April 7, 2010
Protest the Nazis at L.A. City Hall!
What do the Librarians' Guild, Radical Women, Rev. Jay Atkinson of the Unitarian Universalist Church, Thandisizwe Chimurenga of the Ida B. Wells Institute, the Arbeter Ring (Workmens Circle), and the Puerto Rican Alliance have in common? They all call for building a mass demonstration to oppose a National Socialist Movement (NSM) rally for Hitler's birthday being held in downtown L.A. on April 17.
They are joined by some 25 other grassroots community leaders and organizations who will protest against the Nazis at 11:00 am at First and Spring, at the Southwest corner of the City Hall block.
The call for the protest was initiated by the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP), which has helped organize demonstrations against white supremacists in Simi Valley after the Rodney King verdict and more recently against anti-immigrant Minutemen in Leimert Park and at the U.S./Mexico border.
Says FSP spokesperson Yolanda Alaniz, "Like the Hutaree militia arrested in the Midwest at the end of March, NSM hopes to recruit out of the economic crisis, especially by scapegoating immigrants. Their program is based on bigotry, ours on civil rights. They lie and say they are socialists, but they are the opposite."On their website the NSM proclaim their intent to "reclaim the Southwest." They call for building a nation of all-whites, free of immigrants, Jews, homosexuals, and "pro-Marxist unions", where abortion is a crime and fathers are patriarchal rulers in the family.
James Lafferty, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild, L.A., joined the call, saying, "history clearly shows that when good people fail to take Nazi rallies seriously, they and other neo-fascist groups grow ever stronger. Only when people are quick to massively mobilize against them can their defeat be assured."
Alaniz added "NSM would like to recruit people like those in the Tea Party. I know some join that movement because they are hurt by the housing crisis and angry about bank bailouts. It's true, working people are under attack, but, fascism is not the solution! When they resort to scapegoating and racism out of fear, when they allow ultra-right groups like NSM and Christian patriot militias in their midst, they open the door to a Nazi movement."
Anti-Nazi organizers hope for a large, broad-based, multi-hued and multi-gendered gathering to drown out the NSM. Among those adding their voice to this call are T Santora, President, CWA 9000; the Here to Stay Coalition; Sonia Bautista, President of REFORMA, L.A.; two organizers of the March 4 student protests; the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN/LA); Marie Cartier, PhD at Cal State Northridge's Gender and Women Studies Department; Circulo Mictlanxiuhcoatl; the Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid, Southern California; and AIDS activist J.T. Anderson. The Jewish Labor Committee – Western Region, Union del Barrio, the Southern California Immigration Coalition, and riKu Matsuda -- host of Flip the Script on KPFK, are the latest community organizations and leaders to sign on to the call.
Initiated by the Peace and Freedom Party, the Riverside community twice recently outnumbered and foiled the NSM as they harassed day labors and attempted to hold anti-immigrant rallies, claiming they were "standing up for American workers." In the last two years, the Riverside NSM chapter has also flaunted swastika flags outside a Jewish temple during Hanukkah and patrolled the U.S./Mexico border, boasting they were "armed up."
"Hitler himself said that the Nazis could have been stopped when they were just small bands of thugs attacking unionists and socialists," points out Alaniz. "Let's not let these white supremacist get a foothold in California!"
The anti-Nazi demonstration is meeting at 11:00 am at First and Spring, at the Southwest corner of the City Hall block. The NSM has a permit for the south lawn of City Hall beginning at noon.
Weekly work parties are being held every Wednesday at 7:00pm. For more information, contact the Freedom Socialist Party at 323-732-6416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to the radio interview Yuisa Gimeno, President of Radical Women LA, did on KPFK 90.7 FM about the upcoming counter-demonstration. (The interview begins around the 6:20 mark.)