Summary: Cameron Padgett, who books speaking events for white nationalist leader Richard Spencer on US campuses, has cultivated a media persona as a clean-cut, law-abiding student who cares deeply about free speech and advocacy for white people. In reality, the campus events organized by Padgett for Spencer show military-style coordination with white nationalist groups and predictably lead to racist violence. Contrary to his friendly media face, Padgett is an active participant in the white supremacist movement. Padgett took part in a racist torchlit rally in Charlottesville, Virginia during October – eight weeks after the “Unite the Right” rampage there – and soon after livestreamed himself harassing a working class Latinx community in Atlanta. Padgett frequently rails against the “degeneracy” of the modern age, while being careful to conceal his own history of forgery and drug charges in Chatham County, Georgia. When Padgett received a ticket while driving to the October white power rally in Charlottesville, Padgett gave the address of Safety Net Recovery, a sober living program. Drug use and addiction do not deserve contempt. We condemn Padgett’s racism, his scapegoat politics, and his hypocrisy. Continue reading
Update 10/11/2017 here.
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.
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.
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
Repost from Joshua Hitson Information.
In May 2017, Atlanta Antifascists exposed Whitewater High School (Fayetteville, Georgia) teacher Joshua David Hitson as a Hitler-admiring, white power agitator. Since Whitewater High School currently lists Hitson as a staff member and seems unconcerned by this situation, we are releasing this dossier with 180 pages of documentation on Joshua Hitson and his racist allegiances. Read it online or download it here.
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.
On Tuesday, April 18, white nationalist leader Richard Spencer (of the National Policy Institute and Altright) gave a speech at Auburn University in Alabama, which is less than two hours away from Atlanta. Anti-racists mobilized against this event and, shortly after the end of Richard Spencer’s talk, students angrily escorted Spencer’s white power followers off campus and chased some of them through the streets of Auburn.
In the run-up to the Tuesday event, Spencer’s forces blatantly organized for violence on campus, using scarcely veiled language of assembling “safety” squads, and urging racists and far-Right anti-communists to travel from far and wide to invade the campus. On the actual day, the far-Right ended up having a hard time, with their attempts at aggression met with compelling responses from students and other anti-racists. While white nationalists predictably declared a victory, this verdict was informed by delusional claims about the day. For example, racist claimed that their members were not really chased off campus so much as followed, and that their forces “drastically outnumbered” anti-racists. Such messaging from white nationalists, combined their focus on waging war on anti-fascists in the aftermath of Tuesday, suggests that they are in fact unhappy about how the day went.
Spencer’s Visit Approaches
Richard Spencer used a Youtube video to announce that he would be speaking at Auburn just under a week before he was scheduled to appear on campus. Before Spencer’s announcement, an Alt-Right “White Student Union” for Auburn had launched a website and begun circulating antisemitic flyers on campus, attempting to cultivate a climate of intimidation on campus. Anti-racists including our organization began circulating news of Spencer’s visit to Auburn soon following his announcement – since events at Auburn were part of regional coordination by Alt-Right white nationalists, we believed that anti-racists should likewise treat this event as a regional concern since a victory at Auburn would affect all of us as people living in the South. While the state-friendly anti-extremists of the Southern Poverty Law Center urged students to avoid and not confront the racist mobilization, several Auburn students shared our view that fascist organizing prospers when left unopposed. A Twitter account was established by Auburn students opposed to racist organizing, and a call for loud, vocal opposition to Spencer’s visit was released. Atlanta Antifascists solicited endorsements from other anti-racist and leftist organizations for the call to action. At this point, the situation began shifting rapidly.
The first change came on Friday when Auburn University canceled Spencer’s booking, citing concerns over student safety. While we were happy that white power organizing had hit a roadblock, it was also clear that actions of the sort taken by the University, could just as easily be used against leftists and anti-racists in the future. For this reason, appeals to cops, courts, or other authorities have never been at the center of our work as anti-racists.
Richard Spencer issued a furious response to the University, claiming that Auburn would “rue the day” they made this decision, and stating that he would fly in key white nationalists for the Auburn event as well as organize squads equipped with “safety gear.” (Shortly before Spencer announced his Auburn visit, he had discussed the formation of a “white bloc” to take on anti-racist opponents.)
