Uprising Against Nazis and their Protectors Rocks Toledo

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

FLASH: On Saturday, October 15, a major uprising against Nazis and police brutality erupted in the northern Ohio city of Toledo. The rebellion is being slandered as "gang violence" on network news, but it was a just uprising against a state-supported march by Nazis through a North Toledo neighborhood.

Framed by genocidal rants against Black people by major ruling class figures like William Bennett, who posed that "if you wanted to reduce crime . . . you could abort every Black baby in this country," and the way poor and Black people in New Orleans were villified after Hurricane Katrina, a Nazi group called for a march against "black crime" in Toledo. A large contingent of police not only protected their rally, but escorted them through angry protesters to a press conference, where their racist bile was recorded and promoted by the mainstream media.

In the days before the scheduled Nazi march, Toledo’s Black mayor, Jack Ford, and several ministers encouraged people to attend an "Erase the Hate" event at a Seniors Center a good distance from the Nazi event. The Toledo Blade--concentrating the logic of accomodating oneself to the most overt fascist outrage--editorialized that if people ignored the rally, "maybe that would be the equivalent of a tree falling in the forest with nobody around to hear it." Instead of heeding that advice, several hundred protesters confronted the Nazis chanting "Hey hey! Ho ho! This Nazi hate has got to go!" Signs in the crowd read "Black and White Unite," and "No Racists in Toledo." Police on horseback attacked the anti-Nazi protesters, while the Toledo Blade reported that one woman demanded, "Which side are you on? I don’t see you pushing any Nazis back!"

Within an hour, the Nazis had fled the scene. Crowds of angry people, who had gathered along the announced route of the Nazi march, clashed with police. From news reports, the uprising mainly targetted those who protected and promoted the Nazis -- police vehicles and a news van were pelted with rocks. When the mayor went into the neighborhood to try to chill things out, angry residents demanded, "Why were [the Nazis] allowed to be here? That’s what I want to know!"

As clashes erupted between police and the crowd, police attacked with teargas, some of which was thrown back at them. Reportedly over 100 people were arrested, many of them youth. As we go to press, a curfew remains in effect in Toledo.