Baldwin Park 2, the Rematch!
The June 25'th anti-hate rally
Photographs will be posted to http://www.thedarkwind.org/june25.htm
on Monday, the 27'th of June.
It was another good day for diversity, tolerance, and racial harmony in America as anywhere from around 500 to 800 anti-hate protesters turned out once again to oppose the "Save Our State" a.k.a "Minutemen" and National Vanguard / Alliance white supremists outsiders who come into people's communities to spew their hatred and, it seems to me, to
look for white supremists recruits.
I arrived this time without my bicycle, bringing around 70 ham and cheese sandwiches to pass out freely among participants since there were a number of individuals passing out water freely. Arriving at around 11:30 or 11:40, I missed seeing the speech by the Baldwin Park Mayor praising Judy Baca and denouncing the racists by about 30 minutes or so. I'd seen the Mayor at the first anti-hate rally so I assume I didn't miss much the second time around.
The Baldwin Park City -- our elected government officials -- had received hundreds of terrorist death threats from "Save Our State" a.k.a. "Minutemen" a.k.a. "National Vanguard" supporters, defenders, members, participants and such. The Mayor had mentioned during Baldwin Park #1 that the City would be asking the FBI to go after these racist scumbags and that criminal charges would be filed. All because our elected government officials support and defend the rights of the _citizens_ of the communities they serve and they refuse to bow down to right-wing terrorists that come in from out of town who don't belong in America, leave alone in peaceful, diverse American communities like Baldwin Park.
As I arrived, I watched two white supremists walking hot-footed up Downing heading North/East past the Monument, and on their heels were about half a dozen anti-hate participants, some of them yelling at the racists.
One of the white supremists was wearing a while construction helmet and the other was wearing jungle camo pants, both of them trying hard to keep within sight of the police. When I saw these clowns, I looked behind me at the police officers standing around the Monument and noted that they were watching the racists being hounded by the good guys, and the cops were happy to just watch.
Someone from the anti-hate protesters stepped between the fleeing white supremists and the anti-hate protesters and said something, prompting the anti-hate activists to stop and merely watch as the white supremists fled up Badillo. Apparently these scumbags snuck back behind police lines and rejoined their white supremists buddies down along Pacific and Downing.
After walking around a bit, I was shocked and disgusted to see that the racists had been sequestered and isolated on the street corner far away where they were virtually impossible to see. The police has set up barricades of yellow ribbon and police officers along all four city blocks, boxing them in on all sides, and they were not allowing vehicles or people on foot any where near the racists.
I thought at the time that this was akin to the right-wing fascists' "Free Speech Zones" that the Bush regime has been setting up to pen up progressive activists around the country. Looking across the yellow ribbon, one could see a bunch of people -- maybe 30 or 40 -- and some American flags, but no movement at all. There were no cars passing back and forth along that section of Pacific Ave and no cars along that section of Downing. The racists had been boxed up on a street corner where nobody could see them and where the anti-hate activists couldn't let them know exactly what the people of this community thinks about them to their white bread, neo-Nazi faces.
Walking around, I was happy to see so many fellow white Americans who had joined in the anti-hate rally. More than half of the activists were Hispanic or apparently Native tribes but there was a good number of fellow white Americans who had turned out. I was proud to see that the majority of Americans are opposed to these "Save Our State" a.k.a. "Minutemen" a.k.a. National Vanguard et al. creeps and that so many were willing to turn out and stand in solidarity with their fellow dark-skinned Americans.
Some of the things I didn't like: I didn't like the Socialists and what appeared to me to be Communist handfuls of individuals who were there on the anti-hate side. They -- like so many of us staunch Capitalist Pigs such as myself -- look at these right-wing extremists and note that out of control Capitalist greed is one of the major causes of much of the world's woes, and the fascist regime's invasion and indiscriminate slaughter of innocent Iraqis -- over 100,000 so far -- solely to seize control of their oil is a right-wing atrocity that _can_ be chalked up to Capitalism. But I look at the history of Socialism and Communism and I note that they're either just as bad as uncontrolled Capitalism, or they're worse. So I was put off by the few Socialists that showed up handing out literature.
