The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Keystone State Skinheads Hold Annual Leif Erikson Rally

By Heidi Beirich on October 21, 2013 - 11:33 am, Posted in Racist Skinheads, White Supremacist
Skinheads at the staging point on Lemon Hill DriveSkinheads at the staging point on Lemon Hill Drive

This past Saturday morning, the Keystone State Skinheads (KSS) held their seventh annual rally in Philadelphia to celebrate Leif Erikson, the Nordic explorer who is believed to have been the first European to land in North America. The 40 or so racist skinheads who showed up at Fairmount Park were met by about 100 anti-racist counter-protesters.

Before the rally, a shouting match took place at the staging area at the top of Lemon Hill Drive with counter-protesters screaming, among other things, “death to the Nazis, power to the people.” Afterward, both racists and anti-racists marched to the Thorfinn Karlsefni statue in the park. Karlsefni was a Nordic explorer who founded a North American settlement that lasted three years.

Matt Heimbach at rally Matt Heimbach at rally

Members of several racist groups were in attendance besides the KSS, including Vinlanders from Indiana and Oklahoma, the Advanced White Society, the Blood and Honour “Social Club,” and the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN). Matt Heimbach of the TYN spoke at the rally. “We must stand united against opponents of our race,” Heimbach told the crowd, according to “Our day will come and our foes will be defeated.” Also speaking at the rally was Brien James, a founder of the Vinlanders Social Club.

The organizers of the event, the KSS, were founded in 2001. At one time, the KSS had many members and several chapters in Pennsylvania, but it has dwindled as of late. In 2012, the Southern Poverty Law Center listed only two chapters of the group, in Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Several well-known members have been arrested over the last decade for violent crimes, but in recent years, the group has tried to distance itself from those incidents.

“This is a heritage celebration, nothing more,” A.J. Olsen, a member of the KSS, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s no different from having a Columbus Day festival.”

Antiracist protestors at Philly Rally                                                   Antiracist protestors at Philly Rally
Pair of skinheads at KSS rally                                                    Pair of skinheads at KSS rally
Skinheads at rally from Vinlanders Social Club                                            Skinheads at rally from Vinlanders Social Club
Pair of skinheads at KSS rally                                                   Pair of skinheads at KSS rally
Skinhead at Rally                                               Skinhead at Rally
Member of Vinlanders Social Club at rally                              Member of Vinlanders Social Club at rally
Matt Heimbach (center) at KSS rally                                                   Matt Heimbach (center) at KSS rally
  • aadila

    Thanks, Kaba.

  • Matthew Bright

    That Pillsbury Hate Boy is getting a lot of attention lately, on his countdown to Maximum Security Prison for Life. What a guilty pleasure.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Funny how uber-Christian Heimbach wants to hang out with Odinist skins.

  • Kaba


    That armband is the Philadelphia Police Patch.

  • aadila

    Oh Rey, maybe you should lief them alone.

  • Erika

    if this was really a “heritage” celebration, how come the Norwegian they seem to like the most is Qisling?

  • Reynardine

    This is lief season all over the North. Why are they fighting over the one named Erikson, when they can each pick up a rake and get a lief of their own? (Maybe that’s too rakish for them).

    N. B. Certain people on this forum know I have this uncontrollable vice. Just ask them about the chickens…

  • Gregory

    Seven years of rallies and they can only attract 40 attendees? I guess that means 40 sets of parents had unoccupied basement for the weekend.

  • Aron

    All that need be said.

  • aadila

    My first reaction is no one should celebrate Lief Erikson without also celebrating Lief Garrett, but I suppose to do so is to turn over a new leaf.

    That said, it looks like a very diverse crowd which I attribute to the counter-demonstration…or do these people now embrace ethnic and cultural diversity? Can anyone identify the red symbol on the arm of the fellow in black leather and sunglasses who seems to be about 5’10” or so in the third image “Skinheads at rally from Vinlanders Social Club”? Just curious.

    Also regarding symbols, in the first image the anti-racist demonstrators depicted the Nazi symbol incorrectly, forgetting the 45 degree tilt. The swastika as it is depicted could be confused with the original symbol revered in Asian religions, though I am quite sure that was not the intention of the counter-demonstrators.

    All of that aside, I am glad this event was documented because the Vinlanders previously appeared on this forum claiming their ideology was merely neo-paganism and, while apparently ethnocentric, not racist or motivate by hate. Clearly we see otherwise.

    As for my last comment, regarding the statement by A.J. Olsen that this event is no different that Columbus day, in recognition of the genocide perpetrated against the First Nations peoples, I must, strictly speaking, agree.

  • Dan Zabetakis

    ” to celebrate Leif Erikson, the Nordic explorer who is believed to have been the first European to land in North America.”

    OMG OMG OMG, he was an undocumented immigrant!