INDIANAPOLIS — Mayor Joe Hogsett has condemned the march of approximately 75 members of a group researchers call white nationalist and fascist through downtown Indianapolis this weekend.
“Hate has no place in Indianapolis,” read the mayor’s statement. “The individuals who marched downtown yesterday do not represent the values of our community and we condemn their message in the strongest terms possible.”
Members of the Patriot Front marched from the grounds of the Statehouse down West Market Street to Monument Circle where Indy Laborfest welcomed working families celebrating the holiday weekend to the War Memorial on North Meridian Street on to the American Legion Mall and concluding near the main branch of the Indianapolis Public Library.
“They’re pretty well known among people who study these groups,” said Professor Jeffrey Isaac of Indiana University. “They’re a white supremacist group and they articulate this idea of the Great Replacement which is widespread among far-right groups in the world today. They claim to reclaim America.”
“Reclaim America” was the group’s chant, along with one banner that read the same and another that read, “America Is Not For Sale,” as the members marched to the cadence of a drum carrying American flags displayed upside down while they also railed against the U.S. financial system.
“I read their manifesto which is very fascist. They’re a fascist group,” said Isaac. “They don’t believe what America is now. One of their texts that they have here is, ‘America is dead. Long live America’.”
The group’s website listed Indiana as one of its top three activity states earlier this summer after Patriot Front stickers and posters were found on the IU-Fort Wayne campus last winter.
A faction of the group was detained in Idaho this past June by authorities who concluded the Patriot Front members were packed in the back of a box rental truck and on their way to disrupt a Pride celebration.
Isaac said the Patriot Front is an offshoot of groups that were involved in fatal riots in Virginia in 2017.
“A lot of these groups came out of Charlottesville,” said Isaac. “Certainly some of the were involved in January 6th. Some of them probably have overlapping memberships with some of these other groups like the Proud Boys or the Three Percenters or the Oath Keepers.”
Isaac said motorcycle riding members of the Three Percenters were on the IU Bloomington campus last week ostensibly to provide “security” for a group that was leading a protest at the Kinsey Institute for Sex, Gender and Reproduction.
The manifesto on the Patriot Front website is replete with quotes from Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, Calvin Coolidge, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt.
“For instance, the first page of their manifesto quotes George Washington saying, ‘Conquer or die’,” said Isaac. “So basically the entire country, the political system of liberal democracy, capitalism, consumerism, its all corrupt, and its on the verge of falling and they are kind of accelerationists, they want to promote the fall. They believe in what they call a pan-European identity which they talk about in terms of racial stock. They’re a white supremacist group.
“The American stock, the white American Anglo Saxon protestant heritage is being endangered and unless it fights back and wins, it will die. That’s the rhetoric of this group.”
While State Capitol Police observed the march Saturday, the group’s procession was apparently legal and non-violent.
IMPD determined the group was merely passing through Indianapolis and has found no evidence of a significant permanent presence locally.
“I think these groups, in general, are very important and very dangerous,” said Isaac reflecting on the group’s patriot identity. “It’s been claimed by many groups that are anti-democratic, that are reactionary, and they’re not the first and they’re not the last to do that. The rhetoric of patriotism is a rhetoric that can be claimed by lots of different types of people.
“Similar types of claims are made by fascist groups everywhere.”
Sen. Todd Young condemned the group in a statement:
“There is no place for hate in our country, and I condemn all hate groups and rallies from any political background that promote violence. As your U.S. Senator, I have and will continue to work on policies that bring Hoosiers together.”Sen. Todd Young
Rep. Andre Carson also released a statement:
“The values this group represents are dangerous to democracy. I condemn this show of hatred—these extremist views should not represent Indianapolis or the majority of its residents.”Rep. Andre Carson