Filed under: Analysis, Anti-fascist, US
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
About two weeks ago, an article was submitted to IGD that included detailed information about a University of Nebraska-Omaha student, Cooper Ward, claiming that he was in fact the Deputy Director of American Vanguard (formerly American Reaction). American Vanguard is part of the so-called “Alt-Right,” and has close ties to The Right Stuff radio and podcast network (Ward is a co-host on The Daily Shoah, which means The Daily Holocaust) along with other white nationalist and Neo-Nazi formations. According to their website they meet regularly, have several chapters across the US, and have close connections to Counter-Currents Publishing, Identity Evropa, and other such Alt-Right groups.
American Vanguard members meet with Identity Evropa and TRS. From their website.
Along with Identity Evropa and the Traditionalist Worker Party, AV is one of the few groups to attempt to bring their ideas off of the internet, with predictably weak and limited success. Like IE, AV spends most of their time holding meetups with their membership and putting up and distributing slick and glossy posters around universities. AV stands apart from IE in their embrace of much more traditional Neo-Nazi aesthetics, such as their use of the fasces (a bundle of sticks wrapped around an ax), and images of stormtroopers.
— Hatewatch (@Hatewatch) December 16, 2016
Soon after the article on Ward was submitted to IGD, Ward himself emailed us claiming to not be the person who the article stated he was. In an email entitled, “You Win” Ward wrote from his firstname.lastname@example.org email:
Your piece on me, “UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-OMAHA STUDENT COOPER WARD, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF AMERICAN VANGUARD” is inaccurate.
For your awareness, I am not involved in a “nazi” podcast, nor am I “deputy” of American Vanguard. I’m not even a member. I am involved in Alt-Right media, and nothing beyond that.
Regardless, I will halt all Alt-Right media I produce (indefinitely) if you simply remove the article about me. Specifically, I will leave the podcast, and cut all ties with Alt-Right media.
However, a quick look at Ward and the internet trail of cookie crumbs he left shows quite clearly who he is and what he is involved in.
Ghoul’s Night Out
As stated in the social media run by American Vanguard, “Ghoul” is the deputy director of the organization.
But who is Ghoul? Cooper Ward makes it easy to find out!
“I am Ghoul” Thanks for the scoop Coop!
“we aren’t sneaky about it we’ve never pretended we weren’t white nationalist”
Why look, Cooper promoting AV!
“I printed these. I’m heavily involved in American Vanguard…”
Beyond clearly being the Deputy Director of American Vanguard, Ghoul aka Cooper Ward also plays a role in The Right Stuff podcast radio network which has been instrumental for growing the Alt-Right into a large internet subculture and also providing space for talking heads like Nathan Damigo, Richard Spencer, and Andrew Anglin. Only several days after writing to IGD, Ward both wrote an article on TRS and appeared on The Daily Shoah along with Andrew Anglin of The Daily Stormer, a flagship Neo-Nazi website within the Alt-Right that is known for its disgusting and guttural depictions of Jews and glowing admiration of Adolf Hitler. Most recently, Andrew Anglin has also gained much media attention after unleashing a “troll storm” in support of Richard Spencer’s mother, who claims that townspeople in Whitefish, Montana don’t like her because her son is a Nazi. In response, Andrew is no saying that he will bus in 200 skinheads from the bay area to hold an open carry protest march ‘against Jews.’
Ghoul also isn’t someone devoid of politics, which again makes his case that he simply stumbled into Alt-Right circles but never ran with the big scary boys, that much more non-believable. Here’s a quote from an article in 2014, from TRS:
Our shared living conditions are completely reliant on the physical and psychological health of society at large. When the physical or psychological health is threatened, it’s the duty of powers that be to secure the populace from the threat, be it internal or external. Pinochet is a good example of this. The physical defense is obvious, but the poison of Locke defends the modern internal self-destructive interaction, lifestyles, and philosophies.
It’s important to note that TRS and associated projects such as TDS and others are open and clear about their National Socialist (aka Neo-Nazi) politics and openly use racial slurs. Even just a simple search of ‘Ghoul’ and ‘Daily Shoah’ brings up a youtube song called “Kill N*****s” made by Ghoul and makes reference to the Moonman meme used in many Alt-Right circles.
