Inside the "white power" of the United States

Everything you love must burn. Inside the rebirth of white nationalism in the United States
Forfatter: Vegard Tenold Aase
Forlag: Cappelen Damm (Norge)
NATIONALISM / In Vegard Tenold Aase's new book, we become acquainted with right-wing groups in the United States, denying the Holocaust and believing in a new giving for neo-Nazism.


Journalist Vegard Tenold Aase (40) lives in New York and has been traveling around the US since 2010. The book opens on the day of the US presidential election in 2016. Then extremist Matthew Heimbach sends an email to the author: "Wisconsin goes to Trump! Everything you love must burn. LOL. "

To get inside the right-wing extremist groups, the author has been with them for nine years, sometimes endangering their own lives.

In 2010, he receives an email from a man calling himself Duke Schneider, a member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement. The movement seems to be small and consists mostly of older, screaming gentlemen who do not realize that they are fighting for a lost cause.

Should one laugh or cry when one reads that Nazis in the United States do not understand that they are hated?


12. August 2017: Thousands of protesters march against racism in the city of Charlottesville, USA. Several people end up in violent clashes. As anti-racists march toward the city center, a silver-colored car thunders into the crowd. 19 people are injured and 32 year old Heather Heyer is killed. Sometime later James Alex Fields jr. arrested, charged with serious violence and intentional homicide and and for having run away from the scene.

Donald Trump is noticeably slow to condemn the action and expresses himself in hovering terms about the event itself. The then US security adviser calls it terrorism. The incident gives a severe setback to the racist movement in the United States after they got "their" president in the White House in November 2016.

Should one laugh or cry when one reads that Nazis in the United States do not understand that they are hated? When the few who are left by the Ku Klux Klan movement do not realize that they will never be able to lift the organization back to "old greatness"? Or when you read about George Lincoln Rockwell, who with limited funds created the American Nazi Party in the United States in 1959, and who tried to renew Nazism on American soil? And that despite being a big fan of Malcolm X? The reading becomes tragicomic.


The book has three main characters: Matthew Heimbach of The Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP), Jeff Schoep of The National Socialist Movement (NSM) and Dan Elmquist of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). They represent a modern pragmatic, a European nationalist and a "heartfelt" extremist direction, respectively. Their hate mainly targets two groups: African Americans and Jews, although not everyone hates the Jews. But hatred also targets gays and feminists, and generally against promiscuity and declining morals in the western world – in addition, they also hate multiculturalism, globalism and the Washington elite, of course represented by Hillary Clinton.

Despite a different view of "white power" and of the Jews, the three groups have one thing in common: a feeling of being invisible and marginalized in modern society, a feeling they try to compensate for through white extremism.

KKK – Ku Klux Klan
KKK, Wikimedia Commons

Most of them come from the working class, few of them have an academic background, with the exception of Matthew Heimbach, who was a gifted schoolboy, but who got lost in alternative ways of understanding the world.

Does the book help us understand where hate comes from? Yes, I would say that. Despite the fact that the author encounters hatred, stupidity and reality to remove people in a way and to an extent almost impossible to believe was possible, he never forgets why he stays among them, namely to find out what these people think and feel.

"A secret organization has no value unless people know it exists."

He is best known with Matthew Heimbach. The two become almost friends, but when the author asks Heimbach why he denies the Holocaust, all the clichés emerge, and what he liked about the guy is gone.

Heimbach is psychologically interesting, and his goal is to bring all the various white extremist groups into one strong group. He is thoughtful about the KKK, and does not share the KKK's view of the white race as superior to all other races. Most justify the hatred and contempt on the basis that the white race is genetically superior to all other races. But Heimbach just wants to protect his own race, so others can protect his own.

White power

What are the motives of the white extremists? How deep is the ideology? These are questions the book asks and answers in a good way. The book has both a grave journalistic part and a historical part. The latter elaborates and explains the origins of "White Supremacy" and racism in the United States.

The main conflict runs between the white elite and the poor working class, but hatred seems unclear, because hatred has always been undifferentiated. So then maybe hate must be understood as an expression of inferiority?

White power
Photo: Vegard Aase

Most of the groups, like NSM and KKK, have obviously seen their best days. The groups are no more secret than seeking attention. One of the most comical dialogues in the book takes place when Ku Klux Klan member Karl Matthews says it's about getting his message out, despite the organization being secretive. "But isn't the secret of a secret organization secret?" asks the author. Karl replies: "Well. A secret organization has no value unless people know it exists. ”

Holocaust denial is an important part of white extremists' worldview, but also the school massacre at Sandy Hook in 2012 [where Adam Lanza, 20, killed his own mother before going to school and shot 26 people, ed.], Is denied and interpreted as a tire operation performed by enemies.

I think the book would be even better if the author had investigated the evolution of white extremism on the black web. Apart from this, I think the author has done a thorough digging, and I understand more about how these people look at themselves and society.

The author believes that the only way to fight them is by understanding them. But I think there are other ways too – for example through political infiltration and surveillance.

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