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Last updated 2/29/2024.

individuals stand wearing hats and faces covered, holding American flags


Patriot Front is a decentralized, United States-based white nationalist organization that aims to establish the United States as a white ethnostate. Operating within a neofascist worldview, the organization seeks to build a membership of “heritage Americans”—those born in America, of white European descent—to counter a perceived threat to their survival allegedly posed by minority populations. Adherents believe that the solution to this existential threat is a national and ethnic rebirth facilitated by Patriot Front members, premised on the idea of a mythic palingenesis through which a fascist American state is born. The organization was founded by Thomas Rousseau, who left his leadership position with the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America following the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA. Under Rousseau’s leadership, Patriot Front maintains a careful public image, with propaganda and public activity intentionally void of overt racism and hateful conduct. This is done in an effort to avoid the labels of “Nazi” and “white supremacist,” which Rousseau alleges attract negative publicity and government intervention. Instead, the organization places significant emphasis on professionalism, publicity, and membership growth. Patriot Front’s sanitized public image and propaganda allows for a wider reach to those who may be sympathetic to their worldview, while nevertheless acting as a funnel to more extreme organizations and ideologies through their online presence and organizational affiliations.


Patriot Front’s core ideological adherences manifest through adherences to neofascism, accelerationism, and Evolian Traditionalism. The organization primarily advocates for a nation-wide revolt against those who do not fit within its specific definition of American identity and its values; this includes individuals and groups that are not white, European, Christian, and heterosexual. These out-groups are believed to pose an existential threat to the survival of “true” (white) American citizens of European descent through their perceived occupation of power, influence, and land within the United States. Members consider the current American political system to be deteriorated beyond repair, and thus see themselves as the eventual executors of collective action against minority out-groups. Such action, intended to physically and politically “remove” these out-groups, is often discussed within the context of violent force. 

A core belief among Patriot Front adherents is the inevitable demise of the United States, with public communications insisting that present-day America will eventually fall. The organization’s rhetoric and propaganda indicate that the process of America’s degeneration will involve civil unrest and social clashes which will likely necessitate violent action against out-groups. The nation’s rebirth, during which it will emerge as a new, fascist state, is believed to be the responsibility of Patriot Front members and other white nationalists. This palingenetic patriotism is a central feature of the organization’s ideology. Unlike explicit accelerationist groups, Patriot Front does not consistently advocate for members’ use of violence to hasten this degeneration; however, the organization does encourage its members to physically train in preparation for impending violence. This indicates that Patriot Front holds an implicit adherence to accelerationism rather than explicit, likely as part of its effort to maintain a sanitized public image.

Patriot Front depicts members of its in-group who survive or otherwise participate in America’s eventual demise as having achieved a “warrior” ideal which equips them with a physical and spiritual superiority. This superiority, born of mens’ successful return to ideals of traditional masculinity during times of war, is a core theme within Evolian Traditionalism, another palingenetic ideological structure. Pioneered by philosopher Julius Evola, Evolian Traditionalism posits that the world is presently in an ongoing age of societal degeneration, known as the Kali Yuga, which will climax in an apocalyptic war and ultimately bring about the formation of a new, racial caste-based society. Such ideation is clearly stated within Patriot Front communications. On the topic of America’s degeneration and eventual demise, Patriot Front states: 

“The life of the average American will change during this transition…He will emerge on the other side of this great national upheaval as a new man; a stronger and more dedicated servant to his people; and, a staunch protector and defender of his family.”

Traditionalist texts, such as Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World, are referenced within Patriot Front’s recruitment interviews, with recruiters noting that prospective members’ knowledge of and familiarity with various texts by Evola are indicators of aligned ideology with the organization.


Patriot Front is closely affiliated with the Active Club network, a decentralized network of individually-formed organizations that are centered around the premise of a white supremacist brotherhood. Post-2020, this affiliation has deepened; regional Patriot Front chapters often coordinate with their local Active Club counterparts for public demonstrations and other in-person activities such as boxing tournaments. The two entities’ physical propaganda is often found alongside one another, reflecting coordinated propaganda dissemination activity. Online, their propaganda efforts likewise show a joint and reciprocal dynamic. This is by and large bidirectional, with Active Clubs posting propaganda featuring Patriot Front members and Patriot Front reposting Active Clubs content and propaganda in kind.

two images: militia members pose for a photo
Left: Patriot Front attending an Active Clubs fight club tournament; Right: Patriot Front and a regional Active Club on a joint canyoneering excursion. 


