Neo-Nazi Group's New Leader Is Black Activist

James Stern has vowed to dismantle NSM
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 1, 2019 12:35 AM CST
Neo-Nazi Group's New Leader Is Black Activist
James Stern is seen at a news conference in Jackson, Miss.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

One of the nation's largest neo-Nazi groups appears to have an unlikely new leader: a black civil rights activist who has vowed to dismantle it. Court documents filed Thursday suggest James Hart Stern wants to use his new position as director and president of the National Socialist Movement to undermine the Detroit-based group's defense against a lawsuit. The NSM is one of several extremist groups sued over bloodshed at the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Stern's filing asks a federal court in Virginia to issue a judgment against the group before one of the lawsuits goes to trial, the AP reports. Stern replaced Jeff Schoep as the group's leader in January, according to Michigan corporate records. But those records and court documents say nothing about how or why Stern got the position.

"I think it's kind of a sad obit for one of the longest-running white nationalist organizations," said leading white nationalist figure Matthew Heimbach, who estimates it had about 40 active, dues-paying members last year. It appears that Stern has been trying for at least two years to disrupt the group, and his feat invited comparisons to the recent Spike Lee movie BlacKkKlansman in which a black police officer infiltrates a branch of the Ku Klux Klan. A message posted on his website said he would be meeting with Schoep in February 2017 "to sign a proclamation acknowledging the NSM denouncing being a white supremacist group." "I have personally targeted eradicating the (Ku Klux Klan) and the National Socialist Movement, which are two organizations here in this country which have all too long been given privileges they don't deserve," Stern said.

(More Neo-Nazi stories.)

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