Tough Guy White Supremacists Given Lesson In Politeness By Good Citizens Of Philly
On Sunday night, members of the rightwing white supremacist fascist group Patriot Front attempted to invade the City of Brotherly Love by pouring out of a clown car/truck in matching outfits and marching around with what appeared to be their turtlenecks pulled up over their heads while holding flags with fascist symbols and American flags, both right-side up and upside down.
Fascists are in Center City. https://t.co/48OmTWeDWY— Abdul-Aliy (@Abdul-Aliy)1625370104.0
While it's not totally clear what the hell they intended to accomplish with this, they ended up getting chased away by the citizenry of Philadelphia and trying to disguise their return to their Penske moving trucks with a smoke bomb.
Add this to an embarrassing day for Nazis. Patriot Fart getting chased out of Philly https://t.co/H2hmsxgsj5— ACAB🔥🔥🔥STUDIOS (@ACAB🔥🔥🔥STUDIOS)1625376694.0
Alas, the Criss Angel antics were unsuccessful, as it was pretty clear what they were doing.
Here is another good video of Philadelphia locals chasing off the fascists.
Patriots *stay* Fronting. #PatriotFront #July4th #WhiteSupremacists #OffOurStreets https://t.co/U3EmSmpfmc— ((( MGW, PhD ))) (@((( MGW, PhD ))))1625445973.0
Police said no one in the group was from Philadelphia. The group is based in Texas and traveled into the city.
"They started engaging with citizens of Philadelphia, who were none too happy about what they were saying. These males felt threatened, and, at one point, somebody in their crowd threw a type of smoke bomb to cover their retreat, and they literally ran away from the people of Philadelphia," said Philadelphia Police Officer Michael Crum.
Police later questioned the entire radical group after pulling their trucks over for safety reasons along Delaware Avenue.
Patriot Front, while based in Texas, is a national group, and this is not the first time they have struck in Philadelphia. Notably, they vandalized a mural of George Floyd there back in June, covering it in white paint and their own logo. The group has been recruiting heavily in the area, through posters and banners and other tactics.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the hate group as "an image-obsessed organization that rehabilitated the explicitly fascist agenda of Vanguard America with garish patriotism. Patriot Front focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country."
Patriot Front was initially formed by then-19-year-old Thomas Rousseau and other members of Vanguard America after the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville. Long story short, Rousseau and the others realized that the arrest of VA member James Alex Fields Jr. for murdering Heather Heyer with his car plus all the "Jews will not replace us" chants were "bad optics" that would not endear them to the masses. So they became "Patriot Front," took over Vanguard America's bloodandsoil.org website and switched out a lot of the fascist imagery for patriotic American imagery, noting in their manifesto that patriot has the same root as "paternal" and "patriarchy" (derived from the Greek patrios, meaning father) and thus, to them, suggests "loyalty to something intrinsically based in blood."
Well, they did keep some of the fascist imagery — one of the flags they were carrying last night included the fascist imagery of bundled sticks surrounded by stars, so that's charming.
Displays like the one this weekend in Philadelphia are part of their M.O. — they like to portray themselves as simply a bunch of super patriotic Americans in hopes that this will give them a broader appeal, ideally to the kind of white American conservatives who watch a lot of Tucker Carlson and are on the precipice of embracing full-on white supremacist fascism.
They are virulently anti-Semitic and racist, though they tend to try to frame this as simply wanting America to return to its roots as a "pan-European" nation, claiming that people of other races simply do not belong here as they are not part of the nation's "founding stock."
The fact that they embarrassed themselves so fiercely last night and have done so in the past does not, unfortunately, mean that they are not any kind of real threat. In fact, humiliating themselves may even be part of their overall plan — making them seem sympathetic in the eyes of those who might tend to agree with them. Membership in rightwing extremist groups is increasing all over the globe, as well as in the United States, particularly following the January 6 insurrection. Domestic terrorism has increased here as well. But hopefully we can do as good a job of pushing back against them as the citizens of Philadelphia did last night.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse