A Black Guy Is Taking Over A Neo-Nazi Group, And It Only Gets Weirder From There.
The National Socialist Movement is one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in America, known for its adherents' tendency to dress in full-on Nazi outfits, their participation in the Charlottesville Unite The Right rally, and a bunch of stupid publicity stunts like marching through the streets of Toledo and causing a riot.
And their new president is a black guy!
Now, before you go thinking this is some kind of Clayton Bigsby/Sheriff David Clarke situation, black activist James Hart Stern is taking over as director and president of the NSM for the purposes of dismantling it and undermining it in a lawsuit against the group's actions in Charlottesville.
The Associate Press reports that Stern took over leadership from Jeff Schoep, who has been president of the NSM since 1994, in January. However, it wasn't until Thursday that Stern filed documents asking a Virginia court for a summary judgment against the group, stating that the NSM will be pleading liable to "all causes of actions listed in the complaint against it."
While the AP could not get hold of either Stern or Schoep for comment, they were able to get in touch with none other than Matthew Heimbach -- the Nazi asshole best known for getting arrested for beating his wife up after she caught him banging her step-father's girlfriend in their motor home -- who briefly served as the community outreach director of the NSM after his own Traditionalist Worker Party fell apart due to the aforementioned banging of his wife's step-father's girlfriend.
Matthew Heimbach, a leading white nationalist figure who briefly served as the NSM's community outreach director last year, said Schoep and other group leaders have been at odds with rank-and-file members over its direction. Heimbach said some members "essentially want it to remain a politically impotent white supremacist gang" and resisted ideological changes advocated by Schoep.[...]
"I think it's kind of a sad obit for one of the longest-running white nationalist organizations," said Heimbach, who estimates it had about 40 active, dues-paying members last year.
The group has drawn much larger crowds at rallies.
Personally, I think it is a hilarious and incredibly appropriate "obit," and also that it is kind of weird to talk to Matthew Heimbach like he is some normal person commenting on a normal thing, but that's just me!
It is not clear yet how in hell this came to be, but like most white supremacist organizations, the National Socialist Movement is a hot mess and has been a hot mess for a while. After all, it became one of the most prominent white supremacist organizations after two other white supremacist organizations fell apart. It's almost as if Nazis are stupid and cannot do anything right!
In 2009, Wikileaks released a pile of emails from within the organization featuring a ton of infighting and accusations that leader Jeff Schoep didn't really care about white supremacy and was just in it for the money.
In 2010, the NSM's former candidate for president John Taylor Bowles accused Schoep of being a "race traitor," due to the fact that he married a woman who is not entirely white herself, and who has a daughter who is part black. According to his now-ex wife, that is because he actually did not have a problem with nonwhite people and was just really mad at Jewish people.
Joanna Schoep said her former husband had privately accepted her nonwhite ancestry and that of her 17-year-old daughter, who is part African-American, but kept his new family's racial background — anathema to neo-Nazis — secret from his followers in the NSM. Though publicly a believer in the NSM's racist ideology, Schoep was not overtly racist to their minority neighbors or Joanna's nonwhite friends, she said. He was instead mostly a raging anti-Semite, who "blames the Jews for everything." But the true purpose of Schoep's involvement in neo-Nazism, she said, is "to boost his ego, gain a Jim Jones type of following and make some money."
Stern -- the black guy, remember -- actually has a history of doing just this kind of thing. After having been cell mates with Edgar Ray Killen, the KKK organizer who planned and directed the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, Stern managed to get power of attorney over Killen's affairs, ownership of his property in Mississippi, and book and movie rights for his story -- which allowed him to disband the KKK chapter Killen had led and invite the government to investigate Killen's land to search for bodies. According to Stern, the two of them "forged a strange bond" during their time in prison due to Stern keeping Killen's food free of the fecal matter other prisoners were fond of contaminating it with, and in return Killen shared over 100 letters with Stern, in which he confessed to killing at least 32 other people and claimed that the Mississippi Burning murders were part of a plan concocted by LBJ to distract people from the increasingly unpopular war in Vietnam. Stern then wrote a book about his experiences and what Killen had told him while in prison -- which is no longer in print due to some kind of crazy drama with his publisher.
Killen and his lawyer claimed in court that Stern traced Killen's signature on the documents, that he took advantage of an old racist white dude with a brain injury, and that he had no right to do any of those things. Stern then retaliated with a $6 million defamation suit against Killen, his wife, and his lawyer.
If Stern is somehow tricking white supremacists into handing over all their shit, more power to him. Hopefully he'll teach the rest of us!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse