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OPINION

Anti-migrant fringe group NSC-131 not so fringe

The New England-based neo-Nazi group is apparently trying to recruit new members on the South Shore.

A still of a video posted on Sept. 19, 2023, by the Nationalist Social Club to its public page on Telegram. The neo-Nazi group said it was demonstrating outside the Red Roof Inn hotel in Framingham.TELEGRAM

Carrying banners with messages like “Invaders: go home” and “New England is ours, the rest must go,” members of a home-grown neo-Nazi group have been showing up lately to protest outside emergency shelters where the state of Massachusetts is housing migrants.

The New England-based organization, called NSC-131, is now apparently trying to recruit new members on the South Shore.

Taken together, the protests and recruitment efforts are indicative of how active the extremist group has become. It is time for the state and law enforcement agencies to start taking NSC-131 as more than an idle threat.

NSC-131 stands for Nationalist Social Club and 131 is an alphanumeric code for ACA, or Anti-Communist Action, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The organization was founded in 2019 by Chris Hood, a former member of white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys and Patriot Front, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Globe investigative reporter Hanna Krueger documented the rise of NSC-131 in an August news story. Krueger found that the neo-Nazi organization has some 30 to 40 members, which include service members. “At least 10 military veterans have been linked to NSC-131,” Krueger wrote.

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Up until the end of summer, NSC-131 had been more focused on protesting outside drag queen story hour events all over New England. Last July, Hood was arrested for an altercation outside a drag queen event in Jamaica Plain that the group was protesting. (Hood was charged with public fighting but was found not guilty after a judge determined that the prosecutors had not presented enough evidence.)

In recent weeks, though, the organization has been showing up at hotels and motels that the state has contracted as emergency shelters to house recently arrived migrants and asylum seekers. These demonstrations get episodic media coverage. Yet it seems like the neo-Nazi group is gaining organic strength.

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NSC-131 has been posting images of the protests to its public page on the messaging app Telegram, which has nearly 6,500 subscribers. There are images of recent demonstrations in Woburn, Marlborough, Framingham, and Quincy. In all of the photos, members of NSC-131 have their faces covered.

A recent post shows a video with an introductory text that reads: “NSC 131 activists demonstrated outside of the Red Roof Inn in Framingham, Massachusetts to confront invaders and their enablers. Over 100 Haitians are being housed there with taxpayer dollars in the midst of a region-wide housing shortage. New England is ours, the rest must go.” It’s a chilling message. Still, I suspect many of us will be tempted to dismiss the neo-Nazi group and its activities as fringe. But as resistance against housing migrants in local communities grows — for recent examples, look at Bourne and Yarmouth — NSC-131 may be recognizing that there are a lot of potential allies out there.

The Plymouth Police Department published on Facebook an image of a flier that was recently distributed in Plymouth, according to the post.Plymouth Police Department

The white supremacist group clearly must think that it has something to sell. As The Patriot Ledger reported Monday, NSC-131 allegedly distributed recruitment fliers in several neighborhoods in Plymouth, according to a social media post by the Plymouth Police Department.

According to the Ledger, one of the fliers described the organization as “a pro-white street-oriented fraternity dedicated to raising authentic resistance to the enemies of our people in the New England area” and said that the group was looking for “men of European descent in the New England area that wish to see a better future for your people.”

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For its part, the Plymouth police said on social media that the flier seems to be within the confines of the First Amendment. “Of course, we do not like this type of literature, or any like it that pits any race, creed or religion against each other.” The good news is that police also noted in the post that there’s an ongoing investigation “by this department and our Federal partners.”

The rhetoric that NSC-131 is spouting — calling potential asylum seekers invaders — is xenophobic and dangerous. Given its increasing activity, the neo-Nazi group may not be as fringe as people would like to think it is.


Marcela García is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at marcela.garcia@globe.com. Follow her @marcela_elisa and on Instagram @marcela_elisa.