Seattle says: No Nazis here

December 15, 2015

Jorge Torres reports on a Seattle counterprotest to oppose a neo-Nazi hate group.

CHANTING "DON'T give in to racist fear, refugees are welcome here" and "Nazis out, refugees in," some 600 people marched in the cold and rain in Seattle on December 6 to oppose the Northwestern Hammerskins, a far-right hate group that announced it was holding a concert.

As soon as the Hammerskins announced their intention to hold a concert in the Ballard neighborhood and later march on Capitol Hill, a neighborhood long recognized for being LGBTQ welcoming, local anti-racist activists began organizing a response.

The Stranger, a local alternative newspaper, helped spread the word by reporting on the concert announcement and the counter-demonstration.

The counter-demonstration, called by Rose City Antifa, brought anarchists, socialists, Black Lives Matter activists, LGBTQ activists, anti-racists and people of all religious denominations into the streets to show that Nazis aren't welcome in Seattle. Five socialist organizations, the Freedom Socialist Party, International Socialist Organization, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Radical Women and Workers World Party and a number of unaffiliated socialists came together in a socialist contingent.

Seattle activists unite to march against the fascists
Seattle activists unite to march against the fascists

Protesters marched through the streets of Capitol Hill, as local residents came out of homes and restaurants to cheer on the marchers and take anti-fascist leaflets. After several hours of marching, there was no sign of the fascists, and activists declared a victory, as the Hammerskins' stated intent to show their face in our city was completely frustrated.

The Hammerskins' call to action was especially alarming in light of the recent upsurge of violence and confidence of open racists around the U.S. In Olympia, Washington, far-right anti-immigrant groups and militia members organized an anti-refugee rally two weeks ago. With these racist attacks comes violent attacks on women's reproductive rights, such as the arson at a Planned Parenthood in eastern Washington last summer.

Reuben Poling explained why he joined the counterdemonstration:

I'm out here for a lot of reasons. One of them is my grandfather. He fought in World War Two. He wasn't a warlike man; he wasn't an imperialist man. He was drafted, and he went to war because he had to--because fascism had to be stopped, and the world didn't stop it in the voting booths, in the streets, in their own living rooms.

But it'll be stopped this time, before it takes root. It makes me proud to see how many people came out tonight. And I think it'd make my grandfather proud too, to see us marching in the streets so nobody has to march to war like he did.

Socialists strive to build a broad united front against far-right hate groups that brings to together all opponents of bigotry. We must continue to organize to oppose fascists wherever they appear. As anti-racists chanted on the march, "Fascists beware, we are everywhere!"

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