The organizer of the aborted White Lives Matter rally in Raleigh, NC claims to be a National Guard member who wants to launch an "aboveground fascist movement," according to recordings from an April 9 voice chat leaked to Raw Story.
Upon learning that anticipated support from Proud Boys would not materialize and the event was likely to draw significant opposition from anti-fascists, the host of the North Carolina White Lives Matter channel on Telegram — known as "Bolts " — abruptly canceled the event and changed the name of the channel to "American Union Fascist."
In a post in the public channel, "Bolts" announced that the faithful remnants of the failed "White Lives Matter" effort are forming a new group dedicated to white power activism in North Carolina, which he hopes to ramp up this summer.
Lamenting that "the national socialist and fascist movement has been thrown underground in the last few years," he vowed, "This will stop with us."
He continued: "We are no longer going to be afraid to spread truth and hold space in public areas. We will start slow. We will gain support online and through propaganda runs in major cities around the state. We will have in-person private meetings to get to know one another, share ideas and push us to the future. Then, when we are secure and have enough support, we will march. We will take the streets back from the degenerates."
The identity of the organizer of the canceled Raleigh event is not known at this time. He posted in the White Lives Matter organizing chats under the username "Ride_The_Bolts," and tweets at @Freihet2018, which now also doubles as the official account for the new American Union Fascist.
And, as he revealed in the voice chats, "Bolts" claims he joined the Virginia Army National Guard "a few months ago." During the April 9 voice chat, the cell leader told another member of the nascent American Union Fascist that his military occupational specialty is 13-B, which is part of an artillery unit.
After canceling the "White Lives Matter" rally, "Bolts" invited the cluster of supporters involved in planning for the scuttled event into a private voice chat to discuss the launch of the new group. A major preoccupation of the discussion was how they will be perceived by the public.
"The optics for this is going to be key," "Bolts" said. "We don't want to be going out there — we can have our views, we keep them to ourselves — we invite these people in, we wake them up and we give it to them dose by dose, and we get them on that level. But when we are out there in public, what we don't want to be doing is calling people n*****s, we don't want to be talking about the hook-nose Jew. The key to success here is above-ground fascist movement. They're gonna call us… don't give 'em the bullets, you know."
The other members in the chat expressed skepticism about whether it would be possible to conceal their racism.
"It's tough to do that though," a user named "Japhetite" said. "Sometimes especially."
"Bolts" told the other members of the chat that he envisions a group that performs community outreach to people experiencing homelessness, with some members filming so they can later share their good deeds on Twitter and Telegram. He added that he hopes the propaganda will elicit a response of, "It's fucking cool. These people are out here helping the homeless."
Chris Magyarics, a research fellow with the ADL Center on Extremism, said there's nothing particularly new or novel about white power groups attempting to burnish their image by performing community service. Patriot Front, a neo-Nazi group that "Bolt" cited as a model, almost constantly posts photos of its members collecting trash from public areas. In the same way, Ku Klux Klan groups historically picked up litter through the Adopt-A-Highway program to generate positive publicity.
The public-facing community outreach posture that "Bolts" wants to promote belies the views expressed on his Twitter account, which show someone eager for white supremacists to make their presence felt in the street and to see a race war take place in the United States.
In July 2020, "Bolts" expressed admiration for Adolph Hitler and George Lincoln Rockwell, founder and commander of the American Nazi Party, on Twitter. In another tweet last December that celebrated the Holocaust, he tweeted a Christmas-themed image of a rail line leading into the Auschwitz death camp, with a Santa hat placed atop the guard tower.
"Continuing our #Christmas countdown," Bolts wrote. "10 more days. Merry Christmas to my followers and keep up the fight!"
"Bolts" shared with his Twitter followers that he attended the Unite the Right 2 rally in Washington DC, a sparsely attended sequel in August 2018 to the violent white supremacist gathering that took place one year earlier in Charlottesville, Va. He tweeted at Jason Kessler, who organized both Unite the Right rallies, and white supremacist Richard Spencer, later in 2018. During the first Unite the Right rally, in 2017, James Fields, who marched alongside the now-defunct white supremacist group Vanguard America, plowed a car into a crowd of antiracists and murdered Heather Heyer. Many of the constituent groups behind Unite the Right dissolved as a result of infighting, lawsuits and opposition from counter-protesters. The last major rally in which white supremacists had a sizable street presence was a march led by Spencer in Lansing, Mich. in March 2018.
As protests against the police killing of George Floyd swept the nation in late May 2020, "Bolts" avidly followed the events, tweeting scenes of urban chaos. Tweeting a screenshot of a man who was apparently shot outside a store on the third night of protests in Minneapolis, "Bolts" wrote, "This country is about to slide into a civil war in the next few years." Soon afterwards, he began appending the hashtag #CivilWar2 to his protest-related posts.
On May 31, he even showed up in person to film the protest in downtown Raleigh.
Tweets during the following month show that "Bolts" was eager for white power activists to mobilize in response to the racial justice protests.
"We need to prepare for war, nothing less," he wrote on June 23.
