By ALEX DAVIS Era Reporter
The neo-Nazis are coming back to Potter County.
The National Socialist Movement of Pennsylvania, a whites-only political organization, is planning to meet in Potter County next week, prompting many local residents to rally against the cause.
“Our goal is to turn Pennsylvania into a stronghold of white supremacy,” National Socialist Movement of Pennsylvania leader Steve Bowers told The Era on Monday afternoon.
The event is slated for Aug. 13 somewhere in or around Ulysses. That’s the same community that in 2002 had been the site of the Aryan World Congress, which included skinheads, Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white power bands. For several years, the white supremacist group Aryan Nations had a presence in the county.
For the upcoming event, the National Socialist Movement said in a flyer that it is inviting “all White Patriots” to attend the meeting along Route 49 near Coudersport, and for people to “bring the kids.”
Gates open at 4 p.m.; the exact address for the meeting has not been disclosed. A Swastika lighting is planned at dusk, and, according to the movement’s website, the Swastika represents the white race.
At the same time of the event, area residents are planning to counteract the meeting with a peaceful protest, one of individuals saying that, “we cannot allow this element into our county.”
The National Socialist Movement meeting’s purpose is to meet, talk and organize, Bowers said. The event will cover a myriad of topics, including the fact that police officers have been shot at in recent months. Bowers also said the meeting will include talk of people who have been violently protesting events held by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“We don’t advocate any kind of violence because it’s just self-defeating and stupid,” said Bowers, whose real name is Steve Nastasi.
But with the upcoming general election, Bowers said some members aren’t sure of Trump, while others believe the businessman and television personality would get some business completed. One thing is for certain is the group doesn’t favor Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The National Socialist Party’s core beliefs include defending the rights of white people everywhere, preservation of our European culture and heritage, strengthening family values, economic self-sufficiency, reform of illegal immigration policies, immediate withdrawal of our national military from an illegal Middle Eastern occupation, and promotion of white separation, according to its website.
“Pennsylvania’s always been a stronghold of white resistance,” Bowers said.
And the group is hoping to change that, Bowers said, and said he feels the event would be a “good start.”
But state Rep. Martin Causer, R-Turtlepoint, who represents most of Potter County, said he adamantly disagrees with the group’s viewpoints.
“Our country needs people to unite it, not divide it. It needs more cooperation and understanding, not hate and anger,” he said.
What’s more, area resident Joe Leschner, who is organizing the peaceful protest, dubbed the Potter County Anti-Racism Rally, called the upcoming event hate-filled.
“This particular group is associated with the Aryan Nation. I believe next to the KKK, it’s the second biggest white supremacist group in the country,” he said.
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