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 the Alt Right and White Nationalists, the Patriot movements and militias, and antisemitic currents. 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 and his articles have been published in a range of publications, including Truthout, Colorlines, The Forward, JTA, and Public Eye, as well as in academic journals such as the Journal of Peasant Studies. Sunshine has been translated into numerous languages, and frequently contributes to the German press. He has been quoted in The Nation, The Forward, L’Humanite, and VG, and he has appeared on numerous podcasts, videos, and radio shows. 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. A 2018 organizing guide was released in 2020 as Forty Ways to Fight Fascists: Street Legal Tactics for Community Activists. And Oregon Wild organized his 2020 report, Smokescreen: How Timber Unity has mainstreamed militia groups, Alt Right, and conspiracy theories in Oregon politics.
Sunshine is currently working on a book about the history of James Mason and Siege;, and other on the history of the U.S. Nazi movement from the 1920s to the present. He is also the co-author of a forthcoming festschrift for veteran Far Right watcher Chip Berlet.
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