Thursday, September 06, 2007

Speaking of that....

This is rather old news now, referring to an event in May, but I just heard of it the other day via Digby and it seemed a good punctuation mark to the previous post because, well, it just seemed so damned '60s, absolutely wonderful guerrilla theater. This is from Asheville (TN) Indymedia:
Saturday May 26th the VNN Vanguard Nazi/KKK group attempted to host a hate rally [in Knoxville, Tennessee] to try to take advantage of the brutal murder of a white couple for media and recruitment purposes.

Unfortunately for them the 100th ARA (Anti Racist Action) clown block came and handed them their asses by making them appear like the asses they were.
Part of a group of over 100 counter-protesters, who outnumbered the Nazis, the clowns kept "trying" to "understand" what the bigots were chanting. In response to the cries of "White Power!” the clowns variously declared

- “White Flour?” while running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelled “White Flour”.

- “White flowers?” accompanied by throwing white flowers in the air.

- “Tight Shower?” as they held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under.

- “Wife Power?” with letters spelling it out as the female clowns lifted the male clowns and carried them around.

The comments on the posting include the usual suspects, not only the congratulatory ones but the bigots spewing their bilge about the "white race" being threatened by black crime and accusing those who praised the counter-protesters of (gasp!) "political correctness," a phrase which has become a self-parody.

And - I'm tempted to say of course - there was also someone who insisted that the act of counter-protesting was a violation of the Nazis free speech. Lord, am I sick of that dreck. If the Nazis had actually been prevented from having their hatefest, if the counter-protesters had actually interfered with their ability to speak, he would have had an argument. But he didn't because they didn't; rather, they held the Nazis and their racism up to effective public mockery. Contrary to that commenter, contrary to what we too often hear, such counter-protests are not only valid, they are called for: In the face of bigotry, of racism, of hatred, silence is not an option!

First Footnote: Perhaps my favorite part of the story, though, is not even about the clowns. After the Nazi rally ended, the counter-protesters started to march to the center of Knoxville. The police stopped them - to ask if they wanted an escort, which was provided.

Second Footnote: At a subsequent rally in Knoxville by the same group on June 16, writes one participant in comments to the post,
we switched tactics because we knew they would come prepared for clowns (they were). Instead we brought a kickin sound system and played MLK speeches, Stevie Wonder, black soul ballads and open miked - its drove them insane. In fact you can listen to their recordings of their rally and here MLK clearly in the back ground as they tried to get their hate on.
(There is no direct link to the comment, so to check it, you'll have to go to the story link and scroll down to the comment titled "I wrote this.")

Third Footnote: In another bit of what could easily be called guerrilla theater, the folks on the March for Peace, who I've mentioned a couple of times - I understand there are six now, grown from the original two who stepped off in California - have sent an open letter to George Bush noting the hospitality they've received from people along the route and asking him to put them up in the White House when they get to DC.
All that we ask for is a chance to share our experiences and enter into a dialogue. We are good guests. No one will bother the historic items, make too much noise late at night, or leave the toilet seat up. If you already have guests, we will be more than happy to camp out on the White House lawn.
Sounds like something a slightly-less outrageous Abbie Hoffman would have done. By the way, photos of the walk can be found at this link.

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