Little Führers Everywhere

Vegas Tenhold spent six years covering the disorganized chaos of hate groups, and watched as they began to gather around a few media savvy voices.

Vegas TenoldEverything You Love Will Burn | Nation Books | February 2018 | 20 minutes (5,442 words)

The first time I met Matthew Heimbach was in 2011, shortly after my trip to New Jersey with the National Socialist Moment. Our meeting was completely coincidental, and we would both forget about it for several years until we met again. That summer I found myself in the woods of northern North Carolina at the invitation of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. My experience with the NSM had resulted in more questions than answers, and I figured that if I wanted to understand the white supremacist movement in America, I might as well start with the “Original Boys in the Hood,” as one of their more popular t-shirts stated.

It took some driving around to find the location of the Loyal White Knights rally. This was another thing that had changed over the years. There was a time, only a few decades ago, when Klan rallies were, if not announced and attended by the public, certainly tolerated enough to be held in the open. In 2011, even in North Carolina, they had been relegated to the backwoods, as far from people as they were from relevance. At the turn-off to a narrow dirt road stood a decrepit old tractor that someone had taken the time to drape in a Confederate flag. It seemed like a clue, so I took a chance and turned left into the woods.

The Knights were a small group, and their leader, Chris Barker, was generally regarded as a joke in the movement. Short and rotund with a chubby face adorned with a donut beard, he had a reputation for drinking and accepting into his group pretty much anyone with a white face and the wherewithal to buy a robe. There were also rumors, which would later be confirmed, that he was a federal informant. With a rap sheet littered with DUIs and arrests for violence, the FBI recruited Barker to provide evidence against an associate of his who was attempting to raise funds to build a homemade ray gun that he intended to use to kill Muslims and Barack Obama.

Barker’s behavior was enough to get him kicked out of at least one Klan group and prompted Billy Snuffer, Grand Wizard of the Rebel Brigade, to say that Barker gave the Klan a black eye. Despite all this — or perhaps because of it — Barker seemed happy to invite me and promised there would be some interesting people there and that it would really give me a feel for the sanctity and fellowship that is the KKK. “You’ll see that we’re far from a hate group,” he told me on the phone. “We’re just good Christians who like the company of other Christians.”

I had no idea what to expect from my first Klan rally but was nevertheless slightly disappointed as the thing seemed to be little more than a handful of guys drinking warm beer in a field. Some were bikers, others just regular folks nursing Bud Lites and making small talk in the drizzle. At one point Barker was struggling to thread his arms into a dark green robe, and for a few seconds he stumbled around the field looking like one of those inflatable advertising signs that flap their arms wildly outside car dealerships.

Some skinheads from Blood & Honor America, a semiofficial affiliate of the legendary British white power music label Blood & Honour, suddenly tore into the field in a pickup, and Matthew Heimbach was among them. At the time he was running the White Student Union, a white-pride organization that patrolled the Towson University campus in Maryland to protect students from a perceived — and entirely nonexistent — wave of black-on-white crime. He’d made some local headlines, but outside of the readership of the local student newspaper, few people had ever heard of the WSU, even within the white nationalist movement. With him were his friends Brian Scorch, of the midlevel white power band Empire Falls, and Jon Pressley, who claimed to be involved with Blood & Honor.

The Klan looked worried that their event was about to be commandeered by godless Nazis. Ever since the skinheads came on the scene in the early 1980s there has been little love lost between them and the KKK, so that night the Klan kept to themselves under a tarp they had erected between a clutch of trees and tut-tutted about the skinheads.

“Our relationship with the skins is not the best,” Christian Petrie, a scrawny Klansman in his 20s said to me. “I guess you could argue that we share the same goal, but we do things differently.” In his own euphemistical way, Christian was telling me that the Klan regarded the skinheads as mindless thugs whose only redeeming quality was that they were pro-white. The skinheads mostly regarded the Klan as hopelessly outdated sticks-in-the-mud who dressed up in silly costumes and didn’t drink.

Matthew, I would soon learn, didn’t quite fit in either camp. He was a pragmatist and, if such a thing exists on the far right, a realist. He understood that the in-your-face violence of the skinheads was unlikely to win them any new friends and that the stigma of the Klan ensured that they would never reenter politics. Matthew wanted a modern movement, and over the next two years he worked tirelessly to grow the White Student Union to several campuses throughout the country, manned by students who worried that white people were being preyed upon by marauding blacks or nefarious Muslims.

