Some modern white supremacist groups, such as The Base, Hammerskin Nation, National Socialist Order (formerly Atomwaffen Division), and Nationalist Social Club subscribe to a National Socialist (neo-Nazi) ideology. These groups generally make no effort to hide their overt racist belief that the white race is superior to others.
White Supremacy Groups in the United States
Since the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) first formed in 1865, white supremacist groups in the United States have propagated racism, hatred, and violence. Individuals belonging to these groups have been charged with a range of crimes, including civil rights violations, racketeering, solicitation to commit crimes of violence, firearms and explosives violations, and witness tampering.* Nonetheless, white supremacist groups––and their extremist ideologies––persist in the United States today. A February 2017 Southern Poverty Law Center report identified 100 active white nationalist and 99 active neo-Nazi groups in the country.* In an October 2020 assessment by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf declared that white supremacist violent extremists “have been exceptionally lethal in their abhorrent, targeted attacks in recent years.”* In March 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas declared domestic violent extremism “poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to the homeland today.”*
The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) has identified multiple virulent white supremacist groups, which principally espouse white ethno-nationalism and/or National Socialism (neo-Nazi). Neo-Nazi groups, such as the National Socialist Movement (NSM), generally make no effort to hide their belief that the white race is superior to others. Their ideologies also usually include antisemitic and homophobic components that are in line with Nazi dogma. In contrast, groups such as Identity Evropa propagate their radical stances under the guise of white ethno-nationalism, falsely highlighting the distinctiveness––rather than the outright superiority––of the white identity. Furthermore, these groups claim that the white identity is under threat from minorities or immigrants that seek to replace its culture. For example, Identity Evropa’s chant, “You will not replace us,” insinuates that growing minority populations threaten to overtake whites of European heritage in American society.* Members of this new generation of white supremacists, such as former Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) leader Matthew Heimbach, have decried the traditional supremacist narrative of the inferiority of non-white races. Heimbach and his contemporaries have instead focused on racial separation rather than racial superiority, promoting the idea that all races are better served by remaining separate.*
Spurred by the rise of these younger ethno-nationalist leaders and organizations, some overtly racist groups have attempted to soften their radical images. In late 2016, the NSM abandoned its use of the swastika in order to “appear more integrated and more mainstream,” according to then-NSM leader Jeff Schoep.* Despite the cosmetic change, the NSM’s ideology and rhetoric have largely remained unchanged, while groups like the Hammerskins have thoroughly rejected the attempt at rebranding.
In a further effort to gain popular support and acceptance for their radical platforms, many of the groups profiled in this resource have officially renounced violence and instead rely on demonstrations and propaganda to sway public opinion. Nonetheless, many affiliated individuals have still been involved in violent altercations spurred by ideologies that encourage racial elitism. Furthermore, violence plays a defining role for groups like AWD, which projected the image of a heavily armed militia preparing for an impending race war.* AWD disbanded in March 2020 after the arrest of several of its members.* In July 2020, former AWD members reorganized as National Socialist Order (NSO) and pledged to “build an Aryan, National Socialist world by any means necessary.”*
On August 11-12, 2017, white nationalists carrying Confederate flags, tiki torches, and shields gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, for the Unite the Right rally. Protesters marched through the streets of Charlottesville chanting “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us.”*Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Brian M. Rosenthal, “Man Charged After White Nationalist Rally in Charlottesville Ends in Deadly Violence,” New York Times, August 12, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/12/us/charlottesville-protest-white-nationalist.html.x The chants alluded to the Great Replacement Theory, which postulates that black and brown immigrants are reverse-colonizing the dominant European—i.e., white Christian—culture in Western countries. While versions of the Great Replacement are not new, French writer Renaud Camus popularized the conspiracy theory in his 2012 book, Le Grand Remplacement (“The Great Replacement”)*Great Replacement Theory, Counter Extremism Project, accessed May 17, 2022, https://www.counterextremism.com/content/great-replacement-theory.x and ethno-nationalist groups around the world have since embraced the idea.*“Frequently Asked Question,” Generation Identity United Kingdom and Ireland, accessed March 8, 2018, https://www.generation-identity.org.uk/faqs/.x
Groups like Identity Evropa—which shut down in March 2019 as its leaders created the now-defunct American Identity Movement (AIM)—officially reject violence but their identitarian ideology has directly inspired it. Identitarians—including those based in non-European countries such as the United States and Australia—associate their Western identity as European. Nonetheless, the philosophy has inspired violent attacks by those who claimed they had a duty to protect their race and fight this purported invasion. The March 15, 2019, attack on two New Zealand mosques that left at least 50 dead was a direct manifestation as attacker Brenton Tarrant entitled his manifesto “The Great Replacement” and wrote about the “crisis of mass immigration … that, if not combated, will ultimately result in the complete racial and cultural replacement of the European people.”* Like Identity Evropa, Tarrant identified a broader white European ethnic identity prevalent in the Western world that transcended national borders.
