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Friday, April 12, 2024

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Home Featured How do we respond to the white supremacists?

How do we respond to the white supremacists?

Instead of arguing about which response is best, how about multiple coordinated strategies?

The whole world is watching as 45 promotes hatred

The White Supremacists are coming to San Francisco Saturday/26, and while city leaders have already made it clear they and their hate are not welcome, if the rally goes ahead we all have to figure out how to deal with it.

There are so many approaches, so many responses, and so many people who say that there’s only one correct way to handle this. The general mainstream narrative is that we can’t give the Nazis the media coverage they want, and if we show up in force and there’s a confrontation, that will be exactly what these folks want.

The whole world is watching as 45 promotes hatred

There are also people who believe you have to confront hate directly whenever you see it, and not allow the white supremacists to have a peaceful rally under the Golden Gate Bridge that aims to put their ring lunacy into the mainstream.

There is talk of trying to blockade Crissy Field (only one road in and out) and not allow them through. 

I asked Alicia Garza, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, for her thoughts, and she said we should encourage multiple types of responses:

Honestly, I think the strategy should be “let a thousand flowers bloom.” A coordinated strategy in this case is better than a one-size-fits-all strategy. If the responses are uncoordinated that will be the story. If progressives are not aligned in keeping the focus on the white supremacists who are in office and on 45’s administration, it’s all bullshit anyway. The larger goal is showing them that we are more coordinated, more impactful, and that we actually represent America. The theoretical debate about non violence vs violence is a black hole that few emerge from. This debate only matters in the context of a larger strategy for power. If we see this as a moment that can open up new opportunities for organizing, why wouldn’t we want to have a coordinated approach that shows us what’s possible?

Coordination gives people cover, allows for multiple points of pressure, and creates many different entryways for people to participate. There are people who are willing to take risks, and there are people who are not.  And they should coordinate to make sure that it adds up to one beautiful whole. 

This is not a time for SF to be uncoordinated. The most important thing is that these forces understand that when they come to SF spreading their bullshit that there are people willing to stand up to them in a multitude of ways. For me, it’s not a theoretical debate. This is a time to demonstrate that the progressive movement is united across difference in it’s rejection of hate. And then, of course, do the real work which is uprooting white supremacy in our own movements. Really easy to focus on the most obvious trash while not looking at how we clean up our own shit.


So yeah: People who want to go to Crissy Field ought to go to Crissy Field. People who want to do something else should do that. Just do something.

But there’s a scary element here: These nutcases carry guns.

As Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez reports in the Ex, thanks to a 2010 federal law, it’s generally legal to carry guns in national parks — and Crissy Field, as part of the GGNRA, is a national park. So anyone who has a legal permit to carry a concealed weapon in California can carry it into the rally.

And apparently a paramilitary group that typically carries large assault weapons will be providing “security.”

This could get ugly really fast.

There’s a twist to the whole gun issue that nobody has looked at yet, but the SFPD and the City Attorney’s Office might want to consider: Yes, you can carry a concealed weapon in a national park, if you have that right under state law. But you can’t get to Crissy Field without going through San Francisco.

Maybe the City Attorney’s Office can get some sort of injunction against carrying weapons for the rally through the city limits. Then if the Nazis show up armed at the rally, they can be arrested for violating the injunction.

We will keep you posted as this story develops during the week.


  1. I am also disappointed in Tim Redmond for this article. Garza sounded muddled and indecisive. What is the point of quoting that?

  2. I don't know why Tim Redmond even published this. Nobody is coordinating anything, including Alicia Garza. Ultimately, Tim suggests the authorities blocking the rally through legal action is the most desirable outcome (with which I agree) — but hardly letting "a thousand flowers bloom."

    Any obstreperous confrontation of a "free speech" demonstration, however
    repellent it may be, will make the left look intolerant and hooliganistic. If it
    sparks self-defense from the rally participants, it makes the white supremacists look like

    Those blooming flowers who give the white supremacists any excuse for self-defense — name-calling, rock-throwing, physical attacks — will again negate our cause.

    This is the way the left constantly undermines itself. The right is much better
    at managing public opinion, which is what counts. The left thinks that
    self-righteousness speaks for itself even through bad behavior. It does not.

  3. White Supremacists, neo-nazis, labelled by MSM and sociopaths Dem – SAD and inflammatory. Oh let's all go to war and feel self righteous. Check out the Patriot Prayer on line, on facebook and on the Southern Poverty Law Center's hate list. Not listed. The youtube speeches by Patriots Prayerpromote a group that is (by the way) led by someone who is not white and who states that the people in his group, who are coming to San Francisco, are diverse. What these folks are – are probably Trump supporters and people who think like Pence. If you are showing up for a rumble – maybe you'll get what you want for various reasons – #1 = self fulfilling prophesy. . There will not be police to protect you and perhaps even a real white supremacist or two will show up and no matter what your color, will do exactly what you are predicting. Some of us called the park service because we don't want to see anyone hurt and asked them to cancel this rally. There is a reason why the summer of love happened in San Francisco – drawing all kinds of people from many states and that had to do with our (then) culture which was more than just accepting of differences. What people were like in other States does not reflect on the people here. Don't show up at the rally – do a counter rally if you must. If you want to fight racism – aren't we already doing this.

  4. Boycott the event and kill their news coverage. Why not have a counter-rally at Fort Mason or the Marina Green on Single Payer?

