How do we respond to the white supremacists?

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

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.