WARRENSBURG -- Members of the local branch of the Aryan Nation made a recruiting trip through Warrensburg this past weekend, distributing fliers and membership information in at least one Main Street business.
And a leader of the national organization said the local group isn’t going anywhere.
Erik Evansky was working at the local Smoke N Save Saturday afternoon when two men, one in a paramilitary style uniform and another in a Klu Klux Klan-style robe, entered the business, Evansky said.
The two men bought cigarettes and then tried to recruit him, he said.
“They said to me, ‘Have you ever thought about joining the fight, brother?’” Evansky said.
The men discussed “white genocide” in South Africa and suggested Evansky visit their organization’s website for more information.
Evansky said he declined the pitch and the two men left an application with him.
The two men were seen on Main Street by several area residents, and were spotted handing out literature.
“I have a few boys up there. I’m glad to hear they’re doing their job,” said Morris Gullett, the Louisiana-based leader of the Aryan Nation in the U.S.
Gullett said the organization recruits in both rural and urban settings throughout the world.
Aryan Nation members have been actively recruiting in the Lake George area for more than a year, he said.
“You never know where you might find a white man who’s fed up with the racial quagmire we’re in,” he said.
Mary Gooden, president of the Glens Falls chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said she was unaware of the local recruitment push by the Aryan Nation.
The local NAACP board will convene soon and discuss how to best approach the issue, Gooden said.
The recruiters made rounds Sunday at the Warren County Fair Grounds, which is hosting the Warrensburg Bike Rally, according to the event’s organizer.
“They just walked up and down the aisles,” said event organizer Ed Zibro. “It was really weird. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”
Evansky said one of the men said he works at a nearby tattoo shop and offered his services.
Smoke N Save manager Mike Swanson said the information the men left, including a local phone number and a membership application, was thrown out.
Warrensburg residents first reported last year the appearance of Aryan Nation literature posted on the walls at several area businesses.
The Aryan Nation is the political arm of the Church of Jesus Christ Christians, Gullett said.
The fliers had been removed when a Post-Star reporter visited the businesses last summer.
The organization’s website, www.southafricaproject.info, is stuffed with reports of racially motivated attacks on whites in South Africa and essays about the decline of American white people.
“The folks up there have no reason to fear the Aryan Nation,” Gullett said. “The only people who fear the Nation are afraid of the truth.”
The Aryan Nation’s base is largely populated by young, white males.
The movement’s racially charged hardcore punk rock has for years been a recruitment tool.
The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the nonviolent activities of the Aryan Nation, and other similar groups, are protected under the freedom of speech clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution.