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Extremism Headlines: Neo-Nazi rally, True the Vote election denial, Biggs at Proud Boys event

Every week, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project rounds up our recent work and headlines on extremism and the radical right that caught our attention through Feb. 23. 

Neo-Nazi rally in Tennessee 

  • This week, Hatewatch published a story on a neo-Nazi rally that took place in Nashville, Tennessee, on Feb. 17, 2024. Christopher Alan Pohlhaus, the leader of a neo-Nazi group called Blood Tribe marched alongside about two dozen neo-Nazis in downtown Nashville with swastika flags. They chanted racist and antisemitic slogans. Pohlhaus and another speaker gave speeches outside the state Capitol, praising white supremacist historical figures. They blamed migrants for social problems and spoke against the LBGTQ+ community. Blood Tribe has protested against these communities in the past. The article explores Tennessee’s current status as a “hot spot for hate group activities.”
  • NBC News reported that people in Nashville “challenged the group," citing a statement from Nashville police. After the challenge, Blood Tribe “headed to a U-Haul box truck, got in, and departed Davidson County,” the police statement said. 
  • Hatewatch has previously exposed Blood Tribe leader Pohlhaus' efforts to establish a white supremacist stronghold in Maine. After publication, Pohlhaus sold the land in Maine on which he intended to establish the stronghold. 

Rep. Andy Biggs appears at extremist-sponsored event

  • Arizona Republican Representative Andy Biggs recently participated in a rally co-sponsored by several extremist organizations, The Arizona Republic reported on Feb. 20. The event, known as the 11th annual Second Amendment Rally, took place in front of Arizona’s state Capitol. Notably, it featured gun rights advocates and players from the state’s right-wing fringe. Among the event’s sponsors was College Republicans United (CRU), a student group with chapters in Arizona. CRU has embraced white supremacy and promotes texts that fueled anti-Jewish sentiment in the early 20th century, the report claimed. These texts include “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” a fabricated document claiming a Jewish plan to dominate the world. CRU also has ties to white supremacist Nick Fuentes, The Arizona Republic reported. Arizona’s chapter of the Proud Boys, an extremist group that promotes political violence, also sponsored the rally.
  • Rep. Biggs, a staunch right-wing member of Congress, has a history of association with extremism, The Arizona Republic said. Hatewatch has reported on Biggs' appearances at other Arizona rallies that featured extremists.

True the Vote says no evidence for election denial claims

  • True the Vote, a leading group in the right-wing election denial movement, admitted to a Georgia judge that it has no evidence to support its claims of illegal ballot stuffing during the 2020 general election and a runoff two months later, the Associated Press reported on Feb. 14. The Texas-based group had filed complaints with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in 2021, alleging a “coordinated effort to collect and deposit ballots in drop boxes across metro Atlanta” during the November 2020 election and a January 2021 runoff. A Fulton County Superior Court judge in Atlanta had signed an order requiring True the Vote to provide evidence, including the names of people who were sources of information, to state elections officials. However, in their written response, attorneys for True the Vote stated that the group had no names or other documentary evidence to share.
  • Right-wing author Dinesh D’Souza heavily relied on True the Vote’s claims for his film 2000 Mules. D’Souza’s accompanying book saw long delays and a recall in 2022. During the recall, portions of the book were re-written to soften accusations that nonprofit groups engaged in voter fraud, NPR reported in 2022.  
  • Election denial has been popular with the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), an antigovernment extremist organization that believes sheriffs have final say in what laws they enforce. CSPOA has promoted 2000 Mules and its founder, former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, attested to its truthfulness in emails Hatewatch obtained.  

View last week's edition here: Extremism Headlines: Trump Immigration plan, Abortion, Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

Above photo: The neo-Nazi groups Blood Tribe, and Goyim Defense League at a September 2, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

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