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.
Update: the far-Right gathering was canceled at the last minute due to organizer Rachel Tsimmerman experiencing a medical emergency.
On the weekend of August 20-22, “76 Fest Georgia” will be held at pioneer camp site 04 of F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Harris County, Georgia. All three advertised speakers for 76 Fest have ties to the far-Right American Populist Union (APU), with one being APU’s co-founder and vice president Vince Dao.
APU is a Generation Z-centered, ultranationalist organization founded earlier this year. APU aims to push the US conservative movement even further right on social issues. In this regard, APU closely resembles the “groyper” movement of white nationalist and Holocaust-denier Nick Fuentes. The primary difference between APU and Fuentes’ America First/“groyper” movement is optics: APU believes that Fuentes has acquired too much stigma from being an open racist. APU, by contrast, strives for a more respectable public face. As Political Research Associates point out, APU positions itself as being in dialogue but also in tension with Fuentes’ “groypers”. Fuentes for his part swipes at APU for being a poor imitation of his original.
76 Fest advertises itself as “bringing America First values to youth nationwide through an outdoor experience.” 76Fest LLC was registered as business in South Carolina this June, with Jackson L. Avery listed as its agent. Jackson Lee Avery is the College Republicans chairman at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. (Avery grew up in South Carolina.) Avery also helped organize a “Conservative Coachella” event held in Maryland this May, which featured APU figures Vince Dao and John Doyle as speakers. “Conservative Coachella” was a precursor to 76 Fest; following the Georgia gathering, a “76Fest Delaware” is now advertised for September.
76 Fest calls itself “uncancellable,” stating that “we do not engage in cancel culture” at its events. No matter how far-Right someone is, they are welcome at the gathering. The festival website also claims that some of the event speakers will not be livestreamed or broadcast, meaning that these speakers can freely express their racism, misogyny, and other bigotry to a receptive crowd without those words coming back to haunt them.
We are releasing a nationwide membership database for the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), an organization for male descendants of Confederate veterans, which peddles “Lost Cause” narratives and fights to preserve racist monuments. Unsurprisingly, the organization provides fertile ground for more explicit white nationalists. It also has political influence. The SCV membership database we are releasing includes one current member of Georgia’s State Senate and several in the Georgia House of Representatives.
The SCV member database here was initially leaked by other parties, appearing online in early 2020. The original web link with this member database is no longer active. As first leaked on the web, the member database included “Nov2019” as part of its file name. However, a careful analysis of the member records shows that the list dates from late 2016 to early 2018, with 2017 being most likely. One email address appears to reference the year 2017; high-profile members who left SCV in March 2018 are still listed with the email addresses for their official roles. Apart from the date originally on the file name, the member records are consistent with everything we know about SCV.
Several Republican politicians in Georgia are listed in the SCV member database. Current Georgia House of Representatives members Tommy Benton (District 31), Terry England (District 116), Alan Powell (District 32) and Rick Williams (District 145) were listed as “active” SCV members circa 2017. Benton is particularly notorious, having publicly argued in 2016 that the Ku Klux Klan “made a lot of people straighten up.” Georgia House of Representatives member James A. Collins (District 68) also appears in the database but was not listed as an active member. Jeff Mullis, Georgia State Senator for District 53, appears as an “active” member. Mullis was the driving force behind SB 77, a Georgia bill designed to protect Confederate/white supremacist monuments, signed into law in 2019.
The presence of politicians in the SCV has no moderating influence and obvious white nationalists are active in the organization. In Georgia, accountant John C. Hall, Jr. of Dublin is the commander of SCV Capt. Hardy B. Smith camp #104. Hall is an associate of white power leader Sam Dickson and, in 2018, appeared in a closed social media group for the white supremacist/Southern secessionist League of the South. Another major white nationalist in Georgia SCV ranks is Marietta attorney Martin K. O’Toole. According to its most recent (2018) IRS filings, O’Toole is the President and Director of the Charles Martel Society (CMS), a secretive but influential white nationalist organization that helped to birth the Alt-Right. O’Toole is also an old friend of UK Holocaust-denier David Irving. O’Toole has been the Georgia SCV’s official spokesman since 2018. Media outlets such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution regularly quote O’Toole without noting his white nationalist history and commitments.
