By Savannah Muñoz and Mextli Lopez
Patriot Front, a fascist extremist group, boasted about its poster party antics over the weekend in cities across the nation, including Orange and Anaheim. They tweeted pictures of their fashy propaganda on street signs and light poles, including a “Keep America American” poster in Orange encouraging folks to report “illegal aliens” to the Department of Homeland Security. Over in Anaheim, a map of the United States featured the caps locked caption: “CONQUERED, NOT STOLEN.”
The social media stunt proved to be short-lived, at least far as OC goes. Fashys must not check their weather app much. Weekend rain caused poster colors to run and fade in Orange where they were put up by Santiago Canyon College. Within hours, local anti-fascists (antifa) responded in Anaheim by finding stickers around downtown and tearing them down, deeming the effort “city re-beautification!”
While the stickers attempt to call white supremacists out of hiding, Anaheim has seen this kind of intimidation in the past. In December 2015, three Klansmen waved Confederate flags at Pearson Park before being run off by punks. A few more returned in February 2016 for the infamous “White Lives Do Matter” Ku Klux Klan rally that ended in a brawl, three stabbings and 13 arrests.
The Loyal White Knights of the KKK also left recruitment fliers in Brea and Orange in recent years.
Patriot Front formed in the aftermath of the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. They are a splinter group from Vanguard America, a neo-nazi group that promotes turning America into a white ethno-state. Members appeared with a “Deport Them All” banner at an anti-immigrant rally in Laguna Beach a little more than a year ago.
Over the past few weeks, Patriot Front has increased their poster sprees in OC. Irvine, Mission Viejo, Orange and Newport Beach have all been targeted communities for these campaigns.
“Sticker campaigns like these demonstrate the current emboldening of white supremacists and neo-nazis,” says an activist, who wished to stay anonymous, as they crumple up a fistful of flyers while walking down Lincoln Avenue. “We have a lot of work to do with the community. We can’t let them be recruited into these movements.”
For now, fashys enjoyed all the short-lived notoriety of your favorite almost famous local band slapping their sticker to the back side of a street sign.