About Augustus Sol Invictus
Augustus Sol Invictus (Austin Gillespie) had a fleeting moment in the national media spotlight in 2016, when he ran for Senate in the Florida Libertarian Party primary. During the race, it came to light that back in 2013, Invictus slaughtered a goat and drank its blood as part of a pagan ritual.
But the sensational, gory headlines minimize the identitarian, hierarchical worldview Invictus sells to his followers. Since his run at the Senate, Invictus has made plain he intends to become a prominent voice on the extreme right, speaking at rallies and founding a right-wing blog. Central to his message is that a violent second Civil War is necessary to preserve “Western civilization.”
In his words
"Do I believe that 6 million Jews were killed by evil Hitler? Is that what you're asking?...Okay, then I am still waiting to see those facts." — Hatewatch interview, August 5, 2017.
“No matter where you are, no matter what your race or creed or system of government, if you have a large group of outsiders coming in, things will change, and not necessarily for the better. Classical liberalism, libertarianism, a republican form of government — these things do not exist without Westerners. Those who see Africans and Europeans as interchangeable, they are either mentally retarded or they are deliberately dishonest. Either way, they aid in the destruction of our people, our lands and our culture. They are a cancer that must be excised if we are going to survive at all.” — “Fireside Chat on the State of the West, Part II: Causes of the Decline,” March 26, 2017.
“[The Federal government] has abandoned its eugenics programs and elitist mindset in favor of a decadent ideology that rejects the beauty of strength and demands the exponential growth of the weakest, the least intelligent and the most diseased.” — “A Declaration on the Failings of Federal Government,” October 2015.
“I say unto you, My Fellow Americans, that the Federal Government is not invincible. Verily, I say unto you that it can fall—and more than this, I say that it must fall. And if our blood must be the sacrifice, then so be it.” — “Fireside Chat on the Possibility of Revolution,” May 1, 2016.
On June 17, 2017, Augustus Sol Invictus strutted up to the podium at a rally for free speech in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “What’s up Chapel Hill?” he shouted into the microphone. “They call me ‘The Commie Slayer.’ And for good fucking reason!”
Never mind that no one actually calls him, “The Commie Slayer.” Reality matters little to Austin Mitchell Gillespie, the man who legally changed his name to what translates in Latin to “majestic unconquered sun.”
Inflated grandiosity propels Invictus’ life and complements his particular brand of right-wing extremism. In actuality, he is a criminal defense lawyer who “resigned” from his profession. He’s a well-read man in possession of some intellectual talent. But in his own mind, he is a genius, a prophet, a revolutionary and a conqueror — even a god — destined to lead the people in a “great war.”
Invictus’ totalitarian worldview preaches that the strong should inherit the earth, and root out and exterminate the weak. He’s unclear about the aims of the second Civil War he intends to lead, but he claims his enemies are the communists, the “cultural Marxists,” and the “international financiers” who have forced a system of “mass democracy and egalitarianism” on the American people. His myriad speeches, writings, recordings and political activities in the past six years reveal his primary motivations to be racism, sexism and anti-Semitism, coupled with a dangerous penchant for violence.
He was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1983, and eventually ended up in Orlando, Florida, where he attended high school. He dropped out of college, and by 2006 he was married with four children. The same year, just a few weeks shy of his 23rd birthday, he abandoned his birth name in favor of his new, imperial moniker.
Around this time, by his own account, he was working at a “pill mill” pharmacy in Tampa that was raided and shut down by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
“No comparable job existed for me, and we were effectively rendered destitute,” he said in a campaign speech in 2015. It’s unclear whether he was unwilling or unable to seek new employment, but he blamed the DEA for his financial hardship.
“I swore vengeance on the DEA and vowed that I would return to college, go to law school and enter into politics, and that one day I would shut their office down and put their families on the street.”
Despite his apparent poverty, he followed through with his plan, and graduated law school in 2011.
In early 2013, less than two years after getting his law degree, he renounced it, his U.S. citizenship and all his earthly possessions, in a bizarre open letter. He insists that it was a religious and spiritual renunciation, but its contents were so disturbing that at least one of the recipients alerted the FBI.
Invictus did, in fact, go to the desert, hitchhiking across America to get there. When he returned, he filmed himself stabbing a goat to death and drinking its blood. Invictus, a follower of the pagan faith Thelema, called it a ritual sacrifice and religious offering. His organization, the Ordo Templi Orientis, emphatically disagreed and kicked him out.
The pilgrimage marked an important turning point in his activities on the far right. He considered a run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016 as a Libertarian candidate. But when Marco Rubio vacated his Senate seat to run for president, Invictus turned his sights on statewide office.
His campaign sparked controversy within the Libertarian Party of Florida, and Invictus was decimated in the polls, losing by a margin of almost 50 points.
