Graffiti associated with White Aryan Resistance began showing up in Grand Rapids, along with that of an apparent skinhead gang called “the Heartside Boot Boyz.” White Aryan Resistance is a neo-Nazi and white supremacist organization that formed in the 1983 by former Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon and influential racist Tom Metzger. In addition to being involved with the Ku Klux Klan (KKK)—work that placed him in prison for 45 days in 1982 for burning a cross—Metzger has been involved with the John Birch Society and was ordained as a minister by the New Christian Crusade Church, a church involved in the white supremacist Christian Identity movement. White Aryan Resistance, while less influential than it once was, has long been a major force in the racist right. Metzger was one of the first white supremacists to organize racist skinheads in the 1980s, has been involved in the international skinhead movement, has organized extensively within the United States’ prison population, operates The Insurgent self-described as the “most racist newspaper on earth,” has made extensive use of new forms of media (computer bulletin board systems in the 1980s, public access television in the early 1990s, and the Internet in the mid-1990s), and has articulated a form of fascism known as “Third Position” that is neither rightist or leftist, rejecting both capitalism and communism. This “Third Position” ideology seeks to overthrow the United States government and replace it with a nation built around a white supremacist ideology, while also distorting leftwing politics, with White Aryan Resistance describing itself as revolutionary and supporting “white working class” militancy including opposition to United States military actions abroad, supporting union activity, women’s rights (to a certain degree), and advocating for environmentalist policies. Of course, the racism is obvious in Metzger’s Third Position fascism, with the Nazi imagery, racist cartoons and “jokes,” and declarations that “WAR is strictly racist” and that race is the primary issue. However, despite its obvious racism, Third Position ideology is a serious threat as its adherents often attempt to organize working-class youth directly while many left or “progressive” movements ignore such populations, while white supremacists ideologies appear to provide a potential outlet for their anger.
Activities in West Michigan / Michigan
- In October of 2006, racist and nazi graffiti attributed to White Aryan Resistance began showing up in Grand Rapids. The graffiti is frequently accompanied by the logo for the “Heartside Boot Boyz.”