Patriot Front

Page semi-protected
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Patriot Front
PredecessorVanguard America
FormationAugust 2017; 5 years ago (August 2017)
FounderThomas Rousseau[1]
Membership (2021)
200 (est.)

Patriot Front is an American white nationalist and neo-fascist hate group.[7] Part of the broader alt-right movement, the group split off from the neo-Nazi organization Vanguard America in the aftermath of the Unite the Right rally in 2017.[1][8][9][10] Patriot Front's aesthetic combines traditional Americana with fascist symbolism. Internal communications within the group indicated it had approximately 200 members as of late 2021.[11] According to the Anti-Defamation League, the group generated 82% of reported incidents in 2021 involving distribution of racist, antisemitic, and other hateful propaganda in the United States, comprising 3,992 incidents, in every continental state.[12]

History and beliefs

Patriot Front flag

Patriot Front is led by Thomas Ryan Rousseau, who was a teenager when he founded the group. In 2017, Rousseau took control of Vanguard America's web and Discord server several weeks before the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which he participated 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 a new group and recruit rally participants, though most of Patriot Front's members were former Vanguard members.[1] Rousseau has been arrested repeatedly in the group's activities.[13][14][15]

As with Vanguard America, Patriot Front supports a version of white-centered ideology compatible with the views of fascists across America, such as closed borders and authoritarian government. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), "Patriot Front is a white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them, and no one else."[1]

The group uses patriotic imagery to broaden its appeal while adding symbols like the fasces, the symbol of fascism. It uses attention-grabbing techniques like igniting smoke bombs during demonstrations and protests.[1] According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), "Patriot Front focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country."[16]

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.[17][18]

The group's members consist of eight regional networks, and its recruitment is primarily done online. The group avoids talking about guns or violence online as a policy, but as Pete Simi, an expert on white supremacy, explained to ProPublica, "It is very common for the leadership of these groups to disqualify violence, while doing things that are encouraging violence. ... It is part of their strategy to avoid liability, while simultaneously promoting hate. When they say they are not violent, this is a lie. They are promoting violence by their goals."[19]

A 2019 investigation by ProPublica estimated the group had about 300 members;[19] in leaked chats at the end of 2021, Rousseau complained about a "220's to 230's membership rut".[11] According to the SPLC, as of 2021, Patriot Front had 42 chapters with an average of 11 members per chapter and was arguably the leading white supremacist group in the country, and the most active in using flyers for recruitment.[20][21] According to ProPublica, Rousseau and others in the group "delight in seeing their actions reflected in the SPLC’s nationwide map recording acts of hate and in the media".[19]

Activities and events

A sticker from the Patriot Front on a road sign in Portland, Connecticut

Patriot Front's demonstrations, literature, and sometimes acts of service are "tightly choreographed and scripted to maximize propaganda value", according to the SPLC.[16] The ADL estimated that Patriot Front generated 82% of reported incidents of distributing racist, antisemitic and other hateful propaganda in the U.S. during 2021, and 80% in 2020.[12][22] According to leaked chats made public in January 2022, Patriot Front members are required to deface racial justice murals in their areas.[11]


On July 28, members of Patriot Front marched on an Occupy ICE protest in San Antonio, Texas, and filmed themselves vandalizing protestors' tents and signs.[23][24]


On February 13, hundreds of racist and anti-immigrant signs and flyers were taped up in the East Boston section of Boston, Massachusetts, an area with many immigrants. Patriot Front claimed responsibility. Boston mayor Marty Walsh denounced the incident. On February 15, Boston police arrested three Patriot Front members; two faced charges of carrying weapons, and one was charged with assault on a police officer after allegedly slapping an officer's hand.[25][26][27][28][29]


On February 8, about 100 Patriot Front members marched in Washington, D.C., along the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol grounds, and then headed north to a Walmart near Washington Union Station. The marchers wore khakis, matching dark blue jackets, hats, full white face masks, and dark sunglasses, and carried various modified versions of the American flag with the Patriot Front logo.[30][31]

In August, during protests and counter-protests in Weatherford, Texas, over a Confederate statue, police arrested three men including Rousseau who had plastered stickers on signs, parks and property. They were charged with criminal mischief, jailed on a $500 bond and released.[32][33]


On January 29, a group of men wearing khaki pants, matching blue jackets with patches, and white face masks marched on the National Mall toward the US Capitol carrying flags with Patriot Front symbolism.[34]

On July 10, two members were arrested for vandalism after being accused of spray-painting graffiti in Salem, Connecticut.[35]

On December 4, More than 100 members of Patriot Front held a rally in downtown Washington, D.C., chanting "reclaim America", carrying flags and plastic shields and wearing uniforms consisting of white gaiters, sunglasses, blue jackets, khaki pants, brown boots and hats. Some wore plastic shin guards.[36]


In January, members of Patriot Front were seen at the 2022 March for Life anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C.[37]

On June 11, police arrested 31 members of Patriot Front they stopped inside a U-Haul truck near an LGBT Pride event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. They were charged with conspiracy to riot. Rousseau was one of the members arrested.[38][15] An anonymous caller tipped off police when they saw the group of men climbing into a U-Haul after retrieving shields from the back of a truck.[39] The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office released the mugshots and names of all 31 arrested, who were from at least 11 states.[40][41] After the arrests, the Coeur d'Alene police chief said the police department received death and doxxing threats.[42] By June 13, all 31 members were released on bail.[43] Court documents stated police had recovered a typed document that detailed the group's goal and planning for the day.[39] As of February 2023, one member had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to riot (he was fined $500 and sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation), three members failed to appear thus had bench warrants issued, and various others had jury trials scheduled.[44] Rousseau was granted a continuance, with his pre-trial appearance moved from May to September 2023.[45]

On July 2, about 100 masked members with shields and a banner marched through Boston, with stops at the Boston Public Library and Old State House building.[46][47][48] Police said one man was injured in a confrontation with Patriot Front members.[49]


In April, the group protested at the "SatanCon" event of The Satanic Temple, held in Boston.[50] In May, the group marched at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.[51][52]

Leaked online chats

On January 21, 2022, Unicorn Riot, a left-wing nonprofit media organization, published more than 400 gigabytes of leaked audio files, chat logs, documents, photographs and videos from Patriot Front's chat server.[11][53] The leak revealed the group's efforts to recruit new members and increase its public profile through private communications on Rocket.Chat, an open-source messaging platform.

The chat logs showed the group struggled to expand membership, often reprimanding members for not meeting fitness and participation requirements, according to The Guardian. In a conversation with Patriot Front “lieutenants” on December 14, 2021, Rousseau wrote, "We are absolutely desperate for new people. We've been in the 220's to 230's membership rut for nearly a full year."[11][54]

The communications revealed the group attempted to inflate its membership numbers and importance; outlined plans to spread misinformation about public events on social media sites, such as Twitter, Reddit and 4chan, and send deceptive news tips to journalists at traditional media outlets; and detailed notes of interviews with potential members.[11] The leak also included media of members training, vandalizing, and demonstrating; Rousseau at a 2021 American Renaissance conference; and Patriot Front's guides to behavior.[55]