During the campaign, Invictus was irate at what he thought were baseless accusations against him, labeling him a racist and a neo-Nazi. But the evidence was undeniable: a paper he wrote in law school making the legal and ethical case for eugenics.
He titled it “Future or Ruin," which was also the name of a speech Hitler delivered in 1921. Invictus cites the Pioneer Fund, insisting that the notorious stronghold of academic racism is “not a white supremacist organization.” He makes repeated references to the intellectual inferiority of black people, which he presents as a matter of fact. In the paper’s footnotes, he cites extremist race scientists like Charles Murray and Jean-Philippe Rushton to support his point.
He has since disavowed state-sponsored eugenics in a campaign address discussing the controversy. But he never said he’s changed his mind about the practice, just that such a program, in the hands of bureaucrats, would inevitably be corrupted.
“It is not the love of excellence that poses the danger; it is the pettiness of men in government,” he said.
In fact, months after his lukewarm renunciation, he wrote further in support of eugenics on his campaign website.
In the same post, he criticized the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “civil sainthood,” denouncing what he called, “the idolatrous worship of a different breed of lesser men.”
He also can’t deny his association with neo-Nazis. In 2012 he took a case representing Marcus Faella, the neo-Nazi leader of the white supremacist militia American Front. Invictus said later, during his Senate campaign, “I have become close personal friends with the members of the notorious skinhead organization.” He delivered a speech to their organization during his campaign, where he referred to members as his “brothers and sisters,” united in a fight to save the West from certain destruction.
“There is no hope on the horizon,” he said, “if it is not us.”
Invictus also joins many other figures in the Alt-Right in his virulent opposition to Islam and refugees. He pushes conspiracy theories about the European migrant crisis, including the existence of “no-go zones,” widespread implementation of sharia law and that there are roving Muslim gangs attacking and raping white people. He’s even hoping to take a trip to Europe in the coming year to document “the fall of the West” for his blog, “The Revolutionary Conservative.”
He also claims that as a pagan who worships the Goddess, he can’t possibly be a sexist. But where mortal women are concerned, he’s made his low opinion clear. In his speech to the American Front, he described his version of the ideal woman: “The prize of a conquering hero.”
And on a radio appearance with the Florida-based “Sunshine Fascists,” he expressed disdain for women’s suffrage, insinuating that Sweden was the first European nation to “fall” — a common belief on the extreme right — because they were the first on the continent to give women the vote.
Invictus pens poems full of rape fantasies, violent domination and revenge against the women he believes have wronged him. He may claim that those writings are just a creative outlet or a figure of speech, but recent allegations of domestic abuse suggest otherwise.
Invictus has also expressed admiration for anti-Semitic thinkers and made references to anti-Semitic conspiracies. While in law school in Chicago, he discovered Carl Schmitt, the Nazi legal scholar and philosopher, who he describes as “one of my primary legal, political, intellectual, and philosophical influences.”
He also read Imperium by Francis Parker Yockey, the virulent anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer who called “the Jew” a “bearer of Culture-disease.” Invictus was so inspired by the book that when he started his own law firm, he called it Imperium, P.A.
When asked why he holds these thinkers in such high esteem, he claimed to divorce their unsavory white supremacist views from their intellectual contributions. But that explanation seems at least a little disingenuous, particularly given Invictus’ personal views in favor of Holocaust denial, and his claims (which echo Yockey) that the Nuremburg trials were a “kangaroo court.”
In January 2016, Invictus dedicated an entire address to the issue of “Our True Enemy, the Financiers,” in which he states, “usurers … are the enemy of all humankind.”
“It matters not whether you are black or white, cop or criminal, Christian or Muslim,” he said. “We risk disgrace when we dare to tell the creditors (emphasis his) we cannot afford the bill this month.”
He goes on to claim that the “financiers” control entertainment and culture, the media, and policy, and that their ultimate goal is to destroy Western civilization from within. According to multiple former associates, he’s denied the Holocaust in several private conversations.
Apart from his thinly veiled identitarian and totalitarian worldview, Invictus’ most troubling quality is his romantic exaltation of war, violence and bloodshed. In his warped narrative, life is gray and mundane without a war to make men heroes and martyrs. In keeping with his fantasies about the glory of conflict, he’s involved in the American Guard as a “Sergeant at Arms,” and he’s second in command of the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, an offshoot of Gavin McInnes’ Proud Boys that McInnes has called the “military division.”
Invictus has made specific, public calls to violence. He frequently threatens to hang people from lampposts, hurling the warning specifically at attorneys, progressives and journalists, even calling out VICE Media by name.
Invictus wants to see himself as a powerful leader, an extraordinary individual with a meaningful destiny. He’s seizing his opportunity. After years with the Libertarian Party, he announced in July 2017 that he registered as a Republican, where, presumably, he feels he has a better shot at power.