“lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent right-wing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.” 2009 Department of Homeland Security intelligence study
Table of Contents
Rise of Hate Groups
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC),
“The SPLC has documented an explosive rise in the number of hate groups since the turn of the century, driven in part by anger over Latino immigration and demographic projections showing that whites will no longer hold majority status in the country by around 2040. The rise accelerated in 2009, the year President Obama took office, but declined after that, in part because large numbers of extremists were moving to the web and away from on-the-ground activities. In the last two years, in part due to a presidential campaign that flirted heavily with extremist ideas, the hate group count has risen again.
What is a hate group?
The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a hate group as an organization that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.
What is a White Nationalist Group?
White nationalist groups espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies, often focusing on the alleged inferiority of nonwhites. Groups listed in a variety of other categories – Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, racist skinhead, and Christian Identity – could also be fairly described as white nationalist.
SPLC Data on Current Hate Groups
- 917 Hate groups are currently operating in the US.
- Read more about hate groups.
- 197% Increase in total number of anti-Muslim hate groups up from 2015.
- Read more about anti-Muslim groups.
- 663 Total number of antigovernment ‘patriot’ groups in 2016.
- Read more about antigovernment groups.
- 130 Total number of Ku Klux Klan groups in 2016.
- Read more about Active KKK Groups.
- 193 Total number of Black Separatist groups in 2015.
- Read more about Black Separatist groups.
Track all the groups on the SPLC Hate Map
Apex of Current White Nationalist/Hate Groups Movement
“Unite the Right” Rally
“Violence erupted in the college town of Charlottesville on Aug. 12 (2017) after hundreds of white nationalists and their supporters who gathered for a rally over plans to remove a Confederate statue were met by counter-protesters, leading Virginia’s governor to declare a state of emergency.
Clashes broke out between the white nationalists and counter-protesters; the “Unite the Right” rally at a park once named for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was deemed unlawful. At one point in the afternoon, a vehicle drove into a crowd of counter-protesters marching through the downtown area before speeding away, resulting in one death and leaving more than a dozen others injured…
…President Trump addressed the violence in televised remarks from New Jersey, condemning an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” and calling for the “swift restoration of law and order.” Among his critics was Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. “What happened in Charlottesville is domestic terrorism,” Wyden tweeted. “The President’s words only serve to offer cover for heinous acts.”
The night before Saturday’s violence, hundreds of white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus while carrying burning torches. — Andrew Katz
History of White Nationalism in US
Rolling Stone: The History of White Supremacy in America
“The angry men marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, (Unite the Right Rally that caused civil unrest between protestors and White Nationalist groups that killed one protestor) this past weekend seemed alien to many Americans. They shouted “Blood and Soil,” imitating the Nazi slogan “Blut and Boden” – meaning that the blood must be racially pure, and the land must belong to the racially pure. For these new American Nazis, the enemies are the black and brown people supposedly destroying their pure white United States. The marchers chanted, “Jews will not replace us,” echoing Hitler’s paranoid fear of Jews as the ultimate enemy.
Although they may seem a bizarre throwback to brown-shirted, goose-stepping stormtroopers of 1930s Germany, these men – and they were nearly all men – have roots that go deep in American history and America’s present. They are also some of Trump’s biggest fans. David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, said the marchers were there to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump” to “take our country back.” Others in Charlottesville found Trump too moderate. Vice News filmed one rally speaker named Christopher Cantwell arguing he’d prefer a president who’s “a lot more racist than Donald Trump,” someone who would not “give his daughter to a Jew.”
This is the new face of white supremacy in the United States. It goes beyond the systemic racism minorities in America have long faced and continue to face. White supremacists dream of a world in which minorities are either subservient or nonexistent. Below is a brief history of some of how today’s white supremacist movement came to be.
The nation’s founding and mainstream white supremacy
Article I of the Constitution says slaves are three-fifths of a person, and Article IV requires states to return runaway slaves. The United States was founded on white supremacy. The Civil War ended legal white supremacy, but it continued to be enforced by Southern leaders and white militant groups, most famously the KKK. Black people were kept under control by extralegal violence, including lynchings.
With the reimposition of white supremacy in the South, the original Klan faded away. In the early 20th century, however, it was reborn as a Protestant nativist movement. The new KKK was anti-black but also targeted Catholics and Jews, part of a long anti-immigrant tradition in America. The second Klan was a fad that attracted millions of supporters and then rapidly faded away in the 1930s.
The third Klan rose during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ’60s. Whites, angry at attempts to end segregation, again put on white hoods and joined local officials – often they were the local officials – in attacking Civil Rights workers. Blacks and whites were targeted for beatings, bombings and assassination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 put the final legal nails in segregation. Support for the Klan dwindled.
White supremacy goes underground
The legal defeat of segregation did not, however, end white dreams of supremacy. Instead, angry white supremacists, no longer part of the mainstream, splintered into numerous underground racist organizations. Many of these groups borrowed ideas from the Nazis, creating a new kind of white opposition. These movements also spread out from the South, reaching every part of the United States.
An inspirational guru for this new white opposition was Wesley Swift, a former Methodist. Swift founded a church in the 1940s that preached a gospel of white superiority. He called his twisted version of Christianity “The Church of Jesus Christ, Christian,” and preached that only white Europeans were blessed by God. He was particularly hostile to the Jews, borrowing from Nazi anti-Semitism.
One fan of Swift’s was William Potter Gale, a World War II veteran, who was outraged at the federal government’s interventions on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement. Gale formed his own “United States Christian Posse Association,” later known as “Posse Comitatus” (Latin for “force of the county”). Gale argued that the federal government had overstepped its legal bounds. It had no right to use troops to protect black students during integration efforts, no right to collect income taxes and no right to run a Federal Reserve. Essentially, he said, the U.S. government was an illegitimate entity and its orders and officials could be opposed, with violence if necessary. The people had the right to form their own armed posses to oppose the federal government. This view became accepted among far-right groups and helps to explain their repeated clashes with federal and state authorities.
Gale was also violently anti-Semitic (quoted here in Daniel Levitas’ The Terrorist Next Door):
“You’re damn right I’m teaching violence! You better start making dossiers, names, addresses, phone numbers, car license numbers, on every damn Jew rabbi in this land … and you better start doing it now. And know where he is. If you have to be told any more than that, you’re too damn dumb to bother with.”
