The Butler Plan, The Northwest Territorial Imperative, Harold Covington, and The Northwest Front
In order to understand the Northwest Front, it is important to have some knowledge of the history of the “Northwest Territorial Imperative” white nationalist movement as conceived and promoted by the likes of neo-Nazi terrorist Bob Matthews, Klansman Robert Miles, and Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Covington founded his would-be vanguardist insurrectionary neo-Nazi “Northwest Front” organization on Butler’s infamous exhortation for “racially conscious” white people to move to the Pacific Northwest and form their own sovereign nation
“restricted to persons of unmixed European, non-Semitic, Caucasian racial ancestry, and no non-White will be allowed to reside there under any circumstances.”
Butler’s vision of a white separatist ethnostate founded on Nazi ideology encompassed 83,574 square miles: all of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as the western portion of Montana. “The Butler Plan,” as endorsed by Covington’s Northwest Front website, also calls for “acts of insurrection and guerrilla warfare,” and states that “actual and serious physical damage must be inflicted on the enemy.”
Butler’s formulation of “the enemy” in the larger context of his writing must be interpreted as referring to a.) regional individuals and communities deemed undesirable by the neo-Nazi white separatist movement such as people of color, LGBTQ+ communities, people of Jewish descent or faith, and b.) the U.S. federal government, which is held by many white nationalists to be controlled by Jewish people, a conspiracy theory referenced by the shorthand “Zionist Occupied Government” or “ZOG.”
For all its overtures to strategy and even “optics,” the Northwest Front’s Butler Plan is indistinguishable from most other neo-Nazi organizing strategies in that it ultimately calls upon its adherents to commit acts of terror and violence against the same people habitually targeted by far-right and fascist hate.
A Brief History of Harold
Harold Amstead Covington dedicated his life to hateful, racist political organizing, consistently both personally embracing and seeking to spread overt neo-Nazi ideology. He was kicked out of the U.S. Army after less than two years when he was caught distributing propaganda for the National Socialist White People’s Party, then traveled to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) hoping to partake in mercenary violence in support of the then-country’s brutal and racist (and now endlessly fetishized) system known as “white rule.” Covington boasted of his valor there, but letters he sent to his parents reveal that he spent his time as a file clerk before being deported for being–somehow–too racist after he mailed threats to a local Jewish congregation.
NSPA: Greensboro Massacre, Frazier Glenn Miller
In the late 70s, Covington became the head of the North Carolina chapter of the National Socialist Party of America, and helped build an alliance between neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, which took the name “United Racist Front,” and would go on to perpetrate the mass murder known as the Greensboro Massacre. Two (out of sixteen) of the fascists arrested and subsequently acquitted–despite having been filmed murdering five leftists in broad daylight–were from Covington’s NSPA. He boasted himself of “greasing communists,” but by all accounts was nowhere near the atrocity when it took place. Decades later, another member of Covington’s NSPA, Frazier Glenn Miller would go on to murder three people at Overland Park Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, KS on April 13, 2014.
Neo-Nazi murderer Frazier Glenn Miller.
Covington lived in Europe for much of the 80s, and was subsequently involved in the founding of violent UK-based neo-Nazi organization Combat 18. Covington established a P.O. Box in North Carolina as a U.S. point of contact for the group. Combat 18 has recently been banned in Germany as of late January 2020, after a neo-Nazi affiliated with the organization assassinate German politician Walter Lübcke in front of his home.
The Northwest Front Propaganda Machine
Between 2003 and 2008, an increasingly internet-savvy Covington harnessed his tendency to bloviate and published a series of four Northwest-Imperative-based propaganda novels. Like The Turner Diaries, these novels–banned from Amazon after extensive public pressure in early 2019–were explicitly intended both as tools for political radicalization and as practical examples for active white supremacists seeking inspiration. During those years Covington also began blogging prolifically, often maintaining multiple regularly-updating blogs simultaneously.
His initial blog, “Thoughtcrime,” focused on general neo-Nazi ideology, interspersed with catty email responses and gossip concerning his many internecine squabbles with other prominent white supremacists. A second blog, created early in 2003, was dedicated to discussing all things Northwest Imperative, and by 2009 Covington relocated that blog to his newly-created Northwest Front organizational website. Over a decade later, this website continues to serve as an easy-to-find online repository of the Northwest Front’s principles, media and contact information. This includes, but is not limited to:
- all of the NWF’s foundational writings; the organization’s podcast;
- their blog;
- the only review of Covington’s novels that he approved of, which is of course fawning, verbose, and virulently fascist;
- and pages showcasing Northwest Front bumper sticker designs and agitprop imagery, all heavy on Microsoft Office 2007 design aesthetics, overt Nazi imagery, and masked insurrectionary figures posing with automatic weapons.
