By LUCAS ALAN DIETSCHE and ADA RITSCHER
The Twin Ports of Superior, Wis., and Duluth, Minn., have had to confront several incidents by white nationalist groups in recent years. In one notable event, in 2012, one of the groups had a public event at Duluth City Hall, which was protected by the police when some counter-protesters threw snowballs.
In April of this year, the Patriot Front taped flyers to light poles in Duluth and at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The flyers contained a crude red-baiting message, “Better Red Than Dead.”
The right-wing slogan of “Better Dead Than Red” was commonly used during the McCarthy witch-hunt period of the 1950s, suggesting that nuclear war would be preferable to communism. The period saw thousands of communists and socialists fired from their jobs, blacklisted, and harassed. Hundreds had to flee the country, and dozens were sent to prison on absurd charges.
Socialist Action (SA) responded to the Patriot Front provocation by writing up a statement and posting it on the Northern Worker blog, together with a photo of the right-wing flyer.
The first action against this was called by indigenous people, and members of Showing up for Racial Justice, Catholic Worker, and the Democratic Farmer Labor Party. Socialist Action joined the coalition that was formed out of their initial meeting.
A picket line was organized on April 23 in response to the Patriot Front’s “Better Dead Than Red” flier. It was organized by Lake Superior Socialist Action and endorsed by Twin Ports DSA, Anonymous, Anti-Colonial Land Defense, Occupy Duluth, Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing, Save the Kids, For the People-TP, and the Duluth NAACP. A member of SA told the local media that this attack affects everyone and affirmed, “An injury to one is an injury to all.”
We reject these reactionary attempts to divide working people. Groups like the Patriotic Front, while posing as part of the working class, push a poisonous, divisive message of racism, bigotry, and red-baiting. Their ideology is the antithesis of the progressive values and tradition of solidarity that the working-class movement was built on. We call for public mass-action counter-mobilizations against them.
We ignore the organizing efforts of reactionary groups like this at our own risk. Say no to racism, bigotry, and red-baiting!
Photo: Heather Bradford / Socialist Action