“Call it a clever twist of fate, a shrewd power play, or simply comeuppance for one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in America … Its new president is a black man — a California pastor and activist — with one goal in mind,” “”Change it, reverse it, and ultimately destroy it,” James Hart Stern told CNN in an interview” on Friday, March 1st.
According to incorporation documents filed in January in Michigan James Stern is now listed as the new “director and president” of the Detroit based White Nationalist and Supremacist extremist group ‘National Socialist Movement’ (NSM).
According to Stern, the groups’ previous leader Jeff Schoep “turned the group over to him amid infighting by the group’s core members, and to escape the threat of a lawsuit filed against NSM for its alleged role in the violent 2017 clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia.”
The NSM and Schoep, along with more than 20 other organizations and individuals including convicted murderer James Alex Fields, are being sued civilly by victims who were injured at Charlottesville.
The lawsuit says, “The violence, suffering, and emotional distress that occurred in Charlottesville was a direct, intended, and foreseeable result of Defendants’ unlawful conspiracy.”
NSM has been mostly active since 1994. According to Matthew Heimbach – “a leading white nationalist figure who briefly served as the NSM’s community outreach director last year” – said that he considered it “kind of a sad obit for one of the longest-running white nationalist organizations.”
But Schoep claims Stern “deceived” him, though “he admits to the ‘paper appointment’ of Stern as president,” saying that Stern was able to convince him that “in order to protect [the] membership from the ongoing lawsuit,” Schoep should “sign over NSM’s presidency” to Stern.
While Schoep continues to maintain his and his group’s innocence in the ongoing lawsuit against them for “conspiring to commit violence in Charlottesville,” he has told NSM members he plans to take back the group from Stern in ‘a court of law.”
Meanwhile, Sterns’ first act as president was to ask the Virginia judge in the ongoing lawsuit “to issue a summary judgement finding NSM liable” for conspiracy to commit violence in the Unite the Right rally in 2017.
The judge in that case has not issued a ruling yet.
Though Stern dismisses it, he has been likened to the man portrayed in the film BlacKkKlansman – “which told the true story of Ron Stallworth, a black police detective in Colorado Springs who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan beginning with a phone call.”
“The difference in my situation is I was able to use my face every day,” Stern said. “There was no deception here. This was a man (Schoep) who willingly talked to a black man and willingly signed it (NSM) over to a black man.”
Stern said his path to taking over the NSM started in 2014, when Schoep learned that Stern had the prison ID of noted KKK leader Edgar Ray Killen. The pair were housed in the same Mississippi prison when Stern served time for mail fraud, Stern said.
Though Schoep wanted the ID, Stern refused to hand it over. Instead, they continued their conversations over the years, Stern said.
“When he and I talked, he made it very clear that I was not his friend,” Stern said, adding that their talks intensified after the NSM faced increased scrutiny over the Virginia lawsuitCNN
This isn’t the first time James Stern as dismantled a White Supremacist group.
The Detroit Free Press reports that, according to the SPLC, “while serving time in prison,” Stern “once befriended Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Edgar Ray Killen, involved in racial killings in Mississippi that were depicted in the movie “Mississippi Burning,” and then dissolved the group Killen was in.”
The current self-proclaimed “commander” of NSM Burt Colucci, who was a “former chief of staff,” said Schoep named him successor, saying Schoep was “apparently coerced” and calls Stern a ‘paper tiger” who “definitely needs to be removed from the organization.” Colucci said Stern has “no access to the groups’ website, its assets, bank accounts, or membership records,” while adding, “there is no bigger enemy than Communism.”
Colucci claims that the National Socialist Movement is a “civil rights group for whites” and that he plans to “bring back the Nazi swastika as part of its logo, which had been replaced a few years ago.”
Though the group has been most active since 1994, according to the SPLC its origins can be traced by to 1974.
“We’re coming up on a 75th anniversary of the Holocaust, of 6 million Jews that were killed during World War II, by a horrible man, Hitler,” Stern said. “The teachers of this group, for 45 years have been teaching that the Holocaust didn’t really happen, it didn’t exist, that it was Jewish propaganda.
“This is a group that’s been teaching separatism, saying that blacks and whites can’t live together, can’t mate together … the racist belief itself is just why the group has got to go, the hate, the violence,” Stern said. “My message is that there’s only one race, and that’s the human race.”Detroit Free Press