Spike Lee’s popular film, BlacKkKlansman, tells the story of black police officer Ron Stallworth, who infiltrated his local Colorado Ku Klux Klan chapter in the 1970s in order to expose its members. The film won Lee his first competitive Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Lest we think a black person infiltrating a white hate group is an anomaly, the Associated Press reports that James Hart Stern has become the new director and president of the National Socialist Movement (NSM)—a Neo-Nazi group the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as an extremist hate group—and his first order of business appears to be dismantling the group’s defense against a lawsuit related to the Charlottesville, Va., white supremacist rally that resulted in Heather Heyer’s death.
NSM is one of the groups being sued over the bloodshed at the Charlottesville rally, and on Thursday, Stern filed a request asking a Virginia federal court to issue a summary judgment against NSM before one of the lawsuits goes to trial.
“It is the decision of the National Socialist Movement to plead liable to all causes of actions listed in the complaint against it,” Stern wrote in the filing.
Michigan corporate records show that Stern replaced former NSM leader Jeff Schoep in January, but just how or why he got the position remains a mystery.
Matthew Heimbach, a leading white nationalist figure who briefly served as the NSM’s community outreach director last year, told AP that Schoep and other group leaders have been at odds with rank-and-file members over its direction. He said some members “essentially want it to remain a politically impotent white supremacist gang” and resisted ideological changes advocated by Schoep.
Schoep took over as leader of the group in 1994, and Heimbach said his departure and Stern’s ascension to leadership signals the end of the group, which he estimates had about 40 active members as of last year.
“I think it’s kind of a sad obit for one of the longest-running white nationalist organizations,” Heimbach told AP.
According to AP, Stern has been hard at work trying to disrupt NSM for at least the last two years. In a February 2017 post on his website, Stern said he would be meeting with Schoep “to sign a proclamation acknowledging the NSM denouncing being a white supremacist group or any one being such.”
Another interesting tidbit about Stern is that he served time in prison with one-time Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen, who planned the killings of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner during the Freedom Summer of 1964 in Mississippi.
In 2012, Stern claimed that Killen had signed over 40 acres of land and power of attorney to him, but a lawyer for Killen asked a judge to throw out the land transfer and certify that Killen and his family were the rightful owners.
Now that is some black-ass subterfuge.