MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released the following statement from Jeff Tischauser, senior research analyst with the organization’s Intelligence Project, as trials get underway for Patriot Front members arrested near an Idaho Pride event in June. Over the past several years, SPLC’s Hatewatch investigations have exposed how the group has created a strong organizational brand to recruit and spread racist propaganda.
“Patriot Front presents a clear and serious threat to public safety, specifically Black and Brown people and members of the LGBTQ community. Any claims that they are non-violent are in direct opposition to a great deal of evidence, including their own stated goals and words.
“Their goal is to create a whites-only nation. The group’s founder, Thomas Rousseau, and other high-profile members have violent backgrounds. They specifically recruit individuals who claim military experience. Their action not only put communities at risk, but also have led to serious injuries and death for its members.
“While law enforcement in Idaho helped prevent more serious actions, it is part of an alarming pattern by the group. Members have intensified their posting of racist propaganda and continue to hold permit-less marches that are aimed at creating fear and recruiting young men. This year the group has held marches in five cities including Boston, where, just weeks after the Idaho arrests, at least 100 masked and uniformed Patriot Front members paraded through downtown.
“These trials are an important step in both holding these members accountable and addressing the growing threat of Patriot Front and other hard-right extremist groups. Beyond legal accountability, we hope this case is a reminder to community leaders, media, parents and elected officials that hard-right extremists can be no longer minimized or ignored.”
Background on the group:
Since its inception in 2017, the SPLC has closely monitored the activities of Patriot Front, which is a white nationalist hate group that broke off from Vanguard America in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The SPLC has compiled files on Patriot Front and its founder Thomas Rousseau, detailing the group’s expansion across multiple states.
Founder Thomas Rousseau: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/thomas-rousseau
Additional important reporting on the group:
One in Five Patriot Front Applicants Claim Military Ties
Media2Rise Propagandist Identified as Montana Neo Nazi
Patriot Front leader involved in Fatal Utah Car Crash (includes members on trial in Idaho)
White Nationalists Linked to Accused St. Louis Mural Vandal Identified (includes members on trial in Idaho)
Patriot Front Propaganda Stunt Ends in Failure, Arrests
Patriot Front Member Jailed in Texas Following Idaho Arrest (includes member on trial in Idaho)
Patriot Front Replaces Lawyer of Choice with Extremist