On Sunday, members of the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP), the Golden Skinheads, and other neo-Nazi and white supremacist gangs attempted to spread hate by holding an ‘Anti-Anti-Fascist’ rally on the steps of the California state capital in Sacramento.
The TWP, formed only this year, is led by Matt Heimbach and is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a leading force in the “new wave of extremism” in America. While the group sometimes cloaks itself in leftist phraseology – “America’s first political party created by and for working families” – its real mission is to “indoctrinate high school and college students into white nationalism” and strengthen the stench of racism, nationalism, and other backwards ways of thinking promoted by both major political parties. Heimbach told Reuters that the TWP and its affiliates were at the capitol “to support [white] nationalism.”
In response a mix crowd of nearly 400, called on by the anti-fascist organization Antifa Sacramento, rallied around and in front of the capitol building an engaged the few neo-Nazis who did eventually show up. Seven people (at least five of them anti-fascists) were hospitalized with minor to sever stab wounds, and many more were teargassed by police. After gaining the steps of the capitol around 1pm and feeling secure no other fascists were present, anti-fascists declared the rally a success. Heimbach, who was not present at the rally, said the fascists stood their ground and that the event was “a victory for us because more of them walked away injured.”
The anti-fascist rally in Sacramento follows a KKK rally in Anaheim and the praising of the Orlando killings by a Sacramento Baptist pastor. In the past two months hate flyers have appeared in downtown Sacramento and on the UC Davis campus.
There were a mix of leftist groups present at the rally, including anarchist elements dressed in black, holding plastic riot shields and wooden poles, and waiving the iconic anarchist red ‘A’ flag. There were many other groups present, including the Freedom Socialist Party and the Progressive Labor Party. Many of the demonstrators waved signs denouncing the white supremacists, encouraging peace, or condemning hate. The majority of the anti-fascist demonstrators did not engage with the neo-Nazis but did chant slogans and provide as much protection and medical aid to the more active comrades as was possible. (It took an enragingly long time for professional medical help to reach one young man who others described as “convulsing on the ground with stab wounds to his chest and abdomen”).
For all their bluster and show of force, the police showed complete disinterest in stopping violence between the two sides (violence, as usual, directed from the neo-Nazis against anti-fascists as exemplified by the stabbings). One anti-fascist said the police told National Lawyer’s Guild representatives present at the march that officers were not there to protect protestors. Police fired teargas indiscriminately and without warning, brandished assault riffles, and in one instance pointed shotguns at protestors gathered for a water break.
As is typical at demonstrations between fascists and anti-fascists, police in Sacramento chose to side with the powers of racism and hate. In Sacramento, officers at first refused anti-fascist protestors access to the capitol steps only to have two neo-Nazis ‘slip past them’ onto the steps an hour later. And why not? As armed protectors of capitalism, it is the job of law enforcement to safeguard a system of economic exploitation that thrives on violence and division within the working class. White supremacy – whether its spouted by the KKK, the police, or politicians – has always been given a platform in mainstream discourse, while anti-fascist are portrayed as violent extremists devoid of any social or political context. If its a discussion of violent extremists, then certainly it’s the police – the only political group to have killed more people in the U.S. than white nationalists – who deserve an excruciating analysis.
As increasing numbers of people struggle to survive under the further deterioration of capitalism, large groups are drawn towards the scapegoating tactics of racism and nationalism spewed forth by both ends of the two party establishment. The ruling class works very hard to blame anything and anyone for the deterioration of this country, so long as the eyes of the masses are kept from the true culprit – an economic system based on private profit, wage and job slavery, and complete disregard for the masses. Nationalists and racists should be apposed without hesitation, and by force if necessary, by a united front of workers and supporters; they will not be allowed to draw more people into their ranks and pollute any more young minds.
But force against the individual fascists is not nearly enough. If we are truly interested in stomping out fascists, then a change in the material conditions of the working class is necessary. To end fascism, we must end an economic system that leaves millions impoverished, and smash a state that uses fascism as a tool to intimated and disrupt organized labor and sow fear and hatred. An economy that meets the needs of everyone, implemented by a state controlled by the working class as the vast majority of the population, must replace one that far exceeds the needs of a select few and that leaves broken communities and decimated countries in its wake. Fascism can only be destroyed once workers gain control of the state and take power for themselves.
As the Brexit will soon demonstrate, the fight for socialism cannot be won on a platform of nationalism so long as the capitalist class is always leading the way. The working class within the ranks of neo-Nazis should know that their deteriorating economic conditions cannot be solved by the promises of Donald Trump, or the white nationalist agenda put forth by their leaders. Likewise, the working class of the world should also know that no capitalist state or politician will ever willingly provide the keys to their freedom.