“Right-Wing Gentrification Gangs”: White Nationalists and Atlanta Property Development

Update 10/11/2017 here.

Introduction

Since the early 2000s, Atlanta white nationalist attorney Sam Dickson has been accumulating property in Atlanta, making a profit from gentrification and rising property values in our city. Dickson has built a “multi-million dollar business” from purchasing unpaid tax debts, then using them as leverage to obtain properties at bargain prices. Dickson has focused on property in South Atlanta, often in neighborhoods that are historically Black and working class. Dickson has been accused of “bullying” tactics to gain title.

Dickson’s moneymaking from the Atlanta property market was highlighted in a 2006 article published by the state-friendly, anti-extremist Southern Poverty Law Center. Other white nationalist and far-Right figures — currently or recently involved in the Atlanta property market — have received less attention. This article discusses some of these figures, showing how organized white nationalists gain both politically and economically from gentrification in our city.

Sam Dickson

Georgia attorney Samuel Glasgow Dickson has been a major figure on the racist far-Right since the 1970s. In 1978, Dickson campaigned for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia on a segregationist platform, receiving 11% of the vote. A lawyer since 1972, Dickson was known for representing Klansmen. Dickson participated in organizations such as the World Anti-Communist League (which included war criminals and far-Right terrorists) as well as the Council of Conservative Citizens (which traces back to the segregationist White Citizens’ Councils.) Dickson was active in Holocaust-denial circles – he published “Revisionist” materials and hosted events in Atlanta. Holocaust-denier David Irving spent time at Dickson’s property in Key West, Florida while facing criminal charges in Europe.

In 1994, Dickson gave a talk at the first American Renaissance conference, a suit-and-tie-style white nationalist gathering. Dickson has presented at every American Renaissance conference since then. He is also a regular speaker at the “Alt-Right” gatherings of the National Policy Institute. Predictably, Dickson was a speaker at the “Atlanta Forum” gathering in Marietta, Georgia this January, which brought together racist Southern nationalists and “Alt-Right” white nationalists. When Auburn University in Alabama tried to cancel an appearance by white power leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute, Dickson filed a lawsuit so the event could go ahead. Dickson gave a talk when white nationalists assembled in mass in Charlottesville, Virginia on May 13, 2017 – the white nationalists’ evening event was reminiscent of Klan ceremonies. Sam Dickson was again in Charlottesville for the bloody “Unite the Right” far-Right rally on August 12, 2017, where white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. murdered anti-racist Heather Heyer and wounded over a dozen more in a car attack.

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Sam Dickson holding megaphone at white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, May 13, 2017. “Alt-Right” leaders Richard Spencer, Nathan Damigo and Mike Peinovich (“Mike Enoch”) also visible in photo.

While staying active on the white power scene, Dickson has spent over a decade and a half buying up land around Atlanta, frequently using tax liens he has purchased to encourage property owners to sell low. When areas are redeveloped, Dickson stands to profit. Predictably, other white nationalists and far-Right figures now have their names on Fulton County property records, operating at various degrees of proximity or separation from Dickson himself. Continue reading

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More Georgia State University “Alt-Right” Racists

On September 10, 2016, white nationalists of the Georgia “Alt-Right” had a gathering at Stone Mountain Park outside Atlanta. Over a dozen white nationalists were recorded by a visitor to the Park, as they chanted “Alt-Right, Alt-Right!” and addressed her with sexist and antisemitic jeers (e.g. “Christ killer,” “Jews don’t wear panties.”) Two leaders of the “Alt-Right” group, Patrick Sharp and Casey Cooper, wore shirts for The Right Stuff, a far-Right racist website.

In the Metro Atlanta area, white nationalists associated with the “Alt-Right” have had a wave of activity in recent months, seemingly energized first by the Trump campaign and then by Trump’s presidential victory. Racist stickers and posters have appeared on Atlanta-area campuses; there have been several local networking events; and on January 28, 2017, “Alt-Right” white nationalists and Southern secessionists gathered for the larger “Atlanta Forum” regional gathering in Marietta.