By organizing in the SCV – which disguises its racism behind rhetoric of “heritage” – clear white nationalists can make political connections and gain influence. Nowhere is this clearer than in Georgia, where the state SCV spokesman is a white nationalist, but the organization also counts Republican legislators in its ranks.
We hope that this database is also useful to anti-racist researchers in other states.
As always, please get in touch if you have information on racist organizing in Georgia.
Update, November 2020: Bill Hagerty won the Tennessee election for US Senate.
Summary: Twenty-year-old Michael Patrick Hagerty, II is a member of two racist organizations, Patriot Front and Revolt Through Tradition. This year, he placed stickers for those organizations throughout Atlanta. Hagerty even wears clothes designating himself as a “National Socialist” – in other words, a neo-Nazi. His uncle, Bill Hagerty, is a Trump loyalist campaigning as the Republican candidate in Tennessee’s US Senate race, which he will likely win. Bill Hagerty vilifies Black Lives Matter and anti-fascists. Meanwhile, his nephew works with white supremacists to build a climate of intimidation against people of color, Jewish people, Muslims, leftists and LGBTQ communities.
Michael Patrick Hagerty, II is a twenty-year-old white nationalist who belongs to two different fascist organizations, Patriot Front (PF) and Revolt Through Tradition (RTT). Over the last year, he has covered Atlanta with stickers for these organizations, trying to give the impression that they have a strong presence in our city. Hagerty has also traveled to meet with other PF and RTT members and posed in photos as they trained together for fighting. Hagerty even wears a t-shirt identifying himself as a “National Socialist”: in other words, a neo-Nazi. One of Hagerty’s associates in Patriot Front is “John GA” (alias), who targeted synagogues in Columbus, Georgia, last year with another PF member, Chris Brooks.
Hagerty’s uncle, William F. Hagerty, is currently campaigning in Tennessee as the Republican candidate in that state’s election for the US Senate, which he will likely win. As a candidate, Bill Hagerty has repeatedly attacked Black Lives Matter and anti-fascists. He characterized Black Lives Matter as aiming to “overthrow the government and usher in Marxism” and echoed Donald Trump’s characterization of anti-fascists as “domestic terrorists”, stating that they “must be stopped”. Through his aggressive public stance against anti-racist movements, Bill Hagerty shelters and emboldens white nationalists like his nephew while they prepare for violence.
Update 8/11/2020: Marjorie Taylor Greene won in the GA14 Republican runoff and will likely head to Congress. Matt Gurtler was defeated in GA09.
On August 11th, Georgia Congressional candidates Marjorie Taylor Greene (14th District) and Matt Gurtler (9th District) will compete in runoff elections for their Districts’ Republican nominations. Greene faces John Cowan for the 14th District nomination, while Gurtler is competing against Andrew Clyde in the 9th District. Both the 9th and the 14th Districts lean heavily Republican, so whoever wins the GOP nomination for each of these districts is likely to take a seat in Congress. Both Greene and Gurtler have ties to American Patriots USA, an ostensibly pro-Trump organization with roots in the neo-Nazi and Klan undergrounds.
We have covered the “American Patriots USA” (APUSA) organization in north Georgia since it was formed last year, in the wake of a September far-Right rally in Dahlonega. That rally’s organizer and APUSA’s leader, Chester Doles, has a history spanning decades in the white supremacist movement. Doles led a Ku Klux Klan group, operated the Georgia unit of the neo-Nazi “National Alliance”, and more recently supported the violent Hammerskins racist gang. Other white nationalists are also involved with APUSA, and Doles has boasted that there is no “Jew loving [… in] this Crew”. The organization has also built tactical alliances with some far-Right people of color.
As we documented in our May article, Doles has now built bridges to Republican candidates. In late February, Doles and other members posed with Marjorie Taylor Greene behind an APUSA banner. In March, State House Representative and current GA09 candidate Matt Gurtler talked to an APUSA meeting and posed for a group photo.
Update 7/19/2020: The III% Security Force, an Islamophobic far-Right militia headed by Chris Hill, yesterday reversed its earlier position and stated it will rally at Stone Mountain on August 15th.
