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.*
The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) has identified eight especially 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), Hammerskin Nation, and Atomwaffen Division, generally make no effort to hide their belief that the white race is superior to others. Their ideologies also usually include anti-Semitic and homophobic components that are in line with Nazi dogma. In contrast, groups such as the League of the South and Identity Evropa 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. Furthermore, it claims 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 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, most 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 Atomwaffen Division, which projects the image of a heavily armed militia preparing for an impending race war.*
Groups like Identity Evropa—which shut down in March 2019 as its leaders created the 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. Identitarians subscribe to a theory known as the Great Replacement, in which non-European migrants threaten to replace the dominant white European culture.* The March 15, 2019, attack on two New Zealand mosques that left at least 50 dead was a direct manifestation of the identitarian ideology to which Identity Evropa and AIM subscribe. Alleged 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.
Most of the groups profiled 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, Atomwaffen Division, and Vanguard America have actually 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.* 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 Atomwaffen Division 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.* 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 U.S. White Supremacy Groups 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
- Some modern white supremacist groups, such as The Base, Hammerskin Nation, and Atomwaffen Division, 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.
- 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, which include the League of the South and Identity Evropa, 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.
- Most 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.
American RenaissanceAtomwaffen DivisionHammerskin Nation (a.k.a. Hammerskins)Identity Evropa/American Identity MovementLeague of the SouthNational Socialist MovementPatriot Front/Vanguard AmericaThe BaseTraditionalist Worker Party/Traditional Youth Network
Additional White Nationalist Media Resources
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 anti-Semitism. 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 Reality Calls Show: A podcast run by Tara McCarthy, who believes that “the solution to reversing the destruction that globalism has wrought on our civilization is ethno-nationalism — a natural and traditional way of living that has been heavily demonized by the mainstream media.”* McCarthy’s book, Irreplaceable – How We Can (And Why We Must) Save the West, expounds on her white supremacist views and provides tips to living an alt-right lifestyle.*
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 anti-Semitism, while also promoting groups such as Identity Evropa.
Rense Radio Network: An online radio network founded by Jeff Rense, whom the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have labeled anti-Semitic.* 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.”*