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.
After Spencer’s event had ended, a vehicle containing white nationalists from Texas provoked, then fired a shot at protesters waiting at a bus stop just outside of campus. Nobody was hit. William Fears, Colton Fears, and Tyler Tenbrink were eventually found and charged with attempted homicide. According to police, it was Tyler Tenbrink that fired the shot.
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.