Extremism at Home: Recent Trends in Domestic Extremist Groups
Neo-Nazi Groups Fragment and Feud
Posted: March 6, 2007
The neo-Nazi movement experienced significant factional in-fighting and fragmentation in 2006, continuing a trend that began several years ago. The two largest neo-Nazi groups in the United States , the National Socialist Movement (NSM) and the National Vanguard, the latter itself a splinter group from the National Alliance, both experienced infighting and the departure of members who went on to form their own organizations. Even White Revolution, the first group to splinter off from the National Alliance in 2002, and already small in size, underwent a schism in the fall of 2006.
Soon after achieving in June 2006 its long-sought status of being the largest neo-Nazi group in the United States, the leadership structure of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) began to unravel, leading to the ouster or resignation of several white supremacists, including Bill White and Cliff Herrington. White's removal came as the result of hostility he created between the NSM and other white supremacist groups, using his own Web site as a platform. White particularly took aim at the Vinlanders Social Club, an umbrella organization of racist skinheads. When NSM leaders took disciplinary action against White for his disruptive behavior, he departed from the group and subsequently established his own organization, the American National Socialist Workers Party (ANSWP). He was soon joined by other NSM leaders, including Michael Blevins, who had been the NSM's director of information, and Justin Boyer, once the leader of the NSM's Seattle chapter, and now the ANSWP leader in Ohio. The ANSWP claims to have 12 chapters across the country, although its membership remains small. In addition to running his own Internet radio show, Blevins has formed his own group, American National Unity, which mostly operates as an on-line racist forum.
Cliff Herrington, the former chairman of the NSM, left the group in the summer of 2006 after an anti-hate group reported on Herrington's wife's alleged membership in a Satanic cult that shared the same P.O. box as her husband's NSM chapter in Tulsa, Oklahoma. NSM leaders demanded that Herrington cut all ties to the Satanic group. When Herrington allegedly did not do so, the NSM claimed that he had "retired" from his duties. Herrington insisted that he was sill chairman of the NSM but also formed his own organization, the National Socialist Freedom Movement, which exists primarily on the Internet.
The National Vanguard, created by an organizational split, experienced one of its own in 2006. When expelled members of the National Alliance (NA) founded the new organization in April 2005, a number of NA units joined the National Vanguard. Kevin Strom, who had been in charge of the NA's publications and on-line weekly speeches, soon became its leader. By March 2006, however, the Tampa and Denver units, two of its largest and most active chapters, left the National Vanguard to form their own organization, the Nationalist Coalition. The Coalition is led by Todd Weingart of Florida and Roger Williams of Colorado, who claim to be building up the group by creating local chapters.
Another ex-NA member, Billy Roper, went on to create White Revolution in September 2002, envisioning an umbrella group of white supremacist organizations which he would help guide. Roper never, however, succeeded in expanding his organization very much, and in 2006 it became even smaller. In his monthly newsletter, Roper announced that some members of White Revolution had resigned or been expelled due to their inability to "work within the organization's chain of command."
Since the death of prominent neo-Nazi leaders William Pierce and Richard Butler (in 2002 and 2004, respectively), the neo-Nazi movement has floundered due to a lack of coherence and leadership, even as the white supremacist subculture in the United States has grown. Well-established groups like the National Alliance and Aryan Nations lost their appeal as the leaders who took the place of Pierce and Butler lacked the skills to run or guide the groups and failed to gain new members. As more members became disgruntled, new factions formed. Yet these factions were no more successful. As a result, many younger neo-Nazis, who might have once been attracted to established groups, have instead turned to the racist skinhead movement, which continues to grow.