On May 4, 2018, the Montreal Gazette published the first of a series of articles exposing the identity of an important international neo-Nazi propagandist residing in Montréal, an individual only known up to that point by the pseudonym “Zeiger.” The journalists at the daily made public the results of an investigation conducted over many months by Montreal-area antifascists to identify and expose “Zeiger,” who had long been active in the most extreme wing of the alt-right fascist movement, notably as an editor and administrator of the Daily Stormer website, widely considered the most influential international platform for neo-Nazi propaganda of the last decade.
“Zeiger,” who turned up at the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11–12, 2017 (where he was videoed shouting the slogan “Gas the K***s! Race war now!”), and who has led various neo-Nazi organizing and mobilizing efforts, as well as information campaigns, is in fact Gabriel Sohier Chaput, an “information technology consultant” who was then living in the Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie neighbourhood in Montreal.
Sohier Chaput disappeared into thin air the day after the first article was published. An arrest warrant was issued for him in November 2018, and almost two years later, the Gazette revealed that Sohier Chaput had finally come in from the cold to face charges of inciting hate. His first appearance will be at the Palais de Justice in Montreal, on Tuesday, November 24, 2020.
Oddly, unlike their anglophone counterparts, the major francophone media have paid very little attention to the entire affair. Whether this is a matter of indifference or an expression of frustration at having to pick through the crumbs dropped by their anglophone colleagues, the limited coverage means that the francophone public hasn’t heard much about it. The original French version of this article is an attempt to fill this lacuna for posterity.
The main purpose of the exercise, however, is to guarantee that Sohier Chaput can never shake off the stink and pestilence of his statements and actions.
If he pleads guilty, there will not be many lines of defense open to him. He might claim that his neo-Nazi period represented a moment of personal confusion and act contrite, but the length (2012–2018) and, above all, the depth and sophistication of his engagement would potentially raise serious doubts about the sincerity of such excuses. Another possibility is that he could argue that the whole thing was nothing more than a misunderstanding and claim that his political engagement in numerous Nazi propaganda projects was nothing more than one big joke. That, after all, was the lame defense he and his comrades presented the day after his doxxing. Unfortunately for him, the defense of irony or that he didn’t really mean it won’t stand up to the information presented in this article, and we hope the prosecution finds a way to debunk this defense if it is proffered.
On the other hand, he could seek to avoid a trial by pleading guilty and accepting the legal sanctions, which would be relatively light if he has no previous criminal record. A judge could oblige him to apologize before the court for the negative impact of his past actions and allow him to return to a relatively normal life once he pays a fine and makes a symbolic donation to, for example, an organization that advocates for the rights of the Jewish community.
This would leave him at his leisure to quietly reintegrate into Quebec society and the Montreal community. We cannot allow him to return to a normal life that easily.
The hate speech formulated and promoted by Gabriel Sohier Chaput led to equally hateful actions that had serious consequences in the real world. For example, the Iron March forum that Sohier Chaput moderated laid the basis for the terrorist network known as the Atomwaffen Division, whose members have been involved in a series of murders and violent crimes driven by the ideology Sohier Chaput and his collaborators put forward.
Let’s be perfectly clear: Gabriel Sohier Chaput applauded the murder of homosexuals and trans people and openly yearned for the subjugation of women, the elimination of Jews, and the systematic segregation of non-white populations. Not only did he yearn for all of that, he devoted all of his intellectual energy to the development of a fascist political culture and a mass movement that could achieve his “final solution.”
There must be consequences for that sort of crime, and we find those proposed by the justice system far from satisfactory. We have frequently said, and we repeat here: real justice is not to be found in the courts, and, for us, forgiveness is not an option.
Gabriel Sohier Chaput should have to carry the weight of his online footprint for the rest of his life, and we truly hope that our actions help ensure that that is the case.
The articles in the Montreal Gazette asserted that Sohier Chaput was “a major neo-Nazi figure and one of the most influential white supremacists in North America”; here, we will demonstrate that this is true, using his own writings and interventions. What follows is a detailed overview of this person, his ideas, his actions, and the political milieu he comes from. We have included a certain number of links to supplementary resources for those who want to dig a little deeper.
Warning: Before clicking on them, you should be aware that some links included in this article lead to explicitly racist, antisemitic, and misogynist material.
Who Is Gabriel Sohier Chaput?
He was born in Montreal on October 1st, 1986, to a family in no way predisposed to the hateful inclinations that would come to define his life. His mother, a teacher, and his father, a musician, whose names a sense of decency prevents us from sharing here, have all of our sympathy for the traumatic and far-reaching upheaval that all of this doubtless brings to their lives. We can’t say the same thing for his brother Laurent, who shared an apartment with Gabriel and appears to have been aware of his political activities.
We don’t know all that much about his trajectory, besides what was revealed in 2018 in the series of articles in the Gazette and in the investigation that served as the basis for those articles. Gabriel Sohier Chaput went to Paul Gérin-Lajoie high school in Outremont, a historically upperclass neighbourhood of Montreal, and doubtless pursued postsecondary studies somewhere in Montreal, before embarking on a career in information technologies. According to the Registraire des Entreprises du Québec, in 2013, he registered a company under the name GSC Gestion, in the Sociétés de fiducie sector.
It’s hard to say exactly when he began his political activities, but 2012 was likely a touchstone year for him. That’s the year he joined the neo-Nazi Iron March discussion forum (created in 2011 by Alexander Mukhitdinov, who we will get back to), which was meant to follow in the footsteps of the much older StormFront forum. In his text introducing himself to the Iron March forum, published on December 9, 2012, he wrote:
My name is Zeiger, a french canadian from Quebec. I’ve gradually changed my point of view on politics, economics and social issues in an increasingly conservative direction. Materials from the national alliance, the national socialists and other conservative sources have “awakened” me to the painful realities of my society in past months, and I want to do something to effect change. I found this site while looking for quebec right wing groups I could join, and saw that there were a few canadians posting on the forum and discussing local issues. The situation here where I live is almost desperate. Merely being a “conservative” here (never mind a Fascist!) is politically incorrect in the utmost, and I’m constantly baffled by the confusion of people here about political and social issues. We have people here who claim to be nationalists and who promote third world immigration, compromise with ethnic minorities about laws and other similar nonsense. I’m in the process of reading your open letter to the white man, which is quite interesting.
