Analysis: Leaked Information Details Atlanta’s “Alt-Right” White Nationalist Scene

Introduction

Recently, screen-captured messages from Atlanta-area white nationalist leader Casey Cooper were published on Its Going Down, an anarchist and anti-racist website. This leak of white nationalist communications also included an email invitation list for the Atlanta Forum, a white power gathering in our region earlier this year. Taken together, the leaked materials show Casey Cooper’s transition from an “Alt-Right” sympathizer in the beginning of 2016 to a prospective state leader for the white power movement by the end of that year. The information from Casey Cooper’s accounts reveal how “Alt-Right” racists organize regionally, especially how the white nationalist organization Identity Evropa operates. The screen-captures establish that Cooper was a member of Identity Evropa, and engaged in activity on their behalf.

The newly-public online conversations also provide detail on how “Alt-Right” racists coordinated to hit multiple Georgia campuses with white power propaganda in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s electoral victory. In our analysis of the leaked white nationalist communications, we first discuss what the leak reveals about specific white nationalist figures; we then discuss the mid-November 2016 white power propaganda run coordinated by Casey Cooper; and we conclude with some notes about what this new information reveals about “Alt-Right” organizing more generally.

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Atlanta-area white nationalist leaders Casey Cooper (standing on left) and Patrick Sharp (right), November 2016

Continue reading “Analysis: Leaked Information Details Atlanta’s “Alt-Right” White Nationalist Scene”

Richard Spencer Gets a Not-so-Warm Welcome at Auburn University, Alabama, April 18, 2017

Introduction

On Tuesday, April 18, white nationalist leader Richard Spencer (of the National Policy Institute and Altright) gave a speech at Auburn University in Alabama, which is less than two hours away from Atlanta. Anti-racists mobilized against this event and, shortly after the end of Richard Spencer’s talk, students angrily escorted Spencer’s white power followers off campus and chased some of them through the streets of Auburn.

In the run-up to the Tuesday event, Spencer’s forces blatantly organized for violence on campus, using scarcely veiled language of assembling “safety” squads, and urging racists and far-Right anti-communists to travel from far and wide to invade the campus. On the actual day, the far-Right ended up having a hard time, with their attempts at aggression met with compelling responses from students and other anti-racists. While white nationalists predictably declared a victory, this verdict was informed by delusional claims about the day. For example, racist claimed that their members were not really chased off campus so much as followed, and that their forces “drastically outnumbered” anti-racists. Such messaging from white nationalists, combined their focus on waging war on anti-fascists in the aftermath of Tuesday, suggests that they are in fact unhappy about how the day went.

the chase for story

Spencer’s Visit Approaches

Richard Spencer used a Youtube video to announce that he would be speaking at Auburn just under a week before he was scheduled to appear on campus. Before Spencer’s announcement, an Alt-Right “White Student Union” for Auburn had launched a website and begun circulating antisemitic flyers on campus, attempting to cultivate a climate of intimidation on campus. Anti-racists including our organization began circulating news of Spencer’s visit to Auburn soon following his announcement – since events at Auburn were part of regional coordination by Alt-Right white nationalists, we believed that anti-racists should likewise treat this event as a regional concern since a victory at Auburn would affect all of us as people living in the South. While the state-friendly anti-extremists of the Southern Poverty Law Center urged students to avoid and not confront the racist mobilization, several Auburn students shared our view that fascist organizing prospers when left unopposed. A Twitter account was established by Auburn students opposed to racist organizing, and a call for loud, vocal opposition to Spencer’s visit was released. Atlanta Antifascists solicited endorsements from other anti-racist and leftist organizations for the call to action. At this point, the situation began shifting rapidly.

The first change came on Friday when Auburn University canceled Spencer’s booking, citing concerns over student safety. While we were happy that white power organizing had hit a roadblock, it was also clear that actions of the sort taken by the University, could just as easily be used against leftists and anti-racists in the future. For this reason, appeals to cops, courts, or other authorities have never been at the center of our work as anti-racists.

Richard Spencer issued a furious response to the University, claiming that Auburn would “rue the day” they made this decision, and stating that he would fly in key white nationalists for the Auburn event as well as organize squads equipped with “safety gear.” (Shortly before Spencer announced his Auburn visit, he had discussed the formation of a “white bloc” to take on anti-racist opponents.)

Denied a room on campus, Spencer stated that he would hold a rally of some sort anyway, the constant subtext of his statements being that organizing far-Right forces to go after enemies on campus would be a fine alternative to a speaking engagement. Amongst those Spencer flew in for his event was Mike Peinovich AKA “Mike Enoch,” operator of TheRightStuff website as well as “The Daily Shoah” podcast. In the days to come, other far-Right formations mobilized to descend on Auburn: Identity Evropa, Brad Griffin’s “Alt-South” network, Anti-Communist Action, the Traditionalist Worker Party, and the League of the South (who took on a security role.)

The other major escalation took place on the other side of the country, where on Saturday the 15th far-Right forces (including open white supremacists) clashed with anti-fascist protesters in Berkeley, California. This event, portrayed by the far-Right as a victory, emboldened more far-Right and white nationalist forces (including some of the groups listed earlier) to pledge to be at Auburn with the hope of routing their enemies in a brawl. Just as in Berkeley where organized far-Right forces used “free speech” as a pretext to organize violence and attempt to control territory, in the days as Spencer’s Auburn visit drew near, his coalition was increasingly brazen about wanting to control the turf with violence.

(A war of posters and counter-flyers also broke out on campus, with anti-racist flyers against Spencer’s visit being countered with fake “Antifa” flyers as well as White Student Union materials portraying militant anti-racists as troublemakers willing to attack random bystanders.)

While Spencer’s forces organized for a physical fight, Richard Spencer also pushed through legal channels for his event to go ahead. On Tuesday afternoon, mere hours before the event began, Spencer announced that he had obtained a court order compelling Auburn University to allow his speaking event to proceed as initially scheduled. Spencer’s case had been argued by Atlanta white nationalist attorney Sam Dickson – a fixture on the racist scene nationally — on behalf of Cameron Padgett, a student who had made the booking for Spencer’s visit using a Georgia State University (Atlanta) email address.

Foy booking exhibit from lawsuit
Foy Hall booking, exhibit in Sam Dickson’s lawsuit

Tuesday Afternoon and Evening

The court order changed the scene. Had Spencer held an outdoor rally in defiance of his cancelled booking, our expectation was that this mobilization would be combined with bands of white power/“Alt-Right” militants ready to street fight and to target those they saw as enemies (for example, people of color, Jewish students, or leftists.) Alabama “Alt-South” organizer Brad Griffin later wrote that Spencer’s court victory was in some sense also disappointing for him, because with the changed situation “I wouldn’t get a chance to fight and win a bit of glory for myself […] in […] an epic throw down.” Griffin’s claim clarifies what the far-Right forces mobilizing for Spencer had in mind shortly before the court made its ruling. With the court ruling, however, they’d have to queue to go inside a room, being scanned with a metal-detecting wand beforehand.

Students came out in large numbers in response to Spencer’s speaking event, with some protesting outside, some attending Spencer’s talk to press him, some by contrast taking a “no platform” approach, and others merely checking out the scene. Into this situation, leftists and anti-racists from several parts of the South also arrived. The fascists who from mid-afternoon onward were spotted in bands around campus, took position at the venue for Spencer’s speech, separated from protesters by police and barriers.

