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”

Newnan, Georgia Authorities Cite Far-Right Militia Sympathizer as Basis for April 21st Planning

Update 5/1/2018: According to new information released in response to a public records request, it appears that the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office also relied on the militia sympathizer’s scare story when planning for April 21. See Unicorn Riot’s story here.

According to the City of Newnan, police relied on a fantasy written by an “anti-antifa” sympathizer of the far-Right militia movement when deciding on a mammoth police presence against anti-Nazi protesters on April 21.

Last week, The Times-Herald – Newnan, Georgia’s main paper – published the story “Police clarify arrests, heavy presence during rally.” The Times-Herald article attempts to push back against media coverage of the militarized police in Newnan on April 21st, who charged an anti-racist crowd and pointed guns at protesters. Law enforcement now tries to build a narrative around “agitators” within the anti-racist crowd. The Times-Herald published Newnan Police Department and Coweta County Sheriff’s Office claims without any counterpoint from anti-racists or non-police observers.

april 21 arrest
Militarized police arresting anti-racist, April 21, 2018. (Still from Copwatch video.)

Continue reading “Newnan, Georgia Authorities Cite Far-Right Militia Sympathizer as Basis for April 21st Planning”

April 21: Nazi Rally in Newnan, Georgia Resisted by Anti-Racists, Assisted by Militarized Police

Introduction

On April 21, 2018, the National Socialist Movement (NSM) held a small rally at the Greenville Street Park in Newnan, Georgia, 45 minutes southwest of Atlanta. The NSM’s application to use the Park — accepted by the City of Newnan for $50 — stated that the Nazi organization would bring fifty to a hundred participants for its white power rally. This was expected to be one of the largest displays of open white supremacists since the bloody “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year. In the end, the NSM attracted approximately half its minimum projected attendance and was protested by several hundred. To create conditions for the NSM event to take place, the entire City of Newnan was militarized, with approximately 700 police from various agencies swamping the City, mobilizing a large number of military surplus vehicles, then brutalizing and arresting anti-racist protesters. We are proud of the anti-racist protesters in Newnan on Saturday. Both “antifa” and other anti-racists continued to protest even as police pointed guns at them for no apparent reason, and repeatedly charged into the #NoNaziNewnan anti-racist assembly to violently arrest demonstrators. Further, the large organized presence from the Black community in Coweta County — visible directly across the street from the Nazi rally — was inspiring. The NSM event flopped. Anti-racists and anti-fascists have much to be pleased with from the 21st, despite the fresh instances of repression which we must now address. State displays of force such as we witnessed in Newnan seem increasingly likely as anti-fascists move forward in the South. The same is probably true throughout the US. In our conclusion, we will briefly discuss ramifications of this changed strategic situation.NoNaziNewnan.jpg

Continue reading “April 21: Nazi Rally in Newnan, Georgia Resisted by Anti-Racists, Assisted by Militarized Police”

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”

Racists Menace Tennessee Church Reeling from Mass Shooting

An earlier version of this article gave Justin Lamar Burger’s name as “Justin William Burger.” We apologize for this error.

Update 11/08/17: The fifth and final participant in the Burnette Chapel protest (who gave the name of “Leah” to media) has been identified as Florida resident Haley Olivia Copeland.

 

Justin Burger (Douglasville, Georgia), Ian Booton (Gibson, GA) and University of Central Florida Student Simon Michael Dickerman in Far-Right Flash Protest at Burnette Chapel
 
On Sunday, October 29, white nationalists held a five-person flash protest outside the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee (about twenty minutes from Nashville.) A month earlier, gunman Emanuel Kidega Samson targeted Burnette Chapel, killing one congregation member and wounding seven more. A note left in the shooter’s car allegedly mentioned Dylann Roof, the white supremacist responsible for 2015 massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. White nationalists have now seized on the Burnette Chapel shooting for propaganda purposes, for a couple of reasons. First, the mention of Dylann Roof in the note left in Samson’s vehicle could be used to build a “revenge” narrative around the Antioch shooting — a narrative which is helpful to white nationalists. Second, Emanuel Samson was born in Sudan but spent most of his life in the United States. Far-Right commentators such as Alabama-based League of the South publicist/“Alt-South” blogger Bradley Dean Griffin have seized upon the Antioch shooting to increase racist and anti-immigrant sentiment. The shooting is also useful to white nationalists because it can be used to draw false equivalencies and to deflect attention from their own movement’s role in radicalizing Charleston murderer Dylann Roof.
 
shelbyville wlm overpowered
White nationalists outnumbered in Shelbyville, Tennessee, October 28, 2017
The Burnette Chapel attack was referenced frequently by the Nationalist Front –- a racist umbrella grouping involving the National Socialist Movement, League of the South, Traditionalist Worker Party, Vanguard America and others –- as it organized for its “White Lives Matter” demonstration in Middle Tennessee on Saturday, October 28. Apart from flash mobs, the “White Lives Matter” rally was the first major street demonstration by white nationalists in the US, since the bloody and disastrous “Unite the Right” rally in Virginia this August. Nationalist Front organizers had initially planned to demonstrate in both Shelbyville and Murfreesboro on Saturday the 28th, but after their forces were outnumbered in Shelbyville, Nationalist Front organizers abruptly canceled their second demonstration in Murfreesboro, where a large counter-protest awaited them. On Saturday night following the dismal Shelbyville rally, members of the racist and fascist Traditionalist Worker Party assaulted an interracial couple at a pub in Brentwood, Tennessee.
 
Shelbyville TN tradworker shields
Traditionalist Worker Party shields, Shelbyville October 28 
Throughout the weekend of the “White Lives Matter” rally, rumors swirled that Nationalist Front members would show up in Antioch and hold a protest outside Burnette Chapel. However, no such protest occurred on Friday. On Saturday in Shelbyville, racist organizers announced an evening presence at the Antioch church, but this event was eventually cancelled just as the Murfreesboro demonstration had been earlier. However, the next morning, a handful of militant racists showed up outside Burnette Chapel with a banner, until the arrival of police shooed them away. The flash protest was documented by Newsweek correspondent Michael Hayden. By showing up at a church that had already experienced trauma and violence, the white nationalists made it even plainer that their movement does not care about the Burnette Chapel congregation. The racist movement just hoped to exploit a tragedy for its own agenda. 
 
The five white nationalist protesters outside Burnette Chapel on Sunday stated to Newsweek that they were part of Identity Evropa, a racist organization that focuses on college-aged recruits. However, Identity Evropa leader Elliott Kline (AKA “Eli Mosley”) has denied that the five demonstrators in Antioch were members, claiming instead that they were “trolling” by mentioning Identity Evropa as their organization. Surprisingly, Kline seems to be correct. One of the white power protesters outside Burnette Chapel has been identified by Nebraska antifascists as Daniel Kleve of the Vanguard America, which unlike Identity Evropa is affiliated with the Nationalist Front. Although one of the Antioch, Tennessee protesters (who gave her name as “Leah”) remains unidentified, we have identified the remaining three as Justin Lamar Burger of Douglasville, Georgia; Ian Mathis George Booton of Gibson, Georgia; and University of Central Florida student Simon Michael Dickerman. Similarly to Daniel Kleve of Nebraska, Burger, Booton, and Dickerman traveled from out-of-state to participate in the “White Lives Matter” demonstration.
 
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Justin Burger (L) and Ian Booton (R) outside Burnette Chapel in Antioch, Tennessee, October 29, 2017. Photo courtesy of Michael E Hayden.
 

Continue reading “Racists Menace Tennessee Church Reeling from Mass Shooting”

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.
altright gville oct 19 audience
Small numbers of white power militants sitting in front rows at Richard Spencer’s University of Florida event before rest of audience admitted
three arrestees
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”

“Right-Wing Gentrification Gangs”: White Nationalists and Atlanta Property Development

Update 10/11/2017 here.

Introduction

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.

Dickson’s moneymaking from the Atlanta property market was highlighted in a 2006 article published by the state-friendly, anti-extremist Southern Poverty Law Center. Other white nationalist and far-Right figures — currently or recently involved in the Atlanta property market — have received less attention. This article discusses some of these figures, showing how organized white nationalists gain both politically and economically from gentrification in our city.

Sam Dickson

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.

dickson charlottesville may 2017
Sam Dickson holding megaphone at white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, May 13, 2017. “Alt-Right” leaders Richard Spencer, Nathan Damigo and Mike Peinovich (“Mike Enoch”) also visible in photo.

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”