By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
A retired Jersey City cop was selling white power CDs and videos in the back. He made easy conversation with a customer about Skrewdriver, a punk band that maintains legendary status since its lead singer Ian Stuart Donaldson died in a car accident in 1993. In his bin of wares were videotapes of "The Occult History of the Third Reich," ($2.50) and CDs by the infamous duo Prussian Blue 14-year-old twin sisters who sing white pride songs at many big supremacist events. (They attended an event at the J.O.U.A.M. meeting hall last year with David Duke.) The day's raffle prize was also on displaya German language edition of The Turner Diaries, a futuristic novel about the genocide of all non-whites that is considered a manifesto for white supremacist militia groups.
Copperhead offered bottles of water to the handful of women in attendance. He was on a mission to win over new recruits, or at least a girlfriend. "See, we're a bunch of normal people! Don't we look normal?"
Copperhead was, perhaps, one of the least normal looking people there. His intense blue eyes had a wild look to them while he discussed the Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, and a dime-sized scab on his throat had left a few drops of dried blood on his collar. "We're not hateful," he said emphatically. A moment later he expanded on his experience as a "racialist": "I've gone to Klan meetings . . . even Jesse Jackson says that more blacks were killed by blacks in 50 years than the Klan killed in 100. They lynched people to get rid of the bad element, guys who are raping our women and committing crimes." The conversation moved on to Haiti, slavery, and Copperhead's theory that "slaves were treated really well!" This revisionism was in keeping with the theories posted on Stormfront.org which claim that the Holocaust was a hoax, Anne Frank's diary was a fake, and Martin Luther King Jr. was an evil Communist.
Kelso, dressed in collared blue shirt and black slacks, was in the front of the room broadcasting his regular live radio show from his laptop. Kelso removed the headphones, leaving his mop of white hair and Coke-bottle glasses disheveled, to report that David Duke had called in earlier to wish them well. Radio broadcasting is one of the many odd skills he has acquired over a lifetime of being on the fringe of societyKelso was involved with the New Age movement and the Church of Scientology in the 1970s. Though he's pushing 60, Kelso still has the energy of teenager and the enthusiasm of a motivational speaker. That has translated to the astounding growth in his organizationmost of Stormfront's active members have joined in the last year and half. He's also been the motivating force behind real community-building among Stormfront members, organizing gatherings like this one. Today, Kelso met several folks for the first time that he'd only known online, greeting each with a limp handshake. Finally he asked the crowd to take their seats.
Rich Lindstrom, the point man for New Jersey's white supremacists, went to the wooden podium. "We are not ashamed! We are not afraid! We're here in broad daylight," he said. Lindstrom was burly and slightly sunburned, perhaps acquired from his job as a roofing contractor in West Milford, New Jersey. Lindstrom has been a minor player in white nationalist politics for years. According to One People's Project, an anti-racist organization, Lindstrom was fined for putting white supremacist stickers on a traffic sign about 20 years ago. Since then, Lindstrom continued his endeavors as Northeast coordinator for the National Alliance and later as a founding member of the National Vanguard. Lindstrom has also promoted a local message board called North East White Pride (www.newp.org), which has a more overtly racist bent than Stormfront. (Recently, a news banner at newp.org announcing the death of Yolanda King, Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, described her as a "Dead Nigger Bitch.")
Lindstrom, symbolizing the old guard, made way for Bobby Ammon and Evan Thomas, up-and-coming leaders of a new wave of white supremacy. Ammon was there to promote the Nationalist Coalition, a white supremacist organization formed last year. The Coalition portrays white people as a persecuted group fighting for survival, couching its aims of rigid segregation in the language of identity politics.
Thomas, a 22-year-old with a politician's speaking voice and the posture and physique of a Marine, talked about ways to make the "cause" more relevant. When he suggested that they should tone down the Jewish conspiracy stuff because, "average white people don't care," the crowd was defiantly silent. He switched tacks and eventually had the crowd cheering when he said he would "give his life" to the cause.
Then, the speeches were interrupted by an excited announcement from the back of the room: The protesters had arrived. But Lindstrom downplayed the threat, saying that "the combined weight of the protesters is 150 pounds." Kelso guessed that the average protester had biceps about six inches in diameter, and he asked if the "dirty animals" were "wearing dresses."