National Socialist Movement Raises Profile To Become America's Largest Neo-Nazi Group
New York, NY, June 20, 2006 … The National Socialist Movement (NSM), a Minneapolis-based hate group known for its Nazi uniforms and open display of explicit Nazi symbols, has outpaced its rivals on the far right in both membership and activity, earning it the dubious distinction of being the largest neo-Nazi group in the United States today, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
With chapters in 32 states and a growing Internet presence that includes online radio and a "news service" geared to white supremacists, the NSM has substantially raised its profile in the last year by holding public events in various cities while dressed in full Nazi regalia and shouting "Sieg Heil!," according to ADL. Klan members and other white supremacists have joined NSM rallies to denounce Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, immigrants and gays.
At the same time, the National Alliance -- formerly the largest hate group in America and for more than two decades a formidable presence on the white supremacist scene -- has continued its steady decline, with the arrest of its current leader being the latest blow to its ability to effectively recruit and organize.
"The National Socialist Movement's anti-Semitic and racist public demonstrations and activities make them an attractive alternative to formerly prevailing extremist groups such as the National Alliance, who have been weakened," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While the NSM's rhetoric is virtually unchanged, and their tactics derive from the playbooks of others, they have made inroads by taking advantage of a power vacuum and seizing on the technologies of the Internet to spread their particular brand of anti-Semitism and hate."
According to ADL, increased cooperation between the NSM and like-minded groups has helped bolster the group's image in extremist circles while swelling its ranks with new recruits willing to spread its message of racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism. The group is escalating its activity this summer, with NSM-sponsored rallies scheduled to take place in Olympia, WA; Fairdale, KY; Columbus, OH and elsewhere, as well as a hate music concert planned for August in North Carolina.
While some neo-Nazi organizations prefer blazers to brownshirts, the NSM is a throwback to the 1960s-era American Nazi Party from which it descended: members wear Nazi uniforms and openly display swastikas to a degree unusual even among white supremacists.
An update newly posted to Extremism in America, ADL's online encyclopedia of extremist groups and movements in the U.S., cites a confluence of factors contributing to the group's swelling ranks and growing influence:
- The weakened leadership of once powerful neo-Nazi groups, including Aryan Nations and the National Alliance -- whose leader, Shaun Walker, was indicted earlier this month in Salt Lake City on federal civil rights charges -- has provided an opening for the NSM.
- NSM has successfully garnered attention and used it to recruit new members, particularly among racist skinheads. Rallies, gatherings and literature distributions in far-flung cities such as Seattle, WA; Orlando, FL; and Lansing, MI have raised the group's profile through media coverage and public outcry. Some rallies have led to violent confrontations with counter-demonstrators.
- Over the last 18 months, the NSM has absorbed members from various racist and skinhead groups. The group's activities, ranging from literature distribution to raucous rallies, have proven popular among these young recruits.
- NSM has exploited the Internet and related technologies, such as audio and video streaming and Web hosting, to spread their message. In January 2006, the group launched its own in-house white power music label, NSM Records. NSM has announced plans for the release later this summer of an anti-Semitic video game called "ZOG's Nightmare," whose object is to kill minorities and Jews. ZOG is a racist abbreviation for "Zionist Occupied Government."
- Videos taken of NSM rallies have found their way to popular Internet Web portals for home video sharing, enabling the group to garner additional attention as the videos have taken on a life of their own in cyberspace. Links to such videos have been widely forwarded via e-mail among non-racists who found them offensive, resulting in a spike in complaints to ADL about the videos and their presence on mainstream video-sharing sites.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.