Achieving membership in Patriot Front is dependent on potential recruits’ ability to meet a number of specific criteria, ranging from ancestral lineage and nationality to ideological adherences and observed behavior. For instance, prospective members are required to present proof of being a natural-born American with at least 75% European ethnic lineage. Candidates from certain post-colonial nations, such as Canada, are eligible for admission on a case-by-case basis as single-generation assimilated Americans; however, if candidates demonstrate strong foreign accents or claim nationalities other than American, they are deemed unfit to join. Additionally, members must adhere to a white nationalist, neofascist, and accelerationist worldview and publicly conduct themselves according to detailed organizational standards. 

Equally important for sustained membership within Patriot Front is the continued avoidance of the organization’s many disqualifiers, enforced as non-negotiable expectations for prospective candidates and members alike. During the recruitment process, for instance, a candidate’s history of employment by law enforcement, as well as any recent charges of violent criminal activity, will result in a termination of the individual’s membership request. Prior or current employment with government-owned entities, including “public universities, political positions, postal service, etc.”, are similarly viewed as unacceptable. Following acceptance into Patriot Front, members are expected to refrain from using profanity and other inflammatory language (both online and in-person), engaging in Patriot Front activism under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, and discussing the acquisition, ownership, or use of firearms. Coded communications, dishonesty, deviance from Patriot Front rules, and collaborative activity with other “extra-organizational groups or individuals” can similarly result in an individual’s termination of membership. Promoting or suggesting illegal or violent activity is also prohibited. 

The recruitment process for entry into Patriot Front is extensive and thorough, as evidenced by leaked documents from 2022 detailing each step of the process. Upon requesting to join the organization, candidates are invited to attend formal interviews during which they are asked several pointed questions related to their ideological beliefs and journey, religious beliefs, history of criminal activity and substance abuse, and level of physical and mental health. This indicates that the organization holds a strong preference for members who possess very similar ideological adherences and behaviors. If a candidate is assessed to be a good fit, they are deemed Intermediates (individuals at the second stage of the recruitment process) and referred to a Network (chapter) for secondary interviews. During these interviews, which are conducted in public locations, candidates are expected to comply with cell phone inspections, a physical search, answer interview questions, and engage in activism activity (primarily stickering). One or more interviews of this sort may be required to ascertain whether the candidate is eligible for membership.  

Patriot Front maintains approximately nineteen Networks across the United States, each of which engage in physical propaganda dissemination activity (called “activism” in online communications). Notably, the Networks do not appear to adhere to a central standard for the frequency of this “activism”; while some Networks are praised multiple times a week for their propaganda dissemination activity, others are rarely discussed, if at all. Each Network is led by a Network Director, an individual responsible for coordinating and organizing in-person promotional activity as well as supervising the members of their Network. Within each Network, other roles of importance are assigned to dedicated members; for instance, leaked documents indicate that a Network’s Scribe documents its Network’s planned and committed activities, meetings, membership numbers, and Network, updates, while a Network’s Quartermaster keeps inventory of Patriot Front official gear and arranges transportation for all scheduled Network events. Notably, each position within Patriot Front is painstakingly detailed, with expectations and instructional documents provided for every position from interviewers to transportation drivers.

While difficult to obtain accurate estimations, Patriot Front promotional materials indicate that its membership appears to extend to residents of nearly every state in America. As of February 2024, Patriot Front’s official Telegram channel (also its central communication hub) maintains approximately 17,500 subscribers. This number demonstrates a significant increase in the Patriot Front’s popularity and relevance in recent years, with the organization maintaining approximately 14,000 Telegram subscribers in May of 2022 and just 2,500 in June of 2020. However, recent communications from disaffected Patriot Front members indicate that the organization may not be as large or successful as it appears. These members, some of which have gone on to create new, more ideologically extremist “chapters” of Patriot Front that deviate from the organization’s standards of conduct, explain that Patriot Front’s leadership is intentionally falsifying indications of significant membership growth. Per these members, this falsification is primarily accomplished through the use of fake accounts used to bolster follower counts on online platforms. 


Patriot Front prioritizes the dissemination of propaganda as a core feature of its organizational activity, with members required to participate in physical propaganda dissemination and attend public events as a condition of membership. According to self-reported statistics produced by the organization, Patriot Front members most commonly disseminate physical propaganda via stencil or mural placements (graffiti), banner drops over well-traveled locations, and sign placements. Physical gatherings of members in public locations, including training meets, group hikes, protests, and other social events are also common among members, likely in an effort to further advertise the organization’s presence. Less commonly, members engage in community service efforts, including litter clean-ups, disaster relief, and food drives. According to public-facing Patriot Front statistics, the organization engaged in 7,334 instances of physical propaganda and in-person activism in 2023, with the activity occurring most commonly in ten states: Virginia, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Connecticut, Wyoming, Tennessee, and Ohio.

two images. One image shows individuals standing in fighting stances. The other image depicts a sign with an octopus illustration below words
Online documentation of Patriot Front in-person training event (left) and physical propaganda (right).

