Greetings, fellow anti-fascists! Welcome to the fifth edition of This Week in Fascism. This week, we’ve got an explainer covering the connection between white nationalists, Asatru, and Black Metal; doxxes exposing more military members in Identity Evropa and Atomwaffen; an update on neo-Nazi Black Metal act Horna’s start-stop US tour; and how you can help Pennsylvania activists deal with a founding member of the Keystone State Skinheads. Without further ado, let’s do this!
Explainer: What’s the connection between Nazis, Asatru/Neopagans, Black Metal, and Neofolk?
Holden Matthews, who set fires to historically black churches in Louisiana, is in a black metal band Vodka Vultures & followed Nazi "Asatru" Odinist paganism & Varg Vikernes, the white supremacist murderer/hate crime convict of Burzum, who burned down historic churches in Norway. pic.twitter.com/HGm7ZtPkZe
— Heresy Labs (@heresysquad) April 11, 2019
This week, Atlanta Antifascists exposed members of the Ravensblood Kindred, a white nationalist group associated with the Asatru Folk Assembly, listed as a “neo-Volkisch hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The members included a Georgia Sheriff’s Deputy employed as a jailer, and a National Guardsman currently deployed in Afghanistan. (A “kindred” is an Asatru term for a group of people who worship together, like a congregation, or a coven).
And in Florida, Holden Matthews, the son of a Sheriff’s Deputy, was arrested for committing a string of arsons against Black churches in Louisiana. In Facebook postings, Matthews identified his faith as Asatru, claimed that he was visited by the Norse goddess Hel, and as countless headlines in the mass media have recounted, was a singer in a Black Metal band.
So what’s the deal with Asatru, Black Metal, and Neofolk? Are they all just goth Nazis with beards? The short answer is no, but it’s complex.
Should be noted that people within the pagan and heathen earth based religious movements have also organized in the US to push out racist and fascist Asatru groups from their spaces and gatherings. Check our podcast on the subject here. https://t.co/QZ4prLPGVs pic.twitter.com/kHPfkrEvoR
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) April 11, 2019
Asatru, also known by a variety of different names – Heathenry, Odinism, Wotanism, or neo-Paganism among them – is a religious movement that, in the United States, dates back to the late 1960s, when Stephen McNallen founded the Viking Brotherhood, the group that became the Asatru Folk Assembly in the mid-1970s. While McNallen had rejected National Socialist elements within the movement, beginning in the 1980s, he began promoting the concept of “metagenetics” – the idea that culture and religious practice are DNA-linked traits, available only to people of particular ethnic heritage.
All Asatru practitioners worship Germanic and Scandinavian gods of the pre-Christian era – Odin, Thor, Hel, etc. – but there is an vital split within the community: “Folkish” Asatru versus “Universalist” Asatru.
Arson suspect in #Louisana wrote he was involved in the Asatru religion. For decades, white nationalists in the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA) have attempted to build a white power wedge within paganism. Here's Identity Evropa's (now AIM) founder with AFA leader Steve McNallen. pic.twitter.com/MlUgEgnEeB
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) April 11, 2019
Universalist Asatru believe their faith can be practiced by people of any ethnic background, while Folkish Asatru believe their faith is reserved solely for people of either Northern European descent, or sometimes simply white people in general.
Many Folkish Asatru claim they are not racist – in the same way that white nationalists will claim they don’t hate other races – but it is important to note that Folkish Asatru have contributed one of the most prominent rhetorical shifts in modern white nationalism, what scholar Damon T. Berry, in 2017’s Blood and Faith: Christianity in American White Nationalism, calls the “recoding of race as culture.”
The first issue of the neo-Pagan journal Tyr: Myth – Culture – Tradition, published in 2002, features an essay by “Odinist,” (a particular brand of Folkish Asatru that emphasizes occultic aspects), Stephen Edred Flowers that features the phrase “become who we are.”
This phrase would be used by Richard Spencer’s Radix Journal and become the title of Spencer’s National Policy Institute’s 2016 conference, as well as a popular piece of propaganda narrated by Spencer. An archive of the now-defunct Identity Evropa website features, “Become who we are” as the website’s tagline.
As Berry notes:
“But I do not accuse [Stephen Edred] Flowers or anyone else affiliated with TYR of fascism in the Italian or Nazi tradition, nor do I simply accuse them of being white supremacists. Such a charge obscures the racialized particularism they express and does not completely describe what they are doing in their metapolitics. I do, however, argue that they advocate a cultural racism in that they recode the biological narrative of “race as culture” as a heritable trait to argue for what is in that sense racial separatism and that this recoding is key to how they formulate the ethical demand to preserve the white race. As such, they fear mixing, ideological or otherwise, of what they imagine to be racially discrete essences because they believe it will lead to biocultural genocide of the white race. It is in this sense that they are racists, though I hesitate to call them white supremacists.”