In the 1970s and ’80s, Posse Comitatus established chapters across the country, especially in places where an economic slump had led to farm foreclosures and desperate farmers. Richard Girnt Butler was an associate of both Swift and Gale. On Swift’s death, he took over his church and moved it to Idaho. There, he created a new organization, the Aryan Nations. Butler was even more anti-Semitic than Gale. He preached that the United States was being controlled by Jews and that it was the duty of all white Christians to fight against this oppressive force. Butler held annual meetings for Aryan Nations members and like-minded groups. Hundreds of racists would show up at the Aryan Nations compound for these conventions to discuss tactics and feed each other’s hatreds.
Fear of the Jewish threat
A group with a similar mindset was the National Alliance, founded in 1974 by William Pierce, a former physics teacher. Pierce had been an associate of George Rockwell, the leader of the American Nazi Party, before Rockwell was assassinated in 1967, and shared Rockwell’s anti-Semitism and his belief in the superiority of an American Aryan (white) nation. Under Pierce’s leadership, the National Alliance gained an active membership of more than 1,000 people and became one of the nation’s most successful far-right organizations.
In 1978, Pierce, writing under the pen name Andrew Macdonald, put out The Turner Diaries, a badly written racist novel that imagined the violent overthrow of the U.S. government by white militants. The United States, as depicted by Pierce, was controlled by a Jewish elite, who used blacks as their tools. In the book, the evil federal government orders all guns confiscated. White patriots fight back in an uprising that begins with the bombing of the FBI headquarters in Washington – a scene would become the model for Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995.
The themes in Pierce’s book crop up again and again in far-right groups then and now. They shared a fear of a United States government bent on total control of society – a government controlled by Jews. They coined a nickname for the federal government: the Zionist Occupational Government, or ZOG. They also shared Pierce’s fear that the government would take away their guns. This was also a fear spread by the more mainstream National Rifle Association – a group that had been a relatively boring advocate for hunters’ rights for most of its history until it became radicalized after an internal shakeup in 1977.
Linked by their paranoia about government power, the far-right fringe shared a hostility towards all non-whites. They often expressed admiration for the ideas of Adolf Hitler, the hero of racists everywhere. They wanted to protect the power and the purity of the white race. They saw themselves as under attack by waves of “mud people” (Mexicans, Asians, blacks). The Jews were behind it all.
Violence defines the far right
Along with preaching white supremacist ideas, the far right has been incredibly violent. One of the perversities of American history is that there has been more fear of the left (the Black Panthers, the Weather Underground) than the far more violent right (the Order, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Militia movement). From the assassination of radio host Alan Berg to the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 innocents, the right is more willing to use violence, and more murderous when they do so. Recent right-wing mass murder episodes include Wade Michael Page’s 2012 attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, which killed six; Frazier Glen Miller’s 2014 targeting of Jewish community center in Kansas, which killed three; and Jared and Amanda Miller’s 2014 murder spree in Las Vegas, which killed five (including themselves).
And then there’s Dylann Roof’s 2015 murder of nine black parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof was an avowed white supremacist who posted pictures of himself posing with Confederate flags and guns and burning an American flag. Reportedly his last words to his victims were, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”
White supremacy today
Today’s white supremacists are splintered into dozens of groups with similar ideologies. There is a lot of crossover between these groups, with people moving back and forth between them. There are the neo-Nazis, who use websites like Stormfront and the Daily Stormer to coordinate their activities. Then there are the slightly more mainstream white nationalists who call for the creation of an ethnically pure white state (an “ethno-state”) and the neo-Confederates who do the same but with an added dash of pre-Civil War nostalgia. The Klan still exists, of course, with splinter factions around the country.
Then there’s the modern alt-right, a term coined by white nationalist Richard Spencer. They tend to be younger and snarkier than those in the older movements. They are particularly offended by what they see as excessive political correctness. They share contempt for mainstream liberals, feminists, “social justice warriors” and immigrants. There is no one alt-right organization, but they tend to gather on platforms like 4chan or the The_Donald (a pro-Trump subreddit). Some of the alt-right came out of the misogynistic Gamergate mess, while others got their start with the Red Pill, a subreddit devoted to pure misogyny. (The “Red Pill” refers to the scene in The Matrix when Keanu Reeves takes the red pill and discovers what the world is really about.) Some take on cute names like the Proud Boys (created by Gavin McInnes, a hipster co-founder of Vice Media) and the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights.
Even more mainstream is Breitbart, the right-wing political site. Steven Bannon, when he ran Breitbart, proudly claimed it was the platform of the alt-right, and right-wing gadfly Milo Yiannopoulos once wrote a long, gushing profile of the alt-right in the publication. Bannon, who was until Friday President Trump’s chief strategy adviser, has claimed to reject the ethno-nationalism of the alt-right, and instead calls himself an economic nationalist. He’s also, however, a fan of a rabidly racist 1973 book called The Camp of the Saints, which portrays a white world overwhelmed by a horde of brown and black people.
There is a sad mix of paranoia and inferiority in all these supposedly superior white people. They claim they are the real victims in America – they are the ones who face real racism. Stormfront’s website cries out, “We are the voice of the new, embattled White minority!” They portray themselves as warriors, but when they are attacked, they are shocked, hurt, afraid. After Richard Spencer was punched while doing a TV interview on Trump’s Inauguration Day, he complained to CNN, “It was absolutely terrible. I’ve certainly never had this happen before, a sucker punch in broad daylight.”
Jason Kessler, the petty criminal and wanna-be nationalist leader who helped to organize the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, gave a press conference Sunday, the day after Heather Heyer was killed, to complain about how the right was being mistreated. “It really is a sad day in our constitutional democracy when we are not able to have civil liberties like the First Amendment,” he said. “That’s what leads to rational discussion, and ideas breaking down, and people resorting to violence.” Then he fled, as a heckler ran up to punch him.”
Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Maya Angelou, On the Pulse of Morning
Learn More about Lynching In America
“Trump in the White House, the alt-right booming online, riots on the streets of Berkeley. Far-right thinking is more prominent than it has been for decades. But from farmyard lynchings to Nazi rallies at Madison Square Garden to a former KKK member on the Supreme Court, racism in the United States is as old as the country itself. To understand how we got to now, Timeline has surfaced some of the most extraordinary stories (links below) about racism in America, and those who fought against it.”
