With 109 chapters in 2022, the number of white nationalist groups has stabilized after reaching a historic high of 155 in 2019. The movement has not been able to mobilize grassroot networks to the same degree as during the Trump presidency, but white nationalist rhetoric and policies – including a belief in a so-called “great replacement” of white people, strict opposition to immigration and a belief that national belonging should be determined by race – have become even more deeply embedded the United States’ broader political right.
Many of the most prominent leaders in today’s white nationalist movement define their primary goal as challenging what they call “Conservatism Inc,” or the neoconservative wing of the American right. Figures including Nick Fuentes, a livestreamer who was present outside the U.S. Capitol at the Jan. 6 insurrection, are trying to harness the grievances of white, right-leaning Americans into an openly ethnonationalist political movement, one they hope will become the core of the Republican Party.
Fuentes has made allies within the political mainstream, including U.S. Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona, who both spoke at Fuentes’ annual America First Political Action Conference in February 2022. Later in the year, Fuentes had dinner with former President Trump alongside the rapper and designer Ye (formerly known as Kanye West), who has proudly expressed antisemitic views.
Patriot Front and Active Club, both of which place a heavy emphasis on hypermasculinity, are currently among the most active white nationalist groups. Both are militant, openly fascist and extremely image conscious. Members stay within strictly defined aesthetic and rhetorical boundaries, making them appear at once intimidating and polished. For Active Clubs, which rose to 12 chapters this year, their emphasis is especially on creating a white nationalist counterculture where young men can be socialized into adopting the group’s racist politics. Patriot Front favors highly stylized public spectacles, which feature uniformed members marching and chanting fascist slogans.
Members of white nationalist groups, including Patriot Front, participated in the broader attack on LGBTQ people that defined 2022, often by joining in anti-LGBTQ demonstrations. Their homophobic and transphobic attacks highlight the movement’s broader agenda, which aims to exclude and harm not only Black people and other people of color but also immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, religious minorities and others whom white nationalists consider inferior.
White nationalist livestreamer Nick Fuentes hosted his annual America First Political Action Conference in February 2022, which featured four current elected officials as speakers. Those included two sitting members of Congress, Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene. The event focused on furthering Fuentes’s racist, ethnonationalist “America First” movement.
In June, 31 Patriot Fronts members were arrested and charged with conspiracy to riot in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as they were en route to disrupt a Pride event. Despite the arrests, the group continued to harass participants at other LGBTQ events in 2022, including a September event in Katy, Texas, where they were joined by the white nationalist New Columbia Movement, and a Columbus, Ohio, holiday drag story time event at a church, where Proud Boys also protested.
Active clubs hosted small gatherings throughout the year, but their largest event came in August when they hosted an MMA tournament at a gym in Huntington Beach, California. The event included members of other white power groups, including Patriot Front, and was filmed and promoted online by Media2Rise, a propaganda outlet created by Active Club and Rise Above Movement founder Robert Rundo.
While social media outlets have made some strides in recent years to hinder the spread of hate and harassment on their platforms, Twitter erased much of that progress when billionaire Elon Musk came to the helm in October. Accounts were reinstated for white power activists who for years were banned from the platform, including Andrew Anglin, Patrick Casey and members of the National Justice Party. Ye, who teamed up with Nick Fuentes and Milo Yiannopolis to mount the rapper’s 2024 presidential campaign, was eventually banned from Twitter for his antisemitic posts, but not before he tweeted a link to Fuentes’s streaming platform to his more than 32 million followers.
Members of the white nationalist movement are placing much of their energy into harnessing the anger and resentment of Trump supporters into a broad authoritarian movement. They hope to convince white Americans that they are persecuted by “anti-white” ideas and policies, including the adoption of inclusive education in schools. This movement could cause further disruption and violence, especially as the country heads closer to the 2024presidential election.
The white nationalist movement has been greatly aided by the continued radicalization of the GOP, exhibited by the party’s embrace of racist concepts like the “great replacement,” vilification of immigrants, attacks on reproductive care and demonization of queer and trans people.
White nationalists will continue to abet the broader right’s attacks on marginalized people and communities through propaganda production, participation in protests and other forms of intimidation and even violence. Twitter’s choice to reinstate extremists and slacken enforcement of hate speech policies will mean that more people will be exposed to white nationalist propaganda and harassment.
Adherents of white nationalist groups believe that white identity should be the organizing principle of the countries that make up Western civilization. White nationalists advocate for policies to reverse changing demographics and the loss of an absolute, white majority. Ending nonwhite immigration, both legal and illegal, is an urgent priority – frequently elevated over other racist projects, such as ending multiculturalism and miscegenation – for white nationalists seeking to preserve white, racial hegemony.
White nationalists seek to return to an America that predates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Both landmark pieces of federal legislation are cited as the harbingers of white dispossession and the so-called “white genocide” or “great replacement,” the idea that whites in the United States are being systematically replaced and destroyed.
These racist aspirations are most commonly articulated as the desire to form a white ethnostate, a calculated idiom white nationalists favor in order to obscure the inherent violence of such a radical project. Appeals for the white ethnostate are often disingenuously couched in proclamations of love for members of their own race, rather than hatred for others.
This platitude collapses under scrutiny. One favorite animating myths of white nationalists is the victimhood narrative of Black-on-white crime – the idea that the dominant white majority is under assault by supposedly violent people of color. Another, deeply related, myth is the deceptively titled “human biodiversity,” or the pseudo-scientific belief that different races are genetically different, and that these differences influence propensity toward criminality and other traits Appeals to the “empirical science” of human biodiversity are frequently coupled with thinly veiled nods to white, racial superiority.