Later, his Iron March profile stated:
After an initial period of learning and study lasting from 2012 to 2014, Zeiger began work on various Iron March projects. His most prominent contributions were the new fascist archive, where all Iron March resources were catalogued and archived, and the editing of the various original publications put out by the forum. His collaborations with Alexander Slavros have resulted in several original books, such as A Squire’s Trial and Mental Liberation. He is also the editor and frequent contributor to Noose magazine. Outside of Iron March, Zeiger is known as a staff writer for the Daily Stormer, the author of Hammer of the Patriot and frequent podcaster, both on his own Hammer podcast and as a guest on various shows.
An examination of the numerous traces Sohier Chaput left online from 2014 to 2018 (articles, essays, videos, interviews, debates, etc.) reveals an intelligent young man who is considerably more sophisticated that the regular shitposters who overrun the discussion forums where the alt-right first developed. Reading him and listening to him, it’s not surprising that he played a central role among the panoply of organic leaders of this movement. We also quickly noted that although he boasts about using humour to arrive at his political goals, he is boring to the point of mental constipation as well as being more than a little bit cocky and full of himself. He clearly sees himself as a beacon of vanguard fascism tasked with lighting the way to the regeneration of National Socialism.
His book Hammer of the Patriot: A Handbook on Rhetorical Counter-Terrorism (2014), which he wrote under the pseudonym Charles Chapel, was distributed on both Iron March and his website and is a sort of white nationalist manifesto and programme presented in the form of a debating guide. It provides a series of rhetorical arguments about different social and economic issues that refute a “liberal” strawman by projecting “dominant behavior” to win over an imaginary public to his “nationalist” (Nazi) propositions. He admits in his introduction that he advocates “mis-characterizing what [the interlocutor] is saying to distort his views, or plain old ridicule and sarcasm.” Curiously, he continues:
Men of virtue who value truth and honor will instinctively gravitate towards arguments that are rational, objective and relevant. They will shirk things like personal attacks or mis-characterisation of the opponent’s points, thinking these things dishonorable in a civil discussion. But that is precisely the point to get in our collective heads—this is not a civil discussion. This is war. At this point in time, the war must be waged with words, but those words may in time turn into lives saved or lost. It is our duty to win at all costs. . . . the rebuttals have been carefully crafted, not to be logically bullet proof, but to place you in a more dominant position.
It is clear that Sohier Chaput is obsessed with strategy and the development of all aspects of the white nationalist movement, with a rhetorical approach to messaging based on a certain visual culture and brand image and the methodical promotion of neo-Nazism. During this period, Sohier Chaput devoted all of his intellectual and strategic energy to promoting a fascist system based on segregation, oppression, and the exclusion of anything outside the white norm, by any means, up to and including the use of massive violence. His programme is fundamentally anti-egalitarian, racist, misogynist/anti-feminist, homophobic/transphobic, and, of course, fanatically antisemitic.
Following the “fourteen words,” the white nationalist/supremacist credo (“We Must Secure the Existence of Our People and A Future for White Children”) is the categorical imperative. During a debate with Matthew Heimbach, leader of the now defunct Traditionalist Workers Party, which appeared online in the autumn of 2017, Sohier Chaput stresses the importance of establishing a strategic plan and methodically developing the concrete steps for obtaining the overall objective. From his point of view, “movement” priorities need to be:
- A targeted outreach to win the youth over to the cause (we will return to this key element of his political programme in the section about the Daily Stormer);
- Win “normal” adults over to the cause (using the rhetorical arguments and the procedures described below);
- Develop relationships with people in positions of political power and members of law enforcement to gain access to money and resources;
- Build community;
- Attack, undermine, and suppress enemies.
Building a mass movement would depend entirely on the vanguard successfully pushing the “Overton window”, i.e. the framework of what constitutes acceptable discourse, to the right. Any undertaking would, therefore, focus on making neo-Nazi precepts acceptable, by any means necessary.
And what are these principles? Here again, it’s useful to examine the Hammer of the Patriot:
- There is a generalized war of civilizations between whites and everyone else.
- “The only way to ensure that there is no ethnic conflict is to separate the groups into their own territory.” . . . “The only viable political system is ethnic nationalism.” (p. 19) According to Sohier Chaput, this could easily be achieved with the help of the police and armed forces. (p. 21)
- “Democracy is the worst political system there ever was.” (p. 23) “It has also seen our European people go from being the undisputed masters of the world to being in danger of extinction.” (p. 24) (It should be noted that he contradicts himself about democracy elsewhere.)
- “Violence or the threat of violence, physical or mental, is the only thing that’s ever solved anything. . . . Violence is always justified when it is done to protect our people.” (p. 36)
- “We have to do whatever it takes to secure the future of our people—no compromise is acceptable.” (p. 48)
- The only role for women is to have and raise children in the context of a rigidly heteropatriarchal family: “This cannot be done effectively if women spend all their childbearing years studying and starting their career.” (p. 50) Relationships between men and women should be based on cooperation, but at the end of the day it is up to “virtuous” men like Sohier Chaput to determine the place of women; in the final analysis, feminists have “nothing but contempt for women (p. 55) and “hatred for humanity.” (p. 52)
- “Rape culture” only exists in Africa and is introduced into Western countries through immigration. (p. 51)
- “We need strong spiritual men to lead the nation according the the (sic) religious principles that our whole society is based on.” (p. 58) “Religion puts a brake on dangerous and indecent research and ideas.” (p. 60)
- “Homosexuality is antisocial, and it’s promotion in our society is damaging to people’s sense of morality”. . . . “Thus all promotion of homosexuality must be banned from the public sphere. . . . All well adjusted straight males are repulsed and appalled by the very thought of homosexuality.” (p. 62–63)
- Sexual fetishes “are indications of mental illness.” Individuals of superior value like Sohier Chaput himself must intervene to eliminate “perversion,” because of its destructive impact on society overall. (p. 67)
- Human rights and liberties do not apply to people outside of “our” civilization. “Those who refuse to respect certain eugenic principles could lose their reproductive rights.” (p. 71)
- “Immigrants have no right to even be occupying our lands, much less having us toil away to provide them with extra luxury!” (p. 74)
- “Race, and racial differences, are a biological reality, not a social construct. . . . Everyone is racist—we all understand that there are different kinds of people, and we treat them differently.” (p.75–77)
- “Since people of different races and cultures have different outlooks on life, different values and principles, as well as different ideas about where they want society to go, then mixing those people together will always generate conflict and violence. The only possible way to resolve it is by genocide of one group by the other, either by violence or assimilation. Thus, diversity is an unstable situation which will inevitably be stabilized by the destruction of all the peoples except the victor in the struggle. We want to avoid this conflict and bloodshed . . . so we oppose enforced diversity, instead allowing all peoples to remain separate in their own societies. . . . Diversity is a great weakness.” (p. 80)
- “Liberals hate our culture, so they want to throw it away and replace it with some strange mix of African voodoo, communism, zen Buddhism or whatever. No thanks.” (p. 83)
- “Jews are a big problem in white society. . . . They don’t want or care about what is good for us. And very often, they push destructive ideologies and social tendencies on their host [sic] to weaken them (like communism, feminism, pornography, prostitution, degenerate entertainment, etc.).” (p. 86)
- “Antisemitism is the natural response to Semitism.” (p. 87)
- “A single Jew in a position of power is already a problem, because they are hostile to our interests.” (p. 88)
- “The Jews are not like us, they don’t like us, and they don’t belong in our society.” (p. 88)
- “Jews as a whole are competing against us for the resources and political influence of our nation.” (p. 92)
- “Our birthrate is low, and our countries are being flooded with non-white immigrants . . . . The logical result of this is the extinction of the white race. . . . [I]t is a calculated genocide.” (p. 93)
- “The holocaust is a ridiculous myth.” (p. 107)
- “The real historical lesson is that, when two people with distinct blood, culture and heritage share the same territory and political jurisdiction, it is inevitable that they will come in conflict over resources and power. That can only ever be resolved in violence.” (p. 108)
And so on, and so forth. Ironically, the ideas presented above in this particular rhetorical context are what he believes most likely to convince his imaginary audience made up of “normal adults” and, we should recall, give rise to a mass movement! He summarizes the goal of the exercise thus:
We must engage in this low level activism of words. We must normalize these views and establish dominance over culture. We must stigmatize and ridicule the liberal filth which is destroying our civilization!
As we can see, while Sohier Chaput exhibits a methodical, Machiavellian spirit, he is also rigidly Manichean: his worldview effectively makes a distinction between virtuous white men who are European nationalists, whether Christian or pagan, and, quite literally, everyone else: degenerate non-whites, “liberals,” Jews, feminists, and Third World parasites. It is not only a matter of hierarchies between groups, but also within groups: even most white men are viewed with contempt, as “bugmen” or “lemmings,” inequality being seen as a universal feature of life, and fascism’s virtue being that it is the only worldview that recognizes this truth rather than resisting it. The figure of the “liberal” offered here is a strawman, a sort of NPC (a “nonplayer character,” in gamer talk), a clichéd, braindead progressive, reduced to the most inept possible expression, unable to express themself in anything but prefab formulas. (At one particular point, he puts the following sentence into the mouth of his liberal strawman: “It’s good that whites will disappear, they’re the scourge of the earth; they deserve it.”) As such, his entire worldview is based on essentializing different groups and depicting them as engaged in permanent competition that can only be resolved by segregation or mass violence.
This psychological rigidity is also manifested by a chronic conflict between his opinion and scientifically and historically verifiable facts, a confusion common to the “anti-factual” fascist state of mind. He allows for no doubt. To take just one example, for him, “the youth,” whose alleged nihilism allows them to particularly appreciate racist, misogynist, and antisemitic humour, constitute a discrete category. However, when Sohier Chaput evokes “the youth,” he is only talking about some marginal elements of generations “Y” and “Z” who are in the grip of the alt-right. His “youth” category excludes girls and young women, racialized and/or immigrant youth, Jews, Muslims, etc., including only young men (the vast majority of them white) who come out of the digital subculture (gamers, channers, masculinists, neo-Nazis, and the like) that he is in direct contact with. (It’s worth noting in passing that there is no statistical evidence to back up the idea that members of the alt-right are particularly young, as he wants us to believe. Detailed observation tends to indicate that the average troll or shitposter is in his late twenties, or even his thirties.)
What we’ve presented so far is a summary profile of this individual. To better understand and evaluate his role and his influence, it is important to examine more closely the broader political movement in which he has developed as an activist, as well as the specific projects he has been involved in.
As we previously mentioned, Sohier Chaput’s principal political activities during his glory years were related to the Iron March forum and the Daily Stormer website, two of the key neo-Nazi platforms of the last decade that were responsible for a veritable revolution in the esthetics and the strategic approach of the fascist movement. As such, it behoves us to take a look at the history and character of these two projects.
Iron March was founded in 2011 by the Uzbek Alexander Mukhitdinov, alias “Slavros,” about whom the Russian service of the BBC produced a detailed profile in January 2020, a substantially abridged version of which can be found here. Sohier Chaput joined the forum in December 2012.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Iron March, whose slogan is “Gas the K***s; Race War Now; 14/88 Boots on the Ground” was affiliated with or supported at least nine fascist groups in nine different countries before suddenly shutting down in 2017.
The 1,653 users of Iron March believed they were united across the borders of white majority countries in a fascist struggle of an international scale. . . . Select Iron March users contributed to the community’s in-house magazine, Rope Culture, and more published memes advocating for the genocide of Jews and non-whites, which were later propagated on more mainstream platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Iron March users also came to the forum to push one another to take direct, sometimes criminal action in fulfilling their desire to live in a purity-obsessed world of explicit fascism.
