Racist Skinhead Movement Growing, More Dangerous

In just four years, the number of racist skinhead crews in the United States has more than tripled, threatening a renewed era of street violence, according to the Fall 2006 issue of the Center's Intelligence Report.

The article, Motley Crews, tells how the skinhead scene "has entered a free-for-all phase, with new and unaffiliated local, state and regional crews proliferating rapidly. More and more of these newcomers subscribe to the ultra-violent ethos and disorganized crime profiteering of a chaotic band of Midwest-based gangster skins known as Vinlanders."

The number of skinhead crews has grown from 18 in 2002 to at least 59 today. This resurgence raises the potential for bloodshed to a level not seen since racist skinheads unleashed a wave of criminal violence in the late 1980s.

"In the last couple of years, we have seen a significant increase not only in the number of active skinhead groups, but also in the level of violence they are producing," said Mark Potok, editor of theIntelligence Report and director of the Center's Intelligence Project. "The movement was once dominated by a single powerful organization, the Hammerskin Nation, that tended to keep the lid on violence. Now, we're seeing a large number of smaller organizations vying for power and prominence, and that raises the potential for even more criminal activity."

Although members of the Hammerskin Nation have been responsible for sometimes terrifying violence, the group, with thousands of members in the United States and Europe, did act as a stabilizing force on the racist skinhead scene. Now, with challenges to the group's power proliferating, many smaller skinhead formations will likely seek to make a name for themselves through violence.

Also in the new issue of the Intelligence Report:

  • Smokescreen: Anti-immigration groups have long claimed theirs is not a white-dominated, racist movement – and now they have a "black" group that seems to prove their point. But it turns out that Choose Black America is largely the creation of whites.
  • How Sam Dickson Got Rich: Former Klan attorney Sam Dickson of Atlanta is a veteran activist of the radical right. He's also a man who has always been interested in money -- money he is now acquiring from the poor, black residents of Georgia.
  • Deadly Force: Roy Warden, an anti-immigration activist who packs a 9mm handgun in public, routinely threatens Latinos with death. Many observers fear the worst.

The quarterly Intelligence Report is published by the Center's Intelligence Project, which has been monitoring hate groups and white supremacist activity for 25 years.