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The American Freedom Party began in the bowels of the white power skinhead scene nearly a decade ago and has morphed repeatedly into a catchall political party for old-school American white nationalists.

The group has its roots in Freedom 14, a California-based white power skinhead group named, in part, for the notorious “14 words” slogan of neo-Nazi and murderer, David Lane.

Members of Freedom 14 announced the creation of a new group, the Golden State Party (GSP), during a 2009 discussion on Don Black’s Stormfront website. The relationship between Freedom 14 and GSP was so close that the groups shared the same domain registrant and mailing address, according to the OC Weekly.

Known for handing out anti-immigrant leaflets, the formation of GSP attempted to push white nationalism into the mainstream by targeting nationally debated race-related issues.

When the Orange County Register revealed in 2009 that Freedom 14 activist and occasional Golden State Party spokesperson, Tyler Cole, had felony assault and weapons charges, the group abandoned the Golden State Party label. Freedom 14 members then formed American 3P, before changing the name again to American Third Position.

The group transformed its name again when Bill Johnson took over, changing it to the American Freedom Party.

When Cole suddenly passed away in April 2015, the American Freedom Party eulogized that,

“Tyler [Cole] was one of the early founders of California’s political group Freedom 14, Freedom 14 became American 3P, then American 3rd Position. Chairman Bill Johnson transformed it into a national party, American Freedom Party. Tyler was a perpetual activist for our cause and for the cause of European people.”

The “Third position” in the AFP precursor party moniker refers to an ideology that advances ethnic/racial nationalism as an alternative to both socialism and capitalism – the former criticized for egalitarian and multicultural goals and the later for placing profits and individualism over racial solidarity. National Socialism is such an ideology.

Boasting offices in six states, Croatia and Canada, the American Freedom Party has continued the racist politics of Freedom 14, declaring in its platform that,

“White Americans should push back!…We need a Nationalist Party interested in defending our borders, preserving our language and promoting our culture…Return to Americans their traditional right of freedom of association, including freedom in racial matters, along with the abolishment of all forms of government- and corporate-mandated racial discrimination and racial preferences, such as affirmative action, quotas, and all forms of ‘sensitivity training.’”

Despite the veneer given to American Freedom Party by the academics and lawyers involved in the group, AFP leaders and the speakers at its conference tie the group to a variety of white nationalist tendencies that includes advocates of racist paramilitarism and those who glorify racist violence.

The leadership of the American Freedom Party includes:

William Daniel Johnson, aka James O. Pace

American Freedom Party Chair William Daniel Johnson is a practicing corporate attorney based in Los Angeles, California and the principle of Johnson & Associates. In 1989 Johnson ran for the U.S. House seat vacated by Dick Cheney after his appointment as Secretary of Defense; in 2008 he ran for a seat on the Los Angeles Superior Court. He failed both times. For a short period in 2016, Johnson was on the delegate list for Donald Trump.

Johnson connects the AFP to a long history of white nationalist politicking. In 1985, under the pseudonym “James O. Pace,” Johnson wrote the book Amendment to the Constitution: Averting the Decline and Fall of America. Arguing that the United States should return “the citizenship status of nonwhites to that of the Dred Scott era,” Johnson offered a Constitutional amendment stating that, “No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro blood.” Dred Scott v Sandford (1857) is the infamous Supreme Court decision in which Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote that the “African race” had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.” Johnson’s proposed amendment also declared that no one could be a citizen with “more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Maly or other non-European or nonwhite blood.”

Johnson’s book drew praised from the likes of Richard Butler, the now-deceased head of the neo-Nazi Church of Jesus Christ Christian-Aryan Nations that helped birth the terrorist underground, The Order, in the mid-1980s.  Johnson also ties the AFP to the failed March conference at MSU, serving on the board of the Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas (FMI) that had sponsored the event.

Kevin MacDonald

 American Freedom Party board member Kevin MacDonald is a onetime psychology professor at California State University, Long Beach. McDonald is also an editor of the white nationalist Occidental Dissent; white nationalist Richard Spencer has promoted Kevin MacDonald as a “thinker” on things Jewish. McDonald argues that Jews are driven to destroy western societies, writing in his book The Culture of Critique, that,

“Since the 1960s a hostile, adversary elite has emerged to dominate intellectual and political debate. It is an elite that almost instinctively loathes the traditional institutions of European-American culture: its religion, its customs, its manners, and its sexual attitudes… This ‘hostile elite’ is fundamentally a Jewish-dominated elite…The emergence of this hostile elite is an aspect of ethnic competition between Jews and non-Jews and its effect will be a long-term decline in the hegemony of European peoples in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.”

