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News :: Race
June 20 Antifa Reportback - Confronting Neo-Nazi Fascists
24 Jun 2004
NOswastika.jpg
On June 20, about 15-20 neo-nazi white supremacists decided to come hang out in Government Center during an Israeli Independence Day celebration. Since Northeast Antifascists had heard of them coming beforehand, we were also there for a little meet and greet.
On June 20, about 15-20 neo-nazi white supremacists decided to come hang out in Government Center during an Israeli Independence Day celebration. While Northeast Antifascists had heard of them coming beforehand, we were also there for a little meet and greet. Before the nazi fascists even showed up though, the blue fascists harassed a group of antifascists walking around the area. They were encircled by the police and told that government center was "private property". Eventually the police let them leave but continued to follow and intimidate them for the rest of the afternoon.

While they were at first few in number and inconspicuous, more of their buddies showed up (apparently from Connecticut and NJ) until their numbers reached in the area of 15 to 20. Then they got really excited about eachother all being there at once. So some of them took out their WCOTC gear and started handing out racist literature to passing pro-Isrealis, who were pretty passive about there being neo-nazis standing right next to them.

In the meantime, Northeast Antifascists and their supporters unrolled a banner with "No nazis in our neighborhoods" across from them and actively passed out literature exposing who these people were and conversing with those in the area. We were also pretty actively hollering at them, because it sure is fun and it gets people to notice the bigots standing next to them. A lot of the boneheads came from NJ- one with "Racist" tattooed on his forehead (honestly, we do not know how he gets around). Others were WCOTC enthusiasts who just looked like trash and one was a guy who did not have his fashion sense together (I mean are a belt AND suspenders all that necessary). Oh and one was dressed like a valet for a yuppie restaurant.

The fascists had a couple of cops protecting them, who kept us behind a metal fence and about 30 of them stood between us and the fascists. The po-po were also following and trying to intimidate the antifasicsts telling us to "get lost" and "not start shit". That was an awesome experience. However one cop did thank us, but we don't think were supposed to tell. They also escorted the various scum into the train station because they were too afraid to walk the twenty feet themselves.

One thing that needs to be mentioned is the political dynamic that we dealt with by being there. Beforehand, we had decided to not take a stance on the Israeli/ Palestinian issue, and felt that siding with one or the other would detract from our primary goal of confronting the fascists. However, we also recognized that in the past, neo-Nazis have tried to co-opt the Palestinian solidarity movement as a guise to push their own political agenda. While there was an amount of tension between Northeast Antifascists and the large amounts of pro-Israeli and Palestinian solidarity groups there, issues were mostly settled with conversational discourse. At these times, we stated that as antifascists, we organize around white power and neo-Nazi groups, and wherever they go, we do as well.

Anyway, unfortunately we were pretty small in number given the short notice and the fact that various Northeast Antifascists like to enjoy vacationing in other places. We went into it knowing this, and while there were no violent confrontations, we did a lot of intel gathering, and made our presence known in Boston.
For a fascist free-Boston,
Northeast Antifascists.

Those who have pictures or information pertaining to this event, or would like to learn about future Northeast Antifascist organizing please contact neantifa (at) hotmail.com and look out for the new website.

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
22 Jun 2004
So, I don't get it. Which of the two sides were you people with?
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
22 Jun 2004
we were not with either side, we were there because we had heard the nazis were going to be there. we had decided beforehand that we would not take a stance with either the pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli sides, as our main goal was to confront the fascists.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
22 Jun 2004
"we had decided beforehand that we would not take a stance with either the pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli sides, as our main goal was to confront the fascists."

Very supportive of Northeast Antifa overall. But if you think you were "confronting fascism" while simultaneously ignoring Zionist elements present that day, it sounds like y'all could use some serious updating of your political analysis.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
22 Jun 2004
from me personally (and not specifically from NE antifa) i felt that we organize around neo-nazis, white supremacists, etc groups- like groups such as World Church of the Creator, Volksfront, and various other bonehead groups that were present that day. and while i also recognize zionism as contrary to my beliefs as an anarchist, on that day i focused on the neo-nazis, as i see as a threat to me, my friends, my scene, people i havent even met, and my city.

on another note, the palestinian side that day was being presented by NECDP, which i also do not entirely agree with on their politcial stance (while other NE antifas might think differently). the reason why NE antifa decided to not take a stance as a group on the issue was again, we were there to confront the fascists we have continuously worked to stop, and all of us have different opinions on the matter (while we do categorize ourselves as an anti-authoritarian group, we are not exclusively anarchist). i hope this answers your concerns, or at least you understand where some of us were coming from on this issue- i do not want you to think that we had no discussion over this.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
22 Jun 2004
> Beforehand, we had decided to not take a stance on the Israeli/ Palestinian issue, and felt that siding with one or the other would detract from our primary goal of confronting the fascists. <

Wow. That is so completely fucked up. You "decided not to take a stance" on racism, apartheid, and genocide. Doing so would have detracted from the goal of confronting fascists? Is that some sort of sick, twisted joke?

Which part of racism, apartheid and genocide were you not clear on opposing?!

This is like something from the looney bin. Is this even a real group? Can anyone who actually saw these people at the protest comment because this really seems like some sort of right wing troll. I can't believe any actual progressives or leftists would be so completely off base.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
22 Jun 2004
Tim
Hi, i believe that this is just a result from misunderstanding, unless you just like to be a jackass. I, as an active member of NE Antifa- but once again, not speaking for the group- have reservations with siding with NECDP, which was, as I saw, the only Palestinian solidarity group acting that day. While my PERSONAL grievances lie with the Palestinian people, and I in no way support the actions of the state of israel, it was not up to individuals in NE Antifa to make a decision for the group. And once again, in all my other posts, i have stated that NE Antifa works around monitoring and combating fascist groups like those we confronted on Sunday. I am not disagreeing with you that the state of israel has certainly taken actions that are racist, reminescent of apartheid, and genocidal. However, once AGAIN, we were there to confront one group of assholes this time, and it were the hitler loving white homophobic assholes that beat members of our community up. and maybe if you had actually been there you would have seen how it went down- we talked to the pro-Palestinian side and engaged in a respectable dialogue. thank you for your concern, Tim. Maybe some other ne-antifa kids can address your further qualms.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
22 Jun 2004
personally, I am having a difficult time understanding why neantifa has been attacked so viscously for simply confronting the white supremacist/nazi groups present at the demonstration this past sunday. politically, taking a partisan stance or definitive side on such a complex issue such as the israel/palestine one would only further complicate or polarize the organizations objective. as individuals, we each have our own separate opinions on the matter, and come together as a group to keep boston's streets free of nazis. while many of us would agree or at the very least understand why zionisits are considered fascist we simply chose to focus solely on the nazi prescence. instead of people criticizing the groups actions via internet posting, I would invite people to join pre-existing collectives or create their own organizations in which they can fight fascism the way they envision as neantifa is, at the very least, (regardless of your personal feelings) actively confronting fascism in our community. I hope we can all come to a general consensus or understanding that these white supremacists need to be addressed.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
22 Jun 2004
I ran with these folks on Sunday and don't understand why elements of the NECDP refused to accept NE Antifa's choice to take a minimal line. I personally have done more Palestinian solidarity work than this kind of "antifa" work in the past, and was pretty sympathetic personally to the idea of protesting ultra-right-wing, Elon-plan-supporting zionists too. I wouldn't have minded doing both, and some people in fact did both, if I'm not mistaken. But I accepted the decision the core antifa organizers made to stick to one issue. And we certainly didn't confront NECDP activists because we disagreed with their approach or analysis--that goes against the basics of solidarity and the idea of the ultimate complementarity of diverse progressive struggles.

When NA folks showed up at Rutgers in NJ last year, the swastikas they posted were attributed to real Palestinian solidarity protestors in the mainstream media. I really don't see how simply ignoring racist scum from White Revolution, the NA, WCOTC, etc. in these situations helps draw sympathy and support for the cause of Palestine.

So, an honest question to those who are being so scathingly critical: would you have rather the Nazis were in the protest pen with you, joining their voices with yours in protest of the occupation? Or do you welcome an antifa faction but request that, if similar situations arise in the future, such a faction simultaneously voices opposition to the occupation? (If it's the latter, you should realize that your request sounds awfully like a demand, and that more comradely dialogue is possible.)
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
23 Jun 2004
I don't want to get down on you all too much about this, but it does seem counter-productive to speak of fascism is such a simple and one-dimensional sense (i.e. white power boneheads), and I think you will only serve to alienate potential supporters if you do not work to broaden your analysis and make allies with groups who are also, in their own respect, fighting fascism through their anti-Zionist work.

In the past this same scenario has come up, where neo-Nazi groups have tried to build (token) alliances with pro-Palestinian groups as a means of legtimizing their own anti-semetic agenda.

Here is a pretty good statement written by NEFAC prior to one of these rallies a few years ago:

For A World Without Fascism
http://makhno.nefac.net/html/drupal/?q=node/view/39
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
23 Jun 2004
That's an excellent article/call and a step toward moving this argument in a constructive direction.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
23 Jun 2004
http://www.studentorg.vcu.edu/fpn/rogues.html">This is an example of an antifascist approach to organizing that makes sense and does not send you down the road to tacit support of Zionism.

Northeast Antifascists (NA) should learn from this example and stop trying to smear human rights groups like NECDP.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
23 Jun 2004
How on earth does this:

"the palestinian side that day was being presented by NECDP, which i also do not entirely agree with on their politcial stance (while other NE antifas might think differently)"

amount to "trying to smear" the NECDP? That's one person, acknowledging s/he's NOT representing everyone in NE Antifa. And that's the only critical thing that's been said here. Stop trying to elevate the antagonism; this is too important a conversation to be ruined. Thank you for the link.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
25 Jun 2004
i was in the Antifa bloc that day and i have a few things to add about the discussion paning out here. The confusion of the day was set by the interactions and cross-interactions of the many different groups present. The pigs, the fascists, the Palestinians, the Rabbis against Zionism, the mainstream Jewish crowd, the reactionary Zionists, and the Antifas all occupied different areas of Government Center and all had different issues and positions on the presence of the other groups.

The decision to abstain from the Palestinian/Israeli scenario is one that, personally, i feel was positive for the event. However, most from Northeast Antifascists (NA) would agree that antifascism is not focused primarily on white racist/fascist groups. The shortsightedness of an analysis only concerned with certain "kinds" of fascism is appauling, and i do not think that this is what NA is guilty of. At this particular demonstration our goal was to create a physical presence to that opposite of the nazis. Constructively, i think we could have written a pamphlet or flyer announcing a rejection of Zionist racism, apartheid, and genocide as well stating our current, physical position of soley confronting the nazis. This could have fared well both as an expression of solidarity and as a mode of total clarity in defining our antifascist analysis.

Furthermore, i think if the reason that we didnt take a position against fascist Zionism initially (i was not part of the planning) was because some people do not reject the genocidal and racist practices of the reactionary Likud and IDF in Israel completely, then perhaps those indviduals should clarify those positions or start an affinity group based soley on anti-nazism, because unclarity and theoretical inconsistency regarding what 'fascism' is or isnt is something imperetive to have grounded before action, not something to be disgarded or unresolved. Such ambiguities weaken the message and strength of antifascist efforts such as Antifas and plays into the struggle we are currently engaged in.

