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Augustus Sol Invictus

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Augustus Sol Invictus (Latin: majestic unconquered sun; born Austin Gillespie; July 31, 1983) is an American attorney,[1] white supremacist,[2][3][4][note 1] Holocaust denier, and self-described "radical philosopher and social critic" from Orlando, Florida. In 2016, he ran for U.S. Senator in Florida as a Libertarian and subsequently caused the state party chairman to resign in protest,[6] and has since been openly and visibly involved in the American alt-right, being a headline speaker at the Unite the Right rally,[7][8] and legally representing alt-righters and neo-fascists. He is also a pagan, having previously been expelled from the Thelemite fraternal organization Ordo Templi Orientis[9] (of Aleister Crowley fame), and once slaughtered and subsequently drank blood from a goat after a multi-day pilgrimage in the desert, an incident that drew him much initial infamy.[10] He has also been accused of sexual assault,[11] is a self-proclaimed demigod,[12] and apparently has a fake Southern accent.[citation NOT needed]

Who the hell is he?[edit]

Invictus has never publicly acknowledged his birth name; he changed it in 2013 to a Latin phrase meaning "majestic unconquered sun" or, alternatively, "majestic sun god". You can already tell the kind of guy we're dealing with. It is widely rumored, however, that his birth name is Austin Gillespie, at least according to former Libertarian Party of Florida chair Adrian Wyllie. He is a practitioner of Thelema, and used to be a member of Ordo Templi Orientis.[13]

His political wackiness goes way back. During his days in DePaul University's law school, he wrote a paper in which he advocated in favor of eugenics. When he entered politics and that paper was brought up by his critics, he added a disclaimer saying that, while he viewed the practical implementation of eugenics as flawed and, as a libertarian, opposed a state-sponsored eugenics program on small-government grounds, he absolutely still agreed with eugenics as a principle, and felt that the only problem with it was that it would have to be implemented by the very sort of flawed humans it's supposed to be correcting. He'd eagerly support it in a nation run by a "beneficent philosopher-king" whose edicts were "carried out by magnanimous servants of the people", as opposed to government bureaucrats who couldn't see the genius of people like him.[14] In short, he inadvertently laid out one of the leading arguments against eugenics: namely, that its proponents tend to be the sort of people who think they'd be its beneficiaries.

Invictus' descent into becoming a living, breathing Florida Man stereotype began in 2013, when he sent a resignation letter to his law firm that mostly consisted of him bragging about his accomplishments while denouncing democracy, pop culture, consumerism, mass media, secularism, psychiatry, the modern world in general, and all of his fellow lawyers. He also renounced his college degrees, his United States citizenship, and his membership in the Roman Catholic Church along with his law firm, while claiming to have prophecised a second American Civil War and expressing his desire to disappear into the wilderness and return "bearing Revolution".[15] The folks at the legal blog Above the Law noted the unfortunate timing of the letter, coming just hours after the Boston Marathon bombing, and described its contents as the sort of thing that ought to get its author put on a watchlist.[16] He does, in fact, allege that he has been surveilled by the FBI over his activities.

He actually followed through on his trip to the wilderness. Later in 2013, Invictus personally walked all the way from Orlando to the Mojave Desert as part of a spiritual journey, spending a week in the desert fasting and praying. When he returned home, he sacrificed a goat and drank its blood in a pagan ritual to give thanks. He denies having "sadistically dismembered" it, though in any event, this stunt, together with his political views, got him kicked out of Ordo Templi Orientis.[17][18] He also started his own law firm, called Imperium Lex, which earned notice due to him serving on the legal defense of Marcus Faella, head of a central Florida neo-Nazi group called the American Front who was accused of domestic terrorism.[19]

Into the political arena[edit]

2016 US Senate campaign[edit]

I do not want you to vote, so much as I want you to wake up. I want you to drop out and tune in. I want you to take LSD and practice sorcery. I want you to listen to trap music and black metal, to learn the law and to break it deliberately, to find your own religion. I want you to learn the use of firearms and subject yourselves to rigorous physical training. I want you to treat your bodies as Holy Temples and to take your girlfriend to a strip club so you can seduce a dancer in the back room. I want you to worship Nature and dance naked in the moonlight 'round the fire, screaming in ecstatic joy. I want you to revolt. Raise Hell. Break your limitations. Renounce your life and go into the Wilderness, that God may speak to you of things to come.
—From the horse's mouth.[20]

In 2015, Invictus announced his candidacy for the US Senate on the ticket of the Libertarian Party.[21] For some odd reason, he did very little of his campaigning in the jurisdiction in which he was running for Senate; instead, he did a tour of the Pacific Northwest, which is notably three thousand miles away from Florida (his arrival in Portland was met with counter-protests by local antifa groups)[22], while he was turned away from the Canadian border due to his involvement in Marcus Faella's legal defense, the Canadians fearing that his presence would incite violence.[23]

His rise to prominence within Florida Libertarian politics sent shockwaves through the state party organization, which was just starting to make a reach for respectability in the wake of a strong showing in the 2014 election; their candidate in the 13th Congressional district claimed almost 5% of the vote, the second-best showing for a Libertarian Congressional candidate that year, while in the governor's race, they won 3.8% of the vote on the back of Floridians' disgust with both major-party candidates.[note 2] Adrian Wyllie, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Florida and their 2014 gubernatorial candidate, resigned in protest rather than lead a party that would run somebody like Invictus after the party's executive committee refused to disavow him.[24] Wyllie specifically pointed to Invictus' unapologetic support for fascism and eugenics, use of fascist symbolism in his campaign, and association with neo-fascists and white supremacists, whom he had been recruiting into the party in order to support his campaign, which Wyllie saw as utterly antithetical to the principles of libertarianism.[13][18] (Invictus denies being a white supremacist himself, however, pointing to the fact that he has four Hispanic children as proof.)[15]

The press, meanwhile, treated his candidacy as the latest in a long line of wacky "Florida Man" news stories.[25]

With the entire state Libertarian Party outside his own fanbase standing against him, he wound up losing the party's Senate primary by a staggering 48 points[26] to one Paul Stanton, a 31-year-old computer programmer and Iraq War veteran who barely even ran a proper campaign and entered the race at the last minute in May simply to stop him, winning the party's support solely on the basis of being "not Augustus Sol Invictus". His reaction was to rant on Facebook about how he'd been suppressed by the party's leadership, quoting William Ernest Henley and Francis Parker Yockey and asserting that the only reason people didn't like him was because of a smear campaign.[27]

After his loss[edit]

Nowadays, he's trying to recast himself as an alt-right revolutionary, abandoning any pretensions towards mainstream conservatism/libertarianism while fully embracing the white supremacists that he once distanced himself from. He co-founded a website called The Revolutionary Conservative whose content is the usual alt-right drivel, and he serves as the second-in-command of the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, a militant splinter of the Proud Boys founded by Kyle Chapman.[28] He also likes to bash the Libertarian Party as a bunch of closet Reds who have deviated from his idea of libertarianism, which he argues to be distinct from their "libertinism" that promotes "sexual perversion, drug use, multiculturalism, globalism, and the destruction of American culture, tradition, and heritage."[29]

He was one of the headlining speakers at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that descended into violence. Richard Spencer credited him with writing the first draft of the "Charlottesville Statement", an explicitly white nationalist manifesto that contained plenty of bashing of Jews, feminists, and non-whites.[30] He has also openly embraced Holocaust denial, stating that he is "still waiting to see those facts" when asked if he believes that the Nazis killed six million Jews.[28]

In 2019, he returned to practicing law, starting the "American Legal Defense Fund" to provide legal support for far-right activists facing criminal charges.[31]

In summary...[edit]

He's a crank with a ridiculously outsized sense of his own self-importance, one who would be a footnote if not for his peculiar background and his ability to toot his own horn, and a demonstration of why most pagans don't touch politics with a ten-foot pole. However, his continued attempts to make himself out to be one of the most brilliant and revolutionary political minds of his generation mean that we could be looking at a perennial candidate in the making. In short, a guy who's probably gonna be an amusing diversion on the far-right fringes of Florida politics for a while.

Other oddities[edit]

In his "fireside chats" (borrowing the term, without irony, from the progressive President Franklin D. Roosevelt), he likes to talk in a faux-Southern accent that others have compared to Calvin Candie, the plantation-owner villain from Django Unchained. Oddly enough, he tends to drop the accent when speaking in public or in interviews.[32]

And because it bears repeating: yes, he did walk from Florida to the Mojave, then sacrifice a goat and drink its blood when he got home.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Though he claims he is not a white supremacist.[5]
  2. Their choices were Rick Scott and Charlie Crist, the latter a former Republican and Scott's predecessor as governor who switched his party registration — and policy positions — to Democratic out of a personal rivalry with Scott. 'Nuff said.

