Bradley Dean Griffin
Brad Griffin is both a gatekeeper for the racist "alt-right" and the chief exporter of its most effective tactics to his ideological passion project — Southern nationalism.
About Bradley Dean Griffin
Brad Griffin is the proprietor of Occidental Dissent (OD), a blog devoted to white nationalism. Griffin has reported on the movement’s happenings — from street demonstrations to infighting — with a dedication that has yielded him one of the most loyal followings among white nationalist websites. Griffin has been both a staunch critic of, and one of the most prolific participants in, the scores of online feuds between white nationalism’s various camps.
In his own words
“Personally, I want to create a Jew-free, White ethnostate in North America. That’s why I call myself a White Nationalist.”
— “C of CC Under the Microscope,” Occidental Dissent, June 8, 2010
“I was committed to ‘free speech’ back then when I was a naïve college student.”
— MajorityRights.com, September 14, 2011
“A serious movement doesn’t have time to debate inane questions like ‘should slavery be restored in the 21st century’ or ‘should non-Anglos be sterilized’ or ‘should all the non-Whites be exterminated’ or ‘should abortion be legalized to cull the black population,’ etc., etc. Every single one of these red herrings drives a wedge and would contribute to our stigmatization and marginalization.”
— “What Is A Southerner?” Occidental Dissent, February 17, 2017
“Powerful Jews oppose the assertion of White identity while encouraging the expression of every other identity in order to weaken Whites!”
— Twitter, June 29, 2017
"The police in Charlottesville stood down and didn't do their jobs, and deliberately allowed anarchy to reign in the streets. They persuaded us to come to Lee Park unarmed for our peaceful event while secretly ceding control of the streets to violent Antifa."
— Occidental Dissent, August 14, 2017
Griffin grew up in Eufaula, Alabama. In 2000, he enrolled at Auburn University where, as a sophomore, he explicitly entered the world of white nationalism after reading Pat Buchanan’s The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil our Culture and Civilization. Griffin claims that his time growing up in Alabama’s Black Belt region instilled in him the belief that “race existed and that racial differences were real,” that there was a “connection between racial identity and politics” and that he had “populist instincts.” Buchanan, according to Griffin, was responsible for his interest in “changing racial and cultural differences” and, ultimately, for his being "red-pilled" after coming to believe that “Western civilization as a whole was dying and that a great historical event was unfolding within [his] lifetime.”
In an article titled "My Alt-Right Biography" on Occidental Dissent (OD), Griffin wrote:
After 9/11, I found Pat Buchanan and shortly thereafter I found Stormfront,” wrote Griffin in an article titled “My Alt-Right Biography” on on OD. “If memory serves, I found it either through word of mouth on a gaming message board or through searching online for Pat Buchanan. I became an active poster on Stormfront for a few years. What I took away from Stormfront was an interest in White Nationalism and the idea of setting up a vBulletin forum.
From 2001 to 2005, Griffin participated in and ran a series of forums that ultimately came to be known as the Phora under a variety of pseudonyms including "Prozium," "Fade the Butcher," "nJEcTiOn," "Daedalus," and most recently "Hunter Wallace" — the nom de plume that he publishes under at OD.
Griffin explains in his autobiography:
The Phora was like the 4chan of the early 2000s. It was a purely anonymous messageboard where people who had been banned from other messageboards came together to discuss edgy ideas. It wasn’t just a White Nationalist forum. I went out and recruited paleoconservatives, libertarians, communists, socialists, liberals, moderates, anarchists, nihilists, Neo-Nazis, trolls, gamers, etc. The idea was to throw all these people together in one forum and have them debate current events, economics, politics, history, philosophy, race relations, religion, science and any number of topics.
During this period, Griffin became familiar with white nationalism’s stalwart leaders such as Peter Brimelow of VDARE, Jared Taylor of American Renaissance, and Sam Francis. Although he never became a member, Griffin also fondly recounts listening to the radio broadcasts of William Pierce, the founder of the National Alliance (NA), one of the largest and most dangerous neo-Nazi organizations in U.S. history. Pierce is the author of The Turner Diaries, the novel that inspired the Oklahoma City bombing.
After a false start in 2006, Occidental Dissent was refounded in 2008 and houses all of Griffin’s musings on white nationalism and its competing cast of contrarians.
In April 2008, Griffin’s parents involuntarily hospitalized him at West Central Georgia Regional Hospital in Columbus, Georgia. According to Griffin, who has long been mocked in white nationalist circles online for an alleged mental illness: “I was hyped up on caffeine and was avidly following the 2008 financial crisis. I was suffering from sleep deprivation and was elated that the system appeared to FINALLY be going down.”
