The Slatest

Better Know an RNC White Supremacist: Soldiers of Odin

Members of the Soldiers of Odin Ohio chapter in Cleveland this week.

Michelle Goldberg

Your occasional guide to the neo-fascists and white supremacists who have come to Cleveland to celebrate the ascension of Donald Trump.

CLEVELAND—These fellows are from the Soldiers of Odin, an anti-immigrant organization founded last year in Finland by a violent neo-Nazi named Mike Ranta.  Named after the Norse God of war and death, the Soldiers of Odin patrol city streets, on the lookout for dangerous Muslims. They’ve spread to several European countries, and in February, the group came to America, where, according to the Anti-Defamation League, they’ve already amassed thousands of followers.  From the ADL:

Soldiers of Odin USA is attracting adherents from both of the two largest segments of the American extreme right—white supremacists and the antigovernment extremist “Patriot” movement—and may be the most significant coalition of such extremists in the U.S. since the early 1990s.

The three I met at the convention are leaders in the Soldiers of Odin’s Ohio chapter. One of them told me that they don’t plan to confront anyone “unless there’s imminent danger.” Said another, “We’re a community watch organization, and I want to come watch my community.” The ADL’s report, however, makes them seem rather less benign. It includes one of their propaganda graphics, which says, “We are not a nice, polite group that will do nothing but report outrages to the police. The police are overworked as it is, and hamstrung by the dictates of the law. WE ARE NOT. We will BEAT THE LIVING SHIT out of any we catch raping American women and terrorizing American citizens.”

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