A look into racist organizing in Vancouver and Portland
VolksFront is getting bigger and gaining popularity in Portland and Vancouver.
This article was taken from, http://www.vanvoice.com/article/20959-vancouver039s+volksfront
[Where annotated, names of sources have been withheld or altered as a condition of being interviewed. This article would not have been possible without confidential sources. Neither the Vancouver Voice nor the author makes any assertion supporting acts of discrimination or criminal behavior.]
Local members of Volksfront, a Portland based white-supremacy and neo-Nazi organization, have found an ambitious leader in Jeffery (an alias). Jeffery is a 32-year-old, recently unemployed construction worker and native Vancouver resident. He describes himself as being a serious contender in the current fight to become Volksfront's next undisputed führer.
Volksfront was founded in 1994 by four Oregon prison inmates to "revive the dying pro-white movement," according to Volksfront founding documents. The organization grew within the prison system and eventually developed into a rapidly expanding international organization with headquarters in Portland. Volksfront has long declared itself a non-violent organization representing the interest of the white working class.
Jeffery boasts being an active Volksfront member and a steadfast believer in the organization's long term objective to establish a whites-only independent nation in the Northwest. "Mixed-race communities will ultimately mongrelize both races," Jeffery explained. "The only way to prevent contamination of Anglo-Saxon blood lines is to keep the races separate," Jeffery declared.
When questioned, Jeffery admitted he is unable to provide scientific evidence or a logic-based argument in support of his anti-miscegenation and racist beliefs. "Some things are done out of faith, not science," Jeffery responded defensively.
Despite his inability to explain the exact mechanisms that justify his racism, Jeffery appears to be increasingly popular with local white supremacists.
At a private meeting in Vancouver, approximately 20, patch wearing and tattooed members of Volksfront voiced support for Jeffery's growing influence in the underground white supremacy movement. "[Jeffery] has the ability to unite all the different white nationalist factions," one member stated, "[and] he has the stomach for the coming war." It was unclear if the member meant a literal race war or was simply referring to the general struggles of the white-nationalist movement.
Jeffery believes his growing support base is largely due to his stated willingness to return what he calls "historically effective enforcement programs" for achieving the white-supremacist agenda. "More and more white-nationalists are realizing that peaceful activism has failed and will continue to fail," Jeffery stated.
According to Jeffery, the current contentious national political landscape and inability for pro-white groups to create a stable national political base is fueling a "mounting desire to see a rebirth of the traditional methods of protecting the white race." Jeffery declined to expand further on what he meant by "traditional methods" but Jeffery stated he is willing to use violence to further Volksfront's political agenda.
The inconsistency between publically denouncing violence while privately espousing it was not resolved during any of the interviews with Volksfront members.
Jeffery proclaims that violence against minorities is ethically justified as an act of racial self-defense. "The very presence of a Jew, nigger or wetback in my neighborhood presents a threat to the purity of our daughters and the safety of my house," he stated angrily. Jeffery did not respond to questions regarding whether targeted minorities would be equally justified in retaliating against Volksfront as a means of self-defense.
Jeffery offered predictable reasons why he required anonymity to consent to an interview. "Things are heating up. The last thing I need is some police officer investigating everything I do," Jeffery stated.
A vast majority of the Volksfront members present at the meeting appeared to be in their late teens and early twenties; all were white males with short hair. A majority of the cars parked outside the meeting had Oregon plates possibly indicating most of the attendees were Oregon residents.
White Supremacy, with a side of violence
After several violence-filled years in the 1990s, Volksfront rebranded itself in 2001 as a non-violent community support group for those of European descent. Currently, Volksfront officially decries violence, fear tactics and terrorism in its Statement of Activist Values.
In stark contrast to Volksfront stated peaceful values, public records and news articles indicate Volksfront's members continue to be arrested and convicted of crimes including assaulting and harassing a 17 year-old in Vancouver in 2003 and disrupting a religious service by throwing swastika-engraved rocks at a synagogue in Eugene in 2005. Additionally, members of Volksfront were convicted of the 2003 murder of a homeless man in Tacoma.