Users praised mass murderers like Anders Breivik and Dylann Roof, literally treating them like heroes and martyrs. From 2011 to 2017, the forum gradually became an organizational base for numerous neo-Nazi and fascist projects, including the Nordic Resistance Movement (Scandinavia), the Azov Battalion (Ukraine), Golden Dawn (Greece), and CasaPound (Italy). Iron March was also a meeting space where neo-Nazis could network and develop new projects. During its relatively brief existence, the forum served as the incubator for a number of projects of this ilk, for example, the Atomwaffen Division (US), the Antipodean Resistance (Australia), National Action (UK), and American Vanguard, the group whose colours James Alex Fields was flying in Charlottesville a few hours before he killed Heather Heyer.
During an interview on the podcast of his close associate at the Daily Stormer, Andrew Auernheimer, alias “Weev,” shortly after the shuttering of the forum in the autumn of 2017, Sohier Chaput stressed that its role as an organizational base was Iron March’s most precious contribution:
We did a lot of things, but I think the most noteworthy stuff is related to all the nationalist groups that popped up coming from Iron March. The most famous is National Action in Britain. Just last year they got shut down for being a so-called terrorist organization, just, like, for shitpostng in real life basically. Oh well, now it’s terrorism for some reason, so they got shut down. It’s a big thing. But there’s others all around the world. There’s Lithuania, which kind of took the National Action model. There’s Antipodean Resistance in Australia, who also took the same. . . . More famous in the United States was Atomwaffen. They were in the news, unfortunately, in the past few months for tragic reasons. In America, they’ve been responsible for a lot of big propaganda hits.
Iron March was different from other far-right online forums at the time, in that it represented a revival of some of the most radical and misanthropic tendencies within North American neo-Nazism. It was an unambiguously revolutionary fascist website, where working within the system was viewed with disdain, and acts of violence and terrorism were promoted and celebrated. The point was not to “save Western Civilization” but to hasten its collapse. Whereas the alt-right worked on the basis of a “big tent” approach, Iron March shat on anyone who was not considered as far to the right as they were. It was, in fact, highly critical of the alt-right on this basis (Sohier Chaput was an exception to this sectarianism, serving as a bridge between Iron March and the Daily Stormer). Tendencies that found a home on the forum exemplified the kind of politics that would come to be known as “accelerationist.” “Accelerationism” is the idea that the existing social order can be unsettled using a variety of means, including mass violence and terrorism, pushing states to their limit, creating generalized chaos and precipitating total revolution that will lead to the reorganization of society on the basis of genocide and/or racial segregation. As such, it should come as no great surprise that a certain number of violent crimes can be linked to Iron March users, including:
- the bombing of a refugee center in Sweden by three Nordic Resistance Movement militants in February 2017;
- an attack with a hammer and a machete on a dentist of South Asian origin in the UK by a National Action militant in 2015;
- a (foiled) conspiracy to commit a massacre at a shopping center in Halifax, Nova-Scotia, Canada, on February 14, 2015.
One of the most important of the violent groups to arise from the Iron March forum was the Atomwaffen Division, which was formed in 2015 during a virtual meeting of neo-Nazi militants on the forum and was in part inspired by the document the American Futurist Manifesto, written by Slavros and disseminated via the site. In an October 2015 post on Iron March, user “Odin” (Brandon Russell) announced the formation of the group: “We are a very fanatical, ideological band of comrades who do both activism and military training,” he wrote. No “keyboard warriors,” he added. “If you don’t want to meet up and get things done don’t bother.” As noted by Jacob Ware, writing for the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism: “Atomwaffen distinguishes itself from other neo-Nazi groups active in the United States through its open embrace of violence and terrorism. Where others, such as Identity Evropa and Vanguard America, prioritise political activism, the Atomwaffen Division is ‘a cadre that fetishizes violence as its core doctrine.’”
Other identified members of the Atomwaffen Division are tied to a number of murders, including that of a young Jewish gay man named Blaze Bernstein by Sam Woodward in California on January 2, 2018; that of Buckley Kuhn-Fricker and Scott Fricker by Nicholas Giampa in Virginia in December 2017; that of Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman by Devon Arthurs in Florida in May 2017, the latter three all having shared an apartment with Brandon Russell, who, for his part, was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of explosives. Russell claimed that he intended to bomb synagogues, electrical power lines, and a power station in central Florida. (We should add that these violent crimes have not spelled the end of the Atomwaffen Division, which has continued its activities with a new leader, John Cameron Denton, alias “Rape.”)
It should be noted that at the time that Atomwaffen Division was being created on Iron March, Gabriel Sohier Chaput was acting as moderator of the forum, and that he himself voiced support for the AWD, both on Iron March and on the Daily Stormer. As Rolling Stone magazine recounts, one of the first public actions of the Atomwaffen Division was to put up stickers announcing, “The Nazis are Coming! The Nazis are Coming!” and “Black lives don’t matter” around Boston University, garnering instant media attention. The “stickercaust,” Sohier Chaput wrote on the Daily Stormer, was the work of “heroic patriots.” “If we cause a media storm every time we put up a few stickers, we’ll own the news media,” he wrote. “[And] if they stop covering our propaganda, we also win; it means the system is now desensitized to hardcore nazism.”
Sohier Chaput also personally edited a new edition of a book that would serve AWD as a key ideological guide: Siege, by long-time American Nazi James Nolan Mason.
Based on a series of pamphlets published in the 1980s, Siege advances a form of decentralized revolutionary and racial terrorism, inspired by various neo-Nazi currents as well as Charles Manson. Siege proposes “leaderless, cell-structured terrorism and white revolution,” and calls for militants to go underground and begin a guerrilla war against “the System.” Beginning in 2015, the phrase “Read Siege,” initially formulated on Iron March, began to be widely repeated in the galaxy of far-right forums, to the point that it essentially became a meme. This injunction serves to win new recruits to the “accelerationist” strategy, and could even inspire the creation of new terrorist groups (which the forum’s moderators and users actively encouraged).
- Atomwaffen and the SIEGE parallax: how one neo-Nazi’s life’s work is fueling a younger generation (SPLC, February 22, 2018)
- Prolific neo-Nazi propagandist “Zeiger” outed as Montreal-based Gabriel Sohier Chaput (SPLC, May 4, 2018)
- The Obscure Neo-Nazi Forum Linked to a Wave of Terror (Vice, December 3, 2018)
- Visions of Chaos: Weighing the Violent Legacy of Iron March (SPLC, February 15, 2019
According to the SPLC, “Arguably no person is more responsible for propelling SIEGE and the subject of accelerationism into the consciousness of contemporary white supremacists than Slavros.” And pursuing the plan proposed by Slavros, it was Gabriel Sohier Chaput who was responsible for producing the new edition Siege (3rd ed.) to facilitate its distribution and increase its impact among a new generation of neo-Nazis. As such, he directly contributed to the promotion of groups like the Atomwaffen Division, which, in their turn, printed copies of this 3rd edition produced by Sohier Chaput, and whose members were to commit a number of murders and plan a number of horrifying attacks.
Sohier Chaput was not just your average Iron March user. He was a moderator and contributed to the forum’s online magazine, as well as organizing and managing an archive of fascist and National Socialist texts and resources available to the forum’s users. Beyond his rhetorical essay Hammer of the Patriot, which we discussed above, he co-authored, with Slavros, an introduction to fascist ethics in the form of a Socratic dialogue titled A Squire’s Trial, and contributed a number of articles (“What Is Fascism?”, “The Lemming Principle,” etc.), included in a compilation of key Iron March ideological texts titled Next Leap. He was, as such, a leader and a key participant.
Sohier Chaput’s ultimate objective was to gradually and systematically build and consolidate an international fascist movement, and groups like those discussed above had an important part to play in his strategic plan. As he explained in a May 2016 podcast that the SPLC reported on:
What I envision here is that there are going to be two different organizations that develop. One of them is going to be public and the other one is going to be mostly hidden. The public organization is going to be very nationalistic. It’s going to promote traditional values. It will project a strong image. Think of something like Golden Dawn or Casa Pound. But that organization is not going to do anything illegal and it’s not going to directly attack the system. Its activities might not even include political activism. It might be organizing sports. It will be helping people. It will be providing networking opportunities. It will build infrastructure and so on. . . . But there’s going to be another organization—a hidden one—and it’s going to be much more militant. All of its activities will be focused on undermining the system.
Similarly, this is the advice he gave to an Iron March participant who had asked what sort of activity Iron March members in North America should engage in:
Well, you should be building up your organization in your own area if possible. Whether it’s a AW [Atomwaffen] chapter or a book club or whatever isn’t really important, since they’re all independently managed anyway. You can do both, or even more, and factor that into your recruitment strategy. For example, you have your AW chapter, and advertize book club meetings on DS [Daily Stormer]. You do monthly or weekly meetings for the book club, and if people compatible with the AW chapter show up, you invite them there.
Without consulting his acolytes, Slavros shut down Iron March suddenly and without explanation in November 2017. According to the BBC Russia article mentioned above, he’s now living quietly in a Moscow suburb. Some people, including Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, have speculated that the Iron March shutdown was the result of an intervention of the Russian secret service, for reasons that remain unclear. Others attribute it to the activity of members of the Azov Battalion (an anti-Russian group designated as terrorist in Russia) on the site.
In 2019, a leak of the forum’s database led to the identification of numerous users by journalists and antifascists. After Iron March was closed, a similar site called FascistForge.org was created. It remained online from spring 2018 until winter 2020.
The Daily Stormer
That propaganda, recruitment, and the consolidation of a fascist mass movement were Sohier Chaput’s primary preoccupations, manifested in his deep engagement with Iron March, is confirmed by his prolific association with the Daily Stormer. This website, which is widely considered the most influential neo-Nazi propaganda platform in recent years, counted more than thirty-five thousand unique visitors each month at its peak in 2017, far surpassing the popularity of any of its predecessors.
The Daily Stormer was founded in 2013 by the American neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, whom the Atlantic magazine does not hesitate to describe as “the alt-right’s most accomplished propagandist.” Indeed, whereas Iron March would reject the alt-right for its focus on and collaboration with elements of the political establishment (which IM wished to overthrow), the Daily Stormer would combine unabashed neo-Nazism with kind words toward anyone accused of racism in the mainstream media, eventually including Trump, in 2016.
Inspired by the sensationalist style and glib tone of major “clickbait” sites like Vice, BuzzFeed, and Gawker, Anglin developed a formula of commenting on current news stories and producing short original articles promoting a Nazi vision encompassing all of the most crude and vulgar excesses of the extremist wing of the alt-right.
This approach was detailed in a style guide penned by Anglin, which was leaked in September 2017. Articles had to be short, language simple and accessible, the tone lighthearted, the subjects current. Cultural jamming was encouraged. The worst possible insults should be used judiciously; euphemisms and other degrading language were preferable. There is no place for nuance, and, most importantly, “always blame the Jews.”
In a section titled “Morals and Dogma,” Anglin explains:
It should be understood first and foremost that the Daily Stormer is not a “movement site.” It is an outreach site, designed to spread the message of nationalism and anti-Semitism to the masses. . . . The goal is to continually repeat the same points, over and over and over and over again. The reader is at first drawn in by curiosity or the naughty humor, and is slowly awakened to reality by repeatedly reading the same points. We are able to keep these points fresh by applying them to current events. The basic propaganda doctrine of the site is based on Hitler’s doctrine of war propaganda outlined in Mein Kampf, Volume I, Chapter VI. If you have not read this, please do so immediately.
Following this formula to the letter, from May 2016 to August 2017, Sohier Chaput produced hundreds of articles for the site, chockablock with brutally racist, antisemitic and anti-feminist headlines and graphics, with the explicit objective of desensitizing young readers to exceptionally violent imagery and winning them over to National Socialism “with humour.” In September 2016, he confided to the French white supremacist Daniel Conversano that he had abandoned “the philosophy” that characterized his Iron March texts to focus on articles that were “entertaining and amusing and not at all sophisticated.”
In this regard, it might prove useful to quote from a detailed exposé published on the website Angrywhitemen.org:
Zeiger, a Canadian Neo-Nazi, is one of Andrew Anglin’s closest confidantes who has been involved with The Daily Stormer since 2015, where he authored articles and designed the website’s banners. His writings for the Stormer were especially despicable, applauding harassment and mass murder. He celebrated the Pulse nightclub massacre, in which 49 LGBTQ patrons lost their lives, calling it a “wonderful day” and praising the shooter. “And the best part?” he asked. “Nothing of value was lost. Fifty dead homos.”
