National Socialist Movement (United States)

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National Socialist Movement
LeaderBurt Colucci
Founded1974
Preceded byAmerican Nazi Party
NewspaperNSM Magazine[1]
Youth wingViking Youth Corp[2]
Ideology
Political positionFar-right[9]
International affiliationWorld Union of National Socialists[10]
Colors  Black   White   Red   Blue
Ethnic groupWhite Americans
Party flag
Flag of National Socialist Movement (United States).svg
Website
www.nsm88.org
Alternate flag of the National Socialist Movement, featuring the Odal rune

The National Socialist Movement (NSM) is a far-right, Neo-Nazi, white supremacist organization based in the United States.[5][11] It is a part of the Nationalist Front.[12] The party claimed to be the "largest and most active" National Socialist organization in the United States. It is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.[13][14]

In January 2019, the leadership of the group was turned over to James Hart Stern, a Black civil rights activist, who announced his intention to undermine the group and "eradicate" it.[15][16][17] In March 2019, in a press release the group's leader, Jeff Schoep, declared that Stern "does not speak for the National Socialist Movement and he holds no legal standing with the NSM". In addition to speaking out against Stern, he also announced that he was leaving the NSM and giving his position to Burt Colucci.[18][19] Since then, Jeff Schoep has renounced his racist past and he has also renounced his involvement in all racist groups.[20] In April 2021, Colucci was arrested for aggravated assault.[21]

History[edit]

The National Socialist Movement was founded in 1974 in St. Paul, Minnesota, as the "National Socialist American Workers Freedom Movement" by Robert Brannen and Cliff Herrington, former members of the American Nazi Party before its decline. In 1994, Jeff Schoep became the group's chairman,[22] a position he held until January 2019.[17] It was revealed in 2004 that Clifford Herrington, co-chairman of the NSM, was the husband of Andrea Herrington,[23][24] founder and "high-priestess" of the theistic Satanist organization and website Joy of Satan Ministries,[23][24] leading to a major debate and conflict both within the NSM itself and Joy of Satan Ministries, and to the Herringtons' eventual departure from the NSM.[23][24][25]

The National Socialist Movement was responsible for leading the demonstration which sparked the 2005 Toledo riot.[26] In April 2006, they held a rally on the State Capitol steps in Lansing, Michigan, which was met by a larger counter-rally and ended in scuffles.[27]

NSM rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol building, Washington, D.C., 2008

In January 2009, the National Socialist Movement sponsored a half-mile section of U.S. Highway 160 outside of Springfield, Missouri, as part of the Adopt-A-Highway Trash Cleanup program.[28] The highway was later renamed the "Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Memorial Highway" by the state legislature.[29]

In 2009, the National Socialist Movement had 61 chapters in 35 states, making it the largest neo-Nazi group in the United States according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.[30] As of 2015, the National Socialist Movement claimed direct organized presences in seven countries around the world, and other affiliations beyond that.[31][unreliable source?]

On April 17, 2010, 70 members of the National Socialist Movement demonstrated in front of the Los Angeles City Hall, drawing a counter protest of hundreds of anti-fascist demonstrators.[6]

In May 2011, the National Socialist Movement was described by The New York Times as being "the largest supremacist group, with about 400 members in 32 states, though much of its prominence followed the decay of Aryan Nation and other neo-Nazi groups".[32]

On May 1, 2011, Jeff Hall, a leader of the California branch of the National Socialist Movement, was killed by his 10-year-old emotionally troubled son, who claimed he was tired of Hall beating him and his stepmother.[33] Hall had run in 2010 for a seat on the board of directors of a Riverside County water board, a race in which he earned approximately 30% of the vote.[34]

The National Socialist Movement held a rally on September 3, 2011, in West Allis, Wisconsin, to protest incidents at the Wisconsin State Fair on August 5, 2011, when a large crowd of young African-Americans allegedly targeted and beat white people as they left the fair around 11 p.m. Police claimed that the incident began as a fight among African-American youths that was not racially motivated.[35][36] Dan Devine, the mayor of West Allis, stated on September 2, 2011, "I believe I speak for the citizens when I say they [the National Socialist Movement] are not welcome here."[37]

In 2012, two former members of the National Socialist Movement were arrested and sentenced to prison for drug trafficking, stockpiling weapons, and plotting terrorist attacks against a Mexican consulate in the United States.[38]

