A new report published last week by the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism found that an “all-time high” number of “white supremacist propaganda” incidents occurred in the United States in 2022, eclipsing the previous year’s record total of 4,876 by nearly 2,000.
“Our data shows,” the ADL wrote, “a 38 percent increase in incidents from the previous year, with a total of 6,751 … the highest number of white supremacist propaganda incidents ADL has ever recorded.”
In addition to an increase in white supremacist incidents, the ADL recorded a more than doubling of “antisemitic propaganda” incidents, rising from 352 in 2021 to 852 in 2022. These included banner drops on roadways, in-person demonstrations, leafleting neighborhoods and projecting images on buildings and stadiums.
The ADL found that propaganda efforts were undertaken in every US state except Hawaii, with the most active states being Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Utah, Florida, Connecticut and Georgia. These propaganda efforts were organized by “at least 50 different white supremacist groups” according to the ADL. However, “three of them—Patriot Front, Goyim Defense League (GDL) and White Lives Matter (WLM)—were responsible for 93 percent of the activity.”
White supremacist “events” such as demonstrations at state capitols, parades and local businesses, organized by WLM, GDL, Patriot Front, the Proud Boys and others increased by 55 percent last year, from 108 in 2021 to 167 in 2022.
The only area where ADL recorded a decrease in fascist activity was on school campuses, where the ADL found 219 incidents of white supremacist propaganda in 2022, a slight 6 percent decrease from 2021. Fascist propaganda, overwhelmingly distributed by Patriot Front (74 percent of all incidents), was discovered on campuses in 39 different states, led by Texas, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan.
This is the second report released by the ADL in the last month that has documented an historic rise in far-right agitation and violence in the US.
Last month, the ADL reported that every single “extremist” mass killing in 2022 was linked to far-right ideology. Notably, the ADL did not mention that every mass killing linked to in their report was directly inspired by Republican Party politicians and their sycophants in right-wing media. This is also the case in the March report, which likewise does not mention Trump or the role of the Republican Party in cultivating these right-wing and openly fascist elements.
While the Republicans, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, have advanced some 420 pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation so far in 2023, violent Republican rhetoric is translating into threats of real-world fascist terrorist violence.
Last week, less than a week after a heavily armed fascist was arrested after threatening to kill “anyone that is Jewish” in the Michigan government, another Michigan man, Randall Robert Berka II, was arrested on charges of unlawfully owning guns after he threatened online to kill LGBTQ people and leading Democratic politicians, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and President Joe Biden.
According to the March 9 criminal complaint, Google forwarded the FBI several threats posted by an account linked to Berka that were made between February and March 2023.
“Trans freaks and gays lgbt freaks [they] all need [to] die and be genocided its all I talk about anymore is wanting to kill trans freaks,” the account linked to Berka allegedly posted online. The complaint included over two pages of threats allegedly made by Berka over the last month.
The complaint noted that Berka had been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment in 2012. Despite his previous commitment preventing him from legally owning firearms, Berka’s mom, Michelle, according to the complaint, admitted that within the last year she had purchased four guns for her son.
In the complaint, Michelle confirmed with the FBI that her son has ammunition for all of his weapons, which he kept “staged” at his apartment along with body armor. In the complaint, Michelle said she is scared of her son and that he “should be arrested and put in prison.”
The day after the FBI arrested Berka, one person was arrested on assault charges at an anti-trans demonstration held in Sacramento, California, on March 10. Police have refused to confirm if the person arrested was part of the small crowd of neo-Nazis or part of the larger group of counter-demonstrators.
Social media video posted online appears to show a woman, identified as Aurelia Moore, pointing a gun at counter-protesters. Separate photos show previously identified neo-Nazis dressed in black and armed with brass knuckles.
The day after the anti-trans rally in Sacramento, over 100 neo-Nazis, Proud Boys, Patriot Front and White Lives Matter fascists descended on a drag queen story hour held Saturday at Wadsworth Memorial Park in Ohio.
The armed Nazis, led by Chris Pohlhaus from the Nazi group “Blood Tribe,” wore red sweaters and black pants, and waved black and white flags with swastikas on them, screaming “Sieg Heil!” “There will be blood!” “Pedophiles get the rope!” along with chants of “Weimar problems require Weimar solutions.”
Photos from the event show the Nazis protected by police as they scream obscenities at the children and parents gathered at the public park.
The Akron Beacon Journal reported on Monday that at the end of the event, two people were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and arrested after a fight broke out in which an opponent of the neo-Nazis pepper-sprayed a fascist in chain mail. After a brief scuffle, a man pointed what appeared to be a gun into the crowd, although police have since claimed that the “metallic object” was a not a gun, but a weapon used to shoot pepper-spray balls.
In Florida, police have yet to announce an arrest after a man attacked the Chabad Jewish Center of Cape Coral shortly after services ended Saturday night. According to multiple witnesses, the enraged man used a brick to try and break into the center, even as worshipers were still inside.
“We hear this loud noise,” Rabbi Yossi Labkowski told NBC 2, “I was approaching the door and I see somebody picking up a brick and just yanking it, throwing it at the door.”
Jacob Ben-Haim, who was inside the building at the time of the attack, told NBC he thought someone was shooting through the door.
“Four or five loud bangs on the door. So I thought for a moment, somebody’s shooting at the door … I was looking, where’s the bullets?”
Rabbi Yossi said that after the man was unable to break through the door, he proceeded to vandalize a painting of a menorah and smash the windshield of the rabbi’s vehicle.
“He was targeting the Jewish community,” Labkowski said.
This past Tuesday, police in Lakewood, New Jersey, arrested 22-year-old Max Sanchez after multiple people reported the man was exhibiting disturbing behavior while armed with a large knife outside the Satmar Shul synagogue. In a statement, police captain Gregory Staffordsmith said that while there were “no specific threats made to any of the victims,” the area where Sanchez was menacing people is home to “a large portion of Orthodox Jewish families.”