White nationalists and anti-racist protesters set to clash in Philly next weekend

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When AJ Olsen gets to Fairmount Park next Saturday afternoon, he expects to be outnumbered by a gathering of protesters attempting to drown him out.

Olsen, 25, is a member of Keystone United, a white-nationalist group originally founded under the name Keystone State Skinheads. For the past seven years, he and other KU members (the group has at least eight chapters throughout Pennsylvania) have come to Fairmount Park in Philadelphia and marched to the Thorfinn Karlsefni statue along Kelly Drive to commemorate Leif Erikson Day.

Here’s how Olsen describes his group’s beliefs: “We feel that the European population has done so much more than any other culture for this country to make it as great as it is, and I think people tend to have forgotten that, [due to] schooling and social programs that made something negative out of the positive that came about it…Slavery, obviously, was terrible and horrible and it was wrong; it’s a stain on American history, it’s a stain on a lot of countries’ history—but should that be constantly thrown in our faces? No. I didn’t own any slaves, I wasn’t around.”

If posters pasted up all over Philadelphia in advance of the event are any indication, there will be a well-orchestrated group of anti-KU protesters around on the 19th; they plan to be on the scene at 11 a.m. bearing “signs, banners, noise makers or drums.” According to an email put out by Philadelphia Residents Against Racism and the One People’s Project, they’ll be there “to block/drown out the hate-speech of the Nazis.”

Olsen says—as KU members have said in the past—that their celebration of the Norse explorer who’s said to have journeyed to North America in 1003 A.D. is a family-themed cultural event. “I honestly don’t understand why we have any kind of opposition to this” event, he says. “It seems to be strictly because it’s us doing it, which seems kind of preposterous, really, to me.”

He insists that the group’s name change five years ago reflected a more moderate direction. Yet a website for the Keystone State Skinheads, under its original name, remains online and up to date.

Pennsylvania has a long history of white-power groups coming out of rural parts of the state and causing trouble, and members of Keystone State Skinheads have rap sheets dating back to its founding in 2001, with arrests relating to ethnic intimidation, assault and other charges. Olsen disputes none of that during a phone interview with PW this week, even at the same time he professes to be bewildered that the anti-racism groups have “a fascination with trying to make us look bad for whatever reason.”

“Things are very much toned down from what they used to be,” he says, and “you also have to take into account the years of maturity that people have undergone.” Critics see “hate as a motivation for what was done in past times,” he suggests, “as opposed to now, which is just love for our own kind, for our cities, our neighborhoods, our people, as opposed to hatred for another. A lot of times in years past, things were done because guys didn’t like people of a certain color for whatever reason. It was motivated out of hatred, whereas now it is not.”

Daryle Lamont Jenkins, head of the One People’s Project, doesn’t find that a terribly convincing argument. “They will try to downplay the Nazism of years past,” he says. “They’ve kept the swastika flags at home; they come with European flags and try to play dumb.”

Anti-racism protesters, Jenkins says, want to make sure that when Keystone United and other white-nationalist groups—like the Council of Concerned Citizens, the Vinlanders Social Club and the Hated Skins—come to Philadelphia, they understand they’re not welcome. “We definitely do not want them to feel comfortable,” he says. “If we don’t start getting a hold of it, we’re going to see things get worse and worse, like they always do. And we don’t want that happening in 2013.”

According to reports and videos from past Leif Erikson Day events, a couple dozen white nationalists and a couple dozen protesters have often faced off across a line of Philadelphia bicycle police. The nationalists use a megaphone to read a speech from a placard; meanwhile, protesters chant slogans like: “No Nazis, no KKK, no fascist USA!”

Years ago, Olsen grants, the white nationalists involved included “dudes stepping down the streets and using violence and trying to overthrow the government to do things we want.” Today, he says they realize that’s “not realistic and it’s not going to happen for anybody, so, obviously, being a white nationalist, the way to change things for the better is to get the community as a whole to want to change and want to go about doing certain things,” he says. “We’re not superheroes.”

Indeed. “These are neo-Nazi skinheads,” says Barry Morrison, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. (The ADL is a 100-year-old international organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry in general.) ”They are invoking the memory of someone who they extol and see as an icon and embodiment of white heritage that they identify with: Viking and western European stock, if you will.”

