Wayzata white supremacists draw attention to hate in Minnesota
There are few things more pathetic than a Wayzata white supremacist.
But last weekend several such people — hiding behind masks —gathered on a pedestrian bridge over Highway 12. They unfurled banners with slogans like “end white genocide,” “white unity is strength” and “diversity means anti-white.”
Wayzata is in Hennepin County, which has a longstanding reputation as a bastion of progressive and anti-racist organizing. That led many observers on social media to express surprise and even disbelief that a white supremacist organization could have a foothold there.
But data compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows that numerous hate groups are active in Minnesota, and have been for years. They include obscure neo-Nazi organizations like the Folkish Resistance Movement, as well as more well-known general hate organizations like the Proud Boys and the Patriot Front.
All told, the number of hate groups active in Minnesota has fluctuated between six and 12 in any given year, according to the SPLC’s data. In 2022 the number stood at eight.
Here’s who they are:
- The Asatru Folk Assembly, a so-called neo-volkish organization that tends to organize around notions of northern European ethnic identity. The group made national headlines when it purchased a church in Murdock, a tiny town in the west-central part of the state.
- The Folkish Resistance Movement, a pro-Hitler organization that distributes antisemtic propaganda.
- The Heartland Patriots, which is active statewide and generally adheres to white nationalist ideology.
- The Patriot Front, another white nationalist group that arose from the turmoil following the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In Minnesota they’ve vandalized storefronts and distributed racist propaganda on college campuses.
- The Proud Boys, a general hate group that was active in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. They’ve held rallies in the state and recently attempted to disrupt a drag queen story hour in Chaska
- Sons of Liberty Media, an Annandale-based media outlet that focuses on general hate and conspiracy theories. The organization’s leader is Bradlee Dean, a man who formerly ran a far-right anti-gay youth ministry and rock band that once received a donation from the campaign of then state-Rep. Tom Emmer, who is now the congressman representing the 6th District. Emmer also appeared on Dean’s radio show, though he distanced himself from Dean’s anti-LGBTQ bigotry during his 2010 campaign for governor.
- The Black Sun Tribe Project, another neo-volkisch group active statewide.
- The Remnant, an antisemitic radical Catholic group based in Forest Lake.
The SPLC keeps tabs on 11 additional anti-government extremist groups in the state, including Moms for Liberty chapters and the Genesis Communications Network, which broadcasts conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio show. While these groups’ adherents typically hold fringe, far-right beliefs, their ideologies are not as explicitly rooted in racial animosity as a typical hate group.
It’s important to not overstate the influence of the hate groups listed above, as some may only count a handful of supporters statewide.
But as the events of last weekend illustrated, it only takes a handful of white supremacists to cause a scene in public.
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