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WATCH: CPAC speaker says the alt-right is actually “left-wing”

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) may have a history of promoting alt right speakers — its slate this year included President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, who has boasted of turning Breitbart into “the platform for the alt-right,” and Milo Yiannopoulos, who was popular among alt right-ists up until this week when past comments seemingly condoning pedophilia got his CPAC invitation rescinded — but it now seems to be distancing itself from the movement.

“There is a sinister organization that is trying to warp its way into our ranks,” said Executive Director Dan Schneider of the American Conservative Union (which runs CPAC) during his speech. “We must not be deceived by [a] hateful, left-wing fascist group.”

To support his claim that the alt right is actually left-wing, Schneider added, “They hate the Constitution. They hate free markets. They hate pluralism. Fascists tend to want big government control.”

The alt-right actually has its roots in a conservative reaction against President George W. Bush, whose internationalism and support for the Republican Party establishment were perceived as an affront to their own right-wing principles. Although it was initially comprised of more libertarian-minded individuals, there were always racist and xenophobic elements within the movement. By the early 2010s it had been overtaken by white nationalists as well as more subtle racists, many of them initially associated with the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

While the alt-right disagreed with the traditional Republican definition of conservatism, however, it has always drawn its ranks from the right-wing rather than the left-wing of American politics. This is why, even before their 2017 conference, CPAC has invited racists and other alt right leaders including Jared Taylor, William Johnson, Peter Brimelow, John Derbyshire, and Bob Vandervoort.