Originally published on IPR on August 9, 2013.
William Daniel Johnson
American Freedom Party logo
By Krzysztof Lesiak
In January of this year, I had the opportunity to interview William Daniel Johnson, the national chairman of the American Freedom Party (at that time it was called the American 3rd Position). The American Freedom Party is one of the few white nationalist political parties in the United States. The name change to American Freedom Party was made official February 1st. Johnson is also a high profile international attorney who holds a J.D. from Columbia University. In the interview, he talked about his authorship of the Pace Amendment, which wants to ban non-white immigrants from coming into the United States. Johnson also declared his unequivocal support for a “separate ethno-state” for whites in America. He explained that this ethno-state would allow white people to “influence world politics free from some of the difficulties of multiculturalism.”
Regarding all sorts of subgroups of individuals not viewed very favorably by society in general, such as members of the now essentially archaic Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi skinheads, among others, Johnson said that his party welcomes all people “whether their heads are shaved or whether their heads are nappy.”
Johnson has never talked to perhaps the most well known white nationalist on the planet, David Duke, about the latter joining the party. Duke is a former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan who served one term in the Louisiana House of Representatives in addition to being a perennial candidate for public office and who is the author of several books translated into several languages and videos widely circulated across the globe. Many sources in the mainstream media label him as a “white supremacist”. Johnson stated that he and Duke “don’t cross spheres” or attend the same events.
Johnson also briefly mentioned that he really liked Virgil Goode, a former Virginia congressman who was the Constitution Party’s 2012 presidential candidate. He said that he met Goode previously at a conservative GOP event in 2008.
The AFP’s chairman said he founded the American Third Position Party to promote the views that were dear to him in January 2010. He said that he hopes to work with “all groups” to gain momentum for his organization. Johnson has made four runs for political office. Three of those were for Congress in various states (most recently in 2012 under the Natural Law Party label, he received 0.9%) and one was for a seat on the Los Angeles Superior Court. Initially, Ron Paul endorsed him in that race, but promptly retracted his statement of support after Johnson’s views on racial relations came into the limelight.
Johnson decried the label of “white supremacist” that the mainstream media usually assigns to him and his party, instead insisting that he is a white nationalist. He reiterated that he and supporters of his party want a separate white ethnostate. He said that he would even welcome collaboration between nationalistic non-white groups who share concern for their own people.
After my phone conversation with Johnson, I conducted a lengthy in-depth interview with Jamie Kelso. Kelso, a North Dakotan, is currently serving on the AFP Board of Directors as the Membership Coordinator. Kelso was referred to as a “neo-fascist” in the Wikipedia entry about him, and despite Kelso changing this because the label to be false, a Wikipedia editor reverted back to the original. Kelso made a big point about historical precedent for AFP’s views, saying that in America the positions the party espouses were once common place among Americans. He alluded emphatically to Charles Lindbergh, the famed pilot and “America First” activist.
Kelso said that in November 1939, the most widely read magazine in the world with a readership of 12 million published a centerfold article written by Lindbergh. Lindbergh had written in the article that “We must band together to preserve that most priceless possession, our European American inheritance.” Kelso regards this as one of his favorite quotes.
Kelso, a big Ron Paul supporter who met the former Texas congressman at the 2011 Ames, Iowa staw poll, also talked about how he met the Constitution Party’s 2008 presidential candidate, Chuck Baldwin, in July 2008 at the Ron Paul Revolution March in Washington, D.C. He said that Baldwin was one of the speakers who addressed at least 10,000 people on the west lawn of the Capitol. He said Baldwin introduced Ron Paul, after a very brief introduction in which Kelso loosely paraphrased him as saying “I’m gonna shut up, here’s Ron Paul”. Kelso also met the Constitution Party’s 2012 presidential nominee Virgil Goode at one CPAC event along with Chairman Bill Johnson. He was very impressed by the organization Youth for Western Civilization, active in the widely covered protests in Hazleton, Pennsylvania against illegal immigration. Kelso also met Bay Buchanan, sister of famed author and three-time presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, as well as the president of the John Birch Society, John McManus. According to Kelso, these individuals “know the truth” about racial issues.
He is optimistic that AFP will be on “a lot” of ballots in 2016. Talking about the 2012 election and Merlin Miller’s showing of 2,714 votes, he said that the Libertarian Party and Constitution Party had similar records in their first outings. The party currently has at least 500 members. The largest AFP chapters and most active affiliates are in California, Tennessee, New Jersey, West Virginia and Florida.
