Filed under: Anti-fascist, Editorials, Northwest
From Rose City Antifa
Florida fascist Atlee Yarrow is trying to organize an open carry protest to shut down a movie screening at a Portland synagogue, doing this from afar using Facebook organizing. The attempted protest is the latest in a series of internet-instigated campaigns to bolster the white supremacist movement in our region. Perhaps the first in this series was a Portland State White Student Union page that surfaced on Facebook last November; this was part of a wider internet effort in which false White Student Union pages popped up for colleges and universities across the country. The subsequent organization of PSU Students for Donald Trump–which also existed off the internet–garnered a lot of media coverage.
This publicity was exponentially increased by the involvement of “LaughingatLiberals” and “Infowars,” two widely-viewed internet sources of right-wing propaganda. The recent arrest of the local man responsible for LaughingatLiberals, 36-year-old Michael Strickland, for waving a loaded gun at a crowd of Black Lives Matter demonstrators in downtown Portland, was the immediate catalyst for this latest online call to action. The event now being targeted by the call to action is a viewing of Under the Gun, a pro gun-control documentary. The showing is sponsored by the group Moms Demand Action to be shown at Temple Beth Israel in Portland at 7pm on Tuesday July 26th. The fact that this is a women’s group meeting at a synagogue make it a prime target, as contempt for women and Jews are ubiquitous unifying themes in reactionary internet groupings.
In this article we will discuss the prior exploits of Pioneer Little Europe, and the backdrop of Portland State Students for Donald Trump. Both of these projects have achieved increased reach through the use of internet forums and media channels. Despite being mainly online projects they can have real life implications that range from merely annoying to actual violence. In today’s political climate we see an upsurge of reactionary lone wolf violence which originated in echo chambers in the dark corners of the internet. Today’s extreme right activity often skips the step of building collective organizations outside the internet, and moves straight from anonymous posting to picking up an assault rifle. On the lesser end of the immediate harm spectrum we have seen Volodymyr Kolychev of Portland State Students for Donald Trump, who has increased political opportunities for white nationalists on campus and in Portland, through his utilization of internet trolling techniques. Traditional liberal methods of protest have been ineffective and only increased his radio signal.
Meanwhile, Pioneer Little Europe has been ceaselessly chugging out fake profiles and waging a war of internet attrition whereby they have shut down numerous left wing and antifascist pages and facebook accounts via unending complaints to admins. While Pioneer Little Europe often claims that they are “hacking,” what they actually do is closer to releasing an army of puppet accounts to drum up terms of service (ToS) violations. While they hardly ever get quality information on activists, they consistently pester antifascists and other groups. As antifascists we need to explore ways to eliminate these threats and find new, more effective means to strike back. At a time when a candidate who has energized the white nationalist movement, may now actually become President, it is more important than ever that we are prepared to step up to these challenges
Pioneer Little Europe and Atlee Yarrow
Yarrow is a former Socialist Party USA member. After unsuccessfully trying to inject the party with a white supremacist agenda, he was kicked out and became a member of the already white nationalist American Freedom Party (an organization which Rose City Antifa wrote about here). Yarrow ran an unsuccessful bid to be the Florida governor in 2014. He is a far-Right Catholic who takes an ultra reactionary stance on just about everything. These days he spends his time in Jacksonville Beach, Florida doing what he calls “ghost activism.” This is Yarrow’s term for internet trolling, specifically via Facebook. He creates seed pages in hopes of getting just about anyone interested in the specific political plan put forward by the Pioneer Little Europe project.
The PLE plan is to create whites-only enclaves and self-sufficient communities, while taking over local institutions to solidify white power. A good example of this strategy can be seen in the actions of PLE supporter Craig Cobb. Cobb made national news when he unsuccessfully tried to pioneer a white supremacist township in Leith, South Dakota in 2013. After the collapse of the Leith project Yarrow was booted from this version of PLE. But that didn’t stop him from taking their name on facebook and creating a trolling empire.
A quick facebook search will show a number of state chapters of PLE each with their own page. However most of these chapters do not seem to exist off the internet. The original PLE even openly tells others not to “like” these pages as they have nothing to do with their organization. Yarrow with the help of a few friends has created a web of pages on social media, all which post the exact same information. Posts in these pages include Zionist conspiracy theories, gun rights, and a host of other issues taken up by the white supremacist milieu. This web of pages is a tactic to create the appearance of a large, nation wide organization with multiple chapters in hopes such an organization will arise as a result. This is strikingly similar to the ‘if you build it, they will come’ tactic employed by the creators of the various White Student Unions (WSU) that emerged last year which had no corresponding physical support. In the case of Portland, Volodymyr Kolychev saw the attention the WSU of Portland State University page received and thus was inspired to create the Portland State Students for Donald Trump group, utilizing and expanding the troll tactics used by the WSU
Yarrow puts a target on the back of anyone whom he considers a race traitor, even his allies. He has successfully taken down the facebook pages of the original PLE group (a site which he is currently cybersquatting), and others on the far right. Another take-down was directed at the Traditionalist Youth Network (also Traditionalist Worker Party) a white nationalist group headed by Matthew Heimbach that recently made headlines for organizing a Sacramento white supremacist rally where multiple antifascists were stabbed.
Other favorite pastimes of Yarrow include trying to identify antifascists who show up at protests unmasked and having activists’ personal facebook pages shutdown. His modus operandi, against the left as well as the right, is having facebook pages taken down so he can cybersquat them to disrupt communication with the public from these groups. Part of this cybersquatting is using old imagery taken from the pages he shut down to pose as the pages in question. He will often post warnings about liking the new pages of the affected groups to keep them from re-building their internet reach.
Yarrow has created these current Portland event pages to try and turn out trigger-happy, second amendment activists along with “anarcho-capitalists” and white nationalists. Yarrow lives in Florida, so he will never attend any action he tries to organize online. Yarrow was recently featured on the podcast “On The Move with Mack Worley” where he promoted the Portland action. Stumbling over the lack of details of the protest, he did state that his team will shoot anyone who prevents them from exercising their Second Amendment rights, especially antifascists. Even the host of the podcast was taken aback by the violent rhetoric.
The Facebook pages promoting the far-Right protest (Gun Free Zones = Crime Spree Zones and Pioneer Little Europe USA) clearly draw from anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and spread white nationalist ideology. This latest event is plainly an attempt to incite neo-Nazis to arm themselves and march on a Jewish house of worship.
Portland State Students for Donald Trump and Volodymyr Kolychev
Kolychev is a Ukrainian born American student. After graduating from Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California in 2014 Kolychev moved with his family to the west hills of Portland. Shortly afterward he enrolled at PSU. Since moving up to the Rose City, Kolychev has become increasingly radicalized, going from identifying as anarcho-capitalist to describing himself as a “race realist.”
Last year Kolychev along with fellow PSU student, Stephen Johnston, decided to capitalize on the publicity garnered by the PSU White Student Union controversy that had taken place. Earlier this year they launched their Portland State Students for Donald Trump page on Facebook. In a matter of months the group spiralled into the national spotlight through a series of media spectacles that effectively combined Kolychev’s over-the-top showmanship and alt-right trolling. Their actions have seen a large number of counter-protesters which have been well-documented by left-baiting veterans such as Michael Strickland. Unfortunately the non-violent counter protests only increased Kolychev’s reach. Video clips of people protesting his Trump group went viral through Kolychev’s key troll allies in the blogosphere such as LaughingatLiberals and InfoWars. As the controversy on campus drew more mainstream attention, Kolychev was granted a number of interviews with the media which further emboldened him. Most gave him an open platform with misguided notions of free speech in mind. Others tried to counter him through name and shame techniques, but these were not terribly effective as he is a young kid with nothing to lose from such exposure. In response to his newfound fame he only increased his fascistic persona online.
He certainly doesn’t keep his white supremacist views secret as evidenced by his racist internet musings, including glorification of Adolf Hitler, his use of the white supremacist “1488” (code for the white supremacist slogan, the Fourteen Words, plus “88” as alphanumeric code for “H.H.” or “Heil Hitler”) in Facebook posts; and not least Kolychev’s seemingly obsessive idolization of Chilean dictator Pinochet.
It is important to understand that though Kolychev may act like a desperate teenager seeking negative attention on the Internet, he is also on the ground attempting to organize extreme-right groupings in the middle of our city. As such, it is reasonable for antifascists to be concerned and to respond.
Fascist organizing on behalf of the Trump campaign around the country has started to be reported by the media. From the former Grand Dragon of the KKK, David Duke’s endorsement for Trump, to local get-out-the-vote campaigns by neo-Nazis in small towns. This broad normalization of white nationalism has influenced many right-wing tendencies to embrace and make common cause with more outright racist and fascist forces. This in turn empowers hucksters like Yarrow and Kolychev. In a larger political landscape in which reactionary lone-wolf mass murder has become a regular occurrence, where a mainstream politician is openly advocating white supremacy, and where the internet is increasingly a major mediator of our intellectual, political, and social life, fake Facebook events invoking antisemitic violence are not to be taken lightly. An invigorated white nationalist movement working with new tactics is a challenge antifascists are capable of suppressing. While they may lurk behind online smoke and mirrors, at the end of the day they still have names and addresses:
Permanent Residence: 2364 NW Birkendene St. Portland, OR 97229
Currently residing: University Pointe, 1955 SW 5th Ave. Portland, OR 97201
13938 Manowar lane
Jacksonville Beach, FL