Matthew Heimbach started out small, chalking white power slogans on the sidewalks of his university and annoying fellow students and professors. But in the last year, he has plunged into full-fledged neo-Nazism, causing some on the radical right to abandon him but others to see him as the future face of white nationalism.
Not so long ago, as a student at Towson University in Maryland, Matthew Heimbach led a band of students on nighttime crime patrols targeting black-on-white crimes. He chalked the sidewalks with pro-white phrases like “White Guilt ends now.” His energetic activism quickly opened doors on the radical racist right, many of whose activists saw Heimbach as the face of the future for white nationalism.
He played the part, too. Precocious, erudite and garrulous, and prone to quoting obscure racist and nationalist tracts, Heimbach claimed his views were merely those of a traditional conservative, uninhibited by foolish youthful and liberal fantasies of multiculturalism.
But then he graduated, and something changed.
Pictures began appearing on the Internet. There was one showing Heimbach rallying with the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan at the invitation of leader Thom Robb, a pastor of the anti-Semitic theology of Christian Identity for whom Heimbach has “great respect.” In another, he stood side-by-side with members of the Aryan Terror Brigade and the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM). On Stormfront, the world’s largest white supremacist Web forum, Heimbach began posting under the name “MarylandFalangist,” a reference to the fascist movement that brought Spanish dictator Francisco Franco to power.
It was somewhat surprising, to say the least –– this wild dive into the depths of the radical right, especially for someone who tried so desperately to make his cause palatable to a broad range of college students. By his own admission, the last several months have been a tale of a personal “radicalization.”
In a series of remarkably candid interviews with the Intelligence Report, Heimbach described his quick descent into the most extreme wing of white nationalism, his fear that whites are now the target of a systematic genocide, and his refusal to condemn anyone standing in support of white power.
“I tried to be a kosher conservative. I really, really did. I gave it my all to try and just be a conservative in the beltway and work within these parameters,” Heimbach said during a four-hour dinner late last year at a restaurant not far from Paoli, Ind., where he now lives. “But I couldn’t do it. It was disingenuous to myself and what I saw as being the truth.”
That “truth” was simply that whites were under attack.
So, at 22, he went all in. After graduating last year from Towson University with a degree in history, he embraced all manner of racist, pro-white thought. He alienated himself from his family, gave serious consideration to the “the Jewish question,” and, at the same time, crisscrossed the country attending racist events despite claiming to have no benefactor and scant finances.
Heimbach’s path has seemed nothing short of a barnstorming, meteoric rise, at least in its initial stages. Some have compared his early ascent to that of David Duke, who as a student at Louisiana State University in the early 1970s first made headlines by dressing up as a Nazi but who also went on to win more than 600,000 votes in his unsuccessful but surprising 1990 run for governor of that state. On the racist right today, Heimbach is one of the most charismatic and energetic figures, raising eyebrows with an evolving level of activism that seems to know no bounds.
As he told the Report, “You need to take that plunge at some point if you want to have any forward motion. You’ve got to have people who are willing to risk the stigma to help push the dialogue forward.”
A Racist is Born
In many ways, it is Heimbach’s embrace of every manner of pro-white cause and faction that has cemented his popularity as an up-and-comer in some sectors of the radical right. But his ideas didn’t come from his family or friends.
Heimbach’s racism is self-taught.
Born to a family of moderate Catholics, Heimbach is the first to say he “wasn’t raised like this.” His father taught history at the local high school in Poolesville, Md., population 4,883, and his mother worked around the home. It was a bookish life, it seemed, and perhaps it’s no wonder that the birth of Heimbach’s racist views began with a particularly slanted reading list.
Yet while one might expect a copy of The Turner Diaries or Mein Kampf to be at the heart of a transformation from a conservative-leaning high school student active from a young age in GOP politics into what he is now, it was Pat Buchanan’s Death of the West — a milder white nationalist tract that insists non-white immigration is a threat to the American way — that he says opened his eyes. “You can’t read Buchanan and not understand it’s a white nationalist book,” he said.
Buchanan’s writings led Heimbach to increasingly virulent racist books and websites, including a formative period he spent reading VDARE.com, a racist anti-immigrant website “dedicated to preserving our historical unity as Americans into the 21st Century.”
Armed with those ideas, Heimbach enrolled at Montgomery College, a community college 30 miles from his hometown. There, he founded a chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), a traditionalist conservative and libertarian-leaning student activist group, and soon after he joined Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), a Southern heritage group with a neo-Confederate flavor. Together, they petitioned Poolesville for a public memorial for Confederate soldiers.
The next year, Heimbach transferred to Towson University and organized a chapter of Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), an ultraconservative student group favored by white nationalists, young and old. In its short tenure on campus, Heimbach’s group organized a “Straight Pride Day,” invited former Reagan staffer Bay Buchanan (author Pat Buchanan’s sister) to speak, demonstrated against Shariah law, and built an anti-communist nativity scene on campus.
The group came to national attention after its members, in the middle of the night, chalked phrases including “White Pride” and “It’s okay to be white” on sidewalks across campus. The incident was met with strong and vocal resistance from students, faculty and the Towson community.
“As a black student, those words scared and concerned me,” Kenan Herbert, at the time a senior at Towson and president of the Black Student Union, told The Baltimore Sun. “A lot of other students and I feel unsafe with this organization being on campus.’
Within a year, the YWC chapter collapsed after losing the support of its faculty advisor. The overriding feeling among Heimbach and his YWC compatriots — a feeling that lingers even now — was that they had been “thrown under the bus.” Shortly afterward, a mix of YWC members led by Heimbach re-channeled their efforts and formed the more openly radical White Student Union (WSU) on Towson’s campus. Often in front of media cameras, WSU members went on nighttime patrols looking for violence perpetrated by black people –– an idea that emerged from the right-wing logic that blacks are prone to violence against whites — but found no crime to prevent.
The WSU also sought to undercut the multiculturalism promoted by much of academia with a diet of radical readings. The group recommended that students read Francis Parker Yockey’s neo-Nazi classic Imperium, as well as Sam Francis’ Essential Writings on Race, Pat Buchanan’s Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive Until 2025? and Jared Taylor’s White Identity. But Heimbach and other members soon graduated, and the group foundered.
One telling detail did emerge from Heimbach’s WSU period that ultimately demonstrated how far his coming metamorphosis would take him.
In an essay he wrote then, titled “A Christian Manifesto” and published on the WSU’s website, Heimbach wrote: “It is easy to look superficially at Nazis and see things that most pro-white advocates like. The strong stance against communism, opposition to international banking, and a strong folk identity all seem to be very positive things. But we cannot be deceived as the German people were, for beneath these few agreed-upon notions, the National Socialists are wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
A year later, Heimbach would be standing with the wolves himself, celebrating the most horrific atrocities perpetrated by the Third Reich.
Crossing the Rubicon
Last Nov. 9, the National Socialist Movement held a rally in Kansas City, Mo., on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom that left more than 90 Jews dead and some 30,000 imprisoned in concentration camps. Members of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations attended, as did anti-Semite Craig Cobb, a man who has been vainly trying to build an all-white enclave in North Dakota (see story, p. 3). And there also, naturally, was Matthew Heimbach, now representing something called the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN).
The group was born last May when, faced with graduating leadership, the Towson WSU voted to fold itself into TYN and work to “indoctrinate” college students into the white nationalist cause.
With four public chapters now spread out between the United States and Canada — and another seven “shadow” chapters the group claims to have in secret locations — Heimbach and Matt Parrott, who helps runs the group, hope to engage white people everywhere. Heimbach envisions a future working across the spectrum of “white advocacy” groups for the expressed purpose of ensuring white survival.
“Even if the risks of picking up ‘stigma’ are as real as [imagined], our cause doesn’t have a choice,” Heimbach told the Report. “TradYouth is and always will be linked in white solidarity with the organizations which are doing good work on behalf of our folk.”
But that vaunted solidarity is tenuous at best, especially considering Heimbach and Parrott’s open frustration with other white nationalists who are quick to dismiss certain “white advocates” as too extreme. Heimbach describes as that kind of aversion to truly radical politics as simple “cowardice.”
According to Heimbach, that’s exactly what Michael Hill, president of the racist League of the South, did when he kicked Heimbach out of the neo-Confederate group last year for daring to stand with Nazis. A photo of him sieg-heiling with the Aryan Terror Brigade had just been made public.
In a Facebook posting, Hill wrote: “Matthew Heimbach, a former member of The League of the South, has apparently decided to cast his lot with Nazis and others who do not represent the traditional South, the Southern Nationalist movement, and The League of the South. … Neither he nor his friends will be welcome at our demonstrations.”
Heimbach laughed when asked about that ouster and said it was simply Hill having a “temper tantrum.” The group is sure to welcome him back, he claimed, especially as its base becomes increasingly populated with more militant and younger members. Hill, he said, is just being too careful.
“That form of Southern nationalism from a generation ago is a teenager who wants to get in their dad’s face. But when their dad gets out of his chair and reaches for his belt, he goes running into his room,” Heimbach said with a chortle. “It’s ridiculous. It’s reactionary.”
Hill isn’t the only leader on the radical right who seems to have concerns about the ratcheting up of Heimbach’s openly neo-Nazi rhetoric and activism. Jared Taylor, founder of the white nationalist New Century Foundation and editor of its American Renaissance magazine — a man who once saw Heimbach as the future of white nationalism — declined to comment on Heimbach’s trajectory, although he once held Heimbach in high public regard. Even Parrott, who runs TYN with Heimbach, told the Report that Heimbach’s ambition had not been without consequence. “He rose so fast. He didn’t kiss all the rings,” Parrott said. “I’ve run around and apologized to a lot of people, running interference for him.”
Out From Under the Bus
It is no overstatement that Heimbach sees himself as the future of the racist movement. And while he deflects the question when asked about comparisons to Duke, the neo-Nazi and one-time Klan leader, Heimbach clearly respects the former Louisiana state representative whose work he describes as “exciting.”
Both men’s early careers in the movement followed a similar trajectory, including “racial awakenings” as teenagers and activism on campuses aimed at radicalizing students. By the time they were in their early 20s, each had made appearances on national television as the young new face of racism.
What’s behind Heimbach’s rapid rise to national recognition and his frenetic wanderings over the landscape of the radical right? Is it simply unchecked ego, the bald ambition for fame or even infamy? Or perhaps it’s as some have surmised in online racist forums, that Heimbach is working undercover for the federal government or, worse, the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency — an allegation that Heimbach says he finds humorous.
If you ask Heimbach, his willingness to stand with Nazis and anti-Semites, hardened Aryan warriors and old-school academic racists, has nothing to do with being a double agent, but rather everything to do with the future of a movement.
Heimbach bizarrely claims his support of the white race has never been rooted in the hate of others. A lapsed Roman Catholic, he has adopted Orthodox Christianity as a justification for much of what he believes, which includes the separation of races. But he is also into spiritual warfare and the fear that demons walk among us. Last Halloween, he spent the entire day praying in seclusion.
In the twisted world of Heimbach’s ideology, separating the races is an expression of love, both of his own white “folk” and other groups. He thinks they should co-exist, equal but entirely separated.
“The targets of our messages are the very White American people [who] from their earlier memories [are taught] to find our message offensive, scary, and ‘mean,’” Heimbach wrote on the TYN blog. “Our message is a simple, obvious, and healthy message that would resonate intuitively were it not for a firewall of government, academic, and media brainwashing.’
The solution, Heimbach believes, depends on both the death of the Republican Party and a strident endorsement of so-called European heritage. In that regard, although he once volunteered for various conservative political campaigns, he now hopes to undermine mainstream Republican candidates in order to hand elections to their rivals in the Democratic Party.
Heimbach’s end game is to delegitimize the entire political system, which in recent years has threatened the place of white nationalism in conservative politics. And if that means attacking GOP politicians and even those in the racist movement, so be it, he says, even if that results in condemning white nationalists as “cowards” for failing to stand on the strength of their convictions.
“My position is we’re under the bus. There are enough of us under the bus. And if there are enough people under the bus, you can pick it up,” Heimbach said. At this point, he added, “It’s exist to resist.”
For more information on David Duke, see sp.lc/david-duke.