April 21: Nazi Rally in Newnan, Georgia Resisted by Anti-Racists, Assisted by Militarized Police

Introduction

On April 21, 2018, the National Socialist Movement (NSM) held a small rally at the Greenville Street Park in Newnan, Georgia, 45 minutes southwest of Atlanta. The NSM’s application to use the Park — accepted by the City of Newnan for $50 — stated that the Nazi organization would bring fifty to a hundred participants for its white power rally. This was expected to be one of the largest displays of open white supremacists since the bloody “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year. In the end, the NSM attracted approximately half its minimum projected attendance and was protested by several hundred. To create conditions for the NSM event to take place, the entire City of Newnan was militarized, with approximately 700 police from various agencies swamping the City, mobilizing a large number of military surplus vehicles, then brutalizing and arresting anti-racist protesters. We are proud of the anti-racist protesters in Newnan on Saturday. Both “antifa” and other anti-racists continued to protest even as police pointed guns at them for no apparent reason, and repeatedly charged into the #NoNaziNewnan anti-racist assembly to violently arrest demonstrators. Further, the large organized presence from the Black community in Coweta County — visible directly across the street from the Nazi rally — was inspiring. The NSM event flopped. Anti-racists and anti-fascists have much to be pleased with from the 21st, despite the fresh instances of repression which we must now address. State displays of force such as we witnessed in Newnan seem increasingly likely as anti-fascists move forward in the South. The same is probably true throughout the US. In our conclusion, we will briefly discuss ramifications of this changed strategic situation.NoNaziNewnan.jpg

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Racists Menace Tennessee Church Reeling from Mass Shooting

An earlier version of this article gave Justin Lamar Burger’s name as “Justin William Burger.” We apologize for this error.

Update 11/08/17: The fifth and final participant in the Burnette Chapel protest (who gave the name of “Leah” to media) has been identified as Florida resident Haley Olivia Copeland.

 

Justin Burger (Douglasville, Georgia), Ian Booton (Gibson, GA) and University of Central Florida Student Simon Michael Dickerman in Far-Right Flash Protest at Burnette Chapel
 
On Sunday, October 29, white nationalists held a five-person flash protest outside the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee (about twenty minutes from Nashville.) A month earlier, gunman Emanuel Kidega Samson targeted Burnette Chapel, killing one congregation member and wounding seven more. A note left in the shooter’s car allegedly mentioned Dylann Roof, the white supremacist responsible for 2015 massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. White nationalists have now seized on the Burnette Chapel shooting for propaganda purposes, for a couple of reasons. First, the mention of Dylann Roof in the note left in Samson’s vehicle could be used to build a “revenge” narrative around the Antioch shooting — a narrative which is helpful to white nationalists. Second, Emanuel Samson was born in Sudan but spent most of his life in the United States. Far-Right commentators such as Alabama-based League of the South publicist/“Alt-South” blogger Bradley Dean Griffin have seized upon the Antioch shooting to increase racist and anti-immigrant sentiment. The shooting is also useful to white nationalists because it can be used to draw false equivalencies and to deflect attention from their own movement’s role in radicalizing Charleston murderer Dylann Roof.
 
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White nationalists outnumbered in Shelbyville, Tennessee, October 28, 2017
The Burnette Chapel attack was referenced frequently by the Nationalist Front –- a racist umbrella grouping involving the National Socialist Movement, League of the South, Traditionalist Worker Party, Vanguard America and others –- as it organized for its “White Lives Matter” demonstration in Middle Tennessee on Saturday, October 28. Apart from flash mobs, the “White Lives Matter” rally was the first major street demonstration by white nationalists in the US, since the bloody and disastrous “Unite the Right” rally in Virginia this August. Nationalist Front organizers had initially planned to demonstrate in both Shelbyville and Murfreesboro on Saturday the 28th, but after their forces were outnumbered in Shelbyville, Nationalist Front organizers abruptly canceled their second demonstration in Murfreesboro, where a large counter-protest awaited them. On Saturday night following the dismal Shelbyville rally, members of the racist and fascist Traditionalist Worker Party assaulted an interracial couple at a pub in Brentwood, Tennessee.
 
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Traditionalist Worker Party shields, Shelbyville October 28 
Throughout the weekend of the “White Lives Matter” rally, rumors swirled that Nationalist Front members would show up in Antioch and hold a protest outside Burnette Chapel. However, no such protest occurred on Friday. On Saturday in Shelbyville, racist organizers announced an evening presence at the Antioch church, but this event was eventually cancelled just as the Murfreesboro demonstration had been earlier. However, the next morning, a handful of militant racists showed up outside Burnette Chapel with a banner, until the arrival of police shooed them away. The flash protest was documented by Newsweek correspondent Michael Hayden. By showing up at a church that had already experienced trauma and violence, the white nationalists made it even plainer that their movement does not care about the Burnette Chapel congregation. The racist movement just hoped to exploit a tragedy for its own agenda. 
 
The five white nationalist protesters outside Burnette Chapel on Sunday stated to Newsweek that they were part of Identity Evropa, a racist organization that focuses on college-aged recruits. However, Identity Evropa leader Elliott Kline (AKA “Eli Mosley”) has denied that the five demonstrators in Antioch were members, claiming instead that they were “trolling” by mentioning Identity Evropa as their organization. Surprisingly, Kline seems to be correct. One of the white power protesters outside Burnette Chapel has been identified by Nebraska antifascists as Daniel Kleve of the Vanguard America, which unlike Identity Evropa is affiliated with the Nationalist Front. Although one of the Antioch, Tennessee protesters (who gave her name as “Leah”) remains unidentified, we have identified the remaining three as Justin Lamar Burger of Douglasville, Georgia; Ian Mathis George Booton of Gibson, Georgia; and University of Central Florida student Simon Michael Dickerman. Similarly to Daniel Kleve of Nebraska, Burger, Booton, and Dickerman traveled from out-of-state to participate in the “White Lives Matter” demonstration.
 
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Justin Burger (L) and Ian Booton (R) outside Burnette Chapel in Antioch, Tennessee, October 29, 2017. Photo courtesy of Michael E Hayden.
 

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