A person named on a permit application for an October 1st Ku Klux Klan gathering in Rockmart, Georgia now states that she never consented for her name to be used on the Klan paperwork, and that she neither “support[s] nor endorse[s]” the event.
In recent days Rockmart authorities have received several complaints about the upcoming all-day Klan event scheduled for Seaborn Jones Park. Anti-racists who revealed the Klan event have criticized Rockmart government for failing to warn the public about the event, and for permitting an explicitly “White Christian” event “for god race nation.” Anti-racists are concerned the KKK event will in effect re-segregate the public space by giving control to the Klan for the day. The Klan event is also likely to attract neo-Nazis travelling to a major white power festival in Draketown (25 minutes away) on the same day.
Heath Bearden displays his tattoo of a skull featuring a Klan blood drop cross. Bearden is named on the Klan paperwork for October 1st in Rockmart, but organizers may have involved another party in the event application without her consent.
On Monday night of this week, the full permit application for the October 1st Klan event in Rockmart was published on Twitter. Anti-racists were easily able to link four of the five “responsible parties” on the event application to neo-Nazi activity or the Klan. The fifth named individual has issued a statement through her business partner, asserting that when she was approached about the event, she “told him [Klan sympathizer Heath Bearden] emphatically, NO” she would not be involved with the International Keystone Knights of the KKK gathering. According to the new statement, her name was nevertheless added to event paperwork so the Klan event could have “five principal parties” and be permitted to go ahead.
The statement, issued by the business of the fifth person named on the Rockmart permit, may be read in full here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/are-amanda-rhondas-events/for-immediate-release-press-release/1589472178015056
We believe that these claims should be addressed. The City of Rockmart should clarify whether it cut corners on verification to help the Klan event go forward. Anti-racists have been speaking out about the Klan event since they learned of the gathering, on grounds unrelated to official paperwork. However, if the KKK application event is fraudulent, the event permit should now be rescinded. False information on the event application would be another reason for the City to cancel the event.
In the meantime, anti-racists are requesting all concerned parties to continue contacting the City of Rockmart.
For more information and commentary, contact afainatl [at] riseup [dot] net or leave a voicemail at 470-344-4868
As highlighted by anti-racist research, the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are hosting an all-day “White Christian Community Event” at Seaborn Jones Park in Rockmart, western Georgia, on October 1st. The City of Rockmart has approved the Keystone Knights’ permit application to use the park’s pavilions from 10AM-6PM. Anti-racists believe that the Klan event is dangerous, not only because it provides an opportunity for Klan recruitment and future growth, but also because unaware users of the park and the nearby Silver Comet Trail could be exposed to hostility from the assembled white supremacists.
Please call or email the following parties to express your concern:
- City of Rockmart main office: 770-684-5454, rockmart-ga.gov
- Rockmart Mayor Stephen A. Miller, [email protected] (call main Rockmart number, request transfer)
- City Manager Jeff L. Ellis, [email protected] (call main Rockmart number, request transfer)
- Trailhead Offices, 678-883-9024, [email protected] (The Silver Comet Trail runs along Seaborn Jones Park where the Klan event will be held, warn them of threat to trail users.)
- Parks & Recreation, 678-757-1001. Jeff Hulsey, Coordinator: [email protected]
Be persistent and call/email every day until the event is canceled.
- The International Keystone Knights of the KKK gathering is being advertised as a “White Christian” gathering “for god race nation”.
- Klan organizers renting all the pavilions at Seaborn Jones Park will in effect turn a public park into segregated whites-only space.
- Authorities in Rockmart have behaved disgracefully by not warning the public of the blatantly white supremacist, Klan event which is approaching.
- Another neo-Nazi event–the large “Hammerfest” gathering hosted by the Hammerskin Nation–will occur in Draketown, GA on the same day. Draketown and Rockmart are just 25 minutes apart. It is likely that the Rockmart KKK event will attract neo-Nazi militants who are driving to Draketown later in the day. This further increases the danger of the Rockmart event.
