Flyers promoting the neo-Nazi National Alliance started appearing on Iowa City’s north side Monday night.
A resident out for a walk along the 900 block of N Governor Street spotted one of the flyers on the sidewalk. It was contained in the sort of clear, plastic bag used to deliver newspapers, and wrapped around an April issue of Little Village magazine (which is not distributed door-to-door, nor in plastic bags). Although that resident only saw one flyer, there were others.
“There was a call for service (19095840) last night (6/10/2019) at 5:58 p.m. regarding multiple flyers found in the Prairie Du Chein/Buresh/Oaklawn area,” the Iowa City Police Department told Little Village by email.
An identical flyer was distributed in the same manner in the Wetherby Park neighborhood in January 2018. That time, the flyers were wrapped around 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 both add enough weight to allow the single-page flyers to be easily tossed into people’s yards.
The National Alliance is a white supremacist group founded in West Virginia in 1970. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes the group as “Explicitly genocidal in its ideology,” and notes, “NA materials call for the eradication of the Jews and other races and the creation of an all-white homeland.”
For decades, the National Alliance was considered one of the most dangerous white supremacist groups in the country, but over the last 20 years, it has largely fallen apart. The original leadership died, new leaders fought among themselves and its membership numbers collapsed. Currently, the group does little but sell white supremacist books and paraphernalia to its few remaining supporters.
At least one of those supporters lives in the Davenport area, and Little Village has been distributed in the Quad Cities since August 2018.
James Lee Mathias has been a member of the National Alliance since 2000, according to the SPLC. He was arrested in Davenport two weeks after the flyers were distributed in Wetherby Park, when police officers responded to reports of a man putting white supremacist flyers on cars at a high school sports facility. The flyers were the same as the ones that were distributed in Iowa City in 2018 and this week.
Mathias was carrying a concealed handgun, and was arrested for possessing a firearm on school property.
It’s not illegal to distribute white supremacist or neo-Nazi literature, but ICPD does keep track of flyers like the ones distributed on the north side, according to Public Information Officer Sgt. Derek Frank.
“[T]his information will be included in our database and passed on to the FBI for their tracking purposes, as well,” Frank said.