Former white nationalist Christian Picciolini now runs a global network, the Free Radicals Project, that mobilizes former extremists to provide counseling to current members of the movement and attempt to convince them to leave. In an interview with The Atlantic, Picciolini revealed that he believes the recent white supremacist terrorist attacks in Pittsburgh, New Zealand, and El Paso, Texas are just the beginning, and subsequent attacks are going to get worse. Not only that, he claims that white supremacists exist more frequently in United States society than some might think.
“I have to ask myself, ‘Do we have white-nationalist airline pilots?'” he said. “There have to be. I knew people in powerful positions, in politics, in law enforcement, who were secretly white nationalists. I think we’d be stupid and selfish to think that we don’t have those in the truck-driving industry.”
Picciolini claims that when he was a part of the white nationalist movement 30 years ago, they were off-putting to everyday American white racists who preferred to be less outspoken — and thus visible — with their beliefs. He claims that this resistance led the movement to push for a more mainstream culture — “to grow the hair out, turn in the ‘boots for suits.'”
“I never thought we would have a social and political climate that really kind of brought it to the foreground. Because it’s starting to seem less like a fringe ideology and more like a mainstream ideology.”
Christian Picciolini discusses with @yarabayoumy and @kgilsinan the mainstreaming of white nationalism, what it takes to de-radicalize far-right extremists, and why the problem is metastasizing: https://t.co/AicEAquuzR
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) August 6, 2019
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports that a U.S. State Department official, Matthew Q. Gebert, was recently outed as being involved in the Washington, D.C.-area chapter of a white nationalist organization. According to a State Department spokesperson, Gebert currently works as a foreign affairs officer assigned to the Bureau of Energy Resources. He reportedly uses the pseudonym “Coach Finstock” and supports a white-only country.
Picciolini also spoke about how white supremacists fund their movement. Although in his day they would use music as a vehicle via white supremacist metal bands, Picciolini claims that the internet has made it viable to generate revenue off of propaganda. He claims that Facebook, Google, and YouTube are prime platforms and suggests that de-platforming is effective and slows down the movement significantly.
Per The Inquisitr, New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke to a group of mourners Monday in Brooklyn, New York, in the wake of the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. She used the speech to speak to people radicalized by white supremacist ideology and tell them there is always a chance to turn back while assuring them that they are never “too far gone.”