Note that since its inception, Tyr has been co-edited by white nationalist Michael Moynihan, co-author of the Black Metal chronicle Lords of Chaos, recently adapted into a film by Netflix. In 1992, Moynihan edited former American Nazi Party member James Mason’s newsletter into its first collected volume, Siege: The Collected Writings of James Mason, which became the ideological basis of the Atomwaffen Division, the neo-Nazi group linked to five killings since 2017, whose ideological leader, Corwyn Storm Carver, a US Army Private, was exposed by journalist Nate Thayer this week.
Moynihan also fronts a Neofolk act, Blood Axis, whose lyrics deal with similar Asatru themes, romanticizing an often imaginary European history and heritage. A sample: “Here amid icebergs/ Rule I the nations/ This is my hammer/ Giants and sorcerers.”
Notably, there are countercurrents pushing back against fascist infiltration in the Asatru, Black Metal, and Neofolk scenes. Groups like Heathens Against Hate oppose the racist and homophobic currents in Folkish Asatru. In January 2019, writer Kim Kelly organized Black Flags Over Brooklyn, a festival of anti-fascist Black Metal bands, and recently, Shane Burley, author of Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It started A Blaze Ansuz, a blog devoted to anti-fascist Neofolk bands.
When neo-Nazi Black Metal band Horna tried to tour the US in March and April, they were only able to play three out of their thirteen scheduled dates at the originally booked venues due to being consistently deplatformed by antifascists. (They were able to rebook several of those dates into smaller venues, and in at least one case, what appeared to be someone’s backyard.)
On our newest podcast, we report from @blackflagsovrBK where metal heads built an explicitly anti-racist space. We interview organizer @GrimKim, fans, antifascists @DLamontJenkins and @transform6789 + black metal band @DawnRayd about what the future holds. https://t.co/4xMCvcTT0p pic.twitter.com/1DXOQwnqZY
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) February 12, 2019
As Shane Burley notes in the introduction to his anti-fascist Neofolk blog, “Neofolk is one of the best examples of what Rose City Antifa refers to as ‘contested space,’” and the same could be said of Black Metal and the Asatru faith itself. All three are predominantly white spaces, full of misfits and outsiders who don’t fit in with mainstream culture, which is exactly what fascists are looking for.
However, there are strong, watchful forces within each of these communities fighting back against this incursion, striving to create a safe, inclusive spaces within the subculture they love.
Solidarity to them and their fight.
Monday, April 8, 2019
— Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists (@COSAntifa) April 8, 2019
- Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists and Eugene Antifa identified US Air Force Master Sergeant Cory Reeves as a member of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, recently rebranded as the American Identity Movement. He was also granted the title “Patron’s Liaison” by Identity Evropa, meaning that he fundraised for the organization by encouraging other members to donate beyond the base $10/month membership fee. In the leaked Discord chats, Reeves used the moniker Argument of Perigee, a reference to his Air Force work with satellites. He has a security clearance – at least “Secret,” but likely “Top Secret” – as he works in a sensitive position at the Schriever Air Force Base. You can contact the Inspector General’s office by calling 719-567-4302, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or AFPC.IG@us.af.mil.
We got an anonymous report that these flyers are going up at University of Alabama at Birmingham. Read the original article about Michael Britt Williams here: https://t.co/RgUi7cxY2e @UABBiology @UABNews #IdentifyEvropa pic.twitter.com/DPqc8eBUxu
— IdentifyEvropa (@Identify_Evropa) April 8, 2019
- Flyers detailing the white nationalist associations of Michael Britt Williams, a PhD candidate in Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and member of Identity Evropa, were distributed on Monday, April 8, to the campus community. Williams served as the group’s Pledge Coordinator, helping to recruit and radicalize new white nationalists for the organization. You can contact Williams’ department Chair, Steve Austad, by emailing email@example.com, and his advisor, Stephen Watts, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We've just released an article on Identity Evropa (now American Identity Movement) member Andrew Wietgrefe AKA “Der Seeteufel” of South Dakota. He's a farmer and a member of the Navy. #IdentifyEvropa @Identify_Evropa https://t.co/bPMsmQFyHf pic.twitter.com/ryyFdvvpAL
— Haleyville Anti-Rapist Action (@Haleyville_ARA) April 8, 2019
- Haleyville Anti-Rapist Action identified South Dakota’s Andrew Wietgrefe, a farmer and Electronics Technician in the Navy, as a member of Identity Evropa. In the Discord chats, Wietgrefe used the name Der Seeteufel – SD, where he fanboyed out about meeting Richard Spencer (“…way more approachable than I thought. He’s a great guy!”) and dropped the name of his uncle, Gary Wietgrefe.
