8/10/2020: update on Matt Gurtler and Marjorie Taylor Greene here.
As this report was being prepared for publication Thursday evening, far-Right militiaman and 9th Congressional District candidate Michael Boggus released a video on Facebook, stating that he is the new State Director for American Patriots USA. Since neo-Nazi Chester Doles and the white supremacists around Doles remain in the organization, we assume this is a shell game.
Summary: American Patriots USA (APUSA) was formed last year in north Georgia by Chester Doles, a longtime neo-Nazi. As documented in this and earlier reports, the organization is a thinly disguised front group for white supremacists. APUSA has spent the last few months building a broader front of “constitutionalist” Republican candidates, including several people of color, which it uses to mask its agenda. The white power organization even hosted a current State House Representative, Matthew Gurtler, at their March meeting. We document APUSA’s “Trojan horse” effort and highlight the complicity of GOP candidates and networks in normalizing white supremacist organizing.
2. Recent APUSA Meetings and Networking
• 2.1 February Meeting
• 2.2 February 29 Networking
• 2.3 March Meeting
• 2.4 May Meeting
3. APUSA Candidates
• 3.1 The Militiamen: Michael Boggus, Jonathan Garcia, Mack McGregor
• 3.2 Who’s In: Johsie Cruz, Danny Ellyson, Derrick Grayson
• 3.3 Who’s Out: Matthew Gurtler, Eugene Yu, Hubert Owens, Doug Collins
4. APUSA Members
• 4.1 The Minions: Sean Keena, Robert Timothy Dickenson, Josh Mote, Christy Howle
• 4.2 The Shadow Member: Michael Carothers/Weaver
• 4.3 The Leader: Chester Doles
5. Strategy Notes: What’s Going On?
In late December 2019, a new organization in north Georgia named American Patriots USA (APUSA) announced its first political endorsement. On the racist White Information Network blog, APUSA announced: “Cody Cantrell for Sheriff of White County.” Cantrell is by his own admission “affiliated” with the Ku Klux Klan. Less than a month after the announcement, Cantrell’s campaign had collapsed as the community discovered Cantrell’s KKK ties. APUSA provided contradictory accounts in the aftermath. White Information Network eventually removed the “Cantrell for Sheriff” announcement.
American Patriots USA continues to act as a front group for neo-Nazis and other ideological racists. Since the Cody Cantrell debacle, APUSA has altered their electoral strategy by pursuing support among Republican fringe candidates who, in contrast to Cantrell, are not affiliated with the KKK. APUSA currently endorses seven candidates, with more than half being rightwing people of color. One of these candidates has now claimed he was unaware of the APUSA endorsement, but the rest have talked to the group’s meetings. Another candidate endorsed by APUSA, white militiaman Michael Boggus, has effectively folded his campaign for Congress in Georgia’s 9th District into APUSA. Boggus co-administrates a new Facebook page for APUSA and promoted this page on a campaign radio advertisement. APUSA plans to host a fundraising event for Boggus on Saturday, May 16. The venue was initially Johnny B’s bar in Dahlonega – a symbolic choice, since this was where just years earlier APUSA founder Chester Doles and Hammerskin gang members attacked the family and friends of an interracial couple. The venue was changed less than two days before the event to the Auraria Community Club, after Bikers for Trump allegedly said they would attend.
In its recent outreach to Republicans, APUSA was even able to get current Georgia State House Representative Matthew Gurtler (8th district) to speak to its March meeting in Dahlonega. Relations between Gurtler and APUSA appear to have later soured.
In this report, we discuss APUSA’s activities from late February to mid-May as it built support within grassroots Republican circles in Georgia. We discuss the candidates currently being promoted by APUSA. Then, we recap core members of APUSA who have stuck with the organization since its founding last year. We highlight the behind-the-scenes involvement of neo-Nazi Michael Carothers (AKA Michael Weaver) in the organization. Carothers knows APUSA head Chester Doles since Doles led the Georgia unit of the National Alliance in the early 2000s. At the time, the National Alliance was the largest neo-Nazi organization in North America. We conclude with some thoughts on why it is useful for a group guided by clear white supremacists to build a broader multiracial and “constitutionalist” front.
