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March 2, 2016 1

While Vying For Attention, Small California Klan Encounters Conflict

The Loyal White Knights (LWK) had every inten­tion of hold­ing a “White Lives Do Mat­ter” protest on Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 27, 2016, at Pear­son Park in Ana­heim, Cal­i­for­nia. But before the event could kick off, a bloody brawl erupted between Klan sup­port­ers and counter-protesters.

Klans­men, barely able to exit their cars, were sud­denly swarmed by counter-protesters who wres­tled Bill Hagan, the Cal­i­for­nia LWK’s Grand Dragon, to the ground. Other Klan mem­bers were sim­i­larly attacked, and as the chaos con­tin­ued, Klan mem­bers stabbed three counter-protesters, appar­ently with the tip of a flag pole, leav­ing one crit­i­cally wounded.

Six Klans­men were arrested, but they were released on Feb­ru­ary 29, after law enforce­ment deter­mined they were act­ing in self-defense. Seven anti-Klan-protesters were booked by the Ana­heim Police Depart­ment on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and for elder abuse (after stomp­ing on a senior Klan member).

(At any poten­tially inflam­ma­tory protest, sep­a­rat­ing the pro­test­ers from any counter-demonstrators is crit­i­cal – it pro­tects even the most hate­ful speech while ensur­ing the safety of every­one involved. This sep­a­ra­tion was clearly not achieved – or main­tained – in Anaheim).

Like other Klan groups around the coun­try, the Loyal White Knights say they rep­re­sent the increas­ingly “endan­gered” white pop­u­la­tion, which they claim makes up a mere 9 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion. In fact, Klan groups them­selves appear to be the only “endan­gered” entity: The ADL has iden­ti­fied about thirty active Klan groups in the United States, slightly down from the 2014 tally. Most Klan groups range in size from small to very small; chap­ters are often com­prised of a sin­gle local member.

As a feint against their dimin­ish­ing influ­ence, Klan groups con­tinue to use attention-getting stunts to attract pub­lic­ity.  For exam­ple, in 2015 the Inter­na­tional Key­stone Knights made head­lines for appeal­ing an “adopt a high­way” court rul­ing in Geor­gia while the Knights Party drew media atten­tion after spon­sor­ing a pro-white bill­board in Arkansas.

The most com­mon Klan tac­tic, how­ever, con­tin­ues to be the use of fliers to broad­cast their racist, anti-Semitic, homo­pho­bic, and increas­ingly Islam­o­pho­bic mes­sage. In 2015, the ADL counted 85 Klan flier­ing inci­dents, an increase from 73 inci­dents in 2014.  In the last six months, the very small Cal­i­for­nia Loyal White Knights group has caused an out­sized stir in a num­ber of Cal­i­for­nia cities, includ­ing Whit­tier, Santa Ana and Ana­heim, as neigh­bors dis­cov­ered candy and rock-filled bags with pro-Klan mes­sages on their front lawns. As the Anti-Defamation League has pre­vi­ously noted, this leaflet­ing activ­ity is actu­ally a des­per­ate pub­lic­ity tac­tic, and reflects Klan groups’ declin­ing stature and membership.

Today’s Klan groups tend to be irres­olute, short-lived and in a con­stant state of flux.More than half of the cur­rently active Klans were formed just in the last five years. While a few long­stand­ing Klans, still exist, they are mere shad­ows of their for­mer selves. In fact, two promi­nent Klans dis­banded in Late 2015: Mor­ris Gulett’s Louisiana-based Aryan Nations Knights and Ron Edward’s Kentucky-based Impe­r­ial Klans of America.

As befits the groups’ shrink­ing ranks, pub­lic Klan events are increas­ingly rare. There were only two pub­lic Klan events of con­se­quence in 2015.  In July, mem­bers of the Loyal White Knights and the Trin­ity White Knights joined mem­bers of the neo-Nazi Nation­al­ist Social­ist Move­ment in protest­ing the removal of the Con­fed­er­ate flag from the South Car­olina State House.  In March, approx­i­mately 20 Klans­men ral­lied in Mont­gomery, Alabama, at an event hon­or­ing Mar­tin Luther King, Jr.

In the 1920s, accord­ing to some his­tor­i­cal accounts, Anaheim’s Pear­son Park was the site of events that attracted upwards of 20,000 Klan sup­port­ers. This past weekend’s protests and vio­lence involved six Klan sup­port­ers — and while that cer­tainly epit­o­mizes the state of today’s Klan, the group’s his­tor­i­cal bag­gage and unde­ni­able noto­ri­ety means that even one Klan mem­ber has the poten­tial to spark con­sid­er­able pain and upset.

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October 4, 2013 8

Matthew Heimbach Embracing Hard-Core White Supremacy

heimbach-IKA-october-2013

Heim­bach, stand­ing on far right in T-shirt and jeans, gives salute at hard-core white suprema­cist event.

Matthew Heim­bach, head of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work (TYN), and for­mer founder of the white stu­dent union at Tow­son Uni­ver­sity, attended an event last month spon­sored by neo-Nazis, racist skin­heads and Klan groups in Kentucky.

The Aryan Ter­ror Brigade (ATB), a small, racist skin­head group, the neo-Nazi National Social­ist Move­ment, the Knights of the Nordic Order, and the Impe­r­ial Klans of Amer­ica (IKA), whose head­quar­ters are in Ken­tucky, hosted the event.  In a pic­ture from the gath­er­ing, Heim­bach is seen with a group of white suprema­cists salut­ing for the cam­era. Some of these groups, par­tic­u­larly the ATB, have a his­tory of violence.

Although Heim­bach once claimed that his views were merely con­ser­v­a­tive, he seems to be  increas­ingly embrac­ing hard-core white supremacy. In addi­tion to the Sep­tem­ber event, Heim­bach attended a white suprema­cist gath­er­ing in August 2013 hosted by Don Black, who runs the racist Inter­net forum Storm­front. At the event, he also met with David Duke, for­mer Klan leader and vir­u­lent anti-Semite. In an arti­cle on the TYN blog, Heim­bach called both men his heroes.

In his posts for the TYN, Heim­bach has becom­ing increas­ingly anti-Semitic.  In an inter­view on Duke’s radio show in August 3013, he talked about “Jew­ish suprema­cists who are push­ing for our destruc­tion.” At the white suprema­cist Amer­i­can Free­dom Party con­fer­ence in July 2013, Heim­bach asserted, “We know the Jew­ish influ­ence, that cap­i­tal­ists who want to extort us to make money, and the Com­mu­nists who want to destroy all eth­nic reli­gious and racial tides are united together seek­ing our total destruction.”

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