Black man finessed his way into the presidency of a neo-Nazi group, now vows to destroy it
According to Complex, James Hart Stern, a 54-year-old Black pastor and activist from California, has infiltrated and become the president of the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest and most notorious neo-Nazi groups in America. In a recent interview with CNN, he explained his motivations: “As a black man, I took over a neo-Nazi group and outsmarted them.” The pastor went on to explain that he ultimately wanted to “change (the organization), reverse it, and ultimately destroy it.”
The former leader of the National Socialist Movement, Jeff Schoep, was a noted racist who led the group for over 20 years. Stern explained to the Washington Post that his rise through the ranks of the group involved manipulating and persuading leadership. According to Stern’s account, Schoep appointed him as the leader while there were a lot of internal issues among key members of the group. Schoep’s move was supposed to protect the NSM from a lawsuit naming charging the with “unlawful conspiracy” during the 2017 Charlottesville riots, which resulted in the death of Heather Heyer and multiple charges of assault for many Black people who were defending themselves from the angry white mobs.
Schoep attempted to explain what happened in a letter to other members of the group claiming that Stern had tricked him: “(Stern) convinced me that in order to protect our membership from the ongoing lawsuit, I should sign over NSM’s presidency to him.”
This is not Stern’s first time infiltrating a white supremacist organization, while he was serving time for mail fraud, Stern convinced a Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard named Edgar Ray Killen to give him power of attorney over his estate. Killen agreed, and Stern then used the legal powers to dismantle the Klan branch that Killen held in his name.
Stern’s first official action as NSM president was to ask that a Virginia judge find the group guilty of conspiring to incite violence at the Charlottesville riots. Stern also has plans to transform the group’s website into a place for Holocaust history lessons.
Stern hopes that others will follow his lead. As Stern told Complex, “I expect every minority, Jewish and black, which has been affected by it… to contact me and reach out so we can put our heads together and make sure that this is done productively.”