City Bikes President Tim Calvert Hosts Right-Wing Bomber
This Sunday, September 9, the Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance plans to host a potluck and gathering at Sellwood Park in Oregon. In its event announcement, the 9/11 Truth Alliance mentions that this gathering will feature "an extra interesting participant." The participant in question, Fritz Springmeier, is an individual deeply connected to antisemitic, white nationalist, and militant anti-choice organizing. Springmeier is an extreme-Right activist who served a nine-year prison sentence for a bank robbery with a neo-Nazi accomplice, Forrest Bateman. Springmeier and Bateman also bombed an adult video store. This year's 9/11 Truth Alliance gathering at Sellwood Park is the second time that the Alliance has hosted Fritz Springmeier, having also featured Springmeier as a key speaker at a September 2011 "Continuing Education for Dissident Citizens" event held at Sellwood Community Center, the same year that Springmeier was released from prison.
The Springmeier events fit with the overall politics of the Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance. The Alliance has previously organized support for other racist extreme-Right organizers, as our organization for example pointed out in 2009 when the 9/11 Truth Alliance hosted self-described "white separatist" Valdas Anelauskas in Portland, and when a few months later the Alliance sent a contingent to support the Portland tour stop of notorious Holocaust-denier and Naziphile, David Irving. A central organizer for the Valdas Anelauskas event in 2009, Tim Calvert, has recently stepped up his activism with the 9/11 Truth Alliance once again. Calvert's activism involves both organizing of events for far-Right speakers, and also his own spreading of antisemitic propaganda. Rose City Antifa believe that a key factor enabling Calvert's activism is the support he receives from his workplace at Citybikes Workers' Cooperative, as well as the apathy and tacit acceptance of large segments of the regional co-op movement towards Calvert's Judeophobic organizing.
Rose City Antifa aim in this report to provide some context about Fritz Springmeier and Springmeier's associations, as well as to discuss the politics of the 9/11 Truth Alliance and Tim Calvert's return to public far-Right activism. We hope that the information we provide here is used to finally take the president of Citybikes Workers' Cooperative to account, after more than three years of negligence and denial within Citybikes and the broader West Coast co-op movement about Calvert's anti-Jewish agitation.
Fritz Springmeier is an Oregon-based conspiracy theorist and author of such books as Bloodlines of the Illuminati. Springmeier's works attempt to draw attention to what he perceives as massive conspiracies for global domination by hidden cabals and their "Illuminati" bloodlines. Springmeier's research focuses in particular on family names such as the Rothschilds, commonly used as stand-ins for "the Jews" within antisemitic conspiracy discourse. However, Springmeier is far from shy about his beliefs concerning Jewish power, arguing for example that "the core of the conspiracy of power is Jewish" in Bloodlines.
With politics such as these, Fritiz Springmeier once fit right in within the Christian Patriot Association (CPA), a racist group once headquartered in Boring, Oregon. The CPA itself fell apart with the conviction of six of its members on fraud charges in 2002, these charges stemming from a warehouse bank operated by the CPA. In earlier times, however, the CPA was a major force on the Oregon far-Right for over a decade. Prominent members of the CPA such as Jeff Weakley of God's Remnant Church also promoted "Christian Identity" theology, arguing that white Europeans and Euro-Americans are the true chosen people of scripture, with modern Jewish people being imposters. Springmeier himself is favorable towards some varieties of Christian Identity thought, arguing that many Identity adherents operate under a "Christian perspective and place themselves under the authority of God."
Within the Christian Patriots Association, Springmeier also met Forrest Bateman. Bateman was at one point a bonehead (racist pseudo-"skinhead") who in 1989 was convicted of racially intimidating a high school student in Forest Grove. In 1997, Springmeier and Bateman both took part in a bank robbery, which they were later arrested and convicted for. The October 1997 bank robbery involved a diversionary pipe bombing of an adult video store to draw away police attention prior to the hold-up of a Key Bank branch. The Damascus, Oregon robbery netted just $6000. The choice of an adult video store as a diversionary bombing target is reminiscent of the earlier targeting of adult businesses in the Pacific Northwest by The Order/Silent Brotherhood neo-Nazi terrorist group during the 1980s.
Springmeier and Bateman were not linked by investigators to the Damascus bank robbery until several years after the incident. In February 2001, a property near Sandy, Oregon was raided, with 50 marijuana plants, grow equipment, plus a significant haul of weapons seized. Forrest Bateman and two other people were arrested following the raid. Also seized during this raid was a binder marked "Army of God, Yahweh's Warriors." The Army of God is an anti-choice terrorist group responsible for arsons, bombings and assassinations targeting abortion providers. Fritz Springmeier himself was arrested following a later raid on his Corbett residence on March 1, 2001, and both Springmeier and Bateman were indicted the following year as information surrounding the 1997 armed bank robbery came to light in the aftermath of the raids. With the end of the Bateman and Springmeier trials, additional information about the contents of the "Army of God" binder found in 2001 also surfaced--according to one report, the binder contained a list that could have been targets for terrorist actions.
Springmeier supporters complain that their hero was simply a target of sinister forces who wished to shut him up about Illuminati mind control. The Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance gave Springmeier his first public speaking event following release from federal prison; a video of Springmeier's rambling speech recorded by event attendee Joe Anybody is available online.
While another member of the 9/11 Truth Alliance with his own long history of anti-Jewish activism--Tim Titrud--used his email to announce the 2011 "Continuing Education for Dissident Citizens" event at which Fritz Springmeier gave his presentation, Citybikes president Tim Calvert was also deeply involved. Calvert himself gave a presentation early at the Sellwood Community Center event, and a phone number used by Calvert was displayed on the Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance website in promoting the 2011 Sellwood event. Rose City Antifa has also confirmed with Portland Parks & Recreation that the renter of space at Sellwood Community Center for the 9/11 Truth Alliance events in September 2011, as well as the person reserving space in Sellwood Park for the 9/11 Truth Alliance event on September 9 this year, is Tim Calvert.
Calvert has been highly public about his involvement with the Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance over the last couple of years. Earlier, in 2009, Calvert had attempted to put some distance between himself and the 9/11 Truth Alliance, after Calvert was criticized for his central role in organizing a speaking event for racist Valdas Anelauskas in Portland. Calvert issued a pseudo-apology after that event was criticized by anti-fascists. In his response to what he called a "smear campaign," Calvert made a point of acknowledging "the Holocaust" only as one of many "horrors of WWII"--a line which is itself congruent with Holocaust-denial--and also suggested that Valdas Anelauskas had "good points." Around this time, Calvert also withdrew from the Laughing Horse Books collective, where he had initially attempted to host Anelauskas and where he had also earlier supported attempts by the 9/11 Truth Alliance to host homophobic and anti-choice extremist Mary Starrett at the venue. Citybikes itself responded to news about Calvert's antisemitic activism by first issuing a statement applauding Calvert and criticizing antifascists. The Citybikes co-op subsequently issued a revised statement retracting their initial attack, stating that it had not been approved by every member of the co-op, and stating that they recognized the need for communication. That same month, the Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance sent a group to support a Portland appearance by Holocaust-denier David Irving. Calvert, in the spotlight because of his politics, did not attend the Irving event.
Calvert soon publicly joined back up with the same Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance, however. Within a few months Calvert had talked with Willamette Week reporter James Pitkin for a smear piece on Rose City Antifa, Calvert characterizing himself and others in the Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance as victims of a shadowy campaign rather than as individuals taken to account for hosting a hardore antisemite. The following year, a joint Pacifica Forum-Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance flyer distributed against the 2010 Anti-Racist Action conference in Portland identified Tim Calvert as "one of us" and alleged that Rose City Antifa was complicit with "Zionists." Calvert identified himself yet again as a Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance member in January 2011, when a video posted on Youtube provided his organizational affiliation.
Apart from the Springmeier appearances, some other Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance guests whose appearances Calvert has promoted in recent years are Jim Fetzer, Leuren Moret, and Susan Lindauer. Jim Fetzer is a conspiracy theorist who publicly denies that he is an antisemite while recycling antisemitic myths such as those of "dancing Israelis" on 9/11/01, as well as promoting writings by antisemitic propagandists such as Benjamin Freedman. Leuren Moret is an anti-nuclear activist who believes that the 2011 major Japan earthquake and subsequent nuclear crises were actually caused by "tectonic nuclear warfare" on behalf of a "banker"/"British" conspiracy. (London bankers is yet another antisemitic shorthand, similar the use of "Zionists" when describing a global conspiracy.) In an online video Moret fulminates about conspiracies by the "Rothschilds," whereas in yet another she describes depleted uranium as "Zionist extermination." Susan Lindauer is best known for being accused of conspiracy on behalf of the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein. While perhaps not as rabid an antisemite as Fetzer or Moret, Lindauer argues that there was "Mossad complicity" in the 9/11/01 attacks, and she has also been featured on a number of antisemitic and white nationalist websites.
In his presentation of September 10, 2011--at the 9/11 Truth Alliance event Calvert booked and where Springmeier would later talk--Tim Calvert made his own politics clear once again. Calvert's presentation, allegedly on the topic of "Critical Thinking," is also available online, having been recorded and then circulated by videographer Joe Anybody. Calvert discusses the US media as being controlled by special interests, the example provided by Calvert being an NPR journalist who Calvert believes ought to have disclosed that she was married to an Israeli citizen and that she lives in Israel--this is a rather obvious attempt to invoke the "dual loyalties" antisemitic myth, and to suggest that the special interest in question behind the US media is a "Zionist"/Jewish one. Calvert then proceeds to cite as his support Alison Weir, the president of the Council for the National Interest infamous for pushing the modern blood libel that there is an Israeli conspiracy to harvest the organs of Palestinian children.
