Volksfront

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This article is about the defunct American racial separatist fraternal organization. Volksfront is also the German word for "peoples front" (usually left-wing, see also: popular front), or for the right-wing Afrikaner Volksfront in South Africa.

Volksfront, also known as Volksfront International was an American racial separatist organization founded on October 20, 1994, in Portland, Oregon. According to Volksfront's now defunct website,[1] the group described itself as an "international fraternal organization for persons of European descent." Volksfront had approximately 50 members in the United States split between four chapters designated as Pac-West, Central States, North East, and Gulf-Atlantic, and an additional 50 members dispersed in other countries including Germany, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Spain. In August 2012, the United States organization of Volksfront announced their dissolution via their website. Citing harassment and investigations by the authorities, the group said it was disbanding.[2]

The Anti-Defamation League claimed that Volksfront was "one of the most active skinhead groups in the United States."[3] The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) included Volksfront in its list of hate groups.[4] The group has been called "neo-Nazi" and a "racist-skinhead group" in press reports.[5][6][7]

History[edit]

Volksfront was founded by Randal Lee Krager and Richard Arden while incarcerated in an Oregon state prison in 1994. Formed from the remnants of several fractured Portland skinhead gangs in 1994, including East Side White Pride, whose members were convicted of the murder of Ethiopian Immigrant Mulegeta Seraw.[8][9][10] Krager was serving two years for a 1992 assault on an African-American man who was left paralyzed and a conviction of first-degree intimidation for threatening to murder an anti-fascist activist, Pan Nesbitt.[10][11] A grand jury declined to indict him for charges involving hate crimes, but the judge doubled the length of his sentence due to Krager having a swastika tattoo. Krager didn't agree with the sentence as he claimed that the judge denied him the right to bring in evidence. Krager contended the victim was attempting a sexual assault, although no charges were brought against the victim.[10][11][12] After being paroled in 1996, Krager's recruiting efforts made Volksfront a potent force along the West Coast from Eugene to Portland.[13] According to Krager's parole officer, Krager handed out Nazi leaflets and frequently arranged meetings with white supremacist associates.[13] Krager told reporter Philip Dawdy of the Willamette Week that America was becoming too brown, diluting its "European-American culture," and that all minorities in the Northwest "will be repatriated."[13]

A number of Volksfront's members were linked with the Hammerskins, a white supremacist group formed in Texas, and Blood & Honour, a group founded in the United Kingdom in 1987.[9] One of Volksfront's stated goals was to create an all-white private community.[9] Volksfront held several events, including weekend-long concerts with speeches two or three times a year. The group also held organizational gatherings and memorial parties in remembrance of white nationalists who had been murdered or imprisoned around the world.[14] An annual Volksfront event called Althing was held south of St. Louis, Missouri at the group's Samuel Weaver Memorial Hall, which was named after the son of Randy Weaver, who was killed by federal agents in 1992. Althing is a reference to the ancient parliamentary system of Scandinavia.[9][15]

In late 2001, Volksfront requested to join the Coalition Against Hate Crimes (CAHC), a Portland, Oregon based organization started by the American Jewish Committee.[16] In an anonymous email, an alleged Volksfront member wrote "I think we would represent a currently unrepresented segment of our society on the issue of hate crimes and would therefore be a big asset."[16] A CAHC representative stated "They weren't trying to join us because they believed what we believed. That was not their purpose."[16] In the end, Volksfront was not invited to join CAHC.[16] The Southern Poverty Law Center commented on the non-acceptance by stating that Volksfront was "working to turn the Pacific Northwest into an all-white Aryan homeland — an end it says it will reach by deporting people of color."[16]

In June 2004, Kurtis Monschke, 20, an alleged probationary member for Volksfront, was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the March 23, 2003, murder of Randall Mark Townsend, 42, in Tacoma, Washington.[17] Volksfront denies that Mr. Monschke was a member of the organization. Prosecutors alleged that Monschke, who has the Volksfront emblem tattooed on his chest adjacent to a swastika, instigated the attack in an effort to establish himself with higher-ranking members of Volksfront.[17] During the trial, the defense claimed that Monschke was a member of Volksfront but asserted that the organization was nonviolent. Volksfront immediately condemned the attack and urged those involved be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.[18]

In April 2007, Jacob Albert Laskey, alleged to be Volksfront’s Prisoner Affairs Coordinator[17] in Eugene, Oregon, was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for his role in a "racially-motivated attack" on the Temple Beth Israel.[19] According to the FBI, Laskey is a "self-avowed white supremacist who admitted that he sought to commit acts of violence and destruction against Jews, African-Americans, and members of other ethnic and racial groups."[19] A few months later in November 2007, Laskey's brother, Gabriel Laskey, was sentenced to six months incarceration for his role in the attack.[20]

Volksfront was alleged to have been involved in, or had knowledge of, the shooting of Luke Querner, an anti-racist activist in Portland. No charges were ever filed in the case.[21] There is much speculation as to whether the shooting was a response to anti-fascist activities at the places of work of various Volksfront members.

