By Michael Bielawski
A group calling itself ‘PINE’ or the ‘People’s Initiative in New England’ emerged in Montpelier during the flood cleanup. PINE identifies itself as white supremacists who want New England to secede from the United States.
The elusive group appears to not have any publicly identifiable members and describes itself as a patriotic organization aligned with several common conservative causes coupled with white supremacist-related causes.
They have a social media profile on Gab, and its members’ faces are blurred out in all of their photos or they are seen wearing masks. Not far down its main page is a post about their apparent cleanup efforts in Montpelier, with photos showing men working with Montpelier Alive and others to carry damaged appliances and debris amid the cleanup.
Despite their extremist views, the group has seemingly no formal interactions with local law enforcement. In a phone conversation on Monday that VDC had with Marc Poulin, Sheriff for the Washington County’s Sheriff’s Department, he said “This is the first I’ve ever heard of them” when asked about them.
In an email interaction with the Montpelier Police Department also on Monday morning, the response was similar.
“The Montpelier Police Department did not have any known involvements with the group,” wrote Eric Nordenson, their Chief of Police.
Also on Monday a Montpelier city counselor who neglected to go on the record similarly said to VDC, “I don’t know anything about it” when asked of the group.
The organization itself has not responded to requests for comment.
The group does post a comment addressing their elusive nature. On Gab they posted “Due to the hostility surrounding the political climate today, some of our volunteers have decided to utilize face coverings to protect their families and livelihoods from potential attacks by Antifa Terrorists and other groups.”
PINE may be a relatively new organization. Its earliest post is from April 20, and it’s an apparent introduction to the group.
It states, “The People’s Initiative of New England is a grassroots effort founded to advocate for and advance the interests of New Englanders. By focusing on these six states, we are able to maximize our impact where it matters most – our home.”
“New England will be formally recognized as a White Homeland and a sovereign state. ….Institutions of the US Federal Government will no longer be recognized.”
It continues with some comments regarding race.
“New England is the Whitest region in North America, and it is here that our unique Pan-European identity was originally established,” the group states. “The conquered territories that make up present-day New England were paid for in generations of sweat and blood by our forefathers, and we intend to be worthy of that sacrifice. If someone is not of European descent, they are not a New Englander.”
The group says they advocate for popular conservative causes such as to “break up and exclude media conglomerates and corporate monopolies” and they are for “policies that are Pro-Family both economically and socially.”
Mixed in with those are more statements indicating that they identify as white supremacists. For example, they want to “end all Non-White migration to New England” and “English will be designated the sole official language.”
The group is facing skepticism from social media commentators who suspect that the organization could be run by the feds in an attempt to demonize conservatives. A post by @thehozer99 simply states “Feds!” Another disputes that notion, @MalteseFalcon posted “Hopefully the retards will stop calling people like you feds.”
Other commenters seem to support the group. Gab user @Nomad01603 wrote “Keep up the amazing work!! New England doesn’t need to look like California or NY….. Keep NE White.”
The author is a reporter for Vermont Daily Chronicle
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Categories: Society & Culture