In the July 23, 2011 Occidental Observer, MacDonald wrote of Anders Brevik that “it must be said that he is a serious political thinker with a great many insights and some good practical ideas on strategy (e.g., developing culturally conservative media, gaining control of NGOs. and developing youth organizations that will confront the Marxist street thugs).” MacDonald continued that Brevik “is certainly right in characterizing multiculturalism as an ideology of hate.” Anders Brevik is the racist who the day before MacDonald’s article had massacred seventy-seven people at a Norwegian Labor Party Youth League summer camp. Of Brevik’s mass murder, MacDonald wrote,

“It remains to be seen what the long term effect of his [Brevik] actions will be. There is certainly great revulsion at the murder of young people. However, I suppose it is possible that in the long run European elites will understand that the glorious multicultural future will not be attained without a great deal of bloodletting (including themselves and, as in this case, their children) and realize they will have to change their ways.”

During MacDonald’s tenure as faculty at CSULB a majority of faculty in the Psychology Department issued a statement that “Faculty were particularly concerned that Dr. MacDonald’s research on Jewish culture does not adhere to the Department’s explicitly stated values on academic freedom, responsibility in research, and human diversity.” They continued that, “many of these writings have appeared in other media rather than in psychological journals that require peer review and rigorous scientific and psychological methodology.” As a result, “the department wishes to dissociate itself from the controversial writings of Dr. Kevin MacDonald…[and] we affirm that they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the Department of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach.”

Tomislav “Tom” Sunic

Another AFP leader is Tom Sunic. Boasting a Ph.D from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Tomislav Sunic occupies a niche as a white nationalist “intellectual,” radio broadcaster and proponent of the “spiritual” approach to race along the lines advocated by fascist “intellectual” Julius Evola.

In Sunic’s words,

“One could…suggest that in order to preserve their true identity White Europeans and White Americans must first resurrect their common cultural and racial awareness…American sociobiologists can be helpful in formulating the view that racial and ethnic identities are an integral aspect of human nature. However, first and foremost the meaning of race should be re-evaluated. Race is not just a biological phenomenon: it also has spiritual implications. The metaphysical base of the race should come first, as Julius Evola argues…The common racial heredity of White Americans and Europeans appears as the only valid factor in the identity-building process. It cannot be changed at will. One can change his ideology, his language, his theology, his favorite football team and his geographic location. But a person cannot change his genetic heritage. However, as Evola wrote, to consider genetic heritage or the race factor as the only hallmark of identity boils down to biological determinism and is unlikely to generate strong emotions of loyalty. This is particularly true with many White nationalists in America, who focus too often on the anthropological aspect of race — the physical phenotype — while neglecting the spiritual part of race. The resurrection of identity among White Europeans and Americans in a broader racially spiritual way appears as the only valid answer.”

For his “spiritual” contributions, former Knights of the Ku Klux Klan leader Thom Robb referred to Sunic a “good friend” who helped sponsor his 2010 “European/American Heritage Festival” in Pulaski, Tennessee. In 2008 Robb wrote that he had a “wonderful visit” with Sunic at the Council of Conservative Citizens annual conference in Sheffield, Alabama. According to Robb, attendees also included Don Black of Stormfront and Ed Fields, the virulent racist who formerly produced the vulgar Truth at Last tabloid.

Sunic has also hosted a radio show on the Voice of Reason, interviewing a wide range of white nationalists. Sunic’s guests and topics have included, Kevin MacDonald on “Jewish Psychology;” a show dedicated to the “The American Third Position Party – The Hope of Our Future?;” reporting on the 2012 AFP presidential bid by Merlin Miller and running mate, Virginia Abernethy; and an interview with  Thom Robb on “the Theology of Christian Identity.” Christian Identity holds that whites are the actual Isaelites of the Bible, Jews descend from Satan and people of color are a pre-Adamic (before Adam) and inferior “mud race.”  Sunic also gave a radio platform to neo-Nazi Harold Covington, Michael Hill of the League of the South, Mark Weber of the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review, and white nationalist Greg Johnson, then of the Occidental Quarterly and now at Counter-Currents publishing.

On the issue of anti-Semitism, Sunic wrote in 2012 that,

“While it is a common place for the vast number of white American elites to crack jokes in private about Mexicans, Africans, or for that matter deride their fellow Gentile citizens, without looking over their shoulder, a critical comment about the staggering influence of Jews in America, even when that comment is founded on empirical facts, is viewed as a grave insult to Jews… While a great many thinkers in America unabashedly challenge modern myths and sport staggering erudition and courage in their demolition, the most sensitive point of reference in the twentieth century, i.e., the Jewish question, is carefully avoided. If the subject of Jews is mentioned in America, then it is usually in a laudatory fashion, which clearly points to a morbid desire of postmodern American white elites to curry favor with the Jews… It is the lack of open discussion about the topic of the Jews that confirms how Jews play a crucial role in American conscience building, and by extension, in the entire West… Hypothetically speaking, if Jews, by some miracle, were to play a marginal role in America – as they claim they do – then, logically, they would be the subject of a normal critical discussion, just like other American ethnic groups, races, or next door neighbors are…American anti-Semitic delusions only provide legitimacy to American Jews in their constant search for a real or surreal anti-Semitic boogieman around the corner. Without the specter of anti-Semitism, Jews would likely assimilate quickly and hence disappear.”

