On the evening of March 1st, 2016, Augustus Sol Invictus made a disastrous attempt to quietly pass through Portland on his campaign trail, hoping to “meet and greet” fellow neo-fascists in our city.
Augustus Invictus is a self-proclaimed “American Fascist.” He is a lawyer and senatorial candidate from Florida, running as a Libertarian despite the Florida party chairman quitting in protest of Invictus’ candidacy. Invictus’ campaign logo incorporates the fasces, which was used as the symbol of Italian Fascism.
As a lawyer, Invictus represented white supremacist Marcus Faella of the American Front, working on Faella’s appeal for his conviction on two counts of teaching and conducting paramilitary training with the intention of starting a race war. While defense lawyers typically have all sorts of clients, Invictus writes about the white supremacist Faella as being “my friend” on the Invictus for Senate website. In fact, on February 27th of this year Invictus spoke at an American Front gathering in Washington state.
Invictus claims to no longer be an advocate for the racist “science” of eugenics, stating that he no longer believes in a pro-eugenics paper he published while in law school and has changed his mind. However the Invictus for Senate website still lists the following as a major “failing” of the federal government:
“It has abandoned its eugenics programs & elitist mindset in favor of a decadent ideology that rejects the beauty of strength and demands the exponential growth of the weakest, the least intelligent, and the most diseased.”
Invictus’ writings are frequently xenophobic and contain far-Right themes. Take for example the following from Invictus’ “A Letter to the People of Europe” from earlier this year:
“All of Europe is in existential danger. A disease has slowly but surely been spreading throughout our ancestral lands for the past several generations, and we are now seeing the boils come to the surface: mass immigration of Arabs and Africans; the criminality of criticizing the Zionists or of questioning the official account of the Holocaust; entire cities of parasites defying assimilation into their host countries; […] your shores and streets flooded with the unwashed rabble of the foreign lands your ancestors once conquered.”
Invictus frequently appears on far-Right and fascist websites to spread his message, for example, being interviewed on the racist and antisemitic “Red Ice Radio” show. (Invictus denies accusations of racism, citing his four Hispanic children as proof that he cannot possibly be racist.) Invictus sees himself as part of the broader “alternative right,” writing: “I would say that the alternative right or the Nouvelle Droit [sic, Droite] or whatever you want to call it is certainly making headway in America, and I think it’s about time.”
Augustus Invictus in Portland
While visiting Portland, Invictus spent time with another figure of the “alternative right,” Jack Donovan. Donovan is a gay man who argues for male “tribalism” but against a homosexual movement he believes to be leftist and effeminate. Donovon moves in fascist and “alt. right” circles, for example, being a speaker at the October 2015 National Policy Institute white nationalist conference in Washington DC. According to Facebook, the two not only met and discussed, but Donovan “tattooed the [fasces-incorporating] campaign logo on [Invictus’] back.
Fasces tattoo done by Jack Donovan
Invictus also announced on his Facebook page that he intended to host an informal meeting somewhere in the Alberta Arts district of Portland, and that he would announce the location closer to the time of the meeting. A number of Northwest far-Rightists expressed interest in attending, including a set of white power boneheads from Olympia. In addition, recently-released Oregon synagogue attacker Jacob Laskey (who is trying to revive the American Front here in Oregon) had been discussing Augustus Invictus in the days prior to the Portland visit, so we thought it possible that Laskey would also show. (In the end Laskey did not attend, but after the fact Laskey volunteered to provide American Front “security” for any future visits by Invictus.)
From esoteric neo-Folk style cultural fascism, to more traditional ultra-conservative neo-fascists trying to break into mainstream politics, to neo-Nazi boneheads, Augustus Invictus has a following that creates considerable opportunities for neo-fascist networking. Rose City Antifascists were not about to let that networking happen in our town.
Fortunately, Augustus Invictus forgot to charge his phone so that he could promptly communicate where he was going to his supporters, and consequently he did not tell people until well after 8PM that his followers should gather at The Radio Room bar on NE Alberta. If this phone delay had not happened it is likely many more local white supremacists would have turned out. Rose City Antifa and local allies had been monitoring Invictus’ speaking tour closely and word spread immediately that people should mobilize to northeast Portland and shut the meet & greet down.
The Radio Room, unaware of Invictus’ intent to host a fascist gathering in their establishment, came under immediate pressure from anti-racists calling in to inform them of the gathering. Rarely does a phone jam produce such quick results, and we commend the bartenders on duty at the Radio Room who immediately kicked Invictus out, refusing to associate the establishment with fascist organizing.
With his original plans thwarted, Invictus and the small party who actually showed up to his event immediately moved next door to the Bye and Bye bar. (Unfortunately, due to some miscommunication antifascists did not get to say “hello” to Invictus at this point.) While Invictus and his followers cowered inside the Bye and Bye, antifascists converged on the area in increasing numbers in response to the public call out.
Unlike the Radio Room, the Bye and Bye refused to evict the fascist group once the business was informed of who Invictus was and of what his group was doing. Instead, the Bye and Bye bouncers went so far as to act as bodyguards for Augustus Invictus and his companions. When the meeting disbanded, however, contact was made between antifascists and part of Invictus’ crowd. We should note that despite all the far-Right rhetoric of courage and loyalty, one of the event attendees drove away in his car, leaving his erstwhile companion to face the music alone. Despite Invictus’ macho rhetoric, he called for police protection.
In the aftermath, Invictus was left hopping mad.
The events of March 1st are a victory in that they show that Portlanders are willing to come together at short notice to confront neo-fascists, and also that we can do this effectively. The events of March 1st are one small incident in a much broader struggle against the resurgent far-Right, however. There will be future fascist and white power networking events, and so we must organize to challenge them time and again until the tide is turned.