Backgrounder

Patriot Front

Patriot Front

Key Points

  • Patriot Front is a white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them, and no one else.
  • Patriot Front justifies its ideology of hate and intolerance under the guise of preserving the ethnic and cultural origins of its members’ European ancestors.
  • Patriot Front spreads its hateful propaganda via the internet and by distributing banners, fliers, posters, and stickers.
  • Since 2019, Patriot Front has been responsible for the vast majority of white supremacist propaganda distributed in the United States.
  • One of the United States’ most visible white supremacist groups, Patriot Front participates in localized “flash demonstrations” across the nation.
  • While claiming loyalty to America as a nation, Patriot Front seeks to form a new state, one that advocates for the “descendants of its creators,” scilicet white men.

Patriot Front is a white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them alone. They define themselves as American fascists or American nationalists who are focused on preserving America’s identity as a European-American one.

According to the manifesto on their website (2022):

“When our pre-Columbian forefathers left their European homes…they found a common cause and a common identity as Americans. From the varied nations and cultures of Europe a new nation was forged in the flames of conquest.”

“To be an American is to be a descendant of conquerors, pioneers, visionaries, and explorers. This unique identity was given to us by our ancestors, and this national spirit remains firmly rooted in our blood.”

“Our mission is a hard reset on the nation we see today – a return to the traditions and virtues of our forefathers.”

“America needs a generation of brave men to fearlessly rise to face all threats to their collective interests. A generation steeled in their effort to realize their grand vision of a new nation. This gathering of the faithful – the true inheritors of America – will urge our people onward.”

Origins

Patriot Front is a Texas-based white supremacist group led by Thomas Ryan Rousseau.  The group split from Vanguard America (VA) in late August 2017, several months after VA participated in a white supremacist rally on the capitol steps in Austin, Texas. Both Rousseau, as the Texas leader, and Dillon Hopper (aka Dillon Irizarry), as the group’s national leader, spoke during the event. Hopper later complained that Rousseau had led event organizers to believe that Rousseau, rather than Hopper, was VA’s leader, and that Rousseau’s lengthy speech during the rally further confused people about the group’s true leader.

Patriot Front

(L) Rousseau at the 2017 Unite the Right rally leading Vanguard America, (R) Rousseau in Chicago, Illinois leading a Patriot Front pro-life demonstration in 2022

Two days after the Austin rally, Rousseau began his takeover of the group’s servers and its “bloodandsoil.org” website. In an exchange that was posted on Twitter, Hopper explained, “On June 20, Thomas underhandedly and deceitfully exiled me from all Vanguard discord servers that HE controlled due to ‘security reasons.’ I logged off…and when I got back an hour later I was banned from every single server, including the women’s server. It was literally a coup with the guise that I left to handle family matters.”

 

Just a few weeks later, with Hopper conspicuously absent, Rousseau led several dozen Vanguard America Texas members and associates at the August 12th “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Though Rousseau led the Unite the Right contingent, it was Hopper who faced derision in the rally’s aftermath as event images showed that James Alex Fields Jr., who is accused of plowing his car into a group of counter-protesters and killing Heather Heyer, participated in the event standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Vanguard America, and carrying a shield bearing the group’s fascist symbol. VA has denied that Fields was ever a member of their group.

 

In late August, as Hopper isolated himself from the fallout from Unite the Right, Rousseau seized the moment. Rather than take over the troubled Vanguard America, he opted to rebrand VA’s “bloodandsoil.org” as the Patriot Front website. The move allowed those associated with Patriot Front to distance themselves from both Vanguard America and any association with James Field. Ironically, the bulk of those who defected to Rousseau’s Patriot Front were those who attended “Unite the Right” under the Vanguard America umbrella.

 

American Nationalism

 

Leadership disputes aside, the split between Vanguard America and Patriot Front is symptomatic of the divergent opinions among white supremacists about optics and how to best promote their cause to the public. Rousseau’s camp prefers to promote “American Nationalism” and advocate for a racist ideology that appeals to conservatives, using ostensibly unifying symbols like the American flag. In that same vein, Patriot Front uses an image of a fasces, the original symbol of fascism (a bundle of sticks featuring an axe) encircled by thirteen stars as “an American symbol of revolutionary spirit.”

While claiming loyalty to America as a Nation, Patriot Front seeks to form a new state, one that advocates for the “descendants of its creators,” scilicet white men. During demonstrations they fly the American flag upside down to convey their belief that the nation is in distress because its current state no longer represents them. They also use what is commonly called the Betsy Ross flag which features 13 alternating red and white stripes and 13 white stars in a blue canton, an early design of the U.S. flag that represents a time when America was ruled by white men.

Patriot Front

Upside down American flags, Betsy Ross flags and flags with the fasces symbol displayed during a Patriot Front demonstration in Chicago, Illinois - February 2022

Antisemitism

In 2018, less than a year after splintering from the openly antisemitic and neo-Nazi Vanguard America, Patriot Front transitioned from using explicitly antisemitic and traditional white supremacist language in its propaganda to using more ambiguous messaging, including phrases such as “America First,” “United We Stand,” “Better Dead Than Red,” “Two Parties. One Tyranny,” “Reclaim America” and “Not Stolen. Conquered.” They also changed the URL to their website, naming the website after the group, rather than using the right-wing nationalist slogan “Blood and Soil.” Since mid-2018, Patriot Front has continued to build its “brand,” carefully avoiding explicit antisemitic and white supremacist language and symbols. Yet, though their outward brand is more “sanitized,” their antisemitism is still present. 


In 2021, the group’s propaganda was used to target Jewish institutions across the country including the Museum of Tolerance-Beit HaShoah in Los Angeles, the Jewish Community Center in Rockville, Maryland, as well as synagogues in Massachusetts and Washington D.C. As revealed in their internal communications, leaked by Unicorn Riot in January 2022, Patriot Front continues the private use of antisemitic, racist and bigoted slurs, a clear holdover from the group’s neo-Nazi roots. 
 

Sample of Antisemitism in their Discord chats:


“Jews are not exempt from my moral convictions. If I say that a matter is reprehensible, repugnant, and so on, Jews are not given a clearance to our moral judgement. That is the beauty of a universal moral structure. No one is exempt. Our condemnations apply just as much to Jews as anyone else.” – Thomas Rosseau, 12.11.2021 

“We have ZERO obligation to allow people into the org, this goes for new and old members alike. It is a privilege to be here, you have to earn it. We have no place for morally bankrupt, Jewish revolutionary men.” – Vincent TX, 11.30.2021

“The only problem I see is that America had Jewish financiers to get it going. I think it's just an unfortunate fact of life that most of the world's resources are held by a tiny group of people with equally tiny hats.” – Tyler CT, 12.02.2021 

“I mean, Santa is less of a lie then the Holocaust” – Johnny ID, 11.29.2021 (Discord Leaks)

The “biggest threat to America right now is jewry because of their overall subversion; browning of America, race-mixing, porn, drug pushing, etc.” 12.15.2021 

“Biggest threat to America is the media that is being used to make everyone into easily controlled zombies. The Jews run the news.” 12.7.2021 

“Media pushes anti-white agenda and inciting acts of violence against whites, like in Waukesha and BLM riots. The Jewish control in the media pushes the anti-white narrative.” 12.1.2021 
 

Additional Activity

Patriot Front is active online and uses social media to promote racism, antisemitism and intolerance, but they are also part of a broader effort by white supremacists to move from their longtime roles as online provocateurs to on the ground activists. On the ground activism generates the group’s desired localized outrage and media attention, as well as images and videos, which can be used to generate self-promoting and graphic online content.


Patriot Front’s most frequent form of activity has been the distribution of banners, fliers, posters, and stickers on college campuses and in various communities across the United States. Since 2019, Patriot Front has been responsible for the vast majority of white supremacist propaganda distributions in the United States.


Patriot Front members are required to engage in activism or risk expulsion, Rousseau stated during a national Patriot Front meeting. "Every single one of us places promotional material,” he said. “If you do not, please let me know. I need to have a talk with you. You may do it on the weekends or the weekdays or both, with or without locals, but you do it."

  
In addition to distributing propaganda, Patriot Front uses stenciled graffiti and reprograms of traffic signs as mechanisms for spreading its ideology. 


Patriot Front often targets its perceived enemies. This has included leaving flyers at a Black church, stickering an LGBTQ community center and more recently vandalizing statues and murals memorializing Black Americans killed by police or other tributes to Black Lives Matter or diversity in general. In 2021, Patriot Front members targeted and stole pro-LGBTQ+ signs and flags, posting pictures and videos bragging about their activism. In one such video, members are shown burning transgender pride flags, with one member stating, “For those who destroy our nation, we will destroy your symbols and all that you worship, to think that we will lay down and perish, you are greatly mistaken. Burn em.”
 