During the murder trial, prosecutors argued that 19-year-old Kurtis Monschke, alleged leader of a Washington chapter of Volksfront, coordinated the crime to increase his standing among senior Volksfront leaders.
Potential Criminal Hub
The overall climate of Volksfront appears to encourage race-based violence. Scrutiny of the Volksfront International online member discussion forum reveals frequent references to Hitler, the Ku Klux Klan and clear statements supporting violence.
One member, identified only by his screen name, "Angus," includes a link to a personal white supremacy website: www.whitehonor.com, as part of his contact information. The website proudly boasts that it is "For those who finally realized that nothing short of a Violent White Revolution will save our race," and that "The time has come to fight. Our choices are: kill or be killed." The White Honor web page includes how-to sections on firearms, arson and biological terrorism. Even more disturbing than Angus's unbridled violence is the fact that he is far from unique. Numerous Volksfront members provided links in their personal profiles to similarly violent websites.
Volksfront forum rules prohibit posting "any messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-oriented, hateful, threatening, or otherwise violative [sic] of any laws." Yet accusations exist that Volksfront leadership is aware that the forum is chronically used as a criminal communication hub.
Adam (an alias), a confidential source within Volksfront, expressed concerns that the members-only message forum is being used to coordinate violent crimes and drug trafficking. "As bad as what [members] are saying in the forum [is] the real ugliness is what they are able to plan using the personal message system," he stated.
Adam provided what he claimed were message logs between various members coordinating a series of illegal drug deals associated with Volksfront events. The source claimed such message logs are routinely reviewed by Volksfront leadership. "[Volksfront] Divisional representative officers can check any message at any time to find out who is loyal to the cause," he stated. "There is not that much that goes on that the head guys don't know about."
Volksfront staff overseeing the member forum declined to comment. Volksfront's official membership rules prohibit members from consenting to media interviews.
Potentially Non-violent Members
Numerous members and supporters of Volksfront discourage violence, including Heidi her last name is withheld for privacy), a 36-year-old resident of New Orleans. "I don't personally advocate using violence," Heidi explained in an email, "it's usually very counterproductive [to the white supremacy movement]." Heidi does concede in her email that "there are some morons who use the white nationalist movement to give themselves a reason to be thugs, to be violent, to act ignorant."
Heidi views herself as being highly involved with Volksfront and the white-nationalist movement, but Volksfront's bylaws prohibit women from becoming members. Instead, women can serve family and logistical support functions in the Folkish Women Front, a women-only subordinate branch to Volksfront.
Another Portland area Volksfront member responded to a media inquiry via email writing "we do not, nor will we ever support any acts of violence to any other living breathing human on this planet. We believe all people have the right to live and flourish on this world." The member holds that Volksfront is a law-abiding organization. "You cannot actively seek violence or lawbreaking and still remain in good standing with Volksfront," he explained. The member also stated that he "need[s] to remain anonymous for several reasons," that he "can't disclose."
Crisis of Leadership
Volksfront struggles to maintain its public pacifist image while numerous members advocate violence. According to several Volksfront members, the current management lacks the leadership to maintain control of the group's more violent elements—which could potentially result in an increase in violent race-based crimes.
Luke Querner, a well-known anti-white supremacy activist was shot in Portland on March 27th in what a confidential source within Volksfront has described as a retaliatory act by the group. "Just days before [Querner] got shot, there was a lot of talk about making an example of him by powerful members who are handy with a nine millimeter [hand-gun]," Bailey (an alias) stated.
The source was careful to point out that "powerful members" were not the official leadership, but ambition-filled younger members. "The older guys are only interested in sitting around and drinking beer [while] the new recruits [in Volksfront] are starting to step up and lead by example," he stated. The eagerness of new recruits to carry out race-based acts of violence is breaking down the typically rigid authority of Volksfront, according to the source. "I don't think [Volksfront] leaders have any real control of what people are doing anymore," the source stated.
