The following submission details a response from Phoenix area antifascists against attempts by pro-Trump and ‘Patriot’ groups to flyer and organize at a local campus. Neo-Nazi groups attempted to put up the same set of flyers about a month ago, and were likewise rebuffed.
Let’s keep it straight, the real reason Patriot Movement Az (PMAz), the College Republicans United, and other assorted “concerned citizens” were out at ASU on Sunday was not to memorialize Kate Steinle and others, but to exploit and politicize these tragic events. They even claim as such at the beginning of their live streams. Let’s start with the initial posting.
Back in January, Identity Europa, a fascist, white supremacist organization, had already exploited Ms. Steinle’s memory and trivialized the DREAMers struggle by posting fliers around ASU with her image and the phrase, “She had dreams too.”
— AntifascistActionPhx (@AFAPHX) March 14, 2018
They also posted a flyer mocking rape by using an anthropomorphized US with the phrase, “No means no. Keep your hands off my country.” At that point and time we, along with 480 ARA, went out, removed those fliers, and set them alight.
We posted the flaming fliers to a Reddit group which hosts alt-right and white supremacists. They in turn released the images to “media outlets” who ran willy-nilly with the “story.” At that point in time the rhinos and Alt-Right who subscribe to these outlets went rabid with “patriotism,” concern, and disingenuous outrage over the fliers being burned and Ms. Steinle’s memory being tarnished. Patriot Movement Az took it upon themselves to replace the fliers.
PMAz chose, initially, to run the “memorial event” as a run up to their Trump unity rally on March 10th but then decided to just make a day of it for Sunday the 11th. We had been monitoring both events from after their initial posting when they claimed to have Joey Gibson coming for the rally. We were going to be out there the 4 nights that they had planned for flyering but when they changed to one long day we reassessed our strategy. We went out before their planned start time Sunday morning and posted our warning fliers around campus; the image of Ms. Steinle in between the phrase, “Keep your hands off of my memory.” We then posted spotters around campus and waited for PMAz to show. First sighting we had of them was around 3 PM.
We all got to campus at differing times due to travel times from around the valley and made contact with the group around 4:30 PM. The video (seen on a far-Right livestream) picks up from there. We made our approach and started taking fliers down and a confrontation ensued.
— AntifascistActionPhx (@AFAPHX) March 12, 2018
ASU campus police responded to the fracas and stopped one person, at that point they were not detained. The autonomous person, as well as another, extricated themselves from the situation. Campus police then caught up with the person and, at that point, they were detained and placed in handcuffs but they were never Mirandized or booked into jail. They were cited and released approximately an hour after the skirmish that same day.
The incidents and memories being used by PMAz are indeed tragic events and accidents, but to politicize, propagandize, and exploit them is uncouth and bereft of true and genuine feelings for the families themselves. Ms. Steinle’s family in particular has stated in a San Francisco Chronicle interview that they, “do not want her name to be in the center of a political controversy. They want room to grieve, and to reflect on and honor her life in their own ways.”
Ms. Steinle’s father goes on to say, “he would much prefer to keep his daughter’s name out of it.” None of the groups out memorializing Ms. Steinle’s and other’s deaths on Sunday were honoring the families but instead using those incidents as a political springboard and podium for their own ends. We were there to stand against their use of memories that don’t belong to them, to call them on their callousness and disingenuous words and actions, and to make it known that using the memories of dead people to help other-ize immigrants and otherwise force a racial divide in this country isn’t going to happen on our time or turf.