Life in the tiny farming town of Leith, N.D., was pretty peaceful until the neo-Nazis showed up. Or one neo-Nazi at least: Craig Cobb, 61, a self-confessed white supremacist who quietly appeared in the town last year, ostensibly looking for work in the North Dakota oil fields. At first, residents in the community about 60 miles southwest of Bismarck thought little of their new neighbor. Little did they realize that he had big plans for their town.
As the New York Times reports, Cobb — who is wanted in Canada for promoting hatred via his white power blog — began stealthily buying up properties in Leith, and now owns at least a dozen plots, as well as a house that he bought on Craigslist (naturally). Armed with all that property, he now hopes to transform the community into a white enclave. He has already donated the community's former meat locker and creamery to the National Socialist movement, and is hoping that other supremacists will move to the area soon to help him realize his vision.
Cobb has shared his unsettling vision on white power message boards, including one in which, according to the Times, he talks of a colony where residents fly "racialist" banners, and where "leftist journalists" who "come and try to make trouble" will be arrested.
Some of his other plans would seem quite pleasant... if it wasn't for their white supremacist overtones. According to the Bismarck Tribune, Cobb sees Leith as the perfect venue for a white power music festival, and also envisions a park with a swimming pool dedicated to a neo-Nazi. "They would all have to be approved by the town council, of course," says Cobb.
And that's where things get scary. Leith is so tiny that it only has 16 residents, says the Tribune. So, according to Cobb, it wouldn't take much for a bunch of white supremacists to move there and take over the council, if they so wish. "I only need 17 people," says Cobb. "You have to have a majority to win an election. If we get 22 we've got a landslide."
Unsurprisingly, Leith's residents are definitely not on board. In fact, they have a "doomsday plan" in place: If too many supremacists move in (though arguably one is already "too many"), they'll disband the town's government and turn over control to the county. As local farmer Arlene Wells put it to the Times:
"If that man wanted to live in Leith and be a good neighbor and be decent and not push his thoughts on the people, then he could there. But to come in and want to change everything and be the big dog — no. I don't like bulldogs." [New York Times]
Luckily for Leith, no other neo-Nazis have taken Cobb up on his offer... yet. But as the Grand Forks Herald reports, North Dakota is already home to three other white nationalist groups with aspirations of creating an all-white enclave: the American Freedom Party in Grand Forks, Crusaders for Yahweh in Bismarck and West Fargo, and Vinlanders Social Club in Alexander.
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