A recently-obtained permit for the International Keystone Knights event lists five people as “responsible parties” for October 1st event in Rockmart. Four of these five individuals are clear Klan or neo-Nazi organizers. Our previous story on the Rockmart event discussed Gregory Todd Calhoun, who was once part of the (neo-Nazi) Aryan Nations and now leads the International Keystone Knights within Georgia. The name “Stephen Monk” on the permit is presumably an alternative spelling of Steven Monk, a neo-Confederate who has recently gone public about his affiliation with the Klan. Heath Bearden displays his Blood Drop Cross (KKK symbol) tattoo prominently on his Facebook profile. As well as being the main applicant on the Seaborn Jones Park permit, Christopher William Bailey has been pictured (alongside Greg Calhoun and Steven Monk) in a photo of a June 2016 National Socialist Movement “meet and greet” gathering in Georgia which was posted to the NSM website.
Update 9/19/2016: Permit for the KKK event in Rockmart is now available here.
On October 1st – the same day the white supremacist Hammerskin Nation will hold a major racist festival in Georgia – the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (IKKKKK) have announced a gathering at Seaborn Jones Park in downtown Rockmart, Georgia.
Rockmart is approximately an hour northwest of Atlanta by car. It is approximately 25 minutes north of Draketown GA where the “Hammerfest” gathering is expected to take place. (The Georgia Peach Oyster Bar in Draketown is also where the “Aryan Nationalist Alliance” will gather on September 17th.)
The October 1st IKKKKK gathering is promoted as a “White Christian Community Event” running from 10AM to 6PM and featuring vendors, music and food. Seaborn Jones Park is a public space operated by the City of Rockmart.
Flyer for the Klan event in Rockmart, GA October 1st
A promotional image for the October 1st IKKKKK gathering was circulated online by Greg “Thor” Calhoun of Cedartown, Georgia. At the time of writing, promotion does not seem to have advanced far beyond Calhoun notifying those already in his circles.
Greg Calhoun was previously involved in the Aryan Nations Knights of the KKK, where he was active alongside Shaun Winkler of Mississippi, a longstanding white power militant and one-time “Imperial Wizard” of the Aryan Nations KKK. Both Calhoun and Winkler eventually switched organization affiliation to the International Keystone Knights. (Winkler is now a member of the National Socialist Movement.)
Greg Calhoun (L) and Shaun Winkler (R) earlier this year.
On November 14, 2015, Greg Calhoun and his wife Jodi organized a “Defend Stone Mountain” rally at Stone Mountain Park – an event where there was an “obvious” Klan presence according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The November 14, 2015 rally organized by the Calhouns was the immediate precursor to the April 23, 2016 “Rock Stone Mountain” white power rally at the same park, an event which met with concerted anti-racist resistance.
In filings with the Georgia Corporations Division, the International Keystone Knights presently lists “Greg Cochran” as its agent for the State of Georgia – yet the address provided in these filings indicates that “Greg Cochran” is the same person as Gregory Todd Calhoun.
Regionally, October 1st is an unusually busy day for white supremacist organizers. As well as the Hammerskins-sponsored “Hammerfest” in Georgia plus the IKKKKK “White Christian Community Event” in downtown Rockmart, the annual “Stormfront Summit” will be held in East Tennessee on the same weekend, featuring speakers such as David Duke, Paul Fromm, and Atlanta white nationalist/real estate lawyer Sam Dickson.
Update 9/13/2016: According to the NSM, Matthew Heimbach has cancelled his appearance at the Aryan Nationalist Alliance event “due to a conflict on time.”
The Aryan Nationalist Alliance (ANA) – the pact of white supremacist groups established just before the National Socialist Movement (NSM) / Loyal White Knights of the KKK rally in Rome GA on April 23 – has now announced a gathering at the Georgia Peach Oyster Bar in Draketown (near Temple) GA on September 17th.
The ANA meeting will take place exactly two weeks before Hammerfest, which is the national gathering for another white supremacist organization, the Hammerskin Nation. Hammerfest is also expected to take place at the Georgia Peach Oyster Bar. (The Georgia Peach is less than an hour’s drive west of Atlanta; since publishing our initial story on Hammerfest, we have received further corroboration that Patrick Lanzo’s Georgia Peach will be the venue on Oct. 1st.)
Aryan Nationalist Alliance event announced on front page of National Socialist Movement website
The September 17 Aryan Nationalist Alliance event is announced on the front page of the National Socialist Movement’s website. The gathering was initially planned as a regional meeting for the National Socialist Movement, but was subsequently broadened to be an Aryan Nationalist Alliance event involving several organizations. Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Worker Party – also scheduled to appear at Hammerfest on Oct 1st – will speak, as will the head of the NSM, Jeff Schoep. The announcement promises a “Swastika & Cross Lighting” for the evening.
The National Socialist Movement in Georgia has been formally reorganized over recent months with new leadership. The NSM head organizer in GA is now Floyd Eric Meadows, who has a past with the League of the South and the Southern Cross Militant Knights of the KKK. Prior to his new role as state leader for the NSM, Meadows had been listed as an NSM member in 2011.
Regionally, the NSM has used its April 23rd events in Georgia plus its central role within the Aryan Nationalist Alliance to draw white power activists into its ranks. Shaun Winkler of Mississippi (previously involved with the Aryan Nations and the International Keystone Knights of the KKK) as well as Rebecca Barnette of Tennessee (one of the main organizers of White Lives Matter) are two Southern white supremacist leaders who have joined with the NSM in recent months.
As always, if you have information on white power organizing in Georgia and especially near Atlanta, please get in contact.
Introduction: White Power on Display at Stone Mountain, November 14, 2015
As the “Rock Stone Mountain” white power rally at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia approaches, now is a good time to again discuss this event’s immediate precursor, the November 14, 2015 rally at the same park. The November 14 event was one of a series of pro-Confederate flag/memorial rallies organized in the wake of Dylann Roof’s June 2015 massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. These rallies attempted to protect symbols of the Confederacy during a time of increased outcry about their public display. While earlier 2015 Confederate flag rallies also involved white nationalists, at the November 14 rally the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted a particularly “obvious” Ku Klux Klan presence. This Klan presence on November 14 is a consequence of who organized and promoted the event in the first place.
Crowd at Stone Mountain on November 14, 2015 (current “Rock Stone Mountain” organizer John Michael Estes in center wearing shirt for far-Right and racist “Rock Against Communism” movement)
According to “Restoring the Honor” blog, “Southern Rebel Patriots”–AKA Georgia residents Jodi and Greg Calhoun–first made the call for the November 14th rally. Greg Calhoun was involved with an Aryan Nations faction before joining the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; Calhoun is presently assisting with “Rock Stone Mountain.” A second Facebook page that promoted the November 14 rally was part of the “Stand by the Flag Rally” national mobilization–this particular “Stand by the Flag”page was controlled by the Rebel Outlaw Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (whose former Imperial Cleric more recently also spread the word about “Rock Stone Mountain” online.)
Protect the South Facebook community
One of the biggest promoters for November 14 was “Protect the South”–this Facebook community established its own “Defend Stone Mountain” event page for the November 14 rally. The overall “Protect the South” Facebook page was launched in June 2015, while debate on Confederate symbols heated up. This page appealed to Confederate flag supporters and even pandered to that movement’s implicit racism, but the page avoided slogans known to drive numbers down, such as open cries of “white power.” In fact, the administrator of “Protect the South” would later argue that while he had no problem with “white power” talk in principle, the reality is that such slogans could make the Southern cause look bad while providing opportunities to opponents. The “Protect the South” administrator was criticized by other November 14 promoters and participants on account of this defensive stance.
What has not been mentioned in commentary so far is that the administrator for “Protect the South”–Wesley Sitton (AKA Adam Wesley Sitton) of Pembroke, Georgia–has a history as a neo-Nazi. While in recent years Sitton described himself as the head of a “True Republican Family,” Sitton’s new self-description isn’t about renouncing white supremacy, it is only about hiding it. Sitton’s strategy seems to be a perfect example of how people can organize for the goals of white power without even using the phrase “white power.” Indeed, Sitton’s abandonment of blatant neo-Nazism has created political opportunities for him. It has allowed Sitton to rally larger numbers of neo-Confederates and anti-immigrant forces, as well as to coordinate with the Georgia Security Force III% militia which nominally opposes racism. These advantages also come with a cost: Sitton’s tactical choice has angered militant racists who are invested in being explicit about their white supremacy.
Wesley Sitton’s White Supremacist History
In 2005, someone using the handle “AryanBrother88” posted frequently on Stormfront, the world’s largest white power internet forum. (The “88” part of this pseudonym is alphanumeric code for “H.H.” or “Heil Hitler.”) By 2006, this forum user was using his own name, Wesley Sitton, and providing his actual location of Pembroke, Georgia. While the “AryanBrother88” and “Wesley Sitton” accounts on Stormfront were closed down, traces of Sitton’s writing on Stormfront remain wherever he was quoted by another user. During the time he was a Stormfront member, Sitton used his account to spread the news that Alabama white nationalist and Holocaust-denier Larry Darby had two half-Chinese children, making Darby a “race traitor” in the eyes of many Stormfront users.
Wesley Sitton, recent photo
In addition to posting on Stormfront, Sitton was active with the National Socialist Movement, one of the larger neo-Nazi organizations in the US. A leaked membership list for the National Socialist Movement gives an address in Pembroke for Sitton, with the record dated November 2005.
(Not sure that this “Wesley Sitton” is the same Wesley Sitton who is the administrator for “Protect the South”? The birthday info for user “Wesley Sitton” on Stormfront matches Adam Wesley Sitton’s birthday. The street address provided on the NSM address list can be seen on an image in Sitton’s current Facebook timeline.)
While the National Socialist Movement is a Hitler-loving organization complete with military-style uniforms and swastika armbands, during 2006 Sitton also promoted white supremacy draped in the Red, White and Blue. Sitton’s website, “Taking a Stand,” proclaimed that it was “fighting to restore the American way” and featured American flags plus a Thomas Jefferson quote on its front page. Taking a closer look at the site, however, revealed articles such as “Jews, the Destruction of America!,” claims that the white race must “take control and power again in America” as well as calls for “the downfall of ZOG [Zionist Occupation Government, a white power term for alleged Jewish control of the US government].”
Taking a Stand website banner
In 2007, Sitton launched a new website, one very different to the “Taking a Stand” website in visual terms. The “Save Our Race” website now used the swastika banner of Nazi Germany instead of the American flag. The “Save Our Race” website was for “Georgia’s [chapter of the] American National Socialist Workers Party” and declared:
On July 18, 2006, 21 former state and unit leaders of the National Socialist Movement, along with 96 comrades, declared a break from the National Socialist Movement. The result from this action was the creation of the American National Socialist Workers Party.
Sitton is listed on the site as the “Georgia Leader” for the new Party.
Save Our Race website banner
Sitton’s time as ANSWP leader must not have lasted long, however. “Save Our Race” disappeared from the web quickly. Chris Drake of Augusta became the new Georgia leader for the ANSWP, only for the ANSWP to collapse after its leader Bill White’s arrest by the FBI in October 2008. (If you want to know about White’s legal saga, just read his Wikipedia page.)
