In Obama Era, Neo-Nazis Becoming More Visible

James Verini at the Daily Beast notices something we've been tracking here at Orcinus too: Neo-Nazis and far-right extremists are not only recruiting more openly, they're being much more public in their full-on expressions of racism, nativism, and xenophobia. Unlike David Duke, these characters aren't even trying to hide it:


A year after President Obama's election, hate groups are feeling bolder than they have in over a decade, and their usually insular anger is beginning to spill into the public realm. This weekend, the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi organization, held rallies in Arizona and Minnesota. Those demonstrations came on the heels of similar actions in Southern California, where epithet-spewing white supremacists were forced to disband by rock-throwing counter-protesters. The upsurge in visibility is more than anecdotal—law-enforcement officials are monitoring levels of agitation among extremist groups that they say are the highest since Timothy McVeigh’s deadly attack in Oklahoma City nearly 15 years ago.

The outcries of right-wing tea-partiers, death panellers, birthers, and the like are accompanied by increased activity all along the paranoid fringe.

“It’s sort of a beehive now,” says James Cavanaugh, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Cavanaugh was one of the agents at the standoff at David Koresh’s Waco, Texas, compound in 1993 (which McVeigh timed his terrorist act to commemorate, two years later, on April 19, 1995). Last October in Tennessee, Cavanaugh aided in the arrest of two white supremacists charged with plotting to assassinate Obama, and in 2007 he helped bring down members of the Alabama Free Militia, who were found with hundreds of hand- and rifle grenades and other explosives. The arrests had an unsettling familiarity. “We haven’t had that kind of activity since the 1990s,” Cavanaugh says.

“We believe there is a real resurgence,” adds Lieutenant David Hall, director of the Missouri Information Analysis Center, which tracks antigovernment extremist groups around the Midwest. “The atmosphere is ripe.”

That was obvious to anyone who was in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, this past weekend:

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