|Carlos Alvarez, the PSL gubernatorial candidate in California, confronts Robert Keller supporters
outside the Santa Clarita city hall, Jan. 26.
Photo: John McCoy, LA Daily News
On Jan. 26, members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and activists from the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) joined the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition in Santa Clarita, Calif., for a press conference denouncing racist remarks made by Robert Kellar.
Kellar is a member of the city council of Santa Clarita, a city with a large immigrant population. On Jan. 16, Kellar spoke at a rally organized by the Minuteman, the infamous anti-immigrant vigilante group that prides itself on hunting down undocumented workers trying to cross the border.
During his speech replete with immigrant-bashing, Kellar unabashedly proclaimed, “I am a proud racist.” Video of the speech was quickly discovered and widely publicized. When Kellar was questioned by the press about his comments at the Minuteman rally, he said it didn’t mean he was “going to saddle up the horses at midnight,” a direct reference to Ku Klux Klan lynching.
His words and actions lead us to believe otherwise. The hate speech spewed by Kellar and his ultra-right allies nationwide are designed to incite anti-immigrant hatred and violence.
In response to Kellar’s open admission as a “proud racist,” a press conference was held outside of the Santa Clarita City Hall to demand an apology and to announce a continuing campaign to have Keller removed from office.
Carlos Alvarez, the PSL’s candidate for governor of California (seeking the Peace and Freedom Party nomination), said at the press conference: “We will not allow the immigration debate to be shaped by the ultra-right-wing. … This is an opportunity for unity between all people regardless of race against bigots like Kellar.”
A team of Kellar supporters came bearing anti-immigrant placards, answering Kellar’s call to racists to mobilize and attack the immigrant community.
Refusing to be intimidated, the anti-racist forces did not hesitate to confront the Kellar backers before the press. The racists could only retort with their chauvinist slogans of “One flag, one language,” and “It’s ‘red, white and blue,’ not ‘brown, white and black,’” proving to be nothing but white supremacists who want no people of color in the city, or in the country.
Kellar’s outrageous comments have inspired unity among unions, workers, community leaders and residents of the city against the openly racist elected official. Keller’s racist rhetoric and his posse of supporters have been met by a fight-back movement.
The developing struggle to remove Kellar from office is just another step in the centuries-long battle to eradicate racism in the United States. The PSL will continue to be on the front lines of the struggle to oust Kellar, and everywhere else that white supremacists rear their ugly heads.