Furthermore, TRS is also largely where the base of Alt-Right is located, and it is also where people like Richard Spencer are moving closer and closer to in order to pick up more support. And it is this embrace has led to deep divisions, as large portions of the leadership of the Alt-Right continue to distance themselves farther and farther from its younger membership as the movement splits apart just as Trump takes the reigns of power. As The Guardian wrote:
On /pol/, the political discussion board of the anonymous message-board 4chan, one poster wrote: “Already reneging on his word before he even takes office?! People will remember that.”
A post on Reddit’s r/altright board, one of the movement’s home bases, linked to Trump’s disavowal at the New York Times meeting and asked: “Anyone here feeling bamboozled by the Donald?” Dozens of commenters responded.
“You are fooled if you think Trump was going to give us some sort of permission slip to start cleansing America. He isn’t our ‘man on a white horse’,” one said.
Another wrote: “Trump can’t be non-negative on the alt-right. We support him because he agrees with us on important policy goals, not because he flatters us.”
Reactions to Nazi salutes at a recent National Policy Institute conference in Washington DC have also largely been critical and negative:
Over on 4chan’s /pol/, fierce discussion was raging on the issue of how to deal with Richard Spencer and his neo-Nazi event. Many thought that Trump was right to disavow him.
Another wrote: “The leaders of the Alt-Right no longer look like attractive, young, rebellious counter-culture intellectuals, but now they look like fat, dumb racists.”
Opinion on the board was split, with many saying that the entire debacle was a “false flag” operation cooked up to discredit their movement, and others – a small minority – calling for the board to rally in support of Spencer.
Further still, most ‘Alt-Right’ founding fathers have also thrown Spencer under the bus:
“Their hearts are bigger than their brains,” said Mark Weber, who runs the Institute for Historical Review, an organisation dedicated to exposing “Jewish-Zionist” power. “Saying they want to be the intellectual head of the Trump presidency is delusional.”
David Cole, a self-proclaimed Holocaust revisionist and Taki magazine columnist, envisaged the movement sliding into bickering and in-fighting, stuck in “rabbit warrens” of online trolling rather than policy shaping.
“In January Trump will start governing and will have to make compromises. Even small ones will trigger squabbles between the ‘alt-right’. ‘Trump betrayed us.’ ‘No, you’re betraying us for saying Trump betrayed us.’ And so on. The alt-right’s appearance of influence will diminish more and more as they start to fight amongst themselves.”
Jared Taylor [a white supremacist with American Renaissance], agreed [that Nazi salutes at the NPI conference had a negative affect]. “It was going very well until (then). Richard Spencer has said that the way he closed the talk was meant as pure irony, and I hope that’s the case, that it was all ironic and over-exuberance. I don’t think that anything that has any whiff of Nazism is a particularly effective way to bring Americans or even Europeans to an effective understanding of race.”
Cole said Spencer, a rising star of the far-right movement, overreached. “He blew a lot of goodwill … and became an embarrassment to some of his own people.”
Spencer and his supporters will pay for hubris, Cole predicted. “They’ll burn out. After Trump’s victory they had a belief they were behind it, or had a lot of clout. All they can hope for is to get something on the immigration reform/restrictions. Otherwise they’re enjoying the bragging rights, saying they won it, even though they didn’t.”
In the span of only a few weeks, the Alt-Right has seen the older leadership disavow the younger generation, while the ‘rising stars’ of white nationalism are forced to embrace the very people they have spent years attempting to distance themselves from. It would seem that the Alt-Right ‘movement’ is dead before it even got a chance to move off the internet.
Loose Lips, American Vanguard Ships
In another email with IGD, Ward Cooper also went on to offer information about the Alt-Right and various white nationalist groups in exchange for the article to be taken down. On the subject of TRS, Cooper wrote:
OPSEC [operational security] is strong in TRS, so all I can tell you is it is mostly East Coast based.
Cooper then went on to talk about IronMarch, a Neo-Nazi web-forum that picks up from where Stormfront left off and is aimed at younger millennials. American Vanguard grew out of Iron March and has a deep and heavy beef with the group. As Cooper wrote:
AV’s relationship to the altright is that they were originally from IronMarch, but eventually shunned by Ironmarch because they weren’t edgy nazis, and ironmarch is pretty dead set on being as edgy as possible. AV, as nationalists, have admirers in CC [Counter-Currents Publishing], and TRS.
