Patriot Front is a white nationalist, white supremacist organization formed from the failure of another neo-Nazi group, Vanguard America. Its leader is Thomas Rousseau, who was just 19 years old at the time he founded the white supremacist organization in 2017.
Patriot Front is known for its white nationalist ideology cloaked in red, white, and blue patriotism. Patriot Front’s founder and leader is Thomas Ryan Rousseau—a paranoid, demanding, and self-avowed fascist pining to create a white ethnostate from a bedroom of his father’s house in Grapevine, Texas.
Patriot front is noted for its unannounced, middle of the night guerrilla marketing campaigns with smoke bombs and white gator masks that last a few minutes before they quickly disperse. They are obsessed with branding, imagery, and creating evergreen propaganda through theatrical performances that can be easily distributed for its chapters nationwide in order to spread messages of hate, xenophobia, and violent white nationalism under the façade of fraternity and patriotism.
PATRIOT FRONT MANIFESTO
The Patriot Front manifesto is a pathetically racist and fascist monologue laced with violent white nationalist, white supremacist, and neo-Nazi ideology.
“The American Identity was something uniquely forged in the struggle that our ancestors waged to survive in this new continent. … To be an American is to realize this identity and take up the national struggle upon one’s shoulders. Not simply by birth is one granted this title but by the degree to which he works and fulfills the potential of his birth.”
— Patriot Front manifesto.
“An African, for example, may have lived, worked, and even been classed as a citizen in America for centuries, yet he is not American. He is, as he likely prefers to be labelled, an African in America. The same rule applies to others who are not of the founding stock of our people as well as to those who do not share the common unconscious that permeates throughout our greater civilization, and the European diaspora.”
— Patriot Front manifesto.
“America our nation stands before an existential threat. The lives of your children, and your children’s children, and your prosperity beyond that, dangle above a den of vipers. A corrupt rootless, global, and tyrannical elite has usurped your democracy and turned it into a weapon, first to enslave and then to replace you.”
— University of Texas at Austin demonstration, November 3, 2017.
HOW PATRIOT FRONT WAS FORMED
Patriot Front is a white nationalist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi group that formed in the aftermath of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017. The organization broke off from the now defunct Vanguard America, another neo-Nazi group that participated in the chaotic demonstration.
As one of the leaders of Vanguard America, Thomas Rousseau, who was 19 years old at the time, attended the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2017, during which a man who marched with them, James Alex Fields, murdered counterprotester Heather Heyer with his car. Fields was convicted and sentenced to more than 400 years in prison. Rousseau didn’t think there was anything morally wrong with Fields murdering Heyer, rather he was concerned about how it made him look after being the one who had led the group.
“The statement never said that what he did was wrong…Again, we said nothing as to morality.” – Thomas Ryan Rousseau, Southern Front Discord chat leaks
Upset with optics and scared about public opinion in the fallout after Unite the Right, Rousseau created Patriot Front by splintering from Vanguard America, a now defunct neo-Nazi organization. The breakup was also the result of a months-long feud between him and Vanguard America’s leader Dillon Irizarry. In fact, when Rousseau formed Patriot Front he did it through a deceitfully forced digital coup d’état, taking not only his loyal supporters with him but also assuming complete control over Vanguard America’s Southern Front Discord chat server, as well as Vanguard America’s website. Rousseau made the announcement of the takeover less than three weeks after Unite the Right on the Southern Front Discord server:
“Due to the unwillingness to meet any semblance of a compromise to resolve ongoing disputes with disagreeing parties, we are rebranding and reorganizing as a new entity. Vanguard America, as you know it, will now be the ‘Patriots Front.’ … Our website is under construction, and will be back online via the same domain. Our focus will remain much the same, as will our overal [sic] goals, this restructuring will happen alongside the creation of an extended manifesto, and a top-down reform of the entity’s ranking system. … This change comes alongside many new visuals, and a new overall look. The new name was carefully chosen, as it serves several purposes. It can help inspire sympathy among those more inclined to fence-sitting, and can be easily justified to our ideaology [sic] and worldview. The original American patriots were nothing short of revolutionaries. The word patriot itself comes from the same root as paternal and patriarch. It means loyalty to something intrinsically based in blood.” Southern Front Discord chat leak
Rousseau’s conscious rebranding under the banner of Patriot Front was a direct consequence of “Unite the Right” organizers’ inability to control the rally’s presentation. Swastikas and other Nazi-era imagery was prominent among attendees who were also chanting slogans such as “Jews will not replace us.”
Patriot Front is one of a number of hate groups that seeks to appeal to mainstream, patriotic Americans by dressing up their neo-Nazi propaganda and rhetoric in Americana. This allows them to embrace neo-Nazi ideologies while providing a cover of plausible deniability.
LEAKED CHATS EXPOSE A NEO-NAZI EXTREMIST CELL
Leaked Southern Front Discord logs expose a neo-Nazi extremist cell and reveals how its leaders, such as Rousseau, talk to each other when they believe they are in private conversations and can openly express their extremist calls for violence in the name of white supremacy. These logs provide unique insight into the group’s internal dynamics and its relationships with other white supremacist organizations.
“Make a banner, go and do some violence training, make connections locally,” – Thomas Ryan Rousseau, Southern Front Discord chat leaks
We counted multiple instances of Rousseau (whose username is Thomas Ryan in the Discord leaks) engaging with known prominent neo-Nazis such as east Texan Robert Warren Ray “Azzmador” of Daily Stormer whose neo-Nazi cell played a major role in bringing out large numbers of neo-Nazis to Unite the Right. Ray is currently a fugitive on the run for the role he played in Charlottesville.
We also discovered dozens of neo-Nazi imagery which Rousseau often created himself, as well as racist and neo-Nazi ideologies posted by Rousseau in the leaked Southern Front Discord server chat logs. Here is a small sample of some of that imagery and messages all posted by Rousseau:
As reported by Unicorn Riot, Rousseau describes how his vision of an American white ethnostate would inevitably involve the forced removal of all black people. “We’re incompatible… either they have to go, or they get to go, depending on how willing they are,” and “…Africans still deserve a one way boat trip to Africa.”
Rousseau describes himself and his neo-Nazi organization, Patriot Front, as fascist. He uses patriotic American imagery in an attempt to provide cover and plausible deniability for being associated with Naziism.
“The American Identity belongs to a certain group of people,” Rousseau wrote in a chat, “and citizenship doesn’t change that.” He reiterated his “American fascist” approach to branding the group: “If anyone asks what we are, we’re Americans, and we’re fascists. In that order exactly.”
Patriot Front’s manifesto is reminiscent of the 1935 Nuremburg Race Laws which institutionalized many of the racial theories prevalent in Nazi ideology. The laws excluded German Jews from Reich citizenship and prohibited them from marrying or having sexual relations with persons of “German or related blood.” These were known as the “citizenship” and “blood” laws.
“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…Not simply by birth is one granted this title [of citizenship] but by the degree to which he works and fulfills the potential of his birth.” – Patriot Front Manifesto
Rousseau believes United States citizenship is only rightfully bestowed upon a specific group–white persons–through blood. Patriot Front limits membership to those of at least 80% white race and not currently in a mixed-race relationship.
In leaked audio chats, Patriot Front members openly talk of their ideal, all-white fascist state, in which “ethnostate rape gangs” would allow them to rape freely.
PF’s manifesto is also explicit in its exclusion of people of color from its conception of pan-European identity:
An African, for example, may have lived, worked, and even been classed as a citizen in America for centuries, yet he is not American. He is, as he likely prefers to be labelled, an African in America. The same rule applies to others who are not of the founding stock of our people as well as to those who do not share the common unconscious that permeates throughout our greater civilization, and the European diaspora.
Patriot Front frequently rants about “replacement populations,” meaning anyone who is not white living in the United States, immigrant or refugee, as a direct threat. Patriot Front accuses these vulnerable communities as a threat to their so-called pan-European (white) culture.
Patriot Front headquarters is located in the Dallas Fort Worth community of Grapevine, Texas in a residential neighborhood. The house is owned by Thomas Rousseau’s father, Chris Rousseau.
PATRIOT FRONT THEATRICS, VANDALISM, & PROPAGANDA
Patriot Front is well-known for its obsession with disseminating propaganda with manipulative branding. Patriot Front creates homemade propaganda under the guise of “activism” which manifests as choreographed protests, corny marches, anonymous postings of flyers, stickers, posters, graffiti, and banner drops, as well as orchestrated trash cleanups. The group often films themselves doing these acts to maximize racist propaganda value in order to easily spread their messages of hate, xenophobia, and violent white nationalism under the façade of fraternity and patriotism.
On July 28, 2018, roughly a dozen members of Patriot Front marched up to an “Occupy ICE” protest encampment in San Antonio, Texas chanting the racist slogan “Strong nations, strong borders” before filming themselves vandalizing the protesters’ tents and signs. Thomas Rousseau, who is based in Grapevine, Texas, was among the Patriot Front members filmed at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center where the encounter took place.
On November 3, 2017, around 30 members of Patriot Front gathered around a statue of George Washington on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin with torches and flares while Rousseau delivered a racist speech echoing the “14 words” common among white supremacists and neo-Nazis, stating, “America our nation stands before an existential threat. The lives of your children, and your children’s children, and your prosperity beyond that, dangle above a den of vipers. A corrupt, rootless, global, and tyrannical elite has usurped your democracy and turned it into a weapon, first to enslave and then to replace you.”
In a similar theatrical performance, members of Patriot Front besieged a group of Houston anarchists at a book fair at the Multicultural Education through the Arts community center on September 24, 2017. A group attending a seminar on “refusing fascism” titled “Punching Nazis” barricaded themselves in the building while masked members of Patriot Front and local affiliates of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer and the white nationalist radio network The Right Stuff lit flares and chanted outside the building.
On July 30, 2019, a small group of Patriot Front members, including Thomas Rousseau, held a theatrical performance outside Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio in Denton, Texas. They were recorded on video outside the establishment with flags and flares shouting incoherently, but quickly scattered like roaches into the night like they always do. Rubber Gloves was hosting the North Texas Anarchist Book Fair that day. On December 11, 2020, three Patriot Front members, including Rousseau, were recorded slapping their corny propaganda posters at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio.
On Saturday, February 8, 2020, approximately 100 members of Patriot Front held a choreographed march in Washington DC along the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol grounds, and then headed north ending at a local Walmart. Those marching all wore similar clothing: khaki colored dad pants, matching dark blue jackets with patches on the left sleeve, hats, completely white face masks, and dark sunglasses. They all carried modified versions of the United States flag with the Patriot Front logo of a fasces in a circle of 13 stars while shouting, “Reclaim America!” and “Life, liberty, victory!” MPD cops trailed and created a barrier between them and local anti-racists who shouted back at them, “Neo-Nazi!” and “Do not let these people into DC!” as they passed by. On January 29, 2021 a small group of Patriot Front members marched again in Washington DC from the National Mall towards the Capitol wearing similar clothing while carrying their fascist flags with the homemade Patriot Front logo. Patriot Front branding and theatrics has proven such a public failure that their spectacle in DC caused one reporter to ask, “Anyone know these guys are?”
On January 23, 2021, a group of Patriot Front members put on a choreographed show in Chicago in front of the Cook County building complete with colored smoke while carrying plastic shields affixed with Patriot Front bumper stickers and modified US flags. Some Patriot Front members hoisted up a cheap banner. Thomas Rousseau, leader and founder of Patriot Front, was seen barking into a megaphone while wearing a cowboy hat and giant belt buckle.
PATRIOT FRONT MEMBERS KEEP GETTING ARRESTED
Several of Patriot Front’s members have been arrested for violent crimes including attempted murder. In 2019, Patriot Front member William Henry Fears IV was sentenced to five years in prison for choking his former girlfriend. Fears also attended the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. A video from Unite the Right shows Fears yelling: “Shoot! Fire the first shot in the race war.”
William Fears was also arrested with two other men, Colton Fears and Tyler Tenbrink, in Florida on charges of attempted homicide for their roles in an altercation following a speech by white nationalist and neo-Nazi Richard Spencer at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The three men yelled, “Heil Hitler,” “I’m going to f—— kill you,” “kill them,” and “shoot them,” while driving by a group standing near a bus stop. This led to an altercation in which one of them, Tyler Tenbrink, fired a gun.
Colton Fears of Houston, Texas, also attended Unite the Right with his brother William Fears, was sentenced to 5 years in prison. He pled guilty to the charge of accessory after the fact to attempted first degree murder. Tenbrink was sentenced to 15 years in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Charges against William Fears were dropped and he was extradited to Texas to stand trial for choking his girlfriend.
Patriot Front member Jakub Zak of Illinois, was arrested for owning guns without a license and appears to have threatened a judge and a Jewish preschool for girls, according to leaked online chats.
On February 13, 2019, Patriot Front flyers were spotted in Boston, Massachusetts, in the Eastern section of the city. Two days later, three Patriot Front members were arrested for putting up the flyers. One man was found to be carrying a spring-loaded 5-inch knife and another had a wood-handled trowel and brass knuckles.
On August 2, 2020, three men were arrested after placing stickers on signs on the Parker County Courthouse lawn in Weatherford, Texas. According to arrest reports, one of those arrested was Rousseau, the leader of Patriot Front. The other two men arrested were Cameron Pruitt, 21, of Midway, Utah and Graham Jones Whitson, 29, of Grapevine, Texas. Graham listed the same address as Rousseau during the arrest. The three men were charged with criminal mischief, jailed on a $500 bond, and released. Previously at the Parker County Courthouse, protesters had demanded the removal of a Confederate statue, which made global headlines when video surfaced online showing racist counter-protesters attacking anti-racist protesters while local law enforcement refused to intervene.
THOMAS ROUSSEAU AND PATRIOT FRONT MEMBERSHIP
Patriot Front members have complained about Thomas Rousseau’s paranoia and obsession with control over every aspect of the organization. While Rousseau is preoccupied with operational security, several Patriot Front members have been exposed by antifascist researchers. Chat logs are frequently deleted and members scolded. Patriot Front has also been proven easy to infiltrate by both antifascists and law enforcement. Undercover antifascists who infiltrated the group last year describe one of their performative events meant to drum up new membership as a “complete failure” and said that “I thought a few guys might cry.”
Rousseau maintains strict control over Patriot Front. Members are barred from holding membership with any rival organization and must regularly engage in “activism” and theatrical stunts or risk getting kicked out. Members are often scolded in online discussions and chat logs are frequently deleted.
Patriot Front is one of a number of white nationalist, white supremacist groups that seeks to appeal to mainstream, patriotic Americans by dressing up their neo-Nazi propaganda and rhetoric in Americana. This allows them to embrace neo-Nazi ideologies while providing a cover of plausible deniability.