The white nationalist movement has embraced increasingly extreme rhetoric in 2019. Some in the movement openly advocate violence and terrorism as a way to precipitate a race war. This growing wing refers to itself as “accelerationist.” At the same time, image-conscious groups like the American Identity Movement (AIM)—which refer to themselves as the “dissident right”—spent much of 2019 trying to distance themselves from the more extreme elements within the movement. Patrick Casey, AIM’s leader, accused violence-obsessed white nationalists of having a “dead brand.” He and the like-minded among him have encouraged members of the movement to put their energy toward dismantling the conservative establishment and bending the mainstream political right toward white nationalist ideas.
This year, white nationalist ideas repeatedly inspired extreme acts of violence. After a white supremacist in New Zealand killed 51 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March, shooters in Poway, California, and El Paso, Texas, carried out their own attacks and penned manifestos expressing their support for the Christchurch killer. The suspect in El Paso wrote that his ideas were aimed at stopping the “cultural and ethnic replacement” of white people—the main animating idea of the white nationalist movement.
The movement will likely continue to splinter over the issue of violence. While a number of arrests—like that of a member of The Base for conspiring to vandalize synagogues—have caused worry among accelerationists, there is little to suggest that wing of the movement will mellow in the coming year. Indeed, white nationalists and neo-Nazis across the movement are more openly expressing their belief that violence is, if not desirable, inevitable. This belief will likely gain further support as political tensions increase surrounding the 2020 election.
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 non-white 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 implementation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Both landmark pieces of legislation are cited as the harbingers of white dispossession and so-called “white genocide” — 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 favored by white nationalists 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. Two favorite animating myths of white nationalists are the victimhood narrative of black-on-white crime — the idea that the dominant white majority is under assault by supposedly violent people of color — and the deceptively titled “human biodiversity,” the pseudo-scientific ascription of human behaviors, in this case along racial lines, to “non-negligible” genetic difference among humans. Appeals to the “empirical science” of human biodiversity are frequently coupled with thinly veiled nods to white, racial superiority.
In addition to their obsession with declining white birth rates, these themes comprise 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 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.
Although it isn’t ubiquitous, there is a current of antisemitism in the modern day white nationalist movement. Jews are common scapegoats for the perceived cultural and political grievances of white nationalists. White nationalist and antisemitic literature and conferences also have frequent author and speaker overlap. Kevin MacDonald, the author of The Culture of Critique — a trilogy of books alleging a Jewish control of culture and politics with evolutionary psychology — is a frequent guest in white nationalist media and at events. His writing is frequently cited as what introduces white nationalists 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 the social welfare programs. Some of white nationalism’s most prominent voices, 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 positions — in politics and society — that have access to resources otherwise unavailable to avowed racists. These resources often require that white nationalists 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 aren’t 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 “anti-white” establishment through radical action. Vanguardists favor public demonstrations to anonymous, online activism and hope that by turning out in numbers at protests they can defy so-called political correctness, polarize politics and accelerate what they view as the inevitable collapse of America.
The racist so-called “alt-right,” which came to prominence in late 2015, is white nationalism’s most recent formulation. While the themes of white dispossession, nostalgia for pre-1960s America and the desire for separatism remain central to the ideology, its edges are softer and porous, allowing for the influence and inclusion of more radical elements, including a suite of neo-Nazi organizations. It also welcomed an unsavory ecosystem of internet trolls. These chaos agents contribute a distinct style of discourse that include a notable lack of empathy, extreme, often violence-tinged, rhetoric, and willingness to dehumanize their enemies in service of political goals. Throughout 2016, with the contentious presidential campaign as a unique backdrop, the nascent alt-right launched a novel campaign of “cultural vanguardism,” tightly focused on radically altering culture — in the form of a total war on “political correctness” — rather than politics. This third style of activism, which borrowed from both the mainstreamers and the vanguardists, primarily took place online in the form of “shitposting,” meme making and online harassment.
As momentum dissipated post presidential election and online activism began to yield diminishing returns, white nationalists reverted to tried tactics such as public demonstrations, including college speaking engagements and propaganda distribution, primarily in the form of anonymous flyerings and banner drops — also on college campuses. Universities, with their impressionable and at times combustible student bodies provide easy targets for the newly trollish tactics of an alt-right obsessed with youth recruitment.
Groups listed in a variety of other categories — Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, racist skinhead and Christian Identity — can also be fairly described as "white nationalist." Although, as organizational loyalty has dwindled and the internet has become white nationalism’s organizing principle, the ideology is best understood as a loose coalition of social networks orbiting online propaganda hubs and forums.
2019 white nationalist hate groups
American Freedom Party
Los Angeles, CA*
Lakewood Ranch, FL
New York, NY
American Freedom Union
Hampton Township, PA
American Identity Movement
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia*
Los Angeles, CA
San Luis Obispo, CA
Colorado Springs, CO
Baton Rouge, LA
New Orleans, LA
Salt Lake City, UT
American Patriots USA
American Renaissance/New Century Foundation
New York, NY
Blood River Radio
Council of Conservative Citizens
San Francisco, CA*
Cursus Honorum Foundation
Floyds Knobs, IN
Faith and Heritage
Fight White Genocide
Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, The
H.L. Mencken Club
Legion of St. Ambrose
National Policy Institute
New Jersey European Heritage Association
Laguna Hills, CA
Occidental Quarterly/Charles Martel Society
Our Fight Clothing
Pioneer Little Europe Kalispell Montana
Political Cesspool, The
Racial Nationalist Party of America
Real Republic of Florida
Right Brand Clothing
Rise Above Movement
Huntington Beach, CA
Mountain View, AR*
Social Contract Press
West Palm Beach, FL
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
The Colchester Collection
New Carlisle, OH*
The Right Stuff
Hopewell Junction, NY*
Los Angeles, CA
Las Vegas, NV
Vandal Brothers, LLC
Washington Summit Publishers
White Rabbit Radio
Dearborn Heights, MI