‘Poorly-Funded’ White Supremacists Turning to Digital Platforms for Fortune Boost, New Anti-Defamation League Report Reveals
White supremacist groups in the US are “particularly poorly funded” but are flocking in droves to crowdfunding platforms and digital currencies in a bid to turn their fortunes around, a new report from the Anti-Defamation League revealed on Tuesday.
The report, “Funding Hate: How White Supremacists Raise Their Money,” observed, “Small in numbers and containing many adherents of little means, the white supremacist movement has a weak base for raising money compared to many other causes.”
However, the report continued, “recent developments, particularly in crowdfunding, may have provided the white supremacist movement with more fundraising opportunities than it has seen in some time. This raises the disturbing possibility that some white supremacists may become better funded in the future than they have been in the past.”
Traditional fundraising methods pose numerous challenges for white supremacists, the report stated. While many political organizations sell merchandise online to boost income, leading platforms like PayPal try to prevent Neo-Nazi and racist groups from holding accounts. Other avenues, such as advertising or fee-paying events, are similarly difficult because of the highly-limited appeal of racist politics. Neither, the report pointed out, is there much chance of a wealthy benefactor emerging from the shadows.
“There aren’t that many wealthy people out there truly sympathetic to hardcore white supremacist ideology — and of the few who exist, most would not want to be revealed as such,” the report said.
By contrast, white supremacists are meeting with some success on crowdfunding platforms. “For white supremacists, such campaigns can raise relatively small amounts of money far more quickly and easily than traditional methods,” the report noted. At the same time, conducting transactions using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin — now the preferred option for at least one high-profile white supremacist website — is attractive to these groups because of the relative ease of staying anonymous.
Announcing the publication of the report, Oren Segal — director of ADL’s Center on Extremism — emphasized the “need to remain vigilant as white supremacists exploit emerging technologies to
fund their activities.”
“The funding platforms and payment processors have a crucial role to play in this ongoing battle,” Segal said.