Skip to main content Accessibility

Trump, Sacramento, and the Future of White Nationalism: An Interview with Matthew Heimbach

A violent confrontation in Sacramento, Ca., on Sunday between members of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP), members of the Golden State Skins (GSS), and antifascist counter-protesters left a number of people hospitalized.

The scheduled protest, for which the TWP had secured a permit at the California State Capitol, immediately turned into a brawl and became yet another episode of political violence during this presidential election year. 

Today, Hatewatch reached out to Matthew Heimbach, the head of the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN) and the TWP, to get his perspective on what happened in Sacramento, Trump's candidacy, and the recent “Brexit” referendum where the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

Below is a selection from that interview:

What happened this weekend at your rally in Sacramento?

[The antifascist protesters] showed up with weapons and attacked our guys in premeditated attempted murder. I mean, the cops retrieved a gun from the scene that was knocked out of the hands of one of the antifascists. 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 to throw –– this was premeditated.

Why were you holding the rally?

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 a protest you’ve organized has turned violent, or that you’ve been linked to violence. Why is that?

These 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 since this weekend about whether you are a Nazi. Are you?

That term is a slur 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. 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.

Already, though, your groups TYN and TWP have attracted a good bit of interest on the racist right in the United States. This morning, you were interviewed by former Klansman Don Black on Stormfront Radio. What did you hope to achieve from 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.

Are you planning to attend the Republican National Convention next month in Cleveland?

We’re planning to organize as the party [TWP], to be there, to spread our message to delegates and to be the eyes and ears there [to observe 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.

As for the election, Trump’s candidacy has done much to energize white nationalists in the United States. What happens for your movement if Trump 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, [it will be 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 every day working families is to be able to come to groups like the Traditionalist Worker Party.

Lastly, as a southern nationalist and a white nationalist, what are your thoughts on the outcome of the United Kingdoms’ decision to leave the European Union (EU), what was known as the BREXIT vote?

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. 

Comments or suggestions? Send them to Have tips about the far right? Please email: Have documents you want to share? Please visit: Follow us on Twitter @Hatewatch.