This pastoral region of North Dakota is being sought out by Neo-Nazis as a new base of operations. Looks like that will not happen. (Image Source: USDA)
North Dakota is the focus of some unfortunate attention in recent days. The white supremacist Neo-Nazi group National Socialist Movement, led by commander Jeff Schoep, seeks to take over the tiny town of Leith, located in the southern part of the state, after a local resident purchased property for them to set up shop. The locals, including Native Americans from nearby reservations, protested loudly against the appearance of the Neo-Nazis over the weekend. The town of Leith itself offered up a solution to prevent the Neo-Nazi takeover: End the town's existence, rather than let it fall into their hands.
The National Socialist Movement, a successor of the American Nazi Party, maintains a low membership of at least 400 members throughout the country, though estimates are conservative by many standards. Political activity among the Neo-Nazis is fairly limited because of the membership base being very small, though there have been some attempts to take over smaller municipal agencies from time to time, as well as make a botched attempt at entering pop culture. Efforts to take on public office, though, have always been shouted down by the public.
The move to take over Leith, North Dakota, is based on a simple premise that the town has a population of 15. It would not be hard to move a dozen or so voting-age Neo-Nazis into town, then vote themselves into office in Leith. By doing this, the Neo-Nazis would have a town to themselves, and establish a model of which to take over other small towns, of which there are plenty marked throughout the plains and in the Rocky Mountains. It would also be a way to establish themselves as legit.
Thankfully, Leith is too small a town that can easily sustain itself, and could dissolve itself if necessary. With a median age of 55, the town is already dying out, so the act should come easily. In performing unincorporation, as the process of dissolution is called, the population and infrastructure of Leith would simply become part of Grant County, which has its own infrastructure for the majority of its residents, population 2,333. Unincorporating Leith would make it hard for the Neo-Nazis to make their own town. Re-incorporation of Leith would be difficult, since it would require approval from the Grant County government, which they will likely deny at this point.
Not helping the Neo-Nazis is that they are situating themselves near the Dakota tribe, which occupy the Standing Rock reservation. The Dakota are not happy with the presence of white supremacists, especially given that such thinking is what got the tribe placed in a reservation in the first place. Their presence dominated protests against the Neo-Nazis this weekend.
Furthermore, it was uncovered that the person leading the Neo-Nazi takeover effort, Craig Cobb, resides in a house deemed unfit for human habitation, and may be condemned by health inspectors. If the National Socialist Movement wants to move somewhere they can set up shop, it is probably not wise to be near minorities that will no doubt object to their presence, and where they, you know, have actual houses.