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May 14, 20

Neo-Nazi Group Patriot Front Vandalizes Historic Gilman Street Punk Venue

Earlier this week, neo-Nazi group Patriot Front vandalized the front of the historic Gilman Street punk music venue (recently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic) with a stencil promoting its website and various stickers. The graffiti is only the latest in an ongoing campaign by Patriot Front members to promote the organization in the bay area. Local antifascist groups report that Patriot Front stickers have also been recently found (and quickly destroyed) around the UC Berkeley campus and in various bay area cities.

Antifascist crew Bay 161 reported:

Promotional materials in the form of stickers, posters and stencils have been placed in various locations around the Bay Area with increasing frequency – over 50 times in approximately six months. Their members are fond of hitting places with cultural relevance, especially those perceived to be left-leaning, as revealed by their Twitter account. Repeat locations include Golden Gate Park, UC Berkeley, and Alameda. Some places are deliberately high profile, such as the corner of Haight and Ashbury and most recently, the front door of DIY space 924 Gilman Street. 

Patriot Front is a re-brand of Vanguard America, which grew out of the neo-Nazi web-forum, Iron March. Violent paramilitary organizations such as Atomwaffen, which has been linked to several murders and bombing plots, also grew out of the same online space and such groups continue to have some crossover with Patriot Front. In 2017, Vanguard America was part of a coalition named the Nationalist Front, which included other neo-Nazi organizations, KKK chapters, and neo-Confederate groups, that marched in Charlottesville at the deadly Unite the Right rally. Seen wearing a Vanguard America uniform and carrying a shield with the group’s logo was James Alex Fields, Jr, who later in the day would murder antifascist protester, Heather Heather. Following the events in Charlottesville, Vanguard America rebranded itself as Patriot Front, in an attempt to distance themselves from the violence.

Patriot Front leader on left, Thomas Rousseau, and James Alex Fields, Jr, on right

Despite this, the group has been linked to numerous other violence acts. In Florida, members of the group were part of a security detail for neo-Nazi leader Richard Spencer, who was speaking on a local college campus. After the event, members of the group opened fire on counter-protesters who were waiting at a bus stop, almost killing them. Members of Patriot Front have also held rallies outside of various anarchist bookfairs and events in an attempt to harass those inside. Many believe they are also responsible for various acts of vandalism at Infoshops and radical bookstores.

Since 2016, Alt-Right and white nationalist groups have had an increased presence in the bay area, often with disastrous results. In 2016 and 2017, Identity Evropa, now re-branded as the American Identity Movement, attempted to hold several events in the bay area, only to be pushed off the streets. Local neo-Nazi podcaster and Unite the Right speaker, Johnny Monoxide was driven out of Berkeley after he was identified to the wider community. Patrick Little, a neo-Nazi who called openly for violence against Jews, was also outed as living in the bay area and has now left the region.

The bay area has a rich antifascist history. From fighting the KKK in the post-Civil Rights period, kicking neo-Nazis out of the punk scene and clubs such as Gilman street in the early 1990s, to mass mobilizations against the Alt-Right in the post-Trump period. With community education, mobilization, and increased communication, here’s to hoping that Patriot Front will soon become simply the latest group of pathetic racists to be run out of town.

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It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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