Share

Patriot Front March in Nashville: What We Know


Members of the Patriot Front were seen marching through Nashville, Tennessee, on Independence Day.

The group has a reputation for being far-right and is an offshoot of the Vanguard America group associated with the infamous “Unite the Right” Charlottesville, Virginia, rally in 2017 and has been branded as white-supremacist, something founder Thomas Rousseau denies.

At the 2017 rally, James Alex Fields Jr. deliberately rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters around half a mile from the rally site, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 35 people.

No known arrests were made during the July 4 march and no reported violence took place.

Newsweek has contacted the Metro Nashville Police via its press email address for confirmation and more information.

What Happened on Independence Day?

Footage posted online shows men, estimated by witnesses to number between 100 and 200, marching in a military-style demonstration.

They wore navy shirts, brown or beige cargo trousers, white face coverings, sunglasses and beige caps.

Most can be seen carrying the American flag, while some are shown holding confederate flags and others sporting shields.

At different points, they walk to the sound of their members drumming, rock music blaring from speakers and chants which include, “Reclaim America.”

One clip, posted on the Telegram group Patriot Front Sightings, showed a man making a speech into a megaphone with people standing to attention behind him.

He says: “We lay ultimate claim to the pride of our mighty nation’s legacy—because without the race of men that built America, without the ironclad resolve of our ancestors, there would be no America.

“We are heirs to an expensive and continental homeland purchased with immeasurable sacrifice.

“The most natural of human truth, the pride of one’s home, the instinct of who he is, nationalism is natural, patriotism is inevitable.”

A video of the full speech shows the man also saying the group “reject(s) the politicians who perpetuate the invasion of our country” and “any and every influence in this land that is not of this land.”

What Is the Patriot Front and Is It a White Supremacist Group?

The Patriot Front was founded by Rousseau, who used to be a member of Vanguard America (VA).

It is the same group Fields Jr. was a member of when he drove into a group of counter protesters during the Charlottesville rally, killing Heyer and injuring many more.

Rousseau split from VA and created the Patriot Front, which describes itself as “a voice for the common man.”

On its website, it says its members “take to the public space with stickers, flyers, posters, banners (and) demonstrations” and “to promote patriotic politics, and combat anti-national messaging.”

Thomas Rousseau
Thomas Rousseau, founder of the Patriot Front leads a group of supporters in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2022. The group was seen marching in Nashville, Tennessee, on Independence Day.

AP

It also promotes community work, including food drives and disaster relief efforts, as well as promotions to “encourage a new lifestyle of national service and social virtues.”

Members take part in group exercises, including martial arts, and attend workshops and read literature to harness “a tradition of revolution.”

A number of organizations and people have called Patriot Front white supremacist and fascist, including the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which focuses on civil rights.

SPLC writes that the “Patriot Front is an image-obsessed organization that rehabilitated the explicitly fascist agenda of Vanguard America with garish patriotism.”

The organization cites the Patriot Front’s own manifesto, which includes the following statement: “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 labeled, 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.”

In May, Rousseau was interviewed on Patrick Bet-David’s PBD Podcast and asked whether he considers himself a white supremacist.

He answered: “I would not, because I don’t believe that the world needs to be put into a hierarchy of nation over nation or race over race.”

Rousseau went on to say he believes in “nation states” and has a problem with imperialism, which he argues is happening by “taking people from other countries and bringing them here.”

Theories About the Patriot Front

Multiple conservatives have claimed that the Patriot Front is not a real right-wing group, with podcaster Joe Rogan previously suggesting they may be federal agents in disguise.

In 2022, he said: “They just pop up outta nowhere with the same sized flags, the same outfits, goose-stepping—in an orderly line? Who organized this? I’m calling b*******”

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene had similar thoughts, saying they “march around in their stupid masks.”

Utah Senator Mike Lee said after the weekend: “I’ve never heard of this group. Any chance this is a false flag operation?

“I’d love to know—does anyone out there know anyone who is part of this group? Has anyone ever heard of it?”

He went on to question the group’s uniformity, saying it “hardly has the feel of a grassroots, patriotic group.”

Fact-checking site Snopes has dismissed these remarks, writing in 2017: “Far from being an ‘unknown’ entity that suspiciously materialized out of nowhere in December 2021, both Patriot Front and Rousseau have been the subject of monitoring and news coverage since that time. The Anti-Defamation League, for example, has kept a public file on the group for at least three and a half years.”