The Racists on Ridgeland Way: Ground Zero for “Alt-Right” Organizing in Atlanta

Introduction

The house, located on a quiet, affluent street in the Peachtree Hills neighborhood of Buckhead, Atlanta, does not stand out. The comings and goings at 121 Ridgeland Way NE may not attract much neighborhood attention. However, this house is a hub for racist organizing not just for Atlanta, but for the South and arguably the country. It is owned by Sam Glasgow Dickson, a key player in the white nationalist movement. From this building, Dickson and his associates try to build the white power movement, especially its middle-class face. They also make moves in the Atlanta property market, both enriching themselves and building resources for their cause.

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121 Ridgeland Way NE. (Can you see a subtle algiz rune on the exterior too, or are we trippin’?)

Our prior coverage of long-time white nationalist leader Sam Dickson includes a detailed article from last year on “Right-Wing Gentrification Gangs.” Apart from some background information and setting out Dickson’s importance within the broader white nationalist movement, we will not duplicate that earlier material here. This article has two purposes. First, we are updating our earlier coverage of Dickson and his white power associates. Second, by setting out five names associated with the Ridgeland Way property in Buckhead, we aim to provide a more complete picture of what goes on at the space, and how this activity fits within the white nationalist movement regionally and nationally. Continue reading “The Racists on Ridgeland Way: Ground Zero for “Alt-Right” Organizing in Atlanta”

Lies, Damned Lies, and Cameron Padgett: The Secret Life of the Atlanta-area Racist Who Books Richard Spencer’s Campus Visits

Update 5/1/2018: Padgett’s lawsuit against Penn State has been thrown out. Padgett has also dropped his lawsuit against University of Cincinnati.

Summary: Cameron Padgett, who books speaking events for white nationalist leader Richard Spencer on US campuses, has cultivated a media persona as a clean-cut, law-abiding student who cares deeply about free speech and advocacy for white people. In reality, the campus events organized by Padgett for Spencer show military-style coordination with white nationalist groups and predictably lead to racist violence. Contrary to his friendly media face, Padgett is an active participant in the white supremacist movement. Padgett took part in a racist torchlit rally in Charlottesville, Virginia during October – eight weeks after the “Unite the Right” rampage there – and soon after livestreamed himself harassing a working class Latinx community in Atlanta. Padgett frequently rails against the “degeneracy” of the modern age, while being careful to conceal his own history of forgery and drug charges in Chatham County, Georgia. When Padgett received a ticket while driving to the October white power rally in Charlottesville, Padgett gave the address of Safety Net Recovery, a sober living program. Drug use and addiction do not deserve contempt. We condemn Padgett’s racism, his scapegoat politics, and his hypocrisy. Continue reading “Lies, Damned Lies, and Cameron Padgett: The Secret Life of the Atlanta-area Racist Who Books Richard Spencer’s Campus Visits”

Alt-Right Operational Document Shows Planning for Richard Spencer’s Gainesville Visit, Involvement of Would-be Murderers

On October 19, white nationalist leader Richard Spencer held a speaking event at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville. Spencer was met by a large anti-fascist mobilization organized by the #NoNazisAtUF coalition and supported by anti-racists from throughout the South. The event was a clear victory for anti-racists. Spencer was jeered and frequently drowned out from inside the venue, and ended his event ahead of schedule. Two thousand protesters simultaneously rallied outside, with many in the crowd confronting and chasing the white supremacists who showed up for Spencer. The University of Florida spent approximately $600,000 to protect the white power leader; the Governor declared a State of Emergency ahead of time; but a broad-based anti-racist/anti-fascist coalition nevertheless won the day.
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Small numbers of white power militants sitting in front rows at Richard Spencer’s University of Florida event before rest of audience admitted
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L-R: Tyler Tenbrink, William Fears and Colton Fears
 
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.

Continue reading “Alt-Right Operational Document Shows Planning for Richard Spencer’s Gainesville Visit, Involvement of Would-be Murderers”

Meet Zac Johnson: Hitler-Loving “Alt-Right” Propagandist in Alpharetta, Georgia

Summary

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.

Zac Johnson portrait
Zachary Van Johnson

Continue reading “Meet Zac Johnson: Hitler-Loving “Alt-Right” Propagandist in Alpharetta, Georgia”

Documentation: Richard Spencer at Auburn University, April 18, 2017 (Gallery 3/3)

c1 Continue reading “Documentation: Richard Spencer at Auburn University, April 18, 2017 (Gallery 3/3)”

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.

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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””