White supremacist rally in Minnesota shut down

White supremacist rally in Minnesota shut down

On March 3rd, a white supremacist group tried to hold a rally in Duluth, MN to spread their message of hate. Anti-fascists locally and from around the state, along with members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), Wobblies, Occupy, and anti-racist Duluth residents, chased them out of town in short order.

In response to backlash against public anti-racist billboards (part of the UnFair Campaign), the Supreme White Alliance (S.W.A) saw this as an opportunity to try to gain recruits. We saw this both as a threat that their organization could grow, and as an opportunity to confront fascism head on. Prior to the rally, we met with community organizers, made a pamphlet, and canvassed neighborhoods that were under direct threat by the Nazis.

The morning began at 8:30am with a ceremony put on by Anishinabe people and members of AIM. Our early morning tactics were to confront and escort away any Nazis and potential white supremacist recruits. About six showed up alone or in pairs in anticipation of the hate rally, and we engaged them until they left.

Around 10:30am, Robert Hester (Chairman of the Supreme White Alliance) and five cronies were met with immediate confrontation, snowballs to the dome, and a cacophony of rage. Four comrades were arrested and released with bullshit charges. The anti-racist action succeeded in preventing the S.W.A. from spouting their hate, forcing their retreat into City Hall under the protection of riot police.

With about 70 to 100 people taking this confrontational stand, the people of Duluth showed that they will not tolerate hate groups in their community. At the same time, however, some groups and individuals in the area decided to pursue a strategy of non-confrontation. Organizing separate events at sites far away from City Hall where the S.W.A. rallied, they tried to rally around themes of peace, understanding, and community growth. While we stand in solidarity with the anti-racist sentiment of those in attendance at these events, we respectfully disagree with their tactics. We don't dislike peaceful assemblies and discussions, but we want to ensure that these options remain open to all, given the very real threat that fascists pose. Non-confrontation is not a good tactical approach when faced with such a force. It didn’t work in Germany or in the southern USA and it won’t work here, at least not on its own. We believe that conflicts surrounding the use of more confrontational approaches are not helpful in anti-racist work. Solidarity and respect for diversity of tactics is key to our continued success in dismantling white supremacy.

The action we engaged in at the Civic Center was not intended as a conversation with the Nazis or as a spectacle for the cameras. We were not trying to win them over to our side by convincing arguments. We were there to show them that there is a force to be reckoned with if they plan to organize in and around our communities. If they do, there will be very real consequences for them. “You’re not welcome here, we’re watching: this is your final notice.”

While the day’s action was a sure victory, there was a public and media-hyped backlash from some groups who were against a direct confrontation approach. This indicates that much work is needed to break anti-racist organizing out of its stranglehold by the liberal capitalism-friendly non-profit-industrial-complex. Some of the latter folks claimed to be acting on the basis of a “consensus in their community” in favor of their non-confrontational approach. We beg to differ, based on our conversations with numerous people who were apparently left out of this “consensus”.

We engaged with some of the white folks who came to the rally to hear the white supremacists’ side of the story, and realized that they are prime potential recruits because they have genuine economic grievances. The fascists can easily channel these grievances into their conspiracy theories that pit white people against the rest of humanity. By confronting these potential recruits, we prevented them from connecting with the fascists. By talking with them, we began to break down some of their racist myths and to channel their grievances into an anti-racist outlet, into seeing them as symptoms of an underlying disease: the capitalist state, bound up with the dividing forces of white supremacy. The strongly positive responses we received when canvassing amongst lower-income folks, especially people of color, lead us to believe that there is much fertile ground for face-to-face anti-racist organizing aimed toward bridging the racial divisions that keep the working class divided. As our enemies work together (“Cops and Klan, hand-in-hand,” we chanted when our comrades were arrested for chucking snowballs), so movements of abolishing white supremacy and destroying capitalism—and smashing hetero-patriarchy and decolonizing everything—must go hand-in-hand.

- Some anarchists and anti-fascist allies in Minnesota

Comments

WhiteDude
Mar 13 2012 22:54

User banned. White nationalist nonsense deleted - JC

no.25
Mar 14 2012 04:53

Anti-racism isn't exclusive to whites you piece of fuck.

tastybrain
Mar 14 2012 04:58

Someone ban this clown.

Oenomaus
Mar 14 2012 05:20

Please ban the fascist.

Juan Conatz
Mar 14 2012 05:42

Might be exceeding my libcom responsibilities, but banned that user and unpublished his comments and the ones that quoted him. There's plenty of other online platforms for that bullshit.

no.25
Mar 14 2012 06:26

Nah, forget that poster. Right on Juan!

Steven.
Mar 14 2012 09:26

Juan, that's totally fine, thanks and feel free to do so in future with similar out and out Nazi crap

Juan Conatz
Mar 16 2012 01:17

Knowing some of the people who went up to Duluth, it was really interesting hearing about the door knocking that they did prior to the event. Not sure where the idea came from, but I believe it was mostly Twin Cities Wobs and assorted anarchists/Occupy peeps from some of the smaller towns in the state who did this. Some people didn't even know the SWA was coming to town, despite in being all over statewide media. When some people found out, they were mad and knew right away that they had to go down and confront them.

Also the small number of potential recruits to the SWA that came down and were confronted revealed pretty much what I'd expect in the conversations described to me...namely white working class people with legitimate economic issues that don't see much concern directed their way. This is obviously the people fascists are trying to appeal to.

jonthom
Mar 16 2012 17:23

fuck off you despicable cunt cunt

admin: Nazi trolling which this post refers to removed

Arbeiten
Mar 16 2012 17:34

lol, your an idiot, what is a black country and a white country, from space they are all pretty much green wink.

Also, you clearly know nothing about japan and immigration wink.

petey
Mar 16 2012 17:55

just btw, i had to read all the comments to realize that no. 25 is not calling the author of the article a piece of fuck. not a big deal, but maybe a line to show some comments at the start were removed?

ps - and eat shit, 'proudwhiteteen'

Redwinged Blackbird
Mar 16 2012 18:05

I experienced the same thing.

WhiteTeenProud
Mar 16 2012 19:35

User banned. White nationalist nonsense deleted - JC

Chilli Sauce
Mar 16 2012 21:01
Quote:
just btw, i had to read all the comments to realize that no. 25 is not calling the author of the article a piece of fuck.

Yeah, same thing happened to me embarrassed Much better now.

Nazi trash, fuck off btw.

Eli Makhno
Mar 18 2012 04:33

Juan, thanks for mentioning the importance of door-knocking. That was the most satisfying part of the action for me -- connecting with POC folks who are most seriously at risk of violence by the Nazis and white, low-income folks who are their most serious target of recruitment. For more explanation of our reasons for taking the direct confrontation approach, check out the pamphlet that we used for this canvassing here:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/83334496/Anti-Fascist-Anti-Racist-Action-on-March-3-2012-Pamphlet

David in Atlanta
May 12 2012 19:30

Hey Juan, I voted up the comments that say "User banned. White nationalist nonsense deleted - JC"