Kurtis Monschke and Other Racists Commit Violent Killing
A growing and increasingly important neo-Nazi group claims it opposes any kind of political violence. Could it be true?
By Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok
Randy Krager and his growing group may admire cop-killers and racist murderers, but they still insist that they have some real contributions to make to society. That was made crystal clear to Randy Blazak a few minutes before midnight one Saturday in late 2001.
Opening his electronic mailbox, Blazak found an E-mail sent to him in his capacity as a member of the state's Coalition Against Hate Crimes (CAHC) — a body that includes representatives of law enforcement, government, and civil rights, gay rights and religious groups, among other things.
"Greetings!" it began, and then, identifying its authors as "a group committed to ending violent and hate crimes," it politely asked for CAHC's membership rules.
The E-mail was from Volksfront.
"I think we would represent a currently unrepresented segment of our society on the issue of hate crimes and would therefore be a big asset," an anonymous Volksfront member wrote in a follow-up E-mail.
"On this matter we are completely serious and very interested. Please do not let your own preconceived notions of us interfere with the unique assets we bring to the work of ending hate crimes."
"It was an amazing request," said Emily Gottfried, the American Jewish Committee's representative at CAHC. "They weren't trying to join us because they believed what we believed. That was not their purpose. It was insane."
Whether or not Volksfront indeed had "unique assets" to bring to the battle against hate, it was not invited to join CAHC. Volksfront, after all, is working to turn the Pacific Northwest into an all-white Aryan homeland — an end it says it will reach by deporting people of color. Somehow, that didn't sound too tolerant.
The public's verdict may still be out on Volksfront's attitude toward violence. It's in, though, in the case of Kurtis Monschke, Washington state leader of the organization — even if Volksfront did put up a belated message disbanding all of its Washington operations because of "violations of organizational policy."
And the verdict in that case was guilty. (Pillatos, Butters and Frye, who testified against Monschke, pleaded guilty to lesser charges and are expected to be sentenced for their roles this August.) Many observers think that judgment could easily apply to Volksfront as well.
"Volksfront began at the hands of individuals who were involved in criminal activity," said anti-racist Eric Ward, a former Seattle activist who now works for the Chicago-based Center for New Community. "I have a hard time believing that such criminal activity will not continue.
"They can say that they are not involved in violent activity and they can condemn it, but it certainly seems to occur around them quite frequently. Violence is part of the social environment of Volksfront."