City officials throughout the Bay Area have declared November 11-18 to be a “United Against Hate” week. As Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin states, “Berkeley and many other Alameda County cities will convene rallies, film screenings, art projects, etc. to learn ways we can effectively stand up to hate groups and make sure hate finds no home in the Bay Area. The goal is to give communities an opportunity to learn from one another, address specific hate crime incidents and above all, seek ways to stop hateful rhetoric from spreading.” (1) The organizing for the events are being done by a group called “Not in Our Town” (NIOT), a non-profit organization that is composed of a variety of ex-law enforcement officers, activist techies, and the reformed white supremacist founder of the Hammerskins, Arno Michaelis.(2) Reducing the issue of power and oppression to an emotional response (hate) or to isolated attacks obscures the institutionalized racism that the state requires for its functioning. This watered-down rhetoric about combating “hate” and singular attacks of prejudice is an attempt by the state and civil society to regain control of a situation that has become increasingly uncontrollable.
Here, we are not trying to minimize the trauma caused by white terrorism; we are merely pointing out the efficiency and intensity at which the state accomplishes the same goals as their street-level counterparts. The statements of Berkeley’s mayor are indicative of how the state must position itself as being the sole creator of legitimate political movements: “When members of white supremacist groups began a campaign to hold rallies in Berkeley and Oakland, California, a group of community leaders came up with a way to make a statement that neo-Nazis, their hatred and their ideas were not welcome in the East Bay.“ This statement is blatantly false. Throughout the anti-fascist struggle in Berkeley, from February 1, 2017 when Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech was brought to a screeching halt on the UC Berkeley campus, to the more recent street battles on August 5, 2018, the city of Berkeley has arrested and jailed over 80 protesters who have stood up against Nazis in Berkeley. Jesse Arreguin has even gone as far as to suggest to policy-makers that “Antifa” be designated as a gang (3), so as to use the same tools of repression already used on youth of color on anti-fascist protesters, who have been the only real obstacle to the encroaching fascist creep.
This is still only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Bay Area state repression against anti-fascists: consider the arrest of Eric Clanton, charged with 4 counts of assault, which involved raiding a house and used evidence compiled almost exclusively from far-right sources like 4chan (4), or the release of almost all 20 anti-fascist arrestees’ faces, names, and ages in almost real-time during the August 5th demonstration(5). It is also well documented that others in the Berkeley city government have had direct communication with far right-groups responsible for acts of violence in the city of Berkeley and elsewhere. Take the emails passed between Proud Boys member Jarod Flores, his associate Ryoga Vee, and Councilmember Ben Bartlett, whereby Bartlett advises on public image messaging in order to help clean the Proud Boys racist public image (6). So by what means is the mayor of Berkeley and other city officials sending the message that “neo-Nazis, their hatred and ideas are not welcome” here? Clearly it is by repressing those who have put their lives and freedom on the line to fight back against fascism. In reality, what the mayor and the rest of civil society are doing is desperately trying to hold on to authority that is slipping through their fingers. When the streets become the battleground for political power, it takes power from the hands of the “acceptable” avenues of the ballot box or city council meetings. None of the participants in NIOT nor the city officials of Berkeley, with the immense resources of society behind them, lifted a finger in support of or in solidarity with anti-fascist struggle. They in fact did everything in their power to disrupt and intimidate that movement. We must not allow power-hungry city officials to not only repress us on the one hand, but also claim ownership over our movement on the other, and meanwhile collaborate with known local fascists.
In the wake of recent instances of right-wing, white supremacist violence, particularly the Pittsburg synagogue Tree of Life shooting that claimed 11 lives, and reflecting on the past few years where emboldened white nationalists have led up to yet another shooting, the scope and intensity of struggle is as serious as ever. For those of us in the anti-fascist/anti-racist movements in the US, we must take seriously the trajectory of our movements – our collective survival depends on it. It is for this reason that a thorough understanding and critique of the state’s maneuvers to harvest the political capital made by our movements is necessary in order to stop institutionalized white supremacy, and as a result, take the wind out of the sails of street-level white terrorism.
On October 2nd, as has been widely reported in the media, four members of the violent neo-Nazi gang known as Rise Above Movement (earlier known as DIY Division) were arrested and are now facing federal rioting charges that could land them behind bars for years if convicted. The criminal complaint brought against members of RAM by the FBI references and quotes the work of Northern California Anti-Racist Action (NoCARA) on RAM which was published in July 2017. In light of this development, we believe it’s important to examine and clarify a number of important points relating to RAM, the FBI, state repression, and anti-fascist research and organizing.
RAM, until now, had enjoyed an uninterrupted trail of violence across the country. This culminating in their attacks on anti-fascist protesters in the bloody battles that played out in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th, 2017 which resulted in the injury of dozens and the murder of Heather Heyer by a fellow Unite the Right marcher of RAM, James Alex Fields Jr.
Perhaps nothing captures the spirit of RAM’s participation in the violence ofmore clearly than two widely circulated images of Benjamin Daley. In the first, he is making the throat slashing gesture commonly known to signify a death threat to a crowd of anti-fascist protesters, and in the other, he is viciously strangulating a non-combative woman significantly smaller than him while she is surrounded and being attacked by other members of RAM.
For over a year after that day, members of RAM have gone on to boast and celebrate their own violent attacks and use them for recruitment and selling neo-Nazi themed apparel through their Right Brand Clothing brand. This has even included Robert Rundo, the leader of the group and legal owner of Right Brand Clothing LLC uploading a video in late August bragging about beating anti-fascists in various cities, and claiming that their actions were legal because they ‘hadn’t been arrested.’ This confidence was misplaced as less than two months later, a fact that perhaps wasn’t lost on Rundo as the video was removed soon after the upload, RAM members were swept up by the FBI and held without bail and currently are facing two felony charges each.
While the arrest and criminal prosecution of these individuals is a significant moment in terms of the state’s stance and action on neo-Nazi violence during the Trump presidency with all the racists that it has emboldened and mobilized, it should not by any means be considered a victory for the anti-fascist movement, nor should it remotely be confused for the state making a sincere attempt to, in any real way, address white supremacy or even neo-Nazi violence in the US. While the recent wave of street-based and grassroots white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements have intensified and become more visible, they compose a relatively minuscule segment of a greater social system of white supremacy existing in the US that functions in concert with capitalism, patriarchy, and State as a part of a violently maintained social hierarchy that controls our lives.
We reject the notion that the state can ever address this fundamental social issue because it itself is a critical component of upholding the racial caste system in the US that relegates millions of human beings to being murdered by the police, locked up in prisons, struggle against the weight of structural poverty, homelessness, and displacement just to survive, and daily are subjected to violence and humiliation. As the history of repression by the state has shown us time and time again with programs such as COINTELPRO, whatever repression it is willing to level against the most overt, violent, and indiscreet neo-Nazis and racists, it has no qualms about unleashing its much greater and more heavy-handed authority against those struggling to overcome oppression, domination, and exploitation and put into practice collective ways of life based on solidarity, equality, and autonomy.
RAM and Selective Prosecution of Neo-Nazis
One of the most consistently performed feats of mental gymnastic by neo-Nazis and others in the far-right is framing their aggression and violence as self-defense and legally justified. This notion has been further strengthened by a general lack of consequences they’ve experienced for their actions from the State. This attitude has been clearly visible in the conduct and online postings of RAM which proudly showed images and video of members engaging in violence, even when it was initiated by them, without any concern for facing any charges from the State.
For instance, Robert Rundo was arrested and initially charged with assaulting a police officer in the process of getting arrested for attacking anti-fascists in Berkeley on April 15th, 2017. While the State has had no problem pursuing charges of assaulting officers against people for things like involuntary reflexes to extreme physical pain when being restrained, Rundo’s charges were not pursued. This happened while an anti-fascist named Eric Clanton faced serious charges purely on the basis of manipulated images from 4chan for the same Berkeley rally.
The State has even gone so far as to repeat completely baseless claims made by the far-right and repeated in the Daily Cal about NoCARA carrying out “cyber attacks” against members of Berkeley College Republicans when all the information in our research was obtained through open social media profiles and public records, and no evidence of any hacking has ever been produced by anyone making these claims. The fascists crying about our work being cited in the criminal complaint against RAM conveniently forget these and other ample examples of the police accepting fascist propaganda and misinformation as legitimate intelligence on anti-fascists and acting on it.
The State is also constantly refusing to investigate and act on the clear threat of right-wing and white supremacist perpetrated violence and terror. No matter how hard they downplay this reality, far-right and neo-Nazi violence is currently claiming far more victims in the US than any other form of political violence. One only needs to look so far as the comments on RAM’s posts in support of their arrested members to witness the leisure at which violence and even threats against the police are discussed and promoted in their movement.
It’s clear that the prosecution of these individuals is not based on the threat they pose or proportional to the harm they’ve inflicted, but rather what is politically expedient for the State as it works to maintain the fiction of the rule of law and its image as the neutral mediator of society’s functioning.
Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman, a fascist known for committing violence at rallies in Berkeley and his support of RAM, is a clear example of this selective prosecution. Despite being arrested three times for his involvement in violence, including participating with RAM members in the brutal gang beating of anti-fascists cornered in Berkeley that was cited in the criminal complaint against RAM, Chapman is only facing charges for possessing the stick he used to attack people on March 4th, 2017. This only happened after his group the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights participated in the violence of Charlottesville, and increasing public outrage began building around the inaction of the State on such a brazenly violent fascist. Chapman is not facing charges for any of the other amply documented violence he carried out at political rallies.
As RAM members are arrested and extradited to Virginia to face their charges, another trial in California is set begin for William Scott Planer, a neo-Nazi member of the Golden State Skinheads and the now defunct Traditionalist Worker Party. The bloody rally at the State Capital in Sacramento on June 26th, 2016 in violent clashes at the rally resulted in 6 anti-fascists being stabbed by the neo-Nazis with ample video and photo evidence documenting the individuals responsible.
Planer is the only member of GSS facing charges for his role in the violence. Planer was recorded holding a knife and violently attacking anti-fascists including smashing a large wooden stick on the head of a downed anti-fascist.
As our previous work on RAM has shown, members of RAM are connected with members of GSS. RAM members Skyler Segeberg and Matthew Branstetter have been photographed with GSS members Jason Wayne Judd and Joseph Ryan Simmons who were both present and engaged in documented violence at the June 26th rally. Similar to RAM, GSS enjoys not just selective prosecution of only the most brazen and indefensible of their crimes, but the police also granted them an assumed victimhood and help in protecting their identities from the public. Just as Rundo and Boman avoid any consequences for their amply documented violence so do Judd, Simmons, and other GSS members enjoy impunity.
RAM also shares close ties with Identity Evropa and its founder Nathan Damigo. RAM not only fought alongside Damigo in Berkeley and in Charlottesville, members such as the individual that goes by “Robert Smithson” on social media are also members of IE based on their own social media postings. Smithson was in Charlottesville and fought along with the other 4 RAM members that were arrested by the FBI. Again, like other RAM members, Damigo enjoys impunity for his widely seen attack on a woman anti-fascist perhaps in part due to his familial connections to law enforcement.
The Sound of One Fed Clapping
“The only fucking way this country’s ever going to get turned around is it will be a bloodbath and it will be a nasty, messy motherfucker. Unless a lot more people in this country wake up and smell the fucking coffee and decide they want this country back … we might be too late, if they do wake up … I think we can get it done. But it ain’t going to be nothing nice about it.”
– Patrick Stein, The Crusaders
It is important to point out how much a show the FBI is putting on by arresting members of RAM. We believe the FBI was pushed to do so largely because of the recent video documentary from ProPublica, which makes the argument, along with the help of an ex-member of the FBI, that the intelligence community is not doing enough to go after violent Alt-Right and white nationalist groups. It seems in many ways, the FBI took this to heart.
