All Out Against Nazis & Klan at Stone Mountain, GA – April 23rd

Update 4/24/2016: More will eventually be published here about the white supremacist events of April 23 that took place in Stone Mountain, Rome, and Draketown/Temple, GA. There’s also plenty to say about yesterday’s anti-racist resistance at Stone Mountain. Briefly: things went very badly for the racist “Rock Stone Mountain” event, which was met with determined opposition (see coverage here.) Follow this link for a statement from the All Out ATL mobilization about the anti-racist action at Stone Mountain Park (number for anti-racists seems high).

april23fireStone Mountain Park, April 23rd

At the time of writing, all arrestees from Stone Mountain Park are out of jail, including one person now facing a felony charge. Funds are still needed for defense efforts, so consider making a solidarity contribution here.

 

The All Out ATL mobilization is calling for anti-racists to gather 9AM, Saturday April 23rd at the corner of Main & E. Mountain St. in the community of Stone Mountain, GA to oppose the “Rock Stone Mountain” white supremacist gathering.

noklanposter_smallAll Out ATL poster with meeting point for Saturday April 23 – .pdf for printing here.

All out Against the KKK from All Out Atlanta on Vimeo.

For all posts about “Rock Stone Mountain” on Atlanta Antifascist Notes, see here.

National Socialist Movement and “Rock Stone Mountain” Combine Post-Rally Evening Events, Georgia April 23rd

White Supremacist Gatherings on April 23rd Combine Evening Events

Two white supremacist gatherings scheduled for April 23 in Georgia–the “Rock Stone Mountain” event at Stone Mountain Park outside Atlanta, plus the National Socialist Movement-hosted rally in Rome, Georgia–have now combined their evening events. This new arrangement has been confirmed by National Socialist Movement (NSM) statements to the press and also by Rock Stone Mountain main organizer John Michael Estes when he appeared on an NSM internet radio broadcast.

The daytime white power events in Georgia are still separate, although the Rome GA rally by the NSM, Loyal White Knights of the KKK, plus allies will begin marching slightly later to facilitate participation by white supremacists making the two-hour drive from the “Rock Stone Mountain” event which is scheduled to begin at 11AM. (The NSM rally in Rome is still billed to start at 3PM, although organizers now say that marching may begin anywhere from 3:30 to 4PM to facilitate arrivals from the Stone Mountain event.) After the NSM rally in Rome, the combined racist forces then plan to drive 45 minutes south to the Georgia Peach Oyster Bar in Draketown (near Temple) GA for an evening event of racist music plus a cross- and swastika-lighting.

NSM April 23 2016 after-event latest flyerRevised flyer for April 23 evening event

Earlier on the 23rd, the white supremacists of “Rock Stone Mountain” still plan to march to the top of Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta, although they will be confronted with a large showing of anti-racists determined to shut them down. Initially, Rock Stone Mountain had planned a separate evening event, but the Rock Stone Mountain organizers lost their first evening venue in early March.

The merger of the of the two evening events took place following negotiations between NSM and Rock Stone Mountain organizers. The result is that some musical acts planned for the Rock Stone Mountain evening event will now be performing at the Georgia Peach in Draketown/Temple GA, which the NSM had initially booked for their post-Rome after-party. (The NSM provides a location of “Temple, Georgia” for their National Meeting on Friday, April 22nd, suggesting that they will be using the Georgia Peach then as well.)

The combined evening events indicate that “Rock Stone Mountain” is no longer making even slight efforts to disguise its white supremacist agenda or its connections to neo-Nazism. Despite “Rock Stone Mountain” having referenced the white supremacist terror group The Order in earlier outreach materials, rally organizers had also asked that “participants not bring flags or banners representing any foreign nation or power, historical or current, to the rally.” In other words, while they encouraged Confederate flags they didn’t want Nazi Germany ones. It now seems that “Rock Stone Mountain” organizers have lost their last few scruples about how they are perceived, since they are openly cooperating with one of the nation’s largest neo-Nazi groups.

