A newly-released report from the Anti Defamation League (ADL) shows that white supremacists increased their propaganda efforts by 182 percent in 2018. The number of racist demonstrations and rallies also increased, with 91 public events, compared to 76 in 2017.
According to Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL National Director and CEO, “Posting fliers is a tried-and-true tactic for hate groups, one that enables them to spread hateful ideas and sow fear across an entire community.” Various groups conducted 1,187 distributions of white supremacist propaganda last year.
However, hate groups have taken to “flash mob” style tactics in order to avoid advance publicity and public scrutiny. “Hate groups were emboldened in 2018, but their increasing reliance on hate leafleting indicates that most of their members understand this is a fringe activity and are unwilling to risk greater public exposure or arrest,” Greenblatt said in a press release.
Louisiana is no exception. “Last year in Louisiana, we saw a dramatic increase in the use of flyering and bannering by white supremacist organizations,” said ADL Regional Director Aaron Ahlquist.
“Where there had previously been little to no targeted white supremacist flyering on Louisiana’s college campuses, last year recorded multiple incidents, sometimes multiple incidents at the same school. This cowardly tactic allows for disproportionate impact, while masking actual numbers of those doing it, and then gets used in their online recruitment and branding efforts. The good news is that official events and rallies held by white supremacist organizations in the country, and in this region, have been poorly attended and the backlash to them has been significant.”
Propaganda posted by the various groups included both veiled and explicit racist language and images that targeted minority groups, including immigrants, Jews, Blacks, Muslims, and the LGBTQ+ community. Many also featured language intended to recruit any reader to the posting group’s cause.
Other key trends reported by the ADL included:
- An increase in the number of off-campus propaganda efforts from 129 in 2017 to 868 in 2018.
- 97 incidents involved Ku Klux Klan fliers left in driveways or on doorsteps, up from an average 77 incidents in previous years.
- 32 “bannering” incidents, including at least one in New Orleans, where white supremacist banners were placed in high-visibility locations.
According to Ahlquist, the three groups most active in Louisiana were Identity Evropa (whose banner can be seen in the photos accompanying this article), Patriot Front, and Identity Acadia.
Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor originally from Cadiz, Kentucky. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.