White Nationalists Storm Washington Bookstore Reading, Chanting ‘This Land Is Our Land’
A small group of white nationalists stormed a book store in Washington DC to protest an event for a book on racial politics and how it’s impacting lower- and middle-class white Americans.
The group stormed the Politics and Prose bookstore on Saturday afternoon, interrupting a scheduled talk by Jonathan Metzl, a professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University who released his book “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland” this spring.
Videos filmed by those in attendance showed the group standing in a line before the audience chanting, “this land is our land.” At least one man was yelling into a megaphone while people in the bookstore booed him.
The group identified themselves as “identitarians,” a far-right white nationalist group which is linked to Identity Evropa, which the Southern Poverty Law Centre lists as an extremist group.
The unidentified man with the megaphone continued talking as the audience booed.
“But we, as nationalists and identitarians, can offer the workers of this country a homeland, their birthright, in addition to health care, good jobs and so forth,” he said, before leading the group in a chant.
Catherine Wigginton, who tweeted a video of the brief chaos, said she was “impressed” with how Metzl handled the interruption.
“Does anyone want to process that before I get back to what I was saying,” she tweeted, recalling his reaction after the white nationalists left.
Metzl, who is also the director for Vanderbilt’s Center for Medicine, Health and Society, was speaking at the bookstore for an Independent Bookstore Day event.
The bookstore protest happened on the same day a 19-year-old white supremacist opened fire on a synagogue in Poway, California, before a Passover celebration, killing one woman and injuring three others, including one young girl.
Before the attack, the shooter posted an 8-page manifesto online boasting about his “European ancestry” and expressing his hatred of Jewish people.
The bookstore protest ended without injury or damage, the Washington Post reported.
Metzl told NBC Washington that he was speaking to a man who had helped Metzl’s father and grandfather flee Nazi Austria before the protest broke out.
“Not five minutes before, I had acknowledged him and said this is how great America can be when it is bold and generous,” Metzl recalled to NBC.
He told the Post that the incident was “symbolic.”
“It was very symbolic for me,” he told the paper. “In case anybody’s wondering what’s happening right now, they’re illustrating my point.”