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(en) US, California: Report back from Modesto ARA marchers Protest Against Fascist Attacks

Date Wed, 29 Mar 2006 10:30:03 +0200


On Saturday, March 25th, between 30-35 people came out to
denounce the various acts of racist and neo-Nazi vandalism that
have occurred recently in the local area. People held signs, chanted,
and also conducted a sidewalk march on one of Modesto’s busiest streets.
Protestors also brought attention to the new anti-immigration bill, HR 4437.
While some whites showed their loyalties with several flip offs, and even
occasionally Nazi salutes, the majority of the public was supportive, with
honks, raised fists, and cries of “Black Power!”, and “Fuck the KKK!”.
Background: Over the past year, the local Modesto area, and surrounding towns
has seen an increase in neo-Nazi, racist, and anti-Semitic vandalism
and hate crimes. Late last year, a Patterson Church was vandalized
with “KKK”, and a picture of a noose. In Ceres, a local high
school was broken into, and swastikas and “SS” symbols
were spray painted inside lockers. In Manteca, people’s homes
were targeted, and slogans like the famous “14 words”,
along with neo-Nazi symbols were found. Recently, in early
February, two Modesto Churches, and one synagogue were
attacked, with such horrible messages as, “..Back to the
Ovens” (1). In Modesto, we felt that some sort of response to
these kinds of attacks and vandalism needed to be carried out.
Something that was open to the public, participatory, and something
that brought attention to these acts of intimidation.

title or description

While we were planning this, several of the churches held and event
of their own, an event entitled, “Unity in the Community”
(2). The event focused on basically allowing the various church
leaders and the police an opportunity to talk about their feelings on
the issue, and allowed the public to ask questions of the speakers.
The police generally had no new information to report on the case,
and the Church leaders largely hit on issues outside of racism. We
think that in a community that is rich in racial and class tension,
problems such as racial profiling by police, environmental racism,
high poverty and homelessness, labor conflicts and struggles, issues
of rent control, etc, we cannot ignore that racism as a product of the
capitalist system must be combated, not just those that would take
these manifestations to their furthest extremes. Also, while we
appreciate the various church leaders for allowing us to speak at the
event briefly, (sure that made the cops happy), and also to pass out
flyers, we disagree with some of the speakers that those that carried
out the act simply did so because they lacked “god”, or a
“proper family upbringing”. Of course, it is entirely possible
that those responsible for the actions had bad childhoods, and
perhaps could have benefited from a religious background, however,
being that the social fabric of our culture is racist, it is not hard to
believe that certain people will be lead to further think racist
positions and ideologies out, and then act upon those assumptions.

March 25th

Realizing that a Nazi or fascist presence in this community would be
bad for everyone, we felt that we had to respond to the incidents in
our area. Though most anarchist groups, (through the Anti-Racist
Action, [ARA], network, etc), have confronted Nazis when and
where they are appearing or attempting to rally or organize, we felt
that we still had to make our voice heard, even if there wasn’t a
clear and present threat. While we attempted to get people from the
various churches, community groups, liberal/peace/progressive
organizations, and also gay and lesbian groups to come to the event,
we largely got young people from the high schools and colleges to
come out. Young people who were friends of or sympathetic to the
collective and to radical politics, including punks, hip hopers,
‘normal kids’, and people from various ethnic backgrounds,
etc, made up the bulk of those present.

title or description

Also adding to this, was the fact that the day before, Ceres High
School had erupted as over 300 kids walked out to protest the
anti-immigrant bill which would make living in the US illegally as
aggravated felony, and would even deport children of illegal
immigrants back to countries of their parents origin. Over 100 kids
were suspended by the school, and police and teachers had to pull
kids off fences to keep them from joining other protestors marching
through Ceres.

March and Discussion Circle

On the day of the event, the group made signs with stencils and
spray paint, and held up a large banner reading, “No Nazis, No
KKK! No racist - fascist USA!”. Also another that read,
“Fight the Racist HR 4437!”. After about an hour, we made
a march around and across to the next light, and then back to
original starting point. We then broke into a discussion circle, and
some of the protestors at Ceres High School who came out to the
protest, talked about their experiences on Friday (3). It was
important for us to make the connection between the systemic
violence of racism that is perpetrated through state and capital, and
also the more autonomous racist groupings, such as the
Minutemen, and also neo-Nazi and fascistic groups. We also passed
out free anarchist literature, and talked about recently someone has
been found posting on the neo-Nazi website, “Stormfront”,
that supposedly living in Modesto. Around this time, someone told
us that a carload of skinhead looking people that drove by and flipped
us off, and was coming back! We then busiest ourselves with
planning to defend ourselves. The fascist threat never materialized,
and after standing around waiting the “master race” to show
us up, we eventually packed up and left.

title or description

Where from Here?

During the discussion circle, we asked participants what could be
done better next time. People responded by saying more numbers,
and more noise! Ideas for buckets and drums were brought up. Also,
many within the DAAA Collective think that it is time to stop
looking towards courting the old stale, lefty groups within the area to
come out to our events, and begin to get more young people that are
our own age out. It was clear that many young people that have
never heard of the DAAA Collective, but have become interested in
the work that we are doing just from word of mouth, internet, or
seeing flyers. Several people did stop by in their cars and tell us that
we were inspiring, and one person offered to help us continue
organizing protests. Also, the fact that we got several Nazi salutes,
and flip offs from a meat head with a giant confederate flag in the
back of his truck, tells us that there are potentially more of those
kinds of people out there than we thought. Hopefully, there will not
be another incident that will require to come out into the street to
decry fascism and racism, but if there is, we will be ready.

Direct Action Anti-Authoritarians (DAAA) Collective - Modesto CA
www.modanarcho.tk
modanarcho@yahoo.com
Call Us!: 1 866 457 4230

End Notes: 1.) Background info on all the incidents can be found
here. http://www.geocities.com/modanarcho/nonazis.html 2.)
http://www.modbee.com/local/story/11914040p-12682290c.html 3.)
www.indybay.org/centralvalley
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