Calvert's presentation rambles about the Tavistock Institute, a UK institution who Calvert believes has its roots in a broader Jewish attempt (ostensibly because it is linked to a nephew of Freud) to manipulate British public opinion against Germany enough to pave the way for World War and for the WWII air bombings against German civilian targets. In Calvert's topsy-turvy world, WWII therefore becomes a narrative about Jews attacking Germans, not the other way around. With such remarks about Tavistock etcetera behind him, Calvert then makes the following characterization: "Rose City Antifa, otherwise known as the anonymous Zionist hit squad trained by Tavistock and resembling most closely Israeli settlers in the West Bank of Jerusalem. We all become Palestinians in Gaza when the Zionists declare you the enemy." It is clear from such commentary that Calvert is not interested in any actual criticism of Israeli state policies, but rather that he believes in a massive Jewish conspiracy with worldwide reach which caused everything from Britain's entering into World War II to antifascists now criticizing Calvert. This is extreme antisemitism, thoroughly consistent with Calvert's political direction for over half a decade.
Immediately following Calvert's 2011 presentation at the Sellwood Community Center space he booked, another panel featured 9/11 Truth activists discussing what they considered as "false flag" operations. Tim Titrud spoke out about "false flag" reports of anti-gay violence, singling out Matthew Shepard, who was tortured and murdered by two homophobic men in 1998. In Titrud's repulsive logic, he paints right-wing Christians as the true victims of a queer conspiracy to rob them of their right to be bigots. Richard Frager contributed some conspiracy theories about the JFK assassination. Ramping things up, Cathie Bell then talked about "Zionist" control of Congress, and about how the 2011 mass murder by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway was actually a "false flag"/mind control operation orchestrated by Israel to punish Norway for siding with the Palestinians. The footage of Calvert's political associates is available online as well.
Calvert, Citybikes and the Co-op Movement
In 2009, Rose City Antifascists warned of antisemitic agitation by Tim Calvert and the Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance. We asked Citybikes, allegedly a business that is part of the progressive community, to hold Tim Calvert accountable for his hateful activism by firing the promoter of Holocaust deniers and "racialists". Citybikes stood by Calvert. While Citybikes retracted their initial clear statement of hostility to antifascists, the cooperative then replaced this with an alleged commitment to dialogue which of course led to them putting the issue aside and doing nothing. Tim Calvert subsequently felt confident to host yet another batch of far-Right speakers over the following three years, including Springmeier whose proximity to white supremacists and the Army of God has been documented. Citybikes Workers' Cooperative continued to put food on Calvert's plate. Calvert continued and escalated his antisemitic activism while remaining firmly ensconced in the presumed progressive co-op community.
Tim Calvert has stated why he believes that the cooperative movement is important from the position of his politics. In his online book review of William Sutton's Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution--a book alleging that financial cabals were behind the Bolshevik Revolution--Calvert writes that "my take on 'leftest' [sic] 'progressive' social movements would have been greatly altered" had he been exposed to this conspiracy book earlier: "Now it is clear that resistance to the New World Order must begin by breaking from as many connections you have with it as possible and that includes work, consumption and leisure. Controlling Local Markets is the only sure way of breaking from the globalists." Calvert here argues that movements such as the co-op movement are important as a way of resisting a vast global conspiracy, the same conspiracy that Calvert elsewhere describes as "Zionist." The Co-ops are important to Calvert because he now sees them as a tool of independence from Jewish control.
In general, the co-op movement on the West Coast has stood with Calvert. Many attempts were made by genuine anti-racists within the Western Worker Cooperative Conference (WWCC) to discuss Calvert's activities and to educate about antisemitism. Some members of the WWCC were sympathetic, but Calvert was never formally asked to leave the WWCC Board. The WWCC Board formally refused to discuss any reprimand for Calvert. Calvert nonetheless resigned from the Board of his own free will in early 2011, having never been censured. The clear majority position within WWCC leadership was that Calvert's star power within that community trumped his questionable political trajectory. In fact, Calvert's clout in these circles enables him to more effectively recruit and gives his proto-fascist leanings both cover and credibility. The WWCC website continues to pay tribute to Calvert as a conference founder, stating nothing about Calvert's extreme politics.
The WWCC stance demonstrates how co-op politics are not necessarily the same thing as anti-oppression politics. Even when anti-oppression politics are given lip service within the West Coast co-op movement, antisemitism generally is overlooked, considered as unimportant, or viewed as just a smear label unjustly applied across the board to critics of the Israeli state. Rose City Antifa has seen antisemitism be a common focus for various strains of far-right organizers to rally around, as in the Pacifica Forum where psuedo-intellectuals, conspiracy theorists, anti-choicers, and neo-Nazis would network around their shared hatred of Jews. We also view antisemitism such as Calvert's, which comes cloaked in Leftist trappings (anti-globalist language, anti-capitalist rhetoric, etc), as an entry point for some to an increasingly racist, sexist, and homophobic world view. Coded antisemitic talk about the "bankers" can be a palatable prelude to later indoctrination in the extreme Right. Our organization's experience has been that despite the good intentions of scattered individuals within it, opponents of antisemitism should expect no solidarity from the WWCC or the West Coast co-op movement in general.
Rose City Antifa sees it as politically important to work with those committed to turning the tide within the regional co-op movement over the long term. In the meantime we strongly condemn the support Citybikes and the co-op movement have extended to Tim Calvert, support that has translated to more Jew-haters and extreme-Right organizers being welcomed in Portland.
contribute to this article
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion
view discussion from this article