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Feb 5, 18

Report Back: The Battle at Colorado State University

The following report comes from antifascists and anarchists on the ground in Fort Collins, Colorado, who recent helped defend a large mobilization that rallied against Turning Point USA, a Alt-Lite campus group heavily funded by billionaire backers and large foundations. In recent weeks, the campus has been the site of numerous attempts by the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP) to flyer and engage in outreach, and who antifascists stated would make a showing at the TP-USA event.

In the wake of this coming to light, TWP stated on social media that these claims were “fake news,” however true to form, appeared anyway as the protest was winding down with weapons in an attempt to attack and injure protesters. In response, antifascists put their bodies in between people and the fascists, pushing them off campus, while police did nothing but push the crowd towards the neo-Nazis. 

Cover photo screen shot from Unicorn Riot

FORT COLLINS, Colorado – January 29th. Just days before Charlie Kirk, executive director and founder of Turning Point USA (TPUSA), was to come to Colorado State University’s campus to speak on “smashing socialism,” several counter events were already in the works by persons and organizations, like Northern Colorado Antifa Collective, opposed to the documented racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and bigotry displayed by many TPUSA members and affiliates. Students, concerned community members, and anti-fascists alike continued applying consistent pressure to CSU staff and administration in hopes of getting Kirk’s speech cancelled before February 2nd, but to no avail. CSU refused to acknowledge any opposition.

That Monday, the urgency increased substantially as persons affiliating with the Traditionalist Worker Party, a nationally recognized white supremacist hate group, began posting anti-immigration and pro-white identity flyers around CSU. Persons seen posting flyers were heard yelling, “See you next week, fa–ots,” to individuals recording and documenting their presence on campus. These individuals were then seen harassing leftists at an anti-Trump noise rally held by Fort Collins Mutual Aid that same night.

Barricades go up prior to the demonstration.

These posters and verbal altercations were reported to CSU staff, but still CSU staff refused to talk about Kirk’s speech and the obvious potential for the presence of Nazis at Kirk’s speech. Persons who called or emailed CSU staff were told there would be no more discussion of anything involving February 2nd, unless communication came through Public Relations. The day drew nearer when Kirk was to be on campus and Josh Yeakel, member and prominent local figure of the TWP, grew more and more bold, reaching out to liberals to meet and talk. Then the day came.

They said they wouldn’t come.

CSU Police Department and Fort Collins Police Department worked in tandem to establish concrete barricades on the Lory Student Center plaza early Friday morning—barricades placed with no visible purpose or functionality, but ones that certainly set the tone for what was to come. As the time for Charlie Kirk’s speech grew closer, the number of police officers on campus increased. Cops already equipped in riot gear were stationed at every entrance as well as along the rooftops of several campus buildings. Then students began arriving for both Kirk’s event, and the counter demonstration.

The night started off with over 200 individuals gathered on the Lory Student Center plaza. Young Democratic Socialists of America, CSU’s student DSA organization, set up their tables lined with DSA pamphlets, a few copies of “To Change Everything,” and several Charlie Kirk memes. Fort Collins Food Not Bombs tabled on the other side of the plaza, their table complete with free food and hot chocolate. Individuals stood up on raised blocks of stone lining the pathways of the plaza, with various pro-Dreamer, anti-hate, and anti-Nazi signs and flags in hand. Individuals mingled for about two-and-a-half hours while Kirk’s speech went on inside the LSC.

A flyer that members of TWP had put up on the CSU campus which originated on the neo-Nazi online forum 4chan.

Some trolls including Martin Meyers (a self-proclaimed “AnCap” whose pride is still wounded from a recent snowball incident), Ryan Vergara-Mangan (an anti-Communist “Righteous Brothers” admirer and karaoke amateur), and Louis Huey (who embarrassingly mistook Nazis for “far left Commies” on camera during the event) showed up to challenge leftists on their ideologies and verbally spar with those in attendance. It’s comical to note, that once the actual Nazis showed up, these trolls hid behind their cameras and ran to their cars as antifa stood up to those wishing to attack the community. Despite these novice provocateurs, things on the plaza did not escalate much while Kirk prattled on.

As time progressed on the plaza, CSU Police Department and Fort Collins Police Department officers began blocking off the northern exit of the plaza, and subtly formed a half-circle around leftists outside. Two police vehicles silently rolled up onto the plaza, their mounted light bars triggering simultaneously. Sgt. Chris Robertson of the CSU Police Department took to the microphone, declaring the gathering tobe an “unlawful assembly.” Persons on the plaza were ordered to either leave, or be subject to arrest or pain compliance. All demonstrators began clearing to the south towards the cement barricades.

Then they came.

The moment CSU PD ordered dispersal and leftists began clearing off the plaza to the south, the chant “Anti-White” could be heard nearing the same side of the LSC plaza that demonstrators were just moved to. It was then that approximately twelve Nazis rounded the southwest corner and approached the cement barricades, a Nazi “sun cross” flag proudly waving in the air. The twelve were dressed in helmets and Atomwaffen skeleton face masks, and were seen carrying shields, high beam tactical flashlights, and bats. Students thought these were police given the way they were marching and how armed they were. Anti-fascists, however, knew immediately who it was who had decided to finally crawl out of the sewers. Anti-fascists and demonstrators encircled the Nazis. Their backs to the concrete, Nazis took attack stances and yelled “Fourteen” and “Jews Will Not Replace Us” at the crowd around them. (“Fourteen” being a reference to the “Fourteen Words” slogan used by white supremacists, popularized by David Lane of the 1980s armed group, The Order).

