This report came via the Yippies List on Yahoo
It was way too early to be fighting Nazis, 10 Am in Riverside, it was already hot when I got there and at least a thousand demonstrators were protesting the rally of about a dozen Nazis. At the peak they had about 27 Nazis and their friends show up. That is a pretty big crowd for the Nazis but we had at least 2000 protestors by the time I left around noon. It was too hot, 98 by the temp gauge in my car when I left and the day was still getting warmed up.
Lots of members of the Brown Berets were there, at least as many of them as Nazis. I was surprised to see them. I didn't know that group was still around. They even had brown uniforms and Berets, they reminded me of one of those girl scout groups, what were they called? The Brownies. There were a bunch of people in orange caps and tee shirts that called themselves monitors and they had conveniently made up a bunch of placards that mostly said things like "nobody is Illegal". Someone was there passing out the "Anti Racist Action" paper and I saw a banner with their logo on it. Some Anarchists had come all the way from Reading, CA a long ways away, over 600 miles just to protest some real live Nazis.
The Socialist Workers Party had set up a table and I picked up a book of theirs and a subscription to the Militant. We spoke about the rise of interest in Socialism in America and debated whether the Russian Revolution was premature or simply unlucky because of the failure of the German and Hungarian revolts after world war one. It is always fun to get into that discussion. We agreed that Americans were still in shock but hopefully they would get pissed off at the way capitalism is using our tax dollars to bail out their failed system of wealth accumulation. I emphasized that capitalism was once a force for progress in the world but now it had outlived its usefulness. The member of the Socialist Workers Party noted that capitalism was doing what it did best war and exploitation.
Someone who had friends who had gone to Palestine and Gaza last summer for the investigation of the abuses of power by the Israeli government and I spoke for a few minutes. He was part Mexican and part Lebanese. We agreed that the solution in Israel would be a single state solution. We agreed that the USA should not support Israel and I rolled out the idea of Turkey returning to the area as the negotiating power for a return to a depoliticized Palestine where Jews, Arabs and Christians could live together as they had before the 20th century and the British stirring up trouble in that region. I did not exactly propose a return to Ottoman control, but perhaps a UN-Turkish mandate would do the trick.
I had a brief chat with a gentleman who said Christianity was paganism. I am not sure what he believed in except he said you can't just believe the Bible and he said that Christianity was just paganism dressed up. I noted that the emperor Constantine wanted to use Christianity to bolster his rule of the Roman Empire. I also threw at him the words of Philip K. Dick that it was really about 70 Ad and most of history was a delusion. He said whatever year it is it is no longer the Roman Empire, I am not so sure about that. I think the Emperor has simply put on new clothes.
I spoke with an Anarchist from Victorville who is in the WSA Workers Solidarity Alliance and he complained about being out of work. I told him I would keep an eye out. I also met his buddy from Paris, CA, and he gave me a Workers Solidarity pamphlet and we spoke about the WSA conference in Detroit going on now. I noted that I had stopped calling myself an Anarchist when the Primitivist faction seemed to have taken over in the early 00's and he noted that most people now were more workerist oriented. I told him that I was more in agreement with the WSA and I had met Tom and some of the others who formed the WSA back in the early 80's. I also told him that I was friends with John Zerzan and that I understood his critique but I though the radical primitivist wing of the anarchist movement had gone too far in its survivalist critique. I asked him if he had been around for any of the debates in the 90's when anarchists really became involved with the Earth Firsters and the whole debate over Deep Ecology. He said he was too young.
We then talked about how big the Anarchist Book fair had been last winter and I noted that almost no one was still around from the early 90's in the LA anarchist scene except a very few like Anarchy Jay. I said we needed to attract working people and the interests of workers or the Anarchist movement would always be a sign of youthful enthusiasm at least here in the USA.
I had mentioned my desire to see a new bookstore open to the Victorville comrade but he said he was too poor to even think about it. I told him how I had sold my anarchist book collection to the Peace and Freedom guy from San Bernardino and he said yeah that the Peace and Freedom Party was trying to recruit anarchists.
I spoke with one of the monitors in the orange hats and asked him what he thought about the demo and he said it wasn't peaceful enough. I told him that for a demonstration against the Nazis it was pretty peaceful. Nobody was throwing rocks and it was right next to railroad tracks where there were plenty of rocks. In fact it was a strange place for a rally in an empty lot. Those Nazis must have been sweating with their black uniforms and biker helmets on in the sun there with no shade. Too bad for them. They had about two hundred of Riverside's police force, a contingent of Riverside County Sheriffs Dept and some unidentified military looking guys in fatigues. They needed the protection. Otherwise the mostly Hispanic crowd would have massacred them.
I was told the Peace and Freedom Party organized the protest. I saw some of them and members of the Inland Empire Atheists. The ANSWER people whose announcement notified me of the event showed up late, just as I was getting ready to leave. I can only take so much sun and heat and shouting at Nazis. Nobody was ready to kick their butts today and by noon there were too many cops there to bother trying. All told it was a rather enjoyable morning socializing among the politically aware classes of southern Californians. I came away feeling inspired and that is pretty good in this day and age.
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