International Keystone Knights of KKK Hosting “White Christian Community Event” in Rockmart, Georgia, October 1st 2016

Update 9/23/2016, 6PM: According to The Polk County Standard Journal, the Klan event has now been cancelled.

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.

edited-keystone-knights-at-seaborne-jones-park-rockmart-ga-oct-1st-2016Flyer 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.)

shawn-winkler-photo-posted-to-vk-19-jun-2016-with-greg-calhoun-dl-8-27-2016Greg 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.

Neo-Nazi “Hammerfest” Gathering Planned for Georgia, October 1st

The Hammerskin Nation, a long-running white supremacist organization, has announced that their major “Hammerfest” national gathering will be held in Georgia this October 1st. Hammerskin organizers plan to bring several bonehead (racist “skinhead”) musical acts into Georgia, including one band travelling from Finland to play the event. White supremacist speakers are also scheduled — one of these speakers being a prominent up-and-coming leader in the white power movement. The early October event will draw Hammerskin Nation members and supporters from across the country, as well as militants from other parts of the white power movement.

The October 1st event is being promoted not only on the closed “Crew 38” site for Hammerskin Nation supporters, but also on a number of other white power forums such as the notorious Stormfront.org. This is the second time in two years that “Hammerfest” will take place in Georgia – the 2014 Hammerskin national gathering was in Georgia as well. This year’s gathering features bigger names than the 2014 event in Georgia, and will likely attract larger numbers. Expect several dozen to upward of a hundred white supremacists gathering, networking with each other, and making plans.

The Hammerskins — who are hosting the October event in Georgia — were founded in the late 1980s in Dallas, Texas. They operate as a street-level bonehead (racist “skinhead”) crew, generally organizing through the white power music scene as well as maintaining links with sectors of the broader racist movement. The first Hammerskin chapter was known as the “Confederate Hammerskins,” but as the Hammerskins grew, new regional groups such as the Northern Hammerskins were also established. These regional groups are banded together within the “Hammerskin Nation” franchise. The Hammerskin Nation website currently lists chapters not only in the US, but also in Canada, several European countries, New Zealand and Australia. Throughout their history the Hammerskins have earned a reputation using extreme violence on behalf of their cause – the best-known example would be Hammerskin member Wade Michael Page’s murder of six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012 before he killed himself.

In Georgia, there has been a presence of Confederate Hammerskins — the Hammerskin division for the Southern US — in our state for approximately a quarter century, although membership numbers have fluctuated. For long stretches, the Hammerskin presence in Georgia has been maintained by small numbers. Georgia Hammerskins are able to host national gatherings in our state in part because they can utilize resources from other parts of white power movement in our region, and also because they have the support of the Hammerskin Nation as a whole when hosting the crew’s annual national gathering.

The October 1st Event in Georgia: Musical Acts

A flyer currently being circulated online for the October 1st event features the names of four racist rock acts: Definite Hate, Beer Hall Putsch, Ironwill, and Hate Your Neighbors. Posting this flyer online, Georgia Hammerskin prospect Jason Reeves (writing as “Jason POTN” – “POTN” standing for “Prospect of the [Hammerskin] Nation”) added the following: “Top band from Finland will be headlining. To prevent them from being denied entry the band name is being withheld for now.”

hammerfest 2016 flyer EDITEDFlyer for Hammerfest 2016, headlining act not mentioned.

While Reeves did not disclose the name of the “top band from Finland” slated to play the event, National Socialist Movement member Butch Urban has been more explicit when posting on Stormfront about the gathering. In a post promoting Hammerfest that otherwise matches the details supplied by Hammerskin members, Urban (as “Butch-88”) wrote: “Headlining band is Mistreat from Finland.” In a different thread on Stormfront about this event, the user “BloodandHonourGeorgia” (another online handle used by Jason Reeves) contributed to discussion by linking to Mistreat’s song “We’re Ready” on Youtube. It therefore seems likely that Mistreat are the “top band from Finland” on the bill.

