Nearly 18 months after Charlottesville, mass movement, membership-based neo-Nazism is on the decline. In 2018, neo-Nazis were driven to further corners of the internet by activists and journalists via doxing and deplatforming. The movement is also divided over which organizational structure, mass-movement or cell-based, best facilitates their goals. Groups like Atomwaffen Division (AWD) have embraced the primarily underground cell structure favored by groups more openly terroristic. Mass movement groups like the National Socialist Movement continue to present themselves to the public via rallies and quasi-political platforms.
In January, Samuel Woodward, who had connections to AWD, was arrested and charged in Orange County, California, with murdering Blaze Bernstein. ProPublica reported that AWD members praised Woodward for the murder on their Discord chat. One user called Woodward a “one man gay Jew wrecking crew.” In May, reports surfaced that Vasillios Pistolis, who participated in the Charlottesville violence and was also associated with AWD, was an active duty Marine. Traditionalist Worker Party, once an active and influential neo-Nazi hate group, disbanded after a bizarre love triangle among top leadership was revealed. The League of the South dropped out of the Nationalist Front in August, leaving that coalition dead in the water. In October, Robert Bowers, who was inspired by ideology popular among neo-Nazis, killed 11 at a Pittsburg synagogue. Also in November, a pair of Washington, D.C.-area brothers with ties to Vanguard America, Richard Spencer and others made headlines after one brother killed himself and the other was arrested following a tirade about Bowers’ victims.
Neo-Nazi hate groups and their members will continue to seek out more private, even anonymous interaction across multiple platforms and networks. As racists continue to feel the squeeze online and in real life, violence at public rallies may remain low. But that will not deter lone wolf violence, with incubators like Gab and Discord relatively wide open to white supremacists.
While some neo-Nazi groups emphasize simple hatred, others are more focused on the revolutionary creation of a fascist political state. Nazism, of course, has roots in Europe, and links between American and European neo-Nazis are strong and growing stronger. American neo-Nazi groups, protected by the First Amendment, often publish material and host Internet sites that are aimed at European audiences -- materials that would be illegal under European anti-racism laws. Similarly, many European groups put up their Internet sites on American servers to avoid prosecution under the laws of their native countries.
The most visible neo-Nazi group in the U.S. is the National Alliance. Until his death, it was led by William Pierce, the infamous author of the futuristic race-war novel The Turner Diaries, a book believed by some to have served as the blueprint for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.