Core activists of the energized local “Alt-Right” were caught in action at Stone Mountain on September 10 last year. While typically local “Alt-Right” racists meet in secrecy, this time they got recorded. Three of the white nationalists who appeared on Stone Mountain in September are discussed below. All three are Georgia State University students. (Patrick Sharp, one of the leaders of the “Alt-Right” group on the Mountain, was also until recently a GSU student — we have discussed Sharp extensively elsewhere.)

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McKinley Witzler, Chase Carroll and Chaz Neugebauer (all circled) at “Alt-Right” white nationalist get-together on Stone Mountain, September 2016

Charles (Chaz) Neugebauer

Charles Neugebauer is a Criminal Justice major at GSU and is the President of the University’s Boxing Club. On Twitter, Chaz Neugebauer uses the handle “Chud”/@chaz_nuke. This account follows local “Alt-Right” profiles plus better-known national ones such as TheRightStuff and Richard Spencer. On this Twitter account, Neugebauer portrays immigration in Europe as an “invading army” and further signals his far-Right worldview in comments such as: “Your ancestors didn’t fight and die for you to chose [sic] their adversaries over your own people.”

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Chaz Neugebauer
Chud accounts following
Local “Alt-Right” accounts followed by “Chud”/@chaz_nuke

One string of Twitter comments complains about being “called a racist” in one of his current classes. We can only guess what led to that.

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Classroom woes for chaz_nuke

Chase Carroll

Chase Riggs Carroll is another GSU Criminal Justice student, friend of Chaz Neugebauer, and a participant in the GSU Boxing Club. At the September 2016 “Alt-Right” gathering in Stone Mountain Park, Carroll carried a Confederate Battle Flag. At the time, Carroll’s hair was long, but he has since shifted to a stricter, shorter style.

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Chase Carroll

Chaz Neugebauer and Chase Carroll have been seen conferring with Spencer Madison, another far-Right militant attending GSU. [1]

McKinley Witzler

Finally, McKinley Witzler is listed as a Political Science student on GSU’s MeritPages site. Witzler has a Security job with Georgia State, and has been spotted working nights around campus.

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McKinley Witzler

Witzler’s radicalization towards the Right seems to have occurred last year. On June 15, 2016, Witzler attended a Trump campaign stop at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Also in June, Witzler started his (now gone) “12thCenturyShitlord”/@USBarbarossa Twitter account, which he used to argue that BlackLivesMatter protests should be “crushed,” that voting rights for women should be repealed, and that “jews run the media, finances, schools, governments, and blame everything on Whites.”

We believe that McKinley Witzler followed his “12thCenturyShitlord” Twitter account with one named “9thCenturyDeplorable”/@USCharlemagne which has recently been reactivated.

On November 13, 2016 — the day after white nationalist posters and stickers were placed on Atlanta-area campuses as part of a coordinated propaganda campaign — USCharlemagne Tweeted “There’s some naughty goyim in Atlanta.” This suggests the user’s approval of and possibly involvement with the white power action, which was coordinated nationally by TheRightStuff and which hit GSU as well as other campuses in Georgia.

uscharlemagne from twicopy nov 2016 naughty goyim original likely had photo of powers
Archived tweet by USCharlemagne, November 13, 2016

The “9thCenturyDeplorable”/USCharlemagne account was relaunched on March 22 of this year. The first post of the reborn account was a Holocaust reference: “Rev up those ovens, I’m back!” The profile currently lists its “dislikes” as “Saracens” — a term for Muslims from the time of the Crusades — as well as “Jews.”

While McKinley Witzler was photographed on Stone Mountain with long hair, Witzler has now adopted the undercut short hairstyle favored by the Alt-Right — perhaps an attempt to fit in with his militant racist pals.

Conclusion

“Alt-Right” racists are slowly moving from internet posting to concrete activity on campuses and in communities. We highlighted three participants in the local “Alt-Right” scene who were filmed at a 2016 white power gathering. At Georgia State, one of them could be your classmate, the security person in your building, or the person instructing how to throw an efficient punch. We believe that white power activists such as Neugebauer, Carroll and Witzler should be taken seriously. Any attempts they may make to organize against people of color, Muslims, Jewish people, sexual minorities, or other targets must be opposed. It is essential that anti-racists build active networks and broader coalitions that are up for the task.

