There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about more infamous hate groups thanks to media reports about them. Groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Patriot Front actively sought the media attention they received. They knew that no matter how bad they looked to the vast majority of people, reports about them boost their membership numbers and merchandise sales, and their message spreads whether they were challenged or not.
Everyone knows them. But there are hundreds of other groups just like them (and worse) all over the country that avoid media. One of the more favored groups among young white in recent years is called Active Club, an offshoot of the now-defunct white supremacist group Rise Above Movement (RAM). Like RAM, Active Club models itself like the Fight Club movie plot and is billed by its founder as the “premier MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) club of the alt-right”.
And they are discreet.
One of the main reasons groups like Active Club go unnoticed is due to its decentralized nature and the cross-over with other hate groups like the Proud Boys and Patriot Front. Previously, RAM’s centralized leadership structure allowed authorities to target them with charges of conspiracy to riot. Since reestablishing themselves using a more fragmented setup that makes leaders harder to target, they’ve branched off into two brands to spread their message: Will2Rise and Media2Rise.
“At Will2Rise, we go out of our way to make sure all products and designs are created by those who share our values and identity. All products are made in Eastern Europe, so not a single hand touches the production that is not of like mind. In doing this, we keep Our people employed and keep all funds within our ranks, something that not many other brands can claim.”Will2Rise “About” page
Will2Rise is the merchandise outlet for the Active Club scene. They sell apparel with violent white nationalist undertones. Media2Rise acts as a media outlet that caters to white nationalist ideologies. Both outlets promote the formation of “fitness” clubs while facilitating exposure across a broader network of groups and providing a more expansive reach of RAM’s hateful principles targeting young white men in recruitment efforts.
Despite media coverage from several larger media outlets over the years, the lack of discussion about this group and others like it is noticeable as they continue to grow and spread their hateful ideas. When one hate group falls apart, as they often do, others are created almost immediately to provide an outlet for prospective members. This leads to exponential and unabated growth.
Message of Hate
While the messaging from hate groups often echoes each other, their ideological differences have historically prevented these gangs from forming a united front. Throughout history, groups like the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) couldn’t maintain a national leadership structure which resulted in a more fragmented approach that unintentionally worked in their favor. While divisions among Klan members manifested in power struggles between leadership and local chapters, the KKK’s success now hinges on evading law enforcement. A strategy popularized by Klansman David Duke.
Duke also normalized what I often refer to as the “Kleen Kut Klansmen”. The new KKK wears suits, uses coded language, and runs for political office. We find them in police forces, in elected positions of power, in our healthcare system, and beyond. Most modern-day hate groups have adopted many of Duke’s strategies. Others, like Active Club and the Proud Boys, adopted and remixed them into businesses that generate immense revenue to keep their operations going.
Many lessons have been learned from other groups. As I often say, hate is big business. From merchandising and social media platforms to hate groups and media outlets like Breitbart, the wealthiest people in the world invest their money in extremists because it’s profitable and it helps keep the attention away from themselves and their corruption. That profit motive helps create more and more hate groups because leaders earn a great living promoting bigotry.
“After 20 minutes of the Nazi group being there, Jeffery Perrine, a local Proud Boy, showed up and immediately shook hands with a member of Norcal Active Club. He was given a news interview with local media where he was allowed to dictate the narrative of the day’s events and had two quotes featured in the KCRA news story.”It’s Going Down News
The danger of groups like Active Club is the support they’re receiving from other hate groups and parts of the MMA world and their fast-spreading multi-level marketing strategy. Think AVON for racists. Now, most would think their Ponzi Scheme will fail and they may be right. But the damage they’re doing along the way is widespread and won’t disappear with their failure. A brief look at their social media presence on Telegram is telling. And they’re making their way to other platforms like TikTok and Instagram with their more discrete messaging.
Threats from these gangs thrive because of the lack of confrontation by friends and parents of the young men recruited by them. This complacency creates an environment of unchecked hate. A lack of resistance telling prospective recruits they must be right or that what they’re doing is okay. Meanwhile, parents are losing kids to a life of hate and self-loathing disguised as machismo. People may not think that they are associated with the next mass murderer, but can they say that with a straight face? Without concern for the public? Their child?
For far too many parents, that answer is a resounding no.
Who is Robert Rundo?
Robert Rundo is the founder of both the Rise Above Movement and Active Club. As with all hate groups, they have a well-defined leadership structure despite their “leaderless” movements. The KKK was never leaderless and neither are the Proud Boys, Patriot Front, or Active Club. Gavin McInness created the Proud Boys and still maintains control of them through influence. What he says on social media channels is echoed by the violent rank-and-file members of the group.
For Active Club and other groups, it’s no different. Their influence and propaganda motivate members to react violently to anything determined to be contradictory to their idea of “Western Chauvinism” – the idea that “the West” is under attack by people who aren’t white and male. Their motivations are dog-whistled versions of the racist “white extinction” conspiracy theories. Rundo shamelessly made these ideas widely known as he fled to various parts of the world to avoid charges for actual conspiracy. His message is received by myriad communities.
And it’s violent.
“Decade of increasingly anti-white policies and an intentional deterioration of national identity among Western nations at the hands of a hostile elite have left many people among our movement vulnerable and (socially and financially) fragile. Due to this fragility, those seeking to cooperate with media outlets must exercise extreme caution and discretion. We at Media2Rise recognize the importance of establishing relationships built on trust, and we aim to be the #1 independent media outlet for nationalists worldwide.”Media2Rise “About Us” page
In 2018, Rundo was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on federal conspiracy charges after he fled the country to hide out in Central America. According to the FBI, the RAM founder was apprehended and extradited back to the US after traveling through Mexico. He was charged and arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport upon returning to the US.
In 2020, Bellingcat exposed Rundo in Serbia where he was building a base. In February 2021, Serbian authorities expelled Rundo from the country. But, in November of 2021, Rundo posted a video of himself on his Telegram channel that exposed his location in Belgrade, Serbia. After the revelations about his whereabouts became public, he fled the country and eventually settled in Bucharest, Romania. On March 29, 2023, Rundo was apprehended after US authorities requested his arrest on charges of conspiracy to riot and riot activities between 2016 and 2018.
Robert Rundo is currently facing extradition back to the United States.
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