Allies of the White Nationalist Movement
Rolling Stones: Trump’s Long History of Racism
“Trump gave a press conference (August 15, 2017 in response to the violence in the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” Rally) Tuesday during which he essentially unsaid all the good things he asserted in his speech Monday. While he claimed he still condemned neo-Nazis and white supremacists, he also said there were “many fine people” protesting alongside the people carrying swastika flags and shields bearing racist symbols. He expressed clearly his opposition to taking down Confederate monuments. He once again blamed both sides (white nationalists and their protestors) equally for the violence that broke out. He confirmed his complete inability to understand what systemic racism is and his own role in perpetuating it…
…The racists and Nazis and white supremacists of all stripes who carried that flag were heartened by Trump’s failure to denounce them or their ideology in the immediate aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville and the murder of Heather Heyer. And his tepid, reluctant, TelePrompTer-fed denunciation of racism days later appears to have done little to discourage their belief that he supports them in the deepest, darkest, most wizened recesses of his heart.
Though it’s technically true that no one but Donald Trump knows what’s in Donald Trump’s heart, he’s given us some pretty good clues. He likely thinks swastika-toting Nazis and hood-wearing KKK members are bad guys – those are the easy targets everyone knows we’re supposed to denounce – but the entitled, clean-cut, polo-wearing, torch-bearing racists chanting about how they won’t be replaced? Those are the people who put him into office. They’re his people. And they know he’s their leader because they know Donald Trump is, like they are, racist.
Oh, they wouldn’t put it that way. They think the real racism is the affirmative action that gives people of color a chance in a world that hands people who look like me privilege from birth. They believe the real racists are the ones who declare black lives matter. (“What, ours don’t?”) But like the president they cheer, they’re racist as hell.
You don’t even have to look into Trump’s heart to see his racism. You only have to look at all the things he’s done and said over the years – from the early Seventies, when he settled with the Justice Department over accusations of housing discrimination, to Monday, when just hours after his speech news broke he is considering pardoning anti-immigrant sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Arpaio was also Trump’s partner in crime in pushing the birther conspiracy that promulgated the ugly lie our first black president was born in Kenya. We’ve conveniently forgotten (if not forgiven) how Trump spent years – years! – pushing a conspiracy based on nothing more than the assumption that a black man with a funny name couldn’t possibly be a genuine American, not like we are.
Trump also has a weird obsession with the superiority of his own genes in the face of all evidence to the contrary. That may explain why racism so often seems like his default setting, like the time he took out a full-page ad demanding the execution of five kids of color accused of raping a jogger in Central Park. Even in 2016, years after they were proven innocent, Trump stood by his actions.
Last year was when Trump put his racism on full display for the country to see. From launching his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists, to going to war with the parents of a Muslim soldier killed in battle, to encouraging violence against minority protesters at his rally, to promising to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, he built a presidential campaign on racial resentment and fear. Those were deliberate choices he made. His campaign stoked white entitlement and outrage at every turn, sending out dog whistles and sometimes glaring billboards that this was the campaign for angry white people…
…Racism isn’t limited to the thugs marching in Charlottesville. It pervades American culture like humidity in the D.C. summer air. You don’t get to say guys in hoods are bad and declare the job done. For white people, fighting racism (and all bigotry) must be a constant effort that includes self-reflection.
Hasan Piker: White Privilege Of Terror
“The program, called Life After Hate, tries to deradicalize neo-Nazis. The Department of Homeland Security has inexplicably cut funds to a program intended to wean people off neo-Nazism. Life After Hate had been scheduled to receive $400,000 during the final days of President Barack Obama’s administration, according to a report by Politico. After President Donald Trump’s administration decided to review a $10 million grant for the “Countering Violent Extremism” program, the Trump team decided to drop funding for Life After Hate.
It is unclear what the rationale was for doing so, since the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to Politico’s inquiry for comment. That said, the organization’s founder Christian Picciolini indicated that his group has received a 20-fold increase in requests for help since Election Day, suggesting that it needs funding more than ever…
…Studies have found that racism, more than economic considerations or authoritarian tendencies, played a crucial role in Trump’s election victory in 2016.”
Saloon: Liberals were right: Racism played a larger role in Trump’s win than income and authoritarianism
“This year the American National Election Study included 1,200 participants. The publicly funded study has been conducted for each election since 1948 and offers historical perspective…
…The major narrative surrounding November’s historic election focused on voters’ racial attitudes, and for good reason. Trump supporters were relentlessly depicted as racists, and the study confirmed that suspicion.
“Since 1988, we’ve never seen such a clear correspondence between vote choice and racial perceptions,” Thomas Wood wrote in his Washington Post analysis. “The biggest movement was among those who voted for the Democrat, who were far less likely to agree with attitudes coded as more racially biased.”
The Post concluded, “Racial attitudes made a bigger difference in electing Trump than authoritarianism.””
“In the 2006 bulletin, the FBI detailed the threat of white nationalists and skinheads infiltrating police in order to disrupt investigations against fellow members and recruit other supremacists. The bulletin was released during a period of scandal for many law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including a neo-Nazi gang formed by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who harassed black and Latino communities. Similar investigations revealed officers and entire agencies with hate group ties in Illinois, Ohio and Texas…
…The memo also warned of “ghost skins,” hate group members who don’t overtly display their beliefs in order to “blend into society and covertly advance white supremacist causes. “At least one white supremacist group has reportedly encouraged ghost skins to seek positions in law enforcement for the capability of alerting skinhead crews of pending investigative action against them,” the report read.
Problems with white supremacists in law enforcement have surfaced since that report. In 2014, two Florida officers — including a deputy police chief — were fired after an FBI informant outed them as members of the Ku Klux Klan. It marked the second time within five years that the agency uncovered an officer’s membership in the KKK. Several agencies nationwide have also launched investigations into personnel who may not be formal hate group members, but face allegations of race-based misconduct.
Social media has made it easier to expose white supremacists who serve in law enforcement. In September 2015, a North Carolina police officer was fired after a picture of him giving a Nazi salute surfaced on Facebook. And as recently as August, the Philadelphia Police Department launched an internal investigation after attendees of a Black Lives Matter rally outside the Democratic National Convention spotted an officer in charge of crowd control with a tattoo of the Nazi Party emblem on his forearm and posted the image on Instagram.
“Many people in these communities of color feel they have been the subject of police violence for decades,” said Samuel Jones, professor of law at the John Marshall School of Law in Chicago. “And when an officer engages in conduct that adds or enhances that divide, they are ultimately jeopardizing the integrity of their agencies and putting their fellow officers in danger.”
Policing in America has historically had racial implications. The earliest forms of organized law enforcement in the U.S. can be traced to slave patrols that tracked down escaped slaves, and overseers assigned to guard settler communities from Native Americans. In the centuries since, many law enforcement agencies directly participated in antagonizing communities of color, or provided a shield for others who did. But in the 10 years since the FBI’s initial warning, little has changed, Jones said.
Neither the FBI nor state and local law enforcement agencies have established systems for vetting personnel for potential supremacist links, he said. That task is left primarily to everyday citizens and nonprofit organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of few that tracks the growing number of hate groups in America…
…The First Amendment’s freedoms of association and expression mean it’s perfectly legal for anyone to join a hate group — as long as it’s for the purpose of legal activity — and still be a member of law enforcement. They can even serve in other positions of public office. But according to the FBI memo, the government can limit employment opportunities of members “when their memberships would interfere with their duties.” Jones says that’s problematic.”
“White supremacists and other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. A striking reference to that conclusion, notable for its confidence and the policy prescriptions that accompany it, appears in a classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, obtained by The Intercept. The guide, which details the process by which the FBI enters individuals on a terrorism watchlist, the Known or Suspected Terrorist File, notes that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers,” and explains in some detail how bureau policies have been crafted to take this infiltration into account…
…No centralized recruitment process or set of national standards exists for the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, many of which have deep historical connections to racist ideologies. As a result, state and local police as well as sheriff’s departments present ample opportunities for white supremacists and other right-wing extremists looking to expand their power base…
…That report (October 2006 FBI internal intelligence assessment) appeared after a series of scandals involving local police and sheriff’s departments. In Los Angeles, for example, a U.S. District Court judge found in 1991 that members of a local sheriff’s department had formed a neo-Nazi gang and habitually terrorized black and Latino residents. In Chicago, Jon Burge, a police detective and rumored KKK member, was fired, and eventually prosecuted in 2008, over charges relating to the torture of at least 120 black men during his decadeslong career. Burge notoriously referred to an electric shock device he used during interrogations as the “nigger box.” In Cleveland, officials found that a number of police officers had scrawled “racist or Nazi graffiti” throughout their department’s locker rooms. In Texas, two police officers were fired when it was discovered they were Klansmen. One of them said he had tried to boost the organization’s membership by giving an application to a fellow officer he thought shared his “white, Christian, heterosexual values.”…
…In 2009, shortly after the election of Barack Obama, a Department of Homeland Security intelligence study, written in coordination with the FBI, warned of the “resurgence” of right-wing extremism. “Right-wing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African-American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda,” the report noted, singling out “disgruntled military veterans” as likely targets of recruitment. “Right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.” The report concluded that “lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent right-wing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.
Faced with mounting criticism, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano disavowed the document and apologized to veterans. The agency’s unit investigating right-wing extremism was largely dismantled and the report’s lead investigator was pushed out. “They stopped doing intel on that, and that was that,” Heidi Beirich, who leads the Southern Poverty Law Center’s tracking of extremist groups, told The Intercept. “The FBI in theory investigates right-wing terrorism and right-wing extremism, but they have limited resources. The loss of that unit was a loss for a lot of people who did this kind of work.”
“Federal law enforcement agencies in general — the FBI, the Marshals, the ATF — are aware that extremists have infiltrated state and local law enforcement agencies and that there are people in law enforcement agencies that may be sympathetic to these groups,” said Daryl Johnson, who was the lead researcher on the DHS report. Johnson, who now runs DT Analytics, a consulting firm that analyzes domestic extremism, says the problem has since gotten “a lot more troublesome.”
Johnson singled out the Oath Keepers and the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association for their anti-government attitudes and efforts to recruit active as well as retired law enforcement officers. “That’s the biggest issue and it’s greater now than it’s ever been, in my opinion.” Johnson added that Homeland Security has given up tracking right-wing domestic extremists. “It’s only the FBI now,” he said, adding that local police departments don’t seem to be doing anything to address the problem. “There’s not even any training now to make state and local police aware of these groups and how they could infiltrate their ranks.”
In 2014, the Department of Justice re-established its Domestic Terrorism Task Force, a unit that was created following the Oklahoma City bombing. But for the most part, the government’s efforts to confront domestic terrorism threats over the last decade have focused on homegrown extremists radicalized by foreign groups. Last year, a group of progressive members of Congress called on President Obama and DHS to update the controversial 2009 report. “The United States allocates significant resources towards combating Islamic violent extremism while failing to devote adequate resources to right-wing extremism,” they wrote. “This lack of political will comes at a heavy price.”
Critics fear that the backlash following the 2009 DHS report hindered further action against the growing white supremacist threat, and that it was largely ignored because the issue was so politically controversial. “I believe that because that report was so denounced by conservatives, it sort of closed the door on whatever the FBI may have been considering doing with respect to combating infiltration of law enforcement by white supremacists,” said Samuel Jones, a professor of law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago who has written about white power ideology in law enforcement. “Because after the 2006 FBI report, we simply cannot find anything by local law enforcement or the federal government that addresses this issue.”
Pete Simi, a sociologist at Chapman University who spent decades studying the proliferation of white supremacists in the U.S. military, agreed. “The report underscores the problem of even discussing this issue. It underscores how difficult this issue is to get any traction on, because a lot of people don’t want to discuss this, let alone actually do something about it.” Simi said that the extremist strategy to infiltrate the military and law enforcement has existed “for decades.” In a study he conducted of individuals indicted for far-right terrorism-related activities, he found that at least 31 percent had military experience.
After a series of investigations uncovered substantial numbers of extremists in the military, the Department of Defense moved to impose stricter screenings, including monitoring recruits’ tattoos for white supremacist symbols and discharging those found to espouse racist views.
“The military has completely reformed its process on this front,” said the SPLC’s Beirich, who lobbied the DOD to adopt those reforms. “I don’t know why it wouldn’t be the same for police officers; we can’t have people with guns having crazy ideas or ideas that threaten certain populations.”