False flag conspiracies

Some commentators, including Joe Rogan, have baselessly suggested that the organization is an FBI sting operation or false flag by Antifa.[56][57] Such claims have been debunked as conspiracy theories,[56] and labelled as "False" by fact-checkers Snopes.[58]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Patriot Front". ADL. Archived from the original on December 23, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  2. ^ "Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.)".
  3. ^ "White Supremacist "Patriot Front" Rally Exposes Splits On The Far-Right". Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right. June 20, 2022.
  4. ^ "A group of notorious white nationalists met secretly in historic Lancaster County barn in 2020. Why here?". Lancaster Online. June 20, 2022.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Syed, Maleeha. "Behind the manifesto: What does the Patriot Front actually believe?". The Burlington Free Press.
  7. ^ Multiple sources:
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ McNamara, Neal (November 20, 2017). "White Nationalist Group Targets Bellevue, Gig Harbor". Bellevue, WA Patch. Archived from the original on December 24, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Olmos, Sergio (January 28, 2022). "'We are desperate for new people': inside a hate group's leaked online chats". The Guardian. Retrieved January 28, 2022.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ a b Yang, Maya (March 4, 2022). "US white supremacist propaganda was at historically high levels in 2021". The Guardian. Retrieved March 4, 2022.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ a b Parker, Nick; Pietsch, Brian (June 11, 2022). "31 tied to hate group charged with planning riot near Idaho Pride event". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  16. ^ a b "Patriot Front". Southern Poverty Law Center. December 21, 2018. Archived from the original on December 22, 2018.
  17. ^ Syed, Maleeha. "Behind the manifesto: What does the Patriot Front actually believe?". The Burlington Free Press.
  18. ^ "Patriot Front". Southern Poverty Law Center.
  19. ^ a b c 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.
  20. ^ Pradelli, Chad (July 9, 2021). "After march on Independence Mall, many are asking: What is Patriot Front?". 6abc Philadelphia. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  21. ^ Bates, Lydia; Gale, Tracey (February 1, 2021). "Flyering Remains a Recruitment Tool for Hate Groups". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  22. ^ "Texas-Based Hate Group Linked to 80% of White Supremacist Propaganda Nationwide in 2020". KXAS-TV Dallas-Fort Worth. March 19, 2021.
  23. ^ "Patriot Front". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved May 14, 2022.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Bookman, Kimberly (February 15, 2019). "Boston couple takes action after anti-immigrant signs are plastered all over neighborhood". WHDH. 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. ^ Lawder, David (February 8, 2020). Gregorio, David (ed.). "Masked white nationalists march in Washington with police escort". Reuters. Archived from the original on October 28, 2020. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  31. ^ Boykin, Nick (February 8, 2020). "White Nationalist march in DC near Union Station on Saturday". WUSA TV, channel 9. Washington, D.C. Archived from the original on October 28, 2020. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  32. ^ Johnson, Kaley (August 3, 2020). "Leader of White Nationalisf Hate Group, 2 Others Arrested in Texas". Forth Worth Star-Telegram. Archived from the original on March 23, 2021.
  33. ^ Griffey, Eric (August 5, 2020). "White Supremacists Arrested in Weatherford". Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ McGrath, Cassie (July 12, 2021). ""White nationalist group Patriot Front linked to men accused of spraying graffiti at Salem MBTA station". Retrieved April 3, 2023.
  36. ^ Montgomery, Blake; Petrizzo, Zachary (December 5, 2021). "White Supremacists Stage Bizarro Rally in Downtown D.C., Find Themselves Stranded". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  37. ^ Sherman, Renee Bracey; Winstead, Lizz (January 24, 2022). "Why these white supremacists had so much fun at March For Life". NBC News. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  38. ^ "Idaho police near Pride event arrest Patriot Front extremists on riot charges". The Guardian. Associated Press. June 11, 2022. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  39. ^ a b Smith, Amanda (June 14, 2022). "Court documents shed light on events surrounding arrest of 31 Patriot Front members in Coeur d'Alene". KHQ.
  40. ^ Owen, Tess (June 14, 2022). "Everything We Know About the 31 Patriot Front Members Arrested in a U-Haul". Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  41. ^ Whitehurst, Lindsay; Metz, Sam (June 12, 2022). "Patriot Front leader among those arrested near Idaho Pride". AP NEWS. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  42. ^ Madani, Doha (June 13, 2022). "Idaho officers getting death threats after arresting 31 Patriot Front white nationalists near Pride event". NBC News. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  43. ^ Woodruff, Judy (June 13, 2022). "News Wrap: Patriot Front members free on bail after arrest at Idaho LGBTQ event". PBS.
  44. ^ Webb, John (February 27, 2023). "UPDATE on Patriot Front members, heading back to court". KHQ-TV. Retrieved May 14, 2023.
  45. ^ Tischauser, Jeff; Wilson, Jason (May 8, 2023). "Examination of Patriot Front Phone Data Delays Rousseau Trial". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved May 14, 2023.
  46. ^ "Dozens of white supremacists in group called Patriot Front seen marching through Boston". CBS News. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  47. ^ Tiernan, Erin (July 3, 2022). "'Hate is as cowardly as it is disgusting': Boston officials condemn the Patriot Front march through city over Fourth of July weekend". Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  48. ^ Alanez, Tonya (July 5, 2022). "Mayor Wu joins law enforcement in closed-door briefing on white supremacist activity in the region". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on July 5, 2022. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  49. ^ Solis, Steph (July 6, 2022). "Boston authorities hadn't surveilled Patriot Front". Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  50. ^ Crimaldi, Laura; Scott, Ivy (April 29, 2023). "SatanCon targeted by demonstrators including Patriot Front members". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  51. ^ Martin, Jacquelyn (May 13, 2023). "Patriot Front Washington". Idaho State Journal. AP. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  52. ^ @ADL_WashDC (May 13, 2023). "We are disgusted by the actions of Patriot Front today in DC. This white supremacist group known for its flash demonstrations marched on the National Mall carrying banners spewing their hateful rhetoric" (Tweet). Retrieved May 13, 2023 – via Twitter.
  53. ^ Schiano, Chris; Fedt, Dan (January 21, 2022). "Patriot Front Fascist Leak Exposes Nationwide Racist Campaigns". Unicorn Riot.
  54. ^ "Message from thomas". DiscordLeaks. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  55. ^ "A Guide To Patriot Front's Leaked Media Files". UNICORN RIOT. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  56. ^ a b Epstein, Jake; Press-Reynolds, Kieran (June 14, 2022). "Right-wing influencers are breaking out bogus 'Antifa' conspiracy theories after Patriot Front members were arrested near an Idaho Pride event". Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  57. ^ Quay, Grayson (July 6, 2022). "Why right-wingers claim white nationalist group Patriot Front is an FBI sting". The Week. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  58. ^ MacGuill, Dan (December 6, 2021). "No, the 'Patriot Front' Far-Right Rally in DC Was Not Faked". Snopes. Retrieved May 13, 2023.

Further reading

External links