And in response to another white power activist complaining about Confederate monuments being toppled, "Bolts" wrote on June 26: "Then we organize something. I don't want this to come off as I'm mad at you, but we really need to get the fuck off the internet bitching and moaning about his like we can't do something. If we show up, they will be petrified. Let's fix this."
After the 2020 election, "Bolts" began to pin his hopes for a violent national reckoning on Donald Trump, tweeting a meme at the president that said, "C'mon. Do a civil war."
Following the Jan. 6 insurrection, "Bolts" tweeted, "The president had a hard choice to make yesterday. Start a civil war and lead patriots to victory like our founders had to. Or let the scumbag elite have full and total control of our nation. Trump will soon be in a jail cell, the Republican Party will be dead." Then, making clear that he viewed Trump as a traitor, he posted an antisemitic and misogynistic cartoon portraying Trump as a housewife stabbing a grim militiaman in the back while wearing a bonnet stitched with the star of David.
In another tweet, "Bolts" explicitly tied the failed Jan. 6 insurrection to the project of establishing a white ethno-state through a race war.
"But the question is what will you do as a person?" he wrote. "What will you do to secure the existence of your people, your nation and your birth right? If the takeover is inevitable, make them at least take it from your cold dead hands. This is your nation and your home. #DCRiot #1776Again #CivilWar."
The phrase "secure the existence of your people" is a direct reference to the 14 Words, a slogan that has become the unifying creed among white supremacists in North America, Europe and Australia. The slogan was coined by David Lane, a member of the terrorist group the Order who received a 150-year sentence for his role in the 1984 murder of Alan Berg, a Jewish talk-radio host who spoke out against white supremacists.
In the private Telegram channel where the top admins involved in planning the "White Lives Matter" rallies gathered, "Bolts" positioned himself as a mediator eager to promote unity. Expressing frustration about infighting and bickering in the group, he wrote on April 5: "This shit is why we fail. We all have different options about things. Deal with it! I don't care if you are a Proud Boy or [National Socialist] or fucking Atomwaffen."
Later that week, after breaking from the hub organizing group for "White Lives Matter," he told the Raleigh group involved in the founding of American Union Fascist that he is disenchanted with electoral politics. In doing so, he espoused an antisemitic conspiracy theory that the Jews are promoting immigration to destroy white people. He said he envisioned his new group as a force for action in between two poles of the white power movement.
"So, you've got people on the other end of the spectrum, talking about, 'Oh, fuck it, this is total war. We're gonna be fighting with guns for our race,'" Bolts said. "We've got people on the other side saying shitposts. We've got people in the middle like us saying, 'We will do what we have to do.' I don't wake up in the morning with a boner to go kill people. I really don't. If you look at Atomwaffen or some shit, or some people like that, I don't necessarily want that. I want to be the person, I want to be the group that's in the middle saying, 'We will do what we have to do.'"
"Bolts" disclosed his enlistment in the National Guard when one of the other chat participants, an older man with the username "Dale Gribble," shared that he had served in the Guard.
"What are you?" "Dale Gribble" asked. "I mean, you don't have to disclose that. But, no, it's just good for camaraderie's sake, you know?"
"I go to Virginia Beach once a month," "Bolts" responded. "My MOS is 13-B. Like I said, I just started a couple months ago."
Following the Jan. 6 insurrection, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a stand down requiring commanders and leaders in all units to address extremism in the ranks. But according to the National Guard Association of the United States, Austin's order granted extensions to Guard and Reserve units.
"If word gets to the National Guard and the actual identity of this person is determined, the way the Department of Defense is taking steps forward, I really think they would take information about this individual seriously, investigate whether he was involved, and take appropriate action," said Magyarics of the ADL.
Fear of doxing is likely to constrain American Union Fascist and similar groups spun off from the "White Lives Matter" effort, at least in the short term, according to both Magyarics and Megan Squire, a data scientist at Elon University who monitors extremist groups.
In the case of the April 11 event, fear of counter-protesters proved to be an effective deterrent. (Ultimately, 90 antifascists showed up in Raleigh on April 11. They took to the streets, chanting, "When Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back.")
Imagining the outcome if he were to follow through on the plan for the "White Lives Matter rally," Bolts predicted two days prior to the scheduled event: "Those marches, they're going to be a fucking failure. I mean, one of them might be okay, but it's going to either be they get a whole bunch of people to show up and it's going to be fucking Charlottesville all over again or 12 people are going to show up and get the shit kicked out of them."
Squire said the outcome of the "White Lives Matter" marches suggests that for the time being, white power organizing is likely to remain largely in the digital space.
"They tried, and I think we should log this as a failure," she said. "First, a failure of their own ability to put bodies on the street. And second — the reason they can't is because of increased scrutiny, and pressure from media and antifascists on the street. It's hard for these guys to operate and get numbers in that environment. The mode of organizing has to change.
"On the street, they're having some trouble," Squire continued. "Online, it's a little different. Some platforms are giving them some problems, but they're going to other platforms. 'White Boy Summer' is doing great, and memes are going gangbusters. How they translate that into bodies in the street — that's what I'm watching."