by Karyn Pomerantz, 8-7-18
On August 12, 2018, white nationalists will rally across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park to help build a movement of racist terror. Trump’s presidency has emboldened them, giving permission for them to rally, spew hateful lies, and kill as they did in Charlottesville last year. Even without Trump, capitalism needs racist organizations to win people away from multiracial organizing for better conditions and against war and fascism. This brief article describes the types of responses anti-Klan and anti-Nazi activists have used in the past. It is by no means a comprehensive account.
Some people and organizations, such as churches, prefer to ignore these marches and rallies. They claim this will force the fascists to retreat while barely being noticed. Pacifists may protest but keep their distance to avoid violent confrontations. Yet history shows that allowing racist groups to organize jeopardizes the lives of the working class directly, as in lynchings, or indirectly, as in spreading fear to act for reforms and revolutionary change. You may be in the group who prefers inaction because of the real threat of violence. It takes a lot of courage to confront these groups, but direct action can deter them from attracting new members or operating in a given location.
The Klan has staged marches several times in DC. In 1925, 30,000 robed Klansmen marched down Pennsylvania Ave. In 1990, 44 KKK members needed police protection to reach their destination, as they did in 1982. At that time, multi-racial groups, infuriated by the police role, took direct action, shutting down streets and skirmishing with the police.
Many times, anti-racists have driven Klan and Nazi groups away. In the 1970s members of the International Committee Against Racism (InCAR) attacked the Nazi Party HQ in Arlington after their members distributed anti-Semitic fliers. Soon after, the Nazis shut down their HQ and stopped leafletting.
Just last year, over 100 Arlington neighbors mobilized in two hours to oppose six Nazis giving salutes in a strip mall.
Baltimore was also the scene of anti-fascist actions as residents disrupted a skin head march in 1987 in Belair and at City Hall, stopping them from demonstrating.
During the early 1980s InCAR members showed up at many racist rallies in the Eastern US to physically fight the white supremacists, leading the Grand Wizard of the Klan to announce in an interview that these protests stymied their recruitment of new members. Two years ago, anti-racists beat and chased white supremacists out of Anaheim, Ca.
There are many more experiences in the US and other countries that indicate the success we can have stopping racist terror and building our own movement. Yet our efforts are not always successful as the police attack on demonstrators in Portland, Oregon in August 2018 revealed.
Racist groups serve capitalists well. They spread rotten ideas about exploited people to divide the working class and scare many from fighting the system, opposing wars, organizing unions, immigrating for better opportunities or supporting immigrants. These are life and death issues, not merely rhetoric. We know from the experience of Nazi Germany or the Jim Crow South that extreme racist ideas can take hold in substantial portions of the population if they are repeated loudly and often enough.
The rulers know they are outnumbered and need these organizations to control us. Let’s not fail to destroy them. FIGHT WHITE SUPREMACY. STOP THE RACISTS IN THEIR TRACKS.
COME OUT AUGUST 12, 2018