Officials of the National Socialist Movement (NSM), which recently has grown into the nation's leading neo-Nazi group, were badly beaten by a mob of fellow white supremacists at a key white power concert in May, setting off a dispute that threatens to destroy any movement toward unity on the radical right.
The attack came on May 27 at Nordic Fest, an annual concert hosted by the Imperial Klans of America (IKA) near Dawson Springs, Ky., and immediately followed a speech by Missouri NSM member Steven Boswell.
Boswell, already an object of some ridicule in the movement since a rabbi accosted him in the Kansas City airport last year for wearing a swastika T-shirt, had just delivered what was supposed to be an electrifying call to action. Sadly for him, he also managed to insult large numbers of violent neo-Nazis at the same time.
Within seconds of starting his talk, Boswell told his audience of some 150 racists that the movement would never be helped "by belonging to a social club where all we do is drink and shoot the shit every Saturday night." He went on to say that Aryans "are far more stingy than Jews" in supporting their own cause, and then added that "our women are deserting us wholesale … because we are weak."
It was not a talk designed to please. But Boswell had gone further than even he intended. In his audience were members of the violence-prone Vinlander Social Club, and they took his caustic comment about "social clubs" personally.
Boswell was set upon by at least five skinheads, his face bloodied and his NSM patches torn from his faux SS uniform. His 10-year-old daughter, spotting the brawl behind the festival stage, screamed out, "They're killing my daddy!" With that, a huge melee broke out as close to 50 skinheads, mostly Vinlanders headed by an extremely violent skin known as Eric "The Butcher" Fairburn but also apparently including members of other groups, attacked all five NSM men present. Armed IKA security men initially stood by, only stopping the fight after several minutes.
Accompanied by sympathetic members of the neo-Nazi Creativity Movement, the bloodied NSM crew left the concert immediately afterward, women and children in tow. On the way out, they were told by IKA security and members of Maryland and Pennsylvania skinhead groups that they'd offended the Vinlanders and also that many skins had problems with NSM leaders Bill White and Mark Martin.
White, a prominent NSM spokesman from Virginia, is a former anarchist who has been widely accused by fellow neo-Nazis of being an informant. He is also seen as an egotistical blowhard who puts himself in the spotlight while denigrating others. Martin, an Ohio NSM leader, has been accused of being partly Native American.
None of that stopped the NSM from issuing a series of angry statements. Boswell's wife, Christina Drake, called her husband's tormentors "huge, Negro-mentality beasts." NSM "commander" Jeff Schoep said the attack had been "an open act of war." White, as usual, went furthest, urging NSM members to press charges; accusing the Vinlanders, the Keystone State Skinheads and IKA of being "criminal gangs"; and calling Brien James, a Vinlander with an especially violent reputation, "a loudmouth and a coward" and challenging him, via E-mail, to a fight.