Mistreat are one the better-known white power musical acts from Finland, with a history in the racist “Rock Against Communism” scene that goes back to 1988. (“Rock Against Communism” has been a racist and far-Right musical scene from the beginning — the “RAC” label was first used by the National Front in England to promote white power acts.) Mistreat have historic links to the Hammerskin Nation, having recorded a split album with the St. Paul, Minnesota act Bound for Glory, whose main member Ed Wolbank was also a leader of the Northern Hammerskins. In 2005, Mistreat included a song titled “We Salute You, American Hammerskins” in their “Never Forgive… Never Forget” CD. The Finnish act’s appearance in Georgia would be a major draw for boneheaded aficionados of European “RAC” music.

mistreatMistreat

The other major white power act scheduled to appear on October 1st is the North Carolina-based group Definite Hate. This blog has already written about Definite Hate at length, because at one stage Definite Hate was scheduled to play the evening after-party for the “Rock Stone Mountain” white power rally on April 23rd of this year. While Definite Hate eventually vanished from that event’s advertised lineup, Definite Hate is now seemingly functioning once again and determined to play Georgia. Definite Hate is a longtime Hammerskin band. The band’s old guitarist, Wade Michael Page, has been mentioned above, as the person responsible for the August 2012 mass murder at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Neither the rest of the band nor the Hammerskin Nation as a whole has ever disavowed Page’s murders. Instead, following the massacre, the Hammerskin-affiliated record label Antipathy Records held a special sale with the promotional code “WADEPAGE”.

Another band scheduled to play on October 1st is Beer Hall Putsch, an Idaho-based racist rock group. (The group name references Hitler’s coup attempt in 1923 – Hitler composed Mein Kampf while imprisoned for his role in this Putsch.) As noted in this article by antifascists in the Northwest, Beer Hall Putsch includes one of the leaders of the Northwest Hammerskins (see link.) The frontman for Beer Hall Putsch is Christopher Vertrice Lord, who was imprisoned in the mid-1990s for shooting at a synagogue in Eugene, Oregon.

The final two musical acts on the Hammerfest 2016 bill are Ironwill and Hate Your Neighbors. Ironwill has its roots in the Southern California racist rock scene, but in recent years has been based in Washington State. Ironwill was originally affiliated with the American Front, another neo-Nazi organization, but now regularly features at Hammerskin gatherings.

Hate Your Neighbors is based in Huntington Beach, California and performs songs with titles such as “Hate Crime.” Their Facebook shows the group playing in front of large Hammerskin banner.

The October 1st Event in Georgia: Speakers

The Hammerfest announcement on Stormfront has also named of two guest speakers: “Chester Doles also Matthew Heimbach from Traditionalist Workers Party.”

Of these two names, Heimbach may be the more familiar. Heimbach, currently based in Indiana, is a leader of the Traditionalist Youth Network as well as its party, the Traditionalist Worker Party. Heimbach is a white nationalist who seeks to garner support from those who feel abandoned by traditional conservatism — for Heimbach, the racially-charged populism of the Trump campaign has been a gift and an opportunity.

Matthew Heimbach is frequently cited as one of the most dynamic young leaders of the white nationalist movement in the US, often being compared to David Duke in his earlier years. The White Student Union which Heimbach tried to build while studying at Towson University in Maryland provided a template for occasional other efforts on US campuses, including Patrick Sharp’s 2013 attempt at Georgia State University. Despite his youth — Heimbach was born in 1991 — at this stage Heimbach has a lengthy resume on the white supremacist scene. On one hand, Heimbach is media savvy and attempts to rebrand white nationalist politics as something other than hateful (Heimbach would challenge our use of the term “supremacist”); on the other hand, Heimbach networks and attends events together with members of the Aryan Terror Brigade and the National Socialist Movement.