Reforming police, as it turns out, is a lot harder than reforming the military, because of the decentralized way in which the thousands of police departments across the country operate, the historical affinity of certain police departments with the same racial ideologies espoused by extremists, and an even broader reluctance to do much about it.
“If you look at the history of law enforcement in the United States, it is a history of white supremacy, to put it bluntly,” said Simi, citing the origin of U.S. policing in the slave patrols of the 18th and 19th centuries. “More recently, just going back 50 years, law enforcement, particularly in the South, was filled with Klan members.”
“They train to fight. They post their beatings online. And so far, they have little reason to fear the authorities…
…many Americans, conservatives as well as liberals, there was shock and confusion at the sight of bands of white men bearing torches (during the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” Rally that united white nationalist groups that fought counter protestors, killing one protestor), chanting racist slogans and embracing the heroes of the Confederacy: Who were they? What are their numbers and aims?
There is, of course, no single answer. Some who were there that weekend in Charlottesville are hardened racists involved with long-running organizations like the League of the South. Many are fresh converts to white supremacist organizing, young people attracted to nativist and anti-Muslim ideas circulated on social media by leaders of the so-called alt-right, the newest branch of the white power movement. Some are paranoid characters thrilled to traffic in the symbols and coded language of vast global conspiracy theories. Others are sophisticated provocateurs who see the current political moment as a chance to push a “white agenda,” with angry positions on immigration, diversity and economic isolationism.
ProPublica spent weeks examining one distinctive group at the center of the violence in Charlottesville: an organization called the Rise Above Movement, one of whose members was the white man dispensing beatings near Emancipation Park Aug. 12.
The group, based in Southern California, claims more than 50 members and a singular purpose: physically attacking its ideological foes. RAM’s members spend weekends training in boxing and other martial arts, and they have boasted publicly of their violence during protests in Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley. Many of the altercations have been captured on video, and its members are not hard to spot…
…Despite their prior records, and open boasting of current violence, RAM has seemingly drawn little notice from law enforcement. Four episodes of violence documented by ProPublica resulted in only a single arrest — and in that case prosecutors declined to go forward. Law enforcement officials in the four cities — Charlottesville, Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley — either would not comment about RAM or said they had too little evidence or too few resources to seriously investigate the group’s members.
In Virginia, two months after the deadly events in Charlottesville, Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, would not say if the police had identified RAM as a dangerous group.
“We’re not going to be releasing the names of the groups that we believe were present that day in Charlottesville,” she said. Investigators, she added, are still “reviewing footage” from the event.
Law enforcement has a mixed record when it comes to anticipating and confronting the challenge of white supremacist violence.
Often working undercover at great personal risk, federal investigators have successfully disrupted dozens of racist terror attacks. In the last year, agents have captured three Kansas men planning to bomb a mosque and an apartment complex inhabited largely by Somali immigrants, arrested a white supremacist in South Carolina as he plotted a “big scale” attack, and investigated a neo-Nazi cell that allegedly intended to blow up a nuclear power plant.
But there have also been failures. During the past five years, white supremacists, some of them members of gangs or organized political groups, have murdered at least 22 people, according to the Global Terrorism Database and news reports. And some government insiders say the intelligence services and federal law enforcement agencies have largely shifted their attention away from far-right threats in the years since 9/11, choosing instead to focus heavily on Islamic radicals, who are seen by some to pose a more immediate danger.
State and local police have struggled to respond effectively to the recent resurgence in racist political organizing.
…There is an entire ecosystem of low-budget white supremacist media outlets — websites, blogs, forums, podcasts, YouTube channels and the like — and RAM members have been hailed as heroes on some of these platforms.
“They kicked the shit out of people in Berkeley. It was great,” said a host on a racist podcast called Locker Room Talk. “They like to go to rallies and beat up Communists.” YouTube talker James Allsup saluted RAM members as the embodiment of the ideal American man…
…The RAM leader claims his organization isn’t racist and complains he doesn’t even know what the word “racism” means.
“We’re proud of our identity,” he said before launching into a long list of grievances. Whites, he said, are ignored by politicians, taught to be ashamed by leftist academics, and marginalized and driven from the workforce by economic globalization. Young white men, he said, are drawn to the extreme right “because there is no other option for them. They’re disenfranchised.”
This intense sense of victimization is widespread among figures involved in the so-called alt-right.”
Media Matters: Fox News is Mainstreaming White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis
Fox News has been trying to normalize white supremacy for years. But since Donald Trump’s election, hosts, guests, and contributors on Fox are now openly defending white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
Everyone is well aware that Trump has been continually signaling his support to white supremacists since the 2016 presidential campaign. He retweets them, refuses to immediately disavow them, and even defends them. And Fox News is right there to validate him at every turn.
Fox News personalities repeat his talking points without question (and he repeats theirs). They claim that Trump has done everything he can to condemn these groups and everyone should accept it. They tell viewers to be more understanding of where neo-Nazis are coming from, but don’t extend the same empathy to NFL athletes who have been peacefully protesting racial injustice by taking the knee during the pre-game national anthem. They praise Trump for not jumping to any conclusions. They make ridiculous comparisons that falsely equate white supremacists with minority groups fighting for equal rights. Fox host Tucker Carlson has even promoted a social media app that’s been called “a haven for white nationalists.”
When white supremacists hear the White House and a major news network repeating and amplifying their ideas, they rejoice because, according to Heidi Beirich at the Southern Poverty Law Center, “It builds their ranks … because instead of being considered racist kooks by the majority of people, if their ideas are verified in places like Fox News or places like Breitbart, whatever the case might be, they have something to point to say I’m not extreme.” Beirich has called Fox News “the biggest mainstreamer of extremist ideas” and explained that “the horror of this is that people turn on their TV they go to cable, [they] assume this has got to be mainstream,” but “what you find is radical right ideas being pushed on Fox.”
Since white supremacists and neo-Nazis “are deeply involved in politics, [and] are a constituency that is being pandered to at the highest level of political office,” and because Fox News is elevating their movement, Beirich urges mainstream outlets to “talk about their ideas, … to talk about the domestic terrorism that’s inspired by white supremacy, and … about hate crimes.”