In addition to obsession with declining white birth rates, these themes inspire some of the most powerful propaganda that animates and drives the white nationalist movement.
Adherents frequently cite Pat Buchanan’s 2001 book, The Death of the West, which argues that these declining white birth rates and an “immigrant invasion” will transform the United States into a so-called “Third World” nation by 2050, as the text responsible for their awakening or “red pill.”
White nationalists also frequently cite American Renaissance, a pseudo-academic organization dedicated to spreading the myth of Black criminality, scientific racism and eugenic theories. Its annual conference, a multi-day symposium with a suit-and-tie dress code, is a typical early stop for new white nationalists.
Antisemitism is deeply woven into the modern-day white nationalist movement, whose adherents use Jews as scapegoats for their perceived cultural and political grievances. White nationalists often argue that Jews are orchestrating the “great replacement” – making people of color, who they believe to be less intelligent and more easily manipulated, into the numerical majority of Western countries in a bid to secure complete political control. Kevin MacDonald, the author of The Culture of Critique, a trilogy of books alleging a Jewish control of culture and politics with evolutionary psychology, has been cited by innumerable white nationalists as the person who introduced them to the idea of a Jewish conspiracy.
White nationalists also commonly pass through paleoconservatism, an anti-interventionist strand of libertarianism that seeks to limit government, restrict immigration, reverse multicultural programs and deconstruct social welfare programs. Some of the most prominent voices in the movement’s recent history, including Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow, did stints at Taki’s Magazine, the most prominent paleoconservative journal.
Strategies for pursuing the white ethnostate fall into two major categories: mainstreaming and vanguardism. Mainstreamers believe that infiltrating and subverting the existing political institutions is the only realistic path to power. They aspire to convert disaffected “normies” to their politics and advocate for white nationalists to seek esteemed and influential positions in society where they can access resources otherwise unavailable to avowed racists. This path often requires white nationalists to disguise their politics and compromise on their most extreme positions. Mainstreaming allows those sympathetic to white nationalism to pursue or enact policies furthering white nationalist priorities. These policies are not always exclusive to white nationalism, such as immigration restriction or the elimination of social welfare programs.
Vanguardists believe that revolution is the only viable path toward a white ethnostate. They believe that reforming the system is impossible and therefore refuse to soften their rhetoric. They typically seek to reform what they believe to be an “antiwhite” establishment through radical action and often openly advocate for the use of violence against the state and people they perceive to be their political enemies. Through acts of violence, they believe they can further polarize politics and accelerate what they view as the inevitable collapse of America.
The racist so-called “alt-right” was the most prominent strand of the white nationalist movement during the 2016 presidential campaign and the first half of the Trump presidency and is a political moment that allowed activists to temporarily paint over cracks that have historically divided the movement. Composed of a broad coalition of far-right activists and groups, the alt-right hoped to push ethnonationalism into the political mainstream. But after the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, alliances faded into infighting when the movement came under intense public and legal scrutiny, including a civil suit that ultimately found many of the most prominent alt-right leaders and groups liable for $26 million in damages.
Growing disillusioned with trying to achieve political goals through mainstream channels such as electoral politics and mass organizing, an “accelerationist” wing, focused on bringing about the collapse of society, has gained a prominent place within the movement. This violence-obsessed subset predominantly congregates on the messaging platform Telegram, as well as other “alt-tech” platforms that do not moderate users’ content.
Still, especially in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, a large part of the white nationalist movement remains focused on bending the mainstream right toward open ethnonationalism. These actors want to build alliances with Republican elected officials, create their own political parties and institutions, and, especially, cultivate a cohort of young, radical activists within the GOP.
Groups listed in a variety of other categories, including Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, racist skinhead and Christian Identity, can also be fairly described as “white nationalist.” As organizational loyalty has dwindled and the internet has become white nationalism’s organizing principle, however, the ideology is best understood as a loose coalition of social networks orbiting online propaganda hubs and forums.
2022 white nationalist hate groups
AZ Active Club, Arizona
SoCal Active Club/NorCal Active Club/Central CA Active Club, California
Front Range Active Club, Colorado
Indiana Active Club, Indiana
Big Sky Active Club, Montana
Pennsylvania Active Club, Pennsylvania
Southern Sons Active Club, South Carolina
Active Club, Tennessee
Dominion Active Club, Virginia*
America First Foundation
Saint Petersburg, Florida
American Freedom News
Hampton Township, Pennsylvania
American Freedom Party
Los Angeles, California*
New York, New York
American Renaissance/New Century Foundation
Antelope Hill Publishing
Green Lane, Pennsylvania
New York, New York
Blood River Radio
Christ the King Reformed Church
Council of Conservative Citizens
San Francisco, California
Floyds Knobs, Indiana
Fight White Genocide
Columbia, South Carolina
Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation
Purgitsville, West Virginia
San Marcos, California
National Justice Party
New Columbia Movement
La Plume Township, Pennsylvania*
New Jersey European Heritage Association
Occidental Quarterly/Charles Martel Society
Washington, District of Columbia
Summerville, South Carolina
Political Cesspool, The
Racial Nationalist Party of America
Lockport, New York
Summerville, South Carolina
Revolt Through Tradition
School of the West
Washington, District of Columbia
Mountain View, Arkansas
West Palm Beach, Florida
The Colchester Collection
The Right Stuff
United People of America
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
White Rabbit Radio
Dearborn Heights, Michigan