Almost a year has past since the death of Heather Heyer, and once again, a variety of racist and fascist groups are attempting to “Unite the Right” in a series of demonstrations across the US, bringing together the most violent sections of the militia movement, the Alt-Right, neo-Nazis, the “Patriot” movement, and the Alt-Lite.
Starting in Portland, Oregon on the 4th, Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys will rally behind Joey Gibson, who will then bus down to Berkeley, California for a rally the very next day on August 5th. Then in Washington DC on the 12th, original Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler will host a rally featuring neo-Nazis and former KKK speakers like Patrick Little and David Duke. Then, on August 18th, Boston based Alt-Right group ‘Resist Marxism’ is calling for far-Right demonstrations across the US to stand against “Far-Left Violence.”
In the face of a growing street movement against ICE and prison slavery and stumbles from within the Trump administration, the goal of the current far-Right street movement is to build a large, big-tent street fighting force which can not only act as a violent auxiliary to the State, but also go on the offensive and attack the Left in the broadest sense possible.
Michael Scheuer, the former senior CIA official and NYT bestselling author of Imperial Hubris, is calling for Trump supporters to kill Trump opponents https://t.co/lH81xBoKqX pic.twitter.com/Hh0IM2HHtN
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) July 16, 2018
Spear heading the more current crop of rallies often are not always explicit white nationalists and neo-Nazis, but instead a big tent of far-Right groups and individuals that includes everyone from militia members, Proud Boys, white nationalists, those in the Alt-Right, to Trump supporters. Often, these formations weaponize identity politics, putting people of color, queers, and even transgendered people at the front as tokens and “proof” that they are not bigoted. Such a strategy is even impressing neo-Nazi and Alt-Right groups, as recently released chat logs from Unite the Right organizers show a desire to copy the organizational model of Patriot Prayer which utilizes people of color to deflect from charges of racism, and also highlights the open lines of communication between the various far-Right camps.
As Unicorn Riot wrote:
[T]he planners of the 2018 [Unite the Right] event seem obsessed with somehow re-branding themselves as non-racist. Kessler and his cohorts also discussed inviting a token “non-white” speaker with the hope that it would give them “political cover” to bring on white supremacist speakers such as Duke.
One of Kessler’s co-organizers, a man using the name ‘Danny Wolf’…discussed having conversations with members of the Proud Boys to encourage them to attend Unite The Right 2. Wolf also said he was in contact with Tiny Tusitala, a member of the violent Patriot Prayer group led by alt-right hate preacher Joey Gibson, who claims to oppose Nazis but whose events are repeatedly attended by many white supremacists.
Borrowing from the rhetoric of both the “free speech” rallies of 2017, of which Unite the Right in Charlottesville was one, as well as portraying themselves as the ‘victims of ‘far-Left violence’ on the other, this new coalition has had not only the backing of what is left of the Alt-Right, but also that of massive far-Right media platforms like InfoWars, and well connected figures within the Republican and Trump establishment, such as Roger Stone and Tucker Carlson.
And while it seems that the dream of the white nationalist wing of the Alt-Right to lead the wider movement out of the Free Speech rally period and into a post-Unite the Right world did not materialize, the new big tents that have lasted clearly are still open to neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and Identitarians. As Proud Boy Levi Romero stated in a recent livestream, “Nazis are my best friends, all they want is nationalism, what’s wrong with that?”
Proud Boys parade their token members of color as evidence that they aren't racists. Here, one explains the truth: "Nazis are my best friends, all they want is nationalism, what's wrong with that? They want to introduce, fuckin', good shit for America." #DefendPDX #GetOutGibson pic.twitter.com/7zQo8sqgNn
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) July 19, 2018
Beyond trading in MAGA hats and American flags for burning crosses and swastikas, leaders like Joey Gibson are also pushing to attack the Left in an almost Biblical light. Speaking on his Facebook livestream last week, Patriot Prayer leader Joy Gibson stated that the city of Portland was “dark” and full of “criminals,” and needed to be “cleansed” by people who “love freedom” and “respect God.” When this rhetoric is coupled with out right calls for murdering people that oppose Trump, such a push towards political violence needs to be taken as the serious threat that it is.
And fundamentally, this is where the Right wants to go, from rallies around “free speech” and supporting Trump and playing victim, to outright violence and attacks against anyone and everything that is critical or against the current regime.
What Is At Stake
August 4th and 5th will be a test by the far-Right.
They want to see what their capacity is and more importantly, if they will be able to not only scare off any potential opposition, but also if the broader Left will show up in mass numbers such as they did in the wake of Charlottesville. If the streets are cleared, and moreover, if they are presented with only a small group of opponents to attack, then the far-Right will walk away from August 4th with a solid victory, and will then take this new found confidence into Berkeley the next day. Already, many of the major players are saying that they are driving buses and flying down directly from Portland to Berkeley, where they hope to have a repeat of their projected success.
If all goes well, there is nothing stopping militia members, Proud Boys, and what remains of the Alt-Right from coming out again in mass numbers in Washington DC on August 12th. Then, only 6 days later, Alt-Right and far-Right groups led by Resist Marxism will take part in rallies across the US “Against Far-Left Violence.” So far they have events listed in Los Angeles, San Jose, Boston, Buffalo, Charleston, WV, Springfield, and Austin, but with added wind in their sails, these number could easily grow.
