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Neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and internet trolls: who's who in the far right

Political Junky

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May 27, 2009
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Interesting article in The Guardian.

Neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and internet trolls: who's who in the far right

The “Unite the Right” torchlight march and rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend descended into violent clashes with counter-protesters, as far-right groups chanted racist slogans and – many kitted out with shields, sticks, helmets and pepper spray – performed the Hitler salute and waved neo-Nazi flags. The events shone a spotlight on a number of disparate groups and individuals who have been emboldened since Donald Trump’s populist rightwing election victory.

The Southern Poverty Law Center civil rights organisation has identified the leading rightwing extremist organizations whose members and cheerleaders attended Charlottesville and who could be spotted at a growing number of such events around the US, as they seek to expand their reach, raise their profiles and coalesce around an agenda of militant white glorification.

Neo-Nazis are principally members of the National Socialist Movement (NSM), which grew out of the original American Nazi party, founded in 1959. The NSM specifically espouses the policies of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich and is believed to be the largest and most widespread neo-Nazi organization in the country, with chapters in 40 states. The group lionizes the Third Reich and hopes for its reincarnation in America as an ideology and political force. The NSM had traditionally sported swastika iconography on Nazi-style uniforms, armbands and flags but last year decided to modify its garb and accessories, removing the swastika in a self-declared desire for a more mainstream appeal. The NSM is led by Jeff Schoep, 43, who took charge in 1994. The group allows cross-membership with other groups. It is close to the Ku Klux Klan. Schoep and Matthew Heimbach, chairman of the Traditionalist Workers party, have formed the Nationalist Front, a white supremacist coalition aimed at bringing more unity to the far right.

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