Covington Dies Alone
Covington was estranged and deeply alienated from his family, at least in part due to their profound disagreement with and disapproval of his neo-Nazi ideology and organizing. While living in Europe, Harold married a woman from Ireland, had children, and bought a home on the Isle of Man almost entirely with money sent by his parents. Around this time, his parents finally tired of the arrangement and advised that Harold find some means of supporting himself. Covington took this apparent provocation as reason to clean out his bank account and abandon his wife and children. His Children would eventually be disgusted upon discovering their father’s neo-Nazi writings on the internet. When Covington died in July of 2018, he bequeathed to each of his family members one dollar.
Harold Covington’s will bequeathes each of his family members a single dollar
A Legacy of Fascist Violence
Covington and his “Northwest Front” organization are regarded with a certain level of suspicion and ridicule among certain sectors of white nationalist and neo-Nazi movements. Despite this, Covington’s efforts to promote the Butler Plan to a new generation of white nationalists via his organization’s propaganda materials, and his unfaltering support of extremist, lone-wolf violence have exerted a clear influence on a new wave of violent white supremacists within and beyond the Pacific Northwest.
25-year-old neo-Nazi and Daily Stormer user Dylann Roof murdered nine people at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC on June 17, 2015. In his manifesto, Roof snidely mentioned his familiarity with Covington’s Northwest Front organization. Covington, in turn, fantasized publicly and graphically that more young neo-Nazis like Roof might commit mass murders against liberals.
Christopher Hasson is a U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant who was arrested in Maryland on drug and gun charges, but who was also discovered to be a neo-Nazi who had compiled a kill-list including Maxine Waters, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, and other various people he considered to be “Leftists”. Hasson was also found to have written a letter to Harold Covington endorsing his call for a white ethnostate, lamenting the “n###erization” of the Northwest, and expressing his desire to “make change with a little focused violence.”
Atomwaffen Division is a neo-Nazi organization with aspirations toward explicit terrorism and mass murder. The organization is responsible for a number of murders since the Trump presidency began, and has occasionally signaled mutual warmth toward the Northwest Front.
The Base presents itself as an insurrectionary neo-Nazi militia formulated on the model of cellular terrorist organizations like The Order, and with similar accelerationist goals to Atomwaffen Division. The organization was founded by a Northwest Front member who until January 2020 was known as “Norman Spear” or “Roman Wolf.”
Rinaldo Nazzaro aka Norman Spear
In January of 2020, “Norman Spear’s” identity was unmasked as Rinaldo Nazzaro. Nazzaro, who founded The Base, was a member of the Northwest Front, and was reportedly an acquaintance of Harold Covington. Nazzaro has also used the alias “Roman Wolf”.
Rinaldo Nazzaro aka Norman Spear shares Northwest Front propaganda on twitter
A video purporting to be narrated by Rinaldo Nazzaro aka Norman Spear links to materials by The Base and the Northwest Front.
Brian Mark Lemley Jr.
Brian Mark Lemley Jr. is a member of The Base neo-Nazi organization who was arrested in January 2020 in Delaware. Lemley had been a member of a neo-Confederate fascist organization, as well as an affiliate of the Northwest Front (having listened to Covington’s podcast for two years) before joining The Base in February of 2019. Lemley and Covington corresponded frequently until the latter’s death. Operating as a member of The Base, Lemley was quoted in the FBI’s affidavit as having said:
“I literally need, I need to claim my first victim”.
Brian Mark Lemley appears in a propaganda photo-shoot for The Base
Court records detail Brian Mark Lemley’s correspondence with Harold Covington.
Rose City Antifa has written before about Vancouver, WA neo-Nazi Matt Blais, who is also a member of the local chapter of the Daily Stormer Book Club called “PDX Stormers.” Blais is a prolific internet poster, and has shared propaganda from Northwest Front and The Base across multiple social media platforms. Blais, along with many other neo-Nazis and fascists, participated in a number of Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer events,
Matt Blais shares NWF propaganda.
Matt Blais shares propaganda from The Base.
Thank you to our Seattle, WA antifascist allies WaNaziWatch on this collaboration. If you have further information on the Northwest Front, or any other fascist organizing, please contact Rose City Antifa at ‘[email protected]’.