An anti-immigrant rally held by a white supremacist organization at the California state capitol in Sacramento was met by a large and noisy counter-demonstration Feb. 23. The point of the “Free America Rally” was to build a movement of "patriotic Americans" to "save our [European] culture." The rally was meant to be a part of a nationwide mobilization against immigrants and immigration, of which Sacramento was to be the largest.
Far from reaching their proclaimed goal of a 100 or more people at their demonstration, the organizers were only able to get 20 to 30 people to spew their scapegoating hate speech. Their message was mostly blocked by counter-demonstrators who used megaphones to shout over their speech.
The West Steps of the capitol were mostly empty besides the white nationalists and cops and mounted police separating them from the counter-demo. No doubt a gun rally on the South Steps diverted people's attention as well. With only a few days to mobilize, nearly 100 community members came out to stand up against the bigots.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation promptly joined the call to confront the fascist and anti-immigrant demonstration. Others participating included local anarchists, SHARPs (Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice), Peace and Freedom Party activists, union members, punks, Indigenous peoples, Chicano activists, children and the elderly.
People began showing up at the West Steps a half hour before the 12 noon start time. The white nationalists had to be escorted from their parking garage by California Highway Patrol and mounted Sacramento Police Department officers. Even the horses had riot helmets.
The PSL brought a banner that read: “Immigrants are not the enemy! Racist organizations are!” Chants like “Put on your sheets, meet us in the streets” and “Follow your leader, kill yourself!” among many others were vocalized over megaphones.
The rally was scheduled to end at 3 p.m., and by around 2:30 CHP officers began brandishing riot gear and shotguns. Sacramento PD had begun blocking off the street from traffic and were brandishing grenade launchers and filming the crowd. The anti-fascist crowd attempted to stay in sight of the white nationalists as they were escorted away, but a squad of mounted police blocked them from crossing the intersection to the parking garage.
People began chanting “Cops and Klan work hand in hand!” as a short standoff ensued. One anti-fascist was detained but released the same day. A local Occupier was injured when his foot was stomped on by a police horse. No bones were broken, and the Occupier was taken to the hospital by a legal observer from the National Lawyers Guild.
A short background
The Sacramento FAR demonstration was organized by Michael Myers, who heads the Sacramento branch of the South Africa Project, which falsely claims that an anti-white genocide is taking place in South Africa. William Johnson from the American Freedom Party (formerly the American Third Position Party) came up from Los Angeles to speak.
Unlike the nativist Tea Party, the FAR and associated organizations, are explicitly white nationalist. Another distinction is the FAR's "Third Position" ideology, which claims to oppose both communism and capitalism but in fact advocates for a particularly brutal and divisive form of capitalism. Third Position theory has in the past been embraced by the Italian fascists, the Spanish national-syndicalists and the German national-socialists (Nazis), and now by neo-Nazi groups.
The FAR and its affiliates, unlike most other neo-Nazis, hide themselves in a broader, more populist-like appearance and rhetoric.
Anti-fascism and the struggle for unity
Anti-fascist action is imperative for building working-class unity. The more ultra-reactionaries are allowed to roam unopposed in public, the more racist division they are able build between white and other working and poor people.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation demands total amnesty for all immigrant workers. In the fight for equal rights and socialism, the workers' struggle has no borders!