Back in 2016, the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) was on the up. Its leader, Matthew Heimbach, was described by ThinkProgress as “the most important white supremacist of 2016” and as “the next David Duke” by the Washington Post. He and his followers dreamed of building a trans-Atlantic network of white supremacists and, eventually, a whites-only ethnostate.
In recent months, however, Heimbach has suffered a humiliating fall from grace. In March, he was arrested in Indiana and charged with battery stemming from a bizarre love triangle involving him, his mother-in-law, and his father-in-law.
Now, making matters worse for the TWP’s fractured remnants, a new series of leaks from white nationalist chat rooms has exposed the group’s ideology and intentions to the public. The leaks, obtained by the media collective Unicorn Riot, show how the group hoped and planned for large-scale violence, and puts its virulent brand of misogyny on full display.
After the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville last August — in which the TWP took part — members bragged on Discord about the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed after a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, as well as a police helicopter crash at the same event that left two officers dead.
“1 dead enemy, 35 injured & 2 dead cops is a win to any true revolutionary,” a user named “Harbinger of Hate” posted. “Fuck your optics…I’m here to fight a fucking war.”
TWP members were also pictured in several posts training with rifles and riot shields. At one point they described how they would build molotov cocktails to defend against anti-fascist counter-protesters.
TWP members also boasted of their close ties to Atomwaffen, a highly violent, decentralized neo-Nazi group with ties to at least five murders, which also plotted to blow up a nuclear facility near Miami. “Attomwaffen are good friends of ours,” Heimbach wrote on Discord last November. “Each one of us has their own jobs and duties.”
Another TWP referred to Atomwaffen as “my brothers” and said that he “enjoyed watching them.”
The chatroom servers were also, unsurprisingly, full of vitriolic contempt for women, especially about female counter-protesters in Kentucky (which, along with Ohio and Tennessee, was where most of TWP were based). TWP members would share Facebook and Tinder screenshots of women, joking about the “war brides” and “sex slaves” they’d be given in their white ethnostate, and fantasize about kidnapping and raping counter-protesters.
Heimbach’s fall from grace, however, has left the TWP in a state of disarray. After Heimbach assaulted TWP spokesman Matthew Parrott — Heimbach’s father-in-law — during a confrontation about an affair with his wife, Parrott told the Southern Poverty Law Center, “I’m done. I’m out. SPLC has won. Matt Parrott is out of the game. Y’all have a nice life.”
The question of what will happen to the TWP rank-and-file next remains up in the air. But as these latest chatroom logs show, it has a supply of angry, violent and virulently racist young men, ready to take up arms for any group willing to offer a similar version of Heimbach’s white ethnostate.