After long time neo-Nazi organizer and local real-estate agent Paul Preston was outed by Screwston Antifascist Committee, a group of antifascists organized a march on his Houston, Texas home while handing out flyers and talking to neighbors.
On June 8th comrades from Dallas and Austin joined Houston antifascists as they confronted fascist organizer and podcaster Paul Joseph Preston at his Near Northside home.
As they marched the antifascists informed appreciative residents about Paul Joseph Preston, aka “Wooderson”. Conversations were held in both Spanish and English about Preston’s participation in the deadly Charlottesville rally, his work with Identity Europa, and his predatory real estate practices.
The bloc stood outside the home chanting slogans like, “Good night, alt-right / We know where you sleep at night”. Passing motorists slowed down to show support and received further information about Wooderson and his fascist girlfriend, Ariel Gherman.
Two anonymous antifascists walked to the door, gave it a knock (it was unclear who was present) and taped flyers to the window.
Police arrived on the scene shortly and so did Wooderson, driven by a friend in a red truck with a trailer. Unable to park in front of the house, the friend clumsily drove down a dead-end street to the backside of the property owned by Paul Preston, only to find they were being followed by the masked crowd. Making a clumsy reversal, the truck returned to the front and Wooderson quickly jumped out and darted for his front door
Many had expected Paul Preston, known for his macho posturing online, to begin a confrontation with the antifascists upon exiting. Instead, he changed directions and slunk inside his home under the watchful eye of HPD.
The look of fear and shock on his face will be remembered by many, with one Austin comrade humorously remarking, “the look on that coward’s face when he was all fucked up in that dead end will fuel me.”
An HPD officer quickly followed Paul Joseph Preston to the house and was invited inside by Ariel Gherman. It then became clear she had been present for the entire event and likely called the police. The presence of the cops did not dampen the antifascists’ mood and the chanting continued. Drumming on a plastic barricade by some creative comrades set off the alarm on Ariel Gherman’s car, adding to the din.
Police made hostile statements and asked if a leader of the antifascists would step forward and speak. The only response was a chant of “cops and Klan go hand in hand.” They then helpfully removed the flyers from Paul Preston’s porch, since Preston was apparently unwilling to step outside or even look out the window.
Errors and Missteps
While the action was undoubtedly a resounding success, there are always lessons to be drawn. Firstly, less visible staging and debriefing areas should be utilized where possible. Secondly, more organized and rapid movement between locations would leave less room for potential attacks from cops or fascists.
An opportunity was arguably missed when the entire antifascist bloc followed Wooderson’s truck down the cul-de-sac and back, thinning the ranks. This was done under the assumption Wooderson would be entering his second property at the end of the road. In retrospect, some antifascists might have remained to guard the front entrance of the home while others followed the truck. On the other hand, splitting the bloc might have made police retaliation more likely.
These are minor criticisms of an overwhelmingly successful action.
The Enemy Retreats, We Pursue
Between this home demo in Houston, and the actions by various groups against Dustin Casler as well as those targeting “Texas Nomads” in Austin, it seems Texas antifascists as a whole are taking an increasingly proactive approach. While cities must be defended against fascist rallies and marches, fascists cannot be allowed to dictate the time, place, and manner of struggle.
Having been shut down and blocked time and again, many fascist groups in Texas no longer have the appetite for publicly announced rallies. In a desperate attempt to avoid defeat they have largely shifted to “flash demos” that are coordinated among their membership in secret.
They are finally realizing that hiding and sneaking will not save them, because antifascists are taking the fight to their front doors.
Background Info on Neo-Nazi Houston Realtor Paul Preston from Scewston Antifascist Committee
To see full report with photos, go here.
Paul Preston marches in Charlottesville on left, and on right, displaces a swastika pin, hangs out with Azmador from the neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, and also takes part in disruption of SURJ event.