The problem however, is that when looking at the broader picture, there are plenty of other white nationalist, militia, and far-Right groups that have committed acts of violence and terror, yet still have failed to trigger a clamp down against an entire group.
For instance, in October 2016, three members of ‘The Crusaders’ were arrested in Kansas, after the FBI was tipped off by one of their associates, before they could carry through on their plans to bomb both a mosque and an apartment complex filled with Somali immigrants. The Crusaders were part of the 3%er militia.
Then, less than a year later and only a few days before Unite the Right, FBI informants arrested a man in his early 20’s that was also part of the 3%er militia, after he attempted to detonate a bomb in front of a bank in Oklahoma City, in order to kick off, “the next revolution.” A few days later, members of the 3%ers were carrying high power weapons in Charlottesville.
Likewise, members of the Atomwaffen Division, (which today still organizes on the social media networking site Gab, and currently has been promoting an alliance with ISIS), were found in the summer of 2017, (after one member killed two others), with ingredients to make a “dirty bomb” and plans to possibly blow up a nuclear power plant. The group would go on to kill three other people.
Meanwhile in the Pacific Northwest, while they haven’t resorted to bombs and grisly murders, the Proud Boys have still been linked to a variety savage attacks on the public. In 2018, members of the Proud Boys attacked an African-American youth in Vancouver, Washington at a mall, a random man on the street in Portland, Oregon, and young boys at an open air festival in Austin, Texas wearing Obama hats. This is to say nothing of the numerous times the group has been involved in violence at political rallies and demonstrations, including the most recent attack in New York.
The point in bringing all of this up, is that the State is much less concerned about “keeping the public safe” from the threat of far-Right violence, than it is about keeping down the success of grassroots radical change. This is evidenced by the fact that when far-Right violence does happen, it is always presented as a fluke, or the work of just a few people. This is very unlike how the State responds to popular social movements as well as poor communities of color.
For instance, when 3%ers repeatedly attempt to murder people by blowing them up in racist bomb plots, one might think the State would label them gang members or terrorists and then have cause to pull over every chud with a Punisher sticker on the back of their truck. But of course, this doesn’t happen, however the State deems it as a necessary precaution for even a music subculture like Juggalos.
Everywhere across the social terrain we see this reality expand: as the label of either gang member or terrorist; an open invitation for the State to engage in the suspension of an individuals’ rights, movement, and freedoms, is slowly applied to both poor communities, especially those of color, and broad autonomous social movements. Thus, the Black Lives Matter tactic of blocking freeways becomes even more criminalized, as does the wearing of a mask by antifascists, or even simply stepping onto the private property of an oil pipeline, while the rhetoric of “terrorism” amps up and the ruling party presents itself as the chief victim within society.
Everywhere we see this reality permeating except against groups and movements on the far-Right. This is why an occasional ‘pound of flesh’ must be offered up to the public to show that the government is still paying attention, or to show the far-Right, in the case of someone like Timothy McVeigh, that the State will allow attacks on those below on the social hierarchy, but never above against the State’s own infrastructure.
A Question of Legitimacy
In the era of the Trump presidency with the wave of neo-Nazi and white supremacist activity and violence that has closely followed it, one of the central sources of arguments and contentions playing out across the political spectrum from the far-right to liberal centrists has been the question of who has the legitimacy and moral authority to name someone as a neo-Nazi or racist. Both the right and centrists are united in wanting to impose strict institutional controls and professionalized gatekeeping on the subject as both in practice are bitterly opposed to the idea of an anti-fascist movement that is autonomous from the State and other social institutions operating within it’s sanctioned and respectable confines.
NoCARA and other anti-fascists collectives committed to researching and exposing neo-Nazis have established credibility through the factuality of the research we’ve produced, and have done so from a position of being anti-State and promoting a broad range of direct action for dealing with the fascist threat. For everyday people, the media, and even State institutions to accept the conclusions drawn by anti-fascist sources such as NoCARA is a challenge for the State or certain authoritative institutions’ ability to be the arbiter of who is a racist and a nazi and what the consequences for that may entail. An autonomous anti-fascist movement that identifies and acts against white supremacists by relying on its own analysis and dynamic understanding of the social circumstances we live under is a threat to a system that depends on immobilizing and pacifying people against taking direct action to improve their lives and communities through the slight of hand of elections, political representation, petitions for change on power, and authoritative professionalization.
Mainstream media sources, until more recently, have been far more comfortable with publishing content and linking to far-right and neo-Nazi websites over the work of anti-fascists exposing these individuals. In other words, mainstream media, especially liberal-centrist leaning publications and pundits prefer giving a platform to those advocating for carrying out the ethnic cleansing of the US through violent and state-based means, over factual information compiled by anti-fascists which advocate for the defense of communities facing these threats through autonomous and decentralized struggles against white supremacy.
The dynamic discussed earlier is clearly apparent in the Southern Poverty Law Center, a private organization that researches and publishes information on what it deems “extremism,” and draws equivalences between neo-Nazis and autonomous anti-fascists, anarchists, Black radicals, and others deemed “far-left.” The SPLC enjoys close ties with law enforcement agencies which act at times as sources for their research, and are the participants in the training programs it conducts. The SPLC makes it clear that it does not condone any form of anti-fascism that doesn’t adhere to their strict liberal-centrist framework which generally entails sitting on one’s hands and waiting for the State and law enforcement to deal with neo-Nazi violence. This is an absurd delusion to promote in a country founded on genocide and slavery, where police annually murder thousands of black, brown, indigenous, and poor people with impunity, and has the highest rate of incarceration in the history of humanity. The SPLC’s associations and political line betray the true depths of their complicity with the regime of white supremacy in the US as the police are objectively a far more violent and powerful arm of upholding this system than this recent wave of neo-Nazi street politics.
Representatives from the SPLC have even gone so far as to host an event at UC Berkeley, one of the primary targets of fascist activity in the past couple of years, which advocated against non-liberal forms of anti-fascism, and regurgitated the same tired and asinine arguments about violence that one can also commonly hear from fascists. Embarrassingly, while the SPLC had ordered pizza for their anticipated audience of 200 people, only a small handful of individuals attended, leading to the event being changed to a group discussion instead of a talk.
In light of all this, it’s even more embarrassing that the SPLC has plagiarized the work of NoCARA. In a recent article announcing the arrest of the four RAM members, the SPLC directly copied an entire paragraph from our earlier article on RAM without attribution. Comparing the original NoCARA text and that published by the SPLC using text analysis software reveals that minor edits were made to the text but the overwhelming bulk of the text remains the same. This strikes us as extremely lazy on the part of an organization that enjoys over four hundred million dollars in endowments ($400,000,000) and a full-time paid staff, while our collective has a free blog service (shout out to Blackblogs.org) and funds our research work out of our own pockets.
We can only speculate about how and why the FBI came to cite our work in their criminal complaint, but it appears that copy/pasting of information from a source like SPLC had something to do with it. We also don’t know how closely the FBI looked into our anti-State politics before making the decision to cite us. We harbor no delusions about the role of the FBI as an institution that was founded and has devoted most of its efforts to repressing leftist and liberatory movements.
A similar dynamic also exists with Propublica which published their widely shared and celebrated research on RAM based on an earlier article published by the East Bay Express several months after we published our original research. These works largely cover the same ground from our research. At the time of their publication, comrades at It’s Going Down (itsgoingdown.org) and Berkeley Antifa tweeted Ali Winston, one of the authors of the EBX article, asking why they failed to acknowledge that NoCARA’s research influenced their work. Winston’s response was to dismiss the work as inconsequential and inaccurate. This was while their work failed to identify individuals such as Skyler Segeberg and Spencer Currie by their real names whereas our work had identified their real names months earlier. Winston would go on to at least partially acknowledge the information released by NoCARA served as a basis for part of his writing on RAM.
While one of the co-authors of the EBX piece, Darwin Bond-Graham has recently acknowledged NoCARA’s contributions, A.C. Thompson has so far refused to acknowledge any influence from NoCARA. It appears that at least part of this comes from a desire not to be associated with anti-fascists like NoCARA in order to maintain respectability and career prospects within the mainstream.
To Propublica’s credit, we do admire the work they’ve done in exposing the violent neo-Nazi organization Atomwaffen Division and the killings carried out by its members. Despite this, we find their work’s emphasis on legitimizing and rehabilitating law enforcement to be counter-productive and part of creating a false narrative that the State actually acts to put a stop to violent neo-Nazis when in reality prosecutions like that of RAM are a rare occurrence. Propublica has also refused to release the names and chat logs of neo-Nazis in Atomwaffen Division in order to milk them for additional stories and content rather than allowing anti-fascists and others to access the logs to identify and potentially protect their communities from these individuals.
These issues aren’t brought up in an attempt to demand recognition or credit for our work, but to highlight the fact that these organizations while making use of and at times plagiarizing our research also actively work to undermine, demonize, and criminalize autonomous anti-fascism. Our work has shown that a collective of ambitious and determined individuals lacking any funding or institutional support can come together to produce work that rivals and even eclipses that of organizations with millions of dollars of funding and law enforcement connections and sources.
Stripe and GoDaddy Love Nazis
Like any business operating today, RAM’s Right Brand Clothing depends on a number of corporate services and products to maintain a presence online, sell merchandise, and collect payments. Recent experiences have shown us that tech companies and other corporations generally have no qualms about offering services to and collecting money from neo-Nazis so long as there isn’t much negative attention brought to their brands. This trend continues with Rise Above Movement.
Right Brand Clothing is currently hosted by GoDaddy, a large hosting and domain registration service. GoDaddy is notable for being the domain registrar for The Daily Stormer for a number of years until the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville when the company finally decided to drop the site. Here, again, the company continues to host the e-commerce site for neo-Nazis.
Stripe also acts as the payment processing system for the site, allowing RAM to collect credit card payments. Stripe is currently playing a critical role in fundraising for members of RAM, and has allowed RAM to collect thousands of dollars by selling $10 stickers for the legal expenses of those arrested.
RAM directly uses their reputation and image as neo-Nazis ready and able to fight and engage in violence as a part of promoting and profiting from the goods sold on their website. The violence that the group has carried out has been instrumental in launching and promoting this clothing brand, and this includes them building the credibility with European neo-Nazis that allowed them to travel across Europe for a organizing and developing their business connections.
They traveled to Ostritz, Germany, where a fascist MMA tournament named Battle of Nibelung was taking place. This tournament was sponsored in part by White Rex, a neo-Nazi clothing brand, and this trip allowed them to sell White Rex merchandise along side other neo-Nazi brands such as Svastone from Ukraine. The group would also travel to Kiev, Ukraine which appears to be the country for origin for Robert Smithson, and meet up and workout with local neo-Nazis. Rundo participated in the neo-Nazi tournament Reconquista Club in April.
Considering the actions and history of RAM, it’s clear what the group is referencing when their about page features an image of members in Berkeley, one of their most violent engagements to date, along with text celebrating their “boldness” in “standing against waves of the left.” Rundo has been gambling on translating the image of RAM created through violence into dollars and movement building. One thing is clear, regardless of their ‘optics,’ RAM would not be able to operate at the level it has been without counting on the help of these corporations.
GoDaddy customer service: (480) 505-8877
Stripe customer service: email@example.com
Beyond Stopping Nazis
As discussed in this writing, any form of anti-fascism that attempts to address the growing fascist threat by adhering to the sanctioned framework for political action enforced by the existing power structures and through the institutions of the State and capitalist media is ultimately doomed to bolstering the very same white supremacist social order from which neo-Nazis like RAM emerge. Effective anti-racist and anti-fascist movements must invariably contend with the social hierarchies produced and protected by the State, capitalism, patriarchy, and other social relations of domination and exploitation existing in our societies.
The prevailing power structures and those who serve them desperately want to maintain their grip on who exactly and how people are allowed to understand and act on the social problems in their communities. They insist that we permanently wait on the State, police, and businesses to fix problems that they helped to create in the first place and violently prevent anyone else from solving. They want us to consume the narratives and analysis fed to us by those who profit from maintaining this oppressive status quo, and discredit anyone who refuses to parrot their line.