Josh Yeakel who was identified by antifascists after the clashes, was later seen in video talking to law enforcement in an attempt to encourage them to harass and arrest antifascists. In recent months, the leader of the TWP, Matthew Heimbach, has argued that the far-Right must be anti-cop.

Cops continued to order dispersal orders from 50 yards away, pushing the peaceful demonstration into the approaching Neo-Nazis, but took no steps to separate Nazis from the growing crowd of demonstrators. One officer was even reportedly heard telling Nazis to “let us know if you need anything.” Seeing that so-called “law enforcement” would do nothing to clear Nazis from the area or take their weapons (although they had earlier taken several flag poles from anti-fascists under the assertion that they were weapons), leftists stepped up and forced Nazis off the plaza area and onto the sidewalk. It was then that the LRAD, a long-range acoustic device intended to control crowds, was deployed twice.

A knife from one of the neo-Nazis.

Anti-fascists then began to move students to the north and south of the pathway, warning them of the Nazis coming their way. The Nazis continued being pushed farther west away from the plaza by a group of about thirty or forty anti-fascists and demonstrators. Hundreds watched as anti-fascists and their allies began pushing the group of Nazis off campus.

At one point, a member of the Nazi group yelled, “ni***r” at a black man, and then pushed him with his shield. Seconds later, that same man who seemed emboldened enough to use racist terms with his shield and helmet found somewhere on Ebay, was punched in the face, quickly knocking the reality that Fort Collins does not take kindly to Nazis back into him. As the white supremacists were pushed down the middle of campus, the crowd began to get more fired up as the Nazis used their flashlights to blind people, then another would take a shot at someone’s head with another flashlight or club. Unfortunately, two leftists sustained head injuries from these cowardly tactics.

Russel Frankland, a neo-Nazi identified by antifascists after the clashes. Photo from The Coloradoan.

Meanwhile, as a crowd of anti-fascists, students, and allies continue to push the group of shaking Nazis off campus, the Colorado State pigs, who seem to have never trained before, proceed to bang their shields on the ground a quarter mile behind everyone, while equipping themselves with K-9 dogs… on an empty street.

The community of Fort Collins doesn’t need police to tell them what to do with Nazis, and the battle continued. Rocks and snowballs were thrown, mace was seen to be deployed, and the ‘leader’ of the white supremacists ankle was audibly injured from the smack of a cane, leading him to limp away while his minions attempt to drag him, almost falling because their fantasy of getting what they want and intimidating who they want is fading away with the echoes of the people screaming at them.

A neo-Nazi limps away from the demonstration. Photo from The Coloradoan.

Throughout their removal, several fights broke out between the Nazis and those opposing them. Two leftists incurred hand and head injuries as a result of countering Nazi attacks. Only three leftists were injured during the entirety of the event and the following clash with Nazis.

The Nazis, however, faired far more poorly. The tallest of the Nazis, deemed “Skitler” for skinny Hitler, who appeared to be their leader, had snowballs thrown at his head as he limped away. Other Nazis were mocked, kicked, pelted by snowballs, and had their abandoned flashlights thrown back at them as they increased their pace. Eventually, a few of them turned back around to fight again, turning this into the biggest brawl of the night.

Unidentified neo-Nazi seen on campus both before and after February 3rd.

As Skitler was in a fight with an antifascist, one Nazi came running from behind with flashlights to jump in on the one vs one fight, he promptly took a rock to the neck and dropped before he could inflict further damage on the unarmed and unprotected pissed off townsfolk. It was during this skirmish, that the pigs decided it was their time to roll in with force. Nazis and demonstrators both scattered as K-9 units and patrol cars neared, and the battle at Colorado State University came to a close.

Despite the fact all Nazis present had face masks (and were blinding demonstrators with the aforementioned high-beam flashlights), several students identified several of the Nazis as TWP representatives that had approached them earlier that Friday. One individual, Russell Frankland, was identified by an unidentified source as being the individual who attacked the anti-fascist with the flashlight. Josh Yeakel, one of the more prominent figures of the Traditionalist Worker Party in Colorado, was also identified as an assailant. One unidentified Nazi present is suspected as being one of the TWP affiliates seen on campus just days earlier when they were posting flyers around campus. Whether or not these individuals are confirmed members of Traditionalist Worker Party matters little. A quote from the verbally engaging, yet ineffectual, CSU President Tony Frank is, nonetheless, pertinent here:“A Nazi is a Nazi is a Nazi.” What CSU and the community of Fort Collins saw on February 2nd was just that: Nazis.

Members of Aryan Circle and Traditionalist Workers Party retreat from the CSU campus.

Despite their insistence that TP-USA’s sole purpose is to discuss the ideals of a free market, smaller government, and the glories of capitalism, it is clear something about TP-USA encouraged nationally recognized Nazis to feel emboldened enough to come out of the woodwork. CSU was told in sufficient time that these individuals were coming in conjunction with Kirk’s speech. Yet, as a direct result of their prioritization of pride and policy over their students’ safeties, CSU did nothing to prevent Nazis from coming, and nothing to aid in their removal from campus. Instead, cops pushed anti-fascists, leftists, and student bystanders directly into the paths of Nazis and endangered the lives of all who had merely been engaging in conversation not minutes before.

Regardless of the unwillingness of CSU to do anything but offer verbal statements preceding Kirk’s speech (unsurprisingly thanking CSUPD for their imaginary work), the complacency and comradery CSU PD displayed with the Nazis, and the fact these Nazis are still silently permeating our communities: Friday night was a decisive victory for anti-fascists and demonstrators in northern Colorado.

The message has been sent: Nazi punks? FUCK OFF.

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