LOGAN SQUARE — An alleged white supremacist who was reportedly distributing information in Logan Square earlier this summer has sparked dueling flyers — one denouncing the individual and another that simply reads, “It’s okay to be white.”
The clash has the attention of Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), who represents the ward where the flyers are located.
Ramirez-Rosa said the community organizers who put up the flyers denouncing the alleged white supremacist took down the “It’s okay to be white” signs almost immediately.
He applauded them for doing so, calling it a “testament” to Logan Square’s inclusivity.
“That’s Logan Square. That’s people rejecting hate,” Ramirez-Rosa said.
It all started earlier this summer, when an alleged white supremacist reportedly distributed flyers — both outside of a recent socialist convention at Hairpin Arts Center and outside of the farmer’s market — in an effort to solicit interest from neighbors. (Block Club Chicago could not independently verify that the man on the flyer belongs to a white supremacy group, which is why the man’s face has been blurred out.)
Community organizers immediately ripped down the flyers and replaced them with their own flyers, which are now plastered all over the neighborhood.
The flyers are titled: “White supremacists spreading hate in Chicago.”
Underneath, organizers wrote, “On Sunday, August 5th, 2018, the man pictured on this flier was seen harassing people and distributing info for the violent Neo-Nazi group “Identity Evropa” at the Logan Square Farmers Market. He was run out of there, but we’re keeping an eye out for more bigots like him.”
They go on, saying, “Identity Evropa and other far-right groups have been spreading more of their fascist propaganda around town lately: on college campuses, in our neighborhoods, targeting community events and leftist political demonstrations and gatherings. Members of many of these hate groups have been involved in violence across the country, including several murders (most notably after the “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2017.)
At the bottom, organizers tell neighbors to take down “fascist propaganda” they see, but to watch out for razor blades hidden behind them, which they say is a common way white supremacists try to prevent people from taking down their flyers.
Neighbors are also instructed to email Nuestra.LSQ@gmail.com if they spot any “fascist activity” in the neighborhood.
Within a couple weeks of those flyers going up, someone else put up their own flyers in response, which read, “It’s okay to be white.”
Ramirez-Rosa said the phrase may sound “innocuous and noncontroversial on its face,” but that’s far from the truth.
“We know it’s rhetoric that’s used by the alt-right, fascists and Neo-Nazis. That’s the ultimate goal — to push forward hateful policies that say people are superior to others,” he said.
Nuestra Logan Square is “not a group, it’s a Gmail account,” according to the person who answered an email seeking comment.
Asked why Logan Square may have been targeted, the person, who wished to remain anonymous, said fascism is on the rise globally, but added, “Logan Square is a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Gentrification relies on a cycle of racism: starve a community of color of resources, over-police and evict, let properties lie empty, and then a few years later get grants for “community” organizations to “revitalize” the area.”
The person continued, saying, “A sense of fear is instilled in the wealthier, usually whiter newcomers to make them allies in driving out the people who lived there before. Recent arrivals willing to call the police on their Black and/or Latinx neighbors are engaging in class war against the poor and marginalized. This dovetails nicely with white supremacist aims.”
Ramirez-Rosa, a self-described socialist, said he’s committed to continuing to build a “powerful grassroots network to fight against racist policies” throughout his ward.
He pointed to the 35th Ward Community Defense Committee as one example. The goal of the group is to ensure immigrants know their rights should they come into contact with customs enforcement officials.
The clash is not a product of deeper problems in Logan Square specifically so much as a sign of the times, Ramirez-Rosa said.
“The forces of the right felt threatened. They were extremely bothered by hundreds of people [at the socialist convention], mostly young white men, who were saying abolish ICE, #NoCopAcademy and we want to end racist policies,” the alderman said.
“This is someone who probably feels like those young men should be on my side, they should be with me. To me, that means: Hey guess what? We’re doing something right. When someone feels threatened and they feel like they have to spend their time to troll you, harass you and get off the internet and do it with sweat equity, that means you’ve ruffled some feathers and you’re in the right direction.”