Volksfront in the United States announced their dissolution in August 2012 via their website www.volksfrontinternational.com (site no longer valid). Citing illegal harassment and investigations by the Government they announced the organization was disbanding. Their disbanding coincided with the murder of Sikh worshipers at a temple in Wisconsin, after it came to light the shooters girl friend, Misty Cook, has at one time been associated with the group.[22] Their website, blog, Facebook page, and emails have since been closed.[2]

Ideology[edit]

Volksfront stated on their now-defunct website that the group did not support Nazism and white supremacy:

As a group we believe in the right of all people to live free from alien and foreign domination, including and especially, persons of European descent. As a group, we do not believe in the inherent superiority of a particular race over another as it relates to the value of human life. We do not seek to oppress, victimize or intimidate any other racial or religious group, but we will defend our own race and VF family without apology or question from all comers. We do not believe in or support tyrannical or totalitarian government of any type.[citation needed]

Volksfront included a "Statement of Activist Values":

  • Volksfront completely opposes violence, terrorism and criminal activity as a means to achieve our political aims.
  • Volksfront acknowledges the right of all people, religions, races and cultures to live free from fear, oppression, exploitation and foreign domination.
  • Volksfront will use political non-violent means to achieve our goals, in every case striving to educate rather than offend the communities in which we operate. We reject the simple psychology of reactionary politics as a recruitment tool.
  • Volksfront will only use force in self-defense.
  • Volksfront rejects cooperation with organizations which support violence and terrorism as means to political change. In every case we will refrain from any cooperation with organizations which use fear and terrorism to gain political or social power. Volksfront will use the tools of education, community activism and example to gain public support.[citation needed]

According to the Anti-Defamation League, Volksfront was a virulently racist, rebellious, anti-authoritarian and anti-semitic group that had become the most active neo-Nazi group on the west coast of the United States, and which maintained close alliances with many other hate groups.[3] Volksfront denied many of these claims as political attacks by the ADL and Southern Poverty Law Center .

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20120717095251/http://www.volksfrontinternational.com/
  2. ^ a b http://rosecityantifa.weebly.com/1/post/2012/09/volksfront-takes-down-website-proclaims-organizations-dissolution-in-the-united-states.html
  3. ^ a b Violent neo-Nazi skinhead froup Volksfront growing in prominence on West Coast and internationally. Anti-Defamation League press release. Retrieved on 2007-09-26.
  4. ^ Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok (2007), Two Faces of Volksfront. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved on 2007-09-26
  5. ^ "Museum attack illuminates extremists" ELAINE SILVESTRINI, KRISTA KLAUS. Tampa Tribune. Tampa, Fla.: Jun 12, 2009. pg. 9
  6. ^ "Campaign aims to stop gang recruiting" Rebecca Nolan The Register - Guard. Eugene, Or.: Sep 30, 2005. pg. D.1
  7. ^ "Hate crimes: Racist violence on rise; Experts say people lashing out, election backlash linked to surge" JOHN P. KELLY. The Patriot Ledger. Quincy, Mass.: Jan 24, 2009. pg. 3
  8. ^ http://archive.adl.org/racist_skinheads/states/oregon.html
  9. ^ a b c d Simi, Pete. "American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement's Hidden Spaces of Hate". Google Books. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c Volksfront Leadership. Anti-Defamation League archive site 2009-07-20
  11. ^ a b Hate Crimes: Causes, Controls, and Controversies published by googlebooks
  12. ^ Skinhead Indicted In Portland Beating published by Times Staff: Times News Services
  13. ^ a b c "The Flickering torch of Racism". Philip Dawdy. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  14. ^ Recent Activities Volksfront Extremism in America 2005. ADL VF Recent Activities 2009-07-20
  15. ^ SPLC Volksfront Althing. SPLC VF Althing 2009-07-20
  16. ^ a b c d e Beirich, Heidi. "Kurtis Monschke and Other Racists Commit Violent Killing". Retrieved Summer 2004.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  17. ^ a b c "Volksfront Report" (PDF). Anti-Defamation League. 2007. 
  18. ^ "In Re PRPO Kurtis Monshcke" (PDF). Court of Appeals of the State of Washington. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "Oregon White Supremacist Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison for Attack on Synagogue". US Department of Justice. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  20. ^ FBI - OREGON WHITE SUPREMACIST SENTENCED FOR ATTACK ON SYNAGOGUE; U.S. Department of Justice Press Release; November 14, 2007 [1]
  21. ^ http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/antifa-activist-shot-in-portland/
  22. ^ http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2012/08/misty-cook-wi-gunmans-ex-arrested-on-gun-charge.html

External links[edit]

  • ^ Cite error: The named reference web.archive.org was invoked but never defined (see the help page).