Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Communique, Featured, Southeast
On August 12th, 2017, thousands took to the streets after a neo-Nazi who marched alongside members of the white supremacist group Vanguard America, murdered antifascist Heather Heyer in the streets of Charlottesville. Over the next few days, colonial and Confederate statues were torn down, white nationalists were exposed in their communities and fired from their jobs, and subsequent Alt-Right rallies in Boston and the bay area were shut down by tens of thousands.
NEW: Patriot Front Fascist Leak Exposes Nationwide Racist Campaigns
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) January 21, 2022
On December 4th, 2021, the re-branded Vanguard America, under the new name, Patriot Front, was openly mocked across the political spectrum after holding yet another unannounced rally with heavy police protection in Washington DC. The event ended as quickly as it had begun, yet as dozens of fascists waited for hours in the cold night to be picked up in a Uhaul, it was clear that something was wrong.
— Blake Montgomery (@blakersdozen) December 5, 2021
While many on social media initially reported this to be caused by either disorganization or simply being lost, we now can report it was the result of organized antifascist infiltration and direct action. The following anonymous communique, sent to It’s Going Down along with a link to a video recorded by Patriot Front themselves and made available through a collection of recently leaked chat logs from Unicorn Riot, reports on how antifascists disabled multiple cars and vans belonging to the neo-Nazi group, costing them thousands of dollars and throwing a wrench into the entire fascist mobilization.
In chats leaked by @afainatl, Thomas Rousseau, leader of neo-Nazi group #PatriotFront, claims that hate crimes carried out by his group: vandalism of #GeorgeFloyd statues, #BlackLivesMatter murals, synagogues + Pride centers – are green-lit from the top + receive "consultation." pic.twitter.com/YoNSgw1JpZ
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) December 11, 2021
While many on the Right have rushed to brand Patriot Front as “feds” in order to distance themselves from explicit white supremacists and Hitler worshipers, others, such as an “unofficial” Steve Bannon Telegram channel with 65K followers, have openly defended and promoted the group. This support, along with continued law enforcement protection at demonstrations, comes despite the fact that over the past several years, members of Patriot Front have carried out targeted acts of racist vandalism and intimidation against community centers, places of worship, and Black Lives Matter.
Pretty sure it's all the "sieg heil" shit people don't like but yeah, sure, the sign pic.twitter.com/7jK2KnmOO9
— Dell Cameron (@dellcam) January 22, 2022
The antifascist movement remains the only material force pushing back against these groups actively targeting our communities and openly calling for mass State repression, murder, and genocide.
from anonymous antifascist activists
On the evening of December 4th, 2021, nearly 75 young fascists were left shivering outside Arlington National Cemetery, waiting hours for a box truck to come and haul them away. Journalists and members of the public reasonably inferred that Patriot Front’s ineptitude was the cause of their discomfort that evening, but with the public release of internal chat logs, we can now shed light on what happened that day.
While members of Patriot Front strutted awkwardly along the National Mall in Washington D.C., antifascists were able to take advantage of their logistics chokepoints, thanks to intel provided by infiltrators inside the fascist organization. Their transportation troubles that day were not simply due to poor planning or wayward drivers: they were a direct result of coordinated strikes on rented trucks and personal vehicles by anonymous antifascists.
Our Tactics And Priorities
In planning this action, the safety of infiltrators was a paramount concern. Given that Patriot Front keeps the exact location and time of their actions secret from most of the group’s members until the very last minute, any advance announcement of their plans, or public call for a counter-action, would have revealed the presence of infiltrators, possibly endangering them, and likely prompting a change of plans from Patriot Front that we would be unable to respond to in time.
Obviously, any situation in which fascists are able to occupy public space and promote their genocidal ideology can – and often does – serve as a springboard for continued fascist recruitment and radicalization. That said, there many factors that affect whether or not a fascist organization like Patriot Front is able to sustain itself, recruit, and maintain their public image. We approached our planning of this event with every intention of trying to prevent that march from occurring, using the resources we had available, without putting our comrades or local communities at risk. When confronted with a situation in which preventing Patriot Front’s march via direct intervention was not feasible, we adjusted our plans and targets, and were able to inflict multiple, substantial blows to their stability and reputation as a fascist group.
The Day’s Events
On the morning of December 4th, small antifascist crews were stationed around locations Patriot Front had considered for their “vehicle exchanges,” places where they would leave their own vehicles and load into rented U-Hauls. Teams also scouted routes to the drop-off site in DC where Patriot Front would begin its march. Other antifascists were off-site, watching social media for activity from Patriot Front accounts, or sightings of their march. Together, everyone worked to track Patriot Front’s movements and evaluate opportunities for action. Despite Patriot Front being a cool 2-3 hours late to their own damn action, everyone did a great job of maintaining readiness and being flexible.
Whether because of paranoia or some other reason, Patriot Front didn’t gather their U-Haul trucks at the vehicle exchange location until immediately before their entire cars caravan of members arrived from the campsite. This prevented waiting antifascists from being able to take effective action against the U-Hauls at the vehicle exchange site. Instead, those nearby crews planned together to sabotage Patriot Front’s personal vehicles, Network 12 Fascist Bus (TM), and rental vans once the U-Hauls departed.