Anti-fascists have shown that it’s possible to refuse the surrender our collective power and to create a multitude of ways to act directly on the problems we face. The State, liberals, far-right, and fascists are unified in their disdain and fear of this approach to politics, and make every effort in their propaganda to speak against it. Let their bitter protestations be the orchestral score to which we drop the closing curtains on their world. We seek to build a form of life based on the vibrance and joy of caring and fighting for each other as equals and will settle for nothing less.
If you have information about Rise Above Movement and their associates that you’d like to share with us, please contact: diy.division [at] protonmail [dot] com
NoCARA recently received an anonymous submission of documents disclosing communications as well as a meeting that took place between Berkeley City Councilman Ben Bartlett, conservative activist Ryoga Vee, and Bay Area Proud Boy Jarod Flores. This news comes at a time when Councilman Bartlett is under fire for abusing his authority on multiple occasions in order to avoid traffic tickets, and the Berkeley City Council and Berkeley police are facing backlash from the community after Berkeley PD doxxed counter protesters opposing a far-right rally in MLK Park on August 5.
While the records we received don’t comprehensively lay out the exact contents of the meeting Bartlett had with Ryoga Vee and Jarod Flores, we believe the timing of their communications and additional comments elsewhere by Vee provide insight and context into what happened and why. A link to the original PDF we received can be found at the bottom of this article after the analysis below.
Last month on August 1, Ryoga Vee contacted Berkeley City Councilman Ben Bartlett. Vee chose to reach out specifically to the councilman because Bartlett’s comments about “political unrest” in Berkeley proved that he “gets it,” according to emails. What Vee was ultimately asking for was to introduce Bartlett to some of his friends who, like Vee, have been attending protests on the side of what Vee calls “the alleged fascists” for the last year and a half.
The timing of Vee’s August 1 email is significant. The Proud Boys, which Vee has a number of close associations with, had at the time been facing intense scrutiny for their violent actions and the hateful ideas that fuel them. For over a year, they’ve been assaulting people at rallies all over the United States, and the Proud Boys and Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer held their most violent Portland gathering yet on June 30. Shortly after, a false rumor started that the Proud Boys would be meeting at Make Westing in Oakland. The community began to organize a response and it was soon amplified due to anger over the racist murder of Nia Wilson on July 22. Following this, the Southern Poverty Law Center warned that the upcoming Proud Boys/Patriot Prayer rally in Portland on August 4 could be “another Charlottesville,” particularly concerning since the Proud Boys had been one of the groups in the middle of the right wing terror that occurred in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017.
On July 30, just two days before Vee contacted Bartlett, Berkeley Antifa had alerted locals via Twitter to Nathaniel Francis Ring, a Proud Boy working at UC Berkeley and Oakland’s Studio One Art Center. It appears that Vee was working to create a counter-narrative to service the Proud Boys and alter the white nationalist group’s public perception. This wouldn’t be the first time Vee worked as a sort of PR for the Proud Boys. In December 2017, the Proud Boys described Ryoga as a friend doing a pubic service for his critical comments aimed at anti-fascists. Within two hours of getting Vee’s email, Bartlett responded and offered to meet in his office.
On August 13, Ryoga Vee brought Proud Boy Jarod Flores with him to meet Ben Bartlett in Berkeley at 10:30am. There is no record detailing the entire meeting’s discussions, but follow-up emails from the three participants and outside comments made by Ryoga Vee can confirm some portions of it.
Ryoga Vee shared that he met with Berkeley council members and received advice on how to improve the Proud Boys’ public image in an August 18 livestream. Bartlett’s August 23 email to his chief of staff Olivia Cordis confirms he suggested the Proud Boys renounce racism, change their name, and create a positive mission statement. These issues directly address the intensifying negative perception that the Proud Boys began facing at the time.
Emails also show that doxxing was of particular interest to the Proud Boys. On August 20 Jarod Flores forwarded an email to Bartlett from Nathan Ring, the Proud Boy profiled in a Berkeley Antifa tweet, mentioned above. A later email to Bartlett from Vee included a link here to NoCARA’s website as it related to remarks made during the meeting. It appears that the local Proud Boys are beginning to fear facing some accountability for their actions and are turning to receptive ears within the state for help against anti-fascists.
Jarod Flores is a leading member of the Bay Area Proud Boys. He has attended several far-right rallies and events, including the extremely violent Proud Boys gathering in Portland on June 30. Flores is also a member of the band Yeshua and the Hightones, based out of San Jose.
The Proud Boys often point to the people of color in their ranks as some kind of proof that they aren’t racists. This is merely a smokescreen, and anyone that looks deeper into the group can see racism, homophobia, and misogyny are rampant within the organization. Levi Romero, a prominent Proud Boy of color from Southern California, has been recorded in videos using racist language and showing support for Nazis, who he calls his best friends. Romero has made multiple trips to Berkeley to harass the Left and anyone the Proud Boys deem undesirable. On April 27, 2017, Proud Boys leader and founder Gavin McInnes watched on as Romero and other Proud Boys beat on new recruits as part of an initiation process outside of the bar George and Walt’s on College Ave. In 2018, Romero and other Proud Boys were kicked out of a bar in Southern California and Ryoga Vee tweeted support for him, completely disregarding and ignoring Romero’s anti-black racism.
Levi Romero threatens murder and rape (content warning: extreme racist, misogynist, and homophobic language)
Ben Bartlett’s meeting with representatives for the Proud Boys and him providing them with advice with which they could further recruit is yet another example of the fascist creep in Berkeley. Both the Berkeley PD and University PD have consistently protected the alt-right at rallies and other showings. The Berkeley City Council created new policies that have given the police more power and weapons to target anti-fascists, and the police have ridden this wave of empowerment to aid the far-right to dox their opposition. Top authorities such as Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin and Chancellor Carol Christ have publicly advocated for people to stay home and allow the alt-right to organize and gain more power.
On August 10, Twitter suspended accounts belonging to Gavin McInnes, regional Proud Boys groups, and even individual Proud Boys themselves. On September 11, Ryoga Vee posted to Instagram implying he was having a meeting with people at Twitter in San Francisco.
Along with this heavy-handed repression of autonomous resistance to white supremacy, Berkeley and other Alameda County cities are planning a week-long series of events in November that they’re calling “United Against Hate.” Mayor Arreguin announced these events using images featuring the very movement he and his police force have spent the last year and half repressing, though the far-right has admitted that militant anti-fascism is the only reason we are seeing less public outings from them in Northern California.
Link to full PDF document of public records: https://nocara.blackblogs.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/273/2018/09/Ryoga-Vee.pdf
If you have any information on fascist organizing in Northern California, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Amber Cummings has been involved in right wing political movements for the last 10 years, though she first caught the attention of anti-fascists on March 4, 2017 at the March 4 Trump rally in Berkeley. Since her participation at that rally, Amber has been a central figure in the far-right movement in Northern California. For the last year and a half, Amber Cummings has organized and engaged in violent protests in the Bay Area as well as in Portland, OR. Often, these events were test runs for what was then a growing coalition of far-right factions: libertarians, alt-lite, alt-right, militias, and mainstream Trump supporters. Amber fought side by side with white supremacists in Berkeley and Portland, building a right-wing coalition in the streets intent on attacking and suppressing the left. Amber Cummings has proven to be a threat to the Bay Area communities she harasses, and due to her past actions and persistent organizing we feel it is necessary to expose her.
Name: Amber Gwen Cummings
DOB: 5/10/1974, 44 years old
Address: 3504 Baywood Cir Antioch, CA 94531
Car: white 4-door Nissan truck
Amber Cummings is an Alex Jones/Info Wars true believer, claiming to have spent thousands of hours studying a supposed new world order. She regularly repeats Jones’s rhetoric in her own livestream rambling sessions and has even called in to the show on multiple occasions. Often, she rants about stopping a looming singular world government in between asides about chem trails and other conspiracy theories. Often these Alex Jones inspired bedtime stories revolve around a relationship between elites and their “pawns” within social movements, a hallmark of anti-Semitic and far-right thought for decades. For instance, Amber thinks anarchists, although inherently antagonistic to the state, are seeking to establish a world government, and likewise holds a completely uninformed view of Marxism that seeks to carry out as Kyle Chapman claims, a “war on Whites.” Cummings sets her diatribes in extreme religious language. She can be heard on livestream videos describing cities like Berkeley as hellish and casting anti-racist activists as demonic.
Amber Gwen Cummings calls Info Wars
Over the last year and a half, Amber Cummings has participated in over a dozen far-right actions including violent rallies and other harassment. Cummings has traveled from her home in Antioch to cities all over the Bay Area including Berkeley and San Francisco, and has even travelled to other states such as Oregon for Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer rallies. Throughout her involvement in these actions, Cummings has developed affinities and alliances with other far-right organizers, most prominent among these are Lindsay Grathwohl, the daughter of FBI informant Larry Grathwohl, and Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman, notorious Proud Boy and leader of the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights, who was recently arrested for assault with a deadly weapon in Texas.
As Cummings continues her mission to fight what she thinks is a tyrannical new world order, she has taken on yet more alarming allies. At several events that Amber has been to, she has fought alongside neo-Nazis and alt-right Identitarians who seek to violently reconfigure the United States into an exclusively white nation. Images of Cummings at rallies show her rubbing elbows with white supremacists like Nathan Damigo, founder of the white nationalist fraternity Identity Evropa, and the Rise Above Movement, a neo-Nazi fight club based in Southern California. Cummings says white supremacists aren’t welcome at her events and that she is anti-Nazi, but this claim appears to be purely superficial. For example, video recordings show Amber spending time with local alt-right scum Kevin aka “Based Commie.” As mentioned before, Kevin aka “Based Commie” is a follower of white supremacist mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, and isn’t shy about his thirst for racial war and violence.
Amber Cummings has herself engaged in violence at these rallies. Pictures and videos from multiple events show Cummings on the front lines looking for a fight. In contrast to her comments defining her actions as defensive, Cummings seems to be attracted to and excited by violence. In her live Facebook video on July 24, Amber greets Latinos for Trump founder Marco Gutierrez by saying “Welcome on board to the violence.” This was a reference to Gutierrez’s latest brawl with anti-fascists just weeks before in San Francisco. In a moment when Amber’s scrambled understanding of Marxism collided with her enthusiasm for violence, she tackled a fellow right wing marcher in Portland on June 30 after mistakenly identifying him as an anti-fascist protester.
Amber Cummings isn’t just a random participant in the movement. In addition to promoting and attending other groups’ events, she also organizes her own. On August 27, 2017, Cummings called for a “No to Marxism” rally in Berkeley, which was expected to feature libertarian fascist Augustus Invictus as a speaker. Cummings’s event was to take place just weeks after Unite the Right in Charlottesville, VA, an event that brought together neo-Nazis with others on the right for a weekend of violence which left many injured and one dead, and which was partly organized by Augustus Invictus himself, who was also scheduled to speak. While this event was ultimately cancelled due to overwhelming community opposition, alt-right white supremacists still showed up in Berkeley and were promptly removed by counter protesters.
Cummings followed this cancellation with a rally in San Francisco in support of British fascist Tommy Robinson after he was jailed for interfering in court proceedings. This event had a pitifully small turnout of committed racists and was criticized by others on the right for exposing participants to attacks without security preparations.
