A California law enforcement officer speaking exclusively to Breitbart News on condition of anonymity said that the group of 30 permitted demonstrators from the extremist Traditionalist Workers Party were physically attacked Sunday in Sacramento by a group of about 400 protesters organized by a group called By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).
While media reports focused on the fact that 10 people were injured after a “clash” between white supremacists and leftist radicals outside the state Capitol, the words and actions of the violent (BAMN) showed that it was a preplanned attack.
Reuters reported: “At least 10 people were injured at a rally outside the California state capitol in Sacramento on Sunday as members of a white supremacist group clashed with counter-protesters, authorities said.”
Then Reuters quoted one of the left-wing leaders:
“We have a right to self defense. That is why we have to shut them down,” Yvette Felarca, a counter-protester wearing a white bandage on her head, told reporters after the clash.
The attack was not “self defense,” as Felarca claimed and the media repeated. In the United States, free speech — even, and especially, offensive speech — is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The full name of Felarca’s group is The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary — but it is usually shortened to By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).
The group and Felarca herself have a history of gain engaging in violent protest.
In 2012, Felarca was described as a “Northern California Coordinator of BAMN and a middle school teacher in Berkeley.” She was an activist in the Occupy movement and in Black Lives Matter-connected protests at the University of California at Berkeley, where she told the New York Times she thought “militant” actions were appropriate:
“Riots are the voice of the unheard,” said Ms. Felarca, a Berkeley alumna. “You can never replace the lives of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, but you can always replace broken windows.”
Felarca was also involved in the Burlingame, California protest that forced Donald Trump and his Secret Service detail to leave their vehicle:
Activist Yvette Felarca declared victory. “To force Donald Trump to have to hop a fence, to sneak into the back entrance?” She laughed triumphantly. “Yeah, he was humiliated. But it’s not about just today, it’s about building a movement. This is just a beginning.”
BAMN is not a fringe group, however; it has union connections and a penchant for “direct actions.” In an article from 2012 entitled “BAMN Pushes Teachers Unions Toward Radicalism,” the leftist site In These Times talked about the group:
A student-teacher alliance that operates as a joint caucus within the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA), BAMN uses litigation and direct action to combat racial inequality throughout the public education system. Its work ranges from organizing against school closings to fighting for greater black and Hispanic representation at public universities.
Deeper in the article, however, the group’s violent nature and intimidation tactics emerge:
BAMN has critics of its own. The group’s no-wait, rough-and-ready tactics have rankled craft-oriented teacher unionists, federal officials, and segments of the Left who view its brand of militancy as overly divisive. Several teachers and observers (who agreed to comment on condition of anonymity) cited run-ins with pushy or persistent BAMN organizers, or accuse BAMN of alienating potential supporters by inciting physical confrontation at actions or taking overly uncompromising stances.
In that 2012 article, Felarca makes exactly the same claim of “self-defense” while justifying her groups of violent behavior.
“Accusations of violence should be directed against the police or administrators … in instances of confrontation,” Felarca says in response. “We believe every movement has a right to defend itself.”
But aside from their past statements, the dead giveaway that BAMN’s claim of “self-defense” is simply a euphemism for attacking the free speech rights of people they don’t agree with comes from the group’s website.
In an article entitled “NO ‘FREE SPEECH’ FOR FASCISTS!,” BAMN provides Exhibit A against itself and its history of openly planning and carrying out violence.
The leftists of BAMN proudly proclaim they plan to “mobilize in full force” to shut down the peaceful gathering of what it determines are “fascists.” And by fascist, they make it clear that they mean not just National Socialist groups like the Traditionalist Workers Party, but also Donald Trump and anyone they feel is committing racism, chauvinism or anti-Muslim bigotry.
• SMASH FASCISM! NO PLATFORM FOR ORGANIZING RACIST VIOLENCE, MURDER, AND GENOCIDE!
• No Racist Demagogy! No Anti-Muslim Bigotry! No National Chauvinism, Fear Mongering, or Immigrant Scapegoating!
• Latina/o, Black, Native American, Arab, Asian, and White, Immigrants With and Without Papers, We are ALL Californians!
• Open the Borders! Full Citizenship Rights for All Undocumented Immigrants, Refugees, and Asylum-Seekers Now!
• Build the New Independent, Integrated, Mass Militant Youth-Led Civil Rights and Immigrant Rights Movement!
On Sunday, June 26, the fascist Traditionalist Workers’ Party, the Golden State Skinheads, and other neo-Nazi/KKK supporters are planning to hold a public recruitment rally on the West Steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento to launch a campaign of racist terror in California. They are not rallying to merely talk and listen to each other and then go home. They want to use this rally to recruit new members and organize for racist attacks, beatings, murders and genocide. Their immediate aim is to capitalize on the growing political polarization in this nation, most clearly expressed in the presidential campaign of Republican candidate Donald Trump, to turn back the advance of the new civil rights and youth movement that has electrified California and inspired the nation. These racist, would-be murderers have no right to organize their racist violence in California or anywhere. Their rally must be stopped by any means necessary.
Donald Trump’s campaign for president on a platform of open racism, xenophobia, and national chauvinism has given a green light to neo-Nazi/KKK political forces. The far-right wing is on the ascension – they feel it, they’re emboldened, and they’re looking to use Trump’s campaign as a pole of attraction and venue to organize their political program of racist violence on a mass scale and to an audience previously unavailable to them. This has led directly to an increase in racist attacks against Latina/o, black, immigrant and Arab communities across the country.