Griffin recounted the episode on OD on July 24, 2015, in a post titled, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Lafayette Shooter Rusty Houser,” in which he describes meeting Houser, who appeared to Griffin’s hallucinatory mind as Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees. Griffin recognized his face in news reports about Houser killing two and wounding nine in a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater.
“It was there in a cloud of confusion that I met someone who looked to me like Morris Dees,” Griffin recounted. “And although I didn’t recall his name, only the face, it was none other than 'Rusty' Houser.”
In 2009 Giffin began supplementing his OD posts with a new blog called "Antisemitica." Griffin stated his purpose for creating the new blog:
Antisemitica will explore the Jewish Question and anti-Semitic discourse from a cooler, more collected perspective. We won't blame the Jews for every national ill. We won't fall into the trap of assuming that each and every Jew is a bad person. We won't refrain from acknowledging positive Jewish contributions. Instead, we shall argue that Jewish influence (in the aggregate) is a menace to the racial and cultural health of American society, and that White Americans would be better off without a Jewish presence within our borders.
Griffin apparently abandoned the blog within a year.
Griffin joined the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) in 2010. “I’ve been involved in pro-White discussion groups for almost ten years now. This is the major reason why I stayed on the sidelines for so long,” Griffin wrote that same year in a post titled, “C of CC Under the Microscope.” He continued:
My impression of the movement was that it was full of individualists who cared more about parading around in white sheets or flaunting their swastikas than making a serious effort to preserve our racial and cultural heritage. Now that I am meeting people in real life, I have discovered that the loudmouth types who I see all the time on the internet, who I mentally associated with White Nationalism, are usually keyboard commandos.
Three years after his involuntary hospitalization, Griffin met his future wife, Renee Baum, daughter of the late CCC founder Gordon Baum, at the CCC’s national conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
In a 2010 article titled, “Reconsidered: The League of the South,” Griffin wrote:
What finally soured me on the League of the South was their unwillingness to defend White Southerners as a racial and ethnic group. They only wanted to talk about Southern culture. I remember reading a League position paper somewhere which proposed a multiracial Confederacy (White, Black, Hispanic) based on social equality. If that is the ultimate goal of Southern independence, why bother to restore the Confederacy? That’s the system we have now.”
Around 2002 or 2003, I drifted out of Neo-Confederate circles. I grew interested in White Nationalism and have been involved in this scene ever since. The Southern Nationalist movement seemed like an abortion.
Despite his early, harsh assessment of the League of the South (LOS), Griffin joined in 2012 and wasted little time becoming one of the group’s most influential voices. Along with Michael Cushman, proprietor of the now-defunct Southern Nationalist Network and former National Alliance member, Griffin pioneered the street-demonstration model responsible for the LOS’s resurgence in relevance.
Around this time, Griffin started a neo-Confederate blog titled "Confederate Renaissance," which linked back to its "older sister website, Occidental Dissent." Griffin abandoned the blog not long after starting it and appears to have allowed its license to lapse.
Writing on OD in a 2014 article titled titled “The Logic of Street Demonstrations,” Griffin argued:
By taking to the streets on a regular basis, we are demonstrating that we are no longer going to observe these taboos [“to be explicitly pro-White, pro-South, and pro-Christian”] or acknowledge their legitimacy in the South. … Just as in the days of Jim Crow, the reigning taboos will only crumble under pressure when a sufficient number of White Southerners are willing to publicly rise up and stand together against them.
Griffin’s 10-point strategy focused on raising the profile of the LOS, building real-world social networks, shaping the organization’s message, building solidarity, inspiring others, and, most notably, “garner[ing] more publicity from the mass media.”
He also wrote at length about moving new recruits further down the radicalization timeline:
In order for an individual to take the next step in the conversion process beyond the embrace of abstract ideas, real world social networks are needed to validate and affirm the new belief system of the convert,” Griffin wrote. “Quite often, the convert is exchanging one value system and social network for a more agreeable and intellectually consistent one. Thus, real world social networks provide a critical milieu for exploring taboo ideas with the support and fellowship of likeminded people, which enables converts to overcome the deterrent of social stigma in their area.
While promoting the League’s hallmark rural “flaggings” and streetside protests, Griffin adopted a stance anathematic to most neo-Confederate organizations: advocating against public displays of the Confederate Battle Flag. This was done in an effort to separate the League from the tarnished image of the banner, which has from its earliest origins been indelibly tied to white resistance to racial equality in the South.
In a 2014 OD piece Griffin stated that his issue with it was less historical and more sartorial: “The Confederate Battle Flag IS a traditional symbol of the Southern people. It belongs in a museum alongside other relics and artifacts of the Confederacy. … It has become a “redneck pride” symbol. It is worn on tacky bikinis by tasteless women.”
