Resident alerted Home Reporter after spotting Patriot Front messages
UPDATE: The story has been updated to reflect the fact that the Patriot Front has acknowledged putting up postings around Brooklyn.
PARK SLOPE — The notorious white nationalist group Patriot Front is seeking to spread its message to more neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
In the wake of the shocking discovery of a Patriot Front poster on a wall on 86th Street near Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, as well as the siting of a banner promoting the group on a Belt Parkway overpass at 80th Street, the group’s posters have suddenly popped up in Park Slope, according to a resident of that neighborhood.
Richard Land contacted the Home Reporter via email on Jan. 4 to alert the newspaper that his son had seen four Patriot Front posters glued to the facades of buildings along Eighth Avenue between Fifth Street and 15th Street. “My son ripped them down,” he wrote in his email.
In an interview with the Home Reporter on Jan. 6, Land said an additional Patriot Front poster was found that same morning at Eighth Avenue and Fourth Street.
“It’s really disturbing that this group feels free to promote itself in Brooklyn. White nationalist and neo-Nazi groups have been operating in this country for years. But they have been mostly underground. Now, it seems that with our current political climate, they feel more emboldened to come out into the open,” he said.
The posters found in Park Slope differ slightly from the flyer pasted to a Bay Ridge wall. The Park Slope posters include a slogan, “Revolution is Tradition,” along with the group’s website, www.patriotfront.us.
The poster championing the Patriot Front found on the wall of a building on 86th Street between Third and Fourth avenues last week contained the slogan “To Ourselves and Our Posterity” in large lettering.
The handmade banner promoting the Patriot Front that was discovered hanging over a Belt Parkway overpass on 80th Street on Jan. 4 carried the slogan “Defend American Labor” and listed the group’s website.
In response to the posters, 11 grassroots organizations, including Fight Back Bay Ridge, got together and held an anti-hate rally at 86th Street and Third Avenue on Jan. 5, the same day that a march against anti-Semitism drew approximately 25,000 people to Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. The protesters formed a human chain along the avenue.
But some skepticism emerged following the public outcry over the poster.
A few people who posted on the Bay Ridge Talk page on Facebook hinted that they think the posters were actually placed by left-wing political advocates seeking to make those on the right side of the political aisle look bad.
“How do you know leftists didn’t place them? Typical ruse of theirs,” one man wrote on the page.
“These posters were put up to stir things up,” wrote another man.
These theories, however, have been debunked. Patriot Front has since taken credit for the placement of ads around the borough, as well as in other cities. Since the New Year, the group has plastered ads across at least 30 cities, according to its Telegram account. The posters could indicate that the Patriot Front is seeking to establish a beachhead in Brooklyn.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (https://www.splcenter.org), a legal advocacy organization that monitors extremist groups in the U.S., has identified the Patriot Front as a white nationalist hate group.
The Patriot Front is a splinter group that broke off from a larger organization, Vanguard America, following the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In that incident, clashes between white supremacist groups and protesters grew violent, resulting in the death of one protester, Heather Heyer. Heyer was killed when a man plowed his car into a group of protesters.
On its website, the Anti-Defamation League (https://www.adl.org) described the Patriot Front as an organization that “falls into the alt-right segment of the white supremacist movement but presents itself as a ‘patriotic’ nationalist group.”
A look at www.patriotfront.us reveals a manifesto, as well as slogans like “Reclaim American” and “Fight for the Future.”
“Our national way of life faces complete annihilation as our culture and heritage are attacked from all sides,” the group warns in its manifesto.
The lengthy manifesto includes references to the European roots of the nation’s first settlers.
“When our European ancestors first came to this savage continent, they had a variety of purpose. Set against the harsh life on the frontier and the common enemy in the strange, unexplored reaches of America yet to be touched by civilization, they found a common cause and a common identity as Americans. To be an American is to be a descendant of conquerors, pioneers, visionaries, and explorers. This unique identity was given to us by our ancestors, and this national spirit remains firmly rooted in our blood,” the manifesto reads in part.
The Patriot Front “espouses racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance under the guise of preserving the ‘ethnic and cultural origins’ of their European ancestors,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.