Update 9/2/2021: Organizers have officially canceled the far-Right conference.
Update: On the site for his District 14 labor commissioner run, Georgia State Senator Bruce Thompson confirmed he is speaking at the “Christian Veterans United” conference.
Warning: This article contains descriptions of rape.
Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh, a notorious far-Right antisemite, misogynist, and rape apologist, is a featured speaker at the upcoming “Faith and Freedom Men’s Conference” organized by Christian Veterans United. The conference is scheduled to take place on September 10th and 11th, in or near metro Atlanta. Two venues, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Buckhead and the First Baptist Church in Woodstock, have so far canceled use of their spaces after learning of the event’s true nature. Organizers are vowing to go ahead with the event but have not publicly announced their new venue.
As well as Valizadeh, the Christian Veterans United website lists Jesse Lee Peterson, a rightwing commentator who bemoans women’s suffrage, and Bruce Thompson, Georgia State Senator representing District 14, as event speakers. By appearing alongside Valizadeh, perhaps the world’s most notorious women-hating propagandist, State Senator Thompson would normalize Jew-hatred and violence against women.
At the time of publication, Thompson has not responded to a request to confirm his appearance at the Conference, though his name and image feature on the event’s website. We will update this article if Thompson issues a clarification.
Mark Bryant of Marietta, Georgia is, at first glance, an average member of his community. He is a parent, active in his church, and a practicing Certified Public Accountant. However, this accountant has for decades been active on the far-Right fringes. Bryant combines his profession with his politics by providing accounting services for white supremacists and white nationalists.
Bryant appears as the accountant for the National Policy Institute (NPI) – the white nationalist think tank largely responsible for the birth and promotion of the “Alt-Right” – from NPI’s 2008 tax filings until 2015, the most recent year for which filings are available. (Raw summary data is also available for 2016, but the filing itself with the preparer’s name has not yet been posted.)
In addition, from 2007 to 2012 Bryant appeared as the accountant for the secretive Charles Martel Society (CMS), which publishes the racist, pseudo-academic Occidental Quarterly and provided seed money for the NPI. For the lastthreeof those years, Bryant provided various mailing addresses linked to himself as the contact for CMS.
One participant in IE / AmIM is Metro Atlanta white nationalist Jared Alexander Huggins, who seemingly appeared in the crowd at AmIM’s rally in Nashville. Huggins has been involved with Identity Evropa – and has been on the radar of antifascists – since 2016. We have mentioned Huggins in passing several times, but until now have not profiled his activity in depth.
A planning document for Richard Spencer’s visit — which anti-racists accessed and which we are now publishing in full — suggests that the would-be killers from Texas were not mere supporters of Richard Spencer, but traveled to campus as part of Spencer’s operational plan for the day. The operational document also reveals details such as there being an after-party for Alt-Right militants who assisted with the Gainesville event, and that Spencer and other “VIPs” planned dinner with donors while visiting the city.
The operational plan developed for Gainesville by Richard Spencer’s closest associates reveals coordination with both the University of Florida and police, with both parties described by the Alt-Right racists as “cooperating.” According to the plans distributed to staff at Spencer’s National Policy Institute, The Patriot Front, an openly fascist organization, was a key organization participating in the racist “Task Force” for Gainesville. The planning document appears to have made plans for larger numbers of white nationalists than showed up, again pointing to Gainesville as a flop for Richard Spencer’s movement. This defeat happened at a time when the racist “Alt-Right” is desperate for any sort of win, in the aftermath of the bloody and disastrous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville this August.
The “Operation Gator” document mentions that white nationalists had plans for a “flash mob” in the event that University of Florida cancelled Spencer’s speech — with racists showing up elsewhere on campus or in Gainesville to make their presence felt (with predictable intimidation and likely targeted violence). In actuality, Spencer did not have his speech cancelled by the University but rather cut it short himself after being humiliated by the student/community mobilization. The “Operation Gator” plan stated that participants ought not bring guns. However, it was in the context of political defeat (but not any University cancellation) that some of Spencer’s allies attempted to settle scores with anti-racists, nearly committing a murder.
Since the early 2000s, Atlanta white nationalist attorney Sam Dickson has been accumulating property in Atlanta, making a profit from gentrification and rising property values in our city. Dickson has built a “multi-million dollar business” from purchasing unpaid tax debts, then using them as leverage to obtain properties at bargain prices. Dickson has focused on property in South Atlanta, often in neighborhoods that are historically Black and working class. Dickson has been accused of “bullying” tactics to gain title.
Georgia attorney Samuel Glasgow Dickson has been a major figure on the racist far-Right since the 1970s. In 1978, Dickson campaigned for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia on a segregationist platform, receiving 11% of the vote. A lawyer since 1972, Dickson was known for representing Klansmen. Dickson participated in organizations such as the World Anti-Communist League (which included war criminals and far-Right terrorists) as well as the Council of Conservative Citizens (which traces back to the segregationist White Citizens’ Councils.) Dickson was active in Holocaust-denial circles – he published “Revisionist” materials and hosted events in Atlanta. Holocaust-denier David Irving spent time at Dickson’s property in Key West, Florida while facing criminal charges in Europe.