I was still chasing down various skinhead and Klan outfits around the country, but I would sometimes hear talk about Matthew and his WSU. By 2012 or 2013 he had become someone to watch on the American far right. Press stories made him out as some kind of sympathetic monster, an image he seemed to relish, guffawing as reporters confronted him with various hateful things he’d said in the past, as if it was all some kind of misunderstanding taken out of context. From what people in the movement were telling me, he wasn’t a neo-Nazi, but he had secured a kind of grudging respect from white nationalists of all flavors as a smart kid on the rise and a new voice on the scene. The neo-Nazis liked him because he wasn’t afraid of marching in the streets, the bloggers liked him because he had a good head on his shoulders and seemed to have a strategy to lift the movement out of the slump it had been in, and the media loved him because he was relatively charming yet unafraid to say wildly offensive things in a disturbingly casual and friendly manner.

I started emailing with Matthew in the summer of 2014, and eventually he told me that he’d be speaking at the annual Stormfront conference in Knoxville that October and that I could meet him there.

Stormfront was the first real online forum for white supremacy, and its founder, Don Black, a former Klansman turned national socialist, was for a long time one of the most influential white nationalists in the country. However, since Stormfront’s inception in 1995, the internet had become a busier place, including far-right forums and social media, which cannibalized Stormfront’s monopoly on white nationalist chatter. According to a study done by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, the number of white nationalists on Twitter went up by 600 percent between 2012 and 2016. As a result, Black had seen his influence as the gatekeeper to the far right’s preeminent message board wane. I reached out to Black and asked if I could come to the conference, but citing extreme danger of infiltration and espionage— much like Duke Schneider and the NSM had three years earlier—I would have to make do with attending the reception at the hotel following the actual conference.

As it turned out, by “reception” Black had meant taking advantage of the Country Inn & Suites in Knoxville’s policy on free cookies in the lobby, and by the time I showed up, the nationalists had devoured all of them. They were excited to see I had brought beers because they themselves didn’t have any.

The Klan regarded the skinheads as mindless thugs whose only redeeming quality was that they were pro-white. The skinheads regarded the Klan as hopelessly outdated sticks-in-the-mud who dressed up in silly costumes and didn’t drink.

Don Black, faded with age, was hunched over a cane in the corner, while David Duke, former Klan leader and former state representative for Louisiana’s 81st district, looking resplendent and vital in a way that only plastic surgery can achieve, was milling around, shaking hands. Matthew was sharing a table with a retired merchant marine with white hair and a Karl Malden nose as well as a younger guy with stringy hair and a whiskery, rodent-like mustache.

“Imagine the scene from the Star Wars movie, where the Death Star is scanning the continent of Africa, telling the computer to kill everything but the animals,” the merchant marine said, revealing a tenuous grasp of the plot of George Lucas’s movie. “If you did that, you would instantly kill all the niggers on the continent and I guaran-fucking-tee you that it would become a pretty nice place to be.”

He was big and powerfully built with a pock-marked face that glowed pink around the cheeks and a big paunch that peeked through the straining buttons of his shirt. He had been part of   the national socialist movement in America since the 1960s and a close associate of George Lincoln Rockwell, the leader of the American Nazi Party. He had even been the driver of Rockwell’s “Hate Bus,” a Volkswagen bus that Rockwell had decorated with swastikas and slogans that they used to hound the freedom riders throughout the South.

“That’s the only solution to this nigger problem,” he continued with the air of a man who had tried many different solutions with no luck and now, almost reluctantly, found himself at the end of his rope. “Yep, we have to kill them all.”

Matthew had been mostly ignoring him, talking with the rodent man who turned out to be a Slovakian called Remy who had a penchant for tying every problem in the world to the genetic inferiority of anyone not Aryan.

“Wait a minute — can you say that again?” Matthew said to the merchant marine, suddenly paying attention.

“All I was saying is that an inferior race such as the blacks doesn’t deserve to live,” he repeated. “They can’t have nice things, and so they have got to go.”

“What do you mean ‘inferior race’?” Matthew asked. “There’s no such thing as an inferior race. We’re all the same, only different. No race has more of a right to live and prosper than another.”

The man looked stricken.  “Nonsense,” he said.  “Look at the things these niggers do. There’s no way to help them.”

