Will2Rise Sells Activewear to Fascist Brawlers – Rolling Stone

Will2rise brand

Conservatives opposed to shopping at “woke” corporations have launched their own lines of pillows, piss beer, and mobile phone service. Now, unabashed white supremacists are setting up shop in this so-called parallel economy. 

Consider the fascist fashion house Will2Rise.

Will2Rise makes sports gear for white nationalists — including muscle-tees, track jackets, “militant active wear pants,” boxing gloves, and hoodies emblazoned with “Cultured Thug.” Leaving no doubt about its politics, the company’s gear is branded with stylized silhouette of a fasces — the ancient Roman symbol (consisting of a bundle of wood with a protruding ax head) later embraced by far-right Italian militants, spawning the term “fascist.”

The company specifically markets to members of Active Clubs, a global network of white supremacists who “tribe and train.” The members of these tight-knit local chapters pursue street-fighter fitness in advance of an anticipated race war, or other violent confrontation. Rather than the Hawaiian shirts and AK-47s that characterize extremists like the Boogaloo Bois, the Active Club aesthetic is gym-wear and mixed martial arts prowess. Will2Rise sells training hoodies and tight-fitting ringer tees labeled, “ACTIVE CLUB.”

Will2Rise is also playing the role of a corporate sponsor for white supremacy events. The company staged a second-annual MMA tournament this August, in a Huntington Beach warehouse decorated with white-power flags. Hosted by the SoCal Active Club, the contests featured fighter representatives from the Tennessee Active Club, Big Sky Active Club, Great Lakes Active Club, Evergreen Active Club, as well as from Patriot Front, another high-profile, white-nationalist group. Many of the fighters sported Will2Rise boxing gloves and other apparel. 

Think of the brand as Lululemon for white-power bros. The company touts its commitment to “bringing high-quality goods to Our guys.” Its white-power symbols are often coded. Many items for sale carry the Roman numeral XIV, or 14. For the neo-Nazi set, that’s a reference to the “14 words,” a dark oath about securing “the existence of our people and a future for white children.” A video montage on the slick Will2Rise homepage is more explicit. It flashes the words “white youth revolt,” “white unity,” and the slogan “action today, victory tomorrow.”

The company’s whites-only ethos extends to what Will2Rise dubiously labels its “Ethical Supply Chain” — with products exclusively “made in Eastern Europe, so not a single hand touches the production that is not of like mind.” The copy continues: “We keep Our people employed and keep all funds within our ranks.” The company takes Visa, MasterCard, Paypal, and Stripe.

Will2Shop screenshot shop


Will2Rise represents an attempt to monetize the Active Club movement by the same folks who founded it. Active Clubs are the brainchild of Robert Rundo, a white nationalist from Orange County, California. Rundo previously led a street-fighting group called the Rise Above Movement, whose brawlers made a practice of roughing up antifa at social justice protests. Federal prosecutors have described RAM as “a combat-ready, militant group” that’s part of a “new nationalist white supremacy and identity movement.”

Rundo was indicted on federal charges of “conspiracy to riot” in 2019 stemming from RAM actions in Huntington Beach, Berkeley, and San Bernardino. The charges were dropped for a time but reinstated in 2021 after an appellate process ruled that the charging statute is constitutional. However, Rundo eluded capture, decamping to Eastern Europe where he continued to organize around his violent brand of white supremacy — including morphing RAM into a decentralized network of Active Clubs.

The Active Club movement is growing exponentially. A new report by the nonprofit Counter Extremism Project, reveals that there are at least 46 active clubs across 34 states in the U.S. The “transnational” network also has chapters in 15 countries, including Canada, and across Europe, with 23 chapters in France alone. 

Alexander Ritzmann, who conducted the CEP research, describes the groups as “trying to build a militia” in plain sight. They foreground a broad ideology of “white unity” — both to prevent infighting and to appear less threatening to law enforcement. The exact purpose of the fight-training remains ambiguous, but Ritzmann insists this is on purpose, following the philosophy that a violent white supremist movement needs more “fighters than thinkers.” The endgame, he warns, is for these Active Clubs to be the tip of the fascist spear when the next “Day X” — think: a redux of a Jan. 6 — requires the services of a fighting force: “It’s about building that militia for the day a leader shows up … that needs some sort of army.”

Rundo was also “a driving force in the creation” of the Will2Rise clothing brand, according to the CEP report. The Southern Poverty Law Center recently included Will2Rise among entities it labels “white nationalist hate groups.” The shop serves many purposes: reinforcing the public-facing aesthetics of the Active Club movement, raising money, and aiding in recruitment. According to Ritzmann’s research, the shop gets about 10,000 visits a month, with visits lasting about 15 minutes, “indicating shopping.”

Rundo’s life on the lam in Europe came to a halt this year. The 33-year-old was collared in Romania in March, and his extradition to the United States was announced Aug. 2. He has pleaded not guilty to the conspiracy to riot charges, and is expected to go to trial in December. 

Not surprising, Rundo has become a cause célèbre in extremist circles — especially for Will2Rise. A banner at the top of its website demands “Free Rob Rundo.” The company is also selling Shepard Fairey-esque art posters reading “FREE RUNDO,” and is even raffling off a wood carving of its fasces logo, fashioned by supporters at the “Austrian Art Academy.”


Following his vision, the groups Rundo set in motion are continuing to act without him — including by holding the Huntington Beach MMA fights. Extremism experts insist this is in keeping with the leaderless “open franchise” model promoted by Active Clubs, but note that SoCal Active Club has been effectively stewarding the movement in Rundo’s absence.

Will2Rise has not responded to an email request for information on its business, revenue, and profits. The company lists its address as a P.O. box in Virginia. It also features a non-working telephone number with a Georgia area code and one too many digits — ending in 88. That number is often used by white supremacists as a numerical correspondence to the letters HH, short for Heil Hitler.

Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/active-clubs-will2rise-activewear-fascist-1234829901/

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