Kelso stated that AFP has a unified board of directors and a clear program. He went on to say that third parties like the Libertarian Party have internal factions and are plagued by infighting and all sorts of disagreements, something that the AFP lacks according to him. However, this could also be attributed to the fact that the AFP is miniscule in comparison with the LP. Kelso also said the AFP has a clear program. Speaking of famous members, he mentioned that former 1984 Populist Party presidential candidate and Olympic gold medal athlete Bob Richards, a pole vaulter, joined AFP in the summer of 2010.
He called AFP the “top tier of white nationalism” and once again reiterated that his party “represents a belief system that was once common”. The AFP, according to Kelso is not focused on economics but rather demographics.
Kelso was briefly involved in the Church of Scientology but quickly left when he found out what it was all about. He labeled it as “a dramatized view of occultism”. As a kid living in Los Angeles, Kelso met a sharp looking girl and she in essence “seduced him into it”. Once he investigated the Church further, he realized it was a “fraud” and left.
Kelso said that the AFP acronym in no way is stepping in to hurt American far right activist Willis Carto and his weekly newspaper, American Free Press, which is based in Washington, D.C. He said the party is complementary to Carto, adding that the newspaper publicly endorsed Merlin Miller for President in 2012. He added that the paper’s views are shared by the party.
The AFP’s membership coordinator then diverged into a discussion of the AFP’s efforts outside the U.S. He said Dr. Tomislav Sunic is an AFP board member who has spoken at important meetings of the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), a ultra-nationalistic party espousing Germanic imperialism that alludes to former Third Reich leaders like Rudolf Hess, a Hitler protege. Sunic is the AFP’s foreign secretary and ambassador to European nationalist parties. So far, he has given two important speeches in Germany.
At a recent AFP board conference, the AFP endorsed a local school board candidate in Missouri, a candidate in elections this April. The candidate is affiliated with another “pro-white” organization, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC).
Another person involved in the AFP is Bo Gritz, a 1992 presidential candidate. Don Wassall, the former director of the Populist Party in the 1980s is now on the AFP board of directors and publishes the party’s monthly newspaper, The Nationalist Times. California State University professor Kevin MacDonald, known for his outspoken views on race and Jew, is on the board of directors and writes for the white nationalist publication Occidental Quarterly.
Diverging off tangent to deliver some extra trivia, Kelso said the original title of Pat Buchanan’s 2005 book Death of the West was “Death of the White Race”. However, the publisher changed the name.
According to Kelso, David Duke supports the party. In fact, Kelso was Duke’s onetime right-hand man and even lived in his house. He still considers Duke a good friend. Kelso is looking to find a path that will work for average white people and appeal to large numbers of them. Kelso also helped Duke with his radio show, called the “Duke Report”. David Duke ran for president in 1988 as the Populist Party candidate and won 47,004 votes , or 0.05% of the national vote and was on twelve state ballots in that election. The chairman of the Populist Party at that time was Don Wassall, now on AFP’s board of directors. Commenting on why Duke isn’t more involved with the party, Kelso said that “David is his own big franchise, he picks and chooses, while AFP is my thing.” Speaking of Duke’s past jail time and legal troubles, the only thing Duke was ever guilty of according to Kelso was bad bookkeeping and bad banking practices but said he was never guilty of tax evasion. This sentiment echoes Duke’s claim in his 2008 autobiography, My Awakening, that Duke had actually overpaid his taxes to the IRS by several thousand dollars.
Kelso attended Ron Paul’s “Rally for the Republic” in September 2008 in Minneapolis, across the street from the GOP national convention. “We were not even 1% of the crowd,” said Kelso, referring to white nationalists. Merlin Miller and William Daniel Johnson were also there. Kelso said after one GOP presidential debate, he organized a rally for Paul in Boca Raton, Florida, for which 500 people attended. Kelso called Paul’s close friend, Judge Andrew Napolitano, the “Thomas Jefferson of our time.” He added that he loves Ron Paul and that “AFP picks up where Ron Paul leaves off”, specifically on racial issues. According to Kelso, “Ron Paul has started a revolution for whites”. He said that the AFP’s “natural audience” are Ron Paul supporters.
At a the February 2011 CPAC event in Washington, D.C., Kelso spoke about his views to a group of mainly young Ron Paul supporters active with Campaign for Liberty. Here is a video from that event:
Kelso said he was given a rough time by the group of mostly college students. The next day, Kelso claimed that the same individuals, who were grilling him the previous day, came up to him and said he was right – he said that they said that they were simply playing Devil’s advocate when they were sharply criticizing him. Kelso also stated that they also apologized to him for “treating him so badly” and said they had been intently listening to him.
