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October 11, 2013

Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party Expands Presence in U.S.

American members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party of Greece have created two new chapters in the United States since establishing a New York chapter about a year ago. One new chapter is in Los Angeles and the other calls itself the Regional League of the Western States USA.

Members of the Golden Dawn-New York chapter

Members of the Golden Dawn-New York chapter

The chapters are part of Golden Dawn North America, which “supports the ideas and goals of the Golden Dawn Party in Greece.”  In September, the Greek government arrested a number of leaders of the anti-Semitic, racist and anti-immigrant Golden Dawn party in Greece.  The arrests came after an individual believed to be a member of the group allegedly killed an anti-racist rapper.

Golden Dawn’s New York Division appears to be the most active chapter and the only one in the U.S. that posts material on its blog in English.  A section of the blog asks sympathizers to donate food and gift cards to help “Greek babies.”

The chapter has also posted articles attacking Jews, including one on October 10 about the relationship between Greece and Israel. The article claims that “Jews were so comfortable in recent decades with the corrupt political system and it served their interests perfectly.  Now they have begun to tremble in fear because of the rapid rise of Golden Dawn.”   The article references earlier pieces that accuse “American Zionists” of exploiting Greece and its energy sources.

Some American neo-Nazis and other white supremacists have expressed support for Golden Dawn. Rocky Suhayda of the tiny American Nazi Party claims to be in touch with Golden Dawn representatives. The website of the National Socialist Movement, another neo-Nazi group, directs people to the blog of the New York Division of Golden Dawn.

Craig Cobb, a white supremacist who is trying to set up a white enclave in Leith, North Dakota by buying up plots of land, has reportedly said that he would offer one of those plots to Golden Dawn.

Many Greek-Americans are appalled by Golden Dawn.  The overwhelming majority of the Greek-American community does not support the party or its American offshoots. The DC-based American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading grassroots Greek-American membership organization, recently praised the Greek government for its crackdown on Golden Dawn in Greece.

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April 16, 2012

American Nazi Party Seeks Attention with “Lobbyist” Publicity Stunt

Nobody can squeeze fifteen minutes of infamy out of the Internet like a neo-Nazi group can, a fact demonstrated recently by a flare-up in the blogosphere after South Carolina neo-Nazi John Taylor Bowles registered as a Congressional lobbyist on behalf of the tiny American Nazi Party (ANP).

Within a few days of the April 10 filing, Bowles’ name appeared in dozens of newspaper articles and thousands of blogs as the “first ever” Nazi lobbyist. That it was merely a publicity stunt seemed to have occurred to relatively few observers. However, the ANP is miniscule even by neo-Nazi standards, with only around two dozen active members. Led by Rocky Suhayda of Michigan, the ANP holds few events and does little more than publish a crude newsletter.

The lobbyist stunt might have been out of character for Suhayda, but was typical of Bowles, who has frequently sought the spotlight over the past decade. Bowles is a long-time neo-Nazi who first became involved with the National Socialist White People’s Party as a teenager in Baltimore in the 1970s. In the 1980s he reportedly spent four years in prison on an arson conviction, something that didn’t prevent him from subsequently working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a meat inspector.

Bowles eventually returned to neo-Nazism by joining the National Socialist Movement in 2003 and becoming one of its more active members. By 2005, Bowles was the group’s Virginia state leader; he subsequently became state leader for South Carolina. It was there he orchestrated his first major publicity stunt, issuing a press release in December 2006 announcing that he was running for president.

Over the next year and a half he used this position as “presidential candidate” to help him get attention from both within the white supremacist movement as well as from the media—even though his name was not on any ballots and Bowles himself was ineligible to run (by virtue of his conviction). During this time, Bowles also exploited anti-immigration sentiment for publicity by organizing an anti-immigration rally in South Carolina and announcing a trip to the Texas-Mexico border he dubbed “Operation Throw Back the Wetback.”

Bowles’ exploits did garner him publicity, but also the negative attention and jealousy of fellow NSM members, who kicked him out of the group in late 2007. In response, Bowles formed his own splinter group, the National Socialist Organization of America, which never had more than a handful of members and fell apart about eight months later, after Bowles suffered a heart attack.

After recovering, Bowles joined his fourth neo-Nazi group, the American Nazi Party, in 2009, writing for its newsletter, the White Worker, and organizing events in South Carolina. His lobbyist stunt seems to have been an attempt to regain the “glory” of his faux presidential bid—the only lobbying issue he even put on his registration form was “ballot access laws.”

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