On Saturday, a group of self-proclaimed white nationalists disrupted a quiet author chat at Washington, D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose. Armed with megaphones, they chanted, “This land is our land.”
All around the country, white nationalist groups are targeting bookstores and libraries by interrupting children’s reading hours and author talks, The Washington Post reports. On one occasion, they even threatened to burn down a Berkeley, California bookstore.
“One of the issues is we can’t always anticipate what author or event might draw protesters or a demonstration,” said Politics and Prose co-owner Bradley Graham. “Clearly, when the political climate heats up, there would seem to be more kindling that could be lit. But whether this will translate to more disturbances at author talks, I certainly hope not, but who knows.”
The co-founder of the white-nationalist organization American Identity Movement (AIM), Patrick Casey, entered Graham’s bookstore this past weekend with the group’s insignia printed on a megaphone and chanted “AIM” on his way out.
Formed last month and based in Washington, AIM is considered by numerous hate group watchdog organizations as a “rebranded version of Identity Evropa.” According to the Anti-Defamation league, Identity Evropa is a white nationalist group that recruits primarily among young conservatives and college students with online propaganda and posters.
AIM leaders deny any affiliation with Identity Evropa. But according to white nationalist tracking groups, on Saturday, Casey was joined with several individuals who appeared to be Identity Evropa members from multiple states including Georgia, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.
Graham said that he didn’t expect the discussion led by author Jonathan M. Metzl on his book “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland” to elicit that much attention.
“We have to accept that a lot of this may just be unpredictable,” Graham said.