When Rock Stone Mountain activist John Michael Estes appeared on a recent NSM-hosted internet radio show to discuss the merged evening events, he revealed details about Rock Stone Mountain internal organizing, the band line-up for evening of the 23rd, and his own political background. The NSM broadcast began by celebrating the emerging white power coalition for the 23rd, with organizers boasting that they had “unite[d] many, many […] organizations.”

John Estes discussed support for the Rock Stone Mountain racist rally, claiming that: “We’ve even gotten support from the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which would have been unheard of just a few years ago.” An NSM show host claimed that leaders from the racist/secessionist League of the South were also expected at the Rock Stone Mountain rally.

Not all of Rock Stone Mountain’s efforts appear to have gone smoothly, however. John Michael Estes announced:

[Long-time white supremacist leader] Billy Roper will not be a part of Rock Stone Mountain. He dropped out months ago and he’s not one of the planners. He’s not contributing anymore.”

Estes downplays Roper’s significant involvement in early Rock Stone Mountain planning. Whatever conflict may have occurred between Roper and other organizers, Rock Stone Mountain is still promoted on the website for Divine Truth Ministries, the white supremacist “Christian Identity” outfit which Roper co-founded towards the end of last year.

During his interview, Estes also discussed the current band line-up for the evening of the 23rd:

“One of these bands is ‘Southern Secession.’ They’re playing under that name for this event, but they are basically going to be a Johnny Rebel tribute band […] Also Tracy Cantley will be coming to play his outlaw country. There’s another band that is supposed to be coming, but we’re having some guitarist problems right now, trying to get those sorted out.”

In the current interview, Estes does not mention the notorious racist rock group Definite Hate, who had earlier been advertised as participating in Rock Stone Mountain.

John Michael Estes: Background and Worldview

john michael estes from FB dl 4 15 2016Rock Stone Mountain primary organizer John Michael Estes

Estes’ interview on the NSM broadcast also disclosed his own background and worldview. Estes talked about his radicalization as a white supremacist, stating that he ordered books from the Aryan Nations while he was in prison. Since that time, Estes claims:

“I’ve been involved with National Socialism, I’ve been involved with Odinism, I went through the Christian Identity phase at one time. I’m about my race–race first and the 14 Words.”

Christian Identity is a racist religion which claims that whites are God’s true chosen people, that Jews are imposters of Satanic descent, and that people of color are less than fully human. The website of Covenant People’s Ministry–a Christian Identity operation in Brooks, GA—states that it “began […] 1996 and was founded by two Christian identity believers — John Michael Estes and Jeromy John Visser.”

The “14 Words” referenced by Estes is a white power slogan authored by David Lane, a now-deceased member of The Order/Brüder Schweigen terror group. (The 14-word slogan is: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”) The Order raised funds for the white power movement via counterfeiting and a series of armed robberies; it bombed an adult theatre and a synagogue; and the group murdered Jewish talk-show host Alan Berg. David Lane was convicted for violating Berg’s civil rights for his participation in the assassination.

rock stone mountain RJM image from Twitter Dec 8 2015“Rock Stone Mountain” promotional image featuring Robert Jay Matthews (pointing finger)

As revealed in the NSM internet radio interview, John Michael Estes showed his devotion to The Order’s legacy earlier this year, when Estes made a “pilgrimage” (his own words) to Whidbey Island in Washington State. Whidbey Island was where Order leader Robert Jay Mathews died in a firefight with federal authorities in December 1984.

Estes doubtless sees himself as leading his forces into battle on April 23rd for the same white power cause as Matthews believed in.

It is time to confront the white power alliance Estes and other white supremacists have pulled together, before this alliance grows any further. For information on anti-racist opposition at Stone Mountain on April 23rd, visit All Out ATL.

Augustus Invictus and the National Socialist Movement

Last month, Florida lawyer and candidate for US Senate Augustus Sol Invictus announced that he would speak at the National Socialist Movement (NSM) national meeting and rally in Georgia, April 22nd to 23rd.  Invictus accepted the offer to speak at the NSM’s neo-Nazi gathering at a time when Invictus was receiving increasing scrutiny and opposition for his fascist politics plus his assistance to far-Right groups such as the American Front.

Now, every mention of Invictus and scheduled appearance at the upcoming NSM rally has been scrubbed from the NSM website. At the time of writing, it is unknown whether Invictus still plans to speak at this gathering. The NSM’s announcement about Invictus’ appearance remains archived here. The American Third Party Report website still contains Invictus’ own statement about his decision to participate in the neo-Nazi event (much earlier, this statement vanished from the “Invictus for Senate” Facebook page where it first appeared.)

Invictus’ writing about why he wished to speak to the assorted neo-Nazis and Klansmen scheduled to rally in Rome GA on April 23rd insisted that “I am not endorsing the National Socialist Movement.” Rather, Invictus claimed that he wished to fight alongside the NSM in a coalition “of Libertarians, patriots, and nationalists against a common enemy.” Invictus added that “I have Hispanic children […] I date bisexual women exclusively […] any one of which would bar me from membership in the NSM.”

A new discovery suggests that Invictus’ framing of the issues in his statement may have been misleading.

In 2012, leaked membership lists of the National Socialist Movement were published online by the One People’s Project website. The name “Augustus Invictus” is listed as a member of the NSM in a September 2009 entry, with an address in Chicago IL accompanying the entry.

augustus invictus 2009 NSM membership listAugustus Invictus in leaked NSM membership list

In 2009, Invictus was indeed living in Chicago, where he was studying at DePaul University College of Law. Someone who knew Invictus as a law student described him as having a “fascination with Nazism” during this period. Such fascination would be consistent with NSM membership. The Chicago address is for an apartment complex, where mail would likely be addressed to recipients’ legal names. The DePaul College of Law is approximately half an hour by public transport from this apartment building (with the main DePaul campus being just half an hour away by foot.) Mistaken identity is highly unlikely, simply because Augustus Invictus is such an uncommon name.

So: it appears that Invictus’ invitation to the Georgia NSM event may have had precedent in his earlier membership of the neo-Nazi party. If so, Invictus has been less than fully honest about this past. Invictus’ overall fascistic politics, however, were clear well before this latest discovery.

If you have further information about Invictus’ time in the NSM, or about current white supremacist activity in Georgia, do not hesitate to get in contact.

Just Don’t Call It “White Power” – “Protect the South,” Wesley Sitton, and the Mainstreaming of White Supremacy

protect the south community FB

Introduction: White Power on Display at Stone Mountain, November 14, 2015

As the “Rock Stone Mountain” white power rally at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia approaches, now is a good time to again discuss this event’s immediate precursor, the November 14, 2015 rally at the same park. The November 14 event was one of a series of pro-Confederate flag/memorial rallies organized in the wake of Dylann Roof’s June 2015 massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. These rallies attempted to protect symbols of the Confederacy during a time of increased outcry about their public display. While earlier 2015 Confederate flag rallies also involved white nationalists, at the November 14 rally the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted a particularly “obvious” Ku Klux Klan presence. This Klan presence on November 14 is a consequence of who organized and promoted the event in the first place.

estes nov 14 2015Crowd at Stone Mountain on November 14, 2015 (current “Rock Stone Mountain” organizer John Michael Estes in center wearing shirt for far-Right and racist “Rock Against Communism” movement)

