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Traditionalist Worker Party

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Traditionalist Worker Party
Traditionalist Worker Party logo.png
Formation 2013
Extinction 2018
Type Political party
Hate group
Legal status Disbanded[1][2]
Purpose Neo-Nazism
White nationalism
White supremacy
Far-right politics
Headquarters Paoli, Indiana[3]
Region
United States
Chairman
Matthew Heimbach
Affiliations Nationalist Front (United States)

The Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) was a neo-Nazi, white nationalist group based in the United States. Established in 2013 by Matthew Heimbach under the name Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN), the group promotes white separatism and a white supremacist view of Christianity. Part of the neo-Nazi Nationalist Front, the TWP has held a number of protests and other local events. Since 2015, the group also operated as a political party to run in elections for local office.

In April 2018, The Washington Post reported that the TWP had been disbanded the previous month after group leader Matthew Heimbach's arrest for battery and his falling out with co-founder Matt Parrott.[2]

History

Traditionalist Youth Network

The Traditionalist Youth Network was established in May 2013 by Matthew Heimbach and Matt Parrott.[4] Heimbach has been a white supremacist activist since fall 2011, when he formed a group at Towson University in Maryland and invited the white supremacist Jared Taylor to speak at Towson's campus. The following year, Heimbach founded a "White Student Union" on campus, adopting racist and antisemitic views.[4] In spring 2013, upon graduation, Heimbach established the Traditionalist Youth Network in partnership with Parrot, who founded a white supremacist group, Hoosier Nation, in Indiana around 2009.[4] The group eventually became a chapter of American Third Position (later known as the American Freedom Party).[4]

Traditionalist Worker Party

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks extremist groups, has designated the Traditionalist Worker Party as a hate group and has written of Heimbach: "Considered by many to be the face of a new generation of white nationalists... Since graduating in the spring of 2013, he has entrenched himself further in the white nationalist movement and become a regular speaker on the radical-right lecture circuit."[5]

In January 2015 the TYN established the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) as its political-party offshoot in preparation for the 2016 elections, and a small group of candidates from the far right announced plans to run under its banner.[6] The party states that it stands against "economic exploitation, federal tyranny, and anti-Christian degeneracy".[6] The group's strategy differs from that of the American Freedom Party (AFP), a different fringe group: while the AFP "has long run presidential candidates with no hope of success" in order to "exploit the election cycle as a way to raise money and generate publicity for their racist positions, TWP actually hopes to win by running for local offices in small communities."[6]

On March 13, 2018, Heimbach was arrested for physically attacking spokesman Parrott and Heimbach's wife, who was also Parrott's stepdaughter. Following this, Parrott shut down the TWP's websites and said he planned to delete membership data, citing privacy concerns. According to Parrott, the TWP no longer existed, as the incident had destroyed the group's credibility.[7] On March 27, Parrott and his lawyer issued a statement that Parrott had not deleted or destroyed the membership information, as it was relevant to an ongoing federal lawsuit over the August Unite the Right rally.[8]

Nationalist Front

On April 22, 2016, the Traditionalist Worker Party formed a coalition with several other organizations called the Aryan Nationalist Alliance. The Aryan Nationalist Alliance later changed its name to Nationalist Front.[9] Its aim was to unite white supremacist, neo-Confederate, and white nationalist groups under a common umbrella. The coalition was joined by the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM), neo-confederate League of the South, the neo-Nazi Vanguard America, and four other groups.[10][11]

In April 2017, the group organized the white supremacist rally in Pikeville, Kentucky which attracted 100 to 125 supporters.[12] In August 2017, the affiliated groups participated in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.[13] In October 2017, the Nationalist Front was a key organizer of the "White Lives Matter" rally in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Participating groups included: NSM, TWP, League of the South, Vanguard America, The Right Stuff, and Anti-Communist Action.[14][15]

Ideology

Heimbach and his group advocate white separatism, and the group also adheres to a white nationalist and white supremacist ideology.[4][16][17] Heimbach and Parrott are "self-declared ethnonationalists"[18] who aim to create a separate white ethnostate.[19] The group specifically promotes a white supremacist interpretation of Christianity,[4] recruiting members to battle what it terms "anti-Christian degeneracy."[20] The group supports the prohibition of abortion, restrictions on immigration, and ultimately the carrying out of what Heimbach describes as "peaceful secessionist projects."[19] Heimbach has been described in media reports as an "alt-right personality".[21]

The SPLC describes the group's ideology as being "virulently racist and anti-Semitic."[6] Both the SPLC and the Anti-Defamation League note that the group is modeled after the European Identitarian movement.[6][4] The TWP proclaims itself to be "against modernism, individualism, globalism and Marxism."[4] The group identifies itself as an anti-capitalist organization and it connects this position to its advocacy of nationalism stating "For us, to be anti-capitalist is to be a nationalist. Nationalism is a bulwark against capitalist exploitation and globalism."[19]