“Even if you were right and they are an inferior race — which I don’t believe they are — they would still have the right to be happy,” Matthew continued. “They still have the right to exist.”

“Bah,” he said. “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”

Matthew wasn’t invited back to Stormfront.

* * *

Nine months later, on a sweltering mid-July day in 2015, Matthew and I were driving east from his home in Cincinnati, toward Kentucky, where his friend Tom Pierce was hosting a flag rally in support of the Confederate flag. The floor of the passenger side of Matthew’s car had a puddle in it; water had been seeping in from a broken condenser that Matthew had neither the time nor the money to fix. The towel that Brooke, Matthew’s wife, had placed there was soaked through, slowly sloshing from side to side as it relentlessly filled up. “Sorry about your shoes,” Matthew said. “I’ve been meaning to get it fixed, but there hasn’t been time lately with all the traveling.”

The neo-Nazis liked Matthew because he wasn’t afraid of marching in the streets, the bloggers liked him because he seemed to have a strategy, and the media loved him because he was relatively charming yet unafraid to say wildly offensive things.

Matthew’s car, affectionately nicknamed Serenity after the spaceship in the TV show Firefly, made its way down a two-lane highway on the outskirts of Knoxville, Tennessee. In the last year, Serenity had crisscrossed the country several times, taking Matthew from his home in Cincinnati to pretty much every state. “You got to take your message on the road if you want people to hear it,” he said. He had disbanded the White Student Union and replaced it with his new party, the Traditionalist Workers Party, and was in the middle of a project of expansion, talking to as many groups and people as he could to invite them into the fold. He’d spoken to skinhead crews from Pennsylvania to California, representatives of the Greek party Golden Dawn in Queens, League of the South in Florida, and various unaffiliated nationalists across the country, all in an effort to convince them that his brand of nationalism would carry the movement into the future.

Matthew’s star was rising on the far right. He’d even gotten his very own profile in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, where they nicknamed him “The Little Führer,” a moniker his fans had affectionately appropriated. “That ‘Little Führer’ stuff is just nonsense,” Matthew said. “Funny though. I also enjoyed being called ‘the new face of organized hate.’ That was a good one. I mean, look at me—does this look like the face of organized hate? If they want to call me the new face of hate, then God bless them, but, I mean, it’s clearly ridiculous. C’mon.” Matthew saw himself as neither hateful nor racist, and he claimed he’d been trying to convince others on the far right that they would never get anywhere by walking around calling other races inferior. Their beef, according to Matthew, was not with a race of people but with a system that had marginalized and decimated white workers for years. Using racist epithets wasn’t going to make anything better, and waving a swastika around wasn’t going to get you the kind of supporters you wanted. Even the merchant marine from Stormfront had recently been convinced by Matthew’s logic and expressed interest in joining the TWP. Matthew felt he was picking up steam.

Serenity drove past endless strip malls, most of them shuttered and boarded up. Shopping trollies lingered on desolate parking lots, and graffiti covered much of the plywood that barricaded the empty storefronts. The only businesses that were open were pawn stores and payday loan peddlers that seemed to occupy every other storefront.  This is what I’m talking about,” Matthew said as we rolled past a store offering quick cash, no credit needed. “This part of the country is mainly poor and white, and it’s being crushed. The blacks have the NAACP and the browns have La Raza, but what does the poor, white man have? Nothing. These are towns with no internet, terrible phone connection, and the EPA has shut down all the mines. I don’t care if people call me a racist or a bigot — I’m going to speak for these people. We have to help ourselves because no one else will. Nobody ever helped a hick but a hick himself.”

The way Matthew saw it, diversity was the problem. It wasn’t that there was anything inherently wrong with African Americans, Asians, Latinos, or even whites; it was just that they didn’t get along. Multiculturalism and modernity were creating a society where no one felt at home, no one had each other’s back, and no one thrived. And it wasn’t just a race thing either. The way society was set up, it was pitting conflicting values against each other, forcing people to live in a culture of moral relativism and imposed principles. The United States was a country where millions of ethnicities, religions, cultures, and value systems had been thrown together and told to place nice, even though they had nothing in common.

