Filed under: Analysis, Anti-fascist, US, War
Several neo-Nazis that attended and helped organize the deadly ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, VA, claim they are in communication with the organizers of the ‘Rage Against the War Machine,’ rally in Washington DC, which is bringing together various pro-Putin trolls, far-Right grifters, and conspiracy theorists.
According to a livestream from the “Patriotic Socialist Front,” which includes long-time neo-Nazi organizer Matthew Heimbach, former member of Vanguard America and Ohio National Guardsman, Shandon Simpson, and the leader of the group, “Andrew,” the organization plans to travel to the ‘Rage Against the War Machine’ rally in DC, fly a “National Bolshevik” flag, and also table at the event. During the livestream, Simpson states that Heimbach, “has had more communications with some of the people involved…”
Matthew Heimbach has been involved in white supremacist politics for around a decade, after getting involved in the emerging Alt-Right after joining Youth for Western Civilization in college. Heimbach embraced both the Greek Orthodox church and the Strasserite wing of the German Nazi party, formed the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP), and helped build an alliance of Ku-Klux-Klan, neo-Confederate, and neo-Nazi groups called the Nationalist Front.
The Nationalist Front played a key role in the violence that took place during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, where Heimbach was scheduled to be a featured speaker. Shandon Simpson can even be seen in photos from the rally to be standing next to James Alex Fields, Jr., who would later in the day ram his car into a group of marchers, murdering anti-racist counter-protester Heather Heyer and injuring many more.
Three years later in 2020, Simpson generated headlines when it was revealed that he was part of a deployment of national guard troops activated to be used against Black Lives Matter protesters following the police murder of George Floyd. Simpson’s white supremacist views were made public and he was pulled from the front lines. According to Unicorn Riot:
The soldier’s white supremacist affiliations have been reported by the Associated Press as well as Jared Holt, an investigative journalist at Right Wing Watch. According to Right Wing Watch, the Ohio National Guard “stated the member was part of Company C, 1st Battalion, 148th Infantry Regiment.” The white supremacist soldier has also been tied via Jared Holt’s reporting to a YouTube channel operated operated under the alias ‘Zoltanous HN‘.
A message on a Telegram chat channel tied to the ‘Zoltanous HN’ YouTube channel shows that the man behind the ‘Zoltanous’ persona indicated he suspected he would be reported on in the news. He also commented with enthusiasm about “my unit” being “activated” with “real ammunition” alongside a call for ‘RaHoWa‘, a neo-nazi slang term that is short for “racial holy war.”
And while Simpson dreamed of carrying out a “racial holy war” against the millions of people who rose up in the face of police violence in the United States, Heimbach openly called for the full on genocide of Jews. On a podcast in 2017, Heimbach stated:
Exterminationism toward the Jews is the only way to do it. Cause they will plant a seed anywhere, like in Antarctica if they have to. If we don’t get them all they will come back. Like they have to fucking go, every God damn one of them. The international Jew and the local Jew, I don’t care if he runs a fucking bagel shop, he’s got to go.
In 2018, Heimbach attacked his father-in-law and fellow white supremacist, Matthew Parrot, after Parrot confronted him for having an affair with Parrot’s wife – and Heimbach’s mother-in-law. Parrot is also the biological father of Heimbach’s wife, Brooke, who Heimbach then attacked in front of his own child, after she also confronted him about the affair. Heimbach soon found himself in jail for domestic abuse, his second violent assault after attacking a young African-American woman at a Trump rally while a group of neo-Nazis screamed racial slurs.
Fascist Matt Heimbach has been trying to get inside East TN Democratic Party circles by saying he's part of DSA. He's not, and every East TN Dem should be on notice that this man is a fascist and will promote racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism https://t.co/04hOiASBHD pic.twitter.com/ukSYrodVB3
— Chattanooga DSA🚂🌹 (@dsa_chatt) August 14, 2018
Following Heimbach’s imprisonment, the TWP quickly fell apart and some on the fascist far-Right disowned him. When Heimbach got out of jail, he attempted to join a local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), but was quickly removed. He then attempted to re-brand himself as a “former” white supremacist and began working with the much discredited group, Light Upon Light (LUL), however while online, Heimbach continued to post in support of fascist leaders, anti-Semitism, and white racial nationalism. Around this time, Heimbach famously did an interview with “libertarian socialist” folk-singer David Rovics, where, in a dramatic retelling of his origin story, argued that anti-white sentiment on the Left thrust him into the arms of open white supremacists.
