Over the past two days, residents in some neighborhoods in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids have been finding adhesive-backed fliers from a white supremacist group on their lawns and driveways. The anti-immigrant messages are wrapped around rolled-up copies of Little Village magazine from spring 2019.
This isn’t the first time someone associated with the National Alliance has used copies of Little Village to help distribute their propaganda. In September and October, the same flier, also wrapped around old issues of Little Village, was distributed first in LeClaire, Iowa, and then in various locations throughout the Quad Cities area.
The fliers call for the expulsion of immigrants, because “They can’t make white babies.”
Three months before that, a different National Alliance flier, again wrapped around copies of Little Village, was thrown onto lawns in Iowa City’s northside neighborhood. That same flier had already been distributed in the Wetherby Park neighborhood in January 2018, but that time it was wrapped around copies of Davenport-based River Cities’ Reader, a free monthly newspaper.
It should go without saying, but neither River Cities’ Reader nor Little Village has any connection to the National Alliance, beyond reporting on the hate group. But both are available for free, and add enough weight to allow single-page fliers to be easily tossed into people’s yards.
The National Alliance is a white supremacist group founded in West Virginia in 1970. Explicitly racist and anti-Semitic, it has repeatedly called for the elimination of both Jews and racial minorities in America, and the establishment of an all-white homeland.
In 2000, the Anti-Defamation League called the National Alliance to be “the most dangerous organized hate group” in the country. Two years later, the National Alliance’s leader died and the group rapidly fell apart. New leaders fought among themselves, and the membership dwindled. Currently, the group does little beyond selling white supremacist books and paraphernalia to its few remaining supporters. In September, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described the National Alliance as “a mostly defunct white supremacist group with deeply anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant beliefs.”
But even though the National Alliance has largely collapsed, the spread of white supremacist and white nationalist propaganda has been on the rise in recent years.
A report issued in March by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism documented a sharp increase in the distribution of white nationalist fliers, stickers, banners and posters during the previous year.
“The propaganda, which includes everything from veiled white supremacist language to explicitly racist images and words, often features a recruitment element, and frequently targets minority groups, including Jews, Blacks, Muslims, non-white immigrants and the LGBTQ community,” the report stated.
Offensive as fliers from the National Alliance are, it’s not illegal to possess or distribute neo-Nazi or white supremacist propaganda. But the police departments in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids both keep track of these incidents, so anyone finding these fliers may call their local department’s non-emergency number to report it.