Why stopping the neo-Nazis matters

May 13, 2010

JULIA TAKES "exception to the tone" of the article on the shutting down the Nazis in Los Angeles ("Protesting gives Nazis legitimacy"). She writes "Let 30 of them march down the street; who cares?"

Well, I would say a lot of people in Portland, Ore., would.

On March 27 of this year, Luke Querner, a longtime anti-racist was shot in the chest in downtown Portland in what appears to be an assassination attempt. This is part of racist underground organizing going on locally, regionally and nationally, which includes LA. There was also a recent fire-bombing of the home of anti-racists in Vancouver, British Columbia.

People in Portland remember the 1988 racist murder of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant, by three white supremacists, who were later convicted. There was a string of other violent racist and homophobic attacks at the time.

The aim of the Nazis was to intimidate people and control downtown Portland. But they did not have it their own way because people organized, confronted them and forced them out.

Recently, the Nazis have been trying to move into Portland once again. So a meeting was called by Rose City Antifascists, where 130 Portlanders came together to organize against the Nazis.

One speaker from the Rural Organizing Project explained how Nazis from Idaho wanted to move into Eastern Oregon and buy a compound. Hundreds of residents from the small town of John Day protested on the streets against them trying to move in and made it clear to the Nazis they were not welcome--another spoke of recent Nazi activity in the area surrounding Portland.

It was only July of last year that British Nazi and convicted holocaust denier David Irving wormed his way into what he thought was a secret meeting in Portland, only to be confronted by 50 anti-fascists.

So the level of this activity cannot be underestimated.

Some of us well remember those times when people were very nervous because of the fascist threat. And now, with growing right-wing activity against LGBT and immigrant rights, Nazis will see this as fertile ground for them to grow in. The police are trying to portray both Nazi violence and those who oppose them as "gang activity."

We have to expose clearly what the Nazi threat is. Honest SocialistWorker.org coverage is a valuable resource for that, and to understand how that threat needs to be confronted.

These Nazis are trying to get a foothold in our communities to spread their filth in anyway they can. The Nazi's don't just want to "walk down the street." Deadly violence is the name of their game and we must make sure they cannot go unopposed anywhere, anytime, whatever form they come in.
Paul Dean, Portland, Ore.

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