The KKK and their affiliated political front, the Knight’s Party, announced last week their intention to organize a demonstration on the lawn of Bloomington’s county Courthouse for Saturday, April 7. Their stated goal was already repugnant – honoring Confederate war dead and the legacy of the Confederacy – but it was also clear they hoped to contribute to an already high level of racial tension here, stoked by the media, police, and a flurry of far Right organizing and actions, including anti-Semitic graffiti. Just making their announcement was already effective towards that goal, and most people around Bloomington doubted the Klan would dare to follow that up with a public appearance, but antifascists and anarchists in particular began organizing a response anyway.
The announced plan was to occupy the Courthouse lawn downtown before the Klan showed up at the announced start time of 11 am on Saturday. This way, even if they didn’t show up, there would still be an opportunity to demonstrate how unwelcome scum like them are. A sound system was set up, thirty or forty people gathered, mostly wearing black hoodies and masks, and began flyering the area. Just before 11, four Klanspeople actually appeared on the Courthouse square, while a few others hung back across the street. A fight broke out almost immediately, and while we can’t say for certain what happened, one Klansmen did pepper spray a comrade but he was then knocked down and along with another Klansmen, beaten by antifascist demonstrators.
Most of the Klanspeople left after this, but cops showed up in significant numbers to protect the one remaining Klan demonstrator. By this time, many more people had arrived in response to the violence, including some other anarchists who had previously been at the Really Really Free Market organized two blocks away, swelling the numbers to perhaps 80 at the most.
For at least another hour, the crowd continued to angrily confront the remaining Klansman who, despite police protection, lost both his hat and his sign during this period. When he attempted to leave, the crowd followed him until police whisked him away in a cop car for his own protection.
A note on the coverage:
Despite our already strong hatred and contempt for the media, it’s worth noting briefly how the events have been covered by the Bloomington Herald-Times in the following days. While journalists almost always play down the numbers who participate in actions, often accepting the police estimates at face value (which is predictable given how openly the media are allied with police), the H-T massively inflated the number of antifascist demonstrators present on Saturday. Their claim was specifically that 200 antifascists attacked a single Klansman, instead of 60-80 demonstrators taking on 4-10 Klanspeople (still hardly a fair fight, but we came to win not to fight fair). The goal here is obviously to contribute to a narrative of a “counter-lynch mob” irrationally bent on attacking a harmless (white) man exercising his free-speech rights. The media is committed to erasing the locally-strong context of Klan terror and violence and instead reinforcing the lie of the “marketplace of ideas,” in which everyone has the right to express their equally empty and decontextualized opinions. Thanks to the H-T and the police spokesmen, there’s been an outpouring of sympathy for the poor Klansman who had his pressure rights trampled on.
Against all this, we assert that the KKK’s ideas are bound up with their ongoing practice of racial terror inflicted on people of color, and that this terror isn’t an excess produced by this society, but is instead a small but integral part of an entire network of repression and domination. When we stop the Klan from organizing publicly, it is not because their racism is worse than the structural racism of the cops and the economy, both of which claim many more victims, but because we want to deny the KKK and fascists the chance to become strong enough to become effective tools in the hands of the State. The repressive role played by the lying media is both less directly violent and more diffuse than that played by the far Right, but the media’s efforts to legitimate the Klan’s public presence drives home the point that they are ultimately part of the same apparatus.
The struggles against the Klan, the cops, and the media, among many other arms of exploitation and repression, are all part of the same struggle.
-A few anarchists in Bloomington
The text of one of the fliers distributed during the demo:
The point of The KKK’s demonstration today is to celebrate and whitewash a disgusting history of slavery and racial oppression. this program is nothing new for the KKK, but it is now being modernized. Increasingly the Klan and the whole far Right understand that racism is not something to be nostalgic for, but is a modern institutional reality that they can tap into and reinforce. So while the KKK and fascists continue to re-enact their glory days of racial violence, lynching, and terror, they are seeking to become relevant in today’s insidious organization of societal white supremacy. They demonstrate this through:
A) Their pathetic attempt at building political power through The “Knight’s Party.”
B) Their participation in and support for groups dedicated To terrorizing undocumented immigrants, and people of color more generally, such as the minutemen. The xenophobic Right, including the Tea Party, have proven to be fertile recruiting grounds for every brand of racist and fascist.
C) Their efforts to stoke racial hatred in cases such as the murder of Trayvon Martin by a vigilante. The fascist Right has been repeatedly caught attempting To slander The slain black youth, using the case to normalize racist stereotypes, and extend them into a justification for murder.
The KKK and far right claim to a supposed “libertarian” position is completely bogus, especially in their fake-historical celebration of the confederacy as a force against the federal authority. the far right will never be a force for opposing authority, but always act as snitches and aids for the police and the state.
During situations of great strain, such as the economic crisis since 2008, the State becomes more open to accepting support from the fascist Right, as politicians scramble to find racial scapegoats for their own failures. The clearest example is Arizona, where the large-scale participation of neo-nazis and far Right activists involved in the minutemen and anti-immigrant movements is treated as completely commonplace by scum like sheriff Joe Arpaio. This is the window that the KKK is hoping to take advantage of as it modernizes itself.
Fascists and the KKK have always acted as allies to the police and authorities. They are currently a tiny minority, but they are also the foot soldiers of a system which is racist down to its roots. Even in Bloomington’s “diverse” police department, the ongoing prevalence of police brutality and murder is evidence of a inherently racist and critically flawed system. As the economic crisis drags on, the danger is imminent and growing that the far Right will become stronger itself and find a legitimized niche within the political spectacle. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to deny them the political and physical space they need to organize, and to reclaim spaces for struggle against racism, the police, and the economy which depends on the protection of both.
Love and Solidarity to Trayvon Martin and his family, and to every victim of racist repression!
Down with snitches of every stripe, especially the ones in white hoods!
For a borderless struggle against authority in every form!