White supremacists are hoping to re-establish a stronghold in a rural Pennsylvania county.
The National Socialist Movement of Pennsylvania is planning an event next week in Potter County, which had been the home of the Aryan World Congress more than a decade ago, reported The Bradford Era.
The Aug. 13 event is planned near Ulysses, where the consortium of skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis and “white power” bands had a presence in the early 2000s.
The National Socialist Movement is distributing fliers inviting “white patriots” to the 4 p.m. event, although the exact address hasn’t been revealed yet, and urged like-minded racists to “bring the kids.”
It’s not clear whether any children’s entertainment — such as clowns tying up swastika-shaped balloons — has been scheduled for the event, but the group promises a swastika will be lit at dusk.
Organizers plan discussions about recent shootings of police officers and violence at Donald Trump rallies, which they blame on the Republican presidential nominee’s opponents.
“We don’t advocate any kind of violence because it’s just self-defeating and stupid,” said group leader Steve Bowers.
Nearby residents are planning a peaceful protest to show the white supremacists they aren’t welcome in the county, which is just south of the New York state border.
“Our country needs people to unite it, not divide it,” said state Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint). “It needs more cooperation and understanding, not hate and anger.”
Bowers, whose real name is Steve Nastasi, said the event would be held on private property owned by a white supremacists who lives in the area.
“Pennsylvania’s always been a stronghold of white resistance,” Bowers said.
Mark Pitcavage, of the Anti-Defamation League, said the event should not raise alarms about widespread support for white supremacism, and he cautioned against antagonizing the group’s members.
“They will probably let other white supremacists in as well, but the event is not likely to be large,” Pitcavage said. “An event like this occurring in an area does not imply that the area is chock-full of white supremacists, so people do not need to do any great soul-searching on that part. Such events are always reminders, however, that hate and white supremacy has not gone away, and if offers an opportunity for communities to be vocal in their opposition to hate.”