On August 15, 2020, far-Right demonstrators will rally at Stone Mountain Park outside Atlanta. The August 15 rally, held at the birthplace of the modern Ku Klux Klan, is being promoted and partially organized by figures tied to neo-Nazism and the white supremacist movement. Although some organizers claim to represent “Heritage Not Hate”, a closer look at who is mobilizing shows that August 15 will bring an influx of racists to the surrounding community.
Last night, State House Representative and candidate in the Republican primary for the 9th Congressional District, Matt Gurtler, issued a statement decrying “sleazy attacks” and the “fake news media”. These comments arrived two months after Gurtler talked to a meeting of American Patriots USA (APUSA) – a white nationalist front group founded by Klansmen and neo-Nazis – and two days after the story broke in the media.
In his comments to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Matt Gurtler doubled down by calling APUSA a “pro-gun, conservative group that supports President Trump”. At the March meeting, Gurtler portrayed the organization as a positive response to “socialism on the rise”.
The core members of APUSA are committed white supremacists. Founder Chester Doles is an unreformed neo-Nazi who continues to network within the racist scene and circulate its propaganda. Another key APUSA member, Michael Carothers AKA Michael Weaver, maintains the “White Information Network” site, where he asks readers to support terrorists such as “Olympic Park Bomber” Eric Rudolph.
Militant white nationalists have led
a wave of terror in recent years, with outrages such as the Tree of Life
synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh in 2018; the Christchurch, New Zealand
mosque attacks last year; and August’s racist massacre in El Paso. While
Gurtler mouths empty catchphrases such as, “Racism doesn’t have any place in
our community”, his actions embolden the racist movement.
It is reprehensible for Matt Gurtler to hide behind his “Mexican-American” wife after supporting white supremacists. His wife’s ancestry is irrelevant to Gurtler’s political decision. Gurtler’s response is particularly obscene since APUSA founder Chester Doles has targeted and scapegoated Latino communities in north Georgia for twenty years.
Instead of admitting poor judgment,
Gurtler howls for his critics to “Bring it.”
If you oppose antisemitism and white supremacy, speak out when they are normalized.
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 earlierreports, 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.
The initial invitation for the Dahlonega “Trump” event featured antisemitic imagery. A new flyer has now been produced to better mask the nature of the event. Doles has clearly indicated that the Dahlonega rally aims to intimidate his perceived political enemies in North Georgia, in particular liberal activists who Doles portrays as “antifa”. Doles is organizing a “security” team who are readying for violence and has made a special appeal for his old associates from the National Alliance (once the foremost neo-Nazi group in North America) to attend. For further information on the rally and on Chester Doles’ history, see our longer alert here.
The national director of Bikers for Trump, Dale Herndon, has now withdrawn support for the Nazi-organized rally. However, Chester Doles is still attempting to swell his rally’s numbers with Trump Republicans while simultaneously working closely with militant white supremacists.
Chester Doles, a longtime neo-Nazi and “fourth-generation” Klansman, is organizing a pro-Trump rally in downtown Dahlonega, Georgia, scheduled to take place on the afternoon of Saturday, September 14. The Dahlonega rally is an attempt by Doles to draw pro-Trump rightists closer to his own neo-Nazi politics, seemingly with some success. The planned rally is also promoted on Stormfront, a white supremacist website which has been linked to almost a hundred murders.
Dahlonega is a small city in north Georgia, approximately an hour and a half northeast from Atlanta and home to the University of North Georgia. In 2017, Dahlonega made headlines when a Ku Klux Klan sign was prominently displayed on a building in the downtown area – an attempt by an angry property owner to embarrass the city. Chester Doles – who lives in Dahlonega and has a past as a real Klan leader – was seeminglyin on the 2017 stunt.
Doles has a long history in the white supremacist movement. While in Maryland, Doles led a Klan group. After serving prison time for assaulting a Black man (followed by a burglary conviction for which he got probation), Doles moved to Georgia, where he led the Georgia unit of the National Alliance, which was once the foremost neo-Nazi organization in the United States. In 2003, Doles was arrested for being a felon in possession of firearms. Doles eventually pled guilty and was released in 2008. More recently, Doles organized with Crew 38, which is the supporter group of the violent Hammerskin Nation racist gang. Doles gave a speech at the Hammerskin Nations’ 2016 national gathering at a Klan bar outside Atlanta.