Querner's shooting is still under investigation by the Portland police. Details — including the caliber of firearm used or official suspects — have not been released to the public. Querner lived through the attack and is receiving intensive medical care.
Randy Blazak, a professor of sociology at Portland State University and chair of the Coalition against Hate Crimes, has noticed the lack of a clear overall leader. "There is a vacuum since Randal Krager left the state," Blazak stated in an interview.
Krager, one of the primary founders and the undisputed leader of Volksfront from 1994 to approximately 2004 moved from Oregon to Florida several years ago. Krager allegedly cut all ties to Volksfront. However, according to several Volksfront members, Krager is rumored to still have significant influence in the group.
According to Blazak, since Krager left Oregon, "Volksfront lacks a charismatic leader" able to unite the Volksfront organization. "There are competing factions claiming to be the heir of the Volksfront leadership, some more violent than others," Blazak stated.
Blazak explained that the original members of Volksfront have families now and are less likely to risk jail terms by engaging in criminal conduct. In contrast, the younger recruits are more likely to engage in violent criminal behavior as a means to advance their standing within Volksfront. "The division between the old and new guard is the primary breaking line [for Volksfront's factions]," Blazak stated.
Blazak believes that "Volksfront is at a turning point" with the fate of the organization largely resting on who succeeds as Krager's heir. "The million-dollar question is who will be the new leader," Blasak stated.
Militant Anti-Racism Response
Rose City Antifa (RCA), the Portland chapter of the Anti-Racist Action Network, hosted a panel discussion, "The White Power Movement on the West Coast," on April 24th in downtown Portland to kick-start a community dialogue regarding perceived increases in white-supremacy activity in the area.
The discussion, attended by more than 125 people, largely focused on current white supremacist activity and possible ways to disrupt supremacist organizations. The quasi-militant and aggressive actions of RCA have resulted in criticism directed towards the group in the past, but at least one of the panelists defends RCA's approach.
"This is an old fight [and] historically the ways that were effective [in stopping fascism] were violent," a panelist only identified as Carolyn stated. Carolyn also rejects the theory that race-based hate speech should be considered First Amendment protected free speech. "People's right to feel safe in their community is greater than someone's right to intimidate people," Carolyn stated during the presentation.
RCA operates in nearly as much secrecy as the groups it targets. RCA defends the secrecy as a necessary safety measure. "We can't stand up to [hate groups] if our names and faces [are] known. We'd just get shot," one RCA woman in attendance stated. Two recent attacks on anti-racist activists suggest RCA's caution is warranted.
After the March 27 shooting of Querner, the RCA issued a press release stating "Rose City Antifa believes that the most recent attack was planned and committed by an element within Portland's neo-Nazi underground" and that the "shooting was an intentional message that those standing up for equality are in mortal danger."
According to the Vancouver Sun (a newspaper in Canada's Vancouver), the house of an anti-racist activist was bombed on April 5, just days after an anti-racism rally was held protesting a scheduled white-supremacist rally. No one was seriously hurt and authorities are investigating.
White Supremacist activity in Vancouver, Wash. has not gone unnoticed by the local police. The Vancouver Police Department is "aware of a number of individuals in [Vancouver] who claim to be members of White supremacist and neo-Nazi hate groups," VDP spokesperson Kim Kapp stated.
Vancouver Police tip line is (360) 487-7399; Portland Police non-emergency number is (503) 823-3333. The Coalition Against Hate Crimes holds meetings on the Fourth Monday of each month; its website's address is www.againsthate.pdx.edu and provides further information."
*Let us build a popular community movement against racist organizing in our city! All are welcome and encouraged to join the struggle against racism! There are several groups in PDX that are committed to combating racism in our city. For more information on how to get involved in organizing against local racist, please email one or all of the following groups,
www.againsthate.pdx.edu (this one involves the PPD)
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