 

Patriot Front vandalism

Alleged Patriot Front vandalism on a “No Place for Hate” mural in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. (Image Source: Reading Eagle) 

 

In addition to distributing propaganda, members also participate in private meet-ups, which routinely involve a physical fitness element like boxing or hiking. The group’s online propaganda stresses physical training and includes images of members boxing, coupled with phrases like “Embrace violence,” “Become war” and “Train with your friends. Fight your enemies.”

 

Flash Demonstrations

 

A central tactic to Patriot Front is “flash demonstrations” – privately planned and unannounced events that allow groups to promote their beliefs while limiting the risk of individual exposure, negative media coverage, arrests and public backlash. These flash demonstrations are mainly orchestrated for a quick photo and video opportunity that is then turned into online content.

 

Patriot Front march

On July 3, 2021, an estimated 150 Patriot Front members marched through Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

 

During these flash demonstrations, Patriot Front members generally wear khaki pants and a blue or white polo shirt; many also wear masks. The group intensely focuses on “optics;” they have used attention-grabbing smoke bombs, signal flares and torches during their demonstrations. Members routinely chant, “Blood and Soil,” a slogan with origins in Nazi Germany that Patriot Front uses to conflate white European identity with American soil.

 

Patriot Front puts an emphasis on the Founding Fathers and “Patriotic Holidays,” often picking historical locations or significant American holidays, like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, for their flash demonstrations. In a recent interview conducted by Media2Rise, a white-supremacist production arm of the Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.), Rousseau stated, “In times of tranquility and prosperity, national holidays can be times of celebration for what you have, but we are not in those times, so these days [there] needs to be calls to action.” Patriot Front plans an annual “National Action” flash demonstration in Washington, D.C. These D.C marches are attended by members from across the country including group leader, Thomas Rousseau.

 

Patriot Front makes regular appearances at anti-abortion events across the United States as well. Members have attended the March for Life rally in Chicago annually since 2018 as well as various other pro-life events where members hand out promotional material, carry banners, and Patriot Front flags.

 

While Patriot Front hides behind the veneer of “American Nationalism,” their views on abortion are ultimately targeted at the protection of white children. Patriot Front sees abortions as a “plutocratic scheme” by the U.S. government, where abortion seeks to “deprive Americans of their lives because the dead may not provoke.” Patriot Front states, “Those destroying the American family can only have the intent of destroying the American people.” Patriot Front views the “American people” as those of pan-European descent whose ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them alone. This relates to the common Patriot Front slogan, “Blood and Soil,” which promotes the idea that people with white blood have a special bond with American soil. To maintain this perceived bond, Patriot Front believes that white children must be protected to ensure the future prosperity of a Pan-European United States.

 

Recent Activity:

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, June 11, 2022: Thirty-one members of Patriot Front including Thomas Rousseau were arrested after police stopped a U-Haul truck near a “Pride in the Park” event and found them inside the truck’s van dressed uniformly and equipped with riot shields. Each member was charged with criminal conspiracy to riot.

Chicago, Illinois, January 8, 2022: An estimated 50 members of Patriot Front attended a March for Life anti-abortion rally in Chicago, Illinois carrying riot shields, a banner reading "Strong Families Make Strong Nations," and Patriot Front flags.

 

Patriot Front marching

Patriot Front members at the 2021 March for Life event in Chicago, Illinois. Members have attended the event annually since 2018, with the exception for 2021 when the event was cancelled due to COVID-19. 

 

Washington, D.C., December 4, 2021: An estimated 100 members of Patriot Front held a flash demonstration marching down the National Mall carrying riot shields, a banner reading "Victory or Death," and Patriot Front flags.

 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 3, 2021: An estimated 150 members of Patriot Front marched through Center City Philadelphia. The participants arrived in the city, packed into three Penske moving trucks. The march ended with counter protesters chasing the marchers back to their Penske moving trucks and law enforcement arriving on the scene.

 

Patriot Front march

Patriot Front members marching in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

Nashville, Tennessee, June 6, 2021: Several dozen members of Patriot Front participated in a flash demonstration at the state capitol in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

San Antonio, Texas, May 29, 2021: Several dozen members of Patriot Front participated in a flash demonstration in front of the Alamo and Federal building in San Antonio.

 

Washington, D.C, January 29, 2021: Several dozen members of Patriot Front held a flash demonstration.

 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 7, 2020: Several dozen members of Patriot Front held a flash demonstration in downtown Pittsburgh.

 

San Bernardino, California, May 25, 2020: Approximately one dozen members of Patriot Front held a flash demonstration at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in San Bernardino. The group held a banner that read: “Reclaim America.”

