Pennsylvania Among Top States for White Supremacist Propaganda in 2022

The Keystone State accounted for 413 of the 6,751 incidents nationwide that the Anti-Defamation League tallied in 2022.
Image courtesy of ADL.

White supremacist propaganda hit an all-time high in 2022, with Pennsylvania among the national leaders, even as antisemitic propaganda more than doubled from the year before, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League.

The Keystone State accounted for 413 of the 6,751 incidents the ADL tallied in 2022, up from the 4,876 incidents the civil rights organization tracked nationwide in 2021. That’s a 38% year-over-year increase nationwide, according to the report.

“Propaganda campaigns allow white supremacists to maximize media and online attention for their groups and messaging while limiting the risk of individual exposure, negative media coverage, arrests and public backlash that often accompanies more public activities,” the report’s authors wrote “Propaganda, which affects entire communities, allows a small number of people to have an outsized impact.”

According to the ADL, the Texas-based Patriot Front was responsible for the majority of the white supremacist propaganda that was distributed nationwide last year. The group was active in every state, except for Alaska and Hawaii, but was most active (in order) in Massachusetts, Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Utah, according to the ADL.

“The group continues to avoid using traditional white supremacist language and symbols in its messaging, instead using ambiguous phrasing like ‘For the Nation Against the State,’ ‘Revolution is Tradition,’ ‘Reclaim America,’ ‘America First’ and ‘One Nation Against Immigration,’” the report’s authors noted.

Another group, White Lives Matter (WLM), who engage in “pro-white activism” on a designated day every month, also maintained an active presence in Pennsylvania last year, according to the report.

The ADL’s Center on Extremism tallied430 incidents of WLM propaganda nationwide in 2022, which was more than three times the 140 incidents recorded in 2021.

All told, the group was responsible for the third highest number (6%) of propaganda incidents in 2022 and roughly 14% of the antisemitic propaganda incidents, according to the report.

Those incidents occurred in 36 different states with the highest number of incidents (from most to least active) in Washington, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, North Carolina and Texas.

That propaganda included a “White Lives Matter” sticker with QR code allowing access to its Telegram page, as well as messages about the false “great replacement” conspiracy theory. Some of the group’s propaganda promoted or shared links to the antisemitic film “Europa: The Last Battle,” according to the report.

Another group, known as Active Clubs, which is a nationwide network of localized white supremacist crews that often overlap with the White Lives Matter network and other white supremacist groups, was responsible for 92 propaganda distributions last year, according to the report.

The ADL tracked propaganda from the group in 16 different states, but the majority of incidents were in Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to the report.

Last year’s surge in antisemitic propaganda largely was attributable to a group known as the Goyim Defense League (GDL), which was responsible for at least 492 propaganda incidents in 2022, according to the report.

That represented roughly 7% of the total propaganda nationwide and 58% of the year’s antisemitic propaganda incidents, up from the 74 GDL propaganda incidents recorded in 2021, according to the report.

The group’s overarching goal is to expel Jews from America. It was active in 43 different states, with the majority of incidents (from most to least active) in California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Illinois and New York, according to the report.

In addition, the formation of new antisemitic white supremacist groups in 2022 also contributed to the rise in antisemitic incidents.

“These new groups – the Texas-based Aryan Freedom NetworkNatSoc Florida, the Iowa-based Crew 319, the Southern California-based Clockwork Crew (aka Crew 562), Florida Nationalists and the short-lived, New York-based Aryan National Army – were responsible for 7% (or 62 incidents) of the antisemitic propaganda distributions in 2022,” the report’s authors wrote.

“As in previous years, extremists used fliers, posters, stickers, banners and graffiti to share their antisemitic views. In Florida, NatSoc Florida and/or GDL used laser projectors to cast antisemitic messages on buildings on at least seven occasions,” the report’s authors continued. “Individuals associated with GDLCrew 562, and Crew 319 drove around in moving vans draped with antisemitic propaganda. Two such incidents occurred in California and one in Iowa.”

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John Micek for questions: Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

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John L. Micek, Penn-Capital Star

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.