Supporting Each Other And Resisting State Repression

CAIR’s notorious anti-FBI poster. We love it.

It has now been five months since the events that unfolded on June 26th. Given the gravity of the situation, we must assume that the investigation is fully underway and prepare for repression accordingly. It is abundantly clear that during this aftermath period, we can expect to see law enforcement take its usual route of targeting and isolating individuals in an attempt to gain information to be used both to prosecute and for ongoing surveillance purposes.

Keep yourself and your friends safe- don’t talk!

California Highway Patrol (CHP) has jurisdiction over capitol grounds, so by extension they are heading the investigation of the events that occurred on June 26th. It was CHP detectives who pursued each and every patient at the hospital who was attacked by Neo-Nazis, trying to squeeze out any information they could from incapacitated and often drugged victims. Now, it will be the CHP that approaches local activists in their homes, at work, through the phone, or on the street in an effort to find leads and instill fear and distrust.  Luckily, the injured had great hospital support that counseled them on the importance of silence and equipped them with the contact information of several trusted attorneys. We want to take this opportunity to provide the same level of support to everyone else in the community who may be unsure about how to best handle a police encounter. Now that the next phase of information gathering is clearly underway, spreading anti-repression resources around is all the more crucial.

If approached by the police, the CHP, or the FBI, ignoring their questions, firmly directing them to your attorney, and ending the encounter as quickly as possible is the best and safest way to proceed. All you really need to say in this situation is “I have nothing to say to you, and any questions you have can be directed to my lawyer”. Give them the name and number of a trusted lawyer, and end the encounter. Anything else you say can (and will!) be used against you and others. Answering even seemingly harmless questions can give officials enough information to prosecute or hold you or others. It is legal for them to lie to you, but illegal for you to lie to them. They will use this to their full advantage- enforcers of the law can and will lie to you as a tactic to instill fear and distrust, and will conversely try to catch you in a lie so that they can detain you for further questioning. They may promise you that your situation will be easier if you cooperate and tell them what they want to know, but they are in no way obligated to follow through on those promises. We are of the opinion that anyone who the CHP may think was involved in the 26th (regardless of if they actually were or not) is fair game to be contacted by them. Rest assured that should this happen to you, you are not alone and there is legal support waiting for you if you do end up facing state repression of any kind.

If it gets to the point that you are a suspect and a search warrant has been issued for your car and/or residence, you have the right to inspect the search warrant. Look for and make note of the date, time, location and a list of allowable things to seize. If you ever see that they are taking anything that does not appear on that list, it is actually best to let them take it because it will be thrown out as evidence later on. If you do bring to their attention that what they are taking is not on the list, they can call it in and get it approved, allowing them to keep the evidence. Finally, if you end up being detained or arrested, that’s your opportunity to again firmly say out loud that you will not answer any of their questions, and that all of their questions can be directed to your appointed legal representative. We would also like to remind everyone that, during an open investigation, pictures and videos are invaluable to law enforcement in their quest to prosecute. Do not share any videos or photos from the June 26th Anti-Nazi Demo that include individuals faces in them- to do so is to endanger the individuals and quite possibly yourself. In this specific circumstance, sharing identifying pictures and videos poses a double threat. Exposed individuals may experience surveillance, intimidation, and violence by Neo-Nazis in addition to state repression.

This is a great time to educate ourselves (or re-familiarize ourselves!) with all the above information, as well as to do some outside research to better prepare ourselves for a possible encounter with law enforcement. As a part of a radical community, it is important to share this type of information widely so as many individuals as possible have access to it. State repression can be handled much more easily and result in fewer repercussions if we educate ourselves and support one another when faced with it.

The Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) has been a vital resource for radicals here in the US for ten years now. They provide great legal support and educational tools for dealing with repression by both local law enforcement and federal agents. On their site you can find plenty of useful videos and flyers (such as this know your rights slideshow and the printable flyer below) regarding your rights as an activist and much more.

An informative printable from the CLDC.

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Update: Supporting The Injured

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After the Neo-Nazi attacks at the Sacramento rally on June 26th, a support team was organized to raise money for the nine individuals who were hospitalized. The community came together to donate and spread the word, and we are happy to announce that we were able to raise over 20,000 dollars to help with the costs of surgery, hospital bills, physical therapy, and other necessary medical expenses. All nine individuals were supported through the recovery process and offered monetary assistance. They are currently all in stable condition, and are expected to make a full mental and physical recovery.

We want to take a moment to thank everyone- the injured themselves for their sacrifice, the global community that has reached out, those who donated to the support fund, the dedicated team who provided hospital support, the medics who saved lives on the Capitol grounds, those who sent thoughtful get well cards and letters, and the many who stood with us on the 26th. Your support and solidarity has kept wills strong and spirits up!