As always, if you have information about white power and fascist organizing in Atlanta, please contact us.

NOTE

[1] Memo from Georgia State University student, in records of Atlanta Antifascists.

Meet Casey Jordan Cooper: “Alt-Right” White Power Organizer and Atlanta Law Student

Summary

Casey Jordan Cooper, a student at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, is the white power organizer behind the “Alt-Right” Twitter account @BigButternutJoe. Over the last year, Cooper participated in white nationalist events in the metro Atlanta area and posted racist propaganda on local campuses.  Until recently, Casey Cooper’s Twitter account issued a stream of racist and homophobic slurs, some of them about his fellow students at John Marshall. He was recorded as part of a white nationalist group jeering a Stone Mountain Park visitor with sexist and antisemitic remarks. Cooper is responsible for a death threat against a prominent Black activist in Atlanta.

The Death Threat

In July 2016, a series of large protests raged in Atlanta after police shot and killed Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. While protests disrupted business-as-usual in response to these high-profile police killings of Black men, Georgia white supremacists tried to counter-mobilize.

The Atlanta-area Twitter user @BigButternutJoe wrote on July 12 that “Whites […] are arming ourselves to the teeth” and that the Black Lives Matter movement will lead to a “massive wave of anti-black action in it’s [sic] wake.” This Twitter user earlier sent a private message to a local Black activist, which simply contained a picture of a noose. (The activist was also tagged in the “arming […] to the teeth” post by BigButternutJoe.)

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Death from BigButternutJoe account (at the time this account used the name “Phoenix on the Right” and had a profile picture of Sam Hyde)

When this Black activist publicly drew attention to the Twitter death threat, BigButternutJoe retweeted the post speaking out about the threat. BigButternutJoe followed with another statement, suggesting that the activist was exaggerating the death threat problem to “rent seek” (i.e. profit).  BigButternutJoe clarified: “This is why you hang.”

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BigButternutJoe repeats death threat

The person responsible for this online death threat has had a busy year, participating in Atlanta-area Alt-Right organizing, placing white power propaganda, and harassing enemies. For much of the same time, “BigButternutJoe” AKA Atlanta resident Casey Jordan Cooper has also been working towards a law degree at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, where he began as a 1L in August 2016. Atlanta’s John Marshall, a private law school in midtown Atlanta, states that almost 70% of its student body are of a “minority” population; more women than men also attend. Unsurprisingly, Cooper/”BigButternutJoe” doesn’t have pleasant things to say about fellow AJMLS students.

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Casey Jordan Cooper at Atlanta’s John Marshall new student orientation, August 2016

Continue reading

White Power “Atlanta Forum” Held in Marietta, January 28 2017

On January 28, 2017, just under fifty white nationalists met for the “Atlanta Forum,” a gathering billed as “a Southern nationalist conference of the Alt-Right.” Atlanta Antifascists organized to confront this gathering; however, on the day the racists got lucky, and we did not verify the meeting-place until the evening. 

Earlier in the day, assembled anti-racists held a spirited march through an Atlanta neighborhood which has been repeatedly hit by racist propaganda. (A report from some participants — published before the discovery of the Atlanta Forum venue — may be found here.) Unfortunately, by the time the Atlanta Forum venue was discovered, anti-racist forces were dispersed. Available anti-racists focused on documentation as well as notifying the venue, where Atlanta Forum attendees were still socializing and networking.


Atlanta Forum participants in Lobby of Marietta Hilton, night of January 28th

The Atlanta Forum was held at the Hilton Atlanta / Marietta Hotel & Conference Center in Cobb County, booked under the name “Michael Cushman Discussion Group.” Hotel management later claimed that white power Atlanta Forum attendees had left the premises by the time anti-racists notified the Hotel. This claim is contradicted by eyewitnesses, as well as by brief footage taken in the Hilton’s lobby after the space had been contacted.

