Sorry folks. There was no time this weekend for Theoretical Weekends or anything else theoretical for that matter. If you have been following this blog, you know I was out confronting and helping to shout down some nazis who decided to rally in our town on the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City. Hundreds of us with no real leaders, no real spokespeople, no one for the media to center on, simply took to the streets across from forty or so nazis who were hiding behind lots of KC police. You can figure the rest out or check it out somewhere else on the net. I "enjoyed" my afternoon with my friends drowning out this miserable excuse for the "master race." What a joke they were.
However, small in numbers though they be, a mere sideshow to the real white supremacy that corrodes this nation, though they are, it is up to "us" it is up to the multitude to make damn sure they stay that way. Hundreds of anti-racists and others made damn sure we played our part yesterday.
Meanwhile, miles away, in a lonely park a diversity rally organized by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, Inc. (IREHR), city officials, Not For Profits, establishment community leaders, some official Jewish groups, and some old line mainstream civil rights organizations rallied to hear speeches. They had warned people to stay away from where the nazis were, implying people like us, the anti-racists, were likely to provoke violence.
Although the rally to take place to counter the nazis in downtown KC had been being organized for months, the IREHR came in at the last minute to split the crowd. They no doubt accomplished that goal to some limited extent.
Needless to say many of those who worked for months on the courthouse rally where the nazis really were are pissed at the people from the IREHR who tried to usurp, unsuccessfully, their work.
Today's blog is probably of not much interest to a lot of you, but, hell, this is my blog so I guess I will use it today to express my own feelings just a little. No big, long tirade. This isn't worth that. Just some thoughts.
I must add that one of the reasons this is a little personal to me is that years ago, in the early 80s in Kansas City, I was part of a collective that began publishing an anti-racist, anti-fascist magazine, The Hammer, out of Kansas City. This project grew out of anti-racist, anti-Klan and anti-Nazi work we were already doing. It was just one part of our whole overall general political work back then. I am not going to mention names, but one of the principals of the current IREHR was also one of the founders of the magazine. We actually formed the IREHR at that time to background The Hammer primarily for mailing and tax purposes. We split after a few years because this unnamed person (who I had known and worked on and off with since the late 60s, wanted us to become more respectable, less confrontative, more liberal. He also wanted us to leave our leftism (which varied by individual) behind. The majority of the collective did not feel the same way. We went our way. He went his.
Ironically, I recall, as one of the founders of the IREHR back 1983, I remember the original Board. I am still friends with many of those folks who formed the IREHR all those years ago. That Board never voted to turn the IREHR over to this unnamed person or or anyone else. Perhaps, its time we just took it back.
Just kidding. Don't want it.
The IREHR does a satisfactory job monitoring white nationalists (though actually dealing with them in a direct way is apparently something they want no part of anymore). That's okay. They do what they do. I've no problem with that. I actually am the first to admit, up front that I learned a lot of how I look at the white nationalist movement today, their ideology, their strategy from that unnamed person. I give him credit for that. He and the IREHR are welcome to "monitor" these people, so the rest of us can go about our actual political work out in the real world. That's cool. Someone has to do it. However, again, this does not mean they own the game, the franchise, that they can tell everyone else what they should do, that they can disrupt anti-racist organizing here, there or everywhere.
The organizers of the real anti-nazi rally at the courthouse did go to these other people and asked them to join together with them at the Courthouse counter rally, and to realize they were splitting the movement. The response was negative. The IREHR and the others went on about their business of implying to the city that the tactics of anti racist activists were likely to lead to violence at the Courthouse counter rally. Those of us at the Courthouse were prepared to defend ourselves against violence, but we didn't go there trying to start it and had no plans to provoke it.
By the way, there was no physical violence in the end.
I am calling on the IREHR to cut this shit out. Get back to what they do best. Organize their rallies when they want, where they want. They have an agenda. Fine, carry on. However, when nazis are in town and when others are already at work on countering them directly, that is not the time to butt in, try to take over, and divert energy. I hope they consider this and I hope they take it to heart.
PS: The important thing is that the counter rally in the face of the nazis went off very well and as I said there were hundreds of people there, how many hundreds, well, I am a poor crowd estimator, but the media reports run from about 300 to 1000. I told a friend three or four hundred. It was good. It was spirited, It was autonomous. It was fairly leaderless somehow.
A few miles away I hear there were 100 or 200 folks who gathered peacefully in the sun and heard some speeches.