Another thing I didn't quite like was the appeal for funding for the various incidental projects that the widely diverse group of
anti-hate activists have going. There's the effort to get the neo-Nazi Arnold Schwarzenegger removed from office and there was a request for funding donations toward that effort, but that wasn't the major reason why we were there in Baldwin Park. True, opposing these right-wing Republican racists ties in strongly with opposing the right-wing extremist politicians, but the focus was a bit fuzzied by all the secondary anti-fascism issues in BP2.
Still, the vast majority of the rally participants -- 99% of them or so -- were there to oppose the SOS / MM / American Nazi Party / Storm Front / National Vanguard a.k.a. Alliance white supremists scumbags so the minor annoyances I encountered were _really_ minor.
Another thing I wasn't sure I liked was the speeches that talked about the take over of California from Mexico and the injustice of it all. Yes, it was a genocide when Europeans invaded and slowly slaughtered (or quickly depending) the Domestic North American peoples who lived here. The complaints about the genocide and the oppression and injustice are absolutely justified and correct... But the rare and occasional comment I heard -- often in Spanish -- about how such injustice needs to be rectified by returning California and Texas to Mexico is something I can't agree with even in principle. (I'm willing to let them have Texas back since the State of Texas degrades the rest of the Union, of course.)
The dancing I quite liked. There were two or maybe three groups of dancers dressed in Native costume dancing along Downing out on the sidewalk and elsewhere where people in vehicles driving past could watch them -- at least until the light turned green. They were very good dancers and had obviously practices their art in closed-in spaces like the sidewalk as well as in open areas such as the circle dancing they performed near the Monument.
There was a table with a public address system and some shade and at the table there was an amusing skit played out for the large crowd watching. The skit consisted of what I believe might have been Christopher Columbus rampaging his way through South America, meeting peoples of brown skin, shaking their hands, and then wiping the "dirt" from his hands after each hand shake.
Whom ever it was being depicted -- Christopher Columbus or a white European invader, or a symbolic representation of such -- whoever it was kept telling the six of seven actors representing Native peoples that he wanted and needed their lands, so sorry, but you'll have to step aside as we come in and take over and if you stand in our way, we'll genocide you -- which then happened.
To be sure I didn't watch the whole skit since there was so much other stuff going on and I wanted to walk around and see what was up elsewhere. But the skit that I did see was done well and I was laughing every time the European or Columbus wiped his hands after shaking the hand of a Native. I noticed that none of the other mostly Hispanic crowd were laughing even at the places that I think were _supposed_ to be funny, so I shrugged my shoulders, and went looking to see what else was going on.
Hanging from the trees were various "Minutemen" with bizarre multi faces, and Arnold Schwarzenegger hanging from a tree. Some of them were pinatias (spelling?) that had candy and little games in them, and I saw some kids smacking one of them with sticks as an adult tugged a string to make the thing a bit difficult to hit. I had to laugh, thinking it's a shame the racists far, far down the street standing in their little dejected corner couldn't join in the fun we were having while we were opposing the hatred they stand for.
Before leaving I had wanted to see if I could get some photographs of the racists for the Dark Wind Project web site since it would be a damn shame to not document some of the known and avowed white supremists that are part of the SOS / MM. The barricade of yellow ribbon and police officers along Downing was solid and the cops were only allowing racists to cross -- which is how the amusing clown in the white construction hat and the equally amusing clown in the jungle camo pants wound up being chased through our ranks.
So I took to Badillo and started walking West toward Pacific Ave thinking I could then walk South to where the white supremists were stationed. All along Badillo there were police officers with a number of SWAT units, some medical vehicles, and even a pumper fire engine. Along Badillo near Pacific there were a number of anti-hate activists stationed with protest signs and the vehicles passing by were greatly supportive, keeping up a nearly constant stream of honking in support of these good Americans standing up against racism and bigotry.
Every nearby South/North side street was barricaded by yellow ribbon and lines of police officers. I had attempted to walk South to see if I could get photographs of the racists up close, but a police officer pointed at me after I had gotten maybe 5 feet past the yellow ribbon and politely asked me to return to the other side of the ribbon.