The Great Replacement has influenced other violent attacks such as Patrick Crusius’s August 3, 2019, attack on a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, which killed 21 people.*Tim Arango, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Katie Benner, “Minutes Before El Paso Killing, Hate-Filled Manifesto Appears Online,” New York Times, August 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/03/us/patrick-crusius-el-paso-shooter-manifesto.html.x On October 27, 2018, Robert Bowers killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the worst antisemitic attack in the United States to date. Bowers blamed the Jewish organization the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) for helping bring “invaders in that kill our people.”*Jessica Kwong, “Robert Bowers Gab Before Synagogue Shooting: ‘Screw Your Optics, I'm Going In,’” Newsweek, October 27, 2018, https://www.newsweek.com/robert-bowers-gab-synagogue-shooting-screw-your-optics-im-going-1190582.x In his manifesto, Bowers declared he could no longer “sit by and watch my people get slaughtered.”*Jessica Kwong, “Robert Bowers Gab Before Synagogue Shooting: ‘Screw Your Optics, I'm Going In,’” Newsweek, October 27, 2018, https://www.newsweek.com/robert-bowers-gab-synagogue-shooting-screw-your-optics-im-going-1190582.x On May 14, 2022, a gunman killed 10 people and wounded three others in an attack on a Buffalo, New York, supermarket. A manifesto attributed to alleged shooter Payton Grendon warned of white genocide from cultural, racial, and ethnic replacement brought on by immigration and high fertility rates among migrants. He warned, “We must crush immigration and deport those invaders already living on our soil. It is not just a matter of our prosperity, but the very survival of our people.”*Payton Grendon, “You Wait For a Signal While Your People Wait For You,” accessed May 17, 2022.x According to the alleged manifesto, Grendon viewed his attack as a statement against “the replacers” that “the White Man” is fighting back.”*Payton Grendon, “You Wait For a Signal While Your People Wait For You,” accessed May 17, 2022.x He also issued a warning to “non-whites on white lands” to leave while they can because “as long as the White man lives you will never be safe here.”*Payton Grendon, “You Wait For a Signal While Your People Wait For You,” accessed May 17, 2022.x
Most of the groups profiled here are comprised of a younger demographic of individuals in their 20s and 30s, and primarily target youth for recruitment through social media and other means. Groups like Identity Evropa, AWD, and Patriot Front have spread their propaganda on college campuses, and groups such as the National Socialist Movement and League of the South have created youth wings and student memberships.* Patriot Front and groups like it targeting a younger demographic have also participated in so-called “active clubs,” neo-Nazi athletic and fight clubs that have been common among European white nationalist for more than a decade. Robert Rundo, founder of the Rise Above Movement (RAM) helped proliferate active clubs within the United States to revive the “warrior spirit” of the white male.* RAM members began participating in European neo-Nazi MMA tournaments in 2018 and also organizing individual active clubs to train in the United States and teach masculine skills to young men.* Patriot Front has also organized physical training sessions around the country for its members.*
On August 20, 2022, members of some of these U.S. active clubs gathered for Birth of a New Frontier, a first-of-its-kind neo-Nazi MMA-style tournament in the United States organized by the Patriot Front, Rundo’s Will2Rise, and the So-Cal Active Club. Held in southern California, the tournament attracted fighters from across the United States.* On December 3, 2022, the skinhead group West Coast Firm joined with active clubs from Washington state and southern California to sponsor the “Martyrs Day Rumble” tournament at the HAPO Center in Pasco, Washington. The “martyr” specifically referred Robert Mathews, founder of the neo-Nazi group The Order who died in a shootout with the FBI in 1984. The HAPO Center’s management told media they did not realize the organizers’ true intentions until the event was underway. The event featured a heavy metal concert and reportedly drew people from southern California, Tennessee, and New York.* The proliferation of active clubs has provided white nationalist groups with opportunities for more rigorous physical training, as well as networking and recruitment.
In recent years, social media and the Internet have also provided new outlets for white supremacists to spread their messages and recruit supporters. The founders of AWD met and organized on the now-defunct fascist online forum IronMarch and created a cult-like subculture on social media through which they have further propagated their ideology.* After the February 2020 arrest of several AWD leaders, a group of former AWD leaders who were not arrested reorganized online in July 2020 as National Socialist Order.* Stormfront, America’s oldest and most notorious neo-Nazi online forum founded in 1995, was removed by its Internet host in August 2017, but simply resurfaced months later.* Other forums, like the Daily Stormer, have moved their operations to the Dark Web, which is accessible only through encrypted software.* Websites like American Renaissance—which is easily accessible on the surface web—act as online media outlets, displaying links to pseudo-intellectual articles, videos, and podcasts that attempt to present white supremacy as a legitimate social science.
CEP’s White Supremacy Groups in the United States report provides an overview of the history, propaganda, violent activities, and notable rhetoric of the most active and virulent white supremacist groups in the United States, as well as several prominent white supremacist media outlets.Download Full Report
Other modern white supremacist groups, however, propagate their radical stances under the guise of white ethno-nationalism, which seeks to highlight the distinctiveness––rather than the superiority––of the white identity. Such groups, like the League of the South and Patriot Front, usually claim that white identity is under threat from minorities or immigrants that seek to replace its culture, and seek to promote white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate ideology that belongs in mainstream political spheres.
Many modern white supremacist groups eschew violent tactics in favor of using demonstrations and propaganda to sway public opinion and portray their ideologies as legitimate. However, their racial elitist ideologies have nonetheless spurred affiliated individuals to become involved in violent altercations.
White supremacist groups often target youth for recruitment through propaganda campaigns on university campuses and social media platforms. White supremacists have long utilized Internet forums and websites to connect, organize, and propagate their extremist messages.
White Supremacist Media and Propaganda Sites
Like other extremist movements, the white nationalist movement has an aversion to mainstream media, which it largely views as controlled by Jewish/Zionist interests, beholden to the far left, and/or anti-white. For example, in February 2017, League of the South leader Michael Hill accused the New York Times of being "anti-white and anti-Christian."* As such, white nationalists have created their own media platforms in order to propagate their views. CEP has compiled the following list of some of the most popular white nationalist propaganda outlets:
Barnes Review: An online magazine that promotes revisionist history, eugenics, and antisemitism. Blog posts include topics such as "Why the Holocaust Story Was Invented,"* "DNA and Ancient White Egypt,"* and "Black History Month Myths."* The website also includes an online bookstore that sells racist material such as IQ and Race by Richard Hume, which argues that race determines intelligence.*
Occidental Quarterly: A print and online magazine that "unapologetically defends the cultural, ethnic, and racial interests of Western European peoples and examines contemporary political, social, and demographic trends that impact the posterity of Western Civilization."* Articles include "Whiteness Studies: Jews, Communists, and Genocidal Hate,"* "The Holocaust Industry in the UK,"* and special sections on "white pathology."*
Occidental Observer: An online newspaper spun off from the Occidental Quarterly. The Occidental Observer focuses on "themes of white identity, white interests, and the culture of the west."*
The Right Stuff: A website founded by Mike Peinovich, a.k.a. Mike Enoch, which hosts podcasts, a blog, and a forum. Notable podcasts on the site include "The Daily Shoah," "Fash the Nation," and "This Week in White Genocide." The forum, blog, and podcasts touch on a variety of white supremacist, fascist, and neo-Nazi topics such as anti-miscegenation, homophobia, and antisemitism.
Rense Radio Network: An online radio network founded by Jeff Rense, whom the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have labeled antisemitic.* The network features well-known white supremacists such as David Duke and Don Black of Stormfront.
RedIce.tv: An online media forum run by Henrik Palmgren, Lana Lokteff, Fredrik Tormann, and Patrick Casey. The site features video and audio programs geared toward an audience "seeking an alternative to the mainstream, covering politics and social issues from a pro-European perspective."* Palmgren created RedIce in 2003. According to the site, he is "most concerned with European heritage and culture and counter acting the globalists seeking to destroy it."*
Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.
On January 23, 2019, two car bombs exploded outside of a mosque in Benghazi, Libya, killing 41 people and injuring 80 others. No group claimed responsibility for the blast, but remnants suggested an ISIS affiliate was responsible.
Stay up to date on our latest news.
Get the latest news on extremism and counter-extremism delivered to your inbox.