“White Supremacy 3.0”
The possible militarization of combat sports networks in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war
Alexander Ritzmann, DAAD/AGI Research Fellow
Eric Langenbacher, Senior Fellow and Director of the Society, Culture & Politics Program at AGI
A new trend and strategy has been emerging amongst RWE (right-wing extremist) or REMVE (racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist) movements and actors. This development, which can be called “white supremacy 3.0”, comprised of combat sports and a “white warrior” ideal already present in “old school” RWE/REMVE, is now being merged with mainstream pop culture, media and arts elements. The objective of this “beautification” of RWE/REMVE violence is to become more attractive and to recruit more members. Driving this network-based “white supremacy 3.0” strategy is the U.S. “Rise Above movement (RAM)/Active Club (AC)”, which currently has affiliated local “Active Clubs” in at least 25 U.S. states as well as in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Sweden and Canada. Connected to this U.S. “Active Club” network are two key RWE/REMVE organizations, the German “Kampf der Nibelungen” and “White Rex”. All three organizations are transnational in nature, have been cooperating for years and have their own events and tournaments, sports clothing brands and online merchandise stores to fund their activities. Those three key organizations are the engines of a wider network of likeminded groups in the EU, the United States, and Eastern Europe, in particular in Ukraine and Russia.
This webinar analyzes to what degree the new “white supremacy 3.0” strategy is anchored in different U.S. REMVE milieus and to what degree it is being exported to other countries, especially in the European Union. It will also investigate to what degree, and in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian war, RWE/REMVE combat sports networks in the EU and the United States are cooperating and how such networks could be used to plan and execute attacks or to grow from a combat sports focus to a military/militia phenomenon, also by connecting with existing RWE/REMVE militias.
Mr. Alexander Ritzmann is a senior advisor with the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Berlin, where he focuses on the effective countering of extremist/terrorist actors, in particular on violence-oriented far-right extremist (transnational) networks, offline and online. He is also advising the European Commission’s Radicalization Awareness Network (RAN), where he particularly focuses on extremist ideologies, narratives, and strategic communications. From 2018 until the end of the project in 2021, he co-developed and facilitated the “International Forum for Expert Exchange on Countering Islamist Extremism” (InFoEx) at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), where he still serves as an associate fellow.
This event is supported by the DAAD with funds from the Federal Foreign Office.