Heimbach__5071460158091Matthew Heimbach (in red cap, facing camera and leaning forward) at March 1st Trump rally

Heimbach has been busy this year. On March 1st, Heimbach was recorded at a Trump rally in Louisville, KY, yelling at and repeatedly shoving Black protester Shiya Nwanguma. In June, the Traditionalist Worker Party attempted to rally outside the state capitol in Sacramento, CA with support from the Golden State Skinheads (a California white power group) and other white supremacists. While the white supremacists were driven back by protesters, a number of anti-racists were stabbed during the confrontation. (Funds are still needed for medical and legal support for these antifascists, give here.) Heimbach, who was not present at the Sacramento confrontation itself, nonetheless featured prominently in subsequent media coverage, as the go-to person for the Traditionalist Worker Party/“pro-white” view of the events.

chester dolesChester J. Doles of Dahlonega, GA

The second guest speaker is Chester Doles. Doles is a former Klansman who went on to lead the Georgia unit of the National Alliance, an organization that at one point was the most important neo-Nazi group in the US. (The National Alliance is nowadays in shambles.) In 2003, Doles was arrested for being a felon in possession of firearms — Doles had previously served prison time for assaulting a Black man. Many on the far-Right saw the prosecution of Doles as politically-motivated; Doles eventually pled guilty. He was released in 2008, eventually returning to white power activism. A February 2016 post on the website of the “National Alliance Reform and Restoration Group” — who are trying to pry the remainder of the National Alliance’s assets from its current chairman Will Williams — states: “We understand that [Chester] Doles had briefly joined the Williams Alliance last year but quickly dropped out and is now working with another ‘movement’ group in Georgia.” One recent comment published online under Doles’ name reads: “838… Chester J. Doles.” “838” is alphanumeric code for “H.C.H.” or “Hail Crossed Hammers,” a reference to the insignia of the Hammerskin Nation. This suggests that Doles’ involvement with the Hammerskins in Georgia may go beyond a single speaking appearance.

As well as these speakers, the event is to feature vendors from the National Socialist Movement and Antipathy Records, a music label affiliated with the Hammerskin Nation. A third vendor mentioned by Jason Reeves while promoting the event is American Defense Records. Now based in Lexington, KY, American Defense previously operated from Georgia (Athens and Savannah.) In its earlier releases of approximately a decade ago, American Defense Records portrayed itself as an anti-liberal, patriotic skinhead music label but avoided the most unambiguous signs of white supremacy. In recent years, the label has dropped any pretenses about such matters, reissuing Hammerskin-affiliated projects such as Blood in the Face plus Red White And Black on vinyl. Besides releasing records, label boss Travis David Condor is probably best known for his role in a group baseball bat/pipe assault on homeless man in 2010.

Past Hammerskin Events in Georgia and Venue

Traditionally, when it’s turn of the Georgia Hammerskins to host Hammerfest, the boneheads can be found at the Georgia Peach Oyster Bar in Draketown (near Temple) GA, approximately one hour west of Atlanta. The Georgia Peach is mentioned by name as the Hammerfest venue in an article about gathering in 2005, when the Hammerskins in Georgia hosted. According to the article, there were “approximately 100” attendees at the event that time around. (Definite Hate were mentioned as one of the major draws.)

More recently, Georgia Hammerskins organized the national gathering in 2014. Hungarian “Rock Against Communism”/Hammerskin band Vérszerződés was the main attraction that time around. While event flyers listed “Central Georgia” as the Hammerfest location, the Georgia Peach was explicitly thanked immediately after the gathering.

2014 Hammerfest antipathy records

The Georgia Peach is not only a venue for Hammerskin events, but also for many other white supremacist events regionally. On April 23, the venue was used for an evening after-event for two white power rallies that took place earlier in the day: the National Socialist Movement rally in Rome, GA as well as a second white power event at Stone Mountain Park outside Atlanta which met determined anti-racist resistance. (At the Georgia Peach the evening before, the ragtag “Aryan Nationalist Alliance” was formally established.) The Georgia Peach, which openly advertises itself as a Klan space, has also hosted many other Klan, neo-Nazi and Aryan Nations events over the years.

