No Peace 4 Racists

Revolutionary Worker #970, August 23, 1998

The Ku Klux Klan announced they were going to stage a recruitment rally on August 8 in Warren, Ohio. And many people were determined that this would not go down unopposed.

Hundreds of people answered the call from Anti-Racist Action (ARA) to march against the Klan. Many of them were working class youth--both Black and white--from this industrial rustbelt town of 50,000 on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.

As for the KKK itself--they only managed to gather 30 of their warped followers in hoods and swastikas. But, as so often happens in the USA, the police were there in force, to threaten the anti-racist forces and protect the Klan.

When 350 anti-racist marchers arrived at the central square of Warren, they found that the cops had blocked off traffic from the whole downtown. Three hundred cops were lined up in riot gear--drawn from many surrounding towns and the State Police. Police snipers were on nearby office buildings. Anyone entering the fenced-off area around the central square had to pass through metal detectors--and were forbidden to even bring cameras with them.

As the Klan started shouting their racist madness on the steps of the county building, one group of young Black men bluntly demanded that the cops "Step aside!" and let them deal with the racists.

The Klan cut their pathetic rally short. The cops moved on anyone trying to get at them. At one point cops on foot and horseback maneuvered to corner about 50 youth, most of them with ARA. In the tense confrontation and shoving, the chant went up "Blue by day, white by night," accusing the cops of being Klan-types in uniform. And over and over again, "Fuck you pigs."

That same day, there was a rally of about 100 anti-racist youth in Mercer, Pennsylvania--to confront a second Klan event. An ARA activist from Columbus, Ohio told the RW, "Lots of local kids showed up at both these rallies. We have done this work long enough so that these kids know to show up to Klan rallies and shut them down. You saw in both Mercer and Warren how these kids showed up with homemade anti-fascist T-shirts. They just plain, old-fashioned, knew what to do. That means, on another level, we are creating an anti-fascist culture. They know enough to replicate on their own."

Persecution of Anti-Racists
in Ann Arbor

Meanwhile, an orchestrated campaign of police persecution has hit the anti-racist movement in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Police there issued 39 arrest warrants--seeking to jail people for confrontations at a May 9 anti-Klan rally at Ann Arbor's city hall. Many of those targeted are supporters of the local Anti-Racist Action chapter.

During that May 9 rally, the authorities mobilized extensive resources to protect the activities of white supremacists while attacking and persecuting anti-racists. Police sprayed the anti-racist protesters with bursts of pepper gas. At the same time the cops fielded teams of so-called "peace-keepers"--civilian observers in yellow shirts. These "peace-keepers" tailed anti-fascists during the rally and radioed police about the activities of militants. Some among the "peacekeepers" were turned off when they realized what they were being assigned to do--and took off their yellow shirts.

After the march, some of the pro-police "peace-keepers" have been helping finger anti-fascist militants for police arrests.

The first arrests of Ann Arbor anti-racists happened on June 27 when police and federal ATF agents arrested two anti-racists. The "evidence" shown to one of the arrested anti-racists was simply a picture of him holding a bullhorn at the Ann Arbor rally.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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