It was a solid week of organizing by anti-racists — students of various political persuasions as well as “outsiders” to Auburn like our organization — which enabled a powerful response to Spencer’s assembled forces. From our perspective, some things went far better than others. At Auburn, the black bloc – a tactic originating from radical Left and anarchist movements in Europe during the second half of the 20th Century – was generally a shit-show, although the fact that networks activated and anti-fascists traveled to attend was itself a positive. Auburn Police were extremely aggressive in targeting anti-racists who were wearing masks or bandanas (to guard against later harassment by the far-Right.) By contrast, white supremacists obscuring their faces were occasionally told to remove masks but overall, were not aggressively targeted. It is to be expected that the police, whose unions overwhelmingly endorsed Donald Trump’s right-wing populist presidential campaign and who generally protect a racist status quo, will typically side with organized racists over anti-racists.

Anti-racists — from Auburn and from elsewhere — maintained a lively presence outside Foy Hall during the time people entered for Spencer’s speech, as well as during the event itself. This anti-racist presence played some role in stopping people from drifting away before Spencer’s speech was over and racists filed out. Chants of “Fuck Richard Spencer!” were popular. However, there was also friction between some anti-racists who had travelled to Auburn, and other parts of the student body. For example, some “outsiders” were at first annoyed by Auburn pride chants, since they seemed to be an attempt to replace more pointed chants against the white supremacists gathering on campus. In retrospect, the situation was complicated than we initially understood; the Auburn spirit chants may have also communicated collective confidence in the face of adversary: “We’re proud to be Auburn, we’re going to stick together and see each other through this situation.”

The only arrests of the day occurred while Spencer’s speech was happening. Ryan Matthew King — who has subsequently been identified as a Montgomery, Alabama tattoo artist and “compatriot” of the racist/secessionist League of the South — was stationed outside and tried to attack an anti-racist in the crowd. King’s assault did not go as planned, with King promptly landing on the ground after misdelivering a blow, and receiving a stern physical rebuke from the crowd. King and two anti-racists were arrested as the police rushed in.

Ryan King story photo
League of the South “compatriot” Ryan Matthew King at Auburn University before starting fight

Tension grew in the crowd as it got later and darker outside, with the tide of opinion moving even further against Richard Spencer after he made the mistake of attacking college football and Black athletes. As white nationalists filed out, they received an angry escort from campus by the assembled crowd. Matthew Heimbach’s troopers of the Traditionalist Worker Party and other white supremacists attempted a poorly-conceived charge on students and other protesters, but soon realized their mistake. Some of the departing white nationalists were chased by students and protesters. A few racists ended up worse for wear.

Conclusion

Ultimately, Spencer’s event at Auburn showed that wherever ideological racists try to organize on campus, they should expect determined opposition, even at campuses such as Auburn with a reputation as conservative. The events at Auburn demonstrate how closely Far-Right organizing for violence accompanies the “free speech” activity of white power leaders like Spencer. On the 18th, white power activists were restrained in their violence compared to what they had threatened in days beforehand. Combined students and Southern anti-racists gave every racist-instigated act of violence an unmistakable response. Further, despite some concerns from Auburn students about militant anti-racists arriving on campus from elsewhere, Auburn students themselves chased and confronted “Alt-Right” racists at the end of the evening.

Since white nationalists can be slow learners, we expect that the “White Student Union” at Auburn may drag on for some time. For information on opposition to this White Student Union and other racist activity in and around Auburn, check out twitter.com/no_nazi_auburn

Photo galleries of Alt-Right, racist and far-Right activists at Auburn University on April 18 are available here, here, and here.

Alert: Far-Right Militant at Georgia State University Seeks Information on Leftists and Anti-Racists

A Georgia State University (GSU) student who has been requesting information about leftist and anti-racist organizing may not be who he appears. In many conversations, especially as he hangs around the Library Courtyard, GSU student Spencer Madison provides the name “Lukas.” When talking with people who he thinks may be left-leaning, “Lukas” has attempted to steer the conversation towards leftist organizing projects and especially anti-fascist work. According to one source, “Lukas” was “probing for information” particularly intensely during late February of this year [1]. We suspect that “Lukas” is not motivated by genuine curiosity, but is trying to gather intelligence for use against political opponents.

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Spencer Madison wearing hoodie with German eagle insignia, February 2017

On his Facebook page, Spencer Madison is upfront about his far-Right, anti-immigrant and Islamophobic beliefs. There have been no public posts on the page since mid-2016, but it is unlikely Madison’s political commitments have shifted radically since that time. Madison’s Facebook “likes” include three for the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands / National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), which is generally considered a neo-Nazi political party. Spencer Madison also follows “This is Europa,” a white nationalist project. He “likes” a couple of pages for Alternative für Deutschland / Alternative for Germany (AfD), a Right-wing political party which stresses hostility towards immigrants and Muslims. Madison also circulated AfD materials on his page. According to Facebook, Madison appreciates Identitäre Bewegung – Deutschland, the German branch of the “Identitarian” movement, a far-Right movement which couches its racism in language of “difference.” Finally, Madison “likes” the Right-wing “Anti-communist” page and reposted anti-socialist materials on multiple occasions. (Madison’s “likes” for the state-friendly anti-extremist Southern Poverty Law Center and deceased Cuban leader Fidel Castro are incongruous with the overall politics promoted on his Facebook page.)

In the aftermath of a July 2016 terror attack in Germany, Madison commented: “Just wondering how long it will take to domesticate these people [presumably Muslims and/or immigrants] into German civilization.” Not exactly subtle stuff.

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Madison in GSU Library Courtyard, November 2016

Such words and endorsements would be enough to make us question the motives behind “Lukas’” newfound interest in anti-racist and leftist organizing. But there’s more.

While white nationalist organizer Patrick Sharp was completing his final semester at GSU (Fall 2016), Sharp met regularly with Spencer Madison in the Library Courtyard. (Sharp is best known for trying to form a “White Student Union” at GSU in 2013; Sharp’s more recent racist organizing has been extensively documented on this site.) In one conversation with Sharp, Madison claimed that European culture is especially advanced, and that this justifies conquest of Native American peoples. [2]

madison sharp oct 2016
Spencer Madison (left, back turned) and white nationalist leader Patrick Sharp meeting for a discussion in the Library Courtyard, October 2016, during Sharp’s last semester at GSU

And there’s even more. White nationalist propaganda has appeared several times at Georgia State University (and other campuses) in 2017 despite Patrick Sharp’s graduation.

Here’s an account from someone who was approached by “Lukas”/Spencer Madison this February:

On the night of Monday, February 6th, I was out with some friends by GSU’s campus in Downtown Atlanta off Hurt Park. We were putting up some flyers for a club night we were promoting when a young man […] with blond hair approached us. He asked us “Hey, are you all from I.E.?” Not knowing what that group was, I responded “Sorry, don’t know what that is” and then he said, “Oh, never mind.” Five seconds later it dawned on me that he may have meant “Identity Evropa,” a fascist organization whose stickers have been springing up on campuses around the country over the past few years. [3]

We confirmed with the author of this statement that the person they talked with was Spencer Madison/“Lukas.” (Madison’s hair had a blond tint at the time – see February 2017 photo above.) The exchange does not prove that Madison has placed white nationalist materials at GSU. However, it seems likely that Madison was referring to Identity Evropa. On the same week as the brief conversation occurred, materials from Identity Evropa appeared at Georgia Tech campus plus GSU.

In a further development, on Wednesday March 8, “Lukas” showed up to GSU campus on crutches. When speaking with some students, he stated that he had been viciously attacked by knife-wielding antifascists. To others, he told the much more plausible story that he was simply attacked for his property [4]. We believe that “Lukas’” reason for spreading the first unlikely story was to harm the reputation of anti-racists.

Since Spencer Madison has been linked to far-Right organizations and bigoted politics, we do not think that “Lukas” should be provided any information about leftist or anti-racist organizing. Rather, students should know about Spencer Madison’s identity, actual commitments, and the far-Right agenda he serves on campus. We live in a time of heightened racist and far-Right militancy; students should organize to keep each other safe, especially because campus authorities have proven unreliable at best.