At the business parking lot on the corner of Badillo and Pacific, a very large group of anti-hate activists had gathered and with their protest signs had taken up a circular march. There were so many people there that it was difficult to get through them to see everything going on -- or to see if _anything_ other than a march was going on.
That large group of activists had an audience solely of the many police officers who were lined along the street keeping all the many anti-hate activists far from the racists way down the street. And when I looked at a map after Saturday's rally, I see that the cops had surrounded the racists with barricades of officers, vehicles, and K9 units. All vehicle traffic anywhere around the racists was shut down so the racists were left standing all alone on their corner of sidewalk, jacking each other off or whatever they did to keep themselves amused since nobody but themselves could see them.
And this seems so unfair to me in a number of ways. "Free Speech Zones" have been used against progressive Americans by the fascist Bush regime to suppress and oppress real American patriots, and here it was a bunch of right-wing hate mongers clapped into their own virtual "Free Speech Zone" of their own, hoist by their own petard, as it was. I bet not a one of these white bread Republican males ever thought they would be subjected to the right-wing tactic of isolating and thus totally nullifying protesters.
Since there was no way to get photographs of the racist kooks, I turned around and waited with others on the corner to cross the street to return to the main protest. Since the streets were being controlled by the cops, they were directing traffic with the stop lights in four-way-flash. While the cops continued to direct traffic, the people waiting to cross waited a long time politely for the cops to direct them across. After a good long time there was discussion and it was decided we would just wait for a break in traffic and start across -- which we did.
After attaining the oppose sidewalk, I mentioned to the guy on my left, "We made it!" and he said, "And without a rubber bullet in our legs, too!" }:-}
Walking back toward the main rally area near the Monument, I was once again amused by just how many police officers there were. It was an effort to make sure that everyone was well aware that any kind of misbehavior at all would be and could be dealt with quickly and decisively. But they need not have bothered: We're all peaceful protesters, as usual, would probably wouldn't have lunched the racists even if there hasn't been a single cop around to save them. That's not what we're about, after all. At worse the white supremists would be subjected to another massive denouncement for their hatred and bigotry of anyone with dark skin, but considering the vehicular assault these "Save Our State" a.k.a. "Minutemen" scumbags committed in Baldwin Park, by far the good guys had much more to worry about at the hands of out-of-control racists than they had to worry about us peaceful protesters.
Upon returning to the Monument crowd, I noticed that it had grown even larger. While my Spanish is improving, I wasn't able to understand much of what was being said on the public address system when the talk was in Spanish, but I was amused to pick out various phrases I _could_ understand.
"Operation Wetback Two" was one amusing phrase i liked. I had to laugh at that one though I did so from the privilege of my white face. I suspect that the victims of racism who have dark skin probably don't find anything the racists do to be at all amusing. But the fact of the matter is that I find so much of the issues to be amusing in a variety of ways, with the white supremists kooks being the most amusing by far.
In the middle of the Metrolink Rail Station parking lot -- which was closed to vehicles for obvious reasons -- there was a long line of activists holding large signs on long sticks which -- when placed side to side -- showed a strong anti-hate, pro-diversity, pro-America message, one of strength from unity. When the activists turned their signs, it showed the backs of Americans, symbolically turning their backs on racism, intolerance, bigotry, and everything these "Save Our State" a.k.a. "Minutemen" a.k.a. National Vanguard et al. clowns stand for. I was careful to get a good set of photographs of that since it was a good -- very good -- message.
That's pretty much how it happened. The cops kept the peace and none of the white supremists ran over any of the good guys in their vans this time around. I didn't see any arrests but then there was so much going on that I would have missed them simply due to probabilities and chance.
The City of Baldwin Park is to be commended not only for standing up against these white supremists scumbags and now bowing to their terrorist death threats, but also because their police officers behaved themselves, acted professionally and calmly, and did a good job making sure the _people_ of the community were both safe and afforded their Constitutional right to demonstrate. I can't imagine that the racists are at all happy with being segregated in a virtual Republican "Free Speech Zone" and I would hope that the racists complain about that.
And a good time was had by all.
My opinions only, of course, and nobody else's.