After Anglin launched one of his signature “troll storms” against Jewish congressional candidate Erin Schrode, Zeiger called her a “hissing Jew,” compared her to a weasel, and wrote that, “Jews and shills must learn to fear a similar reaction when they attempt to infiltrate our leadership positions.” In another article he celebrated the death of a Holocaust survivor, writing that the Holocaust is a “hoax with a time limit,” and that with “every dead lying rat, it’s getting closer to it’s expiry date.”
One deleted piece written by Zeiger, titled “Evidence of Clinton Ties to Pedophilia Ring,” promoted the debunked Pizzagate hoax. In it, Zeiger laid out the “evidence” that a DC pizza parlor was being used as a front for child sex traffickers, including the owner’s relationship with “spirit cooking ‘artist’ Marina Abramovic,” art depicting “child abuse,” and a photo the owner posted of “a man with a yellow bead necklace around the head of a young boy,” which Zeiger claimed “impl[ied] analingus.”
“It’s ludicrous that such demonic people are being considered for the highest office in the land,” he wrote.
The website continues with this small selection of quotes from Zeiger’s Daily Stormer articles.
It’s worth noting that the strategy advanced by Anglin targets particularly young readers. In an interview with the “Crying Nazi” Chris Cantwell, in January 2018, Anglin claimed to have used the same humorous approach to specifically “indoctrinate” children as young as eleven.
In August 2017, Anglin wrote on his website:
Our target audience is white males between the ages of 10 and 30. I include children as young as ten, because an element of this is that we want to look like superheroes. We want to be something that boys fantasize about being a part of. That is a core element to this. I don’t include men over the age of 30, because after that point, you are largely fixed in your thinking. We will certainly reach some older men, but they should not be a focus.
We want kids lying to their parents and sneaking to our meetings. Then, we want parents sending kids to our meetings, because we keep them out of trouble. We keep their energies focused in a positive direction—staying off drugs, out of trouble and looking toward the future.
During the interview with Daniel Conversano cited above, Sohier Chaput explained the strategy thus:
The Daily Stormer, the target audience is adolescents… We target adolescents, everything is for them… Our methods and the nature of the content are very different from what has previously been done… The basic idea is that in the jaded and degenerate modern world, anything serious is inevitably viewed as ridiculous… When we are ironic and seem also to be jaded, this gets through to youth who are very alienated from society much better. In our day, it is necessary to be ironic when delivering a message that is not at all ironic. At the Daily Stormer we say that our ironic Nazism is at its core not ironic at all… It is necessary to be very entertaining, to use humour, to act like the media… We use whatever works anywhere to sell nationalism.
On July 25, 2017, in a lengthy speech he gave at the first national gathering of the alt-right in Canada, an event dubbed “Leafensraum” (a term combining Hitler’s lebensraum and the nickname “Leaf” used by/for Canadian members of the alt-right), Sohier Chaput explained in more detail:
We are mostly young men in our twenties or early thirties and a few older adolescents, and that has long been our demographic profile… But with the unanticipated radicalization of Generation Z, we think that it is pertinent to target an audience that is younger. We don’t want to enroll twelve-year-olds in nationalist organizations, but we can direct some of our marketing and activity at them. Our thinking is that if we can do it in way that makes the youth admire our groups, imitate them, and identify with us as models, in a few years, when they have grown up, they will be more susceptible to joining us or creating similar organizations. So seeking the approval of Generation Z is a key aspect of recruitment and the growth of our movement over the next five years.
He continued, comparing the alt-right to the first generation of hippies, which had pursued a type of countercultural revolution during the 1960s by “taking a new generation under its wing,” insisting on the importance of replicating that operation today, of using digital platforms to attract young people to the far right, on the significance of trolling culture, and on so-called “meme magic.”
Here, we can see clearly how extremist influencers like Gabriel Sohier Chaput established a sort of pipeline to bring young anonymous users of forums like 4chan, 8chan, and reddit, who were sick of “political correctness” and the alleged “excesses” of feminism, to explicitly ideological sites like Daily Stormer and The Right Stuff and beyond to neo-Nazi forums, including Iron March and Fascist Forge, and even to private chatrooms (notably on Discord), where a community of fascists and fascist organizations with increasing dangerous “real life” repercussions had taken form.
In a similar vein, Andrew Anglin launched the “Daily Stormer Book Clubs” for neo-Nazis in different localities in North America and Europe, with the objective of consolidating a political movement outside of online spaces. This is how Sohier Chaput came to be part of a Daily Stormer delegation, alongside Robert Warren Ray, alias “Azzmador,” at the “Unite the Right” gathering in Charlottesville, in August 2017. He travelled there with a key group of Canadian members of the Montreal “Book Club,” including Vincent Bélanger Mercure and Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald.
The Montreal Stormer Book Club
The recipe for the “Book Clubs” was advanced by Andrew Anglin for the first time on August 3, 2016, and a number of groups were formed in the subsequent months, including in Montreal. In a series of articles about Sohier Chaput, the Gazette revealed the existence of a small group of alt-right/neo-Nazi militants who had started to meet regularly in bars and apartments around Montreal “between August 2016 and January 2018,” including at Sohier Chaput’s apartment. This was certainly no coincidence: the group brought together young men who used the Daily Stormer message board with a small group of masculinists around Athanase Zafirov and users of the neo-Nazi message board at The Right Stuff website.
The first exchanges in the “Montreal Storm” Discord chatroom date from August 12, 2016, and are between Sohier Chaput and a user named “Greg” (identified as Gregory Duttle, now an Ottawa resident). A summary examination of the discussions in the following days reveals that the new group met for the first time on August 20, 2016, at the Ye Olde Orchard pub on Prince-Arthur St., in Montreal. This was the first of a series of get-togethers, with the chatroom that served as a base of organization for the Montréal Daily Stormer Book Club soon attracting more than fifty participants.
