Spencer Sunshine, PhD, is a researcher, writer, activist, speaker, and political consultant regarding Far Right movements.
In 1990, he co-founded an anti-racist youth group in the metro Atlanta, Georgia to combat the influence of the Nazi skinhead movement, which was hegemonic in the local punk scene. Since 2005, he has written extensively about the U.S. Far Right. This includes postwar fascism, the Patriot/militia movement, left-right crossover movements, as well as antisemitic currents on both the Left and Right. Sunshine was present at the armed takeover of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January 2016. In August 2017 he was part of the counter-demonstration against the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was in the crowd during the car attack which killed Heather Heyer and injured about 30 others.
Sunshine has a doctorate in Sociology. His articles have been published in Truthout, Colorlines, The Forward, JTA, and Public Eye; his academic work has appeared in places like the Journal of Peasant Studies. Sunshine has been translated into numerous languages, and frequently contributes to the German press. His quotes as an expert on the Far Right have appeared in The Nation, The Forward, Teen Vogue, and L’Humanite, and he has been featured on podcasts and videos from MoveOn, Splinter, and Politically Reactive. A sought-after speaker, in addition to his many U.S. appearances, Sunshine held speaking tours in Germany (October 2016) and eastern Canada (April 2017). From 2013 to 2019, as a Fellow at the think tank Political Research Associates, he was one of only a tiny handful of people in the U.S. documenting the creation and rise to popularity of the new White Nationalism which became known as the Alt Right.
Sunshine has produced several reports and guides for non-profits. He the lead author of the book-length report Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement, produced for the Rural Organizing Project. SURJ published his 2018 guide 40 Ways to Fight Nazis: Forty Community-Based Actions You Can Take to Resist White Nationalist Organizing. And in 2020, Oregon Wild organized his report, Smokescreen: How Timber Unity has mainstreamed militia groups, Alt Right, and conspiracy theories in Oregon politics.
Sunshine is currently working on three books. This first is on the history of James Mason and Siege; the second is a history of the U.S. Nazi movement from the 1920s to the present; and the third is a reception study of Third Position fascism in the U.S.
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