature clique for sharing memes, posturing as “hardcore,” and waxing poetic about esoteric gibberish.
Monty’s experience reminded me of a screencap that I was sent of a since-banned commenter on BANG, Northpoint, sticking up for me. I’ll transcribe the last bit.
For full transparency I’ve worked with TDC, met him in real life and have helped him with the site for different things. He’s not terminally online and has done plenty of real world organizing and networking.
There are plenty of people who have met me in real life, mostly here in Canada. Groups and people ranging from the Active Club guys I met in the summer of 2022, to concerned parents who have had to deal, firsthand, with the school system trying to turn their children into trannies. It might be hard for you to get a hold of the latter, but if you did you would find that they, along with everyone else, have precious few negative comments with respect to my personal conduct.
Partly, that’s because I have good, or at least basic social skills, the likes of which are common in the broader public, yet so often completely lacking in fringe politics. I can read the room. I can fit into a crowd. I can lead the conversation, yet know when to remain quiet. I know when to make a joke and when not to. I’m not some sort combination of rockstar and stand up comedian that will, with one handshake, leave an impression upon you that you will never forget, but you would be hard pressed to describe me as anything other than “normal and personable.”
However, the main reason why I leave at least a neutral impact on others is because I treat people with respect. I know how to say “please,” and “thank you.” I’m never impolite, let alone needlessly hostile. I don’t throw catty barbs at people for no reason. I make an effort to make everyone else feel welcome in my presence. There is a filter on the words that leave my mouth. I have enough impulse control to bite my tongue when necessary.
When writing to people I hold myself to the same standard, albeit depending on the medium. I am never rude in emails, and even my Telegram DM’s are written with care and respect for the recipient. That’s true even when the target of my message deserves to be talked to with scorn and derision.
I’ll admit to snapping at a few obnoxious Telegram users in the chat. Even then, unless they’re being obviously hostile and aggressive, I always start with politely asking them to cut out their bad behaviour first. Then I start deleting their messages. Finally, I ban them.
There is a weird culture on the internet of excusing, or even celebrating Borzoi-tier spergs lashing out at others for no reason. For all their IRL pretenses, the NJP was infested with the garbage behaviour of the constantly online. This is a non-starter for any real political organization. It is politically important that people behave like adults. It is politically important that they treat others with respect. You can’t have a worthwhile organization that’s filled with petty, snide, vindictive little bitches. That kind of behaviour is considered beyond unprofessional in any other context, because it is impossible to work productively with those types.
Contrast my message to Tony Hovater with his messages to the Chicago PP Leader, and understand that I’ve seen far worse from people who didn’t want to be mentioned for fear of doxxing. What I saw was a guy who, to put it bluntly, was an idiotic asshole who not only didn’t have any filter, but seemed to delight in being intentionally antagonistic.
I say all this, because the term “sperg” is overloaded. Occasionally it means a Borzoi, or Tony Hovater style vindictive, spiteful nerd. Occasionally, it simply means someone who is well meaning and good hearted, yet suffers from social anxiety, or lacks other, basic social skills.
Those people who can be irritating, but are not immoral. There are a great many detestable sociopaths who are smooth talkers, and I would prefer an honest, earnest “sperg” over a self-interested charmer any day of the week. However, these “spergs”, no matter how well meaning, can be a liability. They must be managed, especially at real life events.
Let’s see how the NJP “accomplished” this.
I only ever went to one mass meeting. I was lucky enough to have already been near the area, because whoever was in charge of directions told people it was going to be near a specific city, but as we all found out the day of the event, the location was actually 2 hours away from that city.—-It was a hassle for me, and I was probably luckier than most people coming to the event. The location was a barn (because of course it was) out in the middle of nowhere.
Above was a followup email from Monty. He details the one and only NJP mass meeting he attended, which took place about a year ago. For reference, the first NJP meeting was held on August 15th, 2020. At this point, they had been doing this for years, yet still failed to give people a location within 2 hours of the actual event, until the day of.
Now I’ll talk a bit more about the aspect of that event that really sticks in my mind, which is the people there. I don’t want to overstate my opinion, and I really don’t want to sound cruel, or like I’m putting people down, but it was at that event that I understood why some people would call NJP a cult.
Most people there were new faces for me, and of those, the majority were fairly young, maybe early or middle twenties White men. When I chatted with them, I got what I can really only describe as a “cult feeling,” and I know that’s vague so I’ll try to be more specific. A lot of guys there were wide eyed, had abnormally large smiles, and it was difficult to get them to talk about anything other than ideology or political matters related to the past 2-3 episodes of TDS and Strike & Mike – a real portrait of a true believer. As you may have guessed, they were very keen to parrot back exactly whatever it was their favorite podcasters had said a few days previously. I’ve seen brown-nosing before, but this was a level of hero worship beyond anything I could have imagined beforehand.
