- Jennifer Roback
- Updated: 2:13, 12 Jun 2022
CONTROVERSIAL white supremacist and neo-fascist hate group Patriot Front first gained national attention in 2017.
What is Patriot Front?
Patriot Front is an American nationalist, white supremacist, and neo-fascist hate group.
The group was first founded in 2017, following the aftermath of the Unite the Right rally, as a split from the neo-Nazi organization Vanguard America.
According to Patriot Front’s manifesto, the group’s mission is to “return to the traditions and virtues of our forefathers.”
“Our people, born to this nation of our European race, must reforge themselves as a new collective capable of asserting our right to cultural independence,” the group’s website states.
31 tied to hate group charged with planning riot near Idaho Pride event – DYSTOPEKA.COMhttps://dystopeka.com/index.php/2022/06/12/31-tied-to-hate-group-charged-with-planning-riot-near-idaho-pride-event/
“The LIFE of this nation, unique among all others, will be defended.”
The group believes that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them and no one else, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Over the years, the group has been linked to several hate crimes and made headlines in June 2022 after 30 alleged members were arrested near a Pride event after being seen jumping into a Uhaul with masks and shields.
Who founded Patriot Front?
The controversial group is led by Texas leader Thomas Ryan Rousseau and national leader Dillion Hopper.
They were first associated with the group in August 2017 after they were seen speaking at a white supremacist rally in Austin.
Patriot Front flag
Patriot Front is led by Thomas Ryan Rousseau, who was a teenager at the time he founded the group. Rousseau had taken control of Vanguard America’s web and Discord server several weeks prior to the Unite the Right rally, which Rousseau had participated in as the leader of Vanguard America’s contingent. Following the bad press arising from the rally, Rousseau left Vanguard. He used the group’s domain name to form Patriot Front as an ostensibly new group, and recruit rally participants, although most of Patriot Front’s members were former Vanguard members. Rousseau has repeatedly been arrested for posting flyers and stickers which promote the group.
As with Vanguard America, Patriot Front supports a version of white-centered ideology compatible with the views of fascists across America, including themes such as closed borders and authoritarian government.
The group uses a combination of patriotic and historic imagery, such as a fasces surrounded by thirteen stars, and attention-grabbing techniques such as setting off smoke bombs during demonstrations and protests.
The group published a manifesto which contained passages including:
Those of foreign birth may occupy civil status within the lands occupied by the state, and they may even be dutiful citizens, yet they may not be American. Membership within the American nation is inherited through blood, not ink. Even those born in America may yet be foreign…Nationhood cannot be bestowed upon those who are not of the founding stock of our people, and those who do not share the common spirit that permeates our greater civilization, and the European diaspora…In order to survive as a culture, a heritage, and a way of being, our nation must learn that its collective interests are fighting against its collective threats of replacement and enslavement…The damage done to this nation and its people will not be fixed if every issue requires the approval and blessing from the dysfunctional American democratic system. Democracy has failed in this once great nation.
The group’s members comprise eight regional networks, and its recruitment is primarily done online. While the group focuses on distributing propaganda and condemning violence, experts on white supremacy point out that the core beliefs of the group undoubtedly promote violence.
A 2019 report by ProPublica estimated the group had about 300 members. As of 2021, Patriot Front had 42 chapters and was arguably the leading white supremacist group in the country, according to Cassie Miller of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC said Patriot Front was by far the most active white nationalist group in distributing flyers.
A sticker from the Patriot Front on a road sign in Portland, Connecticut
Patriot Front’s activities, such as distributing propaganda organizing demonstrations, or “doing miscellaneous acts of public service”, have been seen in at least 25 states. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) estimated the group generated 80% of the racist, antisemitic and other hateful propaganda messages tracked by the ADL in the U.S. during 2020. The ADL found that the volume of messages in 2020 was more than twice the level of 2019.
On July 28, 2018, Members of Patriot Front marched on an Occupy ICE protest in San Antonio, Texas. Roughly a dozen members led by Thomas Rousseau approached an encampment chanting “Strong nations, strong borders”. They filmed themselves vandalizing protestors’ tents and signs. No one was injured. 
On February 13, 2019, Patriot Front flyers were spotted in the East Boston section of Boston, Massachusetts. The flyers said “Keep America American”, “Better Dead Than Red”, and “Will Your Speech Be Hate Speech?” The flyers were denounced by Marty Walsh, the mayor of Boston. Two days later on February 15, three Patriot Front members were arrested for putting up the flyers and one of the men slapped a police officer’s hand when the officer was reaching for his identification via wallet. One was found to have a spring-loaded 5-inch (13 cm) knife and another was found to have a wood-handled trowel and brass knuckles. A lawyer for one of the men stated that this was an incident of “youthful stupidity” and he also stated that the three men met while playing on Xbox. The three men later appeared in court.
On Saturday, February 8, 2020, about 100 members of Patriot Front marched in Washington, D.C., along the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol grounds, and then headed north to a Walmart near Washington Union Station. The marchers were dressed in khakis, matching dark blue jackets with flag patches on the left sleeve, with hats, full white face masks, and dark sunglasses, and carried various modified versions of the American flag with the Patriot Front logo of a fasces in a circle of 13 stars replacing the normal 50 stars and differing numbers of red and white stripes.
In August 2020, three men were arrested after placing stickers on signs on the Parker County Courthouse lawn in Weatherford, Texas, according to arrest warrants. One of those arrested was Rousseau, the leader of Patriot Front. They were charged with criminal mischief, jailed on a $500 bond and released. Previously at the courthouse, protesters had demanded the removal of a Confederate statue, while counter-protesters defended the statue.
On January 29, 2021, a group of men wearing khaki pants, matching blue jackets with patches, and white face masks was seen marching on the National Mall toward the US Capitol carrying flags with Patriot Front symbolism.
On December 4, 2021, More than 100 members of Patriot Front held a rally in downtown Washington, D.C., chanting “reclaim America”, carrying flags and plastic shields, and wearing uniforms consisting of white gaiters, sunglasses, blue jackets, khaki pants, brown boots and hats; some wore plastic shinguards.
In June 2022, 31 members of Patriot Front were arrested when police stopped a U-Haul truck full of them near an LGBT Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. They were charged with conspiracy to riot. Rousseau was one of the members arrested. Almost all were from outside Idaho.
Leaked online chats
The Guardian reported on 28 January 2022 that more than 400 gigabytes of private Patriot Front chat logs on RocketChat had been obtained and published by Unicorn Riot, a left-wing nonprofit media organization. The logs reveal efforts to expand membership, with the founder Thomas Rousseau writing “We are absolutely desperate for new people. We’ve been in the 220’s to 230’s membership rut for nearly a full year”. The group can be seen attempting to inflate its numbers and importance, outlining plans to create fake social media accounts pretending to be bystanders to marches, and posting deceptive material on Twitter, Reddit and 4chan, as well as direct messaging traditional media outlets and rejoicing when it is mentioned in the news. The leaders frequently scold members for not participating in events.
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