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Battle of Sacramento

A prominent radical racist discusses recent street violence, the GOP convention and the future of white nationalism.

For the second time in four months, a California rally by racist radicals was met by anti-racist protesters, and the explosion of street violence that ensued left at least seven people suffering stab wounds, several of them in critical condition. The latest confrontation occurred on June 26 in Sacramento, where about 30 members of the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP) and the Golden State Skinheads were met by more than 300 counterprotesters as they arrived for a permitted rally outside the state Capitol. Matthew Heimbach, who heads the TWP and its sister Traditionalist Youth Network, told reporters that TWP members had armed themselves in advance with legal knives, and that one of his members and six of the anti-racist protesters were wounded and sent to the hospital. Although Heimbach blamed the group’s enemies for starting the violence, no charges had been leveled at press time.

Four months earlier, on Feb. 28, three anti-racist protesters were stabbed when a large crowd of them confronted six Klansmen getting out of a car for a “white lives matter” protest in Anaheim. Initially, police arrested both Klansmen and anti-racist protesters, but after reviewing videos said the Klansmen had acted in self-defense. In late June, seven anti-racist protesters were charged with various misdemeanors.

Heimbach was not at what he calls “the battle of Sacramento,” but he laid the blame for the violence there at the feet of the anti-racists. Still, Heimbach has his own violent background: In April, he was videotaped shoving a black University of Louisville student protesting a Donald Trump rally, and he was seen last year using an Orthodox cross as a weapon against another protester in Indiana. Heimbach has also rallied with the Aryan Terror Brigade and the Imperial Klans of America.

In the aftermath of the bloodshed in Sacramento — not to mention the June 12 murder of 49 people by an apparent Islamist radical in Orlando, Fla., the June 16 assassination of a pro-European British member of Parliament by an apparent neo-Nazi, and the white nationalist-backed June 23 vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union — the Intelligence Report spoke to Heimbach. Although much of what he said was self-serving, the interview offers a window into a key white nationalist’s thinking at a time when the radical right seems to be thriving.

What’s your view of the violence in Sacramento?

They [anti-racist protesters] showed up with weapons and attacked our guys in premeditated attempted murder. [Editor’s note: Heimbach told CNN that members of his group also came armed with legal knives.] I mean, the cops retrieved a gun from the scene that was knocked out of the hands of one of the antifascists. [Editor’s note: Police did report finding an abandoned loaded gun in the street, but at press time had not said who they believe it belonged to.] So when you’re bringing guns, you’re bringing knives, you’re bringing baseball bats, you’re bringing bottles -— you can watch the videos of them breaking off chunks of concrete [from a nearby construction site] to throw — that was premeditated.

What was the point of your demonstration?

This was a rally for freedom of speech, both for nationalists here and around the world. The fact that our free speech rally was attacked by the supposed forces of tolerance I think indicates the importance of rallies like this. We are solidifying a political movement to be able to advocate for our faith, our family, and our folk. That’s our primary objective.

This isn’t the first time you’ve been linked to violence. What’s going on?

These [anti-racist] forces talk about tolerance. They talk about freedom of expression. They talk about all these sorts of things. But there wouldn’t have been violence if they had not attacked us. If they had simply stood behind a police barricade they could have tried to drown out our message. They could have simply ignored us and held a rally for their own political agenda, and no one would have gotten hurt.

But they organized political terrorism in a premeditated fashion and brought deadly weapons to this event to try and stop our freedom of speech, to stop our freedom of assembly, our First Amendment rights, and to stop our message of nationalism. It seems to be a pretty clear-cut thing of attempted political intimidation and a violation of our civil rights.

There has been some debate about whether you are a “Nazi.” Are you?

That term is a slur that has been thrown around since the 1920s. It wasn’t even accurate then, let alone accurate to describe nationalists in America in the current year.

If we were to start discussing National Socialism, the Vietnamese regime identifies as a form of left-wing national socialism. The Venezuelan revolution is to a certain degree a form of National Socialism. The Bolivian revolution. The eastern Ukrainians that use the hammer and sickle are Social Nationalists. [Editor’s note: Virtually no mainstream historian agrees that these regimes are national socialist, or Nazi, although they arguably do have certain left-wing totalitarian features.]

I mean, that term, you guys throw it around so much, and it applies to both the left and right and center when it comes to taking care of your nation and your people. It cannot be defined simply by a 12-year period in Germany during the 20th century. It has more far-ranging geopolitical and economic applications.

Your groups have attracted a good bit of interest on the American racist right. After Sacramento, you were interviewed by former Klansman Don Black on Stormfront Radio. What did you hope to achieve in the interview?

Being invited on to discuss this issue I think is crucial to be able to promote white unity, to promote our movement, understanding that we have a political avenue to win political control in regions where we organize.

We need a mixed multimedia approach. We need to be able to do outreach through all these different forms — from music, to our shows, to our articles. But it also must be matched with organizing communities, providing community aid and organizing to run political races. It’s crucial we have a multifaceted approach.


You’ve said that some 30 members of the TWP plan to travel to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Why?

We’re planning to organize as the party, to be there, to spread our message to delegates, and to be the eyes and ears there [to defend against those who] have already said they’re going to burn the city down, they’re going to kill cops, they’re going to kill Trump supporters.

The radical left has already said in a premeditated fashion that they are going to bring violence. They are going to bring weapons and they are going to do political intimidation. So we want to be there as a protecting force, to say you will not intimidate us, you will not force us off of our position. We will stand for our political space and we will defend it within the limits of the law.

Donald Trump’s candidacy has electrified the white nationalist scene. What happens for your movement if he loses?

If Trump loses, if something were to happen at the convention, or if something were to happen in November, it’s not going to be because of the people [but because of a] betrayal by the Republican establishment that cares more about Wall Street donors and international interests than their own constituents.

I think it would be very clear in that case that it would be great for us. Because once people finally realize the Republican party is opposed to them, will mock them, and do everything against the things they voted for, then the only logical path for everyday working families is to be able to come to groups like the Traditionalist Worker Party.

What do you think of the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union?

It’s a great shot in the arm to be able to show that self-determination is popular again and that this sense of being opposed to globalism and supporting sovereignty is normal. If secession can happen peacefully with Britain leaving EU, and the majority of the people can support it when presented with a choice, then I think that is a great example for us in the United States. I think that the people will support this message of sovereignty and ending immigration and ending free trade agreements that hurt the working class and to be able to support our culture and retake control of our communities. It’s a great example for us in the United States on how multiculturalism and federal tyranny can be opposed peacefully and legally. σ