The Hammerskins have not publicly announced the Georgia Peach as the venue for Hammerfest this year, but it seems likely that the space will play some role in this year’s events.

Conclusion

A close look at the groups and figures involved with Hammerfest 2016 reveals more than just a white power underground using music to recruit and mobilize. It also highlights the long and violent history of those involved. The white supremacists meeting and coordinating on October 1st should be prevented from furthering expanding their power and capacity for violence. Especially in the context of a newly-energized white power movement, the Hammerskins and similar groups ought to be practically opposed wherever they operate. While their numbers are small, those gathering in Georgia are some of the hardcore “true believers” of the white power movement; they should not be written off as harmless and irrelevant.

We believe that the weekend of October 1-2 is an ideal opportunity for action against white supremacist groups such as the Hammerskins or Traditionalist Worker Party nationally. If you live in a city where such a group exists, consider organizing during this time to expose their efforts. Commit to building anti-racist/anti-fascist infrastructure for the struggles ahead. Also, please circulate this story to those who may be affected by the upcoming white power gathering.

As Hammerfest approaches, Atlanta Antifascist Notes will be one source for updates and reporting. For briefer time-sensitive updates, keep your eyes on twitter.com/afainatl

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

UPDATES: Anti-Racists Mobilize Against “Rock Stone Mountain” White Power Event, April 23rd /// Neo-Nazi Rally in Rome, GA Same Day

Everyone Out Against the “Rock Stone Mountain” White Power Rally in Georgia, April 23rd!

An anti-racist mass mobilization against “Rock Stone Mountain”–the explicitly “white power” event planned for April 23rd at Stone Mountain, Georgia–is taking shape. As discussed elsewhere on this site, the Rock Stone Mountain rally is being organized by Klansmen, former members of the Aryan Nations, plus Billy Roper, the Arkansas white nationalist who used to chair White Revolution. Rock Stone Mountain is being promoted on major white supremacist websites such as Stormfront, as well as on blogs and Facebook. The racists plan “an openly White Power March up Stone Mountain that climaxes in a rally at the top. It is to be followed by a Pro White concert at a seperate [sic] location that evening.”

The white supremacist gathering will be resisted. Anti-racists are organizing a mass presence at Stone Mountain to shut down the white power rally and disrupt the racists’ plans. Following a series of discussions between anti-racists, a website has now been established for the anti-Klan mobilization. Check out All Out Atlanta’s website here for more information and to see the principles guiding our organizing. The site will be regularly updated with news and outreach materials. If you’re on Twitter, be sure to also follow us here.

all out atl siteThe website for All Out Atlanta is now online, see here.

It is time to commit to making the anti-racist mobilization a success. All Out Atlanta is not organized as a handful of leaders telling a mass of followers what to do. We want a strong and multifaceted response to the Klan and neo-Nazis. This cannot be done unless large numbers make this effort their own. Get in contact and get involved!

Some initial things you can do:

  • Spread the word! Outreach is essential at this time. Please share information about the anti-racist organizing that is underway with your friends, co-workers, community group, and so on.
  • If you are a member of an organization, consider endorsing this mobilization by contacting All Out Atlanta.
  • Host an educational event or a fundraiser in your community.
  • If you’re out-of-state, now is the time to make travel plans! If you are too far away to travel to Stone Mountain/the greater Atlanta area, consider an event in your own community to challenge white supremacy and racist organizing.

(Note: All Out Atlanta is distinct from the neo-Confederate protest against “Rock Stone Mountain” that has been covered by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The broader neo-Confederate movement played a key role in setting the stage for the April 23rd white power event at Stone Mountain. Atlanta Antifascist Notes believes that it is disingenuous for the neo-Confederates to now oppose the blatantly white power event, claiming that it makes their cause look bad.)

