‘Active club’ hate groups are growing in the U.S. — and making themselves seen

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In late May, a group of young, male neo-Nazis converged outside a bookstore in Bozeman, Mont., to protest a drag queen story hour. Later that day, they hit another similar event in Livingston, Mont. The second weekend in June, the groups targeted the Lewis County Pride Festival in Centralia, Wash. A week after that, it was the Wind River Pride event in Lander, Wyo. And the following weekend, they were at Oregon City Pride, not far from Portland, Ore.

These men, dressed in tactical gear and masks, were members of so-called “active clubs” — a term that may be relatively new to American audiences. They are a strand of the white nationalist movement that has grown quickly during the last three years and that has recently taken their message of hate into more public view. These decentralized cells emphasize mixed martial arts training to ready their members for violence against their perceived enemies.

Stephen Piggott, a researcher with the Western States Center, a national civil rights organization, has closely tracked their evolution in the Pacific Northwest.

“They are really focused on a couple of things,” said Piggott. “One is centering, organizing and trying to recruit people through combat sports … but also, preparing for political and racially motivated violence.”

Content retrieved from: https://www.npr.org/2023/07/19/1188111769/active-club-hate-groups.

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