Griffin was soon forced to perform an about-face in order to respond to “the campaign of cultural genocide that followed in the wake of the Dylann Roof shooting in Charleston.” As calls emerged around the South and the United States for the removal of publicly funded memorials to the Confederate States of America, Griffin and the League were forced once again to stand beside the banner they had publicly decried.
Charleston’s aftermath saw an increase in violent rhetoric from League of the South President Michael Hill, which put him at odds with the relatively squeamish Griffin and his ally Cushman, who left the League amidst rumors of a failed coup. Griffin chose to remain in the League though his relationship with Hill would only grow more strained over the next year.
In August of 2015, Griffin was dealt another setback when the annual CCC conference was canceled after the venue backed out upon discovering the nature of the event.Griffin, a CCC board member, had this to say: “There are several ways we can hold a conference in the future and avoid this problem. It won’t happen again. Note: Now that my weekend plans have changed, I am going instead to the Donald Trump rally in Mobile.”
Trump’s speech at Ladd-Peebles Stadium that weekend marked the public debut of his proposed border wall. Griffin enthusiastically endorsed Trump, stating: “If Trump won the election, hurled Congress and the Supreme Court into the Potomoc [sic], and jettisoned 'the democratic process,' it would be the equivalent of winning the lottery! Unfortunately, I doubt we will be that lucky.”
This embrace of a candidate for national office ran completely contrary to LOS dogma that Griffin had previously espoused, such as in his outline of “Southern Nationalism:” "[W]e don’t see any reason to participate in federal elections because we are not interested in being 'represented' in Washington.”
Hill’s frustrations with the rising profiles of his young wunderkinds and past-protégés peaked during the aftermath of the 2016 election amid a groundswell of support for then-President-elect Trump among Southern whites and the web-based coterie now known as the alt-right.
Griffin’s embrace of Trump and shift toward the the alt-right proved so troublesome to Hill that the LOS’s “Big Chief” took to his blog to chastise Griffin and other younger members who had strayed from the flock and become involved in the conventional political process. Griffin responded to Hill’s “Observation on the Alt-Right” with “A Response to Michael Hill.” Regarding Hill’s militancy and violent rhetoric, Griffin had this to say:
I don’t think militias, survivalism or violent apocalyptic rhetoric – the 1980s and 1990s is the way forward. When I joined the League of the South, it was none of those things. Because of Lügenpresse guilt by association, I had to deal with the aftermath of the Dylann Roof shooting in Charleston. I’ve never wanted to be associated with violent vanguardists like that. I don’t want to attract or encourage unstable people who do stupid things.
Why would I want to do that? If you spend all your time patrolling a rural area, building a bunker, prepping for the collapse of civilization, saber rattling, all you are doing in succeeding in marginalizing yourself.
In the response, Griffin attempted to downplay his efforts with the League and emphasize his past with the white nationalist movement, stating:
Just off the top of my head, I have known Richard Spencer, Gregory Hood (my old roommate), Paul Kersey, Matt Parrott, Don Black, Kyle Rodgers, Nathaniel Strickland, the Baums (my in-laws), Jared Taylor, Sam Dickson, James Edwards, Greg Johnson and many others in the real world since 2009/2010. Occidental Dissent was started in 2006 as a White Nationalist blog. In 2010, it was even a collective Alt-Right blog when four of us lived together as roommates in Charlottesville, Virginia. My old roommate William Rome from New York attended the 2014 League of the South Conference.
Even with the ongoing tensions between Hill and younger members of the LOS over tactics, involvement in mainstream politics and the future direction of the group, Griffin would remain with the League. Indeed, he was soon promoted to the position of LOS public relations chief, a decision Hill seems to have made to placate Griffin.
Griffin’s current prominence in the far-right is in large part due to his vocal role in defining the fledgling alt-right and distinguishing it from its ideological stepchild, the alt-lite.
“It started around the time of the Trayvon Martin case when we were writing about race hoaxes and black crime. We’ve covered the race beat for years, but it was starting to generate enormous traffic,” Griffin wrote explaining the emergence of the alt-lite. “That’s how the Alt-Lite was conjured into existence. It was basically conservative websites pushing Alt-Right material in order to generate clicks and revenue. It was their version of crack cocaine.”
Griffin continued, “We’ve got all these clickbait entrepreneurs and bandwagon jumpers in search of an audience who had nothing to do with us until they realized they could make buck off the plight of our people.”
Griffin, with a growing audience, came to be both a gatekeeper for the alt-right and the chief exporter of its most effective tactics to his ideological passion project — Southern nationalism.
Shortly after his missive “A Response to Michael Hill,” Griffin helped organize the Atlanta Forum, which was intended as the “first in a series of private, invitation-only meetings … like the League of the South’s various protests, but without street action.”