Info Wars/Alex Jones
According to SPLC, “In terms of the audience he reaches, he also may be the one with the most far-reaching influence in the nation’s history. Time after time, he warns without any evidence that terrorist attacks — from 9/11 to the Boston Marathon bombings to the 2013 Washington Navy Yard mass murder — are actually “false flag” operations by our government or evil “globalist” forces planning to take over the world. To many, Jones is a bad joke. But the sad reality is that he has millions of followers who listen to his radio show, watch his “documentaries” and read his websites, and some of them, like Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, resort to deadly violence.”
White Nationalist Groups
The Man Behind The NSM, The Largest Neo-Nazi Group In America
Rebranding White Nationalism: Inside Richard Spencer’s Alt-Right
According to SPLC, “The Alternative Right, commonly known as the Alt-Right, is a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that “white identity” is under attack by multicultural forces using “political correctness” and “social justice” to undermine white people and “their” civilization. Characterized by heavy use of social media and online memes, Alt-Righters eschew “establishment” conservatism, skew young, and embrace white ethno-nationalism as a fundamental value.”
PBS: Why Armed Milita Groups are Surging Across the Nation
According to the SPCL, “The Patriot movement first emerged in 1994, a response to what was seen as violent government repression of dissident groups at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and near Waco, Texas, in 1993, along with anger at gun control and the Democratic Clinton Administration in general. It peaked in 1996, a year after the Oklahoma City bombing, with 858 groups, then began to fade. By the turn of the millennium, the Patriot movement was reduced to fewer than 150 relatively inactive groups.
But the movement came roaring back beginning in late 2008, just as the economy went south with the subprime collapse and, more importantly, as Barack Obama appeared on the political scene as the Democratic nominee and, ultimately, the president-elect. Even as most of the nation cheered the election of the first black president that November, an angry backlash developed that included several plots to murder Obama. Many Americans, infused with populist fury over bank and auto bailouts and a feeling that they had lost their country, joined Patriot groups.
The swelling of the Patriot movement since that time has been astounding. From 149 groups in 2008, the number of Patriot organizations skyrocketed to 512 in 2009, shot up again in 2010 to 824, and then, last year, jumped to 1,274. That works out to a staggering 755% growth in the three years ending last Dec. 31. Last year’s total was more than 400 groups higher than the prior all-time high, in 1996.”
According to SPLC, “The “godly” nation envisioned by the League should be run by an “Anglo-Celtic” (read: white) elite that would establish a Christian theocratic state and politically dominate blacks and other minorities. Originally founded by a group that included many Southern university professors, the group lost its Ph.D.s as it became more explicitly racist. The league denounces the federal government and northern and coastal states as part of “the Empire,” a materialist and anti-religious society. In recent years, it has become increasingly rabid, writing about potential violence, criticizing perceived Jewish power, and warning blacks that they would be defeated in any “race war.”
“A radical counter-movement erupts in response to Black Lives Matter, with racist activists working hard to spread its claims.
Black Lives Matter was born in the aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, picked up steam after the 2014 police killings of black men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City, and is today a major social movement seeking racial justice and equality. But the movement set off a reaction among many whites and others who insisted that “every life” matters. Many conservatives chimed in, even suggesting that the movement was really a hate group, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, at the time a Republican presidential candidate, claimed it advocated “the murder of police officers.”
Now comes White Lives Matter (WLM), a small but virulent movement that goes far beyond anything Christie or anyone in the conservative mainstream has said. Its main activists, to put it plainly, are unvarnished white supremacists.
Emanating from the fever swamps of the radical right, it’s somewhat difficult to trace WLM’s precise evolution and leadership structure. But it’s clear that one of its key leaders, if not the leader, is 40-year-old Rebecca Barnette (or Rebekha, as she sometimes spells it online), a Tennessean who is also vice president of the women’s division of the racist skinhead group Aryan Strikeforce. In June, Barnette announced that she also had been appointed director of the women’s division of the National Socialist Movement, America’s largest neo-Nazi group. Barnette, who describes herself as a “revolutionist” who is working to “create a new world” for white people, appears to run both the WLM website and the movement’s Facebook page.
The WLM website describes the movement as “dedicated to promotion of the white race and taking positive action as a united voice against issues facing our race.” “The fiber and integrity our nation was founded on is being unraveled … [by] homosexuality and mix[ed] relationships,” it says. “Illegal immigration, healthcare, housing, welfare, employment, education, social security, our children, our veterans and active military and their rights … are the issues we face as white Americans. The laws and immoral orders the current administration are passing are drastically … targeting everything the white way of life holds dear.”
But Barnette can sound considerably more bloodthirsty.
In posts on her page on vk.com, a Russian social networking site favored by white supremacists and neo-Nazis for its lack of censorship, Barnette says that Jews and Muslims have formed an alliance “to commit genocide of epic proportions” of the white race. Now is the time, she adds in the same post, for “the blood of our enemies [to] soak our soil to form new mortar to rebuild our landmasses.”
The WLM website urges activists to grow the movement, much as white supremacists in the last several years have worked to seed the idea in the political mainstream that white people are being subjected to genocide. The site asks supporters to find “like-minded people” and organize groups to attend school board and local town council meetings, arrange neighborhood block parties “to discuss the problems affecting our community,” and to “find out who your local state rep is” in order to confront them about issues of illegal immigration and healthcare.
There are signs that some of this is happening.
Since last year, WLM fliers, reading “It’s Not Racist to Love Your People” and carrying the hashtag #whitelivesmatter, have been posted on bathroom walls, light posts and bus stops from Utah to Connecticut. Some incorporate language about black-on-white crime, a reminder of the racist Council of Conservative Citizens website that dwells on the same topic and inspired the racist massacre last year of nine black churchgoers by Dylann Roof in Charleston, S.C.
Barnette, whose Aryan Strikeforce recently joined a new neo-Nazi coalition called the Aryan Nationalist Alliance, has been especially active. In August 2015, she ran a social media campaign against a planned Black Lives Matter rally near Johnson City, Tenn., telling the Johnson City Press she was a local representative of White Lives Matter and the Aryan Renaissance Society. (She has since left the Renaissance Society to join the Aryan Strikeforce, she wrote on vk.com.) The newspaper quoted a post of hers saying that there was “a small army ready to blow their little party out of the water … in the proper way… the white.” She also said, after conceding she had received government assistance in the past, that she was a homemaker from nearby Surgoinsville, and defined herself as a “racialist.”