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June 26th: Our Official Statement

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On June 26th, 2016, antifascists successfully prevented a Neo-Nazi rally that was set to take place at the Sacramento Capitol. The Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) and the Golden State Skinheads (GSS) came together to plan the rally as a show of force and a platform for their racist ideology. The former a fascist political organization, and the latter a local white power gang, the partnership was supposed to be the perfect match of brain and brawn. According to TWP Chairman Matthew Heimbach, “The Trad Worker Party are bringing it off the internet and onto the streets of Sacramento on June 26th. The Antifa are not happy about this, but there is no way they will be able to put a stop to it. If the TWP can march in Sacramento, then they can hold a rally anywhere.” Local antifascists heard that, and knew that action had to be taken- not just for the sake of preventing this one rally in our town, but also for the sake of setting a Golden-State-Standard and discouraging future fascist activity. Three months of careful planning and nonstop organizing later, and it was showtime. It was clear that all our hard work was not in vain- a crowd of around 500 counter-protesters, made up of countless individuals, affinity groups, and a few larger organizations, showed up to shut down the rally with us. Outnumbered by about 25 to 1, the white supremacists had to be protected by over 100 police officers, and even then were completely blocked from holding their event. SacPD and CHP were woefully unequipped to handle the sheer number of counter-protesters, and finally cancelled the official permit that had been obtained for the rally. However, this was not enough to dissuade the white supremacists from trying to take the area by force- several attempted to hold ground on the capitol steps, though all were inevitably stopped. When it became clear that they couldn’t get the upper hand, the TWP and GSS charged directly into the counter-protestors, stabbing and wounding several people in a bloody melee before being chased down the block and into a waiting getaway car by angry antifascists. If it weren’t for the dedicated street medics on duty, it’s entirely possible that some of the stabbing victims could have died that day. As it was, 9 individuals were hospitalized. Even with such extreme tactics, the fascists in the TWP and GSS still couldn’t hold any leverage against the much larger mass of counter-protestors, and were rebuffed each time they attempted to gain ground.

Neoliberals, pacifists, and corporate media alike roundly condemned the violence that took place that day, framing the counter-protestors as instigators and the white supremacists as acting out of self-defense. They won’t acknowledge (and some may not even realize) that anti-fascism is in and of itself an act self defense. In a world that commits constant and unspeakable violence by way of white supremacy, patriarchy, xenophobia and capitalism, how could taking a stand against oppression and its keepers be anything but fighting back? White supremacist groups, like the system that they are a product of, are instigators of violence. They perpetuate violence by their very nature, by their very ideology. Antifa’s violence is that of a prisoner breaking open the bars. White supremacy’s violence is that of a tyrant exerting equal parts power and cruelty. To obscure this truth is to turn a blind eye to patterns that have repeated themselves throughout history. Too often it is still obscured. The pacifist left would have us trying to reason with the Nazi threat while our comrades are being stabbed, just as they would have us languor in the red tape of bureaucracy should we oppose the greater system that results in so many people starved, imprisoned, beaten, raped, tortured, and left to die of sickness. Deviate from this narrow and impractical path, and be seen as the same as what you are fighting in their eyes. This sort of policing and condemnation of militant resistance isn’t strategic, isn’t effective, and serves only to divide and weaken our movements. Any moral superiority supposedly gained by those who maintain a strictly nonviolent ideology is quickly revealed to be a facade- in the face of structural and systemic violence on a far greater scale, these so-called pacifists would rather turn their frustration toward the comparably minor violence of those resisting, effectively ignoring and diluting the root of the problem. It’s no wonder that this ideology is so commonly parroted among reporters, journalists, elites and politicians- it serves as the perfect framing to both discredit those resisting injustice and redirect public focus from the broader issues at hand. Could we really expect them to promote resistance? To do so would be to pave the way for their own destruction. Instead, they will feed us safer and more disarming half-truths, and sit back as their opposition tears itself apart. Don’t believe them.

What happened on June 26th is not an isolated occurrence. It is part of a much broader pattern- fascists and white supremacists are emboldened by a political climate that looks the other way at best and sympathizes with them at worst. It is a direct result of the rise in frequency and aggression of right-wing extremist groups. The number of radical right hate groups has increased 14% in the past year, and California is number 2 on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of top five states for hate groups. The Valley has never been a stranger to hate groups and the violence that follows them. Just a few weeks before the 26th, a Sacramento local pastor praised the shooting of 49 queer people in Orlando in a recorded sermon. A few months before that, a pariah of the white nationalist movement dropped flyers across Midtown Sacramento calling for the murder of Muslims and Latinos in our city, and for the securing of “body dump sites” by fellow white supremacists. Around the same time, a group of men in white sheets terrorized a mother and her child outside of a shopping center in Auburn, CA. Earlier this year, Klansmen stabbed 3 antifascists in Anaheim, CA, and received no charges. Indeed, the June 26th Nazi Rally fits right in with the bigger picture of hate-fueled violence and terror, a pattern that will no doubt drag onward as history repeats itself. Each time we take action, we are pushing back against this narrative. Each time we do nothing, we are allowing it to stand as valid, acceptable, normalized. We cannot afford to stand around or look the other way in the wake of this very real threat- instead, we must continue to disrupt and fight against it in any way we can. Together we must organize, build, and grow, and ensure that the blood spilled on the 26th wasn’t for nothing.

-Antifa Sacramento

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