Stop the Nazis! Stop the Klan!
March 29, 2002 | Pages 2 and 11
By Bridget Broderick
MORE THAN 200 protesters rallied outside a Chicago Public Library branch March 23 to drown out 13 Nazi followers of the white supremacist World Church of the Creator.
But after the racists were sent packing, Chicago cops took revenge on demonstrators--arresting two people, including a young Latino man who was charged with assaulting an officer.
Daniel Herrera Mata is guilty of nothing more than leading chants at the counterdemonstration--and of having the wrong skin color when cops came looking for a victim. As Socialist Worker went to press, antiracists were organizing to defend Mata, who remained in jail, with bail set at an incredible $100,000.
At the protest, a lively multiracial crowd gathered in the mostly Latino and Polish neighborhood to prevent World Church führer Matthew Hale from recruiting to his goon squad.
In 1998, one of Hale's disciples went on a three-day shooting rampage, killing two people, including former Northwestern University basketball coach Ricky Birdsong.
Anti-Racist Action, the International Socialist Organization and Neighbors for Peace organized contingents for the counterdemonstration.
Hale's followers sneaked up to the library an hour and a half late--behind a line of Chicago cops. But protesters shouted them down, with chants like "Immigrants in, Nazis out!" and "Gay, straight, Black, white, one struggle, one fight!" Eventually, the Nazis were driven away, again protected by the cops--who were quick to turn on demonstrators.
Protesters said that they thought it was very important to stand up against Nazis like Hale. As Grace Corral, a student at the neighborhood high school, said, "We're Hispanic, and we need to have more rights in the U.S.--more jobs and better pay. They should let us speak out more."
By Eric Kerl
OWENSBORO, Ky.--The SS Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held a recruitment rally here at the Daviess County Courthouse March 23. They hoped to turn the outpouring of nationalism and racism that followed September 11 into new recruits to white supremacist violence.
Instead, more than 300 antiracists turned out to show their disgust for the Klan's bigotry.
More than 30 police from nearby cities were brought in, as well as Kentucky State Police, to help protect the Nazis as they spewed their hate. Police erected plastic fences to keep antiracist activists away from the Klan and their supporters.
But activists entered the supporters' area and confronted the Nazis. Humiliated, frustrated and overwhelmed by activists, the Klan quickly fled the scene.
Prior to the rally, a weeklong campaign of "Community Unity" was organized by city leaders, urging people to ignore the Klan and their rally. Yellow ribbons were handed out to show opposition to the Klan's racism.
But we need to confront the Nazis wherever they are and make sure they can't grow. "Yellow ribbons just aren't enough," LaTonya Sullivan told Socialist Worker. "Ignoring racists won't make them go away."