National Socialist Movement Emerges as Largest Neo-Nazi Group in the U.S.
Since gaining national attention after a planned rally sparked riots in Toledo, Ohio, in October 2005, the National Socialist Movement (NSM) has sought publicity by holding events in various cities while dressed in Nazi uniforms and shouting "Sieg Heil." Klan members and other white supremacists have joined the NSM at their rallies to denounce Jews, blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, and gays. The increased cooperation between the NSM and these other groups has helped boost the group's image in extremist circles.
The increased media attention has also helped the NSM recruit more members, particularly among racist skinheads. Over the last eighteen months, the NSM has absorbed the Tualatin Valley Skins in Portland, Oregon, and the Southern Nevada Skins in Las Vegas. In addition, a number of members of the Las Vegas unit of the National Vanguard have also joined the NSM. The rollover of National Vanguard members to the NSM is significant since it points to the weakness of the current leadership of the National Vanguard, a rival neo-Nazi group. However, despite increasing membership, the NSM is still relatively small, with somewhere between 200 and 300 members.
The NSM's 2006 rallies and gatherings have included events in Olympia and Seattle, Washington; Troy and Dayton, Ohio; Orlando, Florida; Laurens, South Carolina; Des Moines, Iowa; and Lansing Michigan—where the group celebrated Adolf Hitler's birthday in April. Other rallies are being planned for the summer and fall. NSM members and supporters are often outnumbered at their events by counter-protesters, which has sometimes led to violent confrontations. In February 2006, Bill White, NSM's media liaison, and other NSM members themselves disrupted a rally held by the anti-immigrant Minutemen in Washington, D.C., calling them "sellouts" because they were not radical enough.
Bill White's leadership position within NSM has caused problems for the organization. White, known for spreading propaganda about perceived enemies, including other white supremacists, has created tension between NSM and the Vinlanders Social Club, an umbrella organization of racist skinhead groups, mostly from the Midwest and Southwest. Ill feelings between the two groups erupted into a brawl at Nordic Fest, a white power event held in Kentucky in May 2006. Vinlander skinheads beat up some NSM members after a speech given by an NSM leader.
The NSM has also been involved in a number of other activities over the last year, including the distribution of racist and anti-Semitic flyers. It also expanded on the technological side by presenting more sophisticated features on its Web site. In addition to offering streaming online radio and a "news service" geared to white supremacists, the group started an in-house Web hosting service for white supremacist groups. Additionally, the group created its own white power music label, NSM Records, which was officially launched in January 2006. The NSM also announced that it would release a racist and anti-Semitic video game called "ZOG's [Zionist Occupied Government] Nightmare" during the summer of 2006. The goal of the game, geared toward young people, is to kill as many minorities and Jews as possible.
In addition, the NSM has gotten involved in local elections. Shawn Stuart, an NSM state leader in Montana, is running for the legislature as a Republican in Butte (the Republican Party has said it will support his Democratic opponent). The NSM has also formed a political action committee and has said it will run a candidate in the 2008 presidential election.
Partially because of the weak leadership of other neo-Nazi groups, including the National Vanguard and the National Alliance, whose leader was indicted on federal civil rights charges in June 2006, the NSM has been able to attract a steady stream of new members. However, the group's choice of Bill White as a spokesperson, as well as its fixation on Nazi regalia and salutes, will still make it unappealing to many white supremacists.