For years, neo-Nazis have converged in Philadelphia for ‘Leif Erikson Day,’ and since 2013, they have faced intense opposition. This year, neo-Nazis failed to materialize on the actual day but antifascists and anarchists converged regardless, as the Leif Erikson statue was fabulously redecorated. Neo-Nazis did mobilize however in secret for the following week, and people in Philadelphia were ready to meet them head on, as Philly Antifa reports.
Acting on an anonymous tip sent by an infiltrator within Neo-Nazi circles, Antifa Philadelphia, Love City Antifa, local anarchists and several other organizations/individuals arrived at Fairmount Park Saturday morning to confirm that Keystone State Skinheads were indeed holding their Leif Erikson Day event.
Even before the Nazis had arrived, there were indicators that the tip was true. Civil affairs and Uniform PD were on the scene around the Gazebo, and a small detachment of Antifa were being shadowed by bike cops. Eventually though, Antifa made visual confirmation of Mark Daniel “Illegal Aryan” Reardon heading towards the Gazebo on Lemon Hill on his red bike.
Reardon met up with Bryan Christopher Sawyer, the model who was fired from his job at the PA Academy of Fine Arts after posting a video of himself harassing a black woman with racist and sexist insults and abuse. Sawyer was repping Red Ice, a Neo-Nazi media company based in Sweden.
Antifa attempted to approach Reardon and Sawyer to discuss some of their activities, but unsurprisingly they elected to run to the safety of Philly Police Department who had begun to congregate up around the Gazebo to undertake their traditional role as protectors for Fascists and Nazis.
“The Thorfinn Karlsefni statue got tarred, glittered, and spray painted before Lief Erikson day.” From Philly Anti-Capitalist
By now, KSS began to arrive in carloads. We blasted the info out on social media in hopes of gathering some more opposition on short notice. Surprisingly, this appears to have been a new low in terms of attendance for KSS for this event. They managed to muster only about 25 Nazis to rally despite having opened up the event to strangers like Reardon and Sawyer and having gathered 40+ for the last 3 years since moving the event underground following a disastrous 2013 event.
Their original plan was to march all the way to the art museum to give speeches in front of the Washington Monument in Eakins Oval which were to be broadcast on Red Ice. Once Antifa began to form up, though, that plan was quickly abandoned in favor of their time honored tradition of saying some dumb shit in a megaphone at the Thorfin Karlsefni Statue while Antifa chanted, shouted at and heckled them. After maybe 20 minutes at the statue, police pushed Antifa down the sidewalk and street to escort the Nazis back up Lemon Hill and to their cars.
“The Antifa fought bravely, using mace and fists to defend themselves against the bones who were armed with various weapons. Two of the Antifa sustained minor injuries. It could have been even worse, but a wedding was being held at the Swedish History Museum. As a result, the KSS after-party ended before it could even begin.”
As the Nazis left, Anti-Fascists blocked Lemon Hill Road to get pictures of the vehicles for future identification of any Fascists yet unknown to us.
The leaked info also gave Anti-Fascists the details on the KSS after party in FDR park, which was to be held in the stone pavilion behind the Swedish History Museum. Anti-Fascists also blasted this info out and small groups began arriving in the area.
This proved to be the one major mis-step Antifa made that day. By just releasing the info and not giving a point for opposition to converge, a roving band of about 15 KSS bones were able to target small groups of Anti-Fascists. One car with 2 Anti-Racist Punx was surrounded by KSS, some of whom were armed with pistols. Fortunately, they were able to de-escalate the situation and were uninjured. Less fortunately, 3 Anti-Fascists who had arrived on the scene to try and help evacuate the Punx were recognized from the earlier demo and attacked by KSS. The Antifa fought bravely, using mace and fists to defend themselves against the bones who were armed with various weapons. Two of the Antifa sustained minor injuries.
It could have been even worse, but a wedding was being held at the Swedish History Museum. Bystanders began recording the incident on their phones which prompted the KSS bones to run (well, one was limping) for their cars and leave the area. As a result, the KSS after-party ended before it could even begin.
10 years on and smaller than ever… Keep it up, yall.
While the Nazis’ event was totally ruined and shut down prematurely both at Fairmount and FDR, we cannot claim full victory when any of our comrades are injured. We also recognize that the situation in FDR park could have gone much worse. This op was planned on almost no notice and questionable intel which presented a real challenge for us. That all said, it’s safe to say that Leif Erikson Day 2017 was a disaster for KSS thanks to the bravery and hard work of local and regional Anti-Fascists.
Here are some pics of the Fascists who showed up Saturday. Our goal is to identify every single participant and expose them as the Nazis they are to their neighbors and co-workers. If you have any information on any of the Fascists who were there this weekend, e-mail us. When you come to Philly to rep KSS, Blood and Honour or any other Neo-Nazi organizations, and attack Anti-Racists, we will make you regret it.