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In June 2023, a Neo-Nazi group called Southern Oregon Nationalists announced their presence to the world by creating a new Telegram account. On July 3rd, they posted a picture of themselves—three white men wearing sunglasses with bandanas partially covering their faces.
“Mustering our brothers in Bend, Roseburg, Klamath Falls, Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass and Coos Bay,” read the Telegram post.
The group, though fracturing due to in-fighting, appears to be still active. Rabbi David Zaslow of Ashland, Oregon’s Havura Shir Hadash recently reported community members found antisemitic flyers linking to Southern Oregon Nationalists.
Southern Oregon Nationalists (SON) is an “active club” (AC), a decentralized and increasingly popular type of white supremacist group. The antifascists at Stumptown Research Collective describe as ACs as “fascist fight clubs,” and Southern Oregon Nationalists are no exception.
In their post about a Washington state AC called the Evergreen Active Club, Stumptown Research Collective writes that ACs “promote everything from bigotry to white ethnonationalism through ‘activisms,’ most of which include stickering, graffiti, banner drops, book / flag burning and posturing in skull masks at far-right rallies. They then take footage from their ‘activisms’ and combine them with clips of members engaging in exercise and training, creating hyper-stylized videos in an attempt to recruit disaffected, young white men.”
A review of the Southern Oregon Nationalists’ Telegram and X (formerly Twitter) accounts shows that the group has placed its propaganda in dozens of locations in towns ranging from Ashland to Brookings and Coos Bay. Photos depict a group totaling three to four men, who presumably travel throughout Southwestern Oregon together. Their imagery includes large spraypaint murals dedicated to “White Revolution” and “White Lives Matter,” and wheatpasted posters of Neo-Nazi author William Pierce. (Pierce was the author of The Turner Diaries, the race war fantasy novel that inspired Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.) In another post, SON is seen “training” – doing pushups and sparring – at a baseball field in Grants Pass. A video cross-posted by White Lives Matter California on X shows members of SON practicing knife fighting, placing white supremacist stickers around downtown Medford, and distributing white supremacist materials at the annual Boatnik event in Grants Pass.
With the international focus on Palestine and Israel this fall, Neo-Nazi groups around the country have attempted – unsuccessfully – to infiltrate pro-Palestinian rallies. SON’s current propaganda is focused on anti-Semitic wheatpaste and graffiti; a post from the group on X shows posters with messages like “It’s the Jews Against You” and “End Jewish Terror.” The accompanying post describes Middle Easterners as “sand people,” making it clear that these Neo-Nazis do not value Palestinian lives either.
Despite their decentralized cell structure, many active clubs use the same Celtic cross logo as part of an attempt to present themselves a strong, unified movement. But in reality these fascists have been unable to build alliances even with other Neo-Nazis.
In early 2023, a group of Pacific Northwest active clubs created a regional coalition called the Northwest Nationalist Network (3N). At one point, 3N included Evergreen Active Club, Rose City Nationalists, Asatru Folk Assembly and White Lives Matter organizers, but by the summer of 2023, the network was already breaking up.
Reading the reports of 3N in-fighting is like watching a soap opera.
“3N seems to be falling apart faster than its members can be exposed,” wrote antifascist researchers at Fash Free Northwest last July.
Hiding behind skulls masks and online pseudonyms, active clubs try to stay anonymous – but they aren’t very good at that either. While antifascist researchers were successfully identifying large portions of the 3N membership last summer, 3N turned on the Rose City Nationalists and kicked them out of the coalition for the second and final time. That same month, Rose City Nationalists were humiliated at a Pride event in Oregon City when the Proud Boys brawled with the group. The Proud Boys even tried to de-mask the Neo-Nazis, which ignited a nation-wide Internet flame war between active clubs and Proud Boys – and SON chimed in on X with their mural comparing the Proud Boys to antifa.
Following the 3N breakup, Southern Oregon Nationalists aligned themselves with the losing faction: Rose City Nationalists, the Portland-based active club founded by convicted child abuser Casey James Knuteson. In August 2023, SON invited Rose City Nationalists and Patriot Front down to Southern Oregon.
“Activists networked, climbed Mount Thielson, enjoyed the natural beauty of the Mount Thielson Wilderness, Crater Lake National Park and more,” the Neo-Nazis posted on Telegram.
Since 2020, Patriot Front has maintained an on-and-off-again presence in Southern Oregon. Following months of their propaganda being removed, defaced, and covered by antifascistsLCRW reported that the local Patriot Front chapter was inactive as of February 2023. But this later this year, SON began posting Patriot Front propaganda on their Telegram, and Pacific Northwest antifascists suspect that SON is actually just a front group for Patriot Front.
This is bad news for Neo-Nazis, because the Southern Oregon members of Patriot Front are not the cream of the crop. After being identified by Rose City Antifa in January 2022, Richard Flannery lost his job working a grocery store in Ashland, Oregon. Lawrence Alexander Norman, who was last known to live in Prospect, was identified by Corvallis Antifa in December 2021. Norman is suspected to be involved in SON currently.
Norman was partially responsible for one of Patriot Front’s most humiliating moments, when 31 members of the group were arrested, unmasked and zip-tied by Idaho police on their way to disrupt a pride event in Coeur d’Alene. Antifascist activist Chad Loder reported that the vehicle transporting the patriot failures was a U-Haul rented in Norman’s name. The Coeur d’Alene arrests even prompted another round of far-right in-fighting when The Gateway Pundit echoed a Joe Rogan-backed conspiracy theory that Patriot Front is actually run by the FBI. A judge recently dismissed conspiracy to riot charges for Patriot Front’s leader for the incident, though prosecution is appealing the decision.
Although not formally associated with Southern Oregon Nationalists – at least to LCRW’s knowledge – it is worth noting that Central Point Neo-Nazi Anthony “Tony” Allen is also involved in the Northwest active club scene. After brutally attacking a random Black man in 2006, Allen served ten years for attempted murder and hate crime charges.
As detailed by Stumptown Research Collective, Allen recently collaborated with the Evergreen Active Club to organize white supremacist events and meetings in Washington state. At the Medford Pear Blossom Festival in April 2023, Allen accosted members of the LGBTQ+/reproductive rights group the Rogue Valley Pepper Shakers.
“Say cheese [f-slur],” said Allen as he photographed members of the Pepper Shakers with his camera.
Overall, current active clubs want to distances themselves from the ultra-violent, drug-heavy Nazi bonehead street gangs of the eighties and nineties, but this is at odds with the reality of the movement. In the Pacific Northwest, Evergreen Active Club is inextricably linked to the Hammerskin Nation—exactly the type of white supremacist street gang active clubs pretend not to be.
“Evergreen obviously has deep ties to the Hammerskin Nation and it’s likely that recruitment goes both ways,” wrote Stumptown Research Collective.
In Canada, active clubs serve as front groups to recruit for the Hammerskin Nation. Hammerskin leaders, wrote the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, “are chiefly responsible for organizing the first Active Club in the Greater Toronto Area, with other Hammerskin members and affiliates forming similar chapters across the country.”
In contrast, active clubs like Southern Oregon Nationalists are closely aligned with Patriot Front. A researcher at Corvallis Antifa told LCRW that Patriot Front members typically hate white supremacists they perceive to be “low class” like Anthony Allen and the Hammerskins.
This unresolvable contradiction between active club “branding” and bonehead membership was the catalyst for yet another round of melodramatic in-fighting earlier this summer. Patriot Front and ACs like Southern Oregon Nationalist are anti-drug, but Evergreen Active Club was caught illegally trafficking steroids after another disgruntled active club member outed them.
“Those OG skinheads [the Hammerskins] have always been involved in drugs,” an antifascist researcher with Fash Free Northwest told VICE News. “I’d guess that other [active clubs] are also trafficking steroids…They certainly use them.”
Given the Neo-Nazis penchant for in-fighting, there is always a chance that Southern Oregon Nationalists will fall apart as quickly as they appeared. Local antifascists, however, aren’t just waiting around for the group to disappear. Many of the Nazis’ posters have been removed or covered by antifascists, and an email account called firstname.lastname@example.org is welcoming anonymous tips about the identities, activities and whereabouts of the Southern Oregon Nationalists–and whatever groups their members try to form next.
Special thanks to Corvallis Antifa for contributing to the research and analysis found in this article.