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

White Power Rally and Racist Rock Show Planned for April 23 2016: Stone Mountain, GA and Atlanta Region

Summary: Neo-Nazis and Klansmen are planning a rally on April 23, 2016 at Stone Mountain, Georgia, as well as a racist rock show at a venue elsewhere that evening. Anti-racists will organize against these white power events. Please spread the word. We must resist this show of force by militant white supremacists.

The Upcoming “Rock Stone Mountain” Event

White supremacists are busy organizing an “openly White Power March up Stone Mountain” plus a “White Power concert at a separate location that evening” in Georgia. The march and concert are scheduled for April 23, 2016. It is being promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and on white supremacist websites such as Stormfront. Figures such as former White Revolution chairman Billy Roper in Arkansas are assisting with publicity. The event’s Facebook attendee list includes ex-members of the Aryan Nations and current Ku Klux Klan activists. The post-rally concert will feature rock acts catering to a bonehead (racist “skinhead”) audience. The “Rock Stone Mountain” Facebook page mentions that one or more bands could be supplied by the international Blood & Honour neo-Nazi network.

FB event headerRock Stone Mountain event page on Facebook

discussion of bands for showDiscussion of bands for the white power concert

Background

The upcoming April 2016 event follows in the wake of a “Defend Stone Mountain” rally held on November 14, 2015. The November rally billed itself as a Southern “heritage” protest against a proposal to add a monument in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Stone Mountain site. (The debate regarding Stone Mountain has since shifted, see this story for details.)

Confederate displays on public property have increasingly been criticized and opposed after Dylann Storm Roof’s massacre of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC earlier this year. In response to the outcry about symbols of the Confederacy on public property, Confederate flag/monument supporters have stepped up their own organizing, including an August 1st Confederate flag rally at Stone Mountain that attracted hundreds.

Explicit white supremacists and Klansmen organized and promoted the later November 14 Stone Mountain protest, which was also backed by neo-Confederate organizations. Whereas Atlanta Magazine misleadingly claimed that “No KKK members or white supremacists made their attendance known” at the November 14 protest, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has fully documented the Klan and white supremacist presence on that day. The AJC also notes that Stone Mountain officials knew that members of the International Keystone Knights of the KKK were involved in organizing the event.

klan ring on display nov 14 2015 stone mountain eventNovember 14 2015 Stone Mountain rally: a protester displays his Klan “blood drop” ring

The November 14 protest emboldened Klan and neo-Nazi activists–the circles who are now putting together an openly white supremacist show of force at Stone Mountain. As the April 23 event page states: “It is time to stop apologizing […] If it were not for Our Race, that Flag [the Confederate flag] would not exist! They are going to call us ‘racist’ anyway, so wear it as a Badge of Honor […] Better to be called a Racist than a traitor!”

Stone Mountain is inexorably linked to Klan history—it is where the modern KKK was born one hundred years ago. The giant carving on the mountainside was begun by Klan member Gutzon Borglum, but the project ran out of funding before completion. (Only General Lee’s head was carved by Borglum.) Work on the monument was restarted by others decades later, once the State of Georgia purchased the site. Resumed work on the monument coincided with the State’s fierce efforts against the Civil Rights movement. The monument is a symbol of racial subjugation—it is no wonder why racists love the site, and why they are determined to fight for it.

While current Klan and neo-Nazi activists are tapping into an earlier white supremacist history, the plans for April 2016 also represent a more virulent form of racist politics than other recent events at Stone Mountain. Previously, Klansmen and their comrades still made concessions to fit in with the broader flag/monument protest crowd (which tried to portray itself in more moderate terms.) Now, flagrant white supremacists are confident enough to go it alone. Neo-Nazis and the Klan are completely controlling the agenda for the April 23rd events.

rock stone mountain following on twitterWho “Rock Stone Mountain” is following on Twitter. Note: “88” is alphanumeric code for “H.H.” or “Heil Hitler.”

Anti-Racists: Start Getting Ready…

The white supremacists who are organizing the April event will not go away if we ignore them. They are a real threat. Allowing blatant neo-Nazis to rally without opposition would pose at least two serious dangers. First, if allowed an easy victory white supremacists will further gain confidence, and this in turn will make violence against their perceived racial or political enemies more likely. Second, successful neo-Nazi and Klan organizing will allow others on the racist Right to portray themselves as “moderate” by comparison, which could help these other racist forces to progress towards the political mainstream. It is for these reasons and more that the April 23rd march and gathering must be resisted. Doing work against the far-Right is especially important at a time when militant racists harass and shoot protesters against police killings in Minneapolis, and when xenophobic and anti-Muslim incidents have spiked in the US.

On behalf of some anti-racists in Atlanta who have been discussing the upcoming white power event: organizing against the April 23rd rally and concert will begin in the not-too-distant future. We aim for a large and multifaceted response to white supremacist organizing. We are committed to doing our part in local anti-racist mobilizations.

First steps to be taken: most importantly, please circulate this news far and wide. Get in contact if you have information that may be useful in combating the Klan/neo-Nazi mobilization. Please be on the lookout for further updates, and start to talk with your circles about responses you would like to see happen. We urge anti-racists and anti-fascists to mark their calendars for the weekend of April 23-24, 2016. If you are an anti-racist living in the South—or even further afield—consider making a trip to Atlanta during this time. We promise you will not be bored.