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American Swastika: Inside the white power movement's hidden spaces of hate

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This book captures present-day features of white power activism, describing how Aryans use free spaces to overcome feelings of isolation and alienation by connecting with other Aryans and immersing themselves in white power culture, the changing nature of white power manifestations in physical as well as cyber spaces, and shifts in the white power music industry.


In this second edition of the book, the authors examine current features of white power activism. The authors describe the activities of the most active white power groups while acknowledging the legacy of recently weakened or disbanded networks; discuss well-established white power websites which are critical to the movement’s continuity, along with more recent manifestations of white power cyberactivism; and they detail the new players in the white power music scene and how they operate. They also analyze how some activists embrace the legacy of white power communities as inspiration to establish new ones. The authors gained access to Aryan free spaces by listening without reacting, reading the Aryans’ views seriously, and excluding the authors’ own moral and ethical values and assumptions in order to understand and interpret the meaning of Aryans’ point of view. The term “free space” is a metaphor used by social scientists to describe a setting where marginalized groups may freely express oppositional ideas. Fieldwork was conducted with white power activists and groups between 1996 and 2014, using a multimethod approach which included interviews, participant observation, and content analysis of white power movement websites and related Aryan literature. Interviews included one- to six-hour in-person and phone interviews with 128 current and former Aryan activists, 36 of which were group leaders; 97 of the 128 interviewees were male and 31 were female. The majority described either their current or childhood socioeconomic status as middle class. Most of the informants had a high school diploma or equivalent, and one quarter had attended some college. Snowball and purposive sampling strategies produced contacts with a wide range of white power networks. Organizations represented in the sample include: White Aryan Resistance; Aryan Nations; Hammerskin Nation; National Alliance; and branches of the Ku Klux Klan.

Date Published: January 1, 2015