- This article is about the American former 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 is an American former racial separatist organization founded on October 20, 1994, in Portland, Oregon. According to Volksfront's now defunct website, 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.
The Anti-Defamation League claimed that Volksfront was "one of the most active skinhead groups in the United States." The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) included Volksfront in its list of hate groups. The group has been called "neo-Nazi" and a "racist-skinhead group" in press reports.
Volksfront held several events, including weekend-long concerts and speakers 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. 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.
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.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Volksfront was a virulently racist, rebellious, anti-authoritarianist 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. Volksfront denied many of these claims as political attacks by the ADL and SPLC.
Endorsement of non-violence
In 2002, Volksfront became the first white nationalist organization in the United States to publicly renounce violence as a means to political-social change.
Volksfront Statement of Activist Values:
- 1. Volksfront completely opposes violence, terrorism and criminal activity as a means to achieve our political aims.
- 2. Volksfront acknowledges the right of all people, religions, races and cultures to live free from fear, oppression, exploitation and foreign domination.
- 3. 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.
- 4. Volksfront will only use force in self-defense.
- 5. 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.
In late 2001, Volksfront requested to join the Coalition Against Hate Crimes (CAHC), a Portland, Oregon based organization started by the American Jewish Committee. In an anonymous email, a 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." A CAHC representative stated "They weren't trying to join us because they believed what we believed. That was not their purpose." In the end, the organization was not invited to join CAHC. 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."
Alleged Violence by members
- 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. 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. 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.
- In April 2007, Jacob Albert Laskey, alleged to be Volksfront’s Prisoner Affairs Coordinator in Eugene, Oregon, was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for his role in a "racially-motivated attack" on the Temple Beth Israel. 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." A few months later in November 2007, Laskey's brother, Gabriel Laskey, was sentenced to six months incarceration for his role in the attack.
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 website, blog, Facebook page, and emails have since been closed.
- Violent neo-Nazi skinhead froup Volksfront growing in prominence on West Coast and internationally. Anti-Defamation League press release. Retrieved on 2007-09-26.
- Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok (2007), Two Faces of Volksfront. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved on 2007-09-26
- "Museum attack illuminates extremists" ELAINE SILVESTRINI, KRISTA KLAUS. Tampa Tribune. Tampa, Fla.: Jun 12, 2009. pg. 9
- "Campaign aims to stop gang recruiting" Rebecca Nolan The Register - Guard. Eugene, Or.: Sep 30, 2005. pg. D.1
- "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
- Recent Activities Volksfront Extremism in America 2005. ADL VF Recent Activities 2009-07-20
- SPLC Volksfront Althing. SPLC VF Althing 2009-07-20
- Beirich, Heidi. "Kurtis Monschke and Other Racists Commit Violent Killing". Retrieved Summer 2004.
- "Volksfront Report". Anti-Defamation League. 2007.
- "In Re PRPO Kurtis Monshcke". Court of Appeals of the State of Washington. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- "Oregon White Supremacist Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison for Attack on Synagogue". US Department of Justice. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- FBI - OREGON WHITE SUPREMACIST SENTENCED FOR ATTACK ON SYNAGOGUE; U.S. Department of Justice Press Release; November 14, 2007 
- Official Volksfront website (Defunct)