On April 17, 2021 the National Socialist Movement (“NSM” aka “American Nazis”) held a rally in Phoenix – these photographs document the day.
NSM was supposed to show up at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza at 1pm on Saturday the 17th, 2021. I got there early and explored the park taking photos – this specific memorial struck me as meaningful considering I’d be photographing American Nazis in a few hours.
Prior to the assumed Nazi rally time a ceremony took place to unveil a monument dedicated to Arizona submariners that died while in service. I suspect it was the presence of this group that triggered the Nazis into changing venues. A couple of the vets in this crowd actually fought against Nazi Germany.
Indeed, freedom is not free. Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza is a very solemn and serious place dedicated to Arizonans (and others) who gave their lives in the defense of the United States. It was disturbing to think American Nazis would trample these grounds soon.
“Antifa” showed up first. Alleged warriors of ethics and morality, these people seemed to simply be thugs looking for a fight. I saw them approaching as a mob down the street so I started to take shots as they approached. I was shocked to be greeted with a volley of “Fuck you!” and “No cameras!” and “Cameras are cops!”. Do these people not realize that they and I share the same goal? Apparently not. I came to realize that no matter what the voiced intent of these people might be, they are at heart violent thugs just like their sworn enemy. That said, I guess that means “antifa” and I do not share the same goals.
Two entirely anonymous “antifa” members ready to administer first aid to their brethren. Other “antifa” members carried bats.
“Antifa” member, with bat under arm, ready to beat or kill a Nazi at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza in Phoenix.
Who wears the façade of a warrior better? “Antifa” member or bronze Vietnam vets?
After speaking to a law enforcement officer at the Plaza, I learned that NSM had changed plans and would actually rally at Eastlake Park – 3 or 4 miles farther east. This is a police drone I photographed hovering over Wesley Bolin Plaza while walking back to the truck.
Eastlake Park is a small, green, neighborhood sanctuary at 16th Street and Jefferson in Phoenix. This park has been the scene of many civil rights events and is the home of the Phoenix Juneteenth celebration each year. This is where the Nazis were to hold their rally.
NSM arrived in their Nazi costumes and proceeded to walk around the perimeter of the park hurling insults and racial slurs at any non-white person in they encountered. They also targeted anyone they perceived as being gay.
This man was a specific target of their taunts. He followed them through the park taking video on two cameras.
Maybe it’s because I’m both a father and grandfather, but when I saw this young man (maybe 20 years old) involved in this vile craziness I was especially disturbed.
The Nazis gathered in this small central plaza in the park to destroy an Israeli flag. The most artistic photo of the day and it’s of an appallingly atrocious organization.
The flag of Israel joyfully cut to pieces with a large knife then the remnants further destroyed.
This hate group is not exclusive to men – it is open to women as well. Very progressive indeed.
The Nazis made a couple trips around the park and tried to antagonize a small group African American men who were minding their own business under a ramada. Even though horrific racist slurs were slung at them, the men did not succumb to the temptation to respond with violence.
This man was another target of the hate group. Again, he responded non-violently and simply asked the Nazis to return to the park later in the evening.
Anti-hate activists (not “antifa”) were also at Eastlake Park to document the day. This is Johnny Littlewolf, a Native American activist who took video and photos of the day.
After about an hour, the Nazis, happy with the attention they received (from me included), got back in their PT Cruisers and other mid-sized cars and headed off to Mesa to look for and harass non-white Hispanics.