While Trump’s openly racist positions on immigration, especially against Latinas/os and Muslims, represent a new and dangerous level of extreme right-wing demagoguery, the Democrats hardly utter a peep in opposition, while carrying out their own national policies against the Latina/o and immigrant communities – not in words, but in practice – with the continued raids and deportations and attacks on public education. Only an organized, mass militant, integrated youth-led movement that is politically independent can mobilize the social forces necessary to defeat the Nazis/KKK, stop the rise of “Trumpism,” and finally put this nation on the road to progress once more.
This demonstration will be an opportunity for Latina/o, black, anti-racist white youth and California’s strong and proud majority-minority communities to unite to send a loud and clear message to the Nazis/KKK and their supporters: we will not tolerate organizing of racist and bigoted violence. All who oppose racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-gay and other bigoted attacks should mobilize to show their opposition. A determined opposition prepared to assert our collective power through mass militant direct action can shut these Nazis down and deal the fascists and white-supremacists a decisive tactical defeat.
NO “FREE SPEECH” FOR FASCISTS!
Latina/o and black youth have taken and led angry, direct action of self-defense against Trump supporters’ violent provocations at his political rallies in California and across the nation. The Latina/o communities of San Jose, Costa Mesa, Burlingame, Anaheim, as well Chicago, New Mexico, and Virginia have come out strong and taught racist and fascist Trump supporters about the painful consequences of openly supporting Trump and his political platform of bigotry. Our movement cannot allow his Nazi/KKK supporters to grow in size and number.
“Free speech” does not mean freedom to organize for racist terror, lynchings and genocide. Granting the Nazis a rally permit and providing them with thousands of dollars worth of police protection only perpetuates the long and sordid history of government officials citing “free speech” to protect racists by prosecuting black, Latina/o, other minority and anti-racist protestors who speak up against racism. It is outrageous and despicable that the City of Sacramento is planning to roll out the red carpet and spend huge sums of taxpayer money to ensure that the Nazis are able to rally while at the same time city and state workers are constantly being threatened with furloughs, layoffs and cut backs. If not for the protection of the Sacramento police and county sheriffs, these murderous scum wouldn’t get out of their cars – let alone hold a recruitment rally – when confronted with a massive, militant counter-protest. Whether Governor Brown or Mayor Johnson decide to protect the Nazi/KKK rally or not, we must mobilize in full force to stop their campaign to expand Jim Crow and build a right-wing racist, anti-immigrant movement in the United States.
WHY PROTEST THE NAZI SCUM?
Some people will say: “Ignore them, stay home, they are too small to be a threat, protesting against them will give them the publicity they want”, etc. Those encouraging this kind of “do-nothing” strategy are either naive fools or deceitful traitors. Ignoring the Nazis/KKK gives them an open platform to recruit, consolidate their organization and build their campaign. If we do not organize to protest at the same time and same place as the Nazis/KKK, then the only people in attendance will be those who are considering joining their ranks. We must be there to make sure that anyone sympathetic to their message is unable to hear it and has an extremely discouraging day.
By having a massive anti-racist, anti-fascist protest at the State Capitol on June 26, we will make sure that any publicity or news coverage of the day will show thousands of Latina/o, black, Asian, Arab and anti-racist white youth fighting for progress. If we stay home and allow them to have an open platform, any media coverage they receive will portray an unopposed successful event at which a small group of determined, proud racists were able to boldly assert themselves, recruit new members and advance a new campaign for racist terror and ultimately genocide. This is a scenario we cannot allow to happen. Instead, the racists must be sent scurrying for their cars as they are confronted with the strength of California’s powerful Latina/o and black communities. That is not the kind of publicity the Nazis want.
BUILD THE INDEPENDENT POWER OF THE NEW CIVIL RIGHTS AND IMMIGRANT RIGHTS MOVEMENT!
The growing polarization and ongoing economic and social crisis will continue to bring new forces into struggle.
In California, more than any other state in the nation, our new civil rights and immigrant rights movement has shown that we have the social power to change everything. Los Angeles had the largest civil rights demonstration in the country’s history, 2 million people shutting down business as usual during the 2006 movement for immigrant rights. Black youth led the mass, militant uprising in Ferguson, MO after the police murder of Michael Brown and inspired a wave of demonstrations and protest action against racism and racist police murder and brutality that swept the nation.
The Latina/o and immigrant communities of California are the most dynamic political force for social progress and equality today. Our movement desperately needs a new generation of fighters and activists to come forward now and develop as independent political leaders for the movement. By learning from struggle, drawing political lessons from history, and utilizing the method and tactics that assert our collective power, a new generation of leaders can ensure our movement’s victory.
The fascists exploit the discontent and economic hardship experienced by white, downwardly mobile middle-class and working-class youth. They offer fake, radical sounding solutions to the growing problems of unemployment, poverty and economic insecurity in the U.S. today.
The fascists scapegoat and call for attacks on the immigrant, Latina/o, black, Muslim, Jewish, and LGBT communities and against the trade unions, leftists, and other progressive organizations.
To this torrent of cynical racist lies, our integrated civil rights and immigrant rights movement must counter pose real, working-class solutions to the economic and social
crisis. Latina/o, black, Native American, Arab, Asian, and white, immigrants with and without papers, we are ALL Californians! Open the borders! Full citizenship rights for all undocumented immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers now! Build an independent, integrated, mass militant movement of the oppressed to fight racism, sexism, anti-LGBT and all forms of bigotry, national chauvinism, and xenophobia.
Our aim on this day must be to build our new movement. We must take matters into our own hands. Some will want to use this day simply as a means to contribute to the votes of the Democratic Party, whether that be for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. We cannot be distracted by that. Only the independent power of our movement can defeat the far-right forces of reaction. We need to make clear to every fascist and fascist-sympathizer promoting white supremacy and racist violence that they will face militant, organized, and determined opposition. This is our fight to make and our future to win.