Filed under: Anti-fascist, Editorials, Featured, US
On Saturday, May 13th, a coalition of neo-Nazi groups organized a daytime march in Charlottesville, VA, which essentially was a protest of a local cultural festival, and were quickly rebuffed by community members. Then later in the evening, in a move that for many brought back memories of the Ku Klux Klan, the same group organized a torch-lit rally. The neo-Nazis gathered in support of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee that is slated to be removed by the city. During the day, dozens of Alt-Right members marched and scuffles broke out with counter-demonstrators, although no arrests were made. Later that evening, over 100 fascists held Tiki torches and took photos of themselves before their gathering was broken up by police as counter-demonstrators arrived after about 10 minutes. The rallies were not announced ahead of time and were organized through internal white nationalist, neo-Nazi, and Alt-Right networks, ostensibly in order to avoid confrontations with counter-demonstrators. The neo-Nazi demonstrations did not pull from local people, but instead from white supremacists across the US being brought in, all for the purpose of creating a media spectacle.
Three of the leading neo-Nazis who helped organize and attended the Charlottesville, VA rally. On the left, Mike Peinovich and Matthew Heimbach give the “OK” hand sign, popular among the Alt-Right.
The next night, a much larger group, over 250 people of all colors, mobilized in front of the statue with candles for a demonstration against white supremacy and fascism. Several Alt-Right trolls arrived on the scene to livestream and police reportedly made three arrests.
The actions by the neo-Nazis have led many politicians, media pundits, and personalities on social media to both condemn the events and mock everything from the Alt-Right’s Tiki torches to Richard Spencer’s “snug”-fitting coat. At the same time, hardly anyone in the media has offered much analysis and information on these groups, who they are, and why they need to be confronted. For the media, the Alt-Right isn’t a danger–like Trump–it’s a godsend since it gets clicks and viewers, which in turn sells advertising. If the centrist and liberal media is good at one thing, it’s giving a massive platform to the Alt-Right, which has helped mainstream its white supremacist and fascist ideas while supposedly mocking it. “Thank god for fascism,” liberals mutter, “It’s the only thing that makes us appear relevant.”
— Richard ☀️ Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) May 14, 2017
The neo-Nazi rally that happened in support of Confederate statues in the South should be seen as the threat and danger that it is. Far right and white nationalist groups across the US are putting differences aside and coming together. The rallies on Saturday were organized by a coalition of neo-Nazi groups from across the United States, the leadership of which lives largely outside of Virginia. If people are not ready to confront, out-organize, and push back against this threat, then those groups will only grow in size and continue attacking anyone who gets in their way or who is seen as an enemy to “the white race” and should not be allowed to live within the borders of their sought-after “ethno-state.”
But who are these people? Follow us as we map out their groups, their leaders, and their connections.
Richard Spencer, Rich Boy Fascist Who Gets Wealth from Parents and Cotton Farm
Richard Spencer is known for coining the term “Alt-Right” almost 10 years ago and, since then, he has become arguably the most famous neo-Nazi and white nationalist in the United States. Spencer is also the leader of the rally on Saturday, as his celebrity and media spotlight have thrust him into a leadership position among Alt-Right, neo-Nazi, and white nationalist groups.
Born in Boston to an eye doctor and a real estate businesswoman, Spencer attended both private schools and prestigious universities. After college, Spencer drifted farther to the Right, through racist ideologies such as paleoconservatism, until finally creating a new form of white nationalist ideology, the “Alternative Right.”
Neo-Nazi salutes go up in Washington, DC during a conference Spencer organized.
Spencer was thrust into the national spotlight when, in late 2016 after Trump had received an electoral victory, he organized a conference in Washington, DC and after his speech yelled, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” Immediately the crowd wearing red Trump hats began to give neo-Nazi salutes. Many of the people in the audience were the same people who attended the rally that took place on Saturday.
