A protesters in front of the Washington Monument on Jan. 6, 2021.
Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty
The Society for American Civic Renewal was founded by a shampoo tycoon who wants to be a “warlord.”Its founder Charles Haywood says he is fated to be a “warlord” leading an “armed patronage network.”Haywood made his fortune selling his shampoo company in 2020.
A new investigation by The Guardian shines a light on a secretive far-right men’s organization called the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR) and the strange man who appears to be funding and leading it.
According to The Guardian, SACR was founded in 2020 by Charles Haywood, a former industrialist who made a fortune selling his shampoo company. On Haywood’s personal website, he has written extensively about the possibility of America’s collapse and his desire to serve as a “warlord” leading an “armed patronage network.”
The Guardian reports that SACR has established at least four male-only, invitation-only lodges across the US. The organization’s public website espouses far-right rhetoric about national rebirth. “The past is sealed. The future is open,” reads one passage. “As the great men of the West bequeathed their deeds to us, so must we leave a legacy for our children.”
Haywood was one of the first on the right to try to rehabilitate the Capitol rioters, praising the insurrection as “pretty awesome.” Political theorist Laura Field told The Guardian that some leaders of the Claremont Institute, a prominent right-wing think tank, have embraced similarly apocalyptic views and support forming paramilitaries.
SACR is not the first shadowy, male-centric group on the far right that has alarmed experts in recent years.
The Oath Keepers, founded in 2009, promotes anti-government conspiracy theories and recruits current and former military, law enforcement, and first responders. The group urges its members to disobey orders they believe would violate the Constitution. A number of Oath Keepers leaders have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy related to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
And the far-right group the Proud Boys has become more hierarchical in recent years, with levels of membership, paramilitary training camps, and banning masturbation in an effort to instill loyalty among members. Four group leaders were found guilty of sedition in connection with their actions on January 6.
According to tax filings reviewed by The Guardian, Haywood has funded SACR through his personal foundation. The Claremont Institute has also contributed over $25,000 to SACR and received $50,000 from Haywood’s foundation.
On his website, Worthy House, Haywood writes at length about becoming a warlord. In a book review of “Dark Age America,” a book about societal collapse due to the climate crisis, Haywood writes that he feels it is his fate to become a “warlord” who leads an “armed patronage network” after societal collapse.
He states that the “key function” of such a warlord is the “protection” of those loyal to him. Haywood describes his well-fortified home compound, claiming it requires loyal armed “shooters” to defend it.
He asserts that “I have the personality, and skills, to lead such a group. I am nothing if not decisive, the core competency of a leader in any field, and I am adequately charismatic.”
During an appearance on Benjamin Boyce’s podcast in July, Haywood argued that the future political order in the US would likely be feudal. When asked about his life after selling his company, Haywood said he had become a farmer in a huge compound waiting for the “spicy times to come” — his way of describing societal collapse.
“I occasionally think I should have an organization waiting so I can raise my warlord flag someday,” Haywood told Boyce with a smile. “I have a few things along those lines, but nothing uh — nothing too specific.”