As of this writing, Amber Cummings is calling for another “No to Marxism” rally in Berkeley on August 5. In the lead up to this rally, Cummings had been coordinating with American Guard to provide event security. This was confirmed in a live video that Cummings streamed on her own Facebook profile in which she promoted the rally. American Guard is an organization started by Brien James, a white supremacist that also co-founded Vinlanders Social Club, which was a racist gang tied to several murders. Moreover, Cummings invited Proud Boy Jeffrey Perrine to speak at the rally. Earlier this year, Perrine harassed Hasta Muerte coffee shop in Oakland and called for people to bash the heads of immigrants at a rally in Portland. Current in-fighting erupting in the local far-right scene will likely decrease the turnout to the upcoming August 5 rally, but just as the fascists still showed up for a cancelled rally in 2017, we should expect them to come out of their holes yet again, even if Cummings isn’t able to formally keep it together.
Amber Cummings has travelled along the west coast bringing with her a wave of violence and far-right harassment. She has shown in her actions to be receptive to vile white supremacists if it means coming out on top against the left. She has continuously carried out provocations while being able to return to her Antioch home and escape the consequences of the trouble she brings to other communities. We feel it is time to expose her location in Antioch and alert the community to the toxic behavior and violent threat of Cummings in an effort to help keep people informed and safe.
If you have any information on fascist organizing in Northern California, please contact us at email@example.com
On August 5, Amber Cummings will hold a “No to Marxism in America” rally in Berkeley. Amber Cummings has been one of the most violent participants in local far-right gatherings. Several factors, including attempted coordination with other events and internal disagreements, have caused Cummings to frequently reschedule the start time of her rally. As of this writing, the rally will be from 12pm-2pm in MLK Civic Center Park in Berkeley.
It was revealed in the lead up to this event that co-organizer Lindsay Grathwohl received $5,000 from Alex Jones with which Grathwohl announced she would buy new equipment for the rally. Moreover, Cummings and Grathwohl were coordinating with Patriot Movement AZ and American Guard, a white supremacist group with ties to murders and other violence.
Though Amber Cummings claims to not want racists attending her event, she clearly seems either unwilling or unable to discern who the racists at her events are. Despite her rhetoric, Cummings still chooses to rally with people like Kevin the “Based Commie,” who advocates for the mass murder of Muslims and idolizes the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 in Norway and performed a Nazi salute in court. Sacramento Proud Boys leader Gabe Silva, who recently called for war in Portland and threatened political opponoents with unprovoked violence, briefly announced he would join Berkeley after the far-right rally in Portland on August 4. Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson also announced he would travel to Berkeley on August 5.
In anticipation of fascist provocations in Berkeley on August 5, we’ve created flyers to help people identify alt-right agitators that have come to Berkeley in the past and may show up again. Share these online, or print them out and bring them to the counter protest against the fascists so others can stay informed. Another helpful resource to review are these tips for staying safe while protesting the far-right. It is unclear which far-right groups will keep their promise to show up or not. Last year in Berkeley on August 27, Amber Cummings cancelled her rally and far-right goons still showed up to the park. The counter demonstration will go on regardless. Be on alert and watch out for the following people:
Sweep Out the Fascists: A Festival of Resilience
Berkeley, August 5
Meet at 11am at Ohlone Park
Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/667654553588783
On Friday, July 6, a report was published detailing a handful of rallies being planned by the Bay Area far-Right in the next several weeks. The first of these events was to be a rally outside of the British Consulate in San Francisco on Saturday, July 7. Organizers chose this location because they intended to show support for Tommy Robinson, the founder of the militant and racist English Defence League (and once a member of the white nationalist and fascist British National Party) who is currently jailed in the UK.
The day did not start off well for the Right, who showed up late to their own event. Despite almost 200 people marked as “going” or “interested” on the Facebook event page, the rally peaked at less than 25 people. The small group consisted of a regular cast of local far-Right agitators that have repeatedly shown up to rallies around the country, engaging in violence and helping to mainstream overt white supremacy. When the Tommy Robinson supporters arrived, they found the area decorated with posters and graffiti showing solidarity for immigrants and opposition to racism.
Organizer Amber Cummings assured attendees that security for her event would be provided by III% militia members. The III% and Oath Keeper militias have been providing security for far-Right and Alt-Right “free speech” rallies for the last year and a half, protecting traveling white supremacists from local community backlash. Lindsay Grathwohl said she hadn’t met the security crew and wasn’t sure if they even showed up because she didn’t see them during the event. Militia members did in fact show up to provide security, but were seen getting on BART and ditching Amber Cummings and her supporters well before the event ended.
In anticipation of possible right-wing violence, the nearby occupation of ICE in San Francisco was bolstered by local supporters to defend the occupation and the community. While only relatively small groups came over to confront them, the Right knew they were ultimately outnumbered and vocalized their disappointment in how the day’s events played out, leading them to consider ending the rally early.
One confrontation at the rally ended with Jeanne Solnordal being sprayed with her own pepper spray after she tried attacking anti-fascists. Other than that, the event was largely uneventful and poor organizing left this small bunch of racists demoralized. The rally ended with prayers for Tommy Robinson and Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman, who was recently arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. Event participants appeared to share in common both Islamophobia and a hatred for immigrants. The same people are planning more upcoming events in the Bay Area and have been trying to draw in more people by boasting about their violent acts at this July 7 rally. Details on those events are at the bottom of this article.
Amber Cummings, 44, Antioch
Amber Cummings has been one of the more violent and committed far-Right organizers in Northern California. She has participated in violence at right-wing events on the west coast since March 4, 2017 in Berkeley. Last year, she called for a rally ‘Against Marxism’ in Berkeley, which was ultimately cancelled and countered by thousands of people. Before her San Francisco rally on July 7, Cummings was in Portland on June 30, where she tackled another right-wing activist, mistaking them for an anti-fascist. Amber Cummings has close ties to other local far-Right organizers including Kyle Chapman and Lindsay Grathwohl.
Lindsay Grathwohl, 40, San Lorenzo
Lindsay Grathwohl is the daughter of Larry Grathwohl, the FBI informant who infiltrated the Weather Underground. She has been attending far-Right events along the west coast since 2017 and organizes closely with Kyle Chapman, Amber Cummings, and Joey Gibson/Patriot Prayer. In December 2016, Grathwohl called for an anti-immigrant rally in San Francisco following the acquittal of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate in the shooting death of Kate Steinle. This rally was attended by members of the III% militia, the Proud Boys, Identity Evropa, and failed neo-Nazi senate candidate Patrick Little.
Brian Rosner, 42, San Lorenzo
Brian Rosner came to the rally with Lindsay Grathwohl, who he lives with. During the rally, he was wearing one of the Tommy Robinson shirts that Grathwohl brought with her. When the rally was confronted by anti-fascists, Rosner was asked if he supports the EDL (English Defence League), which was created by Tommy Robinson. Rosner’s response was “I don’t know what that is,” showing complete ignorance about the person he came to San Francisco to pray for and whose face was featured on the t-shirt he was wearing.
Kevin aka “Based Commie”
Kevin is called “Based Commie” because he grew up in Russia. Kevin has attended several far-Right rallies on the west coast in 2017 and 2018. He often brings a “Pepe” flag, a common symbol used by the Alt-Rght. Additionally, Kevin frequently invokes and celebrates Rhodesia. Located in what is now called Zimbabwe, Rhodesia was an unrecognized state in south Africa from 1965-1979 ruled by the racist white minority following decolonization. Dylan Roof, the white supremacist who murdered 9 people in a South Carolina church in 2015, wore the flag of Rhodesia on his jacket and called his website “The Last Rhodesian.” Kevin has made Facebook posts showing interest in Rhodesia and has worn clothing celebrating Rhodesia and the mass murder of communists. Other social media posts by Kevin reveal his Islamophobia and show his affinity with Anders Behring Breivik, who was convicted of mass murder and terrorism after killing 77 people in Norway in 2011. In court, Breivik performed a Nazi salute. Despite Kevin’s praise of racist mass murder, he is consistently welcomed at public and private events organized by Amber Cummings and others in the local far-Right movement.
Jeanne Marie Solnordal, 60, Piedmont
Jeanne Solnordal attended several far-Right events over the last year before recently running a failed campaign for Congress in the last election. Solnordal is very vocal about her anti-immigrant views. Along with Lindsay Grathwohl, David Carson, and others, Solnordal went into Oakland last May to harass the coffee shop Hasta Muerte, and she threatened to have the police and ICE come to deport people. At other times, she has gone into homeless encampments in Oakland telling people that their problems can be blamed on immigrants. As we pointed out in a previous article, Solnordal is a lawyer and co-owns Marsol Management Group along with her husband Borgar. They own several properties in Oakland and the surrounding Bay Area. Solnordal came to the Tommy Robinson rally armed with pepper spray, which she told Lindsay Grathwohl was the most powerful spray you can buy on the market.
David Carson, 39, San Francisco
David Carson could be heard on video telling others that he lives only 3 blocks from where the Tommy Robinson rally was being held. He came armed with pepper spray and had a camera strapped to his chest, similar to how he prepared to scare and intimidate an Oakland community when he joined Lindsay Grathwohl, Jeanne Solnordal, and others outside Hasta Muerte back in May of this year. During an altercation at the Tommy Robinson rally, Carson used pepper spray on his own allies. Inexperienced and eager to jump in, Carson has been indiscriminate with his violence. Carson tells people he isn’t racist or political, but somehow consistently finds himself opposed to those fighting racism and fascism.
Jessica Bowen, 67, Alameda
Jessica Bowen works in occupational therapy for Sava Senior Care. On Facebook, Bowen’s “likes” include the pages for Paul Nehlen, VDare, and Taki’s Magazine. Nehlen is a neo-Nazi business owner in Wisconsin currently campaigning to replace Paul Ryan. VDare, run by Peter Brimelow, is a racist anti-immigrant website associated with the white nationalist movement, and Taki’s Magazine is a conservative publication once edited by Richard Spencer, the white supremacist credited for coining the term “alt-right” and a featured speaker at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville last August. She also signed and shared a petition in support of Kyle Chapman calling for the charges against him from March 4, 2017 to be dropped. Bowen attended Lindsay Grathwohl’s anti-immigrant march in San Francisco in December 2017, where she can be seen on video marching next to Amber Cummings and Jacob Ku, the man who accompanied Proud Boy Rob Cantrell outside a bookstore in Berkeley when Cantrell threatened to burn down the store. At the July 7 rally, Bowen was given a shirt by Lindsay Grathwohl celebrating Tommy Robinson and wore it during the event.
Stephen Powles, 29, San Jose
Stephen Powles has been documenting and participating in far-Right rallies up and down the west coast since March 4, 2017 in Berkeley. He posts recordings and livestreams to his YouTube channel under the name Crowman17. Powles usually shows up to events wearing the same unmistakable outfit, displaying the symbol for the neo-Nazi 4chan message board /pol/, which is nothing more than a remake of a Nazi Germany flag consistent with the Alt-Right’s strategy of obfuscation.
Alejandro Montalvo, 20, San Jose
Alejandro Montalvo is friends with Stephen Powles and frequently accompanies him to rallies and marches. In Powles’s videos, Montalvo is referred to as “Alex Gold” or “Mr. Gold.” Montalvo’s Facebook displays his support for Donald Trump, Hitler, and Elliot Rodger, the Alt-Right killer who murdered 6 people and injured 14 others near UC Santa Barbara before killing himself in 2014. At the Tommy Robinson rally, Montalvo suggested to Stephen Powles and Theri Rowen that they should “buy a bunch of Karl Marx books and then burn them.” After Powles and Rowen laughed, Powles responded with “A good old-fashioned book burning. That’ll attract some attention.”
Stephanie Oliver, 48, San Rafael
Stephanie Oliver was first noted by NoCARA in this article from June 2017. Oliver has been a regular at local far-Right rallies and gatherings since March 4, 2017 in Berkeley. After the Charlottesville, VA neo-Nazi rally last August, Oliver deleted her tweets from before the event in an effort to sanitize her online image and distance herself from the consequences of the very movement she helped to build. Her account calls to “make women housewives again.”
Kevin Ahajanian, 47
Kevin Ahajanian has attended multiple far-Right events in Northern California. He drives a 2014 white Ford Fiesta with the California license plates 7EXU987. Ahajanian parked the car on the corner of Sansome and Pine while he attended the Tommy Robinson rally.
