July 31st, 2010: Call to Action Against Racism and Fascism
During the early morning hours of March 27th, a Portland, Oregon anti-racist activist was shot in what appears to be a well orchestrated attack. It is suspected that the attackers were members of the neo- Nazi movement. The victim is a member of the anti-racist skinhead movement, a son, a friend and has dedicated the past ten years of his life to fighting white supremacist organizing.
The Portland Police Department has suggested that the shooting is “gang related.” Already facing mass protests over numerous recent cases of police brutality and murder, the police treatment of this case is not surprising, and fits into a pattern of downplaying racist violence while targeting anti-racist activists.
Although police and politicians attempt to portray cities like Portland as welcoming safe places, Portland and the Pacific Northwest has a violent and dangerous history. For 30 years Portland and the surrounding region has been targeted by white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements. Groups like White Aryan Resistance (WAR) and Aryan Nations waged an ongoing and underground campaign to both recruit young whites and to terrorize people of color, GLBTQ people, and others who were seen as enemies of their racist order. The 1980’s were an especially violent period in which neo-Nazi skinheads with ties to WAR beat Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw to death.
But this racist terror has not gone unopposed. Coalitions of anti-racist youths, militants from the GLBTQ communities, and individuals fighting for justice and dignity organized to beat back the racists and neo-Nazis. This organizing was often opposed and criminalized by the authorities who sought to disrupt independent anti-fascist organizing. This situation led organizers to rely on themselves and their own communities.
The organizing by anti-fascists in Portland was a positive example and has been part of a broader, long-term campaign across the country. From NYC to LA, from Minneapolis to New Orleans, there is a history of peoples organizing to both defend themselves against racist terror, as well as come together to build multi-racial coalitions to discuss and plan forms of action to address conflicts and crisis in our various communities.
The shooting in the context of growing reaction
The March 27th shooting occurred within a backdrop of growing Right wing, racist, and emerging fascist organizing and activity. There has been a dramatic escalation of rhetoric and action from the broad Right. While all sectors of the working classes and poor face economic and social uncertainty, the racists, the Right wing, and the smaller but significant sections of the neo-Nazi and fascist movements are looking to divide our class and peoples. Where there should be united class anger against a system that is continually grinding people down, the Right openly demonstrates its contempt and hatred for our people. Fascists and neo-Nazis are looking for these moments of division in which they can move in, recruit, and carry out their own organizing.
Call to Action
We propose Saturday July 31, 2010 as a Call to Action Against Racism and Fascism. We want to use the CA to both engage the broad, independent, and radical anti-racist/anti-fascist movements.
We want mass and varied forms of protest and action. These actions can range from: music and DJ shows; educational events; outings of known Right and fascist organizers; street protest; immigrant solidarity and anti-minuteman action; and so on. While we want collaboration and coordination when possible, we also want to maximize the impact of this CA and thus argue for the greatest degree of creativity and initiative.
We encourage individuals and organizations to determine what best works in their localities.
We support the incorporation of any existing and ongoing anti-racist/anti-fascist action into this CA and imagine the CA as a way to bolster already active organizing.
We propose a poster/graphic to be used to announce the CA with endorsers.
To reiterate, we argue for a maximum of creative and independent initiative and ask only that a) individuals and organizations endorse the call b) any public actions and events be promoted. We would not necessarily seek to publish details of planned actions unless requested to do so.
We want to use the CA as a means to increase collaboration between our forces and work in a popular manner to highlight the need for a mass, radical response to racist and fascist organizing.