Why has it become such a potent force in politics?” asks a man who’s become known, not just for his involvement in the antiwar movement, but by his own choice, for having made a rap song about 9/11. For months before he was arrested, he’s been a vocal critic of the “progressive” left: the party he supported in the primary; its leaders in Congress; the civil rights groups that he now finds politically useless. A month later, he’s in prison.
Suffolk County is home to the largest concentration of white supremacists in the United States and has long been a center of white power. This summer, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office has already issued an indictment for hate speech related to both the shooting death of two men in a car and the assault of two black men by a white supremacist at a nightclub in August. Both events were fueled by racial animus.
But for the same reason that white supremacists tend to keep their heads down—because any expression that might stir their egos could put them at great risk of repression—they also enjoy a very strong level of influence within the white nationalist movement, which is based on ideas of white supremacy. A recent analysis by the Southern Poverty Law Center puts the number of hate groups in America at about 5,000. The most common among them are the so-called “alt-right,” with white nationalist ideologues like William Pierce and Richard Spencer playing a major role. The white supremacist Internet site Stormfront—home to a web page on the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.—has been a primary destination for many young Americans wanting to find white nationalist groups and talk to members.
Suffolk County may not be the only place where white supremacists are gathering these days. The AntiFa, a nationalist group in Philadelphia, is trying to build a new infrastructure of fascist groups that has already attracted several hundred members. Its president, Jeremy Redknapp, was once an aide to Steve Jobs, who went on to become CEO of Apple. Redknapp says his group’s efforts are aimed at giving fascist movements an “organic platform” that can spread their messages through social media. He says his group is not associated with any other groups. Redknapp says its goals are the same:
We are building our own infrastructure of resistance. We’re not doing this for political gain—there are a long history of groups like the Ku Klux Klan doing the same thing. We just are here to expose the
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