National Socialist Movement to Rally in Rome, Georgia April 23rd

Another white power event is also now on our radar.

The National Socialist Movement (NSM), one of the nation’s largest neo-Nazi organizations, has announced that it will hold a rally in Rome, Georgia on April 23rd–the same day as “Rock Stone Mountain.” The NSM rally is being endorsed by the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations activists, Aryan Strikeforce, and a handful other organizations. Rome, GA is approximately two hours away from Stone Mountain (slightly less from Atlanta).

The NSM’s initial release for the rally in Rome stated that the event would coincide with the organization’s “annual National Meeting in Georgia this year.” NSM members from across the country are expected to congregate in Rome. NSM leader Jeff Schoep initially gave the dates of “April 22nd and 23rd” for the NSM event on Twitter, which suggests that some NSM members may be arriving in the city before the 23rd.

schoep on Rome rally

Some readers may be confused why Klan members and Aryan Nations militants are involved in two different white power events in the same state on the same day. A full explanation cannot be provided here, since we do not yet have all the facts. However it is important to note that different Klan groups seem to be endorsing different white power events–the Loyal White Knights are attending the NSM rally in Rome, while members of the International Keystone Knights are involved with planning “Rock Stone Mountain.” Further, while past affiliates of the Aryan Nations are involved with both events, this illustrates the highly fragmented nature of the Aryan Nations right now, in particular after Morris Gullet–one of the more prominent Aryan Nations leaders of recent years–completely shut down his operation last year. Aryan Nations holdouts had a “World Congress” on December 13, 2015 at the Georgia Peach Oyster Bar in Draketown (near Temple) GA that was attended by both NSM and Loyal White Knights representatives. The Aryan Nations/NSM coordination in December seems to have fed into the broader NSM plans for Rome.

It is also worth noting the differences in style between the two events. “Rock Stone Mountain” invites neo-Nazi rock bands to play in the evening; it uses an image of white supremacist terrorist Robert J. Matthews in promotional materials; and it involves notorious neo-Nazi Billy Roper in its organizing. However, the Rock Stone Mountain organizers for some reason do not want their attendees to bring Nazi flags on April 23rd, writing on the Rock Stone Mountain community page on Facebook: “Those who wish to bring ANY version of the Confederate battle flag or any of the Confederate national flags to this event are encouraged to do so. However, we respectfully ask that participants not bring flags or banners representing any foreign nation or power, historical or current, to the rally.”

By contrast, the National Socialist Movement fetishizes Third Reich imagery and the swastika. It is not a coincidence that their rally in Rome will take place on the weekend after Hitler’s birthday (April 20). It is likely that the different events on the same day do not reflect some sort of neo-Nazi grand strategy as much as they are the consequence of tensions between white power organizations and individuals, who have different ideas about how to organize and what’s important.

The National Socialist Movement has already released a flier for their post-rally evening event–they will be travelling to Draketown (near Temple) GA for an “after party” featuring a cross lighting and a live band. The NSM are giving the location for this event as the Georgia Peach Oyster Bar, a business which openly advertises itself as a “Klan bar” and frequently hosts neo-Nazi events (such as the Aryan Nations “congress” of December 13, 2015, and major gatherings of the neo-Nazi “Hammerskin Nation” in the past).

NSM rome flier

NSM event: rally in Rome, GA and evening event in Draketown/Temple, GA

It is presently unknown whether the “Rock Stone Mountain” organizers will attempt to combine their evening event with the NSM one, or whether there will be a separate white power concert for “Rock Stone Mountain” attendees.

Information Wanted

With all this going on, it is more important than ever for anti-racists and anti-fascists to be watchful about local far-Right organizing. If you have information on white supremacist organizing in Georgia (especially but certainly not limited to Metro Atlanta) please contact Atlanta Antifascist Notes. Leads about the April 23rd white power events can also be sent to All Out Atlanta. Information will be double-checked and then put to good use.