Solidarite,

Jrot.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
25 Jun 2004
good on you. in new zealand the National Front recently held a protest against new zealand's free trade agreement with china. we had a dilemma, being against the free trade agreement too, but for different reasons than the fascists. we also decided to take no stance on the issue as we were there for one reason, show the facists that they are not welcome. There were equal amount of fascists and antifascists. still we stood fast and made them feel unwelcome.
http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/18651/index.php
http://www.anarchism.org.nz/portal/
We'd support you more if you would-
25 Jun 2004
We'd support you more if you would target Zionists with the same zeal that you target Nazis. For example, I have not seen you looking for events where Zionists are sure to show up and then targeting them the way you have targeted the Nazis. I see no difference between a Zionist, Nazi or Neo-Con.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback - Confronting Neo-Nazi Fascists
25 Jun 2004
If you are so concerned about fascists co-opting events and making everyone else look bad does that mean we can expect to see you more often at events? The Sparts and WWP are upfront fascists. Are you going to start confronting them too or change your name to Northeast Antinazis?
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback
25 Jun 2004
Thanks Jrot. Good comments.

I think in the future, a well thought out pamphlet on the issue would go a long way for Northeast Antifa. Let's face it, this is an issue that is center-stage in world politics today.

I know the organizing for this particular event was last minute, so any criticisms I have of how things were pulled together are not all that judgemental. A last minute mobilization is always going to be lacking in some way. It's unavoidable.

The important thing is that the group needs to be self-critical and look towards the future and prepare for similar confrontations with neo-Nazi groups who will continue to make their presense known at these type of events, and make sure there is less confusion and ambiguity in their political positions.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback - Confronting Neo-Nazi Fascists
25 Jun 2004
"If you are so concerned about fascists co-opting events and making everyone else look bad does that mean we can expect to see you more often at events? The Sparts and WWP are upfront fascists. Are you going to start confronting them too or change your name to Northeast Antinazis?"

speaking on a personal basis:
There is a difference between fascism (a crisis ideology which seeks to gain the cross-class unity needed for capitalist production by creating an enemy of "the nation" or "the race") and authoritarian socialism (a misguided and dangerous revolutionary strategy stemming from an improper understanding of what capital is). Both are authoritarian, and both should be confronted, but they should be confronted in different ways. Fascist vanguards should be stamped down in the streets before they get a mass following. Statist socialists tend only to gain mass support in core capitalist countries when they are able to trick people into believing that they are theirs is the only viable way of organizing class struggle and social antagonism. They should be ridiculed, debated, and out-organized by more vibrant, democratic, horizontalist social movements.

Of course, when they do something like showing up with a sound stage to straightup co-opt an event they had nothing to do with calling, I'm with you--we should bumrush the motherfuckers and knock them silly.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback - Confronting Neo-Nazi Fascists
25 Jun 2004
you guys sound confused.

a bunch of dumbasses from jersey and ct are a fascist threat, but ethnic cleansing, terrorism and religious fanaticism (on both sides of this partisular issue) aren't? sure.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback - Confronting Neo-Nazi Fascists
25 Jun 2004
Recently, on Air America Radio (check out www.airamericaradio.com - it's a remarkable progressive talk ratio network) someone called in and made a claim about rising anti-semitism in France. They argued that the right was becoming more virilantly anti-semetic, but that also the anti-zionist left was "anti-semetic" for criticising Israel - and the person tried to make the progressives seem as bad as the right wingers - but what they never mentioned was that a very significant number of the anti-zionist progressives in France and every other country in the world are Jews themselves! What gives? And why can't Israel be criticized without the critics being accused of "anti-semitism"?
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback - Confronting Neo-Nazi Fascists
25 Jun 2004
"some people do not reject the genocidal and racist practices of the reactionary Likud and IDF in Israel completely..."

So Jrot... are there zionist elements within NA? Am I reading this right?
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback - Confronting Neo-Nazi Fascists
26 Jun 2004
"There are Zionist elements within the NA, am i reading this right?"

