A response to "Off the Nazis!...But How?" was recently published in the anti-racist journal Turning The Tide, and reposted on the ThreeWayFight blog. The response, written by Jerry Bellows, furthers debates about the tactics and organizational forms employed in ARA organizing, but also erroneously attributes the original "Off the Nazis!...But How?" piece to Bring the Ruckus. Bellows' piece, and a response from Bring the Ruckus, are included below.
A response to Bring the Ruckus
by Jerry Bellow
I read with interest the recent article from Bring the Ruckus (or The Brigade, presumably some subset of BTR, which is itself a multi-tendency organization) concerning the recent Anti-Fascist events in and around Trenton NJ. It is clear that the author(s) or their informants were intimately in the actual actions, as I was.
They seek to bring a critical perspective to what happened that weekend, and in some cases they are mostly dead on. With other conclusions, I feel as though they head in a direction that is dangerous to both the aboveground and underground portions of the movement.
BTR points out serious flaws in ARA’s organizing leading up the public mobilization in Trenton. I agree that much more time and energy should have been spent out in the community, meeting people, explaining who we are, what we do, why we are there, and why it would be fun to join in.
In the organizing for ARA I have done in the past in the Midwest (mostly Ohio), a lot of time was spent on this sort of activity, both in big cities and in very small towns. The small towns were harder to do this in, because you are organizing among poor rural white folks, and there was always that fear that someone you met might be the enemy or one of their sympathizers. But, We Go Where They Go even if it’s a space and place where their comfort level is much greater than our own.
Hub City ARA, which is the ARA Network chapter local to Trenton, didn’t do enough of this base-building type work in a place where one could be 100% certain that the fascists had no sympathizers one might encounter unknowingly by chance.
But each ARA chapter is autonomous, each has to organize permanently in its own community, and each has to deal with the political repercussions of its actions in the long term. How Hub City chose to turn a Neo-Nazi mobilization to its own local advantage is Hub City’s choice, not the choice of the network as a whole.
To Hub City’s credit, their local organizing leading up to the event centered on exposing the locations and (sex) crimes of local NSM members. Despite the overall lack of base building, the NSM now has zero chance of gaining a foothold or building a base in Trenton. We Go Where They Go, and Hub City ARA rooted them out and exposed them.
The following is an account and analysis of a recent confrontation between Neo-Nazis and militant antifascists in Trenton, New Jersey.
Off the Nazis! ...but how?
Potential and Limitations of Militant Anti-Fascism
We begin with the observation of a rising tide of radical right-wing populism and its concomitant militant white nationalism in the United States. Are the existing, traditional forms of resistance growing and evolving to contend with this new threat? Are our plans and machinations matching, outpacing, or falling behind the enemy's forces?
In Trenton, New Jersey, we had a showdown.
Between April 15th and 16th, the National Socialist Movement (NSM) organized a public demonstration on the New Jersey State Capitol building steps in Trenton, New Jersey. The NSM is one of the largest neo-Nazi hate groups in the nation - a group that has been picking up members in recent years. You might remember seeing them playing a major role in anti-immigrant work in Arizona.
While many attended the permitted counter-demonstration on the 16th, not everyone was content to allow the Nazis (or the cops) that kind of peace. Anti-Racist Action (ARA) responded aggressively both days. As participants in these events, and as fellow comrades operating in the spirit of always learning from our mistakes and successes, we'd like to offer our account and analysis of events.
Timeline of Events
On April 15th 2011 at about 7 p.m. sixty neo-Nazis from the NSM held a conference at the 449 Club at 6 Pemberton Ave in Pemberton, NJ. The conference was interrupted by a nearby mob of thirty people from ARA dressed mostly in black and in masks who proceeded to fight the Nazis with pipes, baseball bats and stones. After the police arrived at the scene of the violent rumble the anti-fascists quickly left the area while the Nazis were left with bashed skulls and damaged property. According to infiltrators, four of the fascists were hospitalized while others checked into different hotels out of fear of more attacks. Only one person from ARA was injured while two others were arrested, charged with third-degree inciting a riot and held at $50,000 bail each.1 The ranks of those involved in the melee against the Nazis were made up of “people of color, working class, immigrants, women, queer, transgendered, and/or people on parole” who had mobilized from all over the country.2
Originally published by Rose City Antifascists
Shortly after midnight on Saturday, March 27, a man was brutally attacked in the heart of downtown Portland. His attacker shot him and left him lying in the street. He is currently fighting to overcome extensive injuries.
It is no secret that this man, Luke Querner, is a long-time anti-fascist activist. He has devoted over a decade of his life to opposing the most vicious elements of our city’s white supremacist movement. Rose City Antifascists, the Portland chapter of the Anti-Racist Action Network, believe that the local neo-Nazis whom Luke has opposed for years attempted to murder him on Saturday morning.
Luke is proud to be an anti-racist skinhead. The true skinhead movement has always been anti-racist, tracing its origins to the cultural intersection of Jamaican immigrants and working class whites in England during the 1960s. After racists and the far-Right attempted to hijack the skinhead movement in the late 1970s and ‘80s, a movement known as SkinHeads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP) emerged in 1987 to reaffirm the anti-racist roots of the subculture. As with many other anti-racist skins, Luke is deeply committed to racial equality and social justice. This commitment has caused Luke to be targeted in the past.