On November 16, 2019, student Charles Robertson posted a video of his class presentation for a writing class at Georgia Southern University in southeast Georgia. The YouTube video, titled “Irreplaceable”, presents the theory that “replacement” immigration from non-white countries is a kind of genocide aimed at destroying white people. The “great replacement” conspiracy theory is a well-known predictor of white supremacist violence and has been cited in mass murder manifestos such as that of the Christchurch shooter.
During his presentation, Charles Allen Robertson advertised the organization American Identity Movement (AmIM) by featuring an image of its banner on the screen. AmIM is a white nationalist group formerly known as “Identity Evropa”, and under that name is currently being sued for its role in Unite the Right at Charlottesville, VA, 2017. Afterward, in the comments of the YouTube video, Robertson engaged with commenters, basked in their praise, and gave out information on the racial composition of his class. Commenters began to abuse one of Robertson’s classmates – briefly audible in the video – with racial slurs. The video quickly went viral in multiple far-Right communities, including 4chan’s /pol/ network. The viral video currently has almost three thousand comments and over ninety thousand views.
Many figures active in the far-Right have praised Charles Robertson’s video and his “bravery” in posting it. Patrick Casey, the head of American Identity Movement, promoted Charles Robertson on his Telegram channel. JF Gariépy, a racist and antisemitic podcaster with a history of predatory behavior, hosted Charles Robertson to talk about the video. In the Gariépy interview on November 28, Charles Robertson stated that he was not particularly concerned about being expelled from Georgia Southern because the administration had already shown a willingness to tolerate racism, citing the total lack of consequences for Georgia Southern students who earlier this year harassed a Latina author invited to speak on campus and publicly burned her book.
Charles Robertson has previously been exposed as a member of the white nationalist American Identity Movement, with anti-fascists highlighting Robertson alongside other members of AmIM earlier this year. While speaking with JF Gariépy about the success of his classroom propaganda stunt, Robertson stated almost word-for-word the plan expressed by user “MercurysCell912” – who antifascists had earlier linked to Robertson – to attend university as part of a “long march” to normalize his ideology.
While Robertson conceals the most overtly fascistic and antisemitic elements of his politics in the viral video, Robertson’s “MercurysCell912” social media account shows his deep affinity for Holocaust-denial and narratives of a massive Jewish conspiracy against whites. Robertson is not a young, impressionable student: he is a hardened activist in his late twenties who clearly articulates his goals around white nationalist recruitment.
It is unlikely that Georgia Southern will act regarding Charles Robertson’s use of the classroom for white nationalist recruitment. As Robertson himself points out, the administration does not wish to confront racist activity, and some students are sympathetic. However, Georgia Southern is also a diverse campus by national standards. By his own account, fully half of the students in his classroom at the time of Robertson’s presentation were people of color. Students who are potential targets – students of color, Jewish or LGBTQ+ students, etcetera – deserve to know of active white nationalist recruitment and organizing, since the administration will not protect them. If Charles Robertson continues to appear on white power podcasts and promote Georgia Southern as a “based” university (Right-wing slang for something sympathetic to racism and fascism), then there is the danger that Georgia Southern will become a further magnet for white supremacists.
We encourage everyone to raise awareness of Charles Robertson and how Georgia Southern enabled the production of white nationalist propaganda on the public’s dime. While we do not wish to contribute to further hype for Robertson’s video, by this stage it has already received wide exposure. We are circulating this information so that Georgia Southern students and staff can have proper context on Robertson’s affiliations and know of his recruitment efforts.
If you have further information on Robertson or other members of the American Identity Movement in our state, please get in touch.