The Patriot Front threat is a new strain of white nationalism in the United States. Recent public demonstrations from the group have rekindled a national conversation about the strength of white nationalist groups in a post-Trump America. Contrary to its predecessors, Patriot Front has a strong emphasis on image and branding, using propaganda and the concepts of brotherhood and patriotism as recruiting tools for primarily young white men. A recent hacktivist leak of Patriot Front’s internal communications, published by the organization Unicorn Riot, has exposed the group’s once secretive inner-workings to the mainstream public.
Key Judgement 1
It is highly likely Patriot Front will increase national recruitment over the next 12 months.
- Recently leaked internal communications within Patriot Front reveal the group’s current struggle to recruit new members. (source)
- The Patriot Front threat relies on propaganda and optics to project their image to the public and attract prospective recruits. Without a continuous growth in membership, the group’s ability to perform activism and further their goals faces limitations. Patriot Front members are constantly trying to find new members, and primarily target vulnerable young white men who show sympathy for their ideas and oppose left-wing political and social movements. Military personnel and veterans have strong ties to the group, with evidence showing 1 in 5 members being connected to the armed forces. (source)
- The recent Patriot Front leaks have likely set the group back in terms of its operations and capabilities. In order to preserve a forward momentum into the next 12 months, the group will have to increase national recruitment.
Key Judgement 2
It is likely Patriot Front will limit its public activism to self-organised marches at political and social demonstrations and conducting propaganda operations in local areas with the group’s presence over the next 12 months.
- Most of Patriot Front’s recent activity has been conducting propaganda operations in towns within the jurisdiction of regional networks.
- Patriot Front’s internal communications highlight the group’s emphasis on promoting propaganda. This propaganda comes as applying stickers across urban areas, posting signs in the ground near heavily trafficked intersections, and hanging large banners over freeway overpasses. They stencil each item with a shortened URL to the group’s main website, with some including slogans and quotes that promote Patriot Front values. Activists also steal left-wing oriented yard signs or political posters and deface them with Patriot Front messaging. (source)
- Propaganda is the most effective tool Patriot Front currently has. Recently leaked internal communications show local Patriot Front leaders ensuring members are actively conducting “local activism”. They use propaganda as both a recruitment tool and a way for the group to appear active in many areas. Despite that, a small group of members who travel between locations handle most of the propaganda operations.
Key Judgement 3
It is likely that Patriot Front will not be involved with public violence in the next 12 months.
- The preservation of a clean public image is one of Patriot Front’s most important values, and the group does not currently support members engaging in violent acts.
- Patriot Front’s public image is an attempt to separate it from other white nationalist groups. Regional groups often conduct hand-to-hand training and defensive shield tactics during local gatherings. This training is to prepare Patriot Front members for the potential violence they have faced from left-wing counter-protestors, as well to build discipline and order within the ranks. There have been no documented public Patriot Front events that involved the use of violence, and leadership encourages the members to abstain from bringing negative attention to the group through its activism.
- Patriot Front must abstain from violence to continue its recruiting efforts. Although the end-goals of the group–the establishment of a white ethno-state in America – carry violent connotations, Patriot Front is aware that they need strong membership before conducting future direct action. That does not negate the potential for lone wolf attacks committed by radicalized members, but the ethos of the organization does not currently affirm the use of violence as a means to achieve goals. (source)