Barnette has moved around the white supremacist scene a fair amount. On April 23 of this year, she attended an annual event in Rome, Ga., that was hosted by the National Socialist Movement, the country’s largest neo-Nazi group. She has tried to bring unity to the fractured racist world, encouraging “a unified voice against a tyrannical reign of government” and deriding “a bunch of idiots in my own race that care more about fighting amongst each other … than to stand as a people.”
There are others as well.
Melissa Dennis, a California woman who is a contact for the racist Noble Breed Kindred group, designs and sells WLM T-shirts and stickers to raise funds for racist groups. She joined a “flier drop” where activists distributed WLM propaganda on Jan. 9 as part of what was billed as a national anti-Muslim event. On the same day, Billy Roper, a well-known racist leader, pasted up fliers in Harrison, Ark. Dennis also offered WLM T-shirts for an Aryan Nationalist Alliance meeting on June 25, held in Salem, Ohio, according to comments on her vk.com page.
Connecticut resident Kevin Harris, 35, regularly posts videos of himself passing out WLM fliers in grocery store parking lots on a WLM YouTube channel. Harris, who says his work is “to raise awareness of the Caucasian genocide,” also distributed fliers in his local community on Jan. 27 of this year. Another WLM activist on the YouTube channel asks supporters to collect box tops to support public schools even though they are “Communist reprogramming centers.” The activist goes to say that whites can then “retake this nation one school at a time.”
A neo-Nazi group, the Texas-based Aryan Renaissance Society (ARS) of which Barnette was once a part, has described itself as “the leading force behind the WLM Movement.” The ARS has distributed WLM fliers in southeast Texas and once held up WLM signs as a procession passed for a memorial service for Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth, who was murdered in August 2015. ARS member Doug Chism of Texas City has a large WLM sign erected outside his home.
The ARS describes itself as a “network of dedicated White Separatists diligently striving to impart a New Racial Consciousness to Aryankind.” It hopes to create “an Aryan oligarchy based on genetic aristocracy” to “enhance the Race.” The overall idea, ARS says, is to protect threatened white people from genocide and the “bastardization of the white race” through interbreeding.
One of the more noticeable appearances of the WLM movement came on Feb. 27, when a car containing six Klansmen and bearing “White Lives Matter” signs arrived at a park in Anaheim, Calif., to protest “illegal immigration and Muslims.” Counter-protesters set upon the Klansmen, who stabbed three people, one critically, in response. Although police initially arrested five Klan members, they later released them after saying the stabbings were self-defense and arrested several protesters.
It’s unclear how much the WLM movement matters in the real world, beyond annoying most of those who see its fliers and other propaganda. But WLM activists are hard at work, doing their best to seed yet another racist concept into the consciousness of American whites as they seek to build a whites-only nation. Given the atmosphere in the United States today, that should worry all Americans.
For SPLC’s statement on why Black Lives Matter is not a hate group, please visit this link.”
White Culture Under Attack Myth
NY Times: The Policies of White Resentment
“White resentment put Donald Trump in the White House. And there is every indication that it will keep him there, especially as he continues to transform that seething, irrational fear about an increasingly diverse America into policies that feed his supporters’ worst racial anxieties…
…The guiding principle in Mr. Trump’s government is to turn the politics of white resentment into the policies of white rage — that calculated mechanism of executive orders, laws and agency directives that undermines and punishes minority achievement and aspiration…
…Like on Christmas morning, every day brings his supporters presents: travel bans against Muslims, Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in Hispanic communities and brutal, family-gutting deportations, a crackdown on sanctuary cities, an Election Integrity Commission stacked with notorious vote suppressors, announcements of a ban on transgender personnel in the military, approval of police brutality against “thugs,” a denial of citizenship to immigrants who serve in the armed forces and a renewed war on drugs that, if it is anything like the last one, will single out African-Americans and Latinos although they are not the primary drug users in this country. Last week, Mr. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions put the latest package under the tree: a staffing call for a case on reverse discrimination in college admissions, likely the first step in a federal assault on affirmative action and a determination to hunt for colleges and universities that discriminate against white applicants.
That so many of these policies are based on perception and lies rather than reality is nothing new. White resentment has long thrived on the fantasy of being under siege and having to fight back, as the mass lynchings and destruction of thriving, politically active black communities in Colfax, La. (1873), Wilmington, N.C. (1898), Ocoee, Fla. (1920), and Tulsa, Okla. (1921), attest. White resentment needs the boogeyman of job-taking, maiden-ravaging, tax-evading, criminally inclined others to justify the policies that thwart the upward mobility and success of people of color.
The last half-century hasn’t changed that. The war on drugs, for example, branded African-Americans and Latinos as felons, which stripped them of voting rights and access to housing and education just when the civil rights movement had pushed open the doors to those opportunities in the United States.
Similarly, the intensified war on immigrants comes, not coincidentally, at the moment when Latinos have gained visible political power, asserted their place in American society and achieved greater access to schools and colleges. The ICE raids have terrorized these communities, led to attendance drop-offs in schools and silenced many from even seeking their legal rights when abused.
The so-called Election Integrity Commission falls in the same category. It is a direct response to the election of Mr. Obama as president. Despite the howls from Mr. Trump and the Republicans, there was no widespread voter fraud then or now. Instead, what happened was that millions of new voters, overwhelmingly African-American, Hispanic and Asian, cast the ballots that put a black man in the White House. The punishment for participating in democracy has been a rash of voter ID laws, the purging of names from the voter rolls, redrawn district boundaries and closed and moved polling places.
Affirmative action is no different. It, too, requires a narrative of white legitimate grievance, a sense of being wronged by the presence of blacks, Latinos and Asians in positions that had once been whites only. Lawsuit after lawsuit, most recently Abigail Fisher’s suit against the University of Texas, feed the myth of unqualified minorities taking a valuable resource — a college education — away from deserving whites.
In order to make that plausible, Ms. Fisher and her lawyers had to ignore the large number of whites who were admitted to the university with scores lower than hers. And they had to ignore the sizable number of blacks and Latinos who were denied admission although their SAT scores and grade point averages were higher than hers. They also had to ignore Texas’ unsavory racial history and its impact. The Brown decision came down in 1954, yet the Dallas public school system remained under a federal desegregation order from 1971 to 2003.