According to “Restoring the Honor” blog, “Southern Rebel Patriots”–AKA Georgia residents Jodi and Greg Calhoun–first made the call for the November 14th rally. Greg Calhoun was involved with an Aryan Nations faction before joining the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; Calhoun is presently assisting with “Rock Stone Mountain.” A second Facebook page that promoted the November 14 rally was part of the “Stand by the Flag Rally” national mobilization–this particular “Stand by the Flag”page was controlled by the Rebel Outlaw Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (whose former Imperial Cleric more recently also spread the word about “Rock Stone Mountain” online.)

protect the south community FBProtect the South Facebook community

One of the biggest promoters for November 14 was “Protect the South”–this Facebook community established its own “Defend Stone Mountain” event page for the November 14 rally. The overall “Protect the South” Facebook page was launched in June 2015, while debate on Confederate symbols heated up. This page appealed to Confederate flag supporters and even pandered to that movement’s implicit racism, but the page avoided slogans known to drive numbers down, such as open cries of “white power.” In fact, the administrator of “Protect the South” would later argue that while he had no problem with “white power” talk in principle, the reality is that such slogans could make the Southern cause look bad while providing opportunities to opponents. The “Protect the South” administrator was criticized by other November 14 promoters and participants on account of this defensive stance.

What has not been mentioned in commentary so far is that the administrator for “Protect the South”–Wesley Sitton (AKA Adam Wesley Sitton) of Pembroke, Georgia–has a history as a neo-Nazi. While in recent years Sitton described himself as the head of a “True Republican Family,” Sitton’s new self-description isn’t about renouncing white supremacy, it is only about hiding it. Sitton’s strategy seems to be a perfect example of how people can organize for the goals of white power without even using the phrase “white power.” Indeed, Sitton’s abandonment of blatant neo-Nazism has created political opportunities for him. It has allowed Sitton to rally larger numbers of neo-Confederates and anti-immigrant forces, as well as to coordinate with the Georgia Security Force III% militia which nominally opposes racism. These advantages also come with a cost: Sitton’s tactical choice has angered militant racists who are invested in being explicit about their white supremacy.

Wesley Sitton’s White Supremacist History    

In 2005, someone using the handle “AryanBrother88” posted frequently on Stormfront, the world’s largest white power internet forum. (The “88” part of this pseudonym is alphanumeric code for “H.H.” or “Heil Hitler.”) By 2006, this forum user was using his own name, Wesley Sitton, and providing his actual location of Pembroke, Georgia. While the “AryanBrother88” and “Wesley Sitton” accounts on Stormfront were closed down, traces of Sitton’s writing on Stormfront remain wherever he was quoted by another user. During the time he was a Stormfront member, Sitton used his account to spread the news that Alabama white nationalist and Holocaust-denier Larry Darby had two half-Chinese children, making Darby a “race traitor” in the eyes of many Stormfront users.

wesley sittonWesley Sitton, recent photo

In addition to posting on Stormfront, Sitton was active with the National Socialist Movement, one of the larger neo-Nazi organizations in the US. A leaked membership list for the National Socialist Movement gives an address in Pembroke for Sitton, with the record dated November 2005.

(Not sure that this “Wesley Sitton” is the same Wesley Sitton who is the administrator for “Protect the South”? The birthday info for user “Wesley Sitton” on Stormfront matches Adam Wesley Sitton’s birthday. The street address provided on the NSM address list can be seen on an image in Sitton’s current Facebook timeline.)

While the National Socialist Movement is a Hitler-loving organization complete with military-style uniforms and swastika armbands, during 2006 Sitton also promoted white supremacy draped in the Red, White and Blue. Sitton’s website, “Taking a Stand,” proclaimed that it was “fighting to restore the American way” and featured American flags plus a Thomas Jefferson quote on its front page. Taking a closer look at the site, however, revealed articles such as “Jews, the Destruction of America!,” claims that the white race must “take control and power again in America” as well as calls for “the downfall of ZOG [Zionist Occupation Government, a white power term for alleged Jewish control of the US government].”

takingastandbannerTaking a Stand website banner

In 2007, Sitton launched a new website, one very different to the “Taking a Stand” website in visual terms. The “Save Our Race” website now used the swastika banner of Nazi Germany instead of the American flag. The “Save Our Race” website was for “Georgia’s [chapter of the] American National Socialist Workers Party” and declared:

On July 18, 2006, 21 former state and unit leaders of the National Socialist Movement, along with 96 comrades, declared a break from the National Socialist Movement. The result from this action was the creation of the American National Socialist Workers Party.