By late 2020, Heimbach had begun to brand himself as a “National Bolshevik,” an ideology that attempts to mix together Stalinism and Hitler’s national socialism and anti-Semitism. In June of 2021, Heimbach was also outed when he attempted to worm his way into speaking at a “Medicare for All” rally. Heimbach also began producing a YouTube show entitled, “National Bolshevik Radio,” alongside a member of Patriot Front, a re-brand of the neo-Nazi group, Vanguard America.
As one report on It’s Going Down wrote:
According to the same podcast Heimbach worked on throughout 2020, he expressed a desire to bring together third positionists, Strasserites (left-wing neo-Nazis), and National Bolsheviks. On social media, Heimbach has also continued to praise the works of fascist and Holocaust denier David Irving and hold up ultra-nationalist, fascist, and anti-Semite Corneliu Zelea Codreanu as an ideological hero.
[Heimbach has] never addressed the violence committed by himself and other [TWP] party members, which includes: multiple antifascists being stabbed in 2016 in Sacramento by members of his organization; the murder of Heather Heyer at Charlottesville (the killer supported a member of an umbrella organization that Heimbach led); his association with neo-Nazi groups like Atomwaffen Division who advocated terrorism and have been linked to five murders; and his knowledge about Highlander Civil Rights Center arson—not to mention his own open embrace of exterminationist politics, including calling for the murder of all Jews. This is to say nothing about his own history of domestic abuse which became so toxic that even other neo-Nazis wanted nothing to do with him.
On the recent Patriotic Socialist Front livestream, Heimbach expressed similar sentiments: wanting to build a coalition including far-Right fascists, neo-Nazis/national socialists, and “Patriotic” socialists such as himself. Whether Heimbach is calling himself a national socialist, a Strasserite, Patriotic socialist, or National Bolshevik – doesn’t really matter, the views are almost identical: they all call for an authoritarian, fascist state, ethnic and racial nationalism and separation, stanning Putin, China, and North Korea, promoting anti-Semitism, embracing patriarchy and the “traditional family,” and hatred of the LGBTQ community in the name of “Christian values.”
And if Heimbach is looking for allies among the “Rage Against the War Machine” crowd, he’s come to the right place. Alongside washed-up YouTubers like Jimmy Dore and crusty politicians like Ron Paul, Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, and Tulsi Gabbard, the rally will feature speakers from the Alt-Right adjacent Mises Caucus of the Libertarian Party, a musician associated with the Oath Keepers militia, followers of the fascist and anti-Semitic LaRouche movement, “journalists” with the pro-Russia outlet, GrayZone, and promoters of “MAGA Communism” and the pro-Putin group, the Center for Political Innovation (CPI), which recently dissolved after former members came forward documenting abuse at the hands of the group’s leader, Caleb Maupin.
As Daily Kos wrote:
[W]hen you run down the list of speakers, it’s hard not to notice that the supposed “left-wing” voices scheduled to appear onstage are all part of a faction of self-described progressives who, in the name of establishing their credentials as “independent thinkers,” have embraced a variety of far-right talking points ranging from the war in Ukraine to COVID-19 denialism. The rest of the roster is filled out with extremist demagogues associated either with the far-right Lyndon LaRouche cult or the antidemocratic “Patriot” movement that formed the nexus of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
In a nutshell, it’s a roster designed to promote a “coalition of the left and right,” ostensibly against war—but not against the Russian invasion that is its cause in Ukraine. Each of the speakers, in fact, has a record of extremism that ultimately supports far-right causes.
None of those involved in the ‘Rage Against the War Machine’ rally have anything to do with supporting and organizing social movements from below – in fact, many of them are outright antagonistic to grassroots social struggles and have actively worked to attack them. These people also aren’t “anti-war” – many are pro-Putin! Those taking the stage in DC are united insofar as they are interested in growing their online audience and followers, largely by tapping into the wider currents already established by Qanon, COVID-19 denialism, and the Trump movement. For months, people like Jimmy Dore and Max Blumenthal have already been testing the waters by appearing at rallies promoting COVID-19 disinformation and appearing on Tucker Carlson. “Rage Against the War Machine” is just one more logical step for a set of “Left” grifters attempting to establish themselves among the far-Right, in an effort to maintain an audience and revenue stream.
Real organizing among poor and working people takes work, as does building actual coalitions and relationships with people in our schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces. Looking back at anti-war movements in the past, we can learn from port blockades which stopped the shipment of weapons, counter-recruitment organizing at schools, and mass protests that targeted war profiteers. We can also work to support troops who refuse to fight and those in Russia and beyond who are fighting the war machine on the front-lines. The eruptions of the past six years already give us a grand toolbox to pull from and we should continue to be on-guard against anyone who claims that forming alliances with fascists, white supremacists, and conspiracy theorists will get us anywhere.