Let’s move forward several years. It would be nice to believe that Sitton had abandoned his extreme racism and far-Right worldview, but this does not appear to be the case. For example, in January 2015 Sitton was openly celebrating James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Wesley Sitton would prefer to celebrate James Earl Ray day, apparently
Starting in mid-July 2015 after the Charleston massacre, Sitton began a flurry of activity on behalf of the Confederate flag and its cause. One of the first events promoted by Sitton’s newly-launched “Protect the South” page was a rally in Statesboro, Georgia which was part of a “Stand by the Flag” day of coordinated protests at Walmart parking lots due to Walmart’s decision not to sell Confederate flags. These protests were not just promoted on Facebook, but also on white nationalist sites such as that of the Council of Conservative Citizens (the organization whose materials had helped to radicalize Dylann Roof in the first place.)
Sitton has subsequently used “Protect the South” to promote several other Confederate rallies and events, including the November 14 Klan-organized event at Stone Mountain. Indeed, Sitton seems to have played a key role in persuading members of the (nominally non-racist) Georgia Security Force III% militia that the November 14 rally had nothing to do with the Klan and that the Klan would not be present.
Georgia Security Force III% leader Chris Hill post to “Defend Stone Mountain” page
Meanwhile, Sitton was also active on another front. Following the November 13 terror attacks in Paris, Sitton circulated a petition online calling for a Georgia Governor Deal to stop any settlement of Syrian refugees (called “potential terrorists” by Sitton) in the state. Sitton’s petition rapidly gained thousands of signatures. On November 16, Governor Deal announced that he would not accept Syrian refugees in Georgia–Deal’s decision may have been partially influenced by the same sort of public pressure mobilized by Sitton.
Since abandoning the more explicit cries of “white power” and use of symbols such as the swastika, Wesley Sitton achieved some organizing successes: creating a Confederate flag Facebook page followed by thousands; organizing local militiamen to do security for a Klan-organized event even while persuading them that no Klan would be present; and finally helping to push through anti-immigrant measures in Georgia.
Sitton is still a racist who has worked with the neo-Nazi groups and other organized white supremacists. Sitton’s new discourse about “heritage, not hate” and “southern pride” are tactical preferences for him. Anti-racists must fight white supremacy in its most blatant forms–such as that of neo-Nazis–but we must also oppose forms of white power organizing in which the same message has been repackaged to appeal to broader numbers.
At present, Sitton is attempting to portray himself as an opponent of the Klansmen and neo-Nazi organizers who will show up for “Rock Stone Mountain” on April 23, even claiming that he will protest these forces. Given Sitton’s own history as a neo-Nazi; his continuing racist organizing; and his spreading of misinformation around the earlier November 14 event at Stone Mountain, Sitton’s current maneuvers should not fool anyone.
“Protect the South” likes the explicitly white power event “Rock Stone Mountain,” image courtesy of Restoring the Honor
Summary: Neo-Nazis and Klansmen are planning a rally on April 23, 2016 at Stone Mountain, Georgia, as well as a racist rock show at a venue elsewhere that evening. Anti-racists will organize against these white power events. Please spread the word. We must resist this show of force by militant white supremacists.
The Upcoming “Rock Stone Mountain” Event
White supremacists are busy organizing an “openly White Power March up Stone Mountain” plus a “White Power concert at a separate location that evening” in Georgia. The march and concert are scheduled for April 23, 2016. It is being promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and on white supremacist websites such as Stormfront. Figures such as former White Revolution chairman Billy Roper in Arkansas are assisting with publicity. The event’s Facebook attendee list includes ex-members of the Aryan Nations and current Ku Klux Klan activists. The post-rally concert will feature rock acts catering to a bonehead (racist “skinhead”) audience. The “Rock Stone Mountain” Facebook page mentions that one or more bands could be supplied by the international Blood & Honour neo-Nazi network.
Rock Stone Mountain event page on Facebook
Discussion of bands for the white power concert
The upcoming April 2016 event follows in the wake of a “Defend Stone Mountain” rally held on November 14, 2015. The November rally billed itself as a Southern “heritage” protest against a proposal to add a monument in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Stone Mountain site. (The debate regarding Stone Mountain has since shifted, see this story for details.)
