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Jan 18, 21

“The People’s March” Hits the Twin Cities Streets Against the Proud Boys

Report back from the People’s March in the Twin Cities, which took to the streets against the Proud Boys while highlighting convergent struggles.

photo: @TCparkresponder

On Jan 9, 2020, Twin Cities Anti-fascists convened in St. Paul to challenge the Hold The Line protest held by Proud Boys and other self-described “Patriots.” A congregation of Proud Boys and belligerent Trump supporters at Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s mansion has occurred every Saturday since the election results were first announced in November. But this past weekend the Proud Boys decided against approaching the Governor’s Mansion due to what we have dubbed “The People’s March.” The People’s March dwarfed the Proud Boys’ numbers and forced them to alter their protest entirely. Our grassroots multi-racial, working-class coalition continues to fight the Alt-Right in the street and we continue to succeed in true community defense.

The messaging for “The People’s March” was that militant, bottom-up action was required to meet our demands, not top-down legislation. In addition to confronting white supremacy, we also marched for total police and prison abolition, an end to the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline construction, and for direct COVID relief to workers, not corporations. Housing advocates and Water Protectors all spoke to the crowd as we marched, addressing our demands and describing a better world built on mutual aid. We got to imagine what a world free of police and private property looks like.

This was a self-organized and horizontally led event. Affinity groups throughout the Twin Cities cross-pollinated for the march, taking on whichever roles best suited their skill set. Our shield wall marched on the sides, comrades held our now well publicized, “Follow Your Leader,” banner (as well as other art calling for abolition and an end to Line 3 construction), there were trained street medics, scouts, MCs, and security. Our group is multi-faceted and multi-talented. Our autonomous actions against the Proud Boys, which began in November, have strengthened the bond between us and created new and more fluid affinity groups. Our ability and willingness to care and fight for each other has only grown since our initial planning seeds began to bloom.

The People’s March went through one of the most affluent sectors of St. Paul, forcing onlooking liberals to hear a radical message and to witness what true opposition to fascism looks like. Many were encouraged to join us in the street, and some allegedly had anti-fascist zines left on their cars. At one point a Walgreens employee ran in front of the store to throw their fist up and yell in solidarity. If nothing else, the workers keeping wealthy St. Paul streets open heard us. Our march parted streets and our speakers were heard over lunch patio chatter. Proud Boys were nowhere to be seen,their hateful message unheard. When the rich are uncomfortable, the workers are united, and the fascists are scared off the street, we consider it a win for the anti-fascists of the Twin Cities and for anti-fascist groups across the country.

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