Marco (44) and Michael Gutierrez (25), Discovery Bay
Marco Gutierrez and his son Michael have come out to far-right events since early 2017. Marco is the founder of Latinos for Trump and warned there would be an invasion of taco trucks in the United States if Hillary Clinton were to become the president. Michael, his son, has been active on YouTube for years as Pokeflirt doing videos catering to the misogynistic online community known as the “manosphere.”
Aleksey Nikolaevich Semeryuk, 54, Sacramento
Regularly attends far-Right rallies and events. At the Tommy Robinson rally, Aleksey Nikolaevich was dressed in gear that implied he was expecting to fight.
Bill Roller aka “Bunker”, 70
Bill Roller is the national coordinator for 2 Million Bikers and frequently supports far-Right organizing.
Theri Rowen, 34, Richmond
Theri Rowen has been supporting and attending far-Right rallies in the Bay Area organized by racists and fascists since early 2017.
Alana Mirabella, 56, Lafayette
Alana Mirabella has been attending and supporting far-Right organizing since at least early 2017 and has shown up to several events.
Patrick James Porcuna, 29, South San Francisco
Regularly attends far-Right events in the Bay Area that show sympathy with white supremacist causes.
Ryoga Vee, 38, Sunnyvale
Ryoga Vee says he considers himself a liberal but regularly shows up to support far-Right rallies. Like Jeanne Solnordal, Vee scapegoats immigrants and spreads right-wing propaganda about them victimizing African Americans in the United States. Earlier in 2018, rapper Talib Kweli called Vee out on Twitter for lying about anti-fascists and supporting a racist that had been harassing Kweli.
Simi Singh operates the YouTube channel Very Fake News, and has been documenting far-Right aggressions up and down the west coast since early 2017.
List of far-right rallies coming up in the Bay Area:
Standing against Communism
August 4, 1-4pm
Union Square, San Francisco
No to Marxism in America 2
August 5, 4-7pm
MLK park, Berkeley
Patriots Rally Against Pedophiles in SciFi
August 18, 1-4pm
San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose
If you have any information on fascist organizing in Northern California, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Much has been said about the several far-Right candidates running for political office across the United States in 2018. Given the increased level of white power activity occurring in Northern California in recent years, it’s not surprising that one of these candidates calls the Bay Area home.
Patrick Little is a neo-Nazi and member of the League of the South as well as a former marine. He currently lives in Albany (nestled right next to Berkeley) and is trying to replace Dianne Feinstein as a senator representing California. After interviewing Little, one journalist concluded that:
“[W]hat sets him apart is that on April 24, a SurveyUSA poll had him placing second in the Senate race, gathering more than twice as much support as any other Republican. If that turns out to be a correct predictor and he places second among the nearly three dozen candidates competing in the June 5 primary, he would face Feinstein in November’s general election.”
The fact that Little is polling in second place ahead of the June 5th primary is the result of the last few years of Alt-Right agitation as well as the way the media, liberals, and Republicans have all responded to the Alt-Right. These groups all in their own ways have participated in pulling fascist politics closer to the mainstream.
While Little claims to have been “pro-white” his whole life, he also credits Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as a process that ultimately led to his “awakening.” Through his involvement in Trump-supporting internet networks, Little came across Kevin MacDonald’s book The Culture of Critique. MacDonald is a white supremacist and former professor who the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “the neo-Nazi movement’s favorite academic.” His book dresses anti-Semitism in academic language, but to say MacDonald’s intellectual and scholarly integrity are questionable would be an understatement. Nonetheless, Little praises MacDonald’s book as the final puzzle piece that woke him up and put him on his current neo-Nazi trajectory.
Little clearly felt more emboldened as his radicalization progressed and Trump won the 2016 election. In Northern California, Little made speeches and harassed anti-Trump protesters in San Francisco, which he filmed and uploaded online. Throughout 2017, Little traveled across the country to participate in a number of Alt-Right events. In March, Little brought his anti-Semitism to the AIPAC conference. The next month, Little was present at a League of the South event in Alabama honoring David Duke. Last August in Charlottesville, Little was present at both the torch march at the University of Virginia and the next day’s “Unite the Right” rally which eventually led to the murder of Heather Heyer. Little had volunteered to provide security for the speakers in Charlottesville, at times armed with an assault rifle. Since then, Little has popped up at several events in California looking for attention. One incident at the March for Our Lives rally in San Francisco ended with Little assaulting someone after they grabbed his sign. In interviews to promote his campaign, Little brags about the encounter and expresses pride in being violent with someone he believed to be Jewish.
Little’s supporters have been busy in recent months trying to help him get elected using familiar methods of organizing via online communities (4chan, social media, YouTube, private chat servers) and taking anonymous action in real life by putting up flyers. However, since Charlottesville, infighting and debates have broken any former sense of unity the far-Right had. Little has struggled to bring his campaign to a few of the bigger Alt-Right platforms such as The Right Stuff and the Daily Stormer. Despite a lack of concerted effort in the Alt-Right to help Little get elected, he still managed to place second in polls ahead of the primary. This is because institutions and networks outside of the Alt-Right, including the Republican Party, have themselves participated in creating the conditions that placed Little second in polls.
The Republican Party
When Patrick Little tried to register for the California Republican Party convention on May 5, he was removed by security and banned by party officials. Republican political consultant Luis Alvarado, referring to Little, said, “That certainly doesn’t represent the values of the Republican Party.” California’s representative on the Republican National Committee, Harmeet Dhillon, claimed the state party’s board of directors would vote on a resolution condemning Little.
However, while Dhillon and other Republican Party officials say they condemn Little and his views, their actions show something different. They have in fact been supporting Little’s views and their dissemination among young conservatives for some time now.
For example, after Milo Yiannopoulos, David Horowitz, and Ann Coulter were all unsuccessful at making speeches at UC Berkeley in 2017, Harmeet Dhillon represented the Berkeley College Republicans in a lawsuit against the university claiming they and their invited speakers were being censored. Of course, leaks revealed Milo to be a fascist sympathizer who collaborated with neo-Nazis on his articles about the Alt-Right, used Nazi references as account passwords, and sang “America the Beautiful” while a group (which included Richard Spencer) sang along and did Nazi salutes. The Berkeley College Republicans wanted Milo on campus so badly that they invited him (and failed) twice in 2017. Milo was also caught displaying Kevin MacDonald’s book The Culture of Critique on his desk in some of his YouTube videos. This is the same book previously mentioned that provided Patrick Little a pseudo-intellectual ground to his anti-Semitism.
Harmeet Dhillon also chose to represent Troy Worden in his lawsuit against BAMN organizer Yvette Felarca. Troy Worden was once the president of the Berkeley College Republicans until his fellow club members exposed him as having national socialist (Nazi) friends and supporters. This revelation came as no surprise, as Worden had been writing about and making alliances with fascist organizers in prior months, including Nathan Damigo, the founder of white nationalist organization Identity Evropa, and Martin Sellner, the head of Generation Identity, a fascist group based in Europe that served as Damigo’s inspiration. It’s also not a shock that Worden was the one who originally invited Milo to speak at the Berkeley campus.
While Worden was replaced as the president of the Berkeley College Republicans, he continued filling a state leadership position for the California College Republicans. Worden was part of the “Rebuild CCR” slate headed by Milo ally Ariana Rowlands. Before Rowlands and the Rebuild slate won, she and Milo were advocating for a legal defense team that would help College Republicans invite any hateful speakers they wanted to their campuses. Taking stock of CCR networks, Rowlands noted, “Our current resources have been organizations like FIRE, Harmeet Dhillon Law Firm, Shawn Steel Law Firm, and Freedom X.” After taking control of the California College Republicans, she stated, “We are the voice of the conservative movement on college campuses, we will continue to do so, and we will be louder and prouder than ever before.”
This is all to say that while some Republicans may denounce neo-Nazis rhetorically, their material actions elsewhere have opened up space for neo-Nazis to gain a platform and organize around their violent white nationalist aims. This has been the only achievement of the right wing’s recent battles over “free speech.” Harmeet Dhillon may claim that Patrick Little is not welcome at the California Republican convention, but she has materially supported people spreading the same views, albeit with more marketable packaging.
Liberals and the Democratic Party have also played a role in carving out space for Patrick Little’s neo-Nazi campaign. In August 2017, Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguín told local news that he thinks law enforcement should classify antifa as a gang, adding that “They come dressed in uniforms, they have weapons, they’re almost a militia.” Ironically, it was the city of Berkeley and its police department that directly coordinated with the Oath Keeper militia and other far-Right organizers ahead of the fascist rally planned for April 15 in downtown Berkeley earlier that year. Indeed, on April 15 the Berkeley police protected white supremacists (including a cohort of Hammerskin gang affiliates) as they committed violence against the local community.
Some of these same people would go on to commit similar violent acts in Charlottesville having gotten practice in Berkeley. Arreguín, Berkeley’s first Latino mayor, has himself received so many death threats from the Alt-Right that he temporarily had a personal security detail from BPD. Still, the only response from the city of Berkeley has been to pass laws giving the city manager and police more authority and tools to further repress anti-fascist protesters.
The media framed these events with a similar narrative. Anti-fascists were portrayed as overaggressive and unempathetic while neo-Nazis were described as brave and misunderstood warriors fighting for freedom of speech. As the community confronted the far-right in Berkeley on April 15, Berkeleyside published a series of tweets with the phrase “meanwhile in real Berkeley” as if the sieg heiling and violence occurring downtown wasn’t actually happening. When they wrote about the Berkeley College Republicans, they failed to mention their members’ relationship with violent white supremacist Nathan Damigo and other links to violent far-Right figures.
Those in the center have repeatedly failed to confront far-Right terror. Instead, they’ve only managed to invest more resources and police into protecting white power rallies and going after autonomous anti-fascist activists. This has downplayed the dangers of fascism and the Alt-Right in the mainstream and been used to further justify state surveillance and repression of anarchists.
Members of the Berkeley College Republicans often push the narrative that UC Berkeley censors conservatives, but the truth is very different. The university never denied the club’s right to invite speakers. In fact, UC Berkeley spent millions of dollars on event security for BCR in 2017 and even paid for some of the costs associated with BCR’s events. Campus officials asked the community to ignore fascist threats and then got in the way of those that chose to protest. Chancellor Carol Christ declared the 2017-2018 school year the “free speech year” in an attempt to get the overwhelming majority of the campus that is anti-racist to accept the transformation of the university into a hub for far-right organizing. Since BCR’s Milo event was shut down in February 2017, UC Berkeley has bent over backwards to protect the far-Right on campus.
University of California President Janet Napolitano launched the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement in 2017 intended to “better educate students about the extent of the 1st Amendment.” The goal is to drill liberal principles of free speech into students with the hope that they will stop no-platforming speakers and mobilizing against fascist agitation on campus. This comes even as the Alt-Right has been open and honest about being against free speech and only using the issue to forcefully insert their ideas into mainstream political discourse, something anti-fascists have been pointing out for years now. The decision to develop a project around free speech rather than one aimed at combatting the growth of fascist politics among the student body is an odd one. In 2009 when she was Secretary of Homeland Security, Napolitano pulled a report from the DHS website about right wing extremists after getting negative reactions from conservative pundits, which seems to be contrary to her current free speech agenda.
An article published by Bohemian on May 4 revealed that Patrick Little listed a UC Berkeley student housing apartment as his address in state filings. Bohemian spoke to UC Berkeley and asked about the listed address:
“If he doesn’t live there, then who does? And what’s his connection to Berkeley? ‘We didn’t find any name matching that name either now or in the past,’ says university spokeswoman Janet Gilmore, who added, ‘I can’t talk about who may or may not live there because of state privacy laws.'”