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.

Racist, Far-Right Propaganda and Threats Against Leftists at Georgia State University: What Does It Mean, Who Is Responsible?

This September and October a large number of far-Right propaganda stickers were plastered around the Georgia State University (GSU) campus in downtown Atlanta in order to claim political territory (see seventy-six photos here). This propaganda spree was meant not only to encourage racist students and those with far-Right sympathies, but also to intimidate students of color–who make up the majority of the student body–as well as leftists. The purpose of this article is to provide context about some of the far-Right propaganda littered throughout campus, and also to discuss who is responsible for the white nationalist campaign at GSU. The final section provides evidence that GSU economics major Patrick Sharp is responsible for the racist campaign.

The Stickers: How to Interpret Common Images and Slogans of the Extreme, Racist Right

  • White Lives Matter

whitelivesmatter-sticker“White Lives Matter” is not only a response to the Black Lives Matter movement. The slogan also reflects white nationalist belief that white people are under threat and fast becoming victims in an increasingly diverse society. This zero-sum worldview–in which any advance made by people of color is considered as a loss to the white population–has led to many ideological racists now claiming that a process of “white genocide” is underway.

“White Lives Matter” pages on Facebook mostly propagate crude anti-Black racism.

  • Celtic Cross

CELTIC-CROSS-stickerWhile more ornate versions of the Celtic Cross may be displayed by non-racists, the stylized version above has been adopted as a symbol by fascists and white nationalists. The first fascist use of this symbol was in France during the mid-Twentieth Century. Today the Celtic Cross is incorporated into the masthead for Stormfront.org, the web’s first major white racist website.

Stormfront masthead
Stormfront masthead
  • Good Night Left Side

good night left sideAnti-leftism and anti-socialism are long-running themes on the far-Right. This image portrays and celebrates an assault on a leftist (who is designated by a star). The “Good Night Left Side” image is implicitly a threat against leftists and others who stand up to the far-Right. This implicit threat is further amplified when the stickers are directly placed over flyers from college groups such as the GSU Progressive Student Alliance (see here.)

(The college branch of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement also had posters targeted, but in this case a “White Lives Matter” and a Celtic Cross sticker were used, see here.)

  • Against the Modern World

against the modern world stickerThis sticker joins the slogan “Against the Modern World” with an Algiz rune (or “life rune.”) The Algiz rune is sometimes displayed by non-racist pagans, but this symbol has also been appropriated by the extreme-Right. To give one example of the racist use of this rune: it features in the logo of the National Alliance, which was at one point the leading neo-Nazi organization in the US (although it is currently in shambles.)

National Alliance logo incorporating Algiz rune, an example of its use in far-Right contexts
National Alliance logo incorporating Algiz rune, an example of its use in far-Right contexts

The slogan “Against the Modern World” is a reference to Julius Evola’s book Revolt Against the Modern World. Evola (1898 – 1974) was an esoteric “traditionalist” writer who Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke described as “an inspiration, mentor and guru figure” for the neo-fascist bombers who participated in terrorism in Italy during the 1970s and early ‘80s [1]. Decades earlier, Evola had spent the 1930s attempting to influence the Italian Fascist Party and then the Nazi SS towards his aristocratic esoteric worldview [2].

“Against the Modern World” is also a reference to the UK ‘neofolk’ musical act Sol Invictus, who have their own links to fascism although the musical project now portrays itself as non-political.

Finally, in recent times the white nationalist Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN) has used the “Against the Modern World” design in at least one of their protests. (TYN did not create the design, which seems to originate from a Belarusian right-wing clothing company.) Below is an image of a 2013 TYN protest in which the “Against the Modern World” design is featured on placards.

tradyouth against the modern world_sm

  • Stickers from the Vlaamse Jongeren Mechelen (VJM)

VJM-closeup-A VJM-closeup-BThe Vlaamse Jongeren Mechelen (VJM) was a Flemish ultra-nationalist group which organized with neo-Nazis. It was founded in the mid-1990s and disbanded a decade later.

