For years, Zachary Johnson of Alpharetta has quietly but constantly worked for the white nationalist cause. Zac Johnson is mostly active in writing, social media, and especially graphic design for the racist movement. He also travels to white nationalist conferences and organizes with “Alt-Right” circles regionally. Using an online alias, Johnson is clear that he admires Adolf Hitler, who he refers to as “uncle.” When promoting his custom bird house business or trying to rent his vacation cabin in the North Georgia mountains, Johnson is less upfront about his beliefs. We believe that key players in the white power scene deserve public scrutiny. Zachary Van Johnson is one such figure.
Casey Jordan Cooper, a student at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, is the white power organizer behind the “Alt-Right” Twitter account @BigButternutJoe. Over the last year, Cooper participated in white nationalist events in the metro Atlanta area and posted racist propaganda on local campuses. Until recently, Casey Cooper’s Twitter account issued a stream of racist and homophobic slurs, some of them about his fellow students at John Marshall. He was recorded as part of a white nationalist group jeering a Stone Mountain Park visitor with sexist and antisemitic remarks. Cooper is responsible for a death threat against a prominent Black activist in Atlanta.
The Atlanta-area Twitter user @BigButternutJoe wrote on July 12 that “Whites […] are arming ourselves to the teeth” and that the Black Lives Matter movement will lead to a “massive wave of anti-black action in it’s [sic] wake.” This Twitter user earlier sent a private message to a local Black activist, which simply contained a picture of a noose. (The activist was also tagged in the “arming […] to the teeth” post by BigButternutJoe.)
When this Black activist publicly drew attention to the Twitter death threat, BigButternutJoe retweeted the post speaking out about the threat. BigButternutJoe followed with another statement, suggesting that the activist was exaggerating the death threat problem to “rent seek” (i.e. profit). BigButternutJoe clarified: “This is why you hang.”
The person responsible for this online death threat has had a busy year, participating in Atlanta-area Alt-Right organizing, placing white power propaganda, and harassing enemies. For much of the same time, “BigButternutJoe” AKA Atlanta resident Casey Jordan Cooper has also been working towards a law degree at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, where he began as a 1L in August 2016. Atlanta’s John Marshall, a private law school in midtown Atlanta, states that almost 70% of its student body are of a “minority” population; more women than men also attend. Unsurprisingly, Cooper/”BigButternutJoe” doesn’t have pleasant things to say about fellow AJMLS students.
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.
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.
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.
On January 28th, 2017, white power activists intend to host an “Atlanta Forum” conference to bring together regional members of the Alt-Right and other white nationalists. In an attempt to head them off and disrupt their ability to organize in our city, anti-racists request that venues and event spaces in and around Atlanta be vigilant about bookings for this date.
The “Atlanta Forum” event was first mentioned on a Southern white nationalist podcast called The Rebel Yell, which is affiliated with The Right Stuff website. “Atlanta Forum” planning seems to have begun in early September of 2016. The organizers claim they have secured a number of speakers. However, they have not listed the event speakers or the venue where the conference will take place. The event website does provide the following:
Date of conference (January 28, 2017)
Time of event (9:00AM – 4:00PM)
Cost of admission ($20 or $14.88 for students)
An email address for “TRS Confederates” (who host “The Rebel Yell” podcast)
We ask that anyone who can obtain additional information about the Atlanta Forum, or who has knowledge of suspicious bookings in or near Atlanta on Jan. 28th, contact Atlanta Antifascists:
email: afainatl [at] riseup [dot] net
phone: (470) 344 – 4868 (voicemail only)
Further Details / Context
The name “The Atlanta Forum” references The London Forum in the U.K., an event series where neo-fascists and members of the “New Right” gather for speeches and networking. This model of pseudo-intellectual speeches coupled with networking has been copied by “The New York Forum” in New York City, a series that is promoted by the racist Counter-Currents Publishing website. A white nationalist “Northwest Forum” had is inaugural meeting in Washington State last year.
The student admission price ($14.88) for the Atlanta Forum uses white supremacist code. The number 14 stands for the “14 words” – “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” – a racist slogan coined by terrorist David Lane. The number 88 is alphanumeric code for “H.H.” or “Heil Hitler.”