To Matthew, one of the great American tragedies was that the South had lost the Civil War. Not because he was a fan of slavery — he wasn’t — but because it had forced the South to remain in a disastrous marriage with the North when an amicable divorce would be better for everyone. Recently he had joined the League of the South, a southern secessionist group who refused to refer to the Civil War as anything but the War of Northern Aggression. “Why shouldn’t the South be allowed to secede?” he said. “It doesn’t have to be antagonistic. We would be better off and so would the North. If San Francisco wants to have gay and transgender weddings, that’s fine, just leave my family and my community out of it. All I’m talking about is self-determination. We have different views from the North, and I don’t understand why that is a bad thing.”

Matthew had given me his pitch about compassionate nationalism before. As he made clear, he wasn’t advocating for sending African Americans back to Africa, interning Jews, or deporting Mexicans—which was common thinking among most groups I spoke to. He was fond of explaining how the white race wasn’t smarter than other races—“Heck, it might even be dumber than most”—but that it was his race, and even if the whites were the dumbest people on the planet, they were still his people and he loved them.

“Why is Teach for America sending white, liberal teachers to educate kids in Detroit?” Matthew asked. “It’s the White Savior complex. Black kids in Detroit should have strong, black role models from Detroit that understand them. Black communities should be policed by a black police force and have black judges. The black community doesn’t need us to speak for them and stand up for them. They can stand up for themselves.”

Unlike Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and white power militias, Matthew didn’t envision an inevitable race war where the land would finally be purged of anyone deemed nonwhite; rather, he saw an amicable division of assets. He and his wife lived in a predominantly black neighborhood on the outskirts of Cincinnati, a city 45 percent black. If he had it his way, he and his fellow whites would cede Cincinnati to the city’s black residents and go their merry way to build an enclave somewhere whiter. “Stop the hate, separate,” Matthew would say, in his eyes solving a problem that had been bedeviling politicians and activists for decades simply by making it rhyme.

The way Matthew saw it, diversity was the problem. It wasn’t that there was anything inherently wrong with African Americans, Asians, Latinos, or even whites; it was just that they didn’t get along.

Yet plainly his vision created more questions than it answered. His utopia consisted of culturally homogenous enclaves of like-minded people of similar ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Who would create these enclaves, settle disputes during their creation—not all of Matthew’s neighbors might be as enthusiastic about leaving Cincinnati as he was—and decide by which criteria people would get together? How would the country be divided? How do you reverse engineer a global society back into a tribal state? And perhaps the most pressing problem: not everyone wants to live in a society surrounded only by people exactly like them.

These were all questions for another day, however. For now, Matthew was happy spreading the message of nationalism, setting up new chapters of his party throughout America, and nurturing awareness about pride in one’s race. He would work with Nazis, Klansmen, skinheads — whatever it took to get the job done — and according to him, people were beginning to come around. “Membership is growing,” he said. “Other groups want to get involved. Like Tom’s guys, for instance. They’re good people who want to help.”

Tom Pierce and his guys were members of a white nationalist group called the 10 Milers, which meant that no member lived more than ten miles from another. Matthew liked this concept because it encouraged local activism and care for the community. Tom had invited Matthew down to speak at a protest his group was putting together against banning the Confederate flag. “You’ll like Tom,” Matthew had said as we drove up to his house. “He’s a good ol’ boy.”

Tom and a friend were sitting in a white pickup truck parked in the driveway.  As Serenity pulled up, Tom gave a whoop and waved a black cap out the window. He had the mannerisms of an actor who had been told to play the archetypical redneck, and he did so with relish, slapping his thigh, yipping, and hollering at even the slightest encouragement. His friend stayed behind in the car drinking a soda as Tom jumped out and bounced across the lawn to greet us. “Did you find us okay?” he asked. “If you got lost, you should have asked for White Power.” He pointed toward the pickup truck. The words “White Power” were painted on the back. He had also fastened a couple of Confederate flags on the tailgate. “Yessir. Everybody around here knows White Power.” He whooped again and did a little jump. “So do you know what you’re going to say at this thing, Heimbach?”

“I figure I’ll just do what I always do. Cross my heart, say a prayer, and wait for whatever comes out.”

That amused Tom to no end. “Well, I’ll tell ya. It’ll be a good crowd tonight. We got good people here.”

The plan was to meet at a rallying point on a Kroger’s parking lot, then drive into Knoxville and wave some Confederate flags at everyone. It was pretty much a carbon copy of the last protest Matthew and tom had staged, where they met at a Kroger’s and drove through Knoxville protesting gay marriage. “Lot of gays in Knoxville,” Tom said sadly. “Didn’t use to be.”

Soon Serenity was trailing White Power into town. To get us in the mood, Matthew put “Dixie” on the stereo and sang along. I told him that I liked Elvis’s version on An American Trilogy, and Matthew responded that he hated that version because it included “the Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which was a Civil War Northern song that disgusted him. Since the Civil War, he went on, it had been humiliation after humiliation for the South, and this recent move to ban the flag was the latest one. “It’s a war on us,” he said as “Dixie” was winding down. “It’s a war on the South, a war on white working men and women, and a war on our values.” He handed me a Red Vine and took one for himself.

I was having a hard time seeing the war he was talking about. “I think the whole notion of the white race being under siege has me a little confused,” I said.

“Well, all one has to do is walk into Appalachia,” Matthew said. “You’ll see the poorest areas of the country where there are no relief programs, no advocates, and a cycle of poverty that is soul crushing. Whether it’s teen pregnancy, drug abuse, or suicide, they are epidemics in majority white communities. These people need advocates.”

In the parking lot, Tom raced around handing out flyers that described the federal government’s illegal and aggressive takeover of southern life. More a manifesto than a flyer, the full page of text explained how banning the flag was the latest in a long line of incursions designed to demolish southern pride, culture, and way of life. It blamed the government for economic policies that had crippled the South ever since the Civil War — a war, the flyer claimed, not fought over freeing the slaves but rather the crushing tariffs the north had supposedly leveled against the South.

“Why do the North hate you guys so much?” I asked, after reading the flyer.

“Well, shit,” Tom said. “If you don’t know that, you don’t know much. Look at how the Feds are trying to blame our flag for this one jackass shooting everybody.” A couple of days earlier avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof had walked into a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and killed nine people. In several pictures Roof had posted online he posed with the Confederate flag. The massacre had prompted a national discussion about whether the Confederate flag was a symbol of hate. “They’re using it as an excuse to attack our history. They call us racists so it becomes easier to hate us. Now, they want to force all this homosexual marrying and all this other nonsense on us, and we don’t like it. The South was the  last Christian nation to go to war over faith and principles, and that’s what the flag means. Calling it racist is nonsense.”

Tom hadn’t been an activist for long but had started printing flyers and organizing rallies when he noticed that people in his community were becoming more vocal about the government telling them what to think and say.  The level of anger he saw surprised even him.  In the movement of pissed-off southerners, a guy driving a car called White Power discovered that he was a moderate.

“I always used to be the radical in any conversation. Now I’m a moderate, man. I got people around me talking about rising up, and I’m thinking ‘Holy shit, these people are p’d off, man.’ People around me are, like, ‘Charge!’ and there I am saying, ‘Now wait a minute here, we can still do this without wrecking the Union.’”

The grievances voiced by Tom and others in the movement ranged from the petty to the downright paranoid. “Listen,” said Tom, talking to a guy who was sitting in a folding chair next to his American flag-decorated F150. “I heard that the government puts some sort of chemical in our meat that makes men more feminine. Now I don’t necessarily believe that, but you have to wonder sometimes.”

“Yeah, I heard that too,” his buddy said. “They put some kind of stuff in there. I think it’s true.”

“It’s soy,” said Matthew. “Soy increases your estrogen, and the packaged stuff you get at Walmart usually has high levels of soy in it, so no wonder men aren’t acting like men anymore when we’re pumping estrogen into ourselves. That’s science.”

“Now hold on there,” said Tom. “I’m eating the same stuff everyone else does, and I ain’t feminine. Maybe it’s when you get saved or something it washes all that dadgum feminine soy out of your system.”

“Amen,” said Matthew.

Someone handed Matthew a bullhorn, and he climbed onto the back of a pickup and began his speech. If Matthew makes a weird sort of sense one on one, he uses a different tack when addressing a crowd, either because he realizes that a crowd won’t get on its feet from pragmatism alone or because he feels freer to call it like he sees it in front of a friendly crowd.

“We the southerners are a people,” he said. “No matter what Obama says or the federal government says, we are a people. And this flag is our symbol. We southerners are facing an attack, more than we’ve faced one since 1865. We need to stand against the federal government that hates everything about us. They hate our families, they hate our folk and our nation. They even hate our God.”

