Archive for May, 2020

The U.S. Neo-Nazi Rise Above Movement’s 2018 European Vacation

… As had been announced in advance, martial artists from the US competed at the “Kampf der Nibelungen” (Fight of the Nibelungs) tournament in Ostritz, eastern Saxony, Germany. Inquiries revealed that meant leaders of the Rise Above Movement (RAM), known neo-Nazis from southern California.

RAM was established in early 2017 and for a while also called itself DIY Division; journalists in the US call them the “Alt-Right Fight Club.”[1] “Alt-Right” is the designation for the far-right activist wing of Donald Trump’s supporters, comparable with the European “New Right.” Europe’s New Right, characterized by groups like Identitäre Bewegung [Identitarian Movement], has in fact been a significant influence on RAM.

RAM has its own training spaces in California, where it primarily trains for street fights. Additionally, in late 2017, the group created its own line of clothing called Right Brand Clothing. Their online store also sells gear from Ukrainian neo-Nazi brand Svastone.

Robert Rundo attacking a counterdemonstrator in Huntington Beach.

In its rather short history, RAM participated in every major physical altercation connected to Alt-Right marches in 2017, including the Make America Great Again march in Huntington Beach, California, in March and in Berkeley and Charlottesville in August. It coordinated its participation with Identity Evropa, the American offshoot of Identitäre Bewegung.

Ben Daley (r.) of Rise Above Movement with another RAM member (Photo: EXIF-Recherche)

In Ostritz, RAM was represented Robert Rundo, Ben Daley, and one other unknown person who apparently is originally from Eastern Europe. Daley was briefly imprisoned for possession of a revolver without a permit, while Rundo is looking at twenty months in jail for repeatedly stabbing and seriously injuring a Latin American man in Queens, New York, in 2009.

Robert Rundo as a fighter in Ostritz 2018 (Photo: EXIF-Recherche)

The stated goal of both RAM and its Right Brand Clothing is to enable “the youth” to defend themselves through MMA so that they can “confront the left-wing onslaught of degeneracy and the drug culture through which it is promoted”—a cliché that can be found, in some form or another, in the self-description of every far-right martial arts brand.

RAM wants to expand and eventually sponsor its own martial artists. Its presence at the Shield & Sword Festival in Ostritz, where the “Kampf der Nibelungen” took place, might therefore be seen as a step in that direction. The group is getting ardent support in that regard from Denis Nikitin, whose own White Rex clothing brand will also soon be available through the online Right Brand Clothing store.

Robert Rundo, Denis Nikitin, and an unknown member of RAM (left to right) in Kiev, April 2018 (Photo: Facebook screenshot).

But Ostritz was only one leg of RAM’s European tour. Only a week later, Rundo and Daley together with Denis Nikitin and Tomasz Skatulsky were hosted in Kiev, Ukraine. There, Rundo and Skatulsky not only participated in a right-wing rock concert organized by Svastone and featuring German Nazi hardcore band Brainwash, but they also fought in a tournament sponsored by the “Reconquista Club.” This neo-Nazi gym and the Svastone brand are believed to be important supporters of the Ukrainian fascist volunteer Azov Regiment.

After their brief stay in Ukraine, the RAM members also visited Italian fascist party and organization Casa Pound. In practical terms, theirs was a journey to the centers of Europe’s militant neo-fascist movement, from which RAM will undoubtedly take inspiration for developing its own affiliations in the US.

Skyler Segeberg (left side) and Spencer Currie (right side). The center photo shows both with Hammerskins insignia. (Photo: nocara.blackblogs.org).

RAM’s connection with the Hammerskins is also interesting. This also represents another link to the German structure of the “Kampf der Nibelungen,” which is known to be staffed by leading Hammerskins. At least three RAM members are also part of this Nazi fraternity, including Spencer Currie and Skyler Segeberg. Currie was also involved in RAM’s attacks on counterdemonstrators during an Alt-Right march in April 2017. Both Currie and Segeberg are members of the Huntington Beach, California-based band Hate Your Neighbors, which is considered a Hammerskin band. In October 2016, the band played at Hammerfest in Georgia, an event organized by the Confederate Hammerskins. There, they shared the bill with Definite Hate, a band that once included Wade Michael Page, a Hammerskin who shot six people at a Wisconsin Sikh temple before killing himself in August 2012. This is only one indication of just how dangerous the Hammerskins really are.[2]

….

The international network of organizations, the concept of a “pan-Europe,” and the adoption of a society-wide fitness trend allow neo-Nazis to appear progressive and accessible. Moreover, the example of American neo-Nazi group Rise Above Movement, which was present in Ostritz, makes it clear that combat sports are not for casual competition but rather for effective preparation for street fighting.

[1] Anti-Defamation League: “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.)”, adl.org/resources/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[2] Antifaschistisches Infoblatt, no. 96: “Soundtrack zum Rassenkrieg”; antifainfoblatt.de/artikel/soundtrack-zum-rassenkrieg

= = =
translation by Joe. Original in German: “Kein Handshake mit Nazis Rückblick und Auswertung des Kampfsportturniers „Kampf der Nibelungen“ auf dem Neonazi-Festival „Schild & Schwert“ am 21.04.2018,” Runter von der Matte – Kein Handshake mit Nazis!, May 14, 2018.