As of March 2015, the organization had planned a return to Toledo, Ohio, for a rally focusing on crime in the area. In June 2016, the group helped organize with the Traditionalist Worker Party the rally which turned into the 2016 Sacramento riot.[39][40] In November 2016, following the election of Donald Trump, the organization changed its logo, replacing the swastika with an Odal rune in an attempt to enter mainstream politics.[41][42] The account of its leader, Jeff Schoep, was suspended by Twitter on December 18, 2017.[43][44]

In April 2021, Burt Colucci, still leader of the National Socialist Movement, was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona for aggravated assault on a Black man. Witnesses say he pulled a gun and aimed it at the man, along with hurling threatening remarks, His bail is set at $7,500. Two days before his arrest, he led a group of 15 members of the National Socialist Movement in a rally, although they had expected 100.[21]

Charlottesville suit against the NSM[edit]

After the August riot and violence rising from the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, two lawsuits targeting 21 racist "alt-right" and hate group leaders, including the National Socialist Movement and its leader Jeff Schoep, were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia and another lawsuit was filed in Virginia Circuit Court. Organizations named in both suits were the National Socialist Movement; the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP); the League of the South (LOS), and Vanguard America, a two-year-old white supremacy group which claims to have 12 U.S. chapters. Two Ku Klux Klan groups, the Loyal White Knights and the East Coast Knights of the KKK, were named defendants in the federal suit.

The 96 page federal court filing accused the white supremacists of violating the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and other statutes and its plaintiffs seek compensation and punitive damages. It also asked the courts to intervene with legal orders that would prevent a repeat of the deadly events that occurred in Charlottesville on August 11 and 12, 2017, and bar the use of private militias at such events. The plaintiffs who were named in the 96-page federal suit were described as "University of Virginia undergraduates, law students and staff, persons of faith, ministers, parents, doctors, and businesspersons – white, brown and black; Christian and Jewish; young and old". The City of Charlottesville, along with several businesses and neighborhood associations, were plaintiffs in the 81-page state suit.

The federal and state lawsuits both claimed that the August rally in Charlottesville had been planned for weeks, with its organizers making extensive use of social media – coordinating everything from telling individuals to buy tiki torches to making use of an internet-based communications system that was originally designed for gamers. The federal suit claimed that "hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists traveled from near and far to descend upon the college town ... in order to terrorize its residents, commit acts of violence, and use the town as a backdrop to showcase for the media and the nation a neo-nationalist agenda".

While the federal suit focused on prosecuting civil rights violations, the state suit focused on describing and prosecuting violations which it claimed were committed for the illegal purpose of using militia forces to protect alt-right and white nationalist demonstrations.[45][46][47][48]

Change of leadership[edit]

Schoep at New America in 2019

On February 28, 2019, the Associated Press reported that, according to Michigan corporate records, Jeff Schoep had been replaced as director and president of the National Socialist Movement in January by James Hart Stern, a Black civil rights activist. Stern became its leader after receiving a call for help from Schoep who wanted to get out of the organization due to the legal issues that were mounting against it,[17] and he has said that he wants to use his position to undermine the group. Stern had previously been instrumental in dissolving a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Michigan.[note 1] Stern wrote in a blog post in February that he had worked with Schoep to replace the Nazi swastika as the group's symbol with an Odal rune, and that he would be meeting with Schoep to sign a proclamation in which the movement would disavow white supremacy.[15][16]

Stern and Schoep began a relationship when Schoep called Stern in 2014 to ask about his connection with Edgar Ray Killen, the head of the Klan chapter that Stern dissolved. According to Stern, Schoep said that Stern was the first black man he had reached out to since Malcolm X. When Stern learned that Schoep was a white supremacist, he arranged for a meeting between the two men. They have since engaged in debates over the Holocaust, the swastika, White nationalism, and the fate of the National Socialist Movement, with Stern attempting to change Schoep's mind. This he was not able to do, but Schoep came to him in 2019 for advice about the group's legal problems. He felt that the National Socialist Movement was an "albatross hanging around his neck" and wished to cut ties with the group in order to start a new organization that would be more appreciated in the mainstream of white nationalism. Stern then encouraged Schoep to turn control of the NSM over to him, and Schoep agreed.[17]

Stern filed documents with a Federal court in Virginia, asking that it issue a judgment against the group before one of the pending Charlottesville-related lawsuits went to trial, but because the law does not allow a corporation to be its own attorney, Stern is looking for outside counsel to re-file the papers. Stern did not plan to dissolve the movement, in order to prevent any of its former members from reincorporating it. He planned to turn the group's website into a place for lessons about the Holocaust.[17]

The group's former community outreach director, Matthew Heimbach, commented that Schoep had been in conflict with its membership, which resisted the ideological changes that Schoep wished to make, and wanted to remain "a politically impotent white supremacist gang". Heimbach estimated that the group had 40 dues-paying members as of last year. In a video posted on his blog, Stern took credit for "eradicating" the National Socialist Movement.[15][16] Burt Colucci is currently the Movement's 'Commander,' a position disputed by many outside of the neo-nazi group.[citation needed]

James Stern died of cancer on October 11, 2019,[49] leaving the future of his plans for the NSM uncertain. Since then, Jeff Schoep has renounced his racist past and he has also renounced his involvement in all racist groups.[20]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Stern met Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen in prison while Stern was serving a 5 year sentence for wire fraud and the two shared a cell. Before he died, Killen gave Stern power of attorney and land rights, which Stern utilized to dissolve the Klan chapter.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NSM Party Magazine The Stormtrooper". Nsm88.org. Archived from the original on December 26, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  2. ^ "Viking Youth Corp". Nsm88.org. Archived from the original on December 26, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "You are being redirected". Adl.org. Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  4. ^ Harmon, Christopher C. (2007). Terrorism Today. Taylor and Francis. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-203-93358-9. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Berlet, Chip; Vysotsky, Stanislav (2006). "Overview of U.S. White Supremacist Groups". Journal of Political & Military Sociology. 34 (1): 24. ISSN 0047-2697. JSTOR 45294185.
  6. ^ a b Faturechi, Robert; Richard Winton (November 23, 1987). "White supremacist rally at L.A. City Hall draws violent counter-protest". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  7. ^ Staff (ndg). "25 Points of American National Socialism". National Socialist Movement. Archived from the original on April 4, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2014. Only members of the nation may be citizens of the state. Only those of pure White blood, whatever their creed, may be members of the nation. Non-citizens may live in America only as guests and must be subject to laws for aliens. Accordingly, no Jew or homosexual may be a member of the nation.
  8. ^ "What is National Socialism? FAQ" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 25, 2020. Multiculturalism, globalism, communism, and capitalism cause conflict within nations, but also between different racial groups and communities.
  9. ^ Holthouse, David (April 19, 2006). "Nationalist Socialist Movement Building a Juggernaut". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  10. ^ "World Union of National Socialists Membership Directory : W.U.N.S". Nationalsocialist.net. Archived from the original on October 17, 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  11. ^ Blout, Emily; Burkart, Patrick (January 4, 2021). "White Supremacist Terrorism in Charlottesville: Reconstructing 'Unite the Right'". Studies in Conflict & Terrorism: 1–22. doi:10.1080/1057610X.2020.1862850. ISSN 1057-610X. S2CID 234176136.
  12. ^ "The Nationalist Front Limps into 2017". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  13. ^ "National Socialist Movement". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  14. ^ "Australia to list Hamas and US far-right group as terrorists". ABC News. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  15. ^ a b c Associated Press (February 28, 2019) "Neo-Nazi group's new leader is a black man who vows to dissolve it" NBC News
  16. ^ a b c d Palmer, Ewen (March 1, 2019) "Who is James Hart Stern? Black Man Who Leads Neo-Nazi Group Vows to Eradicate Them" Newsweek
  17. ^ a b c d e Mettler, Katie (March 1, 2019). "How a black man 'outsmarted' a neo-Nazi group — and became their new leader". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  18. ^ Weill, Kelly (March 16, 2019). "Neo-Nazi Allegedly Begged Black Activist to Take Over His Group: 'It's Affecting My Health'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  19. ^ "NSM: Public Release: 3-6-19". www.nsm88.org. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  20. ^ a b "Jeff Schoep | Light Upon Light". November 2, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  21. ^ a b "Neo-Nazi leader arrested in Arizona for aggravated assault". Reuters. April 20, 2021. Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  22. ^ "The National Socialist Movement". The Anti-Defamation League. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  23. ^ a b c
     • Zaitchik, Alexander (October 19, 2006). "The National Socialist Movement Implodes". SPLCenter.org. Montgomery, Alabama: Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on September 19, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2020. The party's problems began last June, when Citizens Against Hate discovered that NSM's Tulsa post office box was shared by The Joy of Satan Ministry, in which the wife of NSM chairman emeritus Clifford Herrington is High Priestess. [...] Within NSM ranks, meanwhile, a bitter debate was sparked over the propriety of Herrington's Joy of Satan connections. [...] Schoep moved ahead with damage-control operations by nudging chairman emeritus Herrington from his position under the cover of "attending to personal matters." But it was too late to stop NSM Minister of Radio and Information Michael Blevins, aka Vonbluvens, from following White out of the party, citing disgust with Herrington's Joy of Satan ties. "Satanism," declared Blevins in his resignation letter, "affects the whole prime directive guiding the [NSM] – SURVIVAL OF THE WHITE RACE." [...] NSM was now a Noticeably Smaller Movement, one trailed in extremist circles by a strong whiff of Satanism and related charges of sexual impropriety associated with Joy of Satan initiation rites and curiously strong teen recruitment efforts.
     • "National Socialist Movement". SPLCenter.org. Montgomery, Alabama: Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2020. The NSM has had its share of movement scandal. In July 2006, it was rocked by revelations that co-founder and chairman emeritus Cliff Herrington’s wife was the “High Priestess” of the Joy of Satan Ministry, and that her satanic church shared an address with the Tulsa, Okla., NSM chapter. The exposure of Herrington's wife's Satanist connections caused quite a stir, particularly among those NSM members who adhered to a racist (and heretical) variant of Christianity, Christian Identity. Before the dust settled, both Herringtons were forced out of NSM. Bill White, the neo-Nazi group's energetic spokesman, also quit, taking several NSM officials with him to create a new group, the American National Socialist Workers Party.
  24. ^ a b c "The National Socialist Movement". Adl.org. New York City: Anti-Defamation League. 2020. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  25. ^ Karkov, Catherine (2020). Disturbing Times Medieval Pasts, Reimagined Futures. Punctum Books. p. 323. ISBN 978-1950192755.
  26. ^ "Police Chief On Toledo Riots". October 17, 2005. Cbsnews.com.
  27. ^ "Hundreds Protest Neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement in Lansing". Media Mouse. April 24, 2006. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  28. ^ "National Socialist Movement unit adopts section of Missouri highway". Missourian. January 22, 2009. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  29. ^ Cooper, Michael (June 20, 2009). "In Missouri, a Free Speech Fight Over a Highway Adoption". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  30. ^ "National Socialist Movement". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  31. ^ "Units of the National Socialist Movement - America's Nazi Party". Nsm88.org. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  32. ^ McKinley, Jesse (May 10, 2011). "Jeff Hall, a Neo-Nazi, Is Killed, and His Young Son is Charged". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  33. ^ "Jeff Hall, a Neo-Nazi, Is Killed, and His Young Son is Charged" by Jesse McKinley, The New York Times, May 10, 2011
  34. ^ "Neo-Nazi running for office in Riverside County" by Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times, October 19, 2010
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ Breann Schossow, "West Allis beefs up security outside State Fair", Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, August 9, 2011.
  37. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. ^ "Affidavit: 2 Men with supremacist ties had weapons". Fox News. April 27, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  39. ^ "Several people stabbed during Neo-Nazi event in Sacramento". Fox News. June 26, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  40. ^ "Stabbings amid chaos at Calif. "Nazi mega-rally"". CBS News. Associated Press. June 26, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  41. ^ Kovaleski, Serge; Turkewitz, Julie; Goldstein, Joseph; Barry, Dan. "An Alt-Right Makeover Shrouds the Swastikas". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  42. ^ Schoep, Jeff (November 4, 2016). "National Socialist Movement: Announcement". National Socialist Movement. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  43. ^ Aja Romano (December 18, 2017). "At long last, Twitter has begun banning (some, not all) Nazis". Vox.
  44. ^ Christopher Mathias (December 18, 2017). "Twitter Has Started Its Messy 'Purge' Of Neo-Nazi And 'Alt-Right' Accounts". Huffington Post.
  45. ^ "'Summer of Hate' challenged in companion civil lawsuits". Hatewatch. Southern Poverty Center (October 19, 2017).
  46. ^ Legal Complaint against NSM and other alt.right groups filed in The City of Charlottesville Circuit Court. Georgetown University Law School, October 12, 2017
  47. ^ Dahlia Lithwick (October 12, 2017). "Lawyers vs. White Supremacists – Can the organizers of the Unite the Right rally be held responsible for the violence in Charlottesville?" Slate.
  48. ^ Brandi Buchman (October 12, 2017). "Charlottesville Lawsuit Aims to Stop White Nationalist Militias". Courthouse News Service.
  49. ^ "A black activist convinced a neo-Nazi he'd save him from legal ruin. Then the real plan began". The Washington Post.

External links[edit]