Richard Spencer runs the National Policy Institute (NPI), which puts on conferences where a range of speakers from pseudo-academics to social media personalities discuss faux-scientific theories of how black people are genetically inferior to whites and how there are Jewish conspiracies to carry out “White genocide.” Beyond NPI, Spencer also runs a distribution company for a variety of white nationalist and Alt-Right books and publications, as well as the website AltRight.com. This website features the writings of various white nationalist authors including Brittany Pettibone, who (according to some reports) is the girlfriend of Kyle Chapman, aka, “Based Stickman” of Daly City, California (and who is currently married). Other writers for the site include Nathan Damigo, who we will discuss later.
Richard Spencer also has a lot of time to spend organizing neo-Nazi rallies–he doesn’t work; rather, he gets money from his parents and from government subsidies due to his family cotton farm. According to NY Mag:
He is also, according to a new report from Reveal, one of the absentee landlords on his family’s 5,200-acre cotton and corn farm in a poor, rural area of Louisiana. That farm is also heavily supported by the United States government; between 2008 and 2015, the operation received $2 million in federal farm subsidies.
The basis of Richard Spencer’s belief system is rooted in inequality, primarily racial inequality. In one essay for Radix, the journal of NPI, Spencer wrote:
A CENTURY AND A HALF AGO, ALEXANDER STEPHENS, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAS FACED WITH THE PROSPECT OF THE VICTORY OR ANNIHILATION OF HIS NATION AND FLEDGLING STATE IN WHAT IS NOW REFERRED TO AS THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR.
IN HIS GREATEST ADDRESS, “THE CORNERSTONE OF THE CONFEDERACY,” HE DID NOT SPEAK (MENDACIOUSLY) ABOUT “STATES RIGHTS” OR ANY KIND OF CONSTITUTIONAL LEGALITY. HE INSTEAD CUT TO THE HEART OF THE SOCIAL ORDER HE WAS OPPOSING. HE STRESSED THAT THE CONFEDERACY WAS BASED ON THE CONCLUSION THAT THOMAS JEFFERSON WAS WRONG; THE “CORNERSTONE” OF THE NEW STATE WAS THE “PHYSICAL, PHILOSOPHICAL, AND MORAL TRUTH” OF HUMAN INEQUALITY.
OURS, TOO, SHOULD BE A DECLARATION OF DIFFERENCE AND DISTANCE—”WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT; THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED UNEQUAL.” IN THE WAKE OF THE OLD WORLD, THIS WILL BE OUR PROPOSITION.
Spencer claims that there is a shared culture and even spirit that unites all white people; but speaking of inequality, few white people will ever have the wealth and privileges that Spencer has. Few will be able to travel and spend money freely because their parents are rich and the government gives them free money for their farm that they themselves don’t work on.
The kind of worldview and political system that celebrates and holds up racial, class, and gender hierarchies–fascism–is the same one that Spencer embraces and fights for. And no wonder, as such a state would not only elevate his position in the world, but protect and strengthen it.
The last time Spencer was this close to a Tiki torch, his mom told him never to lower himself by going inside a Wal-mart.
Sam Dickson, Wealthy Lawyer for the KKK Who Got Rich Off Swindling African Americans
Sam Dickson is a wealthy lawyer from Atlanta, Georgia. Dickson has made quite a name for himself over the decades representing members of the KKK and has also become wealthy by taking the hard-earned money of poor African Americans.
Sam Dickson holding megaphone, surrounded by other neo-Nazi leaders such as Richard Spencer, Nathan Damigo of Identity Evropa, and Mike Peinovich of The Right Stuff podcast network.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Since 2001, Dickson, a 59-year-old former Klan attorney and active veteran of numerous extreme-right causes and groups, has built a multi-million dollar business in the niche field of tax lien and title acquisition. His success has depended in no small part on keeping his otherwise well-known racism concealed from his targets, many of whom are poor and black. According to those who have observed and worked with Dickson, his profits have been earned through a combination of bullying, stealth, and legal pretzel-making in the arcane world of tax lien purchases, redemptions and foreclosures.
Like Spencer and most of the other neo-Nazis who we present in this overview, Dickson has led a privileged life. Ironically, Dickson became rich carrying out the same dastardly practices that neo-Nazis attribute to “the Jews” in racist caricatures.
Sam Dickson as an attorney has supported members of the KKK.
Dickson has spent most of his life in neo-Nazi circles, preaching everything from Holocaust denial to the genetic supremacy of white people. It is no wonder that now he finds himself standing side by side with Richard Spencer.
Nathan Damigo, the Private School Boy Who Became a White Supremacist in Prison After Reading David Duke
Nathan Damigo grew up in Silicon Valley in California and attended Christian private school before joining the Marines. After getting out of the military, he attacked a working-class cab driver because he thought he was of Iraqi descent.
While in prison for five years, Damigo read My Awakening by neo-Nazi and Klan leader David Duke. After getting out of prison, Damigo became interested in the Identitarian Movement and joined the National Youth Front (NYF), the youth wing of the American Freedom Party, itself formed by neo-Nazi skinheads.
Richard Spencer and Nathan Damigo (right) at the RNC in 2016
But soon Nathan rebranded NYF into Identity Evropa (IE). IE burst onto the scene in 2016, getting a barrage of national media attention as the group put up fascist full-color posters at colleges and universities across the US.
As Nathan remarked to Red Ice TV, a kind of InfoWars for neo-Nazis, he feels that Identity Evropa is “the SS of the movement,” or in other words, the Alt-Right vanguard.
Nathan Damigo shakes hands with friend Jack Palkovic of the Berkeley College Republicans. Damigo has cultivated relationships with a variety of college Republican groups and did outreach for IE at various Republican-organized Milo Yiannopoulos events.
In 2017, Damigo, who currently lives in Northern California, rose into the national spotlight after he punched a much smaller counter-protester at a Alt-Right organized pro-Trump rally in Berkeley, CA before running quickly away, as shown in what became a viral video.
Other neo-Nazi groups have alleged that Identity Evropa is directed and controlled by Richard Spencer himself.
Matthew Heimbach, from Wealthy Suburb to Neo-Nazi Leader of the “Nationalist Front”
Matthew Heimbach grew up in the wealthy suburb of Poolesville, Maryland, son to two history teachers who now refuse to speak to him and have not even seen his young baby.
Matthew Heimbach with other neo-Nazis in front of a giant burning swastika.
In college, Heimbach, like Spencer, moved from paleoconservatism into white nationalism and has since moved on to full-on “National Socialism” and neo-Nazism. Heimbach has also created a kind of neo-Nazi “super-group” by morphing both his own group, the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP), with the National Socialist Movement (NSM), which has become the “Nationalist Front.”‘
In 2016, Heimbach gained some national fame for assaulting an African American protester at a Kentucky Trump rally. The young woman also claims she was called a “nigger” and a “cunt” by Heimbach and members of the TWP. Heimbach is now counter-suing, saying that Donald Trump pushed him to violence. Heimbach has written several essays that call for violently killing opponents of neo-Nazism and sending his enemies to camps to be “re-educated.”
He wrote, in an essay entitled I Hate Freedom:
HOMOSEXUALITY, SEXUAL PERVERSION, RACE MIXING, ABORTION, AND ALL OTHER SORTS OF “TOLERANCE” ALL LAND AT THE FEET OF FREEDOM. THAT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE A VERY GOOD THING FOR THE SURVIVAL OF OUR FOLK, BUT MAYBE THAT’S JUST ME.
AMERICANS ARE FAR TOO SQUEAMISH TO ADMIT THAT SOMETIMES THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT JUST NEED A GOOD OL’ FASHIONED GOVERNMENT BOOT HEEL TO STOMP OUT. WHILE WE TOLERATE HOMESCHOOLERS AND ORGANIC FARMERS BEING ARRESTED AND HARASSED BY THE FEDERAL AUTHORITIES, PEOPLE RUN IN FEAR AT THE IDEA OF BREAKING UP A HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE CEREMONY, TORCHING AN ABORTION CLINIC, OR DOING ANY ACTION THAT BENEFITS THE OVERALL HEALTH AND CULTURE OF THEIR PEOPLE.
RABID DOGS ARE PUT DOWN, NOT ALLOWED AROUND THE FAMILY KIDS. OUR ENEMIES ARE SICK ANIMALS AND WE NEED TO TREAT THEM AS SUCH.
In early April, Heimbach and other TWP members showed up to provide security for Richard Spencer while he did a talk at the Auburn campus in Alabama. When the talk ended, students began to chase the neo-Nazis. At one point, Heimbach and his minions turned and tried to rush the students while screaming “Sieg Hail!” They were quickly rebuffed and several were beaten as Richard Spencer and others were taken to safety under a police escort.
For years Heimbach and Spencer have been at odds, largely because Spencer thinks that Heimbach is stupid and makes even him look bad; but now, they openly work together.
The National Socialist Movement (NSM) is another neo-Nazi group that is part of the “Nationalist Front,” which Heimbach now leads.
In late April, Heimbach and other neo-Nazi leaders, including Mike Peinovich (who we will discuss next), held a rally in Pikeville, Kentucky in an attempt to recruit poor and working-class white people to their neo-Nazi cause. The rally was a disaster and many locals joined the antifascist protest. In the neo-Nazi demonstration, people openly showed off their swastika tattoos and also pointed at people of color while making motions of slitting their throats. During the rally, the crowd chanted “Heil Heimbach” while giving the neo-Nazi salute.
Chants of "Heil Heimbach" from Hitler loving Nazi saluters in #Pikeville
These were the same Nazis protecting Richard Spencer in #Auburn https://t.co/oaokljQ6Of
— New York City Antifa (@NYCAntifa) April 29, 2017
A journalist asked Heimbach if he thought that Hitler was a good person and that interracial couples should be placed into “re-education camps.’ To both questions, Heimbach stated, “Yes.”
Mike Peinovich, the Tech Bro Neo-Nazi Podcaster Ashamed of His Jewish Ex-Wife
Mike Peinovich, who resides in New York, is a leader within The Right Stuff (TRS) neo-Nazi podcast network and has produced his own podcasts with several other Alt-Right personalities. Under Peinovich’s leadership, the show moved to openly use racial slurs and horrific Holocaust references, such as “Put ’em in the Oven.”
Under Peinovich, TRS also began to promote openly genocidal and exterminationist ideas, especially regarding African Americans and Jewish people.
Mike Peinovich with his former wife, who is Jewish. Peinovich pushed some of the most violent, openly neo-Nazi, and pro-genocide content found among the Alt-Right.
After a round of infighting with other online neo-Nazi forums, however, all of the show’s leadership had their personal information reviewed. Mike “Enoch” suddenly became known by his real name, Mike Peinovich, and was exposed to be someone who worked in the tech sector and, surprisingly, had a Jewish wife who had even come on Mike’s podcasts.
Mike Peinovich gives a neo-Nazi salute.
After it came out that Peinovich was a full on neo-Nazi, he divorced his wife and came out more about his racist activism. Soon after, Peinovich was quickly recruited by Richard Spencer for more aggressive street action and public speaking events.
Why We Need to Oppose these Groups
To say that these people are neo-Nazis is not sensational hyperbole. They openly talk about genocide, about the need to sterilize black people, and the need to “ethnically cleanse” the US. They say that queer and trans people, those in racially mixed relationships, and anyone to the Left of themselves needs to be put into “re-education camps.”
The liberals in the mainstream press think that we can “laugh at them” and they will go away. But each month, another mosque is burned, another shooting or far-Right murder takes place, and waves of Alt-Right vandalism and terror keep on happening.
To stop the growth of a new fascist movement, we have to physically oppose it. We have to out-organize it and we have to counter it with everything we have.
People didn’t laugh the KKK out of existence. They fought back, they armed themselves, and they stood their ground. The question is, what will we do?