Confederate displays on public property have increasingly been criticized and opposed after Dylann Storm Roof’s massacre of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC earlier this year. In response to the outcry about symbols of the Confederacy on public property, Confederate flag/monument supporters have stepped up their own organizing, including an August 1st Confederate flag rally at Stone Mountain that attracted hundreds.
Explicit white supremacists and Klansmen organized and promoted the later November 14 Stone Mountain protest, which was also backed by neo-Confederate organizations. Whereas Atlanta Magazine misleadingly claimed that “No KKK members or white supremacists made their attendance known” at the November 14 protest, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has fully documented the Klan and white supremacist presence on that day. The AJC also notes that Stone Mountain officials knew that members of the International Keystone Knights of the KKK were involved in organizing the event.
November 14 2015 Stone Mountain rally: a protester displays his Klan “blood drop” ring
The November 14 protest emboldened Klan and neo-Nazi activists–the circles who are now putting together an openly white supremacist show of force at Stone Mountain. As the April 23 event page states: “It is time to stop apologizing […] If it were not for Our Race, that Flag [the Confederate flag] would not exist! They are going to call us ‘racist’ anyway, so wear it as a Badge of Honor […] Better to be called a Racist than a traitor!”
Stone Mountain is inexorably linked to Klan history—it is where the modern KKK was born one hundred years ago. The giant carving on the mountainside was begun by Klan member Gutzon Borglum, but the project ran out of funding before completion. (Only General Lee’s head was carved by Borglum.) Work on the monument was restarted by others decades later, once the State of Georgia purchased the site. Resumed work on the monument coincided with the State’s fierce efforts against the Civil Rights movement. The monument is a symbol of racial subjugation—it is no wonder why racists love the site, and why they are determined to fight for it.
While current Klan and neo-Nazi activists are tapping into an earlier white supremacist history, the plans for April 2016 also represent a more virulent form of racist politics than other recent events at Stone Mountain. Previously, Klansmen and their comrades still made concessions to fit in with the broader flag/monument protest crowd (which tried to portray itself in more moderate terms.) Now, flagrant white supremacists are confident enough to go it alone. Neo-Nazis and the Klan are completely controlling the agenda for the April 23rd events.
Who “Rock Stone Mountain” is following on Twitter. Note: “88” is alphanumeric code for “H.H.” or “Heil Hitler.”
Anti-Racists: Start Getting Ready…
The white supremacists who are organizing the April event will not go away if we ignore them. They are a real threat. Allowing blatant neo-Nazis to rally without opposition would pose at least two serious dangers. First, if allowed an easy victory white supremacists will further gain confidence, and this in turn will make violence against their perceived racial or political enemies more likely. Second, successful neo-Nazi and Klan organizing will allow others on the racist Right to portray themselves as “moderate” by comparison, which could help these other racist forces to progress towards the political mainstream. It is for these reasons and more that the April 23rd march and gathering must be resisted. Doing work against the far-Right is especially important at a time when militant racists harass and shoot protesters against police killings in Minneapolis, and when xenophobic and anti-Muslim incidents have spiked in the US.
On behalf of some anti-racists in Atlanta who have been discussing the upcoming white power event: organizing against the April 23rd rally and concert will begin in the not-too-distant future. We aim for a large and multifaceted response to white supremacist organizing. We are committed to doing our part in local anti-racist mobilizations.
First steps to be taken: most importantly, please circulate this news far and wide. Get in contact if you have information that may be useful in combating the Klan/neo-Nazi mobilization. Please be on the lookout for further updates, and start to talk with your circles about responses you would like to see happen. We urge anti-racists and anti-fascists to mark their calendars for the weekend of April 23-24, 2016. If you are an anti-racist living in the South—or even further afield—consider making a trip to Atlanta during this time. We promise you will not be bored.