In 2016, Heimbach hailed the British vote to leave the European Union as "the greatest European nationalist victory since 1933," the year of the Nazi rise to power in Germany.[20] In 2016, the TWP and the Barnes Review, a Holocaust denial publication, announced a partnership to promote each other.[18]

Organization and activities

Traditionalist Youth Networks's only active university chapter is at the Indiana University Bloomington; this group is led by a white-supremacist activist Thomas Buhls, who has been affiliated with the Harrison, Arkansas-based Knights Party, a Klan group.[4] In December 2016, the group's founder Heimbach claimed that it had some three dozen active chapters and 500 members across the United States; analysts at the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League state that these numbers are likely exaggerated.[19] The SPLC's 2017 annual report identifies the TWP as having chapters in Paoli and Bloomington, Indiana; Benson, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, and the affiliated Traditionalist Worker Party as having chapters in Paoli and Columbus, Indiana; Sacramento, California; Louisville, Madisonville, and Murray, Kentucky; Kansas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Dallas, Texas; and Virginia.[22]

In August 2013 the group protested a leftist bookstore in Bloomington, Indiana; in October 2013, the group held rallies protesting campus speeches by anti-racist educator Tim Wise.[4]

In September 2013 the group, as Traditionalist Youth Network, held an event in Corunna, Michigan in support of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's government.[23] The group initially planned as a "Koran BBQ" that would feature the burning of copies of the Qur'an and pictures of Muhammad to show "Islamic immigrants and citizens alike that they are not welcome here in Michigan", but changed to a pro-Assad protest after the U.S. government announced its plans to support Syrian rebels.[23] Heimbach told MLive that he did not regret the group's original plan and that the group supported Islam "when it's in its own home in the Middle East."[23]

In 2014 the group filed an amicus brief in a federal court in Michigan in the case of DeBoer v. Snyder. In its brief, the group took a stance against same-sex marriage, which Parrott described as part of "the Leftists [sic] social engineering campaign to destroy every last vestige of Western civilization."[24] Later the same year, the group filed a second amicus brief in a case in Maryland challenging a law prohibiting assault weapons; in a four-page filing, the TYN stated that it opposed "the enemy of freedom—the Culture Distorter—in its sights and wishes to shoot down unconstitutional legislation that disarms our people".[25]

In July 2015 the group called for the filing of hate-crime charges in connection with the beating of a white man in Fountain Square, Cincinnati. The local prosecutor, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, stated that there was no evidence of ethnic intimidation in the crime.[26]

At a March 2016 Donald Trump rally at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville,[27] Heimbach was caught on film shoving a black woman who was protesting Trump.[16] Heimbach and two other men was initially charged with misdemeanor harassment with physical contact and was served with a criminal summons in April 2017.[28] The charge was later amended to second-degree disorderly conduct; in June 2017, Heimbach entered an Alford plea, a form of guilty plea.[28] Heimbach was fined $145, was ordered to attend anger management classes, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail; the jail sentence was suspended on the condition that Heimbach not commit another crime within two years.[28][29]

In a separate civil case, Heimbach is being sued in federal court for assault and battery by the woman he accosted at the March 2016 rally, Kashiya Nwanguma, and two of her fellow protesters, Henry Brousseau and Molly Shah, who allege that they were also the victims of violence at the rally. Also named as defendants are Alvin Bamberger (who is accused of assault and battery) and Donald Trump and Trump's campaign (who are accused of incitement to riot, negligence, and vicarious liability).[30] In the case, Heimbach, who is representing himself, said that he "relied on Trump's authority" in order to oust the woman from the rally, citing Trump's directive to "Get 'em out of here" and promise to "pay for the legal fees" of supporters who expelled dissidents from rallies.[27] On this basis, Heimbach has filed court papers seeking indemnity from Trump.[31]

In November 2017, the group created an online crowdfunding platform called "GoyFundMe" for racists, white supremacists and other extremists with the objective of advancing their causes.[32]

Twitter suspended the account of Matt Heimbach on January 3, 2017.[33] The account for the group itself was suspended from Twitter on December 18, 2017.[34]

In March 2018, Heimbach was arrested for battery in a domestic dispute involving Parrott, and Parrott's wife. Parrott resigned from the TWP following Heimbach's arrest. Heimbach was released on bond.[35][36]

