Growing connections, overlapping cultures and increasing crossover between outlaw motorcycle gangs and white supremacist groups have created a disturbing new trend— the formation of explicitly white supremacist biker gangs, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
In a new report, Bigots on Bikes: The Growing Links between White Supremacists and Biker Gangs, ADL found that increased social and criminal connections between the two movements have led to the formation of these gangs, which are either independently operated or subsidiaries of larger white supremacist groups.
The most common, and visually obvious, pathways between the two groups can be found in their shared use of symbols from Nazi Germany, such as swastikas, SS lightning bolts, and Nazi war eagles. The groups also share a similar language, especially when discussing brotherhood and loyalty, as well as similar rituals, especially those related to recruitment and orientation. Thus, as subcultural overlaps between the two movements have increased, actual connections between them have also increased, manifesting themselves both in crossover membership as well as in new biker groups that are explicitly white supremacist.
"Though they are still small, the appearance of these groups is cause for concern," said Deborah Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director. "The white supremacist movement and the outlaw biker movement both engage in considerable violence and criminal activity. The more people from the two movements who cooperate and join forces, the more dangerous both movements can become."
These white supremacist biker gangs are primarily located in the Sunbelt Region (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arizona and California) and the Midwest (Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Missouri). The following are some examples of these gangs:
· Southern Brotherhood Motorcycle Club: This gang is a subgroup of the Southern Brotherhood, which is the largest white supremacist prison gang in Alabama. Formed in 1995, members hold their own events as well as attend biker rallies in Alabama. They also claim members in Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Indiana and Texas.
· Sons of Aesir: This independent Arizona-based gang, created in 2005, is associated with the local Hell's Angels MC. Its several dozen members have extensive criminal histories that include explosives, weapons violations and aggravated assault.
· Confederate Cavalry Corps MC: This Alabama-based gang was founded in 2009 and its members claim it is the "premier Confederate heritage motorcycle club" focused on events and monuments that support the Confederate States and Flag. It also has members in Missouri and Mississippi.