In his speech “The Alternative South,” at the Atlanta Forum’s inaugural meeting in January 2017, Griffin told the audience, “The Alt-Right through its links to Gamergate and the Manosphere grasped the importance of memes, swarming social media, particularly Twitter to discourse poison of push a Narrative. … We need to borrow the meme warfare and swarming from the Alt-Right. I was shocked by the efficacy of trolling in 2016.”
Griffin’s support for trolling is a complete about-face from years earlier when he decried, “The perennial agent provocateur and troll community, headquartered at VNN Forum, whose sole purpose for being here is to polarize and drive as many wedges as possible between White America and White Nationalists, in order to make the latter anathema to the former.”
That same “perennial agent provocateur” is none other than Greg Johnson, whose “New York Forum” Griffin has credited with seeding the idea for the “Atlanta Forum.”
Apparently having learned from the CCC’s “no-platforming” at their 2015 conference in Nashville, Griffin worked with Michael Cushman and the The Right Stuff Confederates — now known by the name of their website Identity Dixie — to organize the event as an “IRL meetup” for previously internet-based right wing Southerners who were emboldened by President Trump’s victory.
Griffin has attempted to promote the alt-right through an increased reliance on social media, stating:
The main thing we ought to be doing right now is adapting some of the things the Alt-Lite brands have been doing for our own purposes. Richard Spencer, for example, has begun to use Periscope…I’ve used a combination of Twitter, WordPress and Periscope to document the condition of Selma in 2017… We need to have a group of Proud Goys, a social media team, who do nothing but build social networks. Let them sit there and build relationships all day on Facebook and Twitter.
Although his post-Atlanta Forum remarks advocated for a further break from street-based activism “which facilitate[s] doxing,” Griffin has latched onto public protests in Auburn, Alabama; Pikeville, Kentucky; New Orleans, Lousiana; and Charlottesville, Virginia.
Griffin, for his part, spends most of these events live-streaming on Periscope and Tweeting to followers about counter-protesters and “Antifas,” the latter group a frequent foil for Griffin to justify his recent position-reversal on the topic of violence at political demonstrations. Griffin’s obsession with antifa continues today, as he announced in September 2018 on the OD site his intent to become a “Far Left violent extremism watchdog.”
Griffin was present at the Aug. 11-12, 2017, “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, organized by white nationalist Jason Kessler, where he and others protested against the growing movement to remove Confederate statues from public spaces. After the horrific events surrounding Charlottesville, including the death of anti-racist protester Heather Heyer, President Donald Trump at first blamed both sides for the violence, then issued a formal statement on Aug. 14 in which he condemned the white nationalists, only to revert back to his original position on Aug. 15 at a press conference in Manhattan, where he once again drew a moral equivalence between the white supremacists and the counter-protesters. Griffin was clearly annoyed by the back and forth of the President’s positions but, regarding the President’s Aug. 15 statements, Griffin posted on Twitter: “He is all over the place but this is much better. The truth will come out. Antifa were allowed to riot.”
Griffin subsequently made several posts on the OD website where he insisted Heyer was not run over by James Alex Fields Jr. but instead died of a heart attack (this baseless conspiracy theory was also promoted by the Daily Stormer). When Newsweek showed Griffin a statement from the chief medical examiner in Richmond, Virginia, stating Heyer’s cause of death was due to “blunt force trauma to the torso” and that her death was ruled a homicide, Griffin walked back his previous statements.
In the wake of Charlottesville, companies such as Facebook and Twitter drew increased scrutiny and criticism over the number of white supremacist pages allowed to flourish on their sites, seemingly with little oversight or regulation. On Dec. 18, 2017, Twitter shut down a number of white nationalist pages, including those belonging to Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement, Vanguard America, the Traditionalist Worker Party … and Griffin. Alt-right members referred to it as the “Twitter purge.”
On June 29, 2018, the LOS held their annual conference. The second day of the event began with an early morning “flash demonstration” at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The bridge was chosen because of its historical significance — in 1965 civil rights marchers on their way to Montgomery were attacked by state and local lawmen with billy clubs and tear gas and driven back into Selma. Later in the day, back at LOS headquarters in Wetumpka, Alabama, Griffin was among the listed speakers, alongside long-time white nationalist figure David Duke.
As the one-year anniversary of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally approached, many prominent white nationalists, including Griffin, announced they would not show up in Charlottesville in 2018. In a May 2018 interview with Newsweek, Griffin stated he would not attend because he did not think the authorities were “capable of upholding law and order.” In the end, the 2018 rally in Charlottesville was canceled and replaced with a rally in Washington, D.C., which was also a complete letdown (and which Griffin also did not attend).