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The last visible tweet by the group was made in November 2015, and states "it's a scientific fact that the white race is superior." Another tweet includes a photo of the Confederate flag with the words: "In 1861 we went to war over our rights. We have no problem doing it again. Remember that." Other tweets urge people to march at rallies, such as one protesting a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., in Stone Mountain, Georgia; and another promoting a march in Tupelo, Mississippi with the National Socialist Movement. National Socialist Movement
(NSM), headquartered in Detroit, is considered to be the largest and most prominent Neo-Nazi group in the United States. Once known for its theatrical protests with members wearing full Nazi SS uniforms and swastika badges, the group has rebranded itself in recent years. However, the underlying ideology is rooted in a white supremacist view that aims for a nation of "pure white bred" citizens excluding full rights to Jews, homosexuals and any racially mixed occupants.
Formerly the National Socialist American Workers Freedom Movement, leadership was passed to Jeff Schoep in 1994, who renamed it the National Socialist Movement. Going by the moniker "commander," Schoep expanded the group's membership by recruiting younger members and allowing members of other white supremacist groups to join. By 2009, the NSM had 61 chapters in 35 states.
"I think Detroit is a pinnacle in the movement," said Schoep, who said he moved a decade ago to the city. "With the economy crumbling and taking a big hit, Detroit has suffered a lot. Movements like ours tend to do well in areas like this because people are looking for answers, and they are tired of the Republican and Democrat stuff."
To broaden the group's appeal to new members, Schoep said the NSM stopped using the swastika and Nazi dress in its official dress – symbols he said that raised questions from potentials recruits about German heritage requirements.
"I don't care if people call us Nazis, but we aren't really," Schoep said. "It had a negative connotation for a long time, but it has lost some luster. I don't think it has the bite anymore that it used to. Now, people say if you voted for Donald Trump, you're a Nazi. It doesn't bother me, but I don't like it – we are white nationalists."
Setting aside specific labels, the NSM has networked with other white supremacist groups that don't necessarily subscribe to the National Socialist ideology. In April of 2016, the NSM and members of several KKK, racist skinhead and others groups met to form the Aryan National Alliance....continued on page 9