The period when the Montreal Stormer Book Club was active coincided with the heyday of the alt-right in the United States, and, in fact, regular participants in the Book Club took on the name Alt Right Montreal. As we have detailed in our recent document on the subject, the alt-right is a “big tent” movement that came into being in the United States around 2010, expanding dramatically between gamergate in 2015 and the Trump presidential campaign in 2016. Obscured somewhat by its association with an amorphous and ill-defined “alt-light”—ranging from the Proud Boys to provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos and Mike Cernovich—the alt-right is a white nationalist and anti-feminist reactionary movement that combines sections of the historic white supremacist movement (lobbyists, think tanks, pseudoacademic and pseudoscientific organizations, and websites and publishing houses) with large numbers of young men who have been recently politicized in some of the more misanthropic corners of the internet. While not everyone on the alt-right is a fascist, the movement has a strong fascist and neo-Nazi component, and the Montreal Storm group constituted around Sohier Chaput was a small but clear example of this.
The Book Club came to be known as Arm and Hammer Bros or simply the Hammerbros, just as Zeiger’s personal podcast was called the Hammercast, a reference both to Alt Right Montreal and a typically alt-rightish riff off of Arm & Hammer baking soda, who’s commercial branding contains references to purity and whitening.
From the Daily Stormer message board through the Stormer Discord to various “real life” outings as Arm and Hammer, Sohier Chaput worked to bring young men deeper into the movement.
In recent years, Montréal Antifasciste and its allies have identified a handful of these recruits, including Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald, alias “FriendlyFash,” Vincent Bélanger Mercure, alias “Le Carouge à épaulettes,” Alexander Liberio, alias “Neuromancer,” and Julien Côté Lussier, alias “Passport.” We’ve also taken a look at Maxime Morin, alias “DaMcLuv,” the sad little cohost of the conspiratorial disinformation project known as DMS, active to this day, most prominently on Twitter. Even if he was the one with by far the most imposing fascist CV, Sohier Chaput was not the group’s leading figure. That honor clearly belongs to Athanase Zafirov, alias “Date.”
Although it is possible that they may have deradicalized and changed political direction in the last two years (though there’s no evidence that that is the case), as a public service we can also reveal that the user “VinniGambini” is Vincent Denischuck-Martineau from Montreal, “Fahrenheit” is Loïc Pardiac from Lévis, and “Jim B” is Jim Beauchamp from Verdun. As to the other users who we have not yet named, their time will come. (If you have a tip that can help us to identify any of the other members of the “Montreal Stormer Book Club,” write to us at [email protected].)
Other members of this little group also made the trip to Charlottesville, Vlad Koliesnikov, from Laval, among them. He can be seen marching alongside Beauvais-MacDonald during the August 11, 2017, tiki torch march, and he posted a photo of himself on Facebook taking part in the scuffles that occurred on August 12. He also participated in at least one demonstration in Montreal, the Front patriotique du Québec April 23, 2017, demonstration, possibly with his brother Artur. We also know that he trained with members of Atalante at their private gym on at least one occasion.
A number of members of the group, including Zafirov, Beauvais-MacDonald, Liberio, Bélanger Mercure, and Enzo Acero were also identified at the La Meute demonstration in Montréal on March 4, 2017, and Acero also joined Beauvais-MacDonald at the La Meute demonstration in Quebec City on August 20 of that year. He also turned up with Zafirov, Beauvais-MacDonald, and a few others in Old Montréal on July 1 to heckle a Canada Day anticolonial demonstration. He has also participated in social activities organized by Atalante.
The Montreal “Book Club” participated in an action to disrupt an antiracist popular education event at Concordia University, on March 25, 2017; organized a conference with Ricardo Duchesne, a white nationalist professor from the University of New Brunswick, at Ruby Foo’s in Montreal; put up stickers sporting an Atomwaffen Division esthetic (developed by the graphic artist “Dark Foreigner”); and put up neo-Nazi posters at McGill University in December 2016 following Donald Trump’s electoral victory. However, the group was unable to maintain its peak membership of a few dozen. The factors contributing to its decline include multiple ideological divisions and a lack of social cohesion among members, the negative attention resulting from the events in Charlottesville, Athanase Zafirov’s reduced activity and the incapacity of other members to fill this void, and likely a frustration arising from the group’s inability to play a meaningful political role, as they were overshadowed by the national-populist groups, which were more important during that period (organizations they derisively described as “boomers” and “civic nationalists”). A former member of the “Book Club” later tried to set up a local chapter of Atalante in Montreal but the project did not last.
It seems that throughout 2017, Sohier Chaput chose to be discreet. And then in May 2018, he was doxxed, removing him from Montreal activities thereafter. He left his apartment on Fabre St. and probably left the city to hide somewhere in the regions (evidence indicates to us that he sought refuge in Bas-Saint-Laurent, where he has family). The following week, there was a demonstration outside of his former home to celebrate his precipitous departure.
Fallout for the Former Zeiger
The day after Sohier Chaput’s world was uprooted, Andrew Anglin published a short article in the form of an obituary on the Daily Stormer website, which read in part:
[What’s] weighing on my mind [is] the fact that our guy has been run out of his home and job. There’s people hunting for him in the streets. He is being run through the ringer for posts on an Internet comedy website. What kind of a sick world persecutes people for jokes on the Internet? . . . Zeiger was a brave and noble warrior, both online and off. This is a huge blow to a man who did so much for our struggle for many years. He selflessly gave many thousands of hours of effort to the struggle for years on end. Few have worked as hard and as long as he did, for the divine mandate of the lulz. Now finally the system has come to grind him into dust.
That same week, in its final episode, the hosts of the Canadian alt-right podcast This Hour Has 88 Minutes whined in a similar way about the “normies” simply failing to understand the “nuances” of the alt-right. In an exchange that can only be qualified as somewhat pathetic, Clayton Sanford, alias “Axe in the Deep” and Thomas White, alias “League of the North” initially lament the small errors CBC made in its reporting about the Zeiger affair, only to go on to suggest that Sohier Chaput isn’t really a Nazi, and that his thinking had evolved with time… given that he was by this point working for the Daily Stormer:
They kind of employ this mode of thinking that people cannot change their opinions over four years. It’s a very Jewish concept in a way, this thought of time being linear, that nothing can change at all, things just constantly go in the same direction forever and nothing changes. That you can’t read Siege and the think “wow, this is based,” and then eventually see what it’s causing and get away from it.
The problem with this perspective, obviously, is that Zeiger never distanced himself from Iron March, even after the forum was shut down, nor did he ever break with the key ideas in Mason’s book, which he actively promoted for years. And when he expressed his reservations about accelerationism, after the murders committed and attacks conducted by the Atomwaffen Division, it was to lament the strategic error, not the tragic consequences.
In fact, in June 2018, Sohier Chaput was interviewed by Boris Le Lay, for the French neo-Nazi website Démocratie Participative (very much inspired by the Daily Stormer), where he voiced an absurd defense of “misunderstood jokes”:
We think of the Daily Stormer as largely a satire site. We write a lot of stuff that is funny, comic, absurd, and so forth. And, on that basis, it’s easy for someone to throw together a montage of all these things and say, “Aha, look at all of the horrible things this person has said,” treating it as if it was all 100 per cent serious… Daily Stormer is more of a youth-oriented site. Older people have a lot of trouble seeing the humour, but for young people they may be in-jokes, but they get them. For someone forty, fifty, or sixty years old, they are completely arcane, impossible to understand. Even if we explain it, they are never going to get it… At the Daily Stormer, we use a lot of that sort of humour, the types of references that mean something to our generation, the internet youth, which also makes it easy to be misunderstood. Behind all of that, we also have a serious message that we’re trying to deliver, but more at a subconscious than a conscious level. For example, if you write about politics, making reference to films from the 1980s, no (intelligent) person will take it seriously, but there is nonetheless an aspect of the message that is implicitly understood. That’s the idea behind the Daily Stormer.
So to follow the reasoning here, we are to believe that this man, who from 2012 to 2018 became increasingly deeply involved in the international neo-Nazi movement, wrote numerous texts about fascist theory, developed strategic recruiting plans, and pushed for the creation of a fascist movement, who was elevated in a couple of years to the upper echelons of the hierarchy of the most important neo-Nazi discussion forum, who reedited and disseminated the most important ideological guide for the contemporary neo-Nazi movement and became the second most prolific editor of the most important neo-Nazi propaganda site in the world… was simply a misunderstood comedian!
Obviously, we’re supposed to forget that Sohier Chaput has repeated on numerous occasions Andrew Anglin’s signature phrase: “Non-ironic Nazism masquerading as ironic Nazism.”
Too bad for him, we have not forgotten, and nor do we forgive.
Gabriel Sohier Chaput went to a liberal high school and came from a liberal family, though it is true that the area he grew up in is known for its antisemitism (something he himself alludes to in the podcast This Hour Has 88 Minutes). He is not the only neo-Nazi for which this is true, testimony to the fact that many people from different backgrounds are asking questions that are not always easily answered, and that in a racist and sexist society, racist and sexist answers will seem like “common sense” to some white men.
Sohier Chaput played a central role in the international neo-Nazi movement in the early 2010s, yet at the time neo-Nazism was not on many people’s radar as a significant threat, and nobody paid much attention to the fact that this online eminence grise called Zeiger was open about being a French Canadian and living in Montreal. He never adopted the stereotypical Nazi look, and one imagines that walking around the Plateau at the time, he probably appeared indistinguishable from so many other hipsters. For years, he chose to only be active anonymously and to work on projects situated on the internet and led by fascists in other countries. Whether this was a matter of cowardice or circumspection, or both, remains difficult to say.
His skills were devoted to projects set up by some of the key figures in the neo-Nazi renaissance. He was an industrious helper, but his own contributions were never particularly original, and when addressing his favourite topics—propaganda and philosophy—his insights are about as original and interesting as what you would find in the Coles Notes version of some third-rate hack. His arguments about “truth,” presumably the cornerstone of his fascist worldview, amount to tautologies. The young white man who is convinced he is the smartest person in the room is a cliché; disappointingly, Sohier Chaput never amounted to much more than that.
The one project that Sohier Chaput himself started, the Montreal Daily Stormer Book Club, aka Alt Right Montreal, did very little beyond mobilizing its members to attend events called by others. And with the exception of Charlottesville, Sohier Chaput seems to have purposefully avoided all these public political activities. Nonetheless, discreet as he may be, Sohier Chaput inserted himself into the neo-Nazi movement at a critical time, and would play an important role supporting the figures who would quickly redefine the image of fascism for the twenty-first century. Nor did he ever shy away from supporting even the most extreme and violence-oriented tendencies, such as the Atomwaffen Division.
It is unclear what to make of Gabriel Sohier Chaput. In some ways, his profile matches that of an agent. In others, of an all-too-typical “keyboard warrior,” albeit one with an above average work ethic. Or perhaps he’s simply a cowardly Nazi.
The alt-right has been in decline for three years now. The Daily Stormer remains a fixture on the Internet (without any contributions by Zeiger since his articles were all scrubbed following his doxxing), but its book clubs never really went anywhere. New “accelerationist” groups like The Base have followed in the footsteps of the Atomwaffen Division, surrounded by the same rumours of being heavily infiltrated by the state, and the work Sohier Chaput accomplished for Iron March remains an important resource for that organization and other fascist tendencies.
We remain interested in this man and intent in following his trajectory and understanding his actions as best we can. And, of course, in neutralizing his work and keeping him on the run too.
 Bibliothèque du Parlement, Discours haineux et liberté d’expression : balises légales au Canada, 2018.
 The National Alliance was the most important neo-Nazi organization in the United States since the collapse of the American Nazi Party. Its leader, William Pierce, was the author of The Turner Diaries, a novel that inspired armed far-right groups in the 1980s.
 Anonymous users of the 4chan forum, where the online culture of the alt-right first developed.
 “Meme magic” is the idea that the massive production and distribution of memes can influence the course of history, the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is generally pointed to as an example. Not satisfied with developing rhetoric exercises to refine the debating skills of neo-Nazi militants, Sohier Chaput also posted a tutorial on graphic design on his online website to teach his followers how to understand Pepe memes, a video with the ever so subtle title of The Adolf Hitler School of Meme Magic.
 Working with Julien Côté Lussier, Zafirov redirected his energy toward the creation of a Generation Identity branch in Canada, and then in 2018 he decided to move to Los Angeles, where he is currently pursuing a doctorate.