Kelso commented on the party name change and explained that the Third Positionism advocated by his party is a concept that the American public simply doesn’t have a clue about. It is a concept that is more familiarized among Europeans. For example, Mussolini’s fascist Italy heavily incorporated third positionism into its state model, especially economic corporatism.
Kelso further commented on the racist newsletter controversy surrounding Ron Paul, saying that Paul fully knew of what was being written in his name in the publication. He was not in Congress at the time and according to Kelso had more leeway to express his “real” views.
Talking about popular coast to coast radio talk show personality, Michael Medved, Jamie Kelso said he personally knew Medved and went to high school with him. Kelso participated on the school debate team and scholastic bowl team with Medved. He quoted Medved as saying that “Jamie Kelso proved to me that a right winger could be a good human being”. Medved was raised in a Marxist family. Medved, in his autobiography Right Turns, calls David Duke despicable and a villain, which is ironic considering Kelso was Duke’s right hand man. Medved was also “foaming in the mouth” against Ron Paul. “Jamie Kelso also had a lot to do with that hatred,” Kelso said. In the book, Medved had recommended Kelso because he had remembered him as a John Birch Society activist. Kelso said that Medved wrote nothing about “Jewish media power” or the demise of the white race.Nothing on Jewish media power Medved said nothing about the demise of the white race. Kelso wondered how Medved had become a “Rush Limbaugh neocon.”
According to Kelso, Medved said that Kelso had convinced him that you can be that a nice person and a right winger. “You’re the reason I became right wing,” Medved allegedly told Kelso. However, while they were friends in high school, Medved now hates Kelso.
Kelso said that there is only a tiny group of people that are big fans of Hitler. Prominent individuals like Lindbergh, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford made “pro-white” statements. He added that Ford’s 1905 The International Jew, a four volume set of books, blatantly criticized world Jewry. Kelso said that Ford was making half of all of the cars purchased in England, France, Germany and Russia, and that despite Stalin’s “smear”, Ford was not supportive of Hitler. Kelso also stated, however, that a popular misconception was that Lindbergh was a Third Reich sympathizer. He quoted the pioneering pilot as saying that “worst thing would be a war among family of nations,” referring to World War II.
Kelso had an interesting take on Hitler, the man revered by a large segment of the white nationalist community worldwide. Kelso said, “Adolf Hitler did more damage to the White race than anyone else”. (emphasis added).
Kelso mentioned that the first AFP candidate, Ryan Murdough, ran in a 2010 GOP primary for New Hampshire’s state house of representatives and got 296 votes, or 11%. However, AFP repudiated him immediately after they heard his “Hitlerian neo-Nazi material” and that he “loves Hitler”. Kelso said Murdough was devious and originally signed up as a Ron Paul fan and looked great. Per Wikipedia, Murdough was the National Political Director for the National Socialist Labor Party. Kelso went on to say that AFP repudiates Nazism, said he never met Murodugh, who he called a “Sieg Heil provocateur”, and said that the New Hampshirite hurt the party’s image badly. In contrast to chariman William Johnson, Kelso said that skinheads are not welcome in the party, and further hammered to point home that Wikipedia lies about the AFP when they label the party as white supremacist. Kelso said that the AFP is the party of ”intelligent white people.”
The AFP has one announced candidate in the 2014 elections, Atlee Yarrow, who is running for Governor in Florida. It is not known whether or not he is petitioning to get on the ballot. Yarrow is the leader of the American Freedom Party of Florida. On his campaign website, Yarrow has links to a neo-Nazi online merchandise store called Get Some 88, a white-only dating site (currently offline) called Aryan Blood, and the world’s largest and most well known white nationalist website, Stormfront. Yarrow was formerly active in the Socialist Party USA (serving as secretary of the state party twice) from 1999 until his expulsion from the party in June 2007. His campaign website can be found here.
Election results (for all candidates on the ballot with the AFP label)
|Year||Office||Candidate||On the ballot as||Votes||Position|
|2011||Governor of West Virginia||Harry Bertram||American Third Position||1,111 (0.37%)||5/5|
|2012||West Virginia House of Delegates, District 51||Harry Bertram||American Third Position||1,110 (0.88%)||11/11|
|2012||President of the United States||Merlin Miller & Virginia Abernethy||American Third Position||2,714 (0.00%)||18/27|