Neo-Nazi Hate Music: A Guide
Posted: November 4, 2004
Twenty-five years of hate music distribution, coupled with the Internet's ability to link all these disparate groups together, has created a hate music subculture, an entire community with shared music, belief, rituals, and fashion. Where a generation ago many white supremacists felt alone and isolated, knowing no-one else who shared their extreme beliefs, today such people are simply a mouse-click away from thousands of other like-minded people around the world.
However, the hate music subculture is not simply a virtual one. Hate music events bring white supremacists together from great distances. Some are smaller events, held in dance or music clubs, in places as disparate as urban Orange County and small-town Wyoming. Others are larger, more grandiose events, some of them held as annual
A Ku Klux Klan group, the Kentucky-based Imperial Klans of America, hosts Nordicfest every year; the Hammerskins organize Hammerfest. Volksfront puts together Aryanfest, while in 2004 the Sacramento unit of the National Alliance held its first "Volk the System" concert. Attendance at the larger concerts can number as high as 300-500 attendees. Not surprisingly, they are hate-filled, often violent events.
The hate music subculture can be encountered in far less exotic places than an Aryanfest. The buying and selling of hate music, as well as accessories and clothing,
flourishes in online venues such as E-bay, for instance. Also prospering is the exploitation by white supremacists of matchmaking/social networking Web sites. The proliferation of such sites has provided hate music aficionados a new way to reach out to each other. Users can create on-line profiles in which they list likes, dislikes and interests—such as hate music bands. Other users can search on key words such as "Skrewdriver" or "R.A.C." and immediately receive lists of other users who have put those words into their profile. Because many of these sites allow users to put links to other user profiles as "friends," it is extremely easy for white supremacists to create networks of people with shared interests—in this case, a shared interest in hate. These sites are also a way for white supremacists to reach out to others in recruiting efforts.
One relatively recent development in the hate music subculture has been its politicization. In the 1980s, white supremacist leaders from Tom Metzger to Richard Butler attempted to politicize racist skinheads, to shape their cruder racism into ideological conviction. They had mixed success. In recent years, racist leaders have had far more success, to the point where it has become increasingly difficult to separate hate music events from other sorts of white supremacist events.
For example, white supremacist speakers are an increasingly common occurrence at white power music concerts. The 2004 Aryanfest, for example, featured not only hate bands such as Max Resist, Youngland, Rebel Hell, and D.C. Stormtroopers (Colorado), but also speeches by white supremacist leaders such as Metzger, Butler (now deceased), and Billy Roper. On the other hand, extremist political events now also frequently feature racist bands. In August 2004 in Germany, for instance, the far-right Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD) held an event in the state of Saxony that featured not only a variety of far-right speakers, but also an array of hate music bands, including the American band Youngland.
The exploitation of hate music in this fashion is important for white supremacist leaders, who know that a music event may be more likely to attract attendees than a protest or demonstration. Thus when the National Alliance wanted to protest the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., in September 2002, they organized a huge hate music concert, "Rock against Israel," but only people who had attended the protest earlier in the day would be allowed in. The result was an attendance of nearly 500 white supremacists—the largest gathering of such hardcore white supremacists that Washington, D.C., had seen in many years (although attendance was boosted in part by declaring it a "memorial concert" for the recently deceased William Pierce).
As a result of the politicization of the hate music subculture, it is no longer a question of whether a hate group can indoctrinate a young racist skinhead—in all likelihood, that skinhead had already indoctrinated him or herself. The racist skinhead scene and white supremacist groups have never been as close as they are today, and the exploitation of hate music by groups like the National Alliance, Volksfront, the Imperial Klans of America, and other groups has played an important role in this development.