White Supremacist Propaganda and Events Soar In 2018

Colorado ranked third in the U.S. with 72 literature drops, three white supremacist events

Denver, CO … White supremacists dramatically stepped up their propaganda efforts targeting neighborhoods and campuses in 2018, far exceeding any previous annual distribution count for the United States. Colorado ranked third in the U.S., behind California and Texas, for the highest number of propaganda distributions.

            Newly released data from ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) shows white supremacists’ propaganda efforts increased 182 percent, with 1,187 distributions across the U.S. in 2018, up from 421 total incidents reported in 2017. ADL tracked at least 72 propaganda distributions in Colorado in 2018, including distributions on 13 college campuses across the state. There were at least 16 propaganda distributions in Wyoming, according to the report. There were no reported incidents in New Mexico in 2018.

            “Posting fliers is a tried-and-true tactic for hate groups that allows them to spread hateful ideas and stoke fear and alarm in a community,” said ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott Levin. “The increased activity of white supremacists in the region is alarming and disturbing as their hateful messages are often weaponized to target particular groups of people on college campuses and in our community.”

The number of racist rallies and demonstrations also rose nationwide last year, although on a more modest scale. At least 91 white supremacist rallies or other public events attended by white supremacists were held in 2018, up from 76 the previous year, with hate groups increasingly employing “flash mob” tactics to avoid advance publicity and scrutiny. ADL monitored three events in Colorado, including a gathering of more than 35 individuals associated with Identity Evropa on Nov. 10, 2018 at Eldorado Canyon State Park and again on Nov. 11, 2018 in Denver’s Civic Center Park behind a banner stating, “Defend the Rockies/End Immigration.”

            ADL’s Center on Extremism has gathered the 2018 data on ADL’s H.E.A.T. Map, an interactive online tool that allows users to geographically chart white supremacist incidents and events nationally and regionally. The propaganda included everything from veiled white supremacist language to explicitly racist images and words, often featured a recruitment element, and frequently targeted minority groups, including Jews, Blacks, Muslims, immigrants and the LGBTQ community.

            Some of key trends observed by ADL in 2018:

  • The number of non-campus community propaganda efforts skyrocketed to 868 in 2018, up from 129 incidents in 2017. Alt right groups were responsible for the majority of these efforts. Patriot Front led the way with 324 literature distributions, while 312 incidents were linked toIdentity EvropaDaily Stormer followers were responsible for 34. 
  • ADL recorded 319 incidents of white supremacist propaganda appearing on 212 college and university campuses in 37 states and in Washington, D.C. This was up from 292 campus incidents in 2017. Identity Evropa and Patriot Front were responsible for the bulk of campus incidents.
  • The 2018 propaganda incidents were predominantly concentrated in large metropolitan areas, with the highest activity levels in California, Texas, Colorado, New York, Illinois, Florida and Virginia. But numerous smaller communities were targeted, too.
  • Flash demonstrations – unannounced, quickly disbanded gatherings – proved a viable alternative to pre-announced events for the two most active alt right groups. Identity Evropa and Patriot Front held more than 30 flash demonstrations last year. These groups were also responsible for the two largest white supremacist flash demonstrations in 2018, held in Nashville and Washington, D.C.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate. ADL’s Mountain States Region covers Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. More at https://mountainstates.adl.org/.

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