In 1994, Dickson gave a talk at the first American Renaissance conference, a suit-and-tie-style white nationalist gathering. Dickson has presented at every American Renaissance conference since then. He is also a regular speaker at the “Alt-Right” gatherings of the National Policy Institute. Predictably, Dickson was a speaker at the “Atlanta Forum” gathering in Marietta, Georgia this January, which brought together racist Southern nationalists and “Alt-Right” white nationalists. When Auburn University in Alabama tried to cancel an appearance by white power leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute, Dickson filed a lawsuit so the event could go ahead. Dickson gave a talk when white nationalists assembled in mass in Charlottesville, Virginia on May 13, 2017 – the white nationalists’ evening event was reminiscent of Klan ceremonies. Sam Dickson was again in Charlottesville for the bloody “Unite the Right” far-Right rally on August 12, 2017, where white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. murdered anti-racist Heather Heyer and wounded over a dozen more in a car attack.
While staying active on the white power scene, Dickson has spent over a decade and a half buying up land around Atlanta, frequently using tax liens he has purchased to encourage property owners to sell low. When areas are redeveloped, Dickson stands to profit. Predictably, other white nationalists and far-Right figures now have their names on Fulton County property records, operating at various degrees of proximity or separation from Dickson himself. Continue reading ““Right-Wing Gentrification Gangs”: White Nationalists and Atlanta Property Development”
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For months, white nationalists have been organizing the “Atlanta Forum,” a gathering scheduled for Saturday, January 28 which has been advertised as “a Southern nationalist conference of the Alt-Right.” Atlanta Antifascists are still searching for the Atlanta Forum venue, but since our initial post on this event additional information has come to light.
On January 11th, just two days after our initial alert, a flyer for The Atlanta Forum was posted to the Facebook page for The Rebel Yell — a white power podcast on The Right Stuff website, whose hosts are involved in the Atlanta Forum’s organizing and promotion. The flyer provides the names of four speakers (discussed below), an updated time for the event (8AM-4PM instead of 9AM-4PM as previously announced), and finally a “meet up” point in Stone Mountain Park for those wishing to attend.
Atlanta Forum flyer posted to The Rebel Yell page on Jan. 11
Stone Mountain has a long history of white supremacy, and last year Stone Mountain Park saw confrontation between anti-racists and an explicitly “white power” rally that was issued a permit there. While it is possible that the event “meet up” point on the flyer is correct, we are currently evaluating this information. Atlanta Forum organization has generally been kept under wraps — misdirection attempts against potential protesters are possible.
In another development, the “TRS Confederates”/“Rebel Yell” website was revamped on January 15, and the Atlanta Forum “Conference” page mentioned in our initial article disappeared. We do not think that people should leap to any conclusions from this website change, however.
Atlanta Antifascists request that anti-racists in our region keep their schedules open on January 28th — from early morning onward – and be ready to oppose white supremacist organizing that day. To receive the latest updates on our efforts against the Atlanta Forum, either join the event “Stop the Atlanta Forum,” linked from our Facebook page, or check our Twitter regularly. We urge venues and event spaces to remain on the lookout for suspicious bookings for the 28th.
While we are still verifying some of the information on the Atlanta Forum event flyer, we are confident that the list of conference speakers is accurate. Below is information on these individuals.
Speakers Listed on the “Atlanta Forum” Flyer:
Michael Cushman is a Southern nationalist based in South Carolina. He is a former member of the National Alliance — at one time the largest neo-Nazi organization in the US — as well as of the secessionist/white nationalist League of the South, which he left in 2015. Cushman currently operates the “Southern Future” website and prior to this ran the “Southern Nationalist Network” site. He also designed the Southern nationalist “Cushman flag” which is incorporated in the initial logo for the Atlanta Forum (as is the Confederate battle flag and the “Black Sun” far-Right symbol.) Cushman is the author of Our Southern Nation, which has been well-received within the neo-fascist and white power blogosphere.
Sam Dickson at National Policy Institute gathering November 2016. (Image from Idavox.)
Mike Peinovich, who goes by the name “Mike Enoch” online, runs The Right Stuff website which began in December 2012 and is one of largest online promoters of the white nationalist “Alt-Right.” The Right Stuff circulates far-Right podcasts such as the recently-ended “Fash the Nation” as well as Enoch/Peinovich’s “The Daily Shoah” (the podcast’s name references the Holocaust.) The Right Stuff forums have been an online organizing hub for white nationalists, while The Right Stuff has also encouraged offline activity such as “pool party” racist meetups and poster campaigns.
Since the Atlanta Forum flyer was released before Peinovich’s identity was revealed, it is now uncertain whether Peinovich will attend. Whatever the case, the recent disclosures regarding Peinovich and The Right Stuff are sure to cast a shadow over any event linked to that website, such as the Atlanta Forum.
“Musonius Rufus” is the alias for a host of “The Rebel Yell,” a podcast by “TRS Confederates” circulated on The Right Stuff. “Musonius” gives his location as Tennessee. He appears — like many of The Right Stuff participants — to have a history on the libertarian Right prior to going full-on “fashy” and white nationalist.
“The Rebel Yell” broadcast which “Rufus” is involved with has its origin in pro-Confederate flag organizing by The Right Stuff soon after the 2015 Charleston massacre — “The Rebel Yell” Facebook page was initially a page for “Battle Flag the 4th” organizing, with the “Rebel Yell” podcast being launched later. “The Atlanta Forum” builds upon a central theme of “The Rebel Yell” podcast: that is, the racism of the “Alt-Right” combined with neo-Confederacy and Southern nationalism.