Further Details about the Stickers Appearing around GSU

The first three sticker designs discussed above–“White Lives Matter,” the Celtic Cross, and “Good Night Left Side”–are all sold by Tightrope, an online retailer of neo-Nazi and Klan paraphernalia whose logo is a white fist clutching a noose.

An early-September post on the racist Stormfront website made it clear that the “White Lives Matters” stickers are currently only sold by Tightrope. Approximately one week after this post was made on Stormfront, the first of the “White Lives Matter” stickers surfaced around GSU.

wlm stickers annoucement stormfront Sept 15Unlike the other far-Right stickers that have surfaced on campus recently, the “Against the Modern World” ones are not professionally-produced, looking instead as if they were created on a photocopier or laser printer. However, it is likely that the same person who posted the stickers available from Tightrope around campus has also been placing the “Against the Modern World” ones. The “Against the Modern World” stickers have appeared alongside the Tightrope designs (see here, here and here.) Both “Against the Modern World” and Tightrope designs have been placed over “Hip Hop Lives Here” stickers on campus promoting the A3C hip-hop festival (see images here and here).This again suggests that the same person is putting up the different far-Right designs, specifically targeting hip-hop culture.

Only two stickers from the Vlaamse Jongeren Mechelen have appeared on campus. They appeared on the same campus map, posted on the same day. An “Against the Modern World” sticker appeared alongside one of the VJM designs. This indicates that the same person who posted the “Against the Modern World” designs also likely posted the VJM stickers. As indicated earlier, it seems that the person who posted the “Against the Modern World” stickers is the same person who circulated the Tightrope stickers.

The VJM stickers also suggest that someone who is highly immersed in the white power and far-Right scenes is responsible for the GSU campaign. Simply put: someone who merely dabbled in far-Right involvement would be highly unlikely to receive stickers from an obscure European organization that ended a decade ago. Materials such as the VJM stickers are far more likely to be owned by somebody who is an active networker in the white power world.

So… Who Spread the Far-Right Stickers?

There is very strong reason to believe that Patrick Sharp, who attempted to form a White Students Union at GSU two years ago, is responsible for this year’s far-Right sticker campaign on campus.

