Analysis: Leaked Information Details Atlanta’s “Alt-Right” White Nationalist Scene

Introduction

Recently, screen-captured messages from Atlanta-area white nationalist leader Casey Cooper were published on Its Going Down, an anarchist and anti-racist website. This leak of white nationalist communications also included an email invitation list for the Atlanta Forum, a white power gathering in our region earlier this year. Taken together, the leaked materials show Casey Cooper’s transition from an “Alt-Right” sympathizer in the beginning of 2016 to a prospective state leader for the white power movement by the end of that year. The information from Casey Cooper’s accounts reveal how “Alt-Right” racists organize regionally, especially how the white nationalist organization Identity Evropa operates. The screen-captures establish that Cooper was a member of Identity Evropa, and engaged in activity on their behalf.

The newly-public online conversations also provide detail on how “Alt-Right” racists coordinated to hit multiple Georgia campuses with white power propaganda in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s electoral victory. In our analysis of the leaked white nationalist communications, we first discuss what the leak reveals about specific white nationalist figures; we then discuss the mid-November 2016 white power propaganda run coordinated by Casey Cooper; and we conclude with some notes about what this new information reveals about “Alt-Right” organizing more generally.

cooper sharp nov 2016
Atlanta-area white nationalist leaders Casey Cooper (standing on left) and Patrick Sharp (right), November 2016

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Breakfast-Cereal Bigots: The “Proud Boys” Have Arrived in Atlanta

White supremacist and far-Right nationalist movements are nothing new, especially in the American South. Since Trump’s induction into the oval office, however, the US has seen these movements evolve into something younger and more contemporary.

Far from the stereotype of old, cantankerous Klanners, the “Alt-Right” and its organizations such as Identity Evropa advance their cause with approaches that are modern, polished, and deceptive. They use memes and retro aesthetics to make their hateful message more palatable. Prioritizing anonymity and information security, until recently the “Alt-Right” has relied on its internet presence combined with occasional public speaking events by white-collar “leaders” such as Richard Spencer to advance its cause. (The movement was also helped by the existence of the watered-down “Alt-Lite” and figures such as Milo Yiannopoulos, which helped popularize Alt-Right themes without explicitly signing off on white nationalism.) For most of its existence, what the Alt-Right’s internet trolls and “Identitarian” white nationalists had in terms of propaganda reach, they lacked in street presence and physical interaction. This is where one of the Alt-Right/Alt-Lite’s strangest offshoots comes in–Cue the “Proud Boys.”

proud boys georgia twitter
Proud Boys Georgia Twitter page

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Meet Zac Johnson: Hitler-Loving “Alt-Right” Propagandist in Alpharetta, Georgia

Summary

For years, Zachary Johnson of Alpharetta has quietly but constantly worked for the white nationalist cause. Zac Johnson is mostly active in writing, social media, and especially graphic design for the racist movement. He also travels to white nationalist conferences and organizes with “Alt-Right” circles regionally. Using an online alias, Johnson is clear that he admires Adolf Hitler, who he refers to as “uncle.” When promoting his custom bird house business or trying to rent his vacation cabin in the North Georgia mountains, Johnson is less upfront about his beliefs. We believe that key players in the white power scene deserve public scrutiny. Zachary Van Johnson is one such figure.

Zac Johnson portrait
Zachary Van Johnson

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