The crowd cheered every time he mentioned the South and booed every time he mentioned the government or Obama. Matthew kept going, tossing them pounds and pounds of red meat. He spoke about how Planned Parenthood (“boo!”) was gleefully chopping up and selling live fetuses with the blessing and protection of the government, and he talked about how the Civil War was fought because the South wanted a just and righteous government.

“And don’t be fooled into thinking that the Republicans don’t hate you too. I’d rather have an enemy that looks me square in the eye and tells me that he hates me instead of one that will smile in my face and then stab me in the back. We need to understand that both parties hate us.”

He warned the crowd that the government would steal their children’s futures, reducing them to aliens in a country their forefathers had built, where their culture wasn’t respected and their language not even spoken.

“And when you go home to your families tonight, remember that we are under attack on every front. If the Republicans and Democrats won’t represent us, then we have to stand up for ourselves as southerners. The system hates us and everything about us. If you think your children deserve better, brothers and sisters, then it is time to raise our battle flag. Not for tradition but for the future. We need a free, independent southland. And remember: If at first you don’t secede, try and try again.”

“Hot damn, that guy can talk,” someone said after his speech. Matthew was pretty pleased too. He’d touched on all his major issues: the government’s hatred of the south, economic destruction of the homeland, and the importance of family and folk in a confusing and frightening world.

‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Republicans don’t hate you too. We need to understand that both parties hate us’

After the speech everyone piled into their cars and onto their motorcycles and rode the ten or so miles into Knoxville center, honking and hooting as they went. “This feels amazing,” Matthew said as he drove. “Can you feel the change here? People are coming to. America is changing. They can call us racist, but the fact is that there are hundreds of people here celebrating their heritage. Who cares what they call us.”

Matthew’s friend Scott Hess was in the back, clutching a flag pole as he waved a Confederate flag out the window of the moving car. A sudden gust of wind tore it from his hands and sent it fluttering up in the hot July air before coming to rest on the shoulder of the highway.

Matthew was livid. “Gosh darnit, you dropped it, Scott? Seriously?”

“Well, I’m sorry,” Scott protested. “We were going really fast, and it was hard to hold on. The pole was digging into my fingers.”

“I can’t believe we lost the Battle Flag out the window during a flag rally,” Matthew said. “I’m going to pull over and you’re going to run as fast as you can to get it.”

He slammed the brakes and turned onto the grassy shoulder. Scott, short and round, with strawberry blond hair that framed a plump and red-cheeked face, jumped out of the car and waddled as fast as he could against traffic toward where the flag had alighted. Matthew watched as he ran in the rearview mirror. He put his hand on his face and groaned.

“Sometimes what we do is embarrassing.”

Through the rear window we watched as Scott, dodging traffic as best he could, grabbed the flag from the ground and shook it off before waving happily at us. He shouted something inaudible before starting back for the car.

“I said I got it,” he said as he fell into the backseat a few seconds later, out of breath and cherry red. “I think I twisted my ankle.”

“Let’s just hope nobody saw us drop the flag,” Matthew said as he tore back onto the highway.

The parade ended outside a Walmart, where Matthew suggested they all take a group photo to show their displeasure at Walmart deciding to remove the Confederate flag from all their merchandise.

“Since there are so many people here and so many flags,” Matthew said. “Why don’t you join me in a couple of verses of ‘Dixie’?”

Matthew was about the only one there who knew the words, but the crowd hummed enthusiastically.

“It’s exactly like Matt said,” Pierce told me as the crowd sang. “Our whole Western civilization is going down the shitter, and us white folks have to stand up for once. I’ve traveled the world and seen the destruction. Appalachia is the last bastion of Christian civilization, but unless we fight, we will lose it all.”

Matthew, who by his own admission couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, veered in and out of the song. How it sounded wasn’t important; being there as southerners, coming together as groups was. To him this event was proof that it wasn’t a shared hatred toward other races that brought them together but rather a shared love of tribe. Everyone there was a brother or a sister, and Matthew realized that perhaps this was the key to bringing the far right together to celebrate what bound them as well as to fight those who would keep them down. If others wanted to call him a Nazi or the Little Führer, then that was on them. Matthew didn’t have time to care. He was going to build something special.

* * *

From Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America by Vegas Tenold. Copyright © 2018 Nation Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.