That white resentment simply found a new target for its ire is no coincidence; white identity is often defined by its sense of being ever under attack, with the system stacked against it. That’s why Mr. Trump’s policies are not aimed at ameliorating white resentment, but deepening it. His agenda is not, fundamentally, about creating jobs or protecting programs that benefit everyone, including whites; it’s about creating purported enemies and then attacking them.
Now This: ‘White culture’ isn’t under attack
White Genocide Myth
Doxing and Trolling
“Post Charlottesville, Boston, and the Bay Area Anti-White supremacist marches we are seeing an unprecedented number of doxing attacks on all members of the movements.
Doxing is the violent Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting private or identifiable information about an individual or organization in order to harass and traumatize activists from organizing activity. Additionally such attacks can also be accompanied by real world violence and spread disinformation about and individual and/or a movement.
If you’re concern about Doxing check out the Anti-Doxing guide by Equality Labs
Propublica: So What the Hell Is Doxxing?
“But while doxxing may seem both creepy and dangerous, there is no single federal law against the practice. Such behavior has to be part of a wider campaign of harassment or stalking for it to be against the law…
…They use public records, like property records, tax documents, voter registration databases; they scour social media, real estate websites and even do real-life surveillance to gather information. Then, they publish the information online.For some, doxxing is morally troubling.
Law professor Danielle Citron is one. “It provides a permission structure to go outside the law and punish each other,” she says. “It’s like shaming in cyber-mobs.””
“Chat logs obtained from message boards used by neo-Nazis and other far-right groups show a concerted effort to compile private information on leftist enemies and circulate the data to encourage harassment or violence.
The messages were obtained by an anonymous source, who infiltrated and gained the trust of white nationalists and other right-wingers, and has been leaking the material to Unicorn Riot, a “decentralized media collective” that emerged from leftist protest movements…
…Victims of the outings, also known as “doxing,” described reactions ranging from terror to anger to annoyance, and have variously turned to friends and family for support and locked down their accounts. They said the (Neo-Nazi) Pony Power doxing campaign is just the latest in a series of online efforts by neo-Nazis and their allies to marginalize their opponents. The information compiled on Pony Power hasn’t yet been distributed to the larger right-wing extremist community. However, doxing efforts associated with prior online hate campaigns have forced targets to leave their homes in the face of death threats, rape threats, and other forms of harassment. And those attacks were mounted even before President Donald Trump came to power on the back of racist attacks against his predecessor, Mexicans, and Muslims, and before he embraced white nationalists and encouraged violence against protesters at campaign rallies.
During the 10-day span that the Pony Power chat logs cover, from August 17 to 27, so-called alt-right members collected private information from over 50 anti-fascist activists from the states of California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
The information collected often included photographs, social media profiles, home address, phone numbers, email addresses, date of birth, driver license numbers, vehicle information, place of employment, and in one instance, a social security number. The justification for doxing normally put forward in Pony Power was that the targets were part of loosely structured far-left groups known as antifa, or anti-fascists, which has put up some of the most militant opposition to the far right; or they’re judged sympathetic to antifa; or they’ve been seen at protests deemed “communist” by the the far right. The members of Pony Power often brainstorm methods to increase the effectiveness of their harassment campaigns…
…During this conversation, Albricht described how he tricks suspected antifa members into revealing their IP address by sending them a malicious link. “What happens is the person goes through our link to an actual website, and from there this website logs the IP as it redirects the person without them knowing through their IP tracking website,” he wrote. “It’s perfect to capture these people’s IP addresses from now on.” IP addresses can sometimes be used to ascertain someone’s approximate or specific physical location…
If you’re worried right-wing extremists will come after you, here are a few resources to help you scrub your online presence.
- Feminist Frequency’s Speak Up and Stay Safe(r) guide
- Equality Lab’s anti-doxing guide for activists facing attacks from the “alt-right”
- A Techlicious blog post about removing yourself from people search directories”
The Atlantic: Make Trolling Great Again
“Political provocateurs have won an incredible amount of attention during this election cycle. They have harassed Jewish journalists. They have bullied a black actress. Hillary Clinton gave a whole speech dedicated to the so-called “alt right,” a vague umbrella term for a loose coalition of people whose beliefs range from forthright racism and anti-semitism to bitter antipathy toward what they define as “political correctness.” Donald Trump himself is arguably best described as a provocateur; his preternatural talent for making subtly offensive statements has won him endless free media coverage, a fact he has touted with glee.
While media outlets have often used the word “trolling” to describe these kinds of comments, they’re less trolling than symbols of the decline of trolling, an art which has been soured by pointless nastiness. Trolling, or purposefully angering certain groups or individuals in order to make a point, is a phenomenon of the internet, but its spirit has long been alive in politics…
…But most of the trolling done online today, particularly by groups that are labeled part of the “alt-right,” doesn’t have any purpose or deeper meaning. For the most part, it’s just offensive. It is arguably distinct from the internet shenanigans of groups like anonymous or 4chan, which dominated the mainstream understanding of “trolling” just one or two election cycles ago. As political culture and internet culture have become increasingly intertwined, mainstream media outlets have become more likely to spot and amplify the offensive behavior that characterizes the fringes of American politics.
Not only is it inaccurate to label this behavior mere trolling—it’s bad for democracy. It gives bigots an excuse to hide their bigotry with playfulness. It legitimizes hateful political speech. And it ultimately expands the acceptable band of rhetoric in mainstream political discourse: Under the guise of “anti-political-correctness,” any individual or group can claim the right to be as hateful as they want, poisoning potentially constructive arguments with pointless antagonism.”
“Before the alt-right movement became more widely known for neo-Nazism and white supremacism, its members were frequently described as internet trolls. But in the wake of Trump’s ascent to the White House and many subsequent public displays of neo-Nazi behavior in celebration of it, many people are asking whether “trolling” was ever the correct term to describe the alt-right’s behavior…
…For decades, the word “troll” was web-speak for that one rude commenter on a forum who just wouldn’t shut up or go away; the one who kept trying to goad the average reasonable person into a fight — and often an absurd one based on absurd logic, or a twisting of your assumptions regarding the basic principles you were arguing about. For instance, a troll might argue about the color of the sky by insisting it’s red, and remaining intentionally tone-deaf in response to any attempts at correction.
Military Times: One in four troops sees white nationalism in the ranks
NY Times: The Policies of White Resentment
Media Matters: Fox News is Mainstreaming White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis
Rolling Stones: Trump’s Long History of Racism