Planning for the Atlanta Forum was secretive. As discussed on an episode of “The Daily Shoah” podcast after the event, white nationalists knew that there are “active and organized” antifascists in Atlanta. For this reason, they took countermeasures. Before the event, Atlanta Forum planners released a promotional image providing an early morning “meet up” point at Stone Mountain Park (in DeKalb County, some distance from Marietta). This “meet up” location turned out to be misinformation, a possibility we had noted in our earlier writing. Atlanta Forum organizer “Musonius Rufus” admitted that his event would have been larger, except for its “OpSec” (operations security) needs against antifascists, which made it harder for newcomers to the white power scene to attend. 

As expected, Atlanta white nationalist Sam Dickson, as well as regional racist figures such as Michael Cushman and “Musonius Rufus,” all talked at the Atlanta Forum. Other presenters included RG Miller of the Arkansas League of the South, and Alabama resident Bradley Griffin (AKA Hunter Wallace) of the Occidental Dissent website. Matthew Heimbach, Indiana-based leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party, also participated in a panel discussion. Demonstrating their commitment to white nationalist networking, Atlanta Forum participants had a brief exchange of greetings by conference call with the New York Forum, another “Alt-Right”/far-Right event held on the same day.  

“Mike Enoch” of TheRightStuff website did not make it to the Atlanta Forum as was earlier announced, his cancellation owing to troubles from the “out-ing” of his real-world identity as tech worker Mike Peinovich. (Peinovich’s wife being revealed as Jewish was especially scandalous within the white supremacist scene.) In the end, Peinovich attended the New York Forum instead of traveling to Georgia. 

In related developments, the Atlanta Forum organizers moved their “Rebel Yell” podcast away from TheRightStuff website after the Enoch/Peinovich controversy broke. They rebranded as “Identity Dixie,” launching their new site a week before the Atlanta Forum. As evidenced by “Musonius Rufus” later appearing on Peinovich’s “Daily Shoah” to discuss the Atlanta Forum, ties to TheRightStuff remain. 

The Atlanta Forum highlights the presence of an “Alt-South” network which joins racist neo-Confederacy with the “Alt-Right.” Michael Cushman, Brad Griffin, and the hosts of the “Rebel Yell” podcast appear to be key players in this incipient alliance. Locally, Sam Dickson represents the white nationalist old guard, but a network of college-aged Alt-Right racists also exists in and around Atlanta — some of whom attended the Atlanta Forum.

Fortunately, grassroots anti-racist/anti-fascist forces are growing in the South as well. We would have preferred to have found the Atlanta Forum early, but even without this our efforts cut into event attendance. Our organizing against the Atlanta Forum increased our skills and capacity. Atlanta Forum planners are already discussing about how next time, hosting their gathering on state property rather than a private venue may be a safer bet. We’ll see how that goes. 

Updates on January 28th White Nationalist “Atlanta Forum”

For months, white nationalists have been organizing the “Atlanta Forum,” a gathering scheduled for Saturday, January 28 which has been advertised as “a Southern nationalist conference of the Alt-Right.” Atlanta Antifascists are still searching for the Atlanta Forum venue, but since our initial post on this event additional information has come to light.

On January 11th, just two days after our initial alert, a flyer for The Atlanta Forum was posted to the Facebook page for The Rebel Yell — a white power podcast on The Right Stuff website, whose hosts are involved in the Atlanta Forum’s organizing and promotion. The flyer provides the names of four speakers (discussed below), an updated time for the event (8AM-4PM instead of 9AM-4PM as previously announced), and finally a “meet up” point in Stone Mountain Park for those wishing to attend.

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Atlanta Forum flyer posted to The Rebel Yell page on Jan. 11

Stone Mountain has a long history of white supremacy, and last year Stone Mountain Park saw confrontation between anti-racists and an explicitly “white power” rally that was issued a permit there. While it is possible that the event “meet up” point on the flyer is correct, we are currently evaluating this information. Atlanta Forum organization has generally been kept under wraps — misdirection attempts against potential protesters are possible.

In another development, the “TRS Confederates”/“Rebel Yell” website was revamped on January 15, and the Atlanta Forum “Conference” page mentioned in our initial article disappeared. We do not think that people should leap to any conclusions from this website change, however.