See also

References

  1. ^ Staff "When the big tent collapses: private Discord posts offer an honest look at a perpetually dishonest movement" Southern Poverty Law Center
  2. ^ a b McCoy Terrence (April 20, 2018) "‘Imploding’: Financial troubles. Lawsuits. Trailer park brawls. Has the alt-right peaked?" The Washington Post
  3. ^ McAllister, Shay (13 March 2018). "Indiana white nationalist leader arrested on assault charges". WHAS11. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Traditionalist Youth Network, Anti-Defamation League (February 7, 2014).
  5. ^ "Matthew Heimbach". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2016-03-21. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Keegan Hankes, Meet the New Wave of Extremists Gearing Up for the 2016 Elections, Southern Poverty Law Center (October 19, 2015).
  7. ^ Weill, Kelly (14 March 2018). "Neo-Nazi Group Implodes Over Love Triangle Turned Trailer Brawl". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 
  8. ^ Barrouquere, Brett (27 March 2018). "Hatewatch". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 28 March 2018. 
  9. ^ Viets, Sarah. "Nationalist Front Chumming up to Klan Members Once Again". Southern Poverty Law Center. 
  10. ^ "Nationalist Front Limps in 2016", Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, August 08, 2017
  11. ^ Natalie Allison (Oct. 25, 2017): "4 extremist groups that will be part of weekend's White Lives Matter rallies", USA Today
  12. ^ "White Supremacist Nationalist Front Plans Rallies in Tennessee", Anti-Defamation League blog, October 24, 2017
  13. ^ Jack Smith IV (Oct. 11, 2017): "White nationalist alliance plans “White Lives Matter” rally for Tennessee", Mic.com
  14. ^ Mariah Timms and Natalie Allison (Oct. 27, 2017): "White Lives Matter Murfreesboro rally: What we know now", The Tennessean
  15. ^ "The far right returns to middle Tennessee", Hatewatch
  16. ^ a b Joe Heim, This white nationalist who shoved a Trump protester may be the next David Duke, Washington Post (April 12, 2016).
  17. ^ Clashes at white-supremacist rally in Sacramento leave 10 injured, BBC News (June 27, 2016).
  18. ^ a b Sarah Viets & Ryan Lenz, Matt Heimbach's Traditionalist Youth Network is Cutting Deals with Holocaust Deniers, Hatewatch, Southern Poverty Law Center (July 11, 2016).
  19. ^ a b c d Lauren Bavis, White nationalist group seeks to form separate community in Paoli, The Herald-Times (December 4, 2016).
  20. ^ a b Jon Schuppe, 'Garrulous and Polite': The White Nationalist Behind Violent California Rally, NBC News (June 27, 2016).
  21. ^ "City plans alternate events, urges ignoring Klan rally". Daily Progress. June 20, 2017. 
  22. ^ Sarah Begley, Read the List of the 917 Hate Groups Identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Time (February 15, 2017).
  23. ^ a b c Gary Ridley (September 10, 2013). "Group with alleged ties to white supremacist movement plans Syria protest in Corunna". MLive. 
  24. ^ Ryan Lenz, Traditionalist Youth Network Takes on 'Culture Distorters' in Marriage Equality Debate, Southern Poverty Law Center (March 26, 2014).
  25. ^ Hatewatch Staff, Traditionalist Youth Network Files Another Amicus Brief, Southern Poverty Law Center (October 8, 2014).
  26. ^ Michael Baldwin. "Do "White lives matter?" Group calls for hate crime charges". WXIX-TV. 
  27. ^ a b Nicole Hensley, Matthew Heimbach claims he acted on Trump's 'get ’em out of here' order to remove protester at Louisville rally, New York Daily News (April 18, 2017).
  28. ^ a b c Thomas Novelly & Matthew Glowicki, White nationalist pleads guilty to disorderly conduct at Trump rally in Louisville, Courier Journal (July 19, 2017).
  29. ^ White nationalist leader pleads guilty in Trump rally case, Associated Press (July 20, 2017).
  30. ^ Avi Selk, The violent rally Trump can’t move past, Washington Post (April 3, 2017).
  31. ^ David Zucchino, A Trump Campaign Rally Led to Shoving, and Legal Wrangling, Too, New York Times (May 27, 2017).
  32. ^ Sommer, Allison Kaplan (1 December 2017). "What Is GoyFundMe? The Alt-right's New Fundraising Tool, Explained". Haaretz. Retrieved 2 December 2017. 
  33. ^ Ohlheiser, Abby (January 3, 2017). "Just a 'speed bump': White nationalist says a Twitter ban won't stop the spread of his views". Washington Post. 
  34. ^ Michel, Casey (December 18, 2017). "Here are all of the white nationalists suspended in Twitter's 'purge'". ThinkProgress. 
  35. ^ Barrouquere, Brett; Janik, Rachel (13 March 2018). "TWP chief Matthew Heimbach arrested for battery after affair with top spokesman's wife". Hatewatch. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 
  36. ^ Fischer, Jordan (13 March 2018). "Indiana white nationalist leader Matthew Heimbach charged with domestic battery". RTV6. ABC News. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 

Further reading

External links