An example of the neo-Nazi propaganda which appeared recently in Kirkland. Posters like these are put up by the far-right group Patriot Front which can be removed or covered up by residents. Contributed photo

An example of the neo-Nazi propaganda which appeared recently in Kirkland. Posters like these are put up by the far-right group Patriot Front which can be removed or covered up by residents. Contributed photo

Mayor, religion leaders respond to hate group fliers posted around Kirkland

The fliers advertised the same organization that distributed fliers in bags with candy around Bellevue in June.

Neo-Nazi propaganda has popped up in another Eastside city after originally being spread around neighborhoods earlier this year.

The most recent fliers were found in October, posted on street poles in Kirkland. They were advertising the same organization that distributed fliers in bags with candy around Bellevue in June. The poster for Patriot Front found in Kirkland encouraged “patriots” to “reconquer your birthright and forge a new America.”

Patriot Front is a an organization that is listed by It’s Going Down and the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. The organization is a splinter group from a lager neo-Nazi organization known as Vanguard America, which saw one of its members accused of murder after he allegedly drove his car into protesters during a 2017 Unite the Right rally.

In response to the Kirkland fliers, the Greater Kirkland Ecumenical Parish issued a statement condemning them, signed by seven ministers.

“The posting of fliers of this sort is an affront to the values of our community and our faiths, and we are compelled by our faith to speak out and work to counter the seeds of discord, hatred, fear and intimidation that these fliers promote,” the statement read. “…Rather than merely ignoring these posters and hoping that racism and hatred will fail to find a foothold in Kirkland, our faith calls us to respond.”

Kirkland mayor Amy Walen also issued a response letter to the posters. In it, the mayor states that “hate has no home in Kirkland.” Kirkland’s City Council proclaimed the city a safe, inclusive and welcoming city for all residents in January 2017 and Walen said it is committed to protecting all residents without discrimination.

“As your Mayor, and as your neighbor, I ask that you please join me in condemning this type of conduct,” she wrote.

A growing body of evidence is beginning to confirm what anti-Nazi activists have been saying in recent years: that right-wing violence is increasing in the United States. A report released earlier this year by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism found that over the last decade, right-wing extremism of all types was responsible for 71 percent of the 387 domestic extremist-related killings nationwide.

Around 23 percent of the total came from Islamic extremism and around three percent came from other extremists in 2017. During the same year, white supremacists were responsible for 18 of the 34 extremist-related murders, or 59 percent, compared to the 20 percent seen in 2016.

In total, 2017 was the fifth deadliest year for domestic extremist violence since 1970, but overall much lower than in the previous two years. In 2015 and 2016, large shooting sprees, including those at Pulse Night Club and the Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino committed by Islamic extremists boosted the death tolls in those years. Additionally, white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine at a Charleston church in 2015. The deadliest domestic terrorist incident on record is still the Oklahoma City bombing committed by right-wing extremist Timothy McVeigh in 1995.

“These statistics illustrate that extremist-related killings comprise only a small fraction of the total number of homicides in the United States each year. Nevertheless, because of their nature, they can often have an outsized impact, affecting entire communities — or even the entire country — in ways many other deaths may not,” the report read.

Other extremist violence has been felt closer to home. In May 2017, white supremacist Jeremy Christian stabbed three people on a Portland MAX train, killing two, after going on a racist tirade against two women who he thought were Muslim, The Oregonian reported. Christian had been seen at Patriot Prayer rallies in the months before the stabbing. Patriot Prayer is a right-wing organization focused around its founder Joey Gibson, who recently ran in for Congress in Southwest Washington. Patriot Prayer has been accused of courting white supremacists and provoking violence at their rallies.

The extremist street fighting group known as the Proud Boys has also made national headlines in October after their members brutally attacked counter protesters, leading to multiple arrests, Newsweek reported. The attacks came after Proud Boy founder Gavin McInnes gave a two-hour speech paying tribute to the assassination of a Japanese Socialist Party leader. The New York Police Department has arrest five of the nine Proud Boys they are looking for, and have already charged several with felonies.

In a failed act of domestic terrorism throughout last week, the New York Times reported that federal law enforcement arrested Cesar Sayoc Jr. on suspicion of mailing about dozen bombs to prominent Democratic politicians, media outlets and left-leaning political donors. Sayoc is a registered Republican, and many of his targets were people commonly targeted in political rhetoric from within President Donald Trump’s administration and right-wing conspiracy theorists.

The Pacific Northwest has a long relationship with neo-Nazis and white supremacists despite its liberal image. Several hate groups call Western Washington home, including a chapter of ACT for America and Faith and Freedom, which are anti-Muslim groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Watch map lists the neo-Nazi organizations Crew 38, Blood and Honour, Wolves of Vinland, American Front, the Hammerskins and the Northwest Front as active in the state — all of which hope to create a white entho-state through ethnic cleansing and genocide.

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