My overwhelming answer would be no. There have been accusations flying around *(whether they were serious conjectures or just name calling) that some people in and surrounding NA were or are "Zionists". I dont know the validity of that and i dont wish to add to the validity of such rumors by discussing it here.

However, from what i know of the people in NA i say it not to be true. What i was saying, and your quote was highly selective, maybe it was how read it, which is fine, is that IF there are Zionist sympathizing elements within NA they should not be, because Zionism should be conceretely established as a mode of fascism. Whether or not NA has that complete and established in its theory of what fascism is and isnt, remains to be seen.

But i would refrain heavily from finger-pointing or calling out any "Zionist" elements in NA, i would rather make the proposition that Zionism be critiqued and analyzed to be considered a direct and dangerous form of facism.

Solidarite,

Jrot,.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback - Confronting Neo-Nazi Fascists
27 Jun 2004
I was there on the 20th and this all just seems to be arguing for the sake of arguing.
There was a third group of fascists there too, the cops. They are JUST as big a threat as the zionists (and more so to us Bostonians) but no one has critizied (rightly so) NECDP for not having anti-police banners. While member of their members surely agree that police are fascists too, this wasn't an anti-police demo, but an anti-zionist. Likewise, the antifa demo wasn't anti-zionist, but anti-nazi.
If you think that protesting nazis is a waste of time, don't do it; but don't attack those who do.
Re: June 20 Antifa Reportback - Confronting Neo-Nazi Fascists
02 Jul 2004
A few thoughts in response to comments posted concerning this article:

As one of the NECDP activists and organizers of the June 20 protest against the pro-Israel rally, I can say that we found nothing objectionable in having an anti-fascist protest against the National Alliance on our side of the police barrier. In past years, the NA has attempted to join our protests against Israeli Independence Day and in each case we've forced them out and denounced them publicly.

At the same time, most of us in the NECDP believe that Zionists are fascists who have considerably more power at the moment than the NA, are actively committing crimes of genocide in Palestine, and are doing it with the full support of the US government. They regularly gather in public places in cities across the US, often completely uncontested by activists, and generally with favorable coverage by the US media. For this reason, we invited the anti-fascists to join us in protesting both groups of racists who had assembled on that day. We did not denounce or otherwise disturb the North East Antifascists when they decided not to do this.

At one point in the demonstration we shouted to the NA group--who managed to remain on the same side of the plaza as the Palestinian protesters because they were being protected by a line of armed, blue-helmeted cops--that they should go over to the other side of the plaza where the rest of the racists were assembled. At least one of the NE Anti-fascists responded defensively, as though the comments were directed in some sense to their demonstration--certainly not our intention.

Based on the responses of some of the people assembled with NE Antifascists both to our invitation for them to join us and to the incident mentioned above, it did seem as though several were not convinced that Zionism is a fascist ideology. I am providing here links to two well-researched historical works by Lenni Brenner, "Zionism in the Age of the Dictators" and "The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir," accessible in their entirety at the following URLs:

http://www.marxists.de/middleast/brenner/

http://www.marxists.de/middleast/ironwall/

In summary, Brenner documents how the Zionist movement represents a fundamental abandonment of the struggle for justice and rights for the oppressed Jewish community of Europe--or for any form of revolutionary social change--in favor of a colonial project in Palestine. This political orientation entails an alignment first with existing imperial powers--most importantly Britain--beginning as early as the end of the 19th century, and increasingly with the right-wing anti-semitic and anti-communist movements in Europe as those movements gain ascendancy in the first half of the twentieth century. By the 1930s, the organized Zionist militias--mostly ideological followers of Jabotinski's Zionist Revisionism--are openly allied with Italian Fascists. The Irgun Zvai Leumi (National Military Organization) had its training camps in Mussolini's Italy under the aegis of the Fascist Navy; in 1941, in the infamous Ankara document, NMO representatives proposed an organizational alliance with the Nazis themselves, in which they spoke of shared goals and interests, including the establishment of a "Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis."