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
— Atlanta Antifascists (@afainatl) April 9, 2019
- Atlanta Antifascists released a new article detailing the membership of Ravensblood Kindred, a white nationalist religious group associated with the Asatru Folk Assembly. Members include Trent East, a jailer with the Haralson County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia, and Dalton Woodward, an active duty member of the National Guard currently deployed in Afghanistan. The Haralson County Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation into East, but the National Guard has yet to issue a public statement regarding Woodward.
Friday, April 12, 2019
Wow, major exposé by @nate_thayer:
"US army Private First Class Corwyn Storm Carver, 22, is an ideological leader of The [neo-Nazi org] Atomwaffen Division and a combat medic attached to the US army 1st Armored Division, 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery"https://t.co/zHX1Bi9jZh pic.twitter.com/3SClh6pYeB
— Atlanta Antifascists (@afainatl) April 13, 2019
- Journalist Nate Thayer exposed Corwyn Storm Carver, a US Army combat medic stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, as an “ideological leader” of neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen.
We went ahead and made a Twitter account just to make this guy famous. pic.twitter.com/Gaxte4gK0G
— March 4th Alliance (@4th_march) April 13, 2019
- Louisville, KY based antifascists March 4th Alliance published information on tattoo artist and former TWP member Aaron “Chappy” Chapman of Elite Tattoo Lounge in Madisonville.
Saturday, April 13, 2019
The fash rally in Boston is just starting now, and someone's handing out flyers detailing the names and hate-group associations of Boston Free Speech members, lol.
That's John Medlar (Proud Boys), Trevor Carey (MGTOW), and Matt Smaller (Patriot Front). ❤️🖤✊ pic.twitter.com/SjjK2w1opN
— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) April 13, 2019
- Finally, AntiFash Gordon reports that antifascists handed out flyers identifying Boston Free Speech members John Medlar, Trevor Carey, and Matt Smaller at their rally on Saturday.
@Boston_FS why did you abandon your fellow rally goers on Saturday?
— Big 🅱️ 🌹 (@BigJB21_) April 15, 2019
- Antifa International shared a Tennessean article in which white nationalists including former Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy were booted from Airbnb’s service in advance of the American Renaissance Conference in Burns, TN May 17-19th. Airbnb also flexed its Terms of Service on white nationalists before 2017’s deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA. The Airbnb ban came on the heels of Facebook announcing a ban of Canadian white nationalist pages including Faith Goldy, Soldiers of Odin, the Canadian Nationalist Front, Kevin Goudreau, Wolves of Odin, and the Aryan Strikeforce, Buzzfeed reports.
Don’t let white nationalists use your services to spread their hate.https://t.co/GHaOEhryY3
— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) April 12, 2019
- Unicorn Riot’s leak of the Identity Evropa Discord chat logs continues to cause havoc, as payment processor Zelle and encrypted email provider Protonmail both deplatformed the American Identity Movement (AIdMo), which is really just a cheap and dirty rebrand of Identity Evropa.
Horna had 13 dates booked. Oakland was the only one they didn't get to play as they weren't able to move the show to another venue. Out of the 12 dates they managed to play, Orange County, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania were the only ones with the originally booked venues.
— Heresy Labs (@heresysquad) April 13, 2019
- National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) band Horna wrapped up its US tour at a sports bar in Allentown, PA playing to a room half full of old, bald metal nazis.
Call to Action
Chocolate company @GertrudeHawk employs neo-Nazi Steve Smith, a member of Keystone United, formerly the Keystone State Skinheads.
This Easter season, local activists are asking us not to buy anything from Gertrude Hawk.
— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) April 15, 2019
Local activists are protesting chocolate company Gertrude Hawk’s continued employment of Steven Scott Smith of Pittston, Pennsylvania. Smith is a neo-Nazi and founding member of the Keystone State Skinheads, as well as a former member of the KKK and a leader in the Pennsylvania chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens.
If you would like to join the local Easter boycott of Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, you can call the company and let them know at 1-800-822-2032, or let them know via the following social media: