Filed under: Anti-fascist, Featured, This Week in Fascism
Welcome fellow antifascists!
We start off this week’s column by looking at the evolving far-Right coalition that is evolving out of the ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies which is bringing together Proud Boys, militias, and Trump supporters. We then look at repression of housing activists in Southern California, a massive State attack on white power prison gangs, and doxxing waves against MyMilitia, and various neo-Nazi networks. With antifascist activity heating up again on the streets, we hope that this column remains an indispensable resources for those on the front lines of combating far-Right and racist violence. With that in mind, we encourage people to sign up to donate to our crowd-funding campaign here.
Enough talk, let’s dive into it!
“Stop The Steal” Protests Continue While Attendance Drops; Proud Boys Threaten Counter-Protesters in Raleigh, NC with “Extermination”
Trump supporters, COVID truthers, QAnon followers, and neo-Confederates staged a “Stop the Steal” protest in Raleigh, NC at the governor’s mansion this Saturday. Organized by Joshua Flores of Stop the Steal NC and Latinos for Freedom, the rally was promoted by Re-Open NC and featured 50 Proud Boys as “private security” for the event. Billed as a family friendly Thanksgiving potluck, Flores asked protesters to refrain from engaging with counter-protesters and swearing, claiming that the Proud Boys would force people out of the rally if they broke the rules.
Upon reviewing some footage, I noticed that Adam Smith (who later threatened to kill me) made a hand gesture miming shooting me.
You can also see that Proud Boy Jeremy Bertino was once again wearing an RWDS (right wing death squad) patch. pic.twitter.com/OeANr2jrJk
— Lindsay Ayling (@AylingLindsay) November 28, 2020
Unsurprisingly, the hate group members in attendance were the first to taunt and threaten protesters. A Proud Boy named Jeremy Bertino yelled, “Your side will lose. We will exterminate you like the rats you are…. Exterminate you!” In the lead up to the event, Bertino also posted on social media harassing and mocking a local antifascist, making sexist comments and violent jokes. Protesters wore patches that read “SBSB,” a reference to Trumps orders to the Proud Boys to “Stand back and stand by,” and “RWDS,” which stands for,”Right Wing Death Squad.”
🖤A thread about today's United Front counter demo in #StPaul #Minnesota🖤
Today's counter demonstration at the Governor's Mansion was a success! The #TwinCities came out & let the far right know we won't let em take our streets without a challenge!
— 𝗠𝗡 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗔𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁 𝗙𝗮𝘀𝗰𝗶𝘀𝗺🏴 (@MNUnitedAF) November 28, 2020
Many other Stop the Steal rallies took place in cities across the country, including Sacramento, CA, Chicago, IL, Lansing, MI, St. Paul, MN, Denver, CO, and Phoenix, AZ. In several of these cities, antifascists and anti-racist groups organized counter-demonstrations. In places like Sacramento, for weeks Proud Boys have been taking to the streets to march around the downtown capitol in a search for victims to beat and attack.
The near-daily "stop the steal" rallies keep happening, but if these are the photos organizers are sharing, doesn't seem like many people are showing up. pic.twitter.com/bRizOiyIiJ
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) November 29, 2020
Proud Boys and white nationalist “Groypers” remain a key contingent within these mobilizations. In many cities, Proud Boys have been welcomed with open arms as event security. Following the certification of Arizona’s presidential election results on November 30th, right-wingers gathered outside of the Arizona Republic building to allege that Democrats had stolen the presidency. Unite the Right marcher and Groyper leader Nick Fuentes spoke at the event, as did Fuentes cheerleader Michelle Malkin.
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) November 30, 2020
While numbers at these rallies has been dropping, they have also attempted to rebrand themselves in real time, switching from just being about Trump to re-focusing on opposing COVID-19 lock-down measures. In short, the far-Right is building a coalition that will continue to feature them front and center long after Biden has been inaugurated.
According to Raw Story:
According to Sommer, the major feud has been between Trump-loving right-wing operative Ali Alexander and Women for America First, the Trump-supporting organization that actually organized the Million MAGA March.
Things have gotten so heated that convicted felon and Trump confidant Roger Stone recently wrote a blog post in which he urged Million MAGA March organizers to stop the infighting and stay focused on overturning the 2020 election.
Feds Arrest Over 100 Neo-Nazis Affiliated with the “Fresnecks” and Aryan Brotherhood
After a year-long federal and local investigation called “Operation Lucky Charm,” over 100 white supremacists in the gang the “Fresnecks” have been arrested. The Fresnecks worked alongside incarcerated Aryan Brotherhood members to traffic firearms and drugs across multiple states. They are also accused of violent crimes such as kidnappings, murders, home invasions, and identity theft. The fresnecks smuggled drugs and phones into prisons and plotted assassinations, trafficking, even linked to violent crimes in Alabama, Missouri, Idaho, and Montana.
According to the Deparment of Justice, more than 60 people were arrested in California, Montana, and Nevada last Thursday for their ties to these groups. Authorities seized several firearms, large amounts of meth and heroin, and $136,000 in cash. The Department of Justice states that at least eleven planned acts of violence have been prevented by the arrests.
The Aryan Brotherhood is a notorious white supremacist gang with a presence in most major prisons, originally formed in San Quentin in 1964. Recruits are required to attack or murder rival gang members in order to join. By the ’70s, the organization had spread throughout the California prison system and several leaders had been sent to federal prison, causing a split into a state AB branch and a federal branch. Today, there are estimated to be 20,000 AB members in total, both in prisons and on the streets. Despite accounting for only 1% of the prison population, the AB was estimated to be responsible for 18% of all prison murders. While white supremacist ideology is secondary to criminal activity within the gang, members are required to uphold the “moral principles” of the “Elite White Aryan Race” and believe in “the racial purity of the white race.”
California Highway Patrol Forcibly Evict Homeless Protesters from Vacant Homes on Thanksgiving
Houseless families with Reclaim & Rebuild Our Community were forced out of several Caltrans-owned houses in El Sereno this week. Beginning on Wednesday night and continuing through Thanksgiving, California Highway Patrol arrested 62 people, including 21 unhoused people who were taking refuge inside the empty homes. These individuals were charged with trespassing and burglary, then released. The other 41 people arrested were part of a large group of activists who gathered at the scene to block the evictions, forming lines in front of the homes to obstruct the police.
Live: CHP officers in riot gear hogtie the defenders one-by-one, carrying them away to waiting vans.
Protesters facing off against police in El Sereno, California. 1:05am LA timepic.twitter.com/3Paw69dRz8
— ✨Sk Boz✨ (@skkboz) November 27, 2020
In a press release published before the action, RROC stated:
We, a group of houseless activists and families, are taking this situation into our own hands… The system has failed all of us — especially communities of color by creating this housing crisis which has worsened with COVID and the economic crisis… In the midst of this multiple layered crisis, the governments are holding on to thousands of buildings… that should be used for affordable housing.
Police advanced with an intense level of aggression, attacking lines of protesters with batons, breaking down doors with battering rams, pointing assault rifles through the windows at the families and children inside, and dragging people from the homes. People were hogtied and carried into police vans. According to organizer Ricci Sergienko, the evictions took place starting on the evening before Thanksgiving so that the CHP officers would receive overtime pay for forcing the families back out into the streets.
California Highway Patrol using a battering ram to knock down the door so they can evict a family.
Cops aiming assault rifles at small children through the windows.
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) November 26, 2020
These empty homes in El Sereno came under Caltrans ownership as part of the agency’s plans to extend the 710 freeway. In total, Caltrans acquired 460 homes for the expansion project using tax payer money or through eminent domain, beginning in the 1950s. Many of the Caltrans properties remain unoccupied, and according to Pasadena Star News, the amount of empty houses in Pasadena, South Pasadena, and El Sereno have increased by 150% since 2013.
If you have the means, please support Reclaim & Rebuild Our Community by donating to their GoFundMe.
B is 17 years old. This afternoon, she gave me a tour of the home that was reclaimed for her and her mother. She told me how excited she was to have her own bedroom for the first time in her life. CHP just knocked down her front door, and currently have her hogtied in the street pic.twitter.com/lur89Y8tUA
— Cerise Castle (@cerisecastle) November 26, 2020
MyMilitia Illinois Members Master Dox
We, +indispensable help from #chicago frens, wrote this mega-dox of #MyMilitia members, particularly leader of IL WTP III% Patriot Militia, ILSL (not 'incel' but close!) & IL Roll Call, coming up w 18 IDs of folks willing to take up arms against neighborshttps://t.co/DtZLUN09SW pic.twitter.com/MUQaVY7g7j
— Panic! in the Discord (@discord__panic) November 26, 2020
Our comrades over at Panic! In the Discord in collaboration with Chicago AFA, Shield Wall Chicago, John Belushi Antifa and Anne Frank’s Army released a master dox of militia members from MyMilitia.com. According to Vice, MyMilitia was “First registered in 2016 with GoDaddy, the site was sold in April to Josh Ellis, who runs a business repairing water damage and mold in Naperville, Illinois, and also founded “American Revolution 2.0,” which helped coordinate anti-lockdown protests nationwide.” MyMilitia bills itself as “An American Patriot Network” and serves to connect anti-government fanatics, anti-maskers, ReOpen protesters, QAnon followers, Boogaloo Boys, and other members of the far-right. The site has proven to be a hotbed for coordinating violence toward the Left, and specifically Black Lives Matter and antifascist protesters.
Members of already established militias such as the Oath Keepers and III% Militia also utilize the site to radicalize and recruit new members. These larger militias have been linked to violence all over the country, including the plot to kidnap the Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. Leading up the the election, MyMilitia members discussed and traded conspiracy theories where antifa sleeper cells were destroying votes and rigging the election. Some member reel in the more outlandish hoaxes, others stoke the fire and embolden each other to take up arms and commit acts of violence in what they perceive to be a impending civil war.
Panic’s most recent master dox lists the identities of many MyMilitia members from Illinois groups like We The People III% Militia, Illinois Sons of Liberty and the entry pool for My Militia, called “Roll Call.” We’re going to highlight a few of them here:
- Paul Jepsen, Illinois We The People III% Patriot Militia Leader from West Chicago, Illinois
- Paul Jepsen aka Jdog82 is a 28 year old former Marine Mortarman. He currently resides in West Chicago and drives for Uber. Paul writes fan fiction that is rife with misogyny making him the perfect fit for the far-right. Paul’s identity was confirmed by connecting his MyMilitia username to his paypal and youtube accounts, and then finally, to his Facebook profile – which should serve as a lesson in reusing usernames across multiple platforms.
- Richard C. Fischer, Illinois Son’s of Liberty Member of Spring Grove, Illinois
- Richard Fischer, 54 Spring Grove resident and member of the Illinois Son’s of Liberty Militia uses his social media to espouse his violent fantasies of hunting antifascist and anti-police protesters.
These are just two of the many, many MyMilitia users and it is absolutely worth heading over to the blog for the full list.
Wittlinger Bates, Neo-Nazi from Honeoye Falls, New York
Sometime last Wednesday night, or early Thursday morning, Honeoye Falls-Lima High School junior, Wittlinger Bates took part in a coordinated banner drop and a campaign of online harassment with a group of neo-Nazis in Honeyoye Falls, New York under the direction of Christopher Polhaus (who we’ve reported on in past editions of this column.) Chris Polhaus aka “The Hammer” of San Antonio, Texas has been using Telegram and Protonmail to connect with, radicalize and recruit members. The content on his Telegram channel is violent and openly anti-Semitic.
Heyo! You may have been hearing a lot the last few days about Christopher Alan Pohlhaus, a Texas neo-Nazi who has been selling neo-Nazi merch and orchestrating neo-Nazi propaganda incidents. Well lucky for Chris we found his Cashapp which he has been using to fundraise!!!
— Garfield but Anti-Fascist (@AntifaGarfield) December 1, 2020
It’s likely that Polhaus met Bates through this channel, which is where the bulk of communications occur. It was during this campaign of online harassment that Bates showed up in antifascist researcher We Will Be Ruthless‘ Twitter mentions. They traced Bates’ profile to Bates Farm, presumably a family enterprise. Antifacist activist Antifascista Siempre reached out to let Witt’s parents know their son is part of a neo-Nazi group, and the response they received was full of vitriol toward antifa. Closely following the exchange with Bates Farm, they received a threatening text message and voicemail stating “the day of the rope is upon us” that included a racial slur. The “Day of the Rope” is a reference to William Pierce’s dystopic novel The Turner Diaries, a work of fiction that has been glorified by neo-Nazis and served as the inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombing.
— We Will Be Ruthless As We Deck The Halls (@RuthlessWe) November 27, 2020
We don’t typically get a lot of doxxes of minors, and that’s because we make every possible effort to reach out to trusted adults in the lives of these young people in hopes that their families can step in and disrupt their pivot into far-Right politics. In some cases, such as this one, the family may be just as complicit. At this point, given the fact that Witt’s actions have moved from online to real-life spaces, we feel that he poses a threat to the community and therefore the community deserves to know who this person is so they can avoid him and protect themselves.
Doghead Division, Texas
Hello Texas friends, we want to let you know about Doghead Division(formerly "Cult of the Doghead"), a fascist group actively trying to radicalize members of the police and the military.https://t.co/PYTIYdzcDX pic.twitter.com/F3EupRJWt6
— Corvallis Against Fascism (@CVAgainstFash) November 30, 2020
Corvallis Antifascists came through with a major dox this week in the form of an esotheric neo-Nazi group calling themselves Doghead Division. Like similar groups such as Operation Werewolf (a feeder group for the neo-fascist organization Wolves of Vinland), Doghead Division uses personal growth and health as a way to recruit former military and police into their neo-Nazi cult. Formerly know as the Cult of Doghead, Doghead Division’s website is filled with fascist propaganda including images of bloodsplattered sonnenrad, a symbol that’s widely used in neo-Nazi circles and imagery. According to Jason Wilson, who wrote an article on the sonnenrad for The Guardian, “…Heinrich Himmler, the head of Hitler’s SS, ordered a sonnenrad floor mosaic to be installed in the castle at Wewelsburg when he was remodeling it to serve as an organizational and spiritual headquarters of the Nazi paramilitary group…”
In their blog, Corvallis Antifascists state, “Doghead Division’s online presence is equal parts self-help blog and fascist radicalizing tool. The articles alternate between sanctimonious parables about self-improvement, and gratuitous fetishization of violent masculinity. They combine this with violent imagery and fascist symbolism.” Like other cult’s, a common tactic is to recruit people based on a model of self-help or self-improvement. This is true for most far-right recruitment as well. It is especially dangerous that Doghead Divisions primary recruiting pool is former military, as it’s clear they are looking for people with combat experience and training.
Let’s look at a few of Doghead Divisions members:
- Nolan Annett, Leader of Doghead Division
- Nolan is a veteran and member of Operation Werewolf. He is sometimes refers to Charles Manson as a prophet (Manson is lionized in neo-Nazi cirlces for trying to incite a race war) and is the brains behind DHD. Nolan works as a paramedic with Texas Vital Care EMS and teaches classes at The Gym in Paris, Texas.
- Sean Tahtinen, Creates Artwork for Doghead Division
- Sean, who sometimes goes by the alias “Verwulf Tyrant” is a member of Operation Werewolf, produces DHD’s artwork and has a history of violence including breaking into a woman’s home and threatening to kill her in 2015. Sean is a resident of Pueblo, Colorado. According to Corvallis Antifascists, “Sean and his partner, Kandace Robinson, are the primary organizers behind Black Sun Sect, a Rural Militant Farm in Pueblo, Colorado.”
- Steven Bitzko aka “Bitzkreig”
- Steven is a member of Operation Werewolf, a member of the Boogaloo movement, and as stated in the Corvallis Antifascist blog, “a CIFSO Police Officer with the Department of Homeland Security in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a former paratrooper, and has been employed by military contractors like Dynacorp and Franco Consulting Group.”
For a more thorough write-up of this group, please head over to the Corvallis Antifascist blog post. From their report:
It is unsurprising to us that a DHS employee is involved in fascist organizing. Since its inception, the agency has been tasked with enforcing structural white supremacy. Through its various agencies, DHS has been responsible for constant violence towards marginalized people. In the last several years, the agency has issued straight up neo-Nazi dog whistles in their press releases. The fact that they employ fascist organizers is just more proof of the department’s total and complete corruption.
Steven Bitzko aka “Bitzkreig” reporting to work at the Department of Homeland Secruity
Chad Rafdal, Blooming Prairie, Minnesota
Chad has been attending far right rallies and associating with racists & not wearing a mask (ignoring the pandemic) which could put his coworkers and others at risk. we're asking for everyone to call his job and ask them if they are ok with employing him?
507-334-7400 unity house https://t.co/2EJSaU92vB
— 𝗠𝗡 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗔𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁 𝗙𝗮𝘀𝗰𝗶𝘀𝗺🏴 (@MNUnitedAF) November 30, 2020
On November 28th, fascists showed out in St. Paul, Minnesota for a rally that was met by antifascist and leftist counter demonstrators. Our comrades Minnesota United Against Fascism wrote an excellent thread reporting back on the action. They were also able to identify a previously unknown member of the group who up until recently, was referred to as “Redbeard.” Thanks to the tireless efforts of our Minnesota comrades, we are able to put a name to the face. Chad Rafdal was involved in the rally that brought together militia members, Proud Boys and other members of the far-right.
According to MN United Against Fascism, Chad has been a familiar face at St. Paul rallies recently, in support of Proud Boys and the III% Militia. Our comrades indicate, “Chad has been attending far-Right rallies and associating with racists & not wearing a mask (ignoring the pandemic) which could put his co-workers and others at risk.”
According to a screenshot of Chad’s Facebook, it’s indicated that he works for McNeilus Trucking. MN United Against Fascism are asking folks to kindly reach out to his employers and ask them if they are aware that their employee fraternizes with anti-maskers, COVID-Truthers, and members of the far-Right street gang, the Proud Boys.
Contact McNeilus Trucking here.
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