2. Recent APUSA Meetings and Networking
In an earlier article, we discussed APUSA’s efforts up to but not including its February 22 meeting. As we documented, in early February Chester Doles continued to broadcast his neo-Nazi affiliations on social media, for example with a post referencing “14/88”: the “fourteen words” white power slogan in combination with alphanumeric code for “H.H.” or “Heil Hitler.” In early February, Doles remained in touch with Billy Roper, a white supremacist who Doles had organized with in the National Alliance.
2.1 February Meeting
APUSA’s February meeting took place on the 22nd, having been canceled due to snow a couple of weeks earlier. In a sign of things to come, the organization had invited Eugene Yu, a Republican candidate in the primary for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, to address the meeting. After being alerted to APUSA’s politics, Yu canceled.
The meeting at the Lumpkin County Parks and Recreation Community Center featured three speakers: Josh Mote, Chester Doles, and Sean Keena. Mote had been Klansman Cody Cantrell’s “campaign manager” just one month earlier. In February, Mote established a Facebook page, “Say What You Want in Dahlonega?”, to promote APUSA’s activities. Early in the meeting, Mote was promoted to APUSA’s “Lumpkin County Coordinator”. As Doles explained to attendees later, Mote would serve as a public face for APUSA because “They [antifascists] can’t find nothing on him”.
Before giving his prepared speech, Mote insisted: “We are nothing of the Ku Klux Klan, we are nothing of a neo-Nazi group” but an organization of patriotic Americans. Mote discussed plans for future events and his campaigning for APUSA’s “2nd Amendment Sanctuary County” initiative, which at the time was the group’s main focus. Mote stated that Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard was “completely on board” with APUSA’s 2nd Amendment Sanctuary organizing, and that Jarrard had purchased “many raffle tickets” for the organization’s fundraising AR-15 raffle. Mote’s formal speech framed gun control as a plot by “Anti-American Socialist[s] that are trying to dismantle America”.
Chester Doles took the podium and delivered a tearful speech. The individuals who had founded American Patriots USA just two months prior had experienced “a profound change of heart, soul and mind” due to “divine intervention from a loving and forgiving God.” “God turned me upside down and shook me out”, claimed Doles, causing Doles to abandon his white supremacist past. Doles insisted:
The one thing we [APUSA] have not been is a racist, white supremacist, Nazi or KKK ‘front group’ or otherwise. The only memberships we have ever had to revoke has been of members that did have continuing ties with these groups.
Doles’ speech as well as Mote’s were later published on APUSA’s website. Doles continues to circulate white nationalist materials on his social media, network with militant racists, and like their posts calling for violence. In a later section (4.3), we discuss Doles’ online activity since his February performance. Nothing has changed.
The final speech of the February meeting was from Sean Keena, whose antisemitism we have highlighted before. When he introduced Keena, Doles stated: “I’ve known Sean for the past twenty years, [we’ve] been through a whole bunch of stuff.” This means that Keena and Doles knew each other since the early 2000s, when Doles led the National Alliance unit in Georgia.
In his rambling speech, Sean Keena suggested that Bernie Sanders was a political successor of Lenin and Trotsky, then continued:
Look: I’m not an antisemite. This is not about race, but the problem is: Benjamin Disraeli, he was a British statesman about a hundred and fifty years ago in England. […] Anyway, he was a Jewish statesman. He said: ‘The foundation of all politics is race.’
It just so happens [Michael] Bloomberg – and I’ve had it up to here too with Bloomberg – and Bernie [Sanders] are both, um… ‘Chosen’. The self-proclaimed Chosen Ones.
Keena misquoted Disraeli. However, the actual quote (“All is race, there is no other truth”) is used as an epigraph in My Awakening and is also quoted in Jewish Supremacism, both books by neo-Nazi and former Klan leader David Duke. In our earlier article, we noted Keena’s praise for David Duke.
After Keena’s Jew-baiting, his remarks became even less coherent. He received polite applause, and then the meeting wound down with everyone watching a speech by Trump.
2.2 February 29 Networking Events
The following Saturday, Doles, Mote and other APUSA members attended rallies to promote their organization. At the “Bartow County 2A and Trump Rally” hosted in Adairsville by the Presidents Team nonprofit, Doles and his teenage daughter prominently displayed an APUSA banner. William Tex Simmons and other members of the American Brotherhood of Patriots, the militia that provides armed security for APUSA meetings, also attended the Adairsville event.
From Adairsville, the APUSA contingent went on to Villanow (near LaFayette), Georgia for a “Georgia Second Amendment Sanctuary Rally” at a local community center. At the Villanow event, the APUSA group posed for a photo with the event’s main speaker, Islamophobe and QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is running for Congress as a Republican in the Georgia’s 14th District. Also in the group photo was Lucretia Hughes, a Black pro-Trump commentator and energetic rightwing networker who talked at Chester Doles’ September 14 far-Right rally in Dahlonega.
2.3 March Meeting
The March 14 meeting for APUSA was their last at the Parks and Recreation Community Center before the coronavirus pandemic suspended operations. The event introduced several candidates running as Republicans to APUSA. Doles opened the meeting with comments about the delays and difficulties faced by his Lumpkin County “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” efforts. He told an unverifiable story about having sat down with FBI agents about the problem of antifascists. With introductory remarks out of the way, Doles introduced the first guest, State House Representative Matthew Gurtler (8th GA House district).
Matthew Gurtler stated to Doles that “I’m right there with ya”, portraying APUSA and similar groups as organic responses to big government and “socialism on the rise”. He referenced his track record of being the most conservative member of Georgia’s state House and promoted his current campaign for the congressional spot in Georgia’s 9th Congressional District. Gurtler asserted that it was time to push back against the “rise of socialism” from the media, academia, and Hollywood.
The meeting featured four other speakers: three militia figures with long shot political ambitions, and an impromptu speech by APUSA’s webmaster. Between speakers, Doles offered additional comments, for example mentioning a recent failed attempt by APUSA to harass a local progressive group that has long been a target for Doles. Doles reminded everyone that he had “renounced hate” and found common ground with Lucretia Hughes.
Jonathan Garcia, Mack McGregor, and Michael Boggus are all militia supporters who promote each other’s efforts. Garcia aims to run for Governor in 2022, with McGregor running an accompanying campaign for Lieutenant Governor. Michael Boggus is a former member of the Georgia Security Force III% militia. He is currently running for the Republican nomination for Georgia’s 9th Congressional District, where he is competing against Matthew Gurtler among others.
In a rambling speech, Garcia railed against “Commie-crats” and stressed his “strict constitutionalist” principles. His talk included common far-Right rallying cries, from Ruby Ridge to the more recent militia martyr LaVoy Finicum. (Garcia stated that he had met Finicum’s wife.) Garcia favorably cited Robert Welch, the conspiracy theorist co-founder of the John Birch Society. Garcia, who is Black and Latino, told the audience: “I am what Martin Luther King talked about […] Call me a racist, I dare you.”
McGregor believes that the Democratic Party is a socialist and communist organization dedicated to gun confiscation. He expressed nostalgia for the days when mentioning socialism meant “you got curb stomped”. McGregor encouraged the audience to “push these people [Democrats and others considered socialist] back where they belong […] drag ‘em out, do away with ‘em”.
Michael Boggus’ speech focused on his main qualifications for the Congressional spot in Georgia’s 9th District this year: “I’m definitely no politician and I’m not politically correct”. Boggus talked about candidates such as himself as the alternative to civil war: “We can do it now [change by political means] or we can wait and let Boogaloo happen.” While Boggus claimed “Boogaloo [a far-Right term for civil war] is fun”, he would rather win through the ballot and change the establishment.
Following Boggus’ talk, APUSA webmaster Christy Howle gave an impromptu speech in which she fantasized about building gallows for “traitors”. Howle characterized undocumented immigration as an “invasion” and labeled immigrants as “the enemy”. She speculated that coronavirus shutdowns had been orchestrated because no shots were fired at the Richmond, Virginia anti-gun control rally two months earlier, which would have otherwise been the pretext for a clampdown.
An unfocused discussion of Doles’ favorite organizing issue, immigration, followed. After briefly speaking again, Matthew Gurtler made his excuses but posed for a group photo before leaving.
(d) May Meeting
Georgia was under a shelter-in-place order from April 3 to April 30. During this time APUSA held no public meeting. On the first day of the shelter-in-place order, Doles shared an APUSA image endorsing four fringe GOP candidates: Boggus, Garcia, McGregor, as well as Hubert Owens Jr., who is running as a Republican in State House District 93. On April 20, Doles circulated a new image adding two more candidates on the APUSA “We the People Dream Team”. These two additional endorsements were: Johsie Cruz, running as a Republican for Congress in Georgia’s 4th District, and Danny Ellyson, running for in Georgia’s 8th Congressional District.
APUSA members also mentioned Derrick Grayson, running as a Republican in the special election to the US Senate for Georgia, as billed to speak at an upcoming meeting. Grayson however was not officially endorsed by Doles and APUSA until the day after their May 9 meeting, held at the organization’s new clubhouse.
Only sections of the May 9 meeting were posted online. Candidates who presented at the small clubhouse gathering were: Johsie Cruz, Derrick Grayson, Danny Ellyson, Michael Boggus and Jonathan Garcia. As well as Doles, key APUSA members attending were Lumpkin County Coordinator Josh Mote; KKK supporter and APUSA Chaplain Robert Timothy Dickenson (visible in footage); and Nazi-supporting Doles associate, Sean Charles Keena (audible in recordings). The speaker’s podium was draped with an “Anti-Antifa” scarf featuring a white nationalist celtic cross symbol on either end. APUSA later characterized having people of color framed by the white nationalist accessory as a “laugh” at antifascists’ expense.
Johsie Cruz, who emigrated to the US from Venezuela, portrayed antifascists as the true Nazis. Video of Derrick Grayson’s speech was briefly posted, but soon went offline. We do not know its content except that according to Chester Doles, Grayson criticized RINOs (“Republicans in Name Only”). Doles officially endorsed Grayson’s Senate run the following day. Danny Ellyson stressed his military experience and portrayed himself as a strict constitutionalist. He congratulated APUSA for trying to “bridge a gap” and characterized anti-fascist criticism as “When you do right things, people try to attack you”. Most of Boggus’ talk is not available, but online footage shows a meandering conversation involving APUSA core member Sean Keena. At one point, Boggus commented that he was in Michigan last year, to challenge “No Go Zones” – a reference to an anti-Muslim protest he attended, and the myth that parts of Dearborn, Michigan are under Sharia law. Jonathan Garcia’s speech insisted that “outside organizations” such as the World Health Organization were undermining sovereignty. Garcia also stressed his unhyphenated American identity, which he perceives as under threat.
3. APUSA Candidates
By summarizing APUSA’s recent meetings, we also covered most of its endorsed candidates.
3.1 The Militiamen: Michael Boggus, Jonathan Garcia, Mack McGregor
Militia supporters Jonathan Garcia and Mack McGregor aim to run for Georgia Governor and Lieutenant Governor respectively in 2022. They currently support Michael Boggus’ campaign in the Republican primary for the 9th Congressional District. Boggus is now deeply involved with American Patriots USA. APUSA are using a “Bikers for Boggus” fundraising event on May 16th – a bike run leaving from the Auraria Community Center in Dahlonega and returning for music and speakers – to further claim Dahlonega as their turf.
Boggus’ close relationship with APUSA is not the first time he has sided with white nationalists. Sidney Horton, a Georgia white nationalist who authored antisemitic propaganda about “The Jewish Question”, also works closely with Boggus.
3.2 Who’s In: Johsie Cruz, Danny Ellyson, Derrick Grayson
Three more candidates talked for the first time at APUSA’s May 9 meeting: Johsie Cruz (for Congress, GA04), Danny Ellyson (for Congress, GA08), and Derrick Grayson (for US Senate). Grayson was not included in APUSA’s April “We the People Dream Team” promotional image but was endorsed following the May 9 meeting.
3.3 Who’s Out: Matthew Gurtler, Eugene Yu, Hubert Owens, Doug Collins
Despite State House Representative Gurtler talking at the March APUSA meeting and voicing support for the organization’s efforts, APUSA is supporting Michael Boggus over Gurtler and other candidates in the 9th Congressional District Republican primary. APUSA appears to have fallen out with Gurtler, with Christy Howle selling an APUSA t-shirt which portrays Gurtler as “nutless & gutless”.
As we discussed earlier, Eugene Yu (for Congress, GA07) pulled out of an APUSA meeting in February.
Hubert Owens, Jr. was one of the earliest candidates endorsed by APUSA, having been promoted by the organization alongside Boggus, McGregor and Garcia on April 3. Owens is a Republican running for State House District 93. He previously ran in a 2018 GOP primary for a Congressional spot in Maryland. Owens now claims not to have been aware of the APUSA endorsement and his Facebook post thanking APUSA for its support has vanished. Christy Howle continues to sell tank tops and posters of the APUSA “We the People Dream Team” featuring an image of Owens along with the other five candidates that APUSA had endorsed by the end of April.
Incumbent 9th District Congressman Doug Collins had already disassociated himself from Chester Doles shortly before the formation of APUSA, by issuing a statement disavowing white nationalism and saying that he would not attend Doles’ September 2019 rally in Dahlonega, after having his name listed as “invited” on the initial flyer. The White Information Network blog complained that GOP Congressman Collins had “come out against pro-white activists.”
4. APUSA Members
With five out of the seven candidates promoted by APUSA being people of color – four of them Black – it is easy to be distracted from the white nationalist nature of the project. APUSA is still controlled by Chester Doles and his close associates. Doles’ VKontakte (VK) social media account remains part of online groups for “Mein Kampf” and the National Alliance, among others. Scrolling down more than a few days on his VK account predictably leads to white nationalist content. See Section 4.3 for more counterevidence to Doles’ claim of rejecting “hate”.
4.1 The Minions: Sean Keena, Robert Timothy Dickenson, Josh Mote, Christy Howle
Apart from Joshua Mote, who is the “clean” public face of APUSA, the two most frequent attendees at APUSA meetings are Sean Keena, a Nazi sympathizer and longtime friend of Doles, as well as Robert Timothy Dickenson, a Klan supporter who Chester Doles identified as APUSA’s Chaplain. The organization’s webmaster, Christy Howle, is close with racist Paul Lovett, who operates the racist “Nationalist Liberty Union” in the Augusta metro area.
With the January commotion over Cody Cantrell’s attempted run for White County Sheriff, Cantrell and other members of his SCK Klan group may have indeed left APUSA. However, APUSA’s official explanation – after dropping their initial lie about antifascist hackers – makes no sense. If APUSA removed bigots, figures such as the Holocaust-mocking Sean Keena would also have to go.
Following APUSA’s first meeting in December, members celebrated at Johnny B’s in Dahlonega. A group photo showed eight people, including Cantrell and three more SCK-KKK members, one of them giving a Klan salute. The four remaining figures were Doles, Keena and Dickson – ideological racists and key APUSA members – as well as one other person, Michael Carothers AKA Michael Weaver.
4.2 The Shadow Member: Michael Carothers/Weaver
Michael David Carothers (born 1980), who goes by the name Michael Weaver, has been an active white supremacist for over two decades. According to an article on Andrew Anglin’s old Total Fascism website, “Upon turning 18, he [Carothers] joined the National Alliance, of which he was a member for ten years.” As well as the National Alliance, Carothers was active in the white supremacist “World Church of the Creator” (WCOTC) for several years. For example, a WCOTC newsletter from the year 2000 listed Carothers as a contact.
Even if the years in the Total Fascism article are slightly off, Carothers was clearly part of the National Alliance while Chester Doles led the Georgia unit in the early 2000s. According to Total Fascism, Weaver “once met [National Alliance leader] William Pierce at a  NA meeting in Dahlonega, Georgia” – an event organized by Doles. Weaver continued with the National Alliance for years after Doles went to prison on federal firearms charges, even being named “Activist of the Year” by the organization in 2008. In December 2010, Carothers attacked a Black man in his hometown of Columbus, Georgia with pepper spray, eventually taking a plea deal. Carothers received a sentence of one year in prison plus nine more years of banishment from the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit.
Currently, Carothers maintains the White Information Network blog which he launched in 2010. Weaver often plays the role of publicist and behind-the-scenes organizer in the Georgia white nationalist milieu, as he did for the failed “Rock Stone Mountain II” mobilization and for Chester Doles’ September rally in Dahlonega. Carothers’ racist ideology has changed little as decades passed. His White Information Network blog lists white supremacist murderer James Alex Fields, Jr as a “political prisoner” deserving support. Carothers republishes neo-Nazi propaganda from the National Alliance on a regular basis.
Carothers did not merely attend the initial meeting for APUSA in December. He assists online promotion and communications for the group. Carothers/Weaver and Chester Doles were the only two profiles linked to the American Brotherhood of Patriots militia on VK. (Weaver lost his VK account in February.) A few days after Michael Boggus was introduced as a candidate to the March APUSA meeting, Carothers posted a photo of a Michael Boggus campaign sign in Cartersville to his White Information Network. In April, Weaver also posted a screen-capture of Hubert Owens, Jr. thanking APUSA for its endorsement on his White Information Network blog, with the title “Support American Patriots USA”. Carothers wrote that APUSA candidates are “standing up to antifa” on VNN Forum and Stormfront, both white power sites.
A look at the “Michael Weaver” profile on Facebook shows just how closely he has been following APUSA’s candidates. Of the seven candidates endorsed by APUSA, Carothers follows pages for all except Derrick Grayson, who APUSA just officially endorsed. On a Facebook livestream by Michael Boggus the day of APUSA’s May meeting, Michael’s father David Carothers (“Horst Hessler”) commented: “Greetings on behalf of my son, Mike Weaver”. David Carothers is also a neo-Nazi and used to help his son distribute propaganda for the National Alliance.
4.3 The Leader: Chester Doles
Chester Doles’ claim that he recently had a divinely inspired “profound change of heart, soul and mind” leading him to reject racism is false. Doles made this claim in a speech to the February 22nd meeting of his American Patriots USA. In the two months directly following the February meeting, Doles’ social media profile on VKontakte featured:
- A link to Michael Carothers’ “White Information Network” blog.
- An anti-immigrant propaganda image from the white nationalist “Western Loyalist” site.
- Two different reposts from the VK profile of Paul Fromm, a longtime Canadian white supremacist.
- A photo of a New Jersey European Heritage Association (NJEHA) poster placed on a street sign. NJEHA is a small antisemitic, white power organization
- A statement from the Southern secessionist/white supremacist League of the South (LoS) on the “Disease of Globalism”. The text, written by LoS head Michael Hill, targets an “alien elite (largely Jews)” for allegedly taking over the United States and states that only “White men and women” should “run […] our civilization.” Doles shared this link from the VK page of Michael Tubbs, LoS Chief of Staff and leader for its Florida chapter. Tubbs was a ringleader for violence at 2017’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tubbs had earlier served prison time for his part in the “Knights of the New Order”, which heisted weapons from the US military as part of a plot to spark a race war.
- Two reposts from VK user Roberto Figueras, whose profile picture is a portrait of Adolf Hitler. The first was an “Anti-Antifa” image which incorporates the Totenkopf/Death’s Head symbol used by a division of the Nazi SS. Eight days later, Doles shared a video clip from Figueras captioned as: “Russian nationalists dissolve an anti-racist concert”. The video actually showed a hooligan attack involving clubs and rubber bullet “traumatic pistols” against an open-air rock festival in Miass, Russia in 2010, for which there have been differing explanations. By sharing Figueras’ post, Doles implies that he supports attacks on anti-racist events.
A similar picture emerges from looking at who interacts with Doles on social media. We have already noted that Doles reposts longstanding white supremacists such as Paul Fromm and Michael Tubbs. During the same two-month period since Doles’ speech claiming that God “turned me upside down and shook me out”, the five most frequent commenters to his VK page were all blatant white supremacists:
- Mark Calvin of Texas (23 comments), whose VK profile features speeches by Hitler and Goebbels as well as a rant about “beady eyed rat Jews”.
- Nick Folkes of Sydney, Australia (7 comments), who formerly led the far-Right “Party for Freedom” in Australia and this year announced, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, UNCLE ADOLF!” on Hitler’s birthday.
- Garry Solomon of Oklahoma (6 comments), a member of the white supremacist League of the South.
- “Vacuum Decay” of Virginia (6 comments), who refers to people of color as “muddies” and jokes about “return[ing] jews to the ground” with poison gas.
- Tom Shaw of Virginia (6 comments), an obsessive Hitler fan, Holocaust-denier and racist. In one comment, Shaw stated that he had formally applied for American Patriots USA membership.
During the same two months after allegedly abandoning “hate”, Doles repeatedly signaled his agreement with these white supremacists. On March 25, Doles liked a post by Nick Folkes to his wall stating: “The answer is simple ‘NO MORE NON WHITE IMMIGRATION’” – an unambiguous white nationalist position. On the same day, Mark Calvin wrote that he appreciated Chester Doles “raising awareness of k[*]ke scheming”, which also got a like from Doles. Finally, on April 5, “Vacuum Decay” posted an image to Doles’ page with the slogan “Exterminate the foreign virus – hydrogen cyanide” and featuring a figure with a gas mask and a swastika-and-eagle emblazoned helmet. The propaganda image is a reference to genocide. The poison hydrogen cyanide – also known by the brand name Zyklon B – was used in Nazi extermination camps for mass murder. As someone who spent a long time in white supremacist and neo-Nazi circles, Doles understood the reference. He liked the post.
The above shows Doles’ story of divine transformation to be a lie. The tale was highly suspect to begin. Doles has a history not as a Christian or any kind of monotheist, but rather as a racist heathen. Although there are non-racist varieties of Germanic neopaganism, Doles does not subscribe to them – in 2005, Doles wrote from prison that for him “Asatru [the name of his faith] and National Socialism go together, like hand and glove”. Doles does not share Christian iconography on his social media, but rather heathen imagery. Although American Patriots USA has Christian members and a Klan-supporting Chaplain, there is little evidence that Doles has changed from his racist heathen faith, beyond speeches at two APUSA meets that appear to have been motivated by political convenience.
5. Strategy Notes: What’s Going On?
With figures such as Doles, Keena, Dickenson, and Carothers, white nationalism remains at the heart of APUSA. So, why would white nationalists promote a multiracial team of “constitutionalist” Republicans?
Chester Doles outlined his intentions for American Patriots USA early on. Appearing on The Right Voice white nationalist podcast in October, Doles cited deceased National Alliance leader William Pierce to explain his plans. Pierce stressed the importance of having allies “inside the gates”, or within centers of social, political, and economic power, rather than building a racist movement primarily from the margins. Doles believes that building broader coalitions can open doors, eventually leading to influence and opportunity.
On the same broadcast, Doles argued that the Trump presidency has done much to normalize white “tribal thinking” – a less direct way of saying racism – and that Trump therefore deserves support. Doles discussed Black pro-Trump organizer Lucretia Hughes’ appearance at his September rally, which Doles believed to be the perfect “Trojan Horse” for his agenda. Doles is happy to make vague statements against “hate” and to build visible alliances with rightwing people of color, provided that this ultimately helps his white “tribal” position.
