Over the last few years, antifascists have watched as a young new face has come from the “radical traditionalist” milieu. Matthew Heimbach, who is only 25 at this point, started by organizing a chapter of the ultra-conservative Youth for Western Civilization at Townson University before forming the White Student Union. After graduating he helped to form the Traditionalist Youth Network, which organized white nationalist “youths” on a range of cultural issues. He is closely associated with the usual suspects, including organizing with and speaking at the conferences of the League of the South, Council of Conservative Citizens, Stormfront, and the American Freedom Party. He began touring around the country, then around Europe, meeting with far-right groups, neo-Nazi skinheads, KKK locals, and nationalist parties. In a lot of ways, he is a sort of “jack of all fascism,” where he is bringing a Southern flare back to the “alt right.”
His fiery style, big smiles, and lack of a filter has also made him enemies, and not just of the anti-racist crowd. At the recent National Policy Institute conference, Heimbach was banned entry because of his publicly repulsive statements about homosexuality. The bright new face of nationalism is more friendly(which still isn’t very friendly) to queer people, and they did not want to insult the one gay speaker on their line-up. He still made it to DC to hang out with the crowd, but this was certainly a blow.
At the same moment, he was officially banned from entering the United Kingdom for his racist views, which he feigned glee over since it gave him some racist “street cred.” The letter the Homeland Department’s Theresa May said that he violated the Unacceptable Behavior Policy. His claims that homosexuality is a “deviant lifestyle” and needed re-education camps is what got him removed from both NPI and the Britain border, which says something about the level of reactionary he has become. His upcoming trip to England was to speak at a private Southport lunch event that is held by organizing white nationalists in the area, all of which have been confronted so thoroughly by Antifa that they have to hold their events in hiding. Heimbach has been challenged regularly by anti-fascist organizers in places like Bloomington, Indiana, which is right near the home he shares with his wife and her father.
It is not the first time that Heimbach has been kicked out of his own movement. In 2013 he was seen fist clenched at a National Socialist Movement event, smiling that dopey grin in front of an emblazoned swastika. This got him dropped from the League of the South temporarily, but he is now training to become their new director. After a confrontation with anti-racists where he used a large, wooden crucifix to savagely beat a protester, his Orthodox Church booted both him and his father-in-law, Matt Parrot. Conservative Orthodox Christianity is central to Heimbach’s identity, where he especially aligns himself with Eastern and Russian Orthodox churches that maintain support for regional nationalism, deep homophobia, and implicit anti-Semitism(though this is not monolithic in these Orthodox regions.).
Heimbach has steadily moved to the right over his time as an organizer for white nationalism. He started as a “patriot” type who was a strong supporter of Israel, yet today if you were to check his social media it would be filled with the most vile anti-Semitism and support for fascist killers. The Traditionalist Youth Network has just started an electoral wing, the Traditionalist Workers Party, which is surprising since Heimbach has stated over and over again that revolution is the only solution. This could be simply an attempt to gain a larger platform for street-based fascism, which was successful for the National Front and British National Party. None the less, Heimbach is one of the more successful targets for Anti-Fascist Action as he wears his hate on his sleeve yet acts as an entry point to the more “suit and tie” fascist organizations.