  • On October 1st as well as on October 8th, Patrick Sharp was observed less than a block away from where fresh stickers had appeared, just minutes before or after the new stickers went up.
  • The “White Lives Matters” stickers were advertised as available only through Tightrope (see advertising post on Stormfront above.) In a photo published below dating from 2014, Patrick Sharp is shown as wearing a black tanktop with a “black sun”/Schwarze Sonne design. This esoteric design is favored by many fascist and far-Right activists (the symbol was incorporated into a floor mosaic at the Nazi SS Generals’ Hall in Wewelsburg castle). Black sun merchandise such as the tanktop is available from a variety of online retailers, but Tightrope is the cheapest and most prominent source for such an item in the US. It is likely that Sharp has a purchasing history with Tightrope, which is also the source for the stickers.
Patrick Sharp
Patrick Sharp
Black sun tanktop sold on Tightrope website
Black sun tanktop sold on Tightrope website
  • Patrick Sharp also flaunts his racist and far-Right views on campus. Below are images of Sharp on campus November 5th which further confirm that Sharp’s public messaging is an excellent match for the stickers posted around GSU.psharp nov 5 2015 aprox 3-50pm psharp nov 5 2015 buttons aprox 3-50pmThe buttons displayed by Sharp on his backpack show his involvement in the far-Right subculture. As well as the confederate flag and the “black sun” design (discussed earlier) the crossed out “equals” sign signifies a refusal of egalitarianism. Rock Against Communism is a music scene which was born in the English far-Right of the 1970s and ‘80s but has now gone international. The musicians in the “RAC” scene do not simply oppose communism but typically endorse extreme racism and fascist politics. The message of Sharp’s RAC pin also complements that of the “Good Night Left Side” stickers around campus. Finally, the Death’s Head/totenkopf was a symbol worn by the Nazi SS and clearly designates extreme-Right politics.
    The five buttons discussed here are also sold by Tightrope. (Some but not all of them are also currently sold by Micetrap, another white supremacist music and paraphernalia retailer.)
  • The politics represented in the stickers around GSU campus match Sharp’s racism and hatred of leftism as expressed online.
    The basic contours of Sharp’s politics have been public knowledge for a couple of years, ever since Sharp tried to start the White Student Union and his online history was unearthed. The key articles on this topic published in 2013 are Atlanta blogger biscuette’s exposé of Sharp’s ideological racism, plus The Lamp’s discussion of Sharp’s Stormfront posting history–in which Sharp denounced his own father as a “race traitor.” Despite Sharp’s claims to the contrary, his politics appear to have changed little since he made these posts.
    The 2013 exposés of Sharp focused on Sharp’s racism, but Sharp’s apocalyptic brand of anti-leftism went mostly undiscussed. Consider this gem by Sharp (under his “frozenpie77” moniker) on the racist “red pill” website Heartiste, in which Sharp praised the neo-fascist Golden Dawn in Greece:
    frozenpie77 heartisteThe above comment would be laughable except that Sharp takes it seriously–he fantasizes about violence against leftists.
    Sharp’s former affiliation with the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN)–revealed in 2013–is also important to bear in mind in the current context of the stickers on campus, since one of the designs littered around campus was also popular with the TYN. While Sharp formally cut ties between the GSU White Student Union and the TYN in 2013, this does not mean that Sharp actually moved far away from TYN politics. Below is a group photograph from the 2015 American Renaissance conference–which Sharp has attended for the past three years–showing Patrick Sharp on the left and TYN’s Tony Hovater on the far right. It is clear that Sharp continues to move in at least broadly the same racist circles.

Patrick_Sharp_American Renaissance 2015

  • Finally, the timing of when stickers appear on campus should be considered. Not only have most stickers appeared on campus at times Sharp is known to be around (and has been spotted) such as Thursday afternoons, but the stickering campaign tapered off as Sharp was getting ready to travel to Washington DC for the white nationalist National Policy Institute conference at the end of October.
sharp at NPI smaller
Patrick Sharp at the National Policy Institute conference October 31, 2015. Sharp is in the blue shirt, between the person taking a photo and NPI president Richard Spencer, who is gesturing.

To summarize: twice Sharp has been seen in the immediate vicinity of where stickers appeared, just before or after these fresh stickers were sighted. Some of the stickers posted around GSU campus were sold by Tightrope, which also sells a clothing item worn by Sharp. Sharp displays buttons on his backpack that point to the same far-Right politics as promoted by the sticker campaign. (The buttons are also sold by Tightrope.) Sharp’s online history again shows the same white nationalist and violently anti-leftist political agenda. Finally, the sticker campaign at GSU died down as Sharp was getting ready to travel to Washington DC for a major white nationalist event. As an increasingly well-connected white nationalist, Sharp has the means and the motivation to put up the stickers. He is deeply enough immersed in the white power scene to receive materials such as the VJM stickers. Sharp has been spotted when stickers go up. Sharp now has some explaining to do–but don’t expect the truth. This is the person who wears Nazi insignia around campus yet claimed “My most important goal with the [white student union] is to guard it from […]  neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and anyone with nefarious intent.” Integrity, it seems, is not a white power strongpoint.

NOTES

[1] Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas. Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity. (New York/London: New York University Press, 2002). 52.

[2] Sedgwick, Mark. Against the Modern World : Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century. (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). 107.