The address is 735 W End Way #104, Albany, CA 94706. Little lives at this address with his wife Lisa Dege, who is listed in UC Berkeley’s directory with the UID 1521901.
The Republicans and the Democrats have both come together over the issue of free speech and their efforts have had the effect of bolstering far-Right organizing while aiding the repression of antifascists. Concretely, they’ve fought to concede political space to fascists and at the same time focus efforts on imprisoning those who oppose white supremacy. We cannot ignore Patrick Little. At the same time, voting for some ostensibly better politician in his place is not the answer. Looking to the state for a solution only strengthens it. Instead, we must build the capacity for community self-defense and mutual aid against the far-Right.
Patrick Ryan Little
DOB: 05/24/1984 (Maine)
Car: Honda Civic, CA license plate 7MSG266
Address 1: 735 West End Way, Apartment 104 Albany, CA 94706
Address 2: 95 Harbormaster Road Dock 11, Slip 30 South San Francisco, CA 94080
“We’re parked down there. Can you drop us off, possibly? I’m terrified.” – Troy Worden
On February 16th, “a sergeant and president of the Latino Police Officers Association of Alameda County,” and a member of the Oakland Police Department, walked into the newly opened Hasta Muerte Coffee shop, a cooperative run by workers of color, and located in the working-class and predominantly Latin@ neighborhood of Fruitvale, which is rapidly undergoing gentrification. Instead of a hot cup of coffee and a handshake however, the sergeant was promptly refused service and told that the store had a policy of not serving law enforcement. Very quickly, news of the interaction spread and in response, Hasta Muerte issued a statement on their Instagram page about a week later:
OPDs recent attempts to enlist officers of color and its short term touting of fewer officer involved shootings does not reverse or mend its history of corruption, mismanagement, and scandal, nor a legacy of blatant repression.
The facts are that poc, women, and queer police are complicit in upholding the same law and order that routinely criminalizes and terrorizes black and brown and poor folks, especially youth, trans, and houseless folks.
For these reasons and so many more, we need the support of the actual community to keep this place safe, not police.
In return, the Oakland Police Association wrote a letter to the space asking to further discuss the matter, and by the 8th of March, the story had blown up in the local news, before spreading into the mainstream and then being picked up in the far-Right press by outlets like Breitbart, Fox News, The Daily Caller, and InfoWars. As could be expected following such reporting, the store was hit by a wave of death threats, online harassment, and negative and untruthful reviews on Yelp.
@SheriffClarke . You have to leave cops are not tolerated in this establishment . @TimKennedyMMA #HastaMuerteCoffee
Until death coffe place .#untildeathcoffe place
No cops will protect you thats the policies #infowars pic.twitter.com/WMOAMjSZ4N
— Fact Base Media (@alexmobileunit) March 11, 2018
But while the simple assertion of autonomy in the face of a police department known over the decades for racism, corruption, murder, brutality, and human trafficking was causing a stir in the media, in the streets, many Oakland residents flocked to support the space. Soon, #HastaMuerteCoffee became a popular hashtag, as people took selfies in front of the store, and lines soon formed outside the door as people rallied to show support. While the police, media, and the far-Right attempted to shame the space, instead they helped mobilize the surrounding community who was empowered by Hasta Muerte taking a brave and firm stance against white supremacy and police brutality.
But while the situation in the Fruitvale was brewing, on March 3rd, fascists harassed and threatened a leftist bookstore in Berkeley, CA. The right wing group consisted of members of the Proud Boys and a number of local allies in the alt-lite, a far-right constellation that shares many beliefs with the alt-right but stops short of calling for an explicitly white supremacist ethnostate. Participants included Rob Cantrall, Lauren White aka Lauren Order, and Jacob Ku. Soon after Jourdin Davis and Alexandria Davis joined them. Rob Cantrall, wearing his yellow and black Proud Boys shirt, shouted at the volunteers of the bookstore and told them that he would burn the store down. This was captured on video and reported on by local media. Only a day later, a left-wing bookstore in San Diego on a local campus which had been the site of months of alt-right activity, was set on fire in an arson attack.
— Солидарность! ✊ Джоэл Тена (@joeltena) March 9, 2018
Then, a little over a week later, focus on the part of the far-Right turned towards Hasta Muerte, as OPD was successful in putting a target on the shop’s back. Soon, posts were placed on Facebook from prominent far-Right activists calling for a protest, and plans were made for the fascists to return to the East Bay.
Then, starting around 10 AM, a small group assembled outside Hasta Muerte on March 18th to support OPD, including Jacob Ku from the March 3rd attack on the Berkeley bookstore. For the second time in as many weeks, members of the Proud Boys and their allies harassed and threatened East Bay communities. This marks the first time the far-right has abandoned the usual Berkeley locations and shifted their activity to Oakland, specifically in the working-class and largely Latin@ Fruitvale neighborhood. This group of trolls arrived waving symbols of nationalism and support for the police and border patrol, and included several familiar faces, such as Troy Worden, Ashton Whitty, Lindsay Grathwohl, Will Johnson, and Jeanne Solnordal. They were backed up by Jeffrey Perrine, Russ Wilcox, and more. Ironically once again, the police came to the defense of the small right wing group, who had mobilized to attack those who refused the authority of the police.
Since the failed Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017, the far-right has found it increasingly harder to organize in public. In Northern California, we saw an end to the fascist so-called “free speech rallies” that had been the primary organizing form for the right. In order to hold on to their movement’s dwindling momentum, the local broader Right has switched gears and chosen to refocus their attention on immigration and sanctuary cities. The alt-right, which hadn’t attended events in Northern California in months, decided entryism was again worth a try at a Kate Steinle vigil and anti-sanctuary city protest in San Francisco in December 2017, organized by Lindsay Grathwohl. It seemed possible that an agenda centered on immigration could hold the big tent together just a little longer.
This was reflected again on March 18 outside Hasta Muerte, as the diverse far-right participants brought US flags, apparel that said “ICE,” and shouted into their megaphones that they want ICE to come and deport people. According to an East Bay Express reporter Darwin BondGraham that was on the scene, one person screamed, “If Trump isn’t your president, you’re probably an illegal.” An odd thing to say in a country where literally the vast majority of the population hates the President.
— tree (@treekisser) March 18, 2018
The response from the community was swift, and the Right was quickly outnumbered, embarrassed, and frightened. In defense of Hasta Muerte, a large crowd gathered and stood between the right wing agitators and the coffee shop. Jacob Ku pepper sprayed at least one anti-racist activist and used a stun gun during the incident. At this point, the police moved in and separated both sides, with the bootlickers then moving across the street.
In attendance at the right wing demonstration outside Hasta Muerte was:
Troy Worden (Pittsburg, CA) & Ashton Whitty (Martinez, CA)
Troy Worden and Ashton Whitty are associated with the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) at UC Berkeley. Worden is a current member and former president of the club, and Whitty (a Diablo Valley College student) briefly joined BCR while attending classes at the UC during the spring 2017 semester. Worden and Whitty, as well as their BCR cohorts, are closely affiliated with various individuals and groups in the alt-lite and the alt-right.
Even before he was ousted from his position of BCR president due to having national socialist (nazi) followers and being too extreme, Worden networked and organized with Kyle Chapman and the Proud Boys, Martin Sellner of Generation Identity, and Nathan Damigo of Identity Evropa.
Worden’s presence in spaces has led directly to violence against leftist organizers in the past. After Worden crashed an anti-Milo Yiannopoulos meeting at UC Berkeley, fascists arrived and threw a leftist organizer to the ground. NoCARA has previously shared information on BCR and their violent alt-right connections, most notably here and here.
Ashton Whitty has also gone on in recent months to make a name for herself as a YouTube personality, appearing on podcasts with neo-Nazi and Alt-Right organizers such as James Allsup who attended Unite the Right in Charlottesville, and also appearing on InfoWars, where she recently was seen holding a flyer of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front in Austin, Texas. On St. Patrick’s day, Whitty posted a photo of herself holding a sign reading, “It’s Okay to Be Irish,” a reference to the meme, “It’s Okay to Be White,” which originated from the neo-Nazi message board, /pol/ on 4chan.
Jacob Ku has been attending far-Right rallies and events in Northern California since 2017. Over time, it has appeared that Ku has become increasingly willing to engage in violence. Jacob Ku arrived with Rob Cantrall and Lauren White on March 3 when Cantrall told volunteers at the bookstore that they were going to burn the store down. Ku obviously came prepared for violence at Hasta Muerte. He wore a helmet and was armed with both pepper spray and a stun gun, both of which he used on patrons of the coffee shop.
Lindsay Grathwohl (San Lorenzo, CA)
someone plz show this post to the folks at Hasta Muerte Coffee in Oakland CA, in case they're wondering who's throwing up fascist graffiti in their bathroom pic.twitter.com/RlQVUuQucs
— ▓ (@ii00nn00) March 21, 2018
Lindsay Grathwohl is the daughter of Larry Grathwohl, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Weather Underground. Lindsay Grathwohl has been heavily involved among local MAGA organizers. She maintains close associations with Joey Gibson of Patriot Prayer, Kyle “Based Stick Man” Chapman, and Will Johnson. In December 2017, Grathwohl organized a Kate Steinle vigil event in San Francisco. This rally temporarily reunited alt-right white supremacists with those in the alt-lite after their difficult splits following the events in Charlottesville in August 2017.
Will Johnson (Tracy, CA)
Will Johnson is a far-right livestreamer, organizer, and internet personality. His livestream news show, Unite America First, is based out of Tracy, CA. Johnson is a mainstay at far-Right and pro-Trump rallies, and often travels to events in Sacramento, the Bay Area, and even out of state. Johnson is African-American and is often pointed to by rally organizers as evidence of the far-Right demonstrators ‘not being racist.’ Despite this, Johnson has long been involved in demonstrations that have offered a platform to racist speakers that think he is subhuman and should be sent ‘back to Africa;’ such as neo-Nazi social media star Baked Alaska. Johnson has also actively organized and shared space with other prominent members of the Alt-Right, and even with known white supremacists. Johnson has organized events with Proud Boys, and past attendees of his events include White nationalists like Nathan Damigo of Identity Evropa and lone wolf neo-Nazi Chris Locke. On March 25th in Sacramento, Johnson videotaped himself fist bumping a member of the Golden State Skinheads during a pro-Trump rally.
Johnson was also present at the ‘Mother of All Rallies’ or MOAR event in Washington DC last year, and after members of a local chapter of Black Lives Matter were invited to come on the stage in a gesture of free speech, Johnson interrupted them to chant, “USA! USA!,” when the impromptu talk by the BLM group began to anger the MAGA crowd. In response, Jack Posobiec claimed that “Black Lives Matter,” not Johnson, was leading the crowd in a chant of “USA,” and proceeded to claim it was a great moment of unity. This exemplifies Johnson’s usefulness to the wider far-Right, which at times includes open fascists and neo-Nazis: a useful black token that helps them avoid charges of racism, while also advancing their actual racist politics under the cloak of “America First!”
Jeanne Solnordal (Piedmont, CA)
Jeanne Solnordal is a lawyer, and along with her husband Borgar Solnordal is a real estate investor, owning several properties in Oakland and the surrounding Bay Area. Both of the Solnordals are owners of Marsol Management Group. In January 2018, Jeanne Solnordal uploaded a video to YouTube in which she urges homeless people in an Oakland encampment to vote Republican in the 2018 midterm election while also repeating racist nationalist talking points about immigration. Solnordal has been attending right wing events in Northern California since late 2017 and at times has traveled throughout California and other states for political activity. She also has a history of showing up to leftist events to disrupt and harass. The day before Solnordal showed up at Hasta Muerte, she took the time to go on Facebook and share a conspiracy theory originating from the neo-Nazi forum /pol/ on 4chan. Solnordal also wore an ICE hat outside Hasta Muerte and advocated for immigration officials and the police to come into the neighborhood.
Russel is a member of the far-Right III% militia and a Proud Boy.