Virginia Abernethy

Virginia Abernethy continues to be listed as a Director of the American Freedom Party. Abernethy retired in 1996 from Vanderbilt University where she had served as a professor of anthropology and psychiatry. Abernethy served as the 2012 Vice-Presidential candidate of the American Third Position Party, later the American Freedom Party. In response to a 2012 USA Today article about her ties to organized racism, Abernethy responded,

“It is factually untrue that I am a supremacist. I am an ethnic separatist, which means respecting preferences to be with whomever one wishes. I have no objection to campus African-American groups, B’nai B’rith, La Raza or countless others. What I see, however, is that Christian and European-American groups—and only these groups—are targeted for discrimination…It is factually untrue that I am a neo-Nazi, or that people with whom I associate are neo-Nazis. They are American patriots… Kathy McKee is the Arizonan who started and saw through to a successful ballot conclusion Proposition 200. Well into the initiative process in 2004, she asked me to speak with the overseas media, which I was pleased to do. I hope I helped…

American3rd Position is a new Party and one that may draw support from Americans who feel unrepresented by the major Parties…A3P is pro-American, which means representing the values of the majority of Americans and defending European-Americans from being cast as the destroyers of society. European-Americans are historically, and are still, builders. European-Americans are on track to becoming a numerical minority in the United States. This trend can be reversed by stopping mass immigration and a conscious coming together of like-minded men and women.”

In the above passage, Abernethy highlights her involvement with Protect Arizona Now, the group behind the 2004 Proposition 200 which required that individuals provide citizenship documents before being able to vote. Abernethy served as the Chair of the group’s National Advisory Board. In 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the proposition requiring proof of citizenship for those using a federal registration form to vote.  Abernethy’s runningmate, Merle Miller, stated that criticism of Abernethy was driven by “Zionist power background, including the mainstream media, which is controlled by Zionist influences in my opinion” – that is, by Jews.

In addition to fronting for A3P, Abernethy previously served as an editorial adviser for the Council of Conservative Citizens, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. She remains listed on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Occidental Quarterly under Editor Kevin MacDonald and alongside the AFP’s Tom Sunic. Abernethy has also played a leadership role in anti-immigrant groups, currently serving on the National Board of Advisors of the Carrying Capacity Network, a group that issued a May 2018 Action Alert declaring, that

“In the caravan now piled up against the US’s border walls, (and in Sanctuary cities) [Jean] Raspail’s Camp of the Saints is coming to the USA!  His chillingly prophetic 1973 novel about a huge armada of ‘refugees’ from the Third World invading Europe is being realized both in Europe and here in the USA NOW.”

Raspail’s notoriously racist book depicts the destruction of Europe by brown-skinned refugees.

Adrian Krieg

Adrian Krieg is listed as a Director of the American Freedom Party. The AFP site describes the Swiss-born Krieg as having a Ph.D in Manufacturing Science. Krieg’s AFP biography also states that he serves on the editorial board of the Nationalist Times, the publication of the American Freedom Union, formerly the American Nationalist Union.

Don Wassall is the Executive Director of the American Freedom Union and is also listed as an AFP director. As the AFP page describes, Wassall was the Executive Director of the Populist Party of American from 1987 to 1995, managing the presidential campaigns of neo-Nazi David Duke in 1988 and Christian Identity adherent James “Bo” Gritz in 1992. The Populist Party was founded in 1984 by Willis Carto as a vehicle for various white nationalists, including neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan groups, Christian Identity believers and so-called Christian Patriots. The party’s first national chair was Mississippi Klan leader Robert Weems. Wassall wrestled the party away from Willis Carto in 1992. Christian Patriots promote a white Christian republic and the overturn of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

In the Nationalist Times, Adrian Krieg wrote,

“There exists within our society the predisposition by the ruling regime to articulate gender, race, personal preferences as well as differing social and societal groups as being equal. This is a total communist lie that has no credence in reality. Gender equality is the first issue; it is mostly pushed by the feminist movement, the leadership of which in large part consists of Jewish women…Race equality is a complete repudiation of history and that is why the communists so openly oppose Southern historic monuments and have succeeded in destroying accurate history as a subject in public education…Conversely, the promoted equality of races is ludicrous; Chinese and White societies attained the Bronze Age 5,300 years before the Blacks of Africa, who learned it from the Islamic invasion of Africa. The variance in intelligence (as documented by prominent authors such as Rushton, Francis, Garrett, Murray, and Lynn) between races is huge and indisputable.”

Kreig also wrote in the Nationalist Times that,

“It saddens me that many of our countrymen have succumbed to the free trade lie that permeates every Jewish news source in America. Indeed we live in a world controlled by a Jewish media and a society whose members, thanks to modern education, seem totally incapable of thinking for themselves.”

Chuck Tanner

Author Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner is an Advisory Board member and researcher for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. He lives in Washington State where he researches and works to counter white nationalism and the anti-Indian and other far right social movements.

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