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Oct 28, 20

New York City: Antifascists Confront and Shut Down Far-Right Trump March

Report on recent antifascist mobilization in New York against far-Right Trump parade that featured groups like the Proud Boys.

On Sunday, October 25, a ragtag crew of New Yorkers of all backgrounds came together to stand against the Proud Boys and their far-Right allies in midtown Manhattan. The spontaneous, combative, and collaborative energy of the crowd sent the far-Right packing with egg on their face, and new tactics in NYC’s repertoire.

NYC has seen a flurry of semi-organized activity on the Right. A combination of “Blue Lives Matter” backlash to the George Floyd rebellion and the NYPD’s full-throated support for Trump’s re-election campaign has energized and emboldened the forces of reaction in NYC to demonstrate in public with a frequency that hasn’t been seen in years. MAGA rallies here are often attended by Trump’s most dedicated fans in the tri-state area who eagerly make common cause with other right-wing campaigns, as well. “Reopen Rallies” and other protests against Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 restrictions have provided a space for collaboration between racist MAGA enthusiasts and law-and-order fascists with a broader spectrum of capitalist grifters, QAnon conspiratorial types, and anti-communist ideologues.

One such connection recently made public is between the Long Island Proud Boys and Heshy Tischler, an Orthodox Jewish anti-mask right wing provocateur who previously served time for his role in swindling up to $30,000 each from thousands of undocumented immigrants (the largest defrauding scheme of its kind in US history). Last week, David Kuriakose, a Proud Boy who participated in the brutal gang assault outside the Metropolitan Republican Club in October 2018, called into Heshy’s radio show to express his affinity with Heshy’s strand of inflammatory politics. The two discussed plans to work together more closely, starting with the “Rally 2 Fight 4 Economic Rights” held this past Sunday, October 25th.-

Outlive Them NYC (a group of Jewish antifascists) and United against Racism and Fascism-NYC (a broad coalition of local organizations) knew New Yorkers could not let these goons march through the city unopposed and called for a counter-demonstration.

Counter-protesters gathered Sunday morning near Central Park along Fifth Avenue, just blocks from Trump Tower, speaking out about the need to oppose fascism, holding banners, and decorating eggs. Kuriakose was spotted walking in the direction of the counter-protest, but did not attempt to approach it. A few MAGA protestors approached the group looking for a fight, but were quickly rebuffed.

Minutes later, a car caravan drove down Fifth Avenue: cars, trucks, and SUVs bedecked in Trump 2020 and Blue Lives Matter flags drove by, honking and shouting derisively at counter-protestors… with their windows down. The Strategic Resource Group (the NYPD’s protest policing squad) was nowhere in sight, and some of the counter-crew eagerly leapt to the curb and took full advantage of this fact. Luxury vehicles were drenched with eggs inside and out while young comrades of color wound through traffic snatching thin blue line flags. When fascist-loving sex predator and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared in a town car with the windows rolled down, he was warmly welcomed by those who survived his regime as Mayor of NYC.

From there, the march took to the streets of Midtown chanting “New York City, shut ’em down! We’re an antifascist town!” and “Say it loud! Say it clear! Proud Boys are not welcome here!” With the right-wing march approaching from down the block, organizers communicated a clear point of dispersal for anyone who could not take on the additional risks of confrontation or possible arrest.

Minutes later, the MAGA march crossed the counter-protesters’ path on 42nd Street and 6th Avenue. The MAGA contingent numbered about 80 people including local MAGA livestreamers, far right Proud Boys, Heshy Tischler, members of Yad Yamin NY (the re-branded Jewish Defense League), QAnon supporters, Dion Cini (self-proclaimed president of White Lives Matter), Christians for Trump (replete with posters of Jesus wearing a MAGA hat), and more – not to mention dozens of uniformed NYPD officers of all ranks guarding them. The march was headed by an absurd mobile billboard, and attendees carried their extra large Trump 2020 flag.

The counter-protesters who had chosen to remain flanked them up and down the street, chanting “New York hates you!” Sneakerheads waiting in line for new kicks, Starbucks staff, houseless neighbors, and other everyday New Yorkers joined in to shout down the MAGA march and let them know they were not welcome.

As both groups entered Times Square, amidst the flocks of tourists and Sesame Street-costumed performers, the Trump flag-wavers escalated verbal confrontations into physical ones. One pulled an extendable baton to beat counter-protestors.

Other violent cowards took swings at counterprotestors of color before leaping back behind police, and used the NYPD as henchmen to arrest random counterprotestors.

Through the chaotic scene of verbal sparring and confrontations, brave antifascist New Yorkers succeeded in dispersing all but the most dedicated of the right-wing crowd prior to their anticipated rally on the steps of Times Square. The NYPD continued to harass and threaten counter-protesters. Arrests and skirmishes continued in the area until the police declared an unlawful assembly and ordered the remaining Proud Boys and hangers-on to disperse.

Ultimately, the action was a big boost for the NYC antifascist movement. People from different tendencies and diverse backgrounds, from the recently radicalized to seasoned antifascists, worked together in the streets. The action created space for people of varying risk levels to develop their tactics. Eggs and paint were effective methods for protestors on foot to demoralize drivers in the passing car caravan, and flags were easily snatched from cars stopped in traffic. Confronting the MAGA march and scattering its participants through distraction, diversion, and confrontations stymied the rally significantly and sent a clear message to those on the fence.

This action was but a warm-up for a bigger antifascist action this Sunday, November 1, when a larger contingent of far-Right, outside agitators is set to descend on New York City in multiple car caravans, which will converge at Trump Tower. Antifascist New York plan to give these viral visitors a welcome they won’t easily forget.

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