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Patriot Front

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Patriot Front
Pflogo.png
FormationAugust 2017; 4 years ago (August 2017)
FounderThomas Rousseau[1]
Type
Location
Membership (2019)
300
Affiliations
Websitepatriotfront.us[3]
Patriot Front flag

Patriot Front is an American nationalist, white supremacist, and neo-fascist hate group.[5] Part of the broader alt-right movement, the group split off from the neo-Nazi organization Vanguard America during the aftermath of the Unite the Right rally in 2017.[1][6][7][8] The group maintains an Americana aesthetic, utilizing imagery of American culture, patriotism, and other widely accepted traditional American values to promote its ideology. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the group generated the vast majority of the racist, antisemitic, and other hateful propaganda tracked by the ADL in the United States in 2020.[9]

History and beliefs

Patriot Front is led by Thomas Ryan Rousseau, who was a teenager at the time he founded the group. Rousseau had taken control of Vanguard America's web server and Discord channel several weeks prior to the Unite the Right rally, which Rousseau had participated in as the leader of Vanguard America's contingent. Following the bad press arising from the rally, Rousseau left Vanguard. He used the group's domain name to form Patriot Front as an ostensibly new group, and recruit rally participants, although most of Patriot Front's members were former Vanguard members.[1] Rousseau has repeatedly been arrested for posting flyers and stickers which promote the group.[10][11]

As with Vanguard America, Patriot Front supports a version of white-centered ideology compatible with the views of fascists across America, including themes such as closed borders, personal fitness, and authoritarian government.[1]

The group uses a combination of patriotic and historic imagery, such as a fasces surrounded by thirteen stars, and attention-grabbing techniques such as setting off smoke bombs during demonstrations and protests.[12][13]

The group published a manifesto which contained passages including:

Those of foreign birth may occupy civil status within the lands occupied by the state, and they may even be dutiful citizens, yet they may not be American. Membership within the American nation is inherited through blood, not ink. Even those born in America may yet be foreign...Nationhood cannot be bestowed upon those who are not of the founding stock of our people, and those who do not share the common spirit that permeates our greater civilization, and the European diaspora...In order to survive as a culture, a heritage, and a way of being, our nation must learn that its collective interests are fighting against its collective threats of replacement and enslavement...The damage done to this nation and its people will not be fixed if every issue requires the approval and blessing from the dysfunctional American democratic system. Democracy has failed in this once great nation.[14][15]

The group's members comprise eight regional networks, and its recruitment is primarily done online. While the group focuses on distributing propaganda and condemning violence, experts on white supremacy point out that the core beliefs of the group undoubtedly promote violence.[16]

A 2019 report by ProPublica estimated the group had about 300 members.[16] As of 2021, Patriot Front had 42 chapters and was arguably the leading white supremacist group in the country, according to Cassie Miller of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).[17] The SPLC said Patriot Front was by far the most active white nationalist group in distributing flyers.[18]

Activities

Patriot Front's activities, such as distributing propaganda[19][20][21] organizing demonstrations,[4] or "doing miscellaneous acts of public service",[22] have been seen in at least 25 states.[4][1][13][19] The Anti-Defamation League estimated the group generated 80% of the racist, antisemitic and other hateful propaganda messages tracked by the ADL in the U.S. during 2020. The ADL found that the volume of messages in 2020 was more than twice the level of 2019.[9]

Patriot Front has held numerous marches, speeches and demonstrations all across the United States, and held multiple marches in Washington D.C.[23][24]

On February 13, 2019, Patriot Front flyers were spotted in Boston, Massachusetts, in the Eastern section of the city. The flyers said "Keep America American", "Better Dead Than Red", and "Will Your Speech Be Hate Speech?" The flyers were denounced by Marty Walsh, the mayor of Boston. Two days later on February 15, three Patriot Front members were arrested for putting up the flyers and one of the men slapped a police officer's hand when the officer was reaching for his identification via wallet. One was found to have a spring-loaded 5-inch knife and another was found to have a wood-handled trowel and brass knuckles. A lawyer for one of the men stated that this was an incident of "youthful stupidity" and he also stated that the three men met while playing on Xbox. The three men later appeared in court.[25][26][27][28][29]

On Saturday, February 8, 2020, at around 4:00 pm, approximately 100 members of Patriot Front held a march in Washington DC along the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol grounds, and then headed north ending at a Walmart located near Washington Union Station at 1st and H Streets NW. Those marching all wore similar clothing — khakis, matching dark blue jackets with flag patches on the left sleeve, with hats, full white face masks, and dark sunglasses — and carried various modified versions of the American flag with the Patriot Front logo of a fasces in a circle of 13 stars replacing the normal 50 stars and differing numbers of red and white stripes.[30][31]

In August 2020, three men were arrested after placing stickers on signs on the Parker County Courthouse lawn in Weatherford, Texas, according to arrest warrants. One of those arrested was Rousseau, the leader of Patriot Front. They were charged with criminal mischief, jailed on a $500 bond and released. Previously at the courthouse, protesters had demanded the removal of a Confederate statue, while counter-protesters defended the statue.[32]

On January 29, 2021, a group of men wearing similar clothing — khaki pants, matching blue jackets with patches, and white face masks — was seen marching on the National Mall toward the Capitol carrying flags with Patriot Front symbolism on them.[33]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Patriot Front". Anti-Defamation League. Archived from the original on December 23, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  2. ^ "Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.)".
  3. ^ Henry, Chris (November 4, 2018). "Nazi symbol seen on Olympic College campus protected as free speech". Kitsap Sun. Archived from the original on December 14, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018. Patriot Front's current website is patriotfront.us.
  4. ^ a b c Murray, Elizabeth (February 12, 2018). "'White supremacist' group not welcome in Burlington, mayor says". Burlington Free Press. USA Today. Archived from the original on December 14, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  5. ^ Multiple sources:
  6. ^ "Meet 'Patriot Front': Neo-Nazi network aims to blur lines with militiamen, the alt-right". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on December 23, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  7. ^ Roman, Gabriel San (December 13, 2017). "New Fascist Group Appeared at Laguna Beach Anti-Immigrant Rally". OC Weekly. Archived from the original on December 24, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  8. ^ "White Nationalist Group Targets Bellevue, Gig Harbor". Bellevue, WA Patch (in American English). November 20, 2017. Archived from the original on December 24, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Texas-Based Hate Group Linked to 80% of White Supremacist Propaganda Nationwide in 2020". KXAS-TV Dallas-Fort Worth. March 19, 2021.
  10. ^ Johnson, Kaley; Ranker, Luke (October 31, 2018). "Alt-right leader cited for hate speech posters in Fort Worth, police say". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Archived from the original on September 25, 2020. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  11. ^ Johnson, Kaley (August 4, 2020). "Leader of white nationalist hate group, 2 others arrested in Weatherford". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Archived from the original on August 5, 2020. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  12. ^ Sauers, Camille (July 30, 2018). "Texas Neo-Nazi Group Attacks San Antonio's Occupy ICE Encampment". San Antonio Current. Archived from the original on August 29, 2018. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Mistich, Dave (April 19, 2018). "Seeing Through the Rhetoric of the Alt-Right: Spotting White Supremacist Propaganda in W.Va". WV Public Broadcasting. Archived from the original on April 19, 2018. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  14. ^ Syed, Maleeha. "Behind the manifesto: What does the Patriot Front actually believe?". The Burlington Free Press.
  15. ^ "Patriot Front". Southern Poverty Law Center.
  16. ^ a b Schaeffer, Carol (November 8, 2019). "They Are Racist; Some of Them Have Guns. Inside the White Supremacist Group Hiding in Plain Sight". ProPublica. Archived from the original on July 6, 2020. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  17. ^ Pradelli, Chad (July 9, 2021). "After march on Independence Mall, many are asking: What is Patriot Front?". 6abc Philadelphia. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  18. ^ "Flyering Remains a Recruitment Tool for Hate Groups". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  19. ^ a b Wiater, Natalia (December 11, 2018). "Xenophobic posters discovered near East Quad". The Justice. Waltham, MA. Archived from the original on December 13, 2018.
  20. ^ Green, Chris (April 2, 2018). "Questionable immigration flyers spread in Boone County". The Gazette.
  21. ^ Johnson, Kaley (October 5, 2018). "Anti-immigration banner hung from Fort Worth bridge, hate group posts fliers in city". Star Telegram. Archived from the original on October 6, 2018. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  22. ^ "Patriot Front". Southern Poverty Law Center. December 21, 2018. Archived from the original on December 22, 2018.
  23. ^ Sendek, Griffin (November 12, 2020). "White supremacist, fascist group holds rally Downtown". The Duquesne Duke. Retrieved September 4, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ "Opinion | What Patriot Front's embarrassing "flash mob" says about anti-fascist resistance". NBC News. Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  25. ^ "Boston couple takes action after anti-immigrant signs are plastered all over neighborhood". WHDH. February 15, 2019. Archived from the original on October 28, 2020. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  26. ^ Haynes, Crystal (February 15, 2019). "Residents remove anti-immigrant posters put up in Boston". Boston 25 News.
  27. ^ "Arrests made in connection with racist flyers placed in neighborhood". WCVB/ABC News. February 16, 2019. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  28. ^ Horman, Nate (February 19, 2019). "Three suspects arraigned on charges of weapons possession and assaulting an officer: BPD".
  29. ^ Tempera, Jacqueline (February 19, 2019). "Attorney for one of the men accused of posting propaganda for white nationalist group Patriot Front around East Boston says it was just 'youthful stupidity'".
  30. ^ "Masked white nationalists march in Washington with police escort". Reuters. February 8, 2020. Archived from the original on October 28, 2020. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  31. ^ "White Nationalist march in DC near Union Station on Saturday". WUSA TV, channel 9. Washington, D.C. February 8, 2020. Archived from the original on October 28, 2020. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  32. ^ "Leader of White Nationalisf Hate Group, 2 Others Arrested in Texas". Forth Worth Star-Telegram. August 3, 2020.
  33. ^ Williams, Elliot C. "White Supremacist Group Patriot Front Seen Marching Through D.C. Friday Morning". dcist. Archived from the original on January 29, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.

External links