Texans against the Nazis
reports from Rockwall, Texas, on an counter-protest mobilized to confront an anti-immigrant demonstration organized by neo-Nazis.
SOME 100 people mobilized to the town of Rockwall, Texas, northeast of Dallas, on November 8 to confront an anti-immigrant rally held by the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM).
The NSM has its roots in a 1967 split from the American Nazi Party (ANP) following the murder of ANP founder and former Navy commander George Lincoln Rockwell. In recent years, the NSM has grown following the decline of the National Alliance and the Aryan Nations after the death of the organizations' leaders in 2002 and 2004. The NSM is now the largest neo-Nazi organization in the U.S. according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, with its own presidential candidates and 61 chapters in 35 states.
The NSM intended its Rockwall rally to be a "show of force." Holding swastika flags and plastic shields and dressed in black battle-dress uniforms, Hitler T-shirts and Ku Klux Klan robes, some 20 NSM members and their allies called for an end to "illegal immigration" and for deportation of all non-white residents of the United States.
But the Nazis were vastly outnumbered by counter-protesters from Rockwall and the nearby cities of Dallas and Denton. "We won't give in to racist fear, immigrants are welcome here," "Aqui estamos y no nos vamos," "No platform for Nazis" and other anti-racist and pro-migrant chants rang out throughout the rally.
Meanwhile, NSM members stood atop the courthouse steps, and were protected by a line of police and wooden barricades from the far greater numbers of counter-protesters.
At one point, several anti-racist demonstrators attempted to march closer to the neo-Nazis, but the attempt ended when a physical confrontation ensued after the discovery of a neo-Nazi sympathizer among the counter-demonstrators. Over a dozen police came out of the courthouse building, dressed in riot gear and holding rifles, to escort the white supremacist away from harm.
At the end of the rally, police formed a single-file line to block counter-protesters from confronting the Nazis as they left the courthouse steps to attend a swastika lighting and barbeque on private property.
AT THE rally, some counter-protesters argued for open dialogue from "opposing sides" in order to achieve understanding. However, those who join organizations like the NSM or the KKK are not interested in dialogue. They are interested in spreading their racist ideas and recruiting members to their organizations. Any attempt of theirs to display their beliefs should be met with resistance.
Though it may seem absurd that there are still groups of people who align themselves with fascism and idolize Hitler, the recent prominence of neo-Nazi organizations and parties, especially in some European countries like Greece, should serve as a reality check.
Fascism is not a dead ideology, and its resurgence should not come as a surprise when there are elected legislators in government and popular media outlets that constantly scapegoat immigrants and people of color for the problems of capitalism. Fascist organizations rely on this type of racist scapegoating to swell their ranks.
Fascist movements have the objective of spreading their ideas and winning over sympathizers in any way that they can. Part of that goal is building a street movement capable of physically crushing working class and socialist organizations, terrorizing communities of color, Jews and non-white immigrants, and giving confidence to those who are members of the movement.
If unchallenged, Nazi organizations could have room to build and could become emboldened to conduct street violence against their targets. Fascists should not be allowed platforms under the guise of free speech or dialogue.
Socialists and other activists in Texas and elsewhere should continue to be on the lookout to confront fascists whenever they try to crawl out from under their rocks.