Despite a long history of disagreements and infighting, Neo-Nazis and white supremacists have set aside their problems to come together in celebration of hate in Georgia this weekend.
The Detroit-based National Socialist Movement (NSM) will host a “White Rights Rally” in Rome, while 66 miles away, in Stone Mountain Park, John Michael Estes, a white supremacist and convicted felon, is planning a “pro-white” demonstration to march against the removal of confederate symbols, an event he calls, “Rock Stone Mountain.”
The two events are surprisingly being promoted together as part of a collaborative effort among racists to address lagging support. But originally, the events were being organized separately. Then, former Klansman Billy Roper stepped down as the key organizer of the rally at Rock Stone Mountain, and Estes took over.
Instead of combining the two events into one, Estes and his friends will drive over to NSM’s event and after party later that day, where Aryan Terror Brigade member Tracy Cantley will play his version of outlaw country music and the North Carolina-based Klan Loyal White Knights will burn a cross.
“[T]he time for factionalism in the White Nationalist Movement has ended,” NSM leader Jeff Schoep wrote in an announcement. “Pro-white organizations have agreed to come together, in order to build a united front of white organizations fighting side by side for the same end goal.”
That factionalism between the two events may have been brought on by heated debates on the racist right over whether racists should openly display white supremacist memorabilia, like white power flags and swastikas at pro-confederate flag rallies.
When Randall Smith, a member of the Aryan Nations, a co-sponsor of the NSM rally, described the difference between the two events in January, he said, “some of us have decided that we won’t hide our flags, patches, our organizations names,” according to one of his Facebook posts, claiming organizers of Rock Stone Mountain were encouraging rally goers to keep their white power flags at home.
Organizations like the neo-confederate group racist group League of the South (LOS) have also made efforts to sanitize their public image by using fewer overtly racist symbols at public events .
Surprisingly, though, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and ranking LOS leaders say they will now attend Estes’ openly racist pro-white rally at Stone Mountain Park, Estes’ revealed in an interview with NSM.
It’s not surprising that Schoep is collaborating with Estes and other white supremacist groups to co-sponsor his annual event, scheduled around Adolf Hitler’s birthday. Last November, only about three-dozen neo-Nazis and Klan members attended an NSM rally in Tupelo, Miss.
As of this week, Schoep says he has recruited nine different groups to co-sponsor the NSM rally, including two Ku Klux Klan chapters.
Racist skinhead Josh Steever, who goes by the name Hatchet, and other members of his Aryan Strikeforce have also joined forces with NSM. Steever’s criminal record includes beating a man with an axe handle and threatening to stab two black high school students.
While its unclear if everyone will get along, the joining of racist skinheads, multiple Klan, neo-Nazi and neo-confederate groups and a white supremacist motorcycle club puts one at pause.