While students organize to resist the far-Right locally, Atlanta Antifascists will help with research, analysis, and other practical measures. If you have information on racist or fascist organizing on Atlanta campuses, please get in contact.

NOTES

[1] Report from GSU student, records of Atlanta Antifascists.

[2] Report from GSU student — early November 2016 conversation. (Different source than Note 1.)

[3] Eyewitness report with minor stylistic/copy edits. Original statement erroneously describes person as “in his early 20s” (phrase cut above). Spencer Madison is in fact slightly younger, although this matches his appearance.

[4] Documentation from multiple GSU students.

 

ALERT: Racist Heathen Gathering in Union Point, Georgia this Weekend — Ask Camp Swamp to Cancel Booking

pagans against fash

Note 3/28/2017: While Camp Swamp provided a venue for the racist Asatru Folk Assembly this year, they state they will not rent to the AFA in the future. Camp contact details removed from post.

Note 3/17/2017: Camp Swamp has clarified that they are concerned about litigation if they cancel, and that they do not share the values of the AFA. Our statement makes a political and ethical case for cancelling. However we note that racist organizers seem to be breaking agreements with the Camp, by tolerating weapons if kept hidden.

This weekend, the Asatru Folk Assembly — a racist neo-pagan/heathen organization — plans to hold its annual “Ostara in the South” gathering at Camp Swamp at Union Point in Georgia. The racist heathen gathering is set to begin on Friday March 17 and continue through Sunday March 19. Anti-racists ask that you contact the venue and demand that they cancel their booking for the bigoted Asatru Folk Assembly.

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Event Facebook page

The Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA) was founded by Steven McNallen in 1994 (although its history traces to earlier efforts by McNallen from the ‘70s onward). The organization subscribes to a racist variant of Heathenry/Germanic Neopaganism that is exclusively for white people. Current AFA leadership have explicitly stated that people of color and sexual minorities need not apply. Over 170 Heathen organizations have signed a declaration rejecting the AFA’s clear racist and anti-LGBTQ bigotry.

The AFA is clearly intertwined with the organized white nationalist movement. A new video from AFA’s founder McNallen titled “What Stephen McNallen Really Thinks About Race” cries that whites are facing “extinction” and calls on others to say “I will fight for my race.” McNallen claims that the “system” is rigged against white people and he cites the Fourteen Words, a white power motto coined by terrorist David Lane. McNallen’s statement has been widely circulated in white nationalist circles. The Asatru Folk Assembly has not disavowed McNallen’s statement, because it also reflects their organization’s worldview. Before this, Asatru Folk Assembly members were found at the conference of the racist National Policy Institute, demonstrating the AFA’s overlap with political (rather than “spiritual”) white power organizing.

Identity Evropa AltRight Stephen McNallen
Recent statement by Stephen McNallen circulated by white nationalist projects Identity Evropa and Altright.com

The special guest for last year’s “Ostara in the South” gathering was Henrik Palmgren, who heads a far-Right media company named Red Ice Radio. Palmgren’s speech was on “Wotan, Jung, and Our Duty in this Age of Ultimate Degeneracy.” Palmgren is now a leader in the new Altright project, which unites key institutions of “Alt-Right” white nationalism.

At the time of writing, Camp Swamp in Union Point is allowing their venue to be used for the white power gathering. Camp Swamp is a private entity and does not face the same ‘free speech’ issues as a government body. Camp Swamp can cancel the event at its discretion, but so far it prefers to let the racist event go ahead. By helping the AFA organize, Camp Swamp is bringing committed racists into the community and tarnishing its own reputation.