 

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, May 25, 2020: Approximately 21 members of Patriot Front held a flash demonstration in Gettysburg Memorial Park.

 

La Porte, Texas, May 25, 2020: Approximately 15 members of Patriot Front held a flash demonstration at the San Jacinto Memorial in La Porte. The group held a banner that read: “No more foreign wars.”

 

Washington, D.C., January 24, 2020: Members of Patriot Front demonstrated at a pro-life rally in Washington D.C.

 

Washington, D.C, February 8, 2020: More than 100 members of Patriot Front held a flash demonstration marching down the National Mall in Washington D.C.

 

Chicago, Illinois, January 11, 2020: Approximately one dozen members of Patriot Front demonstrated and passed out propaganda during a pro-life rally in Chicago.

 

Multiple Cities, April 1, 2019: Patriot Front members demonstrated outside AIPAC offices and Israeli consulates in New York, Chicago, Houston, and Boston “in support of national sovereignty, and in opposition to Zionist influence.”

 

Chicago, Illinois, January 13, 2019: Approximately 7 individuals associated with Patriot Front attended a pro-life event in Chicago. Wearing bandanas over their faces, they distributed propaganda and held a banner that read: “Strong families strong nations."

 

Washington, D.C., December 3, 2018: Approximately 50 individuals associated with Patriot Front held a flash demonstration in Washington D.C. holding a banner that read: "Reclaim America."

 

San Antonio, Texas, July 28, 2018: Approximately 20 individuals associated with Patriot Front disrupted an "Occupy ICE" event. Images and video of the incident indicate that Patriot Front members vandalized the Occupy ICE camp while shouting, "Strong borders, strong nations."

 

Austin, Texas, March 20, 2018: Patriot Front posted a video on twitter of approximately 20 individuals, led by Thomas Rousseau, demonstrating at the State Capital in Austin.

 

January 14, 2018: Approximately 12 members of Patriot front attempted to join a March for Life event. They carried a banner that read: "Protect our posterity.” Police forced them to leave the event.

 

Laguna Beach, California, December 10, 2017: Several Patriot Front members participated in an anti-immigration demonstration. They held a banner that read: “Deport them all. America is our birthright.”

 

Patriot Front

Chicago, Illinois, December 7, 2017: Several Patriot Front members and associates shouted, “blood and soil” during a rally protesting Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. They later displayed a banner on a Chicago overpass that read: “Deport them all.”

 

Los Angeles, California, December 6, 2017: Two white males dressed in utility worker uniforms hung a banner on the Mulholland bridge reading: “Americans are white. The rest must go.”

 

Rockville, Maryland, November 12, 2017: Patriot Front flyers were pasted to the door and mailbox of the Montgomery County Republican Party Headquarters.

 

Austin, Texas, November 5, 2017: Patriot Front members and associates lit flares during a demonstration in front of a bookstore they described as a communist gathering place.

 

Patriot Front

Austin, Texas, November 4, 2017: Approximately 25 Patriot Front members and associates, wearing masks and carrying burning torches, demonstrated in front of the George Washington statue at the University of Texas.

 

Patriot Front

Austin, Texas, October 26, 2017: A Patriot Front “white families matter” banner was posted at Texas State University.

 

Gainesville, Florida, October 19, 2017: Members of Patriot Front (seen in the image below wearing white shirts and sunglasses) assisted with event ticket distribution and private security at Richard Spencer’s speaking appearance at the University of Florida.

 

Patriot Front

Los Angeles, California, October 17, 2017: Members unfurled a banner over the Skirball exit of the 405 freeway that read:  “RESURRECTION THROUGH INSURRECTION.”

 

Houston, Texas, October 2, 2017: A Patriot front banner that read, “For race and nation,” was displayed on a Houston overpass.

 

Dallas, Texas, October 1, 2017: A Patriot Front banner was hung from a Dallas overpass that read: “Take a knee, back in Africa.”

 

Houston, Texas, September 24, 2017: Twenty-nine members of Patriot Front, Daily Stormer book clubs, Whomsters and Houston Goylers gathered outside a Houston Anarchist Book Fair where they unfurled a “Blood and Soil” banner, used smoke bombs, and chanted phrases such as: “Blood and Soil,” “F**k you faggots,” and “anti-White.”

 

Patriot Front

September 18, 2017, Austin, Texas: A Patriot Front banner that read, “Unite the White,” was hung from an overpass in Austin.

 

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