The neo-Nazi group, National Socialist Movement, that had scheduled a rally in Williamsport for April before it was canceled has requested another date to gather in Brandon Park.
"We are planning to be in Ulysses on July 17 and Williamsport on July 18," Burt Colucci, NSM "commander," confirmed on Friday. "Mayor Slaughter has not given us an approval or denial on the permit application as of yet for Williamsport. The last time he waited until the last 30 days before the event to announce it. It would be very unwise for him to deny the permit at this juncture. Not only because of the ridiculous amount of case law there is pertaining to these very events, but because he already approved the last permit. We would pursue a court order if it was denied this time."
Before covid-19 forced shutdown of all public gatherings, the National Socialist Movement (NSM) announced its intention to have a rally in Brandon Park on April 18.
- National Socialist Movement chooses Williamsport, plans rally
- Neo-Nazis choose Williamsport for majority white population
The NSM had to cancel its April rally in Williamsport and the associated "convention," that was to be held at the Ulysses, Pa. home of Daniel Burnside. Burnside is well-known in the Ulysses area for his highway-side home covered in hate symbols. The fact he is titled as NSM "regional director" is also painted on his house.
Right now, Colucci says he's in control of the NSM. The organization has been in turmoil in recent years, with a Black man temporarily controlling the organization's corporate papers in 2019.
The NSM was led for 25 years by Jeff Schoep, made leader in 1994 at the age of 21. In 2019, Schoep signed over the paperwork for the NSM to James Stern, a Black activist, without telling any other NSM members.
Schoep was one of many white supremacist figures named in a wrongful death lawsuit, after the 2017 Charlottesville rally when Heather Heyer was killed by a car driven into a crowd. It seems he was trying to get responsibility for the NSM off his hands, with hopes of legal leniency to follow.
Stern had plans to transform the website for the NSM into a Holocaust history website, according to the Washington Post.
Stern died in November 2019, and the NSM is still recovering from the shock of having its longtime leader sign over the neo-Nazi group to a Black man.
This is what the Southern Poverty Law Center had to say about the NSM in its 2019 Year in Hate report:
the National Socialist Movement (NSM), long the biggest Nazi formation of all, collapsed after its leader, Jeff Schoep, renounced the movement and reportedly signed papers transferring its assets to James Stern, a Black preacher in California who said he would shut down the group. Stern’s death in October threw the NSM further into chaos. Now, longtime member Burt Colucci, the group’s former chief of staff, claims that he has control.
Colucci told NorthcentralPa.com that Stern was "outsmarted" and the organization is in his control. Though he's the leader, Colucci has no idea how many members the NSM has at the moment, claiming that it's a security issue.
The NSM's political message is this, Colucci says, aligning in at least one way with the broad left:
"The message is exactly this: that Donald Trump and Republican conservatives in this country are too weak to handle America’s problems. Their track record has proved that over and over again. nobody’s any wealthier, nobody's any better off, nobody’s any safer."
In Colucci's telling, at least, the NSM stands for "addressing problems at home," rather than foreign wars. But this being a neo-Nazi organization, the hatred for Jews runs deep.
For anyone with Jewish heritage interested in joining a neo-Nazi organization, the NSM does allow up to 25 percent Jewish heritage.
"We don't do any DNA test per se," Colucci said. "Eventually they'll be guilted into submission or if we’re not sure as far as if they’re 24 or 26 percent Jewish at that point we just take a good look at them. A lot of that is if they’re sympathetic to homosexuals and blacks and everything else because that’s how Jews are."