American white supremacist groups have a long and ugly history of using anxieties over immigration as a recruitment tool. It’s happening again–with a vengeance. As nativist sentiments have hardened and spread, white-supremacist and neo-Nazi groups have stepped up their recruitment efforts–and it’s working. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has documented a sharp rise in the number of such groups nationally, and Mark Potok, editor of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, says the growth is directly related to these groups’ new emphasis on immigration. “The furor over immigration policies is a critical factor in the 33 percent increase in hate groups between 2000 and 2005,” says Potok, and “this growth is fed by publicity stunts, belligerent attitudes and actions, and piggybacking on public fears about immigrants.”
For example, on May 6, the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held an anti-immigration rally in Russellville, Alabama, that drew some 300 supporters, including some hard-core neo-Nazis. Robed Klansmen lit a 22-foot-high cross, the SPLC reported, and yelled, “Let’s get rid of the Mexicans!” White-supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are also aggressively leafleting neighborhoods in the American heartland, hunting for recruits at rallies staged by more mainstream anti-immigration groups, and holding anti-immigration rallies of their own.
The synergy between mainstream anti-immigration groups and hardcore white supremacists is founded on a common belief in a form of racial nationalism (unconscious, in the case of some mainstreamers) that assumes European settlers comprise a “native-born” population that constitutes the “real” America. Organized white supremacist groups, however, talk about the survival of the white race in explicit terms.
Neo-Nazis, for example, add an obsession with the myth of an “Aryan Race.” They see immigrants of color not just destroying American culture, as the mainstreamers do, but also openly describe dark-skinned immigrants as racially inferior and a form of biological pollution or disease that needs to be expelled or eradicated. “If you tolerate multiracialism,” warns National Vanguard leader Kevin Alfred Strom, “then your children will suffer and die.”
Like others on the hard edge of the new nativism, Strom is highly critical of mainstream anti-immigration types who, he believes, know that “Mexican immigration threatens the survival of the White race and White civilization,” but who hide behind cowardly platitudes like “overcrowding,” “assimilation,” and “the failure of new immigrants to learn English.” Strom’s National Vanguard, along with the National Socialist Movement, Volksfront, and similar neo-nazi groups, has eclipsed the KKK in the role of preserving the bloodline of the “white race” in the United States.
The new neo-Nazi movement even has networking groups such as Stormfront.org, a site which promotes activism and cooperation among members of a variety of neo-Nazi groups as well as white supremacists not affiliated with a specific organization.
The poster sisters for the anti-immigrant Aryan revival are blonde and blue-eyed Lynx and Lamb Gaede, fraternal twins who perform at white-supremacist rallies as the musical group Prussian Blue. At age 11 they rallied in matching “Stop Immigration” T-shirts. Now, at 14, they are the little darlings of the neo-Nazi anti-immigrant Kulturkampf. They told an interviewer for Vice Magazine that the most important social issue facing the white race was “[n]ot having enough white babies born to replace ourselves and generally not having good-quality white people being born.” One catchy song they sing is called “Aryan Man Awake.”