Atlanta Antifascists request that anti-racists in our region keep their schedules open on January 28th — from early morning onward – and be ready to oppose white supremacist organizing that day. To receive the latest updates on our efforts against the Atlanta Forum, either join the event “Stop the Atlanta Forum,” linked from our Facebook page, or check our Twitter regularly. We urge venues and event spaces to remain on the lookout for suspicious bookings for the 28th.

While we are still verifying some of the information on the Atlanta Forum event flyer, we are confident that the list of conference speakers is accurate. Below is information on these individuals.

Speakers Listed on the “Atlanta Forum” Flyer:

  •         Michael Cushman

Michael Cushman is a Southern nationalist based in South Carolina. He is a former member of the National Alliance — at one time the largest neo-Nazi organization in the US — as well as of the secessionist/white nationalist League of the South, which he left in 2015. Cushman currently operates the “Southern Future” website and prior to this ran the “Southern Nationalist Network” site. He also designed the Southern nationalist “Cushman flag” which is incorporated in the initial logo for the Atlanta Forum (as is the Confederate battle flag and the “Black Sun” far-Right symbol.) Cushman is the author of Our Southern Nation, which has been well-received within the neo-fascist and white power blogosphere.

  •         Sam Dickson

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Sam Dickson at National Policy Institute gathering November 2016. (Image from Idavox.)

Georgia attorney Sam Dickson has been a major figure in the white nationalist movement for decades. Dickson has for example talked at every conference for the suit-and-tie racists of American Renaissance, and is also a regular speaker at National Policy Institute gatherings. In the past, Dickson has worked for Klansmen as a lawyer, but he really made his money on the Atlanta property market, where he purchased unpaid tax debts and used these as leverage to obtain properties in areas that are gentrifying at bargain prices. (For more on Dickson and the Atlanta property market, see this 2016 article. Dickson also owns property in Key West, Florida.)

  •         Mike Peinovich/“Mike Enoch”

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Mike Peinovich AKA “Mike Enoch”

Mike Peinovich, who goes by the name “Mike Enoch” online, runs The Right Stuff website which began in December 2012 and is one of largest online promoters of the white nationalist “Alt-Right.” The Right Stuff circulates far-Right podcasts such as the recently-ended “Fash the Nation” as well as Enoch/Peinovich’s “The Daily Shoah” (the podcast’s name references the Holocaust.) The Right Stuff forums have been an online organizing hub for white nationalists, while The Right Stuff has also encouraged offline activity such as “pool party” racist meetups and poster campaigns.

On January 13, “Mike Enoch” had his identity as Manhattan-based tech worker Peinovich leaked online. While some white supremacists have blamed this “doxing” on antifascists, it appears that this information was initially released by white supremacists as part of a feud about individuals on the Alt-Right who are accused of being soft on Jews. As part of this “doxing,” it was revealed that Peinovich’s wife was Jewish (and had appeared on “The Daily Shoah” show). This has led to scandal and infighting within the Alt-Right. At the time of writing, The Right Stuff forums are down but Peinovich apparently has separated from his wife and intends to continue with his racist, anti-Semitic organizing.

Since the Atlanta Forum flyer was released before Peinovich’s identity was revealed, it is now uncertain whether Peinovich will attend. Whatever the case, the recent disclosures regarding Peinovich and The Right Stuff are sure to cast a shadow over any event linked to that website, such as the Atlanta Forum.

  •         “Musonius Rufus”

“Musonius Rufus” is the alias for a host of “The Rebel Yell,” a podcast by “TRS Confederates” circulated on The Right Stuff. “Musonius” gives his location as Tennessee. He appears — like many of The Right Stuff participants — to have a history on the libertarian Right prior to going full-on “fashy” and white nationalist.

“The Rebel Yell” broadcast which “Rufus” is involved with has its origin in pro-Confederate flag organizing by The Right Stuff soon after the 2015 Charleston massacre — “The Rebel Yell” Facebook page was initially a page for “Battle Flag the 4th” organizing, with the “Rebel Yell” podcast being launched later. “The Atlanta Forum” builds upon a central theme of “The Rebel Yell” podcast: that is, the racism of the “Alt-Right” combined with neo-Confederacy and Southern nationalism.