A rash of reported white nationalist fliers on lampposts and a banner tied to the 8oth Street Belt Parkway pedestrian overpass in Bay Ridge brought out a strong response from over 200 people along 3rd Avenue on a blustery cold Sunday, to “Stand in Solidarity” against white nationalism.
According to event organizers the fliers, which read “Defend American Labor” also posted the website for Patriot Front, a white supremacist organization, whose website promotes European heritage, white superiority and patriotism, while dog-whistling extreme anti-Semitism.
“I was surprised (to hear about the fliers). It was very disturbing. We will not tolerate hate and bigotry here in Bay Ridge,” said Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach), who joined the protestors who held hands in a chain of solidarity stretching from 85th to 87th streets.
“It’s very very disconcerting to know that people would post white nationalist and neo-nazi propaganda in this community. It’s a slap in the face of all the people living here, working hard to raise their families. We just don’t want any of that here. That’s not the message that we’re trying to promote,” she added.
According to the organizers of the march, Noah Abraham Weston, a member of the extreme left Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) faction of the Democratic Party first raised the alarm on Twitter Thursday night when he posted a photo of the recruitment flyer.
“Bay Ridge is home to several communities to whom white supremacy poses a mortal danger, so we should treat anyone responsible for these posters or their apologists accordingly,” he said. “These posters aren’t an innocent act of free speech or an invitation to discuss idea. They’re a tool for Neo-Nazi recruitment.”
While there were several photos of the fliers on Twitter, organizers said they quickly took them all down, but there were a few left on the lampposts along Shore Parkway and the park. KCP anecdotally cruised this area and did not see any of the fliers.
Regardless of exactly how many fliers were put up, torn down or where they were located, the appearance of the recruitment flyers in Bay Ridge has alarmed and disgusted the neighborhood, and local groups demonstrated solidarity and support to targeted neighbors.
“These groups encourage violence, and use these flyers both to recruit others to their cause and to terrorize our neighbors,” said Alan Holt of Fight Back Bay Ridge, which was the main organizing groups of the show of solidarity. “We must counter that.”
Co-organizers of the event included the Arab-American Association of New York; Arab Women’s Voice, Bay Ridge Democrats; Bay Ridge for Social Justice; Democratic Socialists of America NYC; Fight Back Bay Ridge; Gravesend Brooklyn Progressives; Indivisible Nation BK; Mexican-American Movement; South Brooklyn Progressive Network; South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance; South Brooklyn DSA; South Central Brooklyn United for Progress; Take on Hate; and the Yemeni American Merchants Association.
“We must confront hatred and the spread of misinformation that only serves to make a division in our communities. This show of solidarity is another step towards the fight against the hatred that leads to violence, and I am proud to co-sponsor it,” said Fabiola Mendietta-Cuapio, of the Mexican-American Movement.
Local Bay Ridge elected officials – both Democrats and Republicans – also came out strongly against the fliers.
“Nazis and white supremacists are the scum of the earth and have no place in our community or country. The reality of the violence they preach is all too real and we all must stand strong in denouncing and combating it. That’s why I fought to increase federal funding to help protect religious institutions, will be chairing a hearing next week on the rise of anti-Semitism and domestic terrorist attacks on the Jewish community, and have called on the Administration to designate international neo-Nazi white supremacist groups as Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” said U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island).
“This is both outrageous and frightening. Hate organizations have no place in society, especially not in our diverse community,” tweeted Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge, Staten Island).
“My constituents have a right to live without fear. We will not be intimidated by clowns and cowards,” tweeted City Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Bath Beach Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights), who added a graphic telling, Nazi punks to F—ck off.