For further evidence of the deep and drastic splits within the Alt-Right and white nationalism, we now turn towards this recorded voice conference between American Vanguard members that can be listened to here. The call features three to four members discussing their personal beefs with various segments of the Neo-Nazi, white nationalist, and Alt-Right scene. They start off by discussing their problems with Iron March and accuse them of shit talking and hating on AV as a group, and also state that their Southern California chapter leader comes from IM. They then discuss how they can possibly shut down the Iron March website by complaining about it to the web hosting company for being “racist.” At around 8 minutes in, the three AV members discuss how their internet projects have crumbled due to bad security culture and how weak their vouching system is, leaving them open to infiltrators.
At around 11:45 minutes in, the group then turns to attacking Richard Spencer. While the group says that Spencer is an ok speaker, they pick up that when he talks in person he sounds like a bad student that still has a lot of confidence because he comes from a rich family, and often gets very nervous. They then discuss how Richard Spencer through the National Policy Institute (NPI) essentially runs Identity Evropa:
He [Spencer], is basically proxy running Identity Evropa. I know a lot of guys that are in Identity Evropa, it is literally a proxy group for NPI. It’s their IRL [In Real Life group].
At around 13 minutes in, another voice, guessed to be Cooper, states:
I heard in LA [Identity Evropa] is basically the American Freedom Party.
They then go on to state that they want to possibly dox (release personal info via the internet) some various far-Right people, including “Nat,” the leader of Iron March. Around 20 minutes in, a new voice (says they are aged 17 and live in Chicago) claims that they were made the head of the Chicago chapter by “John,” which seems to anger the lead voice, who states:
You can’t just do that John.
They then proceed to talk shit on the AtomWaffen Division [division of Iron March], which posted flyers up around the a Chicago University LGBTQ Center in early December.
At around 24 minutes in, the group then talks about moving away from just posting up posters at universities, since the media is saturated with stories about them now. The ‘leader’ states that they will have rallies and a conference during the summer of 2017, and notes the work done by Neo-Nazi group, National Action, as a possibly model. Around 26 minutes, they discuss how one of the people on the call located in Oklahoma and is currently in the Marines, and the conversation revolves around if the person in the military is in danger of getting kicked out. The leader then discusses how he is also in the ROTC and worries about getting kicked out as well, and mentions how George Lincoln Rockwell, the leader of the American Nazi Party, also faced such challenges. Another speaker then mentions how they are close to Montclair University in New Jersey. 30 minutes in, a joke is made that insinuates that Alt-Right ‘star’ Matt Forney goes to Thailand to have sex with prostitutes. 32 minutes in, the leader makes sure that everyone in the group owns a polo shirt and then mentions that they will do security at an upcoming event in 2017 after calming the rank-n-file about the ins and outs of polo shirts:
NPI 2017, next year, we’re going to try and do security there. October for sure.
Before signing off, one American Vanguard member states:
If this group is even around by that time [to do security at the NPI conference]. I’ve only been in groups that last 6 or 7 months.
Lessons for Anarchists and Anti-Fascists
The sad and feeble sketch of the Alt-Right scene shows these people to be the pathetic internet trolls that they are. Would anarchists and anti-fascists ever grovel and beg a Neo-Nazi website to take down information, and worse yet, offer to exchange information about comrades in return for favors from their enemies? Of course not. Anarchists across the centuries have fought and died to defeat patriarchy, fascism, and white supremacy and continue to do so. These weak, disgusting, and cowardly snitches that make up the current breed are not a movement, but a sad and sorry sect.
But what they are shows us what we do not want to be, a subculture based around social capital and cults of personality. Our power lies in our ability to fight and organize with communities already in struggle as we find a currency to our ideas within a broader population. We also see how just getting mainstream media attention doesn’t actually mean anything, as the media now turns on the Alt-Right to mock it as it falls apart.
Let us learn from these miserable trolls. We should not talk shit and snipe at each other online or in podcasts; if we have problems with each other, let’s talk face to face and settle things like human beings. Let’s spend more time treating each other like comrades than as disposable people that will be gone in 6 months.
We aren’t an internet subculture. We aren’t a media hype. We aren’t a faction that helped elect a billionaire. We are a material force working to remake our lives and the world. Let’s organize, fight, and act like it.