Teams closer to the dropoff site (where the fascists planned to muster just before marching) had hoped to prevent Patriot Front from being able to march. Unfortunately, our teams had overestimated Thomas Rousseau’s concern for his members’ safety. Out of all the available route options for the box trucks to take to the dropsite, Rousseau chose the route that presented the most danger to the passengers sitting crammed in the cargo area of the trucks, and the team didn’t get a chance to execute the plan. Once it became clear that Patriot Front was going to reach their dropoff site and march, we tipped off various antifascist groups that Patriot Front was in the area.
As darkness fell back at the vehicle exchange site, antifascists converged on the parking lot. Comrades filtered in between rows of vehicles, swiftly redecorating and improving them. “Jason NY,” who had been left on guard duty, was working on his laptop in his truck when he noticed teams of antifascists moving around the parking lot just outside his windows. He immediately hit the gas pedal, peeled out of the parking lot, and sped away down the dark road on tires that would soon fail him. (While we’re on the subject: Hi Jason! Hope you enjoy this!) According to Patriot Front’s leaked chat logs, there should have been four other Patriot Front members present at the vehicle exchange that evening; comrades saw no sign of them, however, and were left free to complete their redecoration projects and return to their homes safely.
In the hours and days after this event, Jason NY appears to have given his Patriot Front superiors several different, fantastical accounts of what happened that evening, including one in which he was held at gunpoint and barely escaped with his life, and another involving a high-speed car chase with a mystery minivan. For the record, none of those things actually happened. The reality of Jason’s panic and flight at the sight of a spray-paint can was, apparently, not something he can admit as a member of a fascist group built around toxic masculinity and the projection of strength.
Leaked chats from Patriot Front member “Jason NY”
Having scrapped their plan for completely preventing Patriot Front’s march, the crew of antifascists near the drop-off site instead headed to the location where they knew Patriot Front’s U-Hauls would be waiting for the duration of the march.
After arriving, spotting the three U-Hauls, and taking stock of the situation, three antifascists sneaked up to the trucks and began disabling them. The three drivers made feeble attempts to stop the sabotage. Frederick OR and another driver stepped towards the team of antifascists, but when dared to come closer, they backed off; meanwhile the third driver anxiously exclaimed,“We are recording you!” Unfortunately for him, it’s difficult to record clear video footage while you’re being chased around a U-Haul truck in the pitch dark. Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of any such footage in Patriot Front’s internal chats following the event.
Two of the trucks were immobilized, while the third suffered enough damage to make it both unsafe for human transport and unfit for legal highway travel. Despite the safety issues, this truck was used over the course of the next several hours to return Patriot Front members to their mostly-disabled cars at the vehicle exchange. By the end of the evening, most members of Patriot Front had spent more time standing by the highway waiting to get picked up than they did actually marching.
Upon arriving back at the campsite, Thomas Rousseau cancelled the Patriot Front award ceremony that was scheduled for that evening, and promptly left again to spend the night in a hotel. As far as we know, he still has not given out most of the awards he was meant to pass out that day. The Patriot Front member promotions that were supposed to happen at that ceremony had to be delayed until the next Patriot Front national Mumble call. Unfortunately for the promoted fascists, that Mumble call ended up also being infiltrated by antifascists! The full audio from that call was recorded, and leaked online, including clips of Thomas specifically instructing listening members on how, when, and for how long, they were expected clap for him throughout his speech(es).
Instead of receiving awards from their leaders – that evening Patriot Front rank-and-file members incurred financial penalties and physical hardship. According to the fascists’ own estimates, they sustained thousands and thousands of dollars in damages in exchange for the privilege of speed-walking through the National Mall under police escort. Many members who flew in for the march from far-away states had trouble making their return flights in time, and some missed them entirely. Among those who drove, there were days-long delays in getting home due to a lack of drive-able vehicles, overlooked punctured tires blowing out after two hours on the road, and overall lack of organization. Some were only able to find rides to the far side of their home states, where they were then stranded, with no way to get themselves all the way home. Patriot Front even abandoned one unpopular member in Virginia with a disabled car and no way to get back to South Dakota.
All in all, many, many fascists’ feelings (and windshields! and egos!) were hurt, and the salt was exquisite.
While we did not achieve all of the goals we’d had for this counter-action, we did strike a number of serious blows to Patriot Front on December 4th:
- The public and media responses to their march through D.C. – and to their U-Haul “struggles” in particular – made them an object of both ridicule and revulsion. At the same time, their (ultimately failed) efforts to maintain operational security and anonymity provoked extreme suspicion from the conservative/conspiratorial right, who overwhelmingly now dismiss Patriot Front as “obvious feds.”
- Our targeted sabotage definitely had a material impact on Patriot Front’s ability to organize. Their chats indicate that – after factoring in individual insurance policies – the damage to their various vehicles cost members around $8,000 of their own money. The additional, untallied costs members incurred, like hotel stays, new plane tickets, missed work days, and so on, undoubtedly pushes that damages figure even higher.
- In their damage assessments, Patriot Front also reported that the refurbished bus that Network Director Carter MO had worked on for months, and poured thousands of dollars into repairing, was “total fucked”[sic] that evening at the vehicle exchange site. They abandoned it to the tow company/scrapyard.
By carefully leveraging information from infiltrators when taking action, we were able to sow an incredible amount of distrust, paranoia, anger, and frustration among Patriot Front’s membership. We hope our account of being dangerous together will prove helpful and informative for other antifascists, wherever you might be! We love you.
Fuck Patriot Front and fascists everywhere!