On Saturday, Feb. 27, Black and Latino youth led the people of Anaheim in defending themselves and their families from the descent of the violent and armed terrorist Ku Klux Klan on their community.
The KKK, with its long history of violence from the lynching of hundreds of Black and Mexican people to the massacre of protestors in Greensboro, N.C. in 1979, has been actively recruiting like-minded terrorists across Orange County for the past two years and attempting to intimidate the local people by leaving racist messages on people’s lawns in the cloak of night, most recently during MLK weekend with racist lies about the civil rights leader. Many in the area have not felt safe since finding KKK activity in their neighborhoods and local police departments in cities like Anaheim and Santa Ana have done nothing to stop the harassment.
This terrorist cell decided to hold an open rally against immigration in a Black and Latino community in an attempt to intimidate neighborhood residents. The KKK rallied armed with knives and makeshift weapons in the hope of using the cover of their alleged first amendment rights to instigate violence and have an opportunity to murder Black and Latino people and their allies.
This plan was made evident when the KKK brutally stabbed at least three anti-KKK protestors, leaving one in critical condition, while the Anaheim Police Department watched from afar. In one instance, APD was witnessed body slamming an anti-KKK protester just seconds after he was stabbed by the KKK. When a fellow protestor tried to tell the cop that he was further beating a victim of the KKK, he was arrested. Instead of turning on the armed Klansmen and arresting them immediately for their stabbing spree, the Anaheim police escorted them to the other side of the park, all the while beating the local community protesters who were demanding that KKK intimidation come to an end.
By the time the brawl was brought to a close, a half dozen Klansmen had been arrested along with a half dozen anti-KKK protesters. APD let the Klan walk on the grounds that they were acting in self-defense, while the anti-Klan protesters continue to face felony assault charges and several are languishing in the Orange County jail on outrageous bail amounts between $25,000 and $50,000.
The outrage of APD and Orange County District Attorney granting a terrorist organization total impunity was underscored by the copycat attack carried out in Lake Los Angeles the next day, when a Latino family in a community park was assaulted by three knife-wielding neo-Nazis shouting ‘Heil Hitler’. This attack was a clear celebration of the KKK stabbing spree.
The truth is that the Black and Latino community are engaged in a long-term battle of self-defense from the forward march of these white supremacists.
It was a white a supremacist who massacred 9 members of a historic Black church in South Carolina. It was a white supremacist who shot, execution-style, three Muslim students in North Carolina. It was a white supremacist who murdered three people outside a Jewish community center in Kansas City. It was white supremacists who viciously beat a Mexican man in Boston. It was white supremacists who shot 5 Black Lives Matter protestors in Minneapolis. There is no doubt that those who burned down more than a dozen Black churches last year were white supremacists.
This is why the ANSWER Coalition fully rejects the false claim made by APD and mass media that the stabbing of several anti-KKK protestors was justified as a means of self-defense.
APD and the mass media always go out of their way to defend the Klan’s right to assemble. The KKK is not just another right-wing organization – it is a terrorist entity. It is not a civic organization but a collection of terrorists responsible to this day for the murder of innocent people by shooting, lynching and firebombing.
If ISIS attempted to hold a rally at a community park in Anaheim every agency of force in the United States would descend upon them. The KKK is the real terrorist for Black people, Latinos, Muslims, immigrants and the LGBTQ community that has killed far more American people in its 150 year history than any terrorists of Islamic background, but were treated with velvet gloves by police in Orange County.
Orange County, and Anaheim in particular, have a checkered past with the Klan. During the early 20th century the Klan had control of most of the small cities in Orange County, holding positions on city councils, mayoral positions and deep infiltration of local police departments. Pearson Park, where the KKK attempted to hold their rally Saturday, was the site of the largest Klan rally in Southern California history in 1924 when 10,000 racists assembled there.
All progressive people have a duty to counter organize to prevent the KKK from growing in strength and ultimately from unleashing violence on oppressed communities. All progressive people have a duty to prevent any white supremacist organization from growing.
What is needed is a multinational united front of Black people, Latinos, Asians, Arab Americans, indigenous peoples and anti-racist whites to beat back the rise of fascism in the United States that is characterized by the growing Trump movement.
Just days before the attempted murder of anti-KKK protesters in Anaheim, Trump received the endorsements of former Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke and a founding leader of the French neo-Nazi movement, Jean Marie Le Penn. When asked if he would denounce David Duke and the KKK he claimed to have no knowledge of what the KKK was. This is obviously a lie, especially considering his own father was a documented Klansmen, that attempts to gloss over the fact that his base of support is not only a racist mass, but also largely connected to actual white supremacist organizations.
Trump combines his play of ignorance with clear nods to his fascist underlings, such as his quoting Mussolini in a tweet Saturday night just hours after the KKK’s attack. White supremacists are the essential oxygen to Trumps fire.
Their symbiotic relationship is more than endorsements or an identity of views on hatred of immigrants, Muslims, and Black people – it has even come in the form of open support as with the neo-Nazi American Freedom Party’s donation and robocalls on behalf of Trumps campaign.
White supremacists see in Trumps rhetoric an opportunity to grow. Trump being permitted to spew his racist hate speech against Muslims, Black people, Latinos, and others on national television without facing any repercussion has emboldened the KKK and neo-Nazi movements to come out in the open and recruit for the first time in years. Trump being able to call a vicious street attack by his supporters “enthusiasm” and recommending that dissidents at his rallies “should be roughed up” without consequence is a green light to the violence these groups are already using against Black people, immigrants, and all those who have been marching for an end to the systemic racism they face in this country.
2015 saw the number of known Klan organizations more than double in their first year of growth after many years of decline.
The mass media is encouraging this growth by pursuing the ratings they achieve when giving Trump a full platform for his views. Mainstream Republicans have either put their heads in the sand or begun throwing their opportunistic support behind the proto-fascist as NJ Gov. Chris Christie did last week.
The ANSWER Coalition fully salutes the anti-Klan protestors and extends solidarity to all peoples struggling against racist oppression.
Now is a critical turning point in a deeply polarized U.S. society. Either the white supremacist and fascist forces will continue to coalesce and build into an even greater threat or the anti-racist forces from all walks of life will unite and beat back Trump, the Klan, neo-Nazis, and their attendant ideologies of hate.
The community of Anaheim heroically pointed the way forward in the unity they displayed and the boldness of their action.
We call on all people of conscience to begin immediately the work of building the broadest unity against white supremacy and fascism.
We demand that the Orange County District Attorney drop all charges against the anti-KKK heroes and release them immediately.
We commit ourselves to fighting for the freedom of these heroes and building the struggle against all stripes of fascists.
We demand that Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas release anti-KKK heroes from jail immediately.
We demand that all charges brought against anti-KKK protesters, who have already been the victims of a violent stabbing spree and police brutalization, be dropped immediately.