Patriot Front’s online propaganda is a direct reflection of its physical propaganda, with photo and video documentation of its physical propaganda and members’ public activism comprising the vast majority of the organization’s online uploads. Telegram is the organization’s primary communications hub for announcements, updates, and propaganda advertisements. On the platform, uploads frequently document each Network’s contributions to the dissemination of physical propaganda or engagement in public activism. This dynamic is likely intended to encourage members to engage in friendly competition with other Networks, thereby ensuring that all Networks maintain a consistent level of propaganda output. Other Patriot Front accounts on other platforms, while lacking this dynamic, mirror the content uploaded to Telegram; the organization maintains a comprehensive website as well as alternative social media platforms to disseminate content also posted to Telegram.                                            

A core feature of Patriot Front’s propaganda and public activity is an intentional lack of profanity, violence, and crime. Additionally, the organization’s digital content is carefully structured to adhere to the rules and policies of the media platforms on which they maintain a presence. This behavior reflects the organization’s intent to avoid attracting law enforcement intervention, negative publicity, and online deplatforming. The organization’s strong emphasis on the dissemination of sanitized propaganda is indicative of its desire to market Patriot Front as a curated brand, through which Patriot Front is portrayed as a patriotic, community-focused organization seeking to reintegrate white supremacist American values into modern society.


Patriot Front members mostly refrain from engaging in violent activity as a general rule of conduct, though there have been exceptions. However, events since 2022 demonstrate that members engage more often in misdemeanor crimes such as vandalism and physical intimidation that have resulted in their arrest. Due to the recent time frame between the occurrence of these events and present-day, many of these cases are still ongoing.

On June 11, 2022, 31 members of Patriot Front were arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for attempting to disrupt a local Pride event. Authorities were alerted by a tip that a group of men were heading to the event in a U-Haul van, later finding planning documents indicating that the group intended to provoke the event attendees until a “confrontational dynamic had been established.” During the arrests, authorities recovered a smoke grenade. Group members were identified as members of Patriot Front by their Patriot Front-branded clothing and tactical gear. The 31 Patriot Front members arrested are currently being tried in separate groups due to the logistical difficulties of working with a large group in one courtroom. In July 2023, the first five Patriot Front members were convicted. The individuals, convicted of conspiracy to riot, included Devon Center, 24, of Arkansas; James Johnson, 37, of Washington; Forrest Rankin, 29, of Texas; Derek Smith, 25, of South Dakota; and Robert Whitted, 23, of Texas. Thomas Rousseau, the founder of Patriot Front, was among the arrested members currently facing trial. 

In another instance, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and partners filed suit against Patriot Front members on October 18, 2022 for vandalizing the mural of Arthur Ashe, a Black tennis legend, in Richmond, Virginia. In October 2021, Patriot Front members spray painted Ashe’s mural, filming themselves committing the act. The members of Patriot Front currently being sued include founder Thomas Rousseau and members Paul Gancarz, Nathan Noyce, and Thomas Dail. As of August 2023, the Patriot Front members have yet to respond to the suit, leading to them being recorded as defaulting in the case and exposing the members and the organization itself to potential damages. 

On July 2, 2022, Patriot Front carried out a flash demonstration and march in Boston along the historic Freedom Trail without a permit. Charles Murrell III, a Black educator and musician, encountered the group on the sidewalk on his way to the Boston Public Library and was physically assaulted and beaten. Murrell sustained several injuries and was taken by an ambulance to the hospital for treatment after the attack. As of August 2023, Murrell was engaged in a lawsuit against Patriot Front, Thomas Rousseau, and members involved in the attack. The group has carried out similar marches since then. In September 2022, Patriot Front organized a march of around 75 members through downtown Indianapolis. Smaller groups of Patriot Front members also demonstrated at LGBTQ+ events in Katy and San Antonio, Texas in 2022. In May 2023, around 150 members of Patriot Front marched through Washington, DC. In Austin, Texas, dozens of Patriot Front members launched a flash demonstration and march on July 10, 2023 without a permit. 


Ultimately, Patriot Front’s careful public branding, decentralized model, and non-explicit promotion of violence contribute to its continued survival in the face of law enforcement intervention and public scrutiny. The organization’s sanitized image attracts widespread sympathy from members of the general public who may find ideological similarities in a desire for an America with more traditional values and greater aspirations. Additionally, the organization’s branding allows for plausible deniability in the face of questioning by law enforcement or other investigative entities. Its decentralized structure provides an additional degree of protection for both members and the organization at large, with individual Networks able to be dissolved at will to avoid the legal processes often faced by traditional, hierarchical extremist groups. Patriot Front’s lack of emphasis on violence similarly protects members and the organization itself from investigation and legal battles. Nevertheless, its affiliation with the Active Club network positions the organization as a radicalization vector wherein members become increasingly adherent to extremist ideologies over time. 

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