References[edit]

  1. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/augustus-sol-invictus
  2. https://pages.vassar.edu/pharos/2017/12/15/the-white-supremacist-with-a-roman-name-augustus-sol-invictus/]
  3. [https://www.huffpost.com/entry/white-supremacist-nazi-lawyers_n_5a3d8da8e4b0b0e5a7a2232d
  4. https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2017/08/23/goat-blood-drinking-white-nationalist-from-orlando-runs-for-senate-in-florida
  5. Florida candidate for U.S. Senate admits to sacrificing goat, drinking its blood by Brendan Farrington (Oct 05, 2015 | 9:07 AM) Orlando Sentinel.
  6. https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/adrian-wyllie-augustus-sol-invictus-florida-senate
  7. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/08/09/where-are-they-now-some-key-players-unite-right-have-faded-scene-over-last-year
  8. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article167083427.html
  9. https://www.hamptoninstitution.org/augustus-sol-invictus.html#.XYbuUyhKiUk
  10. https://www.gq.com/story/augustus-sol-invictus-goat-sacrifice
  11. https://www.vocativ.com/417979/goat-blood-drinking-rubio-opponent-accused-of-sexual-assault/
  12. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/08/11/augustus-sol-invictus-self-proclaimed-%E2%80%9Cgod%E2%80%9D-who-kills-goats-and-has-serious-issues-women
  13. 13.0 13.1 Caputo, Marc. "Libertarian Party drama: Goat sacrifice, eugenics and a chair's resignation." Politico, 1 October 2015 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  14. "Future or Ruin: The Argument for Eugenics."
  15. 15.0 15.1 Burley, Shane. "Imperium and the Sun: The Strange Case of Augustus Sol Invictus and the New Right." Hampton Institute, 11 January 2016 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  16. Mystal, Elie. "The Kind Of Unhinged Departure Memo That Would Have Been WAY Funnier Before The Marathon Attack." Above the Law, 22 April 2013 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  17. Farrington, Brendan. "Florida candidate for U.S. Senate admits to sacrificing goat, drinking its blood." Orlando Sentinel, 5 October 2015 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  18. 18.0 18.1 Adrian Wyllie's resignation letter on Facebook
  19. Curtis, Henry Pierson. "Former leader of neo-Nazi group gets new lawyer to fight conviction." Orlando Sentinel, 5 December 2014 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  20. Cordeiro, Monivette. "Libertarian Party of Florida chairman resigns, accuses candidate of goat sacrifice and eugenics." Orlando Weekly, 2 October 2015 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  21. Invictus for Senate
  22. Burley, Shane. "Fascism Against Time: Nationalism, Media Blindness, and the Cult of Augustus Sol Invictus." Gods & Radicals, 24 March 2016 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  23. Rosica, Jim. "Augustus Invictus blocked from entering Canada over neo-Nazi client." Florida Politics, 6 March 2016 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  24. Romano, John. "Romano: Bizarre Senate candidate Augustus Sol Invictus fractures Florida's Libertarian Party." Tampa Bay Times, 7 October 2015 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  25. "Yes, This Libertarian Senate Candidate Really Did Sacrifice a Goat and Drink Its Blood." GQ.com, 6 October 2015 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  26. Powers, Scott. "Paul Stanton ousts Augustus Sol Invictus from Libertarian Senate primary." Florida Politics, 30 August 2016 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  27. https://www.facebook.com/InvictusForSenate/posts/649094785248350
  28. 28.0 28.1 Janik, Rachel. "Holocaust denier Augustus Sol Invictus announces another campaign for the U.S. Senate." Hatewatch, 15 August 2017 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  29. "Open Letter to Nicholas J. Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian Party"
  30. Lemongello, Steven. "Goat-blood drinking Orlando man had key billing for Charlottesville rally." Orlando Sentinel, 14 August 2017 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  31. "Augustus Invictus Founds Legal Group To Defend White Supremacists." Angry White Men, 15 February 2019 (recovered 4 October 2019).
  32. Mystal, Elie. "Update on Augustus Sol Invictus, Now With Video." Above the Law, 13 May 2013 (recovered 4 October 2019).