We are also concerned that AFA event organizers are stating that they will turn a blind eye to violations of the Camp’s weapons policy, if the firearms carried by their attendees are not flaunted.

ostara in the south 2017 weapons discussion
Discussion of firearms at event

We believe Camp Swamp should the right thing and abide by their own mission statement — which stresses safety, respect and diversity as core values. They should  follow the example of the Minnesota venue that canceled its booking to the AFA last year due to concerns about organized bigotry.

[Contact information for Camp Swamp removed.]

Spread the word in your community! We also encourage you to learn more about opposition to racism in the Heathen community by visiting Heathens United Against Racism.

The Problem that Didn’t Go Away: White Nationalist Activity on Georgia State University Campus, November 2015 to December 2016

Introduction

On Sunday, February 19th of this year, anti-racists removed nine white power stickers which had recently been placed around Georgia State University (GSU) campus in Atlanta. With one exception — propaganda for the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party being spotted for the first time — it was a typical evening, since removing racist propaganda from GSU as well as Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University campuses had become almost routine by this stage. Indeed, anti-racists had become so efficient at removing white supremacist materials that many GSU students only noticed anti-racist messages around campus, without realizing that some of these had been placed in direct response to far-Right and racist “white pride” materials.

feb 19 2017
White power sticker removed from GSU campus, February 19, 2017

This article provides context about recent organized bigotry on GSU campus, by discussing its precursors: white nationalist efforts at Georgia State University from late 2015 until the end of last year. Our focus is racist agitation by Patrick Nelson Sharp, who made headlines when he tried to form a White Student Union at GSU when he began there in 2013. Sharp graduated GSU with a bachelor’s degree at the end of 2016. White nationalist activism at GSU during this time was not limited to Patrick Sharp’s efforts, but Sharp was at the center of plenty of it, enough that by telling his individual story we can also tell the larger story of racist campus activism.

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Patrick Nelson Sharp

We believe it is important to write about Sharp’s activities, even months after Sharp has left Georgia State campus. Although Sharp himself has left, his playbook is in use by racist organizers still a part of the student body. Just as Patrick Sharp’s 2013 White Student Union at GSU (later the “Atlanta Area White Student Union”) first tried to mimic Matthew Heimbach’s White Student Union at Towson University in Maryland, current far-Right racist organizers at Georgia State University may be improvising around themes played earlier by Sharp.

We are skipping Sharp’s 2013 “White Student Union” effort, since this was covered extensively by media outlets and bloggers. We take up the story a couple of years later, when many assumed that Sharp had settled into typical student life, or gone quiet. Continue reading “The Problem that Didn’t Go Away: White Nationalist Activity on Georgia State University Campus, November 2015 to December 2016”

Fascist Twitter Personality is Onetime Organizer of Georgia State University “White Student Union”

Introduction

In November 2016, white nationalists gathered in Washington, DC for their movement’s first major US conference following Trump’s election victory. The National Policy Institute (NPI) event attracted “almost 275” participants according to The Washington Post, and would make further headlines once footage surfaced of conference participants giving Nazi salutes after a “Hail Trump” speech. One defender of NPI leader Richard Spencer–whose racist and anti-Semitic speech provoked the salutes–was Twitter personality “Fascist Fitness”/@FashyFit, who wrote with the authority of someone who was there.

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Nazi Salutes at the NPI Conference, November 2016
FashyFit NPI salute
FashyFit comment on Monday after 2016 NPI Conference

This article exposes Twitter user FashyFit as Patrick Nelson Sharp, one of the attendees of the November 2016 “Become Who We Are” NPI conference in Washington, DC. Patrick Sharp is best known for his attempt, in mid-2013, to form a White Student Union at Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta, where Sharp was starting his bachelor’s degree. We also drew attention to Sharp in our article about the white power propaganda campaign during Fall Semester 2015 at GSU. (Our article noted that Sharp traveled to DC for the NPI conference that year also.)

patrick sharp
Patrick Sharp

Continue reading “Fascist Twitter Personality is Onetime Organizer of Georgia State University “White Student Union””