Sitton is listed on the site as the “Georgia Leader” for the new Party.

SaveOurRacebannerSave Our Race website banner

Sitton’s time as ANSWP leader must not have lasted long, however. “Save Our Race” disappeared from the web quickly. Chris Drake of Augusta became the new Georgia leader for the ANSWP, only for the ANSWP to collapse after its leader Bill White’s arrest by the FBI in October 2008. (If you want to know about White’s legal saga, just read his Wikipedia page.)

Let’s move forward several years. It would be nice to believe that Sitton had abandoned his extreme racism and far-Right worldview, but this does not appear to be the case. For example, in January 2015 Sitton was openly celebrating James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr.

wesley sitton james earl rayWesley Sitton would prefer to celebrate James Earl Ray day, apparently

Starting in mid-July 2015 after the Charleston massacre, Sitton began a flurry of activity on behalf of the Confederate flag and its cause. One of the first events promoted by Sitton’s newly-launched “Protect the South” page was a rally in Statesboro, Georgia which was part of a “Stand by the Flag” day of coordinated protests at Walmart parking lots due to Walmart’s decision not to sell Confederate flags. These protests were not just promoted on Facebook, but also on white nationalist sites such as that of the Council of Conservative Citizens (the organization whose materials had helped to radicalize Dylann Roof in the first place.)

Sitton has subsequently used “Protect the South” to promote several other Confederate rallies and events, including the November 14 Klan-organized event at Stone Mountain. Indeed, Sitton seems to have played a key role in persuading members of the (nominally non-racist) Georgia Security Force III% militia that the November 14 rally had nothing to do with the Klan and that the Klan would not be present.

gsf defend stone mountain eventGeorgia Security Force III% leader Chris Hill post to “Defend Stone Mountain” page

Meanwhile, Sitton was also active on another front. Following the November 13 terror attacks in Paris, Sitton circulated a petition online calling for a Georgia Governor Deal to stop any settlement of Syrian refugees (called “potential terrorists” by Sitton) in the state. Sitton’s petition rapidly gained thousands of signatures. On November 16, Governor Deal announced that he would not accept Syrian refugees in Georgia–Deal’s decision may have been partially influenced by the same sort of public pressure mobilized by Sitton.

Conclusion

Since abandoning the more explicit cries of “white power” and use of symbols such as the swastika, Wesley Sitton achieved some organizing successes: creating a Confederate flag Facebook page followed by thousands; organizing local militiamen to do security for a Klan-organized event even while persuading them that no Klan would be present; and finally helping to push through anti-immigrant measures in Georgia.

Sitton is still a racist who has worked with the neo-Nazi groups and other organized white supremacists. Sitton’s new discourse about “heritage, not hate” and “southern pride” are tactical preferences for him. Anti-racists must fight white supremacy in its most blatant forms–such as that of neo-Nazis–but we must also oppose forms of white power organizing in which the same message has been repackaged to appeal to broader numbers.

At present, Sitton is attempting to portray himself as an opponent of the Klansmen and neo-Nazi organizers who will show up for “Rock Stone Mountain” on April 23, even claiming that he will protest these forces. Given Sitton’s own history as a neo-Nazi; his continuing racist organizing; and his spreading of misinformation around the earlier November 14 event at Stone Mountain, Sitton’s current maneuvers should not fool anyone.

Protect The South Likes Rock Stone Mountain“Protect the South” likes the explicitly white power event “Rock Stone Mountain,” image courtesy of Restoring the Honor