Maine’s most famous neo-Nazi has had a busy summer. Since March, Penobscot County resident and shameless white supremacist Christopher Pohlhaus has been touring his unique flavor of hate speech at Nazi demonstrations around the country, presumably in search of investors for his nascent white-power-themed housing development and paramilitary training camp.

According to the Anti Defamation League, Pohlhaus leads a racist fraternal group called Blood Tribe with chapters all over the U.S. and Canada. This summer alone, Blood Tribe members have staged half a dozen demonstrations in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida to intimidate, recruit, and normalize public displays of hate. Group members regularly demonstrate armed, wearing matching red shirts and black face masks, and marching in formation chanting subtle slogans like, “There will be blood,” and “We are everywhere.”

Thankfully, no violence has been reported in connection with any of this year’s events, but Blood Tribe does not need to start street fights to achieve their goals. All they need is for decent, conscientious Americans to say and do nothing in response.

The political belief that the role of government is to protect the strong from the weak and that the powerful have an entitled right to control and abuse the powerless already has its champions in Washington and in state houses around the country. Now, the movement’s foot soldiers appear emboldened to act too; spray painting swastika graffiti at Mill Park, “Zoom bombing” city council meetings, hosting paramilitary-style training camps in the north woods. This is not normal.

Legislative action in the next session can help interrupt the ascent of hate on display, but preserving civic life will depend on direct engagement from everyday people to send the message that this behavior is not welcome. If you see something, say something. Friends don’t let friends march with Nazis.

 

Jonathan Strieff

South China

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