Morrison says the ADL isn’t happy about Olsen’s group’s actions—”but it’s certainly a reminder that there are people who practice hatred, bigotry and prejudice. Fortunately, they have not been very successful at attracting attention. They don’t have much of a following.”

NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the date of the rally as this Sat., Oct. 12; it has been updated to the correct date, Sat., Oct. 19.

Follow us on Twitter: @PhillyWeekly@RandyLoBasso

19 Responses to “ White nationalists and anti-racist protesters set to clash in Philly next weekend ”

  1. Brent says:

    If this were black pride, or some sort of Mexican heritage festival, or a group of people from a certain country showing their support for their own culture, this would be a good thing. Anyone who stood up against it would be seen as intolerant, because they don’t accept other cultures. This event however, is evil and racist simply because it is in support of white people. That is intolerant. These people are simply anti white or anti European. Intolerance is only intolerance if it is against an accepted minority.

  2. James says:

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

  3. Big Al N. says:

    This is funny in the same week left wing news outlets and papers across the country are running similar stories like the Huffington Post and Daily Beast for example. Is it sheer Coincidence that similar stories are showing up from Maine to Southern Cal as if these groups of ignorant fools just showed up today?

    The reality is small groups of morons like these skins are always around, the media just seems to find politically convenient times to write about it. The rest of the time they are either ignorant or ignore it. So this is simply Democrat Politics at it’s finest enacted by the “so called press” whipping out the race card any time their dear leaders are in trouble in the polls this time they do it just as Obama hit a new low of George W Bush like % 37 approval.

    Meanwhile the Philadelphia Weekly ignores the things other hate groups say right out in the open on the streets of Philly on a regular basis as anyone who has ever lived in Philly has surely seen The New Black Panthers in the streets sometimes talking about things like “Killing Cracker Babies” as their leader Malik Zulu Shabazz is on video tape doing just a few years back. Why does Phil Weekly never report or mention things like this ????

    I say either report every instance of this kind of hate no matter where it comes from or ignore all these morons and stop playing politics.

  4. Kaba says:

    Oh, Philadelphia Weekly ignores the Black Panthers, eh? Here, let me show you why that stupid line has been nothing more than just a petty attempt to deflect from white racists being scumbags.

    http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/the-new-black-power.html

    And it was a cover story in the printed version. Now…is the New Black Panther Party all you got?

  5. DiversityDoesntWork says:

    Clearly this magazine is anti-White.

  6. James says:

    Oh look, the nazi scum have arrived already! Anti racists don’t need codewords, dingleberries.

  7. Tremley says:

    “Anti-racists” say there’s a RACE problem. They say it’ll be solved when non-Whites pour into ALL & ONLY White nations and “assimilate” to get a brown mixture.

    They say only White nations have this RACE problem; they say non-White nations are fine.

    If I object to my own genocide these “anti-racists” say I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they’re anti-racist. What they are is anti-White.

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.

  8. Too_Hectic says:

    African Culture, Mexican Culture celebrations, these are cultural celebrations, NATIONAL celebrations, not RACIAL celebrations, you’re trying to equate celebrating being white with these? Get real, if you we’re celebrating being Irish, or being German, or the like, that would be the equivilent, you’re triyng to down play your bigotry by hiding behind the veil of “simply celebrating your culture” and you’re not fooling anyone, get over yourselves.

    And white geneocide? Laughable, getting bent out of shape because your “fellow whites” understand that race is merely a social construction and you don’t, and they glady and willingly partake in “race-mixing” is not genocide, you just have a chip on your shoulder and an inferiority complex, get over yourself.

    If all you have to be proud of in your life is your race, well, then you clearly have not accomplished much in life.

  9. Kaba says:

    Hmmm, I happen to recall a guy named Tremley on Stormfront that said, “I too use to believe in the holocaust. I use to think that everyone that denied it were nuts. Now that I am awake, I see how ignorant I was.”

    Anti-racists don’t need codewords.

  10. James White says:

    All these problems stem from deep fears. And gathering together many people who have deep fears never solved a thing.