These same Zionist militias--the Irgun, the Haganah and the Stern Gang--carried out the acts of ethnic cleansing against Arab Palestinians that made way for the state of Israel in 1948. They went on to form the core of Israel's military (the IDF) and have always, in every period from 1948 to the present, determined what are known as "the facts on the ground." When Menachim Begin--who, as a military commander in the Irgun, presided over the massacre of the people of Deir Yassin in the period of Israel's foundation--became Prime Minister in the 1970s as head of the political alliance in Israel that has now brought forward Ariel Sharon, this de facto fascist military government simply moved more fully into the open.

Ultimately, it shouldn't even be necessary to know this history of the shared ideological roots of Zionism and Fascism in order to recognize the fundamentally racist and genocidal character of the state of Israel. An honest look at the current political reality should be enough. Israel is now imposing a "ghettoeization" policy in Palestine, reminiscent of Nazi practices in Eastern Europe: surrounding the Palestinian villages and cities of the West Bank behind a system of walls and fences that are aimed at choking off all life support to Palestinian communities. This is just the culmination of a project of genocide that has included in recent years all of the following: the encirclement of Palestinian communities with expanding settlements and bypass roads; permanent and mobile check-points controlling Palestinian movement; bulldozing of homes and farms and the destruction of civilian infra-structure (such as roads and sources of water); mass round-ups and imprisonment without trial; assassination of resistance leaders; full scale military invasion of cities, villages and refugee camps; aerial bombardment; and the list could go on. All this is done with US support.

Speaking personally, as someone who has faced neo-Nazi violence both here in the US and in other places, I believe that protesting a full scale genocide actively taking place now, with the support of the state apparatus where I live, is something I can't fail to do if I am a serious opponent of racism and fascism. I've also noticed, as someone who has taken part for years in various actions promoted and organized by "progressives" and "radicals" in the US, that precisely this issue--Zionism and US support for it--is most consistently dropped in various "united front" actions in the interest of "not creating divisions in the movement." This silence should not be tolerated by anti-racists.

***

A small point of clarification in response to one of the comments above: the Jews United Against Zionism (Neturei Karta) were not a separate demonstration on their own part of the plaza--as someone suggested--but rather invited participants in the NECDP demonstration. They have consistently joined us in support of these actions in the past, and have documented their participation on their website: www.nkusa.org. They help to unmask Zionist propaganda aimed at equating Zionism with Judaism and Israel with the "collective aspirations of the Jewish people" (whatever that lie is supposed to mean).
policy on hiding comments and other posts
02 Jul 2004
In response to some complaints, let me explain our policy on hiding comments and other postings. Criticisms of the state of Israel and Zionist ideology are just fine. They will be left up. When people begin talking about Jewish control of the media and things like that, it stinks of anti-Semitism. Conspiracy theories about Jews controlling things are generally the product of far right groups who are anti-Semitic (or Judeophbic if you prefer); they often disguise their intentions by talking about Zionist conspiracies instead of Jewish conspiracies, but Zionism is simply a code word for Jews when these groups use it. The Boston IMC has a policy of hiding all postings that are racist, anti-Semitic, sexist, homphobic, anti-Muslim, etc. We have agreed at a meeting that any conspiracy theories involving Jews or Zionism fall under this policy and will be hidden. Again, criticisms of the state of Israel and Zionist ideology are fine--conspriacy theories about Jews are not, since we assume them to be racist.

All hidden posts are available on the hidden articles page. This policy of hiding racist, etc. postings is not in the least unique to the Boston IMC. Most, if not all, IMCs in the US have similar policies. The IMC is meant to be a forum for progressive activists, not some nebulous free speech site, and we maintain its integrity as a progressive forum by hiding racist, etc. material.

Please feel free to post any questions you have for clarification of the policy. If you have a huge issue with it, please feel free to come to one of our meetings to talk about, although we ask you to wait until after the DNC when we actually will have time to deal with it.