  5. There is no such thing as white (or any other color's) supremacy. There is white supremacism (not in the dictionary, but "ism" is). And there is white racism.

  6. Yes, the links in the second post by open_source were much better and I will read them again. It is important to promote and support peaceful protests, but open_intel is doing recognizance in preparation for a battle. He/she deserve condemnation.

    As for Dr. King, his theology of non-violent resistance was much more complex than simply grooming his public perception. He knew he would not be successful any other way, and, like you said, always realized violence begets violence.

  7. For the record I wrote those. I never asked him to post. If you actually read, I am against attacking people for anything other than self defense and protecting community. That should be a no brained. If someone not a police officer attacks you you are in full right to attack back. I am for defense. What do you want? People to just get attacked by fascists while community hides and does nothing? That's been going on and it's only gotten worse. That's why this debate is not a simple answer. It's a "depends on the situation" deal. We are not going to give up our safety or life so you can talk about how rigtiously non violent you are. The reason MLK preached non-violence is because of optics. He also knew just attacked my people is wrong it gets more violence. Most people do understand that. We are talking about to active and strategy. Not what ever emotional outrage you are in right now.

  8. "And at least some of it will be on your hands because you failed to show up."

    How does FUCK YOU sound? You think you are some sort of speaker for "the people"? Amazing the arrogance you display.

  9. If you honestly believe that the Alt-Right neo-Nazis can be defeated non-violently, come to Crissy Field on Saturday and Civic Center (MLK) Park on Sunday and prove it to the world.

    Bring as many people with you as possible. If enough people show up, the bad guys will be afraid to attack, just like happened in Boston last week.

    If enough people do not show up, the Alt-Right neo-Nazis will attack. Again. Blood will be shed. Again. And at least some of it will be on your hands because you failed to show up. All of us have a clear moral duty this weekend. History will judge us. Let's not be found wanting.

    The anti-fascist movement isn't asking to bleed this weekend. We aren't even asking you to sweat. All that we ask is that you show up, stand around waving signs and, if the spirit moves you, make some noise.

    That's all we ask.

    If you'd like to first read up on some background, so you know who you're dealing with, here's a good place to start:



  10. You're a propagandist and are providing links to your own writing to bolster your view — a view that insinuates violence is sometimes appropriate. Count me out.

  11. We do not face a moral dilemma here. Right and wrong have seldom been clearer. The "Alt-Right" neo-Nazis present an existential threat to every race traitor, all untermenchen and most of our friends and allies. If they win, we'll die. They're killing us already.

    History is clear. If we let them hold rallies, their strength will grow. When they have grown strong enough, they'll kill us. Their movement must be nipped in the bud by whatever means necessary. Of *course* violence is justified.

    That doesn't make it the smart thing to do this weekend. The whole world is watching. We have the moral high ground. There is no better time to practice non-violence than this weekend in Berkeley and San Francisco. Not since the lunch counter sit-ins and the Freedom Riders have we had such a chance to display our moral superiority to the world.

    Violence and non-violence are tactics. We need to think strategically. Yeah, these scum really could use some thump therapy, but not in the public square, especially this weekend, and most especially not at Crissy Field.

    An essay that has been circulating underground recently explains why:


    If there is to be violence, it must come from the Alt Right. It must be unprovoked. It must be not resisted. It must be captured on video and it must go viral in real time. Easy peasy. Even cell phone video can make history these days.

    But that's not going to happen. There wont be any violence because the Alt-Right neo-Nazis are cowards. All bullies are cowards. They have proven as recently as last weekend in Boston, that they will not attack a crowd larger than their own. If they look out upon a large and diverse enough counter-protest, they will slink away with their tail between their legs, just like they did last week. Their public humiliation will demoralize them far longer than could any beat down.

    Boston turned out 40,000 counter-demonstrators. Surely the Bay Area can do better than that. Come on, people. Are we going to let Boston outshine us? Never, never, never!

    Show the haters how vastly outnumbered they are. Come protest with us. Dress appropriately. It's not real LARPing without cosplay, but this time, no ninjas. Wear something original. Fashion not fascism:


  12. Or loaded and left in your car as long as you are a police officer of some kind thus allowing your car to be broken into and robbed placing a dangerous and armed weapon into the hands of others…many others??…untold others…others that hang out on the waterfront with loaded guns that they did not seek which end up killing someone wholly unrelated to just about everything.

  13. I would've liked to have seen 48hills completely denounce violence when running a "how do we respond" headlined article on a right-wing rally.

    Alicia Garcia says non-violence vs violence is a theoretical debate she is unwilling to get into. That's likely because she doesn't fully condemn violence. Dr. King never viewed non-violence vs violence as theoretical.

  14. It is legal to carry a firearm through SF in a vehicle – as long as it is unloaded and locked in a gun box, or locked in the trunk.

  15. " and you can’t get to Crissy Field without going through San Francisco."

    …er, can't you simply come thru across the GG Bridge?

    While technically the SF boundary is about midway across the bridge, in effect police are not going to set up a roadblock on the bridge. And once over the bridge, I believe all the Presidio, where the bridge sets down, is Federal property. So … not really ess eff.

    However, forcing them to retreat across the bridge is probably a symbolic (as well as strategic) victory. I say Go For It. (and have counter protests on the Marina Green – outside Presidio property.)

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