  11. Marko says:

    White pride is not synonymous with a pride in a ethnic or cultural heritage, such as being Irish or german. For Lief Erickson day one could celebrate their norse roots or the vast culture of the norse people… But Keystone skins are not all of norse descent, nor do they bring an assortment of meat balls fermented/pickled fish and lingonberries to share in their cultural richness. I am of a specific European background… pure blooded as far as can be tranced back. I do engage in the celebration of our holidays and traditions as they are specific to my heritage not that of all Europeans. The reality is that Europeans are proud of their specific heritages. The Norwegians dont celebrate on Bastille day and the Spanish dont dress up as Krampus for winter. If you are far enough removed from your immigrated roots that you do not actively engage in or know the culture and traditions of your forefathers your culture is American a la USA before it is European(not that European is a single) or even white(what ever that means). It is more likely dictated more by your class than color. I short If you grew up white and middle class in the suburbs you have more in common with a Suburban black kid than you do a Viking.

    P.S.
    White people did build this country for better and for worse and sometimes it may seem that there is an emphasis by some groups on the worse…. I would like to remind everyone that it was a small group of white men that built this country on the backs and blood of others… African slaves, Chinese immigrants, Native peoples but also at any and all points on the exploitation on less desirable Europeans as well. The “majority”(What ever the demographic of the time was) of this country through its history has vilified and abused the irish, germans, italians, slovs, ect… Non Europeans dont have a monopoly on suffering though they bore the brunt of it.

    P.P.S.
    I think L. Erickson is cool (aside from being a force of christianisation of norse pepople) and if people want to celebrate his life and what it embodied then go ahead. Leave the political shock agenda at home.

  12. Bill W. says:

    The ethnic concerns of the following groups are seen as legitimate by the media, liberals and ‘anti-racists’:

    African-Americans, Arab-Americans, Jews, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics and Third-world immigrants.

    The ethnic concerns of the following group are not seen as legitimate: White Americans.

    Why do ‘anti-racists’ think this double standard is acceptable?”

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.

  13. Bood says:

    I am a racist idiot who always posts “Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.” I also beat women. My band sucks and I suck. I have so much white privilege but am guilty of actually being racist, so I shit on people fighting for equality. My real name is Eric Keiser.

  14. Marko says:

    White is not an ethnicity. It is a constructed misnomer that encompasses many distinct cultures and ethnic groups. So there are no ethnic concerns to be had. The American nonspecific euro descendants can not in honesty claim all Euro cultures as their own. They have as much of a connection to that as they do of any ethic group of the african diaspora. Your blood already mixed.. You have no ethnicity and your culture is American. White/black/yellow/brown is nothing but some made up shit designed to justify imperialism. If you cling to this you cling to nothing but a fallacy fluttering untethered to tradition and lineage which is the foundation of culture. This goes for the blacks as well.

  15. Java says:

    If your only response is something you cut and paste, this is going to be easy.

    Now do I need to repeat that anti- racists don’t need code words?

  16. Philly RAR says:

    Everything RAR has put out has made it clear that this will be a peaceful protest.

    The intention of this protest is to demonstrate that the vast majority of this city believes in freedom, equality and solidarity and that the views of KSS are anathema to that.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/232009220289241/?notif_t=plan_user_joined

    leifericsondayprotest.org

    Philadelphia Residents Against Racism

  17. BobSmith77 says:

    What a gigantic waste of time by all of these people involved especially these peckerwood white trash idiots.

    Want to help your own KU? Spend the time doing something productive that benefits your members’ families and/or community instead of pulling a publicity stunt you wantabe losers.

  18. NaziLimpDicks says:

    Where did all these pansy skinhead bigots come from in this comment thread?

    I thought all these basement dwelling wannabe white pride trolls got ran out of Philly by FSU and the antifa punks in the 80s. I guess they must need a few more boot prints on their bald, pudgy faces.

  19. NaziLimpDicks says:

    Also isn’t it hilarious that all these lockstep limp dicked Hitler Youths come here and just spout the same thing over and over again. Bunch of easily manipulated cattle.

    I bet all their ugly wives love black cock.

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