I remember feeling a kind of grim amusement as I watched Mike or Striker walk from one end of the barn to the other to chat with people they actually wanted to talk to, all the while followed by a devoted, star-struck coterie trailing behind, begging for a crumb of attention.
It was just sad.
What is described in the last paragraph is exactly what happens with every kind of celebrity, including political micro celebrities. That’s why Taylor Swift gets an escort into the arena she’s performing in, often sneaks in the back door, and then waits backstage until it’s time for her to perform. She doesn’t chill in the lounge alongside her fellow VIPs. That would create a grotesque scene where tons of screaming girls swarm her as she’s trying to talk to her friends. Probably many of them would start crying as their idol totally ignores them.
It may seem a bit offputting to have the political leaders separated from the Hoi Polloi, but that’s vastly preferable to a scene of ignored young men trailing after them looking for attention. If you’re going to ignore them, have a backstage area. If you don’t have a backstage, don’t show up to the event until five minutes before your speech, where it will be obvious that you can’t give the crowd much more than a wave and a nod before going on.
If you are going to mingle with the crowd, set a time limit, and then give the crowd things to do. “Icebreaker” mini-events are done by every event planner with a shred of competence and common sense, and for good reason. You don’t want a thousand awkward dinner dates taking place in your convention hall.
As an example of a common icebreaker activity, first give people set times for eating. Sit them down at pre-assigned tables, ensuring they’ll be next to strangers so they don’t just talk to their existing friends. While they eat, you put up a projector that forces them to play a little game of “Option A versus Option B,” where each table votes as a block, and has plenty of time to pick between the two. The choices can and should be totally unserious, ranging from “Jonathan Greenblatt vs Larry Fink,” to these two “not 10’s” that were discussed in a previous article.
It is true that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. Nothing can guarantee that everyone will have a good time, but there are a great deal of practical, common sense, low cost solutions to the natural standoffish behaviour that tends to arise at these kinds of things even with normal people, let alone Telegram addicted spergs.
For the record, I have a [redacted] who used to work in event planning. Really nailing an event is a huge undertaking. Setting up some lighthearted games/events for people to play that gets the conversation flowing barely qualifies as the bare minimum.
The NJP’s approach was to do nothing, as always. Instead, they made a bunch of socially awkward young men hang out with complete and utter strangers for hours, and, shockingly, it got awkward. Since this wasn’t their first event, it can be assumed that every one of their conventions was like this, and they were fine with that.
The next bout of whiplash I experienced from this semi-surreal event was due to the fact that I had to leave early because I was on the hook for a prior obligation after already being at the event for around 4 hours. On my way out, I had to push my way past a dozen or so people (many of whom were volunteer staff, including security) that were shocked, appalled, and demanding explanations why I would dare to leave before the Central Committee members’ precious little speeches started. If I didn’t already want to leave because of the awkward atmosphere, I definitely wanted to leave after being hassled for trying to leave. Fortunately however, after about the fifth time explaining I had a real world obligation to attend to, they finally let me go.
My time wasn’t all bad though, I had some normal friends that were there too, and I met two new faces that were capable of holding a normal conversation. At the end of the day though, the best thing I could say about that experience was that it was a glorified adult play date. Maybe some real and valuable networking went on among the people there. I don’t know, but somehow I doubt it.
I think that about covers all I have to say on that, I hope this was helpful. I do still find myself wondering how accurate that “600” number is for total party membership, because if it’s true then it is absolutely bewildering to me that the NJP was somehow both small enough, wealthy enough, and dedicated enough to periodically fill barns up in the middle of nowhere with half or more of their total party membership, multiple times, across multiple states, for seemingly no real reason.
That final paragraph reminds me of a comment left under the (archived) seventh entry.
Anyone who thought NJP had more than ~500 members has a non-functioning bullshit detector.
You really expected 5000? If that was the case they wouldn’t have been struggling to get 200 members to show for their biggest national events that they had half a year to plan for in advance.
It is well known that the real numbers for their conventions were over 300, occasionally over 400. Not all the attendees were members, but it can be presumed that the vast majority were. Since these were adult playdates, you would expect that only the tiny percent of the party who lives within a few hours of the event would show up. Instead, they get over half their entire party to follow them to various barns around the country, where they end up awkwardly milling about for hours, being mostly ignored by Mike and Striker.
This is where the majority of their “political” efforts went. They couldn’t support people running for local office, something that at least one former Identity Evropa guy managed to do – and win – without any party backing. They were too busy throwing awkward adult play dates where Mike and Striker were swarmed by mostly well meaning spergs who they ignored as they talked to the cool people.
What a bizarre and sad waste of everyone’s time and money.
With that out of the way, my efforts can return to cranking out the strategy piece. Don’t expect that before Thursday morning, at the earliest.
UPDATE: Original article and 35 comments archived here. Some may be reproduced in the comment section below.