Jeffrey Perrine (Citrus Heights, CA)
Jeffrey Perrine is a far-right/alt-lite rally goer and livestreamer from Citrus Heights. He is connected to Patriot Prayer, the Proud Boys, and various far right live streamers and news outlets. He is also friends with known neo-Nazi Chris Locke. Perrine has frequently attended pro-Trump and far right rallies over the past year, but more recently he has begun to show up to leftist and even liberal events to livestream, harass, and disrupt. Jeffrey has been observed yelling in the faces of high schoolers and harassing protesters at the Sacramento Women’s March. He also showed up to a protest against Jeff Sessions with several patriots and Proud Boys, where the group followed demonstrators while shouting anti-immigrant slogans, at one point directing a racial slur at a black protester.
The demonstration by the right was short-lived, and soon they regrouped and headed to the Temescal farmers market with intentions of confronting Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf regarding her recent warning about ICE raids. The second location saw a larger group, with the original bunch from Hasta Muerte being joined by a few Proud Boys as well as Jourdin Davis, Guy Decker, and others in the alt-lite. Like their time at Hasta Muerte, this second action by the right was also a flop. Most of them never got close to Schaaf and they were again confronted and driven out of the space by the local community.
Joined Hasta Muerte group at Temescal farmers market:
Jourdin Davis (Berkeley, CA)
Jourdin Davis is a far-right organizer from California currently living in Berkeley. He has attended events in the area since the March 4, 2017 rally in Berkeley. In December 2017, Davis organized a rally against sanctuary cities, to which he welcomed white supremacist Chris Locke after Chris stated that he would come armed. Davis was also present with Jacob Ku and others when the Berkeley bookstore was threatened. In the past, Davis has admitted to trying to infiltrate local antifa groups and has even lied to his allies that he used to be a “member of antifa.” NoCARA has previously written about Davis here.
Guy Decker is a usual attendee at right wing events in Northern California and has even traveled as far as San Diego to take part in far-Right demonstrations. Decker has been known to stalk leftists and film radical events, antagonizing and harassing many along the way. Decker has a long history of violence and has also been arrested for making terrorist threats in the Bay Area while under the influence of methamphetamine. NoCARA previously wrote about Decker here. Recently, Decker has been covering events and news for Ben Bergquam’s Frontline America.
This group of right wing trolls left Oakland terrified. They were clearly unprepared for the community’s fast and strong response to their flash demonstration. This incident provided one example of what autonomous community defense can look like, as well as showing the need to further develop networks ready to respond quickly to fascist and racist provocations in our neighborhoods.
As mainstream media coverage of the anti-fascist struggle has skyrocketed over the last year, we’ve noticed that questions surrounding it have largely been confined to concern over a narrowly defined free speech. This has been accompanied by numerous, sometimes deliberate, misrepresentations. While narratives of violence have tended to be over-represented in accounts of anti-fascist and anti-racist organizing, reporting on the alt-right has been the opposite, downplaying the violence inherent to the recently re-energized white nationalist movement. Because clashes in Northern California between anti-fascists and white supremacists have captured so much media attention over the last year, we feel it necessary to place these incidents within their proper context.
Despite the fact that California is widely seen as a bastion of liberalism and tolerance, the state is in fact home to more active hate groups than any other in the country. FBI numbers indicate that reported hate crimes in California increased 11.2% from 2015 to 2016. The East Bay Express noted that Northern California cities consistently rank high on the FBI’s list, with San Leandro and Berkeley seeing a particularly notable spike during 2016. This has prompted UC Berkeley’s student paper, the Daily Californian, to join ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project in recording local incidents in Berkeley. Acts of racist vandalism were reported in the East Bay throughout 2017, and acts of anti-Semitism occurred in Alameda and public schools throughout the greater Bay Area. Similar evidence of growing far-right hatred and violence has been observed throughout the Central Valley. This mirrors patterns observed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which recorded a surge of hate crimes across the United States following the election of Donald Trump in November 2016. According to the SPLC, alt-right killings began in California and 2017 has been the deadliest year yet for far-right violence. One violent neo-Nazi organization, the Atomwaffen Division, has been connected to several murders over the last year, including in California. This group has been shown to have a presence in Northern California specifically. Atomwaffen Division is inspired by James Mason’s book “Siege,” which is distributed by Counter-Currents, a white nationalist publisher based in San Francisco.
Below is a partial account of far-right and white supremacist activity that occurred throughout Northern California from 2016 to 2017. The mainstream media has tended to focus their reporting on more “spectacular” occurrences like clashes at rallies and university speaking events, but as we can see from the list below, the breadth of far-right action is much wider, ranging from flyering and recruitment campaigns to attacks and even brutal murder. When reflecting on these incidents, though this list is by no means complete, it becomes clear that university speaking tours and “free speech” rallies are only the tip of the iceberg. They exist within the larger context of a growing white supremacist movement, and are but a few of the many tactics that these groups employ. Researcher Spencer Sunshine similarly analyzed the far-right mobilization throughout the country in 2017 at Political Research Associates.
- 7th: Supporters of Roosh V, a misogynist internet personality and rape advocate, organize a worldwide meetup day. 13 meetups are scheduled in California, including locations in Orange County and Sacramento County. The meetup day is later cancelled due to widespread public outcry.
- 15th: Three men assault an African American student on the UC Davis Campus in a racially-motivated attack.
- 26th: Men dressed in KKK robes and hoods intimidate a mother and her child from a vehicle near a shopping center in Auburn.
- 3rd: Flyers promoting racial genocide are posted throughout Sacramento’s midtown district. The flyers advocate for the extermination, kidnapping, and torture of Muslim and Mexican residents, and for fellow white supremacists to secure “body dump-sites”. Greg Withrow, a neo-Nazi and KKK member widely credited with founding the white power skinhead movement in the late 70s, is found responsible.
- 6th: Richard Spencer accompanies Nathan Damigo and a handful of members from his new organization Identity Evropa to UC Berkeley for a “safe space to talk about race.” Afterwards, IE flyers and stickers litter the campus and surrounding downtown Berkeley area.
- 12th: A Sacramento area pastor praises the Pulse nightclub shooting, saying that “the tragedy is that more of them didn’t die.”
- 26th: Matthew Heimbach’s neo-Nazi group the Traditionalist Worker Party organizes an anti-antifa rally with the Golden Stake Skins at the State Capitol Building in Sacramento, which is met by hundreds of anti-racists and anti-fascists. The rally is shut down, and clashes against neo-Nazis end with 6 anti-racists stabbed and 9 hospitalized.
- 28th: A neo-Nazi threatens to kill children at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley.
- 12th: KKK flyers are distributed throughout the Haight district in San Francisco.
- 15th: Six teenagers vandalize a neighborhood in Gold River with swastikas and racial slurs. Shortly after, posters with anti-racist messaging are put up in the area.
- 26th: Homophobic messages written with chalk are found on Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley.
- 17th: Identity Evropa holds a rally at Pier 14 in San Francisco against immigration and sanctuary cities. The rally is cut short when anti-fascists begin to arrive at the scene.
- 25th: Racist graffiti is found in bathrooms at California High School in San Ramon.
- 8th: A white man spits on two students while shouting racist and homophobic phrases at UC Berkeley.
- 9th: A San Jose State University student is attacked and choked when her hijab is grabbed from behind.
- 10th: A Bay Area Rapid Transit passenger is harassed, called a terrorist and threatened with deportation in an unprovoked attack from another passenger.
- 12th: African American William Sims is robbed and murdered in El Sobrante by three white men in what prosecutors call a hate crime.
- 14th: UC Berkeley student is threatened and harassed for wearing a hijab by two men referencing Donald Trump.
- 16th: After a Fremont woman’s bandana is perceived as a hijab, her car is broken into and her checkbook is stolen. An anti-Muslim note is left behind in the car.
- 16th: A student at Monte Vista High School in Danville writes “whites” and “colored” over urinals in a school bathroom.
- 24th: A mosque in San Jose receives a letter threatening genocide. The same letter is sent to other mosques around the country.
- 26th: A Stockton Islamic Center also receives the same genocide threat.
- 13th: The Davis College Republicans invite Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus. Anti-fascists mobilize a shutdown, and the event is canceled.
- 18th: Pro-Donald Trump Nazi flyers are distributed via a network of printers at UC Berkeley.
- 20th: Nathan Damigo joins the Berkeley College Republicans and features the group’s members on an alt-right livestream celebrating Trump’s inauguration.
- 22nd: A woman who praised Dylan Roof vandalizes Davis Islamic Center, leaving strips of bacon and smashing several windows.
- 30th: Milo Yiannopoulos and the David Horowitz Freedom Center start a campaign against sanctuary campuses, with posters appearing at UC Berkeley and UCLA.
- 1st: The Berkeley College Republicans invite Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus. Anti-fascists mobilize a shutdown, and the event is cancelled.
- 17th: Swastikas and “Joe Mangele” are spray-painted on a garage door in San Francisco.
- 4th: A “March 4 Trump” rally is held at Civic Center park in downtown Berkeley, which draws together mainstream conservatives with libertarians, far-right militia members, fascists, and neo-Nazis.
- 6th: Nicholas Frabasilio assaults a UC Berkeley student while they are washing away Frabasilio’s homophobic chalk graffiti on the border of the campus.
- 25th: A restaurant in Oakland is vandalized with feces smeared on the “sanctuary restaurant” sign on the window.
- 25th: Alicia Clayton organizes a Trump rally in Sacramento with members of the Golden State Skins.
- 29th: Students at Albany High School exchange Nazi salutes. An student’s Instagram account is discovered to include racist remarks and threats targeting several female students at the school, all but one a person of color.
- 1st: White supremacist Christopher Alden Locke is exposed for continuing to terrorize a reproductive health clinic in Sacramento.
- 10th: Kyle Chapman comes to Berkeley to promote an upcoming rally and antagonize the community, eventually assaulting a local skateboarder in Civic Center Park.
- 15th: A “free speech rally” is organized in Civic Center park in downtown Berkeley, again bringing together Trump supporters, patriots, and white supremacists in a growing fascist street movement. A pickup truck drives at full speed through the street, narrowly missing counter-protesters.
- 27th: The Berkeley College Republicans invite Ann Coulter to speak on campus. The event is cancelled, but a right-wing rally consisting of alt-lite and alt-right groups gathers in downtown Berkeley at Civic Center park.
- 27th: The windows of Alchemy Collective Café, a largely Black and People of Color owned worker cooperative displaying Black Lives Matter and indigenous solidarity posters, are shot out following the far-right gathering in support of Ann Coulter.
- 28th: Ann Coulter speaks in Modesto, supported by a rally outside that includes Proud Boys and members of the Golden State Skins.
- 9th: Reports disclose a slew of racist and homophobic speech as well as Nazi salutes and a dance routine formed in the shape of a swastika at Piedmont High School.
- 25th: A noose is found at the Port of Oakland, the second in two weeks.
- 26th: Northern California fascists stalk Eric Clanton and harass his lawyer at a court appearance.
- 2nd: Graffiti using racial slurs is found two days in a row on the campus of Castro Valley High School.
- 10th: Act for America organizes anti-Muslim rallies throughout the country. One is held in San Jose, and another in Roseville is attended by various white supremacists including Identity Evropa founder Nathan Damigo. Counter-protesters show up in large numbers.
- 21st: A white supremacist drives his motorcycle through a protest in the streets of San Francisco, targeting demonstrators.
- 23rd: Pages of the Quran are ripped out and thrown at the Davis Islamic Center from a passing van, the 6th hate crime to happen to a local Islamic center in the past 6 months.
- 24th: A Quran is burnt, stuffed with bacon, and handcuffed to a fence at a South Sacramento mosque.
- 27th: While driving in Sunnyvale, Apple software engineer Evan Klinger harasses a woman on a bicycle with her daughter.
