“Keep America American,” says the bold-face red font on the flyers dropped in an Arlington neighborhood this week. Some were also found in San Antonio late last month. Police in Arlington do not know who distributed the flyers — which call immigrants criminals and encourage people to report them to authorities — but a webpage on the bottom points to the Texas-based Patriot Front, a white nationalist group with efforts led by a 19-year-old white man.
The name of the webpage, bloodandsoil.org, recalls the earliest days of the Nazi Party. Adolf Hitler and his supporters used "blood and soil" to glorify the idea that Germany belonged to people whose descendants toiled in the land. Scholars today say it was meant to link the notion of an Aryan race to rural worker-types.
Patriot Front’s manifesto appears on the bloodandsoil.org homepage. At roughly 3,100 words, the pronouncement declares that true Americans are solely descendants of European settlers. African Americans and Jews need not apply. Ditto for Native Americans. The "pan European" diaspora conquered them.
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Not much is known about who distributed the flyers in in Arlington, but it’s clear they're targeting people whom white nationalists believe have no right to be here. The flyer calls their targets “illegal aliens” and urges readers, presumably true Americans, to report them to authorities. How true Americans are supposed to identify undocumented immigrants without checking their papers isn't stated, but it's not hard to guess. Skin tone, one suspects, enters in somehow.
Anti-immigrant propaganda, like the leaflets dropped in neighborhoods in Arlington this week, falls from high places. Recall how President Donald Trump called members of the Patriot Front “very fine people” shortly after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August.
Members of the Front, led by 19-year-old Thomas Rousseaum, participated in the riots in Charlottesville, which began as a fascist rally titled Unite the Right. They joined other extremists in chants of “blood and soil.” James Alex Fields Jr., the man accused of driving the Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counterprotesters, is pictured standing amid the ranks of Patriot Front members, then under the banner of Vanguard America, the white nationalist group that's the progenitor of the Patriot Front.
In a recent report, the Anti-Defamation League labels the Patriot Front as an extremist group that has had leadership struggles as of late. In late August, the group split off from Vanguard after a heated exchange among its leaders in Austin. The ADL reports that Rousseau and Dillon Hopper, said to be Vanguard’s national leader, sparred about who was the rightful leader of Vanguard. A couple of days after the exchange in Austin, Rousseau began taking over the bloodandsoil.org website and social media accounts. In what Hopper said is a “coup,” according to the ADL, Rousseau rebranded the group as the Patriot Front, keeping the blood and soil talk.