Why Are Holocaust Deniers, Ku Klux Klan Members, and Neo-Nazis All Moving to One Small Town in Montana?
Photo Credit: MMFA
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
Editor's note: This is the second of a four-part series by Media Matters of America.
Last month Media Matters e-mailed April Gaede, the spokeswoman for the Pioneer Little Europe movement, to ask whether she considered PLE a racist endeavor.
"Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white," she replied. "If a group of Jews wanted to move to an area that had a high concentration of Jews already, would that make them Jewish supremacists? If Blacks choose to associate and work with other Blacks to form a 'black racial community,' is that racist? Apparently only White people cannot work for the advancement of their race, while groups like La Raza are accepted as 'cultural groups.' What if the 14 words said 'We must secure the existence of our race and a future for Native American children ' instead of 'We must secure the existence of our race and a future for White children?' Would human rights activists call that racist?"
The "14 words" is a popular white nationalist slogan coined by David Lane, a member of the 1980s right-wing domestic terrorist group The Order. The group committed armed robberies, including a $3.6 million armored car heist, in part to fund the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations, whose founder, Richard Butler, called for the mass migration of white supremacists to the northwestern United States after headquartering Aryan Nations in a northern Idaho compound in the 1970s. He branded the concept the Northwest Territorial Imperative. (Aryan Nations was crippled by a Southern Poverty Law Center lawsuit in 2000; it has all but disintegrated since Butler's death in 2004.)
The current Flathead Valley-based PLE movement is the latest manifestation of the longstanding dream of white supremacists to carve out their very own piece of America. Gaede and other PLE activists targeted the Flathead Valley for some of the same demographic reasons Butler picked northern Idaho: historically its population is more than 95 percent white and politically conservative with a strong libertarian streak.
"Around here we have a live and let live mentality," says Kalispell Mayor Tammi Fisher. "That leads to some individuals with fringe beliefs finding refuge in the Flathead Valley."
The PLE movement is guided by an 85-page document titled Pioneer Little Europe (PLE) Prospectus, written in 2001 by H. Michael Barrett, a longtime white supremacist whose history in the movement dates back to the late 1960s, when, by his own account, he served as the armed bodyguard for one of the leaders of the National Socialist White People's Party, which morphed out of the American Nazi Party. Barrett went on to join the Ku Klux Klan and become a field organizer for David Duke.
The table of contents to the Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus ,
the guidebook for the PLE movement which explains how to
form white supremacist communities.
PLE Prospectus describes a step-by-step plan to gradually "terraform" a predominately white, conservative area by taking over its local political and economic systems and then unleashing what Barrett terms "Uncontrolled White Nationalist Culture" or UNWC.
"The UNWC starts out by drawing together the WNs [white nationalists] who are no longer permitted to exercise the integrity of their community living space anywhere else, those who are unwanted elsewhere if they even so much as express love for their race," reads the prospectus. "These are the culturally homeless, the beserkers, the greatest misfits, the especially angry, those who refuse to run any more, who refuse to bow and scrape, the doers rather than passive thinkers, the dogs in the cellar."