Thus, a year after Unite the Right in Charlottesville, the far-Right could return once again, stronger than ever, and in a position to begin to offensively attack the Left and broad social movements. Instead of just random attacks on people in Portland, it could instead move to carry out attacks at #OccupyICE encampments, protests, strikes, and a variety of events, meetings, and fundraisers. For those that choose ignore them now, they could end up coming face to face with them later.
The simple question remains, will we let them?
Another Kind of Greensboro
On November 3rd, 1979, undercover FBI agents, members of the local KKK, along with a variety of neo-Nazis, launched a machine gun attack against a Communist group who had assembled for a anti-KKK protest. In the ensuing shootout, 5 Communists were killed, and several more were wounded, yet two criminal trials found the fascists and the police not to be at fault, (later a civil suit did award some damages however). The message sent was clear, that the KKK and neo-Nazis had a green light to attack the Left, and the government and courts would look the other way.
In today’s world, the police and those in power have made the same thing just as clear: they view social movements for change as a bigger threat than the far-Right and neo-Nazis who are killing members of the public. Towards this end, they have allowed people in groups like Patriot Prayer to almost murder individuals at demonstrations, while showing up in the hospital to put the cuffs on antifascists. In Sacramento, police even attempted to work with neo-Nazi skinheads in an attempt to ID antiracists and antifascists, claiming that the neo-Nazis, were in fact, “the victims,” even after the neo-Nazis stabbed almost a dozen people on the capitol grounds.
Like in Greensboro, the police and the broader security state is looking to use the far-Right as a tool to attack the growing autonomous social movements across the US. The question is, will we sit on the sidelines, or will we show up in the thousands and refuse to let fascism build on the streets and creep into the halls of power?
What Is Needed?
We need to build mass numbers. Thousands are needed on the streets of Portland, Berkeley, and DC. We need to come out in mass and shut down the streets, while protecting each other from police and far-Right violence.
While we’ve done this time and time again, it’s now more important than ever a year after Charlottesville. We don’t have the luxury of having a huge section of the US activated in anger at the far-Right over what they are seeing on the news. Because of this, we’re going to have to organize, not just rely on social media to bring people out. With this in mind, here are some thoughts on how we can each take on the work of building a mass mobilization.
- Reach out to groups and organizations that you know. Ask them if they will support and sign on to the demonstrations. Can they bring people out? Can they use their social media platforms and mailing lists to encourage people to hit the streets?
- Reach out to churches that have supported demonstrations in the past. Will they allow a speaker to come to their church and discuss the need to protest? Will they encourage people to come out? Will they allow you to flyer?
- Reach out to unions that have supported the protests in the past. Will they allow you to address their union meetings? Will they encourage members to come out? Talk with rank-n-file workers and shop stewards. Encourage them to promote the demonstrations.
- Go door to door in neighborhoods. Give out flyers, talk to people about the importance of coming out to the demonstrations. Encourage people to get involved.
- Hold meetings before the demonstrations and have activities planned for people to build around the mobilizations, such a going out flyerering, putting up posters, or door knocking. Make plans to go out stickers and flyering. See what connections other people have into different social circles and if they can tap into them to support the mobilization.
Spread the Word:
- Put up stickers everywhere.
- Put up posters everywhere. In every working class neighborhood, in every grocery store, in every library, in every campus and school, and everywhere ordinary people are going to be. Let people know what is going down.
- Pick busy times to hold banners and hand out flyers to people coming off subways and other mass transit. Think about where you can talk to hundreds of people in only a short amount of time. Get a crew together and flyer as many of these people as you can. More crews means more coverage. With enough people, you can let thousands know about the demonstrations and why they should come out.
- Hit up sympathetic radio stations, podcasts, concert events – address crowds and get the word out.
- Go to every protest, meeting and demonstration that you can to let people know what is happening. Give out flyers and other materials if possible.
Build Towards the Mobilization:
- Hold teach-ins and educational events to bring people together and encourage them to get involved in the mobilization.
- Organize easy to pull off events such as holding banners on a freeway overpass to raise awareness about the demonstrations.
- Hold signs banners on busy streets and hand out flyers, like an informational picket, to let members of the public know what is going on.
- Hold a press conference and send out press releases to alert the press what is happening.
- Have a strong social media campaign with videos, memes, articles, and updates on event pages. Encourage people to also download and print flyers.
Organizing large scale mobilizations is a combination of hard work and outreach in a variety of avenues of social life. In short, you have to make your event “a thing” on the social landscape, not just something that a set group of people is going to. In order to get to that point, people have to put work in everyday.
Antiracists and antifascists have a lot at stake over the coming weeks, lets make sure we do everything possible to enure success.
Stop the Next ‘Unite the Right’
August 4th, Portland, Oregon. Gather at Chapman Square at 11:30 AM. Facebook event here.
August 5th, Ohlone Playground and Greenway to MLK Park, 2 PM. Facebook event here.
Charlottesville, Virginia August 11th. 7PM to 9PM, we are reclaiming the NORTH PLAZA OF THE ROTUNDA (jefferson side). Facebook event here.
Washington DC, August 10th – 12th. Resist and confront fascism in DC. https://shutitdowndc.org
Across the US, August 18th. Resist Alt-Right “National March Against Far-Left Violence.”