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Patriot Front fascists marched on Boston's Freedom Trail in their masks and Best Buy gear vowing to "Reclaim America," evidently for other lost young hateful white supremacists living in their parents'  basements. Photo by Stuart Cahill/Media News Group/Boston Herald

Totally Normal: Patriot Front Fascists Goose-Stepping Down Boston's Freedom Trail

Abby Zimet

Well damn, there's nothing quite like marking America's righteous revolution against bigotry and hate by excitedly getting dressed up in your matching masks, caps, shields and sappy navy-and-khaki Best Buy gear and marching to a teeny, tinny drum alongside your lame white supremacist besties in Boston, the "cradle of liberty," to loudly assert you'll "Reclaim America," which sounds cool like you're giving back the whole lush continent to the Native peoples you stole it from - finally! - except you're claiming it for the “European race” who bloodily, shamelessly purloined it in the first place. We're confused. The young, white thugs of the neo-Nazi Patriot Front, though, are very sure whereof they speak. Carrying bold if inchoate banners - "Strong Families Make Strong Nations," the ambiguous  "Reclaim America" - they've become one of the country's most visible white supremacist groups, holding local "flash mobs" nationwide to spread the message of a rambling, mind-boggling, blood-and-soil manifesto that calls for the overthrow of... everything, from a "venal" government to a way of life that threatens to "annihilate "our culture and heritage" because whoa there so many black, brown, immigrant and gay people, who they say  should be "lined up against the wall and shot." "The resurgence of the American Spirit will bring with it the death of tyranny," it declares. "The torch of revolution has been lit." And, noted Vinny Thomas last year after the "little soldiers" popped up at the Lincoln Memorial, by guys looking really scary, and "cute as fuck."

Reflecting the country's churlish swerve into paranoia and extremism, thus did about 100 Patriot Front goons descend this weekend on Boston's Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile of historic sites embodying the American Revolution. Equally laughable and unsettling, a tough Boston crowd largely went for the laughable, mocking and confronting them at every turn. The jittery, synchronized patriots were first reported clustered around a rental truck unloading shields and flags - U.S. upside down or with 13 stars for the colonies, a facsimile of Mussolini's National Fascists. Then, alighting from the subway - protected by police WTF - they were greeted by a "Nazi Cucks" sign and outrage - "What's up Nazi guys?", "What're you doing terrorizing Boston?" "Nazis out of Boston!" As one leader stood firm, video by Rod Webber shows the rest clumsily sprinting for cars to cover up out-of-state license plates, prompting the catcalls "unproud boys" and "patriot farts." More video shows them lamely huddled outside a Back Bay Tasty Burger - "Is Tasty Burger any good?" - and marching out-of-step with their wee drum - "Yeah, this is totally normal," "At least it got them out of their parents' basements" - to the Public Library. "If you truly wish for safety, you will have it. But you can take nothing else with you," one bold lout intoned to a small, jeering crowd. “Not your home, not your family, not your liberty. There you will be alone with your safety in a rotted world.” Yeah, we have no idea what they're talking about either.

Whether knowingly or not, the Nazi wannabes had landed in a "cradle of liberty" that, even with its fraught racial history, is largely run by and full of black, brown, immigrant and progressive people who really didn't want them there. Mayor Michelle Wu ripped "the white supremacists who ran through downtown today": "When we march, we don't hide our faces. Your hate is as cowardly as it is disgusting." Later, she declared, "In a moment when so many of our rights are under attack, we will not normalize intimidation by bigots." City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune: "Cowards, all of them. No place for what they're selling in our city." City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo: "This is disgusting. Hate groups have no place in our society." The head of Revolutionary Spaces, which runs the Old State House symbolizing "our most fundamental democratic ideals," noted marchers gathered near where Crispus Attucks, of African and Native American descent, "was the first to die in an event many regard as the start of the American revolution.“ He called the presence of a hate group there "a bitter irony" and "an important reminder that democracy is fragile." Having endured the 2013 terror attack at their marathon, many in Boston Strong, then and now, don't need reminding. When fascists turned up in the city shortly after the bombing, Big Papi, aka David Orttiz, defiantly spoke for them all: "This is our fucking city."

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email:

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