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So About Those Communist Recruitment Posters All Over the U…

Plus what's next for the Lyndale White Castle, doubting Target, and local candy history in today's Flyover news roundup.

5:03 PM CDT on October 5, 2023

Twitter: @FightbackVan|

The type of IMT signage that is appearing around the U. (This example comes from Vancouver.)

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Ski-U-Marx?!

We're quickly becoming fans of newish Minnesota Daily columnist Kelly Rogers. She blazed outta the gate by questioning University of Minnesota leadership, called out green-eyed Dinkytown mega-developers, and, yesterday, helped answer a pressing campus Q: What the hell's going on with all those "Are You a Communist?" posters plastered around the U? Her findings after two weeks of investigation summoned a tale as old as Das Kapital: fervent infighting among various acronym-packed leftist organizations. More specifically, Rogers found aggrieved ex-members of Students for Socialist Revolution (SSR), whose parent org, the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), is responsible for the poster blitz.

Zack Müllerleile, now a member of the John Brown Revolutionary Society (JBRS), says he grew disillusioned by IMT's giddy fees and aggressive reaction to allegations of sexual assault in a Canadian chapter. He began waging a counter-offensive with posters that read: "THE IMT BLAMES VICTIMS AND SUPPORTS RAPISTS! THESE ARE NOT LEFTISTS." (In the column, a senior member of SRS obliquely addresses "reactionary university students [who are] not [the IMT’s] biggest fans.”) Müllerleile and his buddy, Alex Rodriquez, report they collectively paid IMT around $2,000, money purportedly earmarked for an office building in the U.K. “The honeymoon stage… lasted about six months,” Müllerleile told Rogers. “They’re trying to appear more active and revolutionary to… naive audiences of college leftists."

Concludes Rogers:

The poster wars may seem futile, but they reveal a much larger wake-up call for aspiring radicals on campus. If you want to be taken seriously, ditch the dogmatic obsession with Soviet-era slang and stop giving your money to this bottomless pit. There are plenty of ways to care for your neighbors that do not include a multi-level marketing scheme cloaked behind a hammer and sickle. The IMT is an embarrassment to leftism and should not be allowed to operate on campus. It is dangerous and deeply unserious at a time when the need for a functioning workers’ party is more critical than ever.

Iconic Lyndale White Castle Becomes Thrift Store

It’s been a fast-food joint, an office for a construction company, a jewelry/accordion store, an antique shop, and, most recently, it housed Diverse Emerging Music Organization (DEMO), a local nonprofit that archives local music history. Now, a new era is upon us, as the ol' White Castle building at 3252 Lyndale Ave. will reopen this weekend as a yet-unnamed vintage shop. “All my friends… were like it’s a fucking no brainer. It is the perfect place for you. It could only be you,” artist/restaurateur Joshua Schaefer tells Anna Koenning at Southwest Voices. In addition to band tees, long-forgotten toys, and odd inflatables, the store will also stock vintage kids’ clothes (he’s a dad, too). Folks can stop by on Sunday during Open Streets Lyndale to check things out. White Castle Building No. 8, as it is known to slider historians, opened in 1936 in Stadium Village at the University of Minnesota. After years of feeding students, it moved to Central Avenue Southwest in the ’50s and operated as the fast food joint until it moved to its current home in '83, when it ceased being an operational White Castle. Of the 55 of these “moveable” types of WC structures made, only a handful remain. (This less-preserved one in Kansas went up for free earlier this year.)

Maybe We Shouldn’t Just Believe Everything Target Says

The great thing about being a major corporation is that you can say whatever you want and it gets printed as truth. So when Target announced last week that it was closing nine stores on the coasts because of “theft and organized retail crime,” news stories dutifully parroted that rationale, both nationwide and here in Minnesota. (Yes, Target is based here, we know, but did a small number of store closings thousands of miles away really deserve to be the top local story on almost every Minnesota news outlet for the day?) Though business analysts have expressed doubts previously about the extent of “organized retail crime” and retail theft in general that stores face, no efforts were made to verify the retailer’s claims.

Now the website Popular Information has dug a bit into Target’s assertions and found them unsubstantiated if not questionable. Looking at the cities where stores had closed, PI found consistently that the shuttered Targets experienced “lower levels of theft than nearby stores that have remained open.” Among other possible problems Target faced, according to the report, was that the chain had overstocked on unwanted merchandise, including “fun and impulse-driven items"; groceries accounted for 20% of their sales compared to Walmart’s 50%. You need only walk into a Target store and you’ll realize how shaky the company's commitment to a brick-and-mortar presence. Crying theft may be a face-saving measure as Target seeks to decrease its urban footprint. 

Happy 100th to a Sweet MN Icon

For the Star Tribune today, Brooks Johnson goes deep into the Milky Way—and we're not talkin' about outer space. We're talkin' about the chocolate bar that, as the story goes, was dreamt up by struggling candyman Frank Mars's son Forrest right here in a Minneapolis diner. The younger Mars had a simple idea: Young people loved malts, so... why not make a candy bar that was reminiscent of a malted milkshake? The first Milky Way bar was made and sold here 100 years ago this year, and the history is as chock-full of fun facts as a Milky Way bar is of caramel and nougat. For example, did you know it was named for a popular 1920s milkshake, and not for the galaxy we all know and love? And here’s a literal grave fact, one you won't find in the Strib: Several members of the Mars family are locally entombed, like so much chocolate under M&M shell, at Lakewood Cemetery.

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