On May 30, progressives from Orange County and the surrounding area came to the West Justice Center in Westminster to express support and solidarity with activist Jessica Aguilar, who is facing up to six months in jail for alleged “assault,” though Jessica’s only “crime” was simply defending herself against known members of neo-Nazi and racist skinhead groups at one of last year’s “Make America Great Again” rallies in Huntington Beach, California.
In a traditional pattern of turning a blind eye towards the violence of the far right, Orange County police did not arrest any of the fascists who attacked Aguilar, OC Weekly journalists and other progressives and anti-racist activists at the rally. In fact, members of the Hammerskin Nation and the overtly neo-Nazi Rise Above Movement were not even investigated, according to a recent ProPublica article. Some of the fascists, like Tyler Laube, who is still on probation for four separate convictions that include robbery and assault, were caught on tape attacking community members, yet this was not sufficient cause for the District Attorney’s office to press charges or review Laube’s probation. It is clear that the far-right are far less threatening to the racist police force than organized progressives and working class people.
Of course, the Orange County DA’s office and members of OC law enforcement are notorious for harboring reactionary officers, and have a well-documented and long history of aiding white supremacists, oppressing working class communities, police brutality, and the use of deadly force against people with mental illnesses. In March, the racist OC Sheriff’s office made local news for making the records of undocumented inmates public. In February 2016 at a Klan rally in Anaheim, the police stood by and did nothing as fascists stabbed at least three anti-KKK protesters.
This pattern of collaborating with the far right while simultaneously repressing progressive working class organizers is not unique to Orange County, but is a widespread tendency across all regions of the United States and capitalist states in general. Just in the last couple of years, we have seen how quickly police resorted to violence against the left and members of oppressed nations in Ferguson, Missouri, North Dakota and most recently in Washington, D.C., where the state arrested hundreds of anti-Trump protesters, threatening some of them with up to 70 years in prison on vague charges of public vandalism.
Because the capitalist system is structurally unable to provide for the rapidly growing numbers of the unemployed and working poor that it leaves behind, it resorts to the use of its repressive apparatus to warehouse this army of the unemployed and silence progressive voices calling for systemic change. When this tactic fails, capitalism often develops fascistic tendencies and relies on far-right terrorism against the left, militant elements of the working class, and oppressed communities to maintain its legitimacy and intimidate those who speak out.
The only way for the multinational working class of the United States to permanently protect its existence from exploitation and the threat of racist, conservative violence is to unite and fight back against the very capitalist system that breeds fascism and relies on state repression for its reproduction. We all must stand behind people like Jessica Aguilar, who have the courage to stand up for these values and for systemic change in the face of terror from the far-right and threats of jail time from the state.
Judge Terri Flynn-Peister set the pre-trial date to July 10, and the community will be there again to show support for Aguilar and her cause. The Party for Socialism and Liberation and the community as a whole call the state to drop all charges against Jessica Aguilar and other anti-fascist activists immediately.