White supremacist propaganda across the US reached the highest level in at least a decade last year, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League. It describes 5,125 cases of hateful messages targeting people who are non-white, Black, Jewish, Muslim, or identify as LGBTQ, spread through physical materials, up from 2,724 cases in 2019. It adds the messaging, including phrases "Black Crimes Matter" and "White Lives Matter," often appeared as "veiled white supremacist language with a patriotic slant," per Reuters. Online propaganda cases likely number in the millions, the report adds. "As we try to understand and put in perspective the past four years, we will always have these bookends of Charlottesville and Capitol Hill" but "there's a lot of things that happened in between those moments that set the stage," CEO Jonathan Greenblatt says, per the AP.
Christian Picciolini, a former far-right extremist who founded deradicalization group Free Radicals Project, says "the pandemic, job loss, a heated election, protest over extrajudicial police killings of Black Americans, and a national reckoning sparked by our country's long tradition of racism has created a perfect storm" for extremist recruiters, who "use the uncertainty and fear caused by crisis to win over new recruits to their 'us vs. them' narrative," per the AP. The ADL traces the propaganda to at least 30 groups but says 92% of activity came from three: the New Jersey European Heritage Association, Patriot Front, and the Nationalist Social Club. (Hate crimes and killings hit a decade high in 2019.)