Denied a room on campus, Spencer stated that he would hold a rally of some sort anyway, the constant subtext of his statements being that organizing far-Right forces to go after enemies on campus would be a fine alternative to a speaking engagement. Amongst those Spencer flew in for his event was Mike Peinovich AKA “Mike Enoch,” operator of TheRightStuff website as well as “The Daily Shoah” podcast. In the days to come, other far-Right formations mobilized to descend on Auburn: Identity Evropa, Brad Griffin’s “Alt-South” network, Anti-Communist Action, the Traditionalist Worker Party, and the League of the South (who took on a security role.)
The other major escalation took place on the other side of the country, where on Saturday the 15th far-Right forces (including open white supremacists) clashed with anti-fascist protesters in Berkeley, California. This event, portrayed by the far-Right as a victory, emboldened more far-Right and white nationalist forces (including some of the groups listed earlier) to pledge to be at Auburn with the hope of routing their enemies in a brawl. Just as in Berkeley where organized far-Right forces used “free speech” as a pretext to organize violence and attempt to control territory, in the days as Spencer’s Auburn visit drew near, his coalition was increasingly brazen about wanting to control the turf with violence.
(A war of posters and counter-flyers also broke out on campus, with anti-racist flyers against Spencer’s visit being countered with fake “Antifa” flyers as well as White Student Union materials portraying militant anti-racists as troublemakers willing to attack random bystanders.)
While Spencer’s forces organized for a physical fight, Richard Spencer also pushed through legal channels for his event to go ahead. On Tuesday afternoon, mere hours before the event began, Spencer announced that he had obtained a court order compelling Auburn University to allow his speaking event to proceed as initially scheduled. Spencer’s case had been argued by Atlanta white nationalist attorney Sam Dickson – a fixture on the racist scene nationally — on behalf of Cameron Padgett, a student who had made the booking for Spencer’s visit using a Georgia State University (Atlanta) email address.
Tuesday Afternoon and Evening
The court order changed the scene. Had Spencer held an outdoor rally in defiance of his cancelled booking, our expectation was that this mobilization would be combined with bands of white power/“Alt-Right” militants ready to street fight and to target those they saw as enemies (for example, people of color, Jewish students, or leftists.) Alabama “Alt-South” organizer Brad Griffin later wrote that Spencer’s court victory was in some sense also disappointing for him, because with the changed situation “I wouldn’t get a chance to fight and win a bit of glory for myself […] in […] an epic throw down.” Griffin’s claim clarifies what the far-Right forces mobilizing for Spencer had in mind shortly before the court made its ruling. With the court ruling, however, they’d have to queue to go inside a room, being scanned with a metal-detecting wand beforehand.
Students came out in large numbers in response to Spencer’s speaking event, with some protesting outside, some attending Spencer’s talk to press him, some by contrast taking a “no platform” approach, and others merely checking out the scene. Into this situation, leftists and anti-racists from several parts of the South also arrived. The fascists who from mid-afternoon onward were spotted in bands around campus, took position at the venue for Spencer’s speech, separated from protesters by police and barriers.
It was a solid week of organizing by anti-racists — students of various political persuasions as well as “outsiders” to Auburn like our organization — which enabled a powerful response to Spencer’s assembled forces. From our perspective, some things went far better than others. At Auburn, the black bloc – a tactic originating from radical Left and anarchist movements in Europe during the second half of the 20th Century – was generally a shit-show, although the fact that networks activated and anti-fascists traveled to attend was itself a positive. Auburn Police were extremely aggressive in targeting anti-racists who were wearing masks or bandanas (to guard against later harassment by the far-Right.) By contrast, white supremacists obscuring their faces were occasionally told to remove masks but overall, were not aggressively targeted. It is to be expected that the police, whose unions overwhelmingly endorsed Donald Trump’s right-wing populist presidential campaign and who generally protect a racist status quo, will typically side with organized racists over anti-racists.
Anti-racists — from Auburn and from elsewhere — maintained a lively presence outside Foy Hall during the time people entered for Spencer’s speech, as well as during the event itself. This anti-racist presence played some role in stopping people from drifting away before Spencer’s speech was over and racists filed out. Chants of “Fuck Richard Spencer!” were popular. However, there was also friction between some anti-racists who had travelled to Auburn, and other parts of the student body. For example, some “outsiders” were at first annoyed by Auburn pride chants, since they seemed to be an attempt to replace more pointed chants against the white supremacists gathering on campus. In retrospect, the situation was complicated than we initially understood; the Auburn spirit chants may have also communicated collective confidence in the face of adversary: “We’re proud to be Auburn, we’re going to stick together and see each other through this situation.”