APUSA is a response to the current political position of white nationalists. In the years following Unite the Right in Charlottesville, VA 2017 – attended by both Doles and Michael Carothers – it has been increasingly difficult for white nationalists to hold events. Even before Unite the Right, in Georgia the “Rock Stone Mountain” rally of April 2016 was forcefully challenged by large protests, and a “Rock Stone Mountain II” announced for early 2019 collapsed before the event took place. Some white nationalists now look to mobilizations by groups such as Patriot Prayer in the Pacific Northwest as a possible way forward. Patriot Prayer is a multiracial far-Right group whose most prominent leaders are men of color, but Patriot Prayer provides ample space for white nationalists to organize under its umbrella.
Similarly, portions of the militia movement – actively courted by Doles – are multiracial even as this movement engages in anti-immigrant and Islamophobic agitation. The militia movement frequently intersects with white nationalism.
What makes APUSA different from these above examples is that APUSA is structured around a core of Doles and his longtime associates – clear white nationalists who have practical control. They believe that a front-facing multiracial alliance will allow them to build capacity, push for their goals, and gradually move people toward their position. The point is not merely to deceive, however. APUSA wishes to lead broader campaigns and will presumably involve whoever wants to help. Yet the agenda and strategic vision is still set by Doles’ white nationalist coterie.
The demographics of Lumpkin County, where Doles and APUSA are based, also help to understand APUSA’s strategy. Lumpkin County is 94.8% white, 5% Hispanic or Latino, 1.8% Black and less than 1% each Asian and American Indian. (The numbers add to over 100% since Hispanic people may be of any race.) Georgia’s 9th Congressional District, which includes Lumpkin County, is overall 87.1% White in a significantly more diverse state. Immigration is a key driver of demographic change in this area, and so white nationalists can make significant strides in their agenda locally just by scapegoating and targeting immigrants. Further, since the area remains very white, a “constitutionalist” insistence on local powers over the federal government and also over a more diverse, politically changing state, is a useful proxy for explicit white nationalism.
The role of antisemitism within Doles’ organization should be emphasized. Participants such as Doles, Carothers, and Keena view a vast Jewish conspiracy as their primary enemy. Doles wrote earlier this year that terms such as “globalist” can be used to make antisemitic narratives more palatable, while at least initially avoiding “the evil J word”. Conspiracy theories flourish within APUSA and on its social media. Those who have been led to believe in shadowy “globalist” conspiracies can then be directed to sites such as White Information Network, which makes the racist and antisemitic worldview explicit.
We have shown how APUSA has tried to use Republican candidates to launder its reputation and create new opportunities, while remaining a white nationalist organization in leadership and intent.
It is hard to assess how long APUSA’s present alliances will last. A figure such as Michael Boggus – a far-Right militiaman who was already open to working with white nationalists – seems to have gained by linking up with APUSA. APUSA has thanked him by turning their long-desired bike run into a Boggus fundraiser, and by treating Boggus’ campaign as their main organizing issue while 2nd Amendment Sanctuary County efforts are stalled. For other candidates, there may be limits to how much APUSA can help, beyond assistance with name recognition and potentially speaking at a few meetings.
Although APUSA hosted an elected official at its March meeting, most of those on the APUSA candidate team exist on the political fringes, far from any official power. For Doles and company, getting “inside the gates” is more still aspiration than reality. It is unlikely that APUSA will push any political candidate to victory, including its efforts for outsider Boggus.
The greater concern is that by being accepted within the GOP grassroots, APUSA’s white nationalist leaders may feel normalized, find opportunities for growth, and eventually become emboldened. This in turn could create a hostile and potentially dangerous climate for others in the region. Campaign events also present a useful opportunity for APUSA to recruit and further radicalize the Republican voter base. Thankfully, north Georgia has a history of anti-racist community protest and networks defending human dignity. We hope this documentation proves useful.
If you have further information on APUSA or other white nationalist organizing in Georgia, please get in touch.