Hate Group Recruitment on the InterNet: Exploiting Another Racial Issue

Exploiting Another Racial Issue

Ordinary Internet users might not suspect that the alt.fan.oj-simpson newsgroup would be a place to find neo-Nazis but, sensing the racial tensions generated by the Simpson case, the extremists flocked there, making this newsgroup a case study in the use of this technique. An examination of the postings to the alt.fan.oj-simpson group shows that some familiar neo-Nazis were indeed trolling the Internet for new recruits: KleimKaldenberg, George Hawthorne of Resistance Records, which spreads the neo-Nazi Skinhead message through music, and some others took the offensive.

In a variety of voices, ranging from relatively moderate to provocatively obscene and scatological, each declared that white people are now victims and should not take it anymore. Many closed their messages with an advertisement for the World Wide Web addresses of the National Alliance and various other white supremacist sites. (Hawthorne also pushed the site on which he peddles his records.) One self-identified Christian Identity “minister,”

Obviously, these activists believe that there is an enormous potential audience for their virulent anti-black and anti-Semitic messages. Kaldenberg is certain of it. In one posting he crowed, “I have gotten over 100 email [sic] in 36 hours because of my posting. I posted the Aryan Update number there and it has been ringing off the hook.”

Kleim also believes that Net is the way to recruit. “There are millions of people who agree with us,” he told .net, a mainstream, Internet-oriented magazine printed in England which did a piece on Internet extremists. “[They] feel isolated and helpless because they don’t know who to contact to network with others who feel similarly…. USENET, in combination with the Web, offers an unparalleled opportunity for our Movement to get our views and, more importantly, our facts across to the general public.<4>