BELFAST, Maine — No, the Maine Green Independent Party is not hosting a white supremacist gathering later this month at the Belfast Free Library.
But an anonymous flyer mailed to some homes in Somerset County is advertising otherwise.
Andrew Bourassa, a progressive activist from Skowhegan, had seen a photo from a flyer recipient earlier Monday and received his own in the mail later that day. He knew right away the flyers were not from the Green Independents, but the fact that someone had gone to the effort to send them at all seemed strange to him.
“It was a little surprising,” said “And kind of discouraging, as a lifelong Mainer.”
The flyer features black-and-white clip art of a Ku Klux Klan hooded mask, a Confederate flag and the Eye of Providence, an icon that commonly symbolizes “the eye of God watching over humanity.” It lists the Maine Green Independent Party’s website, an email address for someone in the party and other details of an actual fall gathering being held by the Green Independents at the library.
— Andy O'Brien (@aobrien2010) October 7, 2019
But it was not an official party mailer, according to Ben Meiklejohn, secretary for the Maine Green Independents.
“I think anybody who has a clue would realize that the Maine Green Independence Party is not a group of white supremacists,” he said Monday afternoon. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. One of our key values is the respect for diversity.”
He said he didn’t know why anyone would go out of their way to mischaracterize his party.
“I don’t think they’re fooling anyone, though,” he said.
Brenda Harrington, who works at the Belfast Free Library, said the fake flyer had prompted a lot of calls.
“It’s crazy,” she said.
In July, a planned gathering of the anti-immigration group Maine for Mainers made headlines when someone distributed an anonymous postcard characterizing the event as a “white supremacist picnic.”
Maine for Mainers members denied that characterization of the gathering and said they did not distribute the postcard.
This week’s anonymous flyer seems to have been sent “all over the area,” Bourassa said, with recipients in Skowhegan, Canaan and Norridgewock. It’s fair to say hundreds were sent in total, he said, including one that was received by Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan, a former Democratic member of the Maine House of Representatives.
Bourassa said that people who had worked to retire Skowhegan High School’s “Indians” mascot, as he had done, seemed especially targeted by the mailing. He felt that the new flyer was inspired by the July postcards but was sure the same people were not behind both circulations.
“This is a little different tack,” he said. “Money was spent. Postage was used … they put them through the mail, which to me could potentially indicate some kind of fraud charges.”