Leith, North Dakota, seems to be an attractive destination for the U S National Socialist Movement, who recently revealed that they are planning to turn the disintegrating town into an all-white enclave.
Members of the NSM plan to be in town on Sunday and Monday to introduce themselves to the community of two dozen people in what their organization’s leader, Jeff Schoep, calls an “act of good will and faith.”
The group is America’s largest neo-Nazi organization, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
White supremacist activist Craig Cobb has been buying up properties in Leith for more than a year, and now he wants to invite his fellow supremacists to move in and set up a “Pioneer Little Europe.”
Cobb said he had received many offers to buy up land from what he called “like-minded people” who believe white people should not be punished for wanting to live near each other.
“It’s fine for all these other minorities, but not us,” Schoep said in a televised interview. “If you merely speak about it, you’re going to be defamed in this country. We know that opinion is divided in the town and in the media, He added that the trip was “a symbolic gesture of good will and faith.”
Schoep will be met by several hundred people protesting the presence of the National Socialists.
“We are planning a true grassroots peaceful protest to demonstrate that we are united in a stance against hatred, violence and prejudice,” reads a statement by UnityND, an anti-racism group organizing the protest, on its website. “Join us as we take to main street rural America to fight against racism.”
Grant County Sheriff Steve Bay said he does not expect any trouble to break out at the event and protest, but he is prepared. “Both sides say they plan on having their demonstrations… They have both indicated to me that they will be peaceful demonstrations. They may be a little loud, but peaceful.”
Cobb’s plans were revealed in August after the Southern Poverty Law Center published a report detailing his land purchases in Leith. The county is 97 percent white.
County tax and property records show that other leading supremacists had followed his lead. They include Tom Metzger, leader of the White Aryan Resistance, and Alex Linder, who runs an online forum for the neo-Nazis.
So, it appears that they are really determined to turn Leith into a white supremacist town, but if they buy property legally, what’s to stop them?