The only arrests of the day occurred while Spencer’s speech was happening. Ryan Matthew King — who has subsequently been identified as a Montgomery, Alabama tattoo artist and “compatriot” of the racist/secessionist League of the South — was stationed outside and tried to attack an anti-racist in the crowd. King’s assault did not go as planned, with King promptly landing on the ground after misdelivering a blow, and receiving a stern physical rebuke from the crowd. King and two anti-racists were arrested as the police rushed in.
Tension grew in the crowd as it got later and darker outside, with the tide of opinion moving even further against Richard Spencer after he made the mistake of attacking college football and Black athletes. As white nationalists filed out, they received an angry escort from campus by the assembled crowd. Matthew Heimbach’s troopers of the Traditionalist Worker Party and other white supremacists attempted a poorly-conceived charge on students and other protesters, but soon realized their mistake. Some of the departing white nationalists were chased by students and protesters. A few racists ended up worse for wear.
Ultimately, Spencer’s event at Auburn showed that wherever ideological racists try to organize on campus, they should expect determined opposition, even at campuses such as Auburn with a reputation as conservative. The events at Auburn demonstrate how closely Far-Right organizing for violence accompanies the “free speech” activity of white power leaders like Spencer. On the 18th, white power activists were restrained in their violence compared to what they had threatened in days beforehand. Combined students and Southern anti-racists gave every racist-instigated act of violence an unmistakable response. Further, despite some concerns from Auburn students about militant anti-racists arriving on campus from elsewhere, Auburn students themselves chased and confronted “Alt-Right” racists at the end of the evening.
Since white nationalists can be slow learners, we expect that the “White Student Union” at Auburn may drag on for some time. For information on opposition to this White Student Union and other racist activity in and around Auburn, check out twitter.com/no_nazi_auburn
Atlanta Forum participants in Lobby of Marietta Hilton, night of January 28th
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.
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
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”
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.
Update 9/19/2016: Permit for the KKK event in Rockmart is now available here.
On October 1st – the same day the white supremacist Hammerskin Nation will hold a major racist festival in Georgia – the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (IKKKKK) have announced a gathering at Seaborn Jones Park in downtown Rockmart, Georgia.
Rockmart is approximately an hour northwest of Atlanta by car. It is approximately 25 minutes north of Draketown GA where the “Hammerfest” gathering is expected to take place. (The Georgia Peach Oyster Bar in Draketown is also where the “Aryan Nationalist Alliance” will gather on September 17th.)
The October 1st IKKKKK gathering is promoted as a “White Christian Community Event” running from 10AM to 6PM and featuring vendors, music and food. Seaborn Jones Park is a public space operated by the City of Rockmart.
Flyer for the Klan event in Rockmart, GA October 1st
A promotional image for the October 1st IKKKKK gathering was circulated online by Greg “Thor” Calhoun of Cedartown, Georgia. At the time of writing, promotion does not seem to have advanced far beyond Calhoun notifying those already in his circles.
Greg Calhoun was previously involved in the Aryan Nations Knights of the KKK, where he was active alongside Shaun Winkler of Mississippi, a longstanding white power militant and one-time “Imperial Wizard” of the Aryan Nations KKK. Both Calhoun and Winkler eventually switched organization affiliation to the International Keystone Knights. (Winkler is now a member of the National Socialist Movement.)
Greg Calhoun (L) and Shaun Winkler (R) earlier this year.
On November 14, 2015, Greg Calhoun and his wife Jodi organized a “Defend Stone Mountain” rally at Stone Mountain Park – an event where there was an “obvious” Klan presence according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The November 14, 2015 rally organized by the Calhouns was the immediate precursor to the April 23, 2016 “Rock Stone Mountain” white power rally at the same park, an event which met with concerted anti-racist resistance.
In filings with the Georgia Corporations Division, the International Keystone Knights presently lists “Greg Cochran” as its agent for the State of Georgia – yet the address provided in these filings indicates that “Greg Cochran” is the same person as Gregory Todd Calhoun.
Regionally, October 1st is an unusually busy day for white supremacist organizers. As well as the Hammerskins-sponsored “Hammerfest” in Georgia plus the IKKKKK “White Christian Community Event” in downtown Rockmart, the annual “Stormfront Summit” will be held in East Tennessee on the same weekend, featuring speakers such as David Duke, Paul Fromm, and Atlanta white nationalist/real estate lawyer Sam Dickson.