- 8th: Zionists block the entrance of Reem’s California Bakery in Oakland, part of a broader campaign against the bakery.
- 8th: Armed members of The Red Elephants along with a group of supporters march through Berkeley with Trump flags to antagonize the community.
- 16th: videos surface of an Elk Grove High student carrying a backpack with a Confederate flag patch. The school declines to state if any action was taken.
- 17th: Two classroom windows are smashed at Temple Israel of Alameda.
- 17th: Stickers with anti-communist and anti-black messages are found at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont.
- 20th: Flyers displaying swastikas and anti-Muslim messages are found blocks from Islamic Center of Alameda.
- 23rd: Berkeley College Republicans and a group of supporters are joined by far-right livestreamers to infiltrate and disrupt a BAMN meeting at UC Berkeley.
- 25th: A noose is found hanging from the back of a truck in San Leandro.
- 26th: Joey Gibson organizes a rally in San Francisco for a weekend of “patriot” events in the Bay Area, bringing together a mix of far-right extremists. The event is shut down by thousands of counter-protesters.
- 27th: Amber Cummings organizes an anti-Marxism rally in Berkeley, continuing Joey Gibson’s “patriot weekend.” Once again, anti-fascists outnumber the alt-right and prevent the rally from happening.
- 31st: Industrial Tattoo’s window displaying a “Berkeley Stands United Against Hate” sign is shot at and shattered in an attack similar to the one against Alchemy Collective in April.
- 6th: A noose is found at Alameda High School and investigated as a hate crime.
- 7th: A white couple in Antioch spray paints racist graffiti on and firebombs the home of their African American next door neighbors.
- 18th: A vehicle at Canyon Middle School in Castro Valley is vandalized with graffiti including racist, anti-Semitic remarks and swastikas.
- 18th: Messages written in chalk on UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza target the LGBTQ+ community and undocumented students ahead of Free Speech Week. A Berkeley College Republicans front group, Berkeley Patriot, claims responsibility.
- 21st: A noose-like item is found at East Bay Arts High School in Hayward.
- 21st: Anti-Semitic graffiti is spray-painted on Temple Sinai in Oakland.
- 21st: The David Horowitz Freedom Center flyers the UC Berkeley campus labeling individual activists as “terrorist supporters.”
- 24-27th: Milo Yiannopoulos and Berkeley Patriot organize a “Free Speech Week.” Fascists converge on Berkeley to harass and attack locals.
- 28th: An anti-Semitic and racist Instagram account created by a student at Berkeley High School is discovered and triggers an investigation.
- 9th: Mike Pence makes an appearance in Sacramento, flanked by a far-right entourage.
- 20th: A man burns a rainbow flag at a LGBTQ center in Berkeley and punches a staff member who tries to stop him.
- 3rd: Neo-Nazi 4chan posters that are intentionally designed to appear innocuous and which have appeared around the country are found on the UC Berkeley campus.
- 4th: An Orangevale synagogue is vandalized with anti-Semetic posters, which included neo-Nazi imagery and references to the Daily Stormer forum. One of the posters was connected to the violent neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen, suggesting that the attack is either inspired by the group or could be attributed to it.
- 11th: A man harasses a family in Berkeley with homophobic language and assaults a Street Spirit vendor that intervenes.
- 13th: A man on the Warm Springs BART line harasses another passenger with racial slurs before escalating and assaulting him.
- 15th: An eighth grade student at Piedmont Middle School is removed after uploading multiple videos threatening violence on campus while displaying firearms and using racial slurs.
- 16th: Trump supporters join with the alt-right for a rally against sanctuary cities in San Francisco.
- 24th: An Elk Grove high school student’s racist Snapchat rant, calling for the death of all black people, goes viral and prompts an investigation.
- 29th: A menorah display at The Streets of Brentwood shopping center is vandalized.
Despite the growing threat of white supremacy and fascism, anti-racists and anti-fascists have kept up the fight and countered with organizing of their own. Groups patrolled their neighborhoods and campuses to remove hateful stickers, posters, and banner drops, replacing them with anti-fascist messages. Book fairs, community forums, and conferences like ROAR facilitated anti-fascist organizing and brought people together to share research, strategies, and history. Fundraising and benefit events strengthened solidarity and provided material support. Self-defense and bystander intervention trainings coupled with rapid response workshops enabled mass community defense against violent attacks. Research was done on local far-right groups and organizers, as well as those who enable them to recruit and push their politics into the mainstream. Call-in campaigns and boycotts targeted workplaces, bars and venues that supported fascists and their organizing efforts. Exposés on active alt-right organizers and aggressors were published, disrupting their activity and aiding local communities with knowledge of threats in their areas. John Ramondetta, Daniel Quillinan, and Cole White were all exposed to Berkeley residents as white supremacists, leading to Ramondetta moving out of his house and having trouble at work, while White lost his job entirely. Far-right street presence was also persistently confronted. Multitudes of people throughout Northern California showed up to counter rallies, marches, and speeches again and again. Many stepped up to do critical support work, providing dedicated hospital support, street medic care, court support and anti-repression work for those who faced charges or were wounded in the fight against fascism.
None of this activity relied on state sanction or protection. Instead, the most effective community self-defense came in the form of autonomous organizing across tendencies with a respect for differing strategies and tactics. Indeed, the state sees this kind of anti-fascist organizing as even more threatening than that of white supremacists. MuckRock analyzed reports showing that Homeland Security in Northern California has been more concerned with surveilling anti-fascists than neo-Nazis. Moreover, their intelligence takes for granted photoshopped alt-right propaganda and conspiracy theories as fact. Police in both Sacramento and Berkeley have actively aided far-right aggression against local communities. More often than not, the state’s strategy has been to protect white supremacists and increase repression against anti-fascists. Berkeley PD has been given more authority and weapons to contain protests, and Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin expressed that he thinks antifa should be classified as a gang. In Sacramento, police recommended hundreds of charges for anti-fascists after neo-Nazis stabbed protesters at their 2016 rally.
This points to the contradiction between how fascist aggressions are handled by the state compared with the anti-fascist response to these aggressions. On one hand, far-right attacks are reported to police, whose statistics and data are referenced in reports of increased trends of white supremacist violence. On the other hand, it is clear that police are more interested in targeting and surveilling anti-fascists, all while they themselves continue to murder hundreds of people in the United States every year while bringing yet more into the ever-increasing racist mass incarceration system. The state’s response to anti-fascist organizing is just one more way in which it upholds white supremacy. If we are to organize against the threat of the alt-right effectively, it will be in spite of state interference, not because of it. This further establishes the need for autonomous community defense and response.
Looking back on the wave of white supremacist terror and violence that characterized 2016 and 2017, it is clear that we as anti-racists and anti-fascists must enter 2018 fighting harder than ever. Fascism may be on the rise, but so are we. The state cannot and will not protect us from this growing white supremacist threat, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past two years, it’s that we have the tools we need to continue combating fascism and keep building the support networks necessary to keep each other safe. In the months and years to come, we will turn to each other and face the future with resolve to keep organizing, growing, and disrupting fascism wherever it arises.
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On Saturday December 16, right wing activists organized two separate but coinciding events after Jose Inez Garcia Zarate was acquitted for the accidental death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco in 2015. Though Garcia Zarate was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, a jury found him not guilty of murder, involuntary manslaughter, and assault with a deadly weapon. In response, various factions on the right gathered in San Francisco to protest sanctuary city policies and to hold a vigil for Kate Steinle, disregarding the Steinle family’s wishes for Kate’s death and the verdict to not be further politicized.
Trump referenced Kate Steinle’s death during his campaign and the issue was revisited with the conclusion of Garcia Zarate’s trial. Following the verdict, Jourdin Davis called for a rally against sanctuary cities in San Francisco’s Union Square. The rally was to end with a vigil for Steinle at Pier 14, organized by Lindsay Grathwohl. These events saw a revival of sorts of the broader coalition between mainstream Trump supporters and more far right, white nationalist groups, though it was clear the overall turnout and energy was deflated in comparison to events earlier in the year such as Berkeley on April 15. Counter protests organized by the Left brought together anti-racists, immigration activists, and anti-fascists and ended up outnumbering those on the right despite being organized in a relatively short amount of time.
Jourdin Davis’s pro-border wall, anti-sanctuary event got off to a rocky start. After creating a Facebook event to organize, Davis faced an overwhelming amount of pressure online and he cancelled the rally soon after. However, this first Facebook event page showed the potential for the return of the big tent-style organizing that occurred on the right for their “free speech” rallies. Known local white supremacists and fascists announced their intention to attend. In particular, Christopher Locke of Sacramento, who has a history of violence, indicated he would arrive to the rally armed. This was welcomed by Jourdin Davis.
Lindsay Grathwohl decided to host a vigil for Kate Steinle after Davis cancelled his event. Eventually, Davis made a second event page on Facebook announcing that his rally was back on and would happen in tandem with Grathwohl’s vigil. Right wing activists gathered in Union Square before marching to Pier 14 where Steinle was accidentally shot. The politics being expressed were dominated by both implicit and explicit racist anti-immigrant sentiments. They were confronted by a larger rally of Leftists, which followed and heckled the racists, making it known they weren’t welcome in the Bay Area.
Just like most other right wing events in the Bay Area throughout 2017, December 16th showed that Trump supporters don’t care who they organize with- even if they are white supremacists and Neo-Nazis. This reveals a degree of desperation on the part of Trump supporters who repeatedly cheer on a president that has stabbed his base in the back and continues to lose what little support he once had. Among the far-right groups in attendance at the rally against sanctuary cities were the Proud Boys and Identity Evropa, including individuals who had previously brought violence to cities such as Berkeley and Charlottesville.
It’s ironic that Trump supporters claiming to honor Kate Steinle would be comfortable with the presence of the Neo-Nazis in Identity Evropa. Kate Steinle’s family asked the city of San Francisco to remove the memorial that Identity Evropa set up for her on the night of Garcia Zarate’s acquittal because they were uncomfortable with receiving support from white supremacists. This is not the first time Identity Evropa has acted in response to Steinle’s death. In October 2016, the group held a dismal 20 minute rally at Pier 14 before getting scared of anti-fascist mobilization and running away. The rally on December 16 shows how Trump supporters help to give cover to fascists and facilitate their organizing by creating events and providing the far-right with space to recruit and spread their own talking points.
Guy with flag giving an anti-Semitic lecture. pic.twitter.com/vg8cQP3WXG
— Darwin BondGraham (@DarwinBondGraha) December 16, 2017
His name is Patrick Little.
Says he's running for U.S. Senate.
At San Francisco anti-sanctuary city rally. pic.twitter.com/CUf6rGWvDl
— Darwin BondGraham (@DarwinBondGraha) December 16, 2017
Patrick Little accompanied Identity Evropa members at this rally. Dressed in a suit and carrying a US flag, Little was observed by local reporters shouting and giving an anti-Semitic rant. Little is an ex-marine running for Senate in 2018 and has been banned from Twitter due to his anti-Semitic tweets. One Identity Evropa member who attended previous rallies in the Bay Area as well as Unite the Right in Charlottesville was also at this event, marching alongside the organizer Will Johnson and speaking with Ashton Whitty, former member of the Berkeley College Republicans.
Ultimately, December 16 appears to be an attempt to use the acquittal of Garcia Zarate as one last gasp for breath for a movement that has had trouble maintaining a presence in the streets, especially after Charlottesville. While it did draw together a broader coalition than the past few efforts on the Right, the energy and number of attendees was low. Moreover, it doesn’t appear that this cause has the potential to inspire sustained activity, and the Right has mostly moved on from this issue. Going forward, anti-fascists should continue to be aware of the ways that elements of the alt-right insert themselves into more mainstream conservative spaces, and find strategies and tactics that break those links in order to prevent the further mainstreaming of fascist politics and organizing.
If you have any information regarding the white supremacists discussed above or any other white nationalist groups in Northern California, please get in touch with us at email@example.com