The Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN), founded in May 2013 by Matthew Heimbach and Matt Parrott, is a small group that promotes white supremacy and a racist interpretation of Christianity. The group is against modernism, individualism, globalism and Marxism. It models itself after the European Identitaire movement, which focuses on preserving white European culture and identity in Western countries.
TYN members often speak out against multiculturalism and are anti-Semitic. TYN claims to be for “diversity” but defines diversity as each ethnic group promoting its own heritage and traditions while living apart from each other. TYN’s mission statement says that the group wants to serve as a resource to independent high school and college students. The group has one active chapter at Indiana University, Bloomington, run by fellow white supremacist Thomas Buhls.
Heimbach has been an active white supremacist since he was a student at Towson University in Maryland. In fall 2011, while at Towson, Heimbach founded a chapter of the now-defunct student organization, Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), a group that straddled the line between mainstream and extreme views. While head of YWC, Heimbach invited white supremacist Jared Taylor to speak at the campus. The YWC chapter at Towson disbanded after members of the group scrawled “white pride” around campus.” The next year, in September 2012, Heimbach founded the White Student Union (WSU) at the school, and became more openly racist and anti-Semitic. When Heimbach graduated from Towson in the spring of 2013, he founded TYN with Matt Parrott.
A former Catholic, Heimbach is now an Orthodox Christian and believes that traditional religion is crucial to preserving his white heritage and culture. He mixes his “traditionalist” beliefs with virulent anti-Semitism. While Heimbach claims he is not against all Jews, he blames Jews for killing Christ and asserts that many Jews “have a burning hatred for [Europeans] and will stop at nothing to attempt to drive us into submission.” He argues that “Europeans should not hate Jews, simply distance ourselves from them as we have done for centuries.” Heimbach believes that Jews should live separately from whites in America.
Heimbach was not always anti-Semitic. When he was the head of the YWC at Towson, he promoted a pro-Israel event and reached out to Jewish students. In a June 2013 article on the TYN website, “Matthew Heimbach on the Jewish Question,” he claimed that he was embarrassed by this stance and blamed YWC’s Jewish faculty advisor for pushing the group to support Jewish causes. In an August 2013 interview on the Internet radio show of virulent anti-Semite David Duke, Heimbach also claimed that “Jewish extremists” on the Towson campus “pushed non-whites into a really aggressive tone against white students who were simply asking for the same treatment that they already had.”
While Heimbach once embraced Jared Taylor, who is not anti-Semitic, as a hero, he now touts Duke as a major influence. Like Duke, Heimbach blames Jews for trying to destroy white European culture. In August 2013, Heimbach wrote, “The Jews and capitalists cannot forever stop the flood of revival that is coming, no matter how many fingers they put in the holes of the dam…” While attacking Jews, Heimbach has pushed for the idea of working with other ethno-nationalist groups in the black and Hispanic community. In an article on the TYN website in December 2013, he writes, “As the rising tide of ethnonationalism continues to wash away at the collective American identity, working with other ethnonationalists should be a key component of the future for our movement.”
Heimbach’s extreme views and desire to create alliances with other white supremacists have made him a popular speaker at various extremist events. In 2013, he spoke at the national conferences of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) and the American Freedom Party. Heimbach also aligned himself with hard-core white supremacists. In October 2013, he went to an event sponsored by neo-Nazis, racist skinheads and Klan groups in Kentucky. In November 2013, he was a main speaker at the national conference held by the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement. His alliance with neo-Nazis caused the neo-Confederate League of the South to kick Heimbach out of the group. In response, Heimbach declared, “I’m not going to throw my allies under the bus to achieve respectability in their eyes.”
Heimbach’s assertion of not throwing allies under the bus is a direct reference to an essay by the co-founder of TYN, Matt Parrott, titled, “Never Leave a Fallen Comrade.” In that essay, written in April 2013 for the white supremacist online journal Counter-Currents, Parrott lays out his belief system, which is to embrace the most extreme elements of the white supremacist movement. Though he says that he doesn’t support all the ideas of Hitler, the Klan or Southern segregation, he sees them as “ideological progenitors and fallen forefathers.”
In a November 2013 article for TYN, “Kansas City Action Report,” Parrott makes it clear how much he wants to appeal to youth. He writes, “We must be the hipsters of White identity, with an unimpeachable record of fighting and sacrificing for White families and communities before it was cool” [emphasis in the original].
In the article, he writes, “I’ve concluded that what’s unrealistic is attempting to build a movement in favor of heritage, faith and tradition on a foundation of individualism, mercantile morality, moral relativism, and universal egalitarianism.” Like Heimbach, Parrott had been very active in the white supremacist movement before establishing TYN.
Parrot was the founder of Hoosier Nation, a white supremacist group he formed in Indiana around 2009. By 2010, Hoosier Nation had become the official Indiana chapter of the CofCC. A year later, Hoosier Nation had become an official chapter of the American Freedom Party, then known as American Third Position. Parrot was also active with an online white supremacist bookstore, Lighthouse Literature, which he co-founded with Janelle Antas, a former assistant to Holocaust denier David Irving. Hoosier Nations hosted Irving in Indiana in April 2011. However, Parrott decided to end Hoosier Nation in May 2012. He went on to write for the Counter-Currents and later formed TYN with Heimbach.
Both Parrott and Heimbach have been very supportive of Thomas Buhls, the leader of the only established TYN chapter at a university. Buhls heads the TYN chapter at Indiana University, Bloomington, and maintains a separate blog from the national TYN group. Buhls had also been active in white supremacist movement before joining TYN. In 2007, he joined the Knights Party, a Klan group based in Harrison, Arkansas and run by Thom Robb.
Buhls reports that he turned to the Klan after being in the Marines and becoming angry about the federal government’s “complete and absolute failure to enforce immigration laws.” In a October 2013 essay he wrote for the TYN website, titled “Organized Hate Saved My Life,” Buhls asserts that he was willing to give his life when he took his oath of service in the Marines and was now “prepared to do the same or worse, after entering the White Nationalist Movement. He reports that the Knights Party’s “training program” taught him to “on the right side of the law.” He writes, “If I had not found their professional development and guidance, it is entirely possible, no, a certainty that I would be serving 20 to life in a federal prison right now for hate crimes, or laying dead in a cemetery.” Buhls became the Veterans League Coordinator for the Knights Party. It is unclear exactly when he left the Knights Party but Buhls has been active with TYN since its beginnings.
One of TYN’s first organized activities was a protest at a leftist bookstore in Bloomington, Indiana in August 2013. The following month, the group wrote an article on their website claiming that they would burn the Quran on September 11 but decided against that action.
October 2013 was a busy month for TYN. The group passed out flyers advertising TYN in Perry, Michigan. TYN also held rallies to protest the speeches of Tim Wise, an anti-racist educator, at two schools, Indiana State University and the University of Cincinnati. TYN has particularly targeted Wise because they believe that he is anti-white.
TYN continues to maintain an extensive blog where Heimbach, Parrott, Buhls and a number of other people associated with the group express their thoughts on various movements associated with white supremacy and other extreme-right ideologies.