The National Socialist Movement (NSM), the largest neo-Nazi group in the country, has been expanding its activity in California. Its events, new chapters, and Web activity targeting the state have all contributed to the group's heightened presence and alleged recruitment there.
The group continues to exploit the issue of immigration, both in California and nationwide, as a means to recruit new members and spread its white supremacist ideology. In late October, approximately 20 NSM members staged a protest against immigration for three hours in Riverside on a public sidewalk in front of a Home Depot. (White supremacists have previously demonstrated in front of Home Depot stores in an attempt to intimidate day laborers who gather near them.) Over 600 counter-protestors faced off with the neo-Nazis, and members of the Brown Berets, a Hispanic nationalist group, physically attacked the NSM members. Police arrested two Brown Berets, one for allegedly throwing limes at the NSM members, and another for pushing a police barricade to the floor. Prior to the demonstration, the NSM announced that it would "ignore any requests or demands from the police to leave or move."
The NSM planned the protest as a follow-up to a protest against immigration in late September when a reported dozen members of the group were confronted by more than 50 counter-protestors. Neo-Nazi groups, especially the NSM in the last few years, have attempted to intimidate non-white immigrants through protests like these.
In addition to holding protests, the NSM's California members also stage vigilante patrols along the Mexican-American border. Recently, the group announced that it is planning to send "small teams to the front lines for [24 hour] tours of duty."
In January 2009, three members of the Riverside Chapter of the NSM visited the Mexican-American border, where they claimed to have traveled with a film crew. In late 2008, three members of the Southern California unit similarly patrolled the border. In addition to displaying a flag bearing a swastika and taking photographs, the group boasted about being "armed up" in preparation for the operation. Indeed, images of the patrols revealed at least one member in possession of a weapon.
Also indicative of the group's heightened activity in California is the number of chapters that have been established in the state. Since the spring of 2009, the group has established two new chapters in the state—in Dulzura (close to San Diego) and San Francisco. The third chapter, in Riverside, was first established in 2005, and serves as the statewide contact.
The group's first statewide meeting, advertised for late September, was promoted as an opportunity to meet other activists and "burn the filthy Jewish flag!" A July meeting was centered around "discussing the Jews [sic] parasitic and manipulative behavior and how the Jew has controlled our financial institutions and media in America."