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This is a hate-free city: Minutemen founder persona non grata

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Monday, April 20 2009 CLAREMONT, California-- Despite the right wing's efforts at deception and obfuscation, pro-immigrant, pro-human rights, anti-racist, and community activists organized strong opposition to the arrival of anti-immigrant extremist Jim Gilchrist to our neighborhood.

This is a hate-free ...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_028.jpg, image/jpeg, 592x245

A group called the Mountain View Republican Club invited Gilchrist to speak at an upscale Italian restaurant, but once activists informed them who he was, they decided to close down for the day, forcing the Republicans to relocate to a hotel elsewhere in the city at the last minute. Although the police informed some of us that the event had been cancelled, we found out the truth early on.

Activists met at about five in the afternoon on the Pitzer College campus to make signs and plot a new course of action, deciding to carpool and cycle down the street to the hotel.

After brainstorming ideas for placards, we gathered on a lawn across from the tiny room where Gilchrist intended to speak. A respected and well-liked professor stirred the crowd by pointing out the historical significance of the intrusion of a hatemonger into our community on April 20:

"Not only has Gilchrist placed the blame on immigrants for the lack of jobs and human services, he willingly allowed members of the National Alliance, one of the United States' largest neo-Nazi organizations, to help with his 2005 campaign for the house of representatives here in California.

"We don't think it is any other reason to have Gilchrist speak here--it isn't a coincidence that it happens to be Hitler's birthday today! He was born in Austria, and we know that Hitler, in Germany, in order to get all the working people to rise up at a time when they were facing an economic crisis and economic problems. It was easy to turn, and scapegoat, and blame the problems on Jewish people, and it is no different today. We have a lot of Gilchrists in this society that, due to unemployment, or due to the lack of jobs, or due to the multinationals that have made millions off of a bubble that has now burst are easily blaming the problems on immigrants from all over the world. And we're saying that we're not going to put up with it whenever anyone like Gilchrist shows up in this city or any city like it, we have to expose what they stand for because we know that if these kinds of thoughts, if these kinds of perspectives, if these kind of philosophies are dominant, then the same thing will happen to us in this country that happened to the Jewish people in Germany."

The anti-immigrant turnout appeared to be tiny, but as we began expressing our opposition to Gilchrist, a few of their militants came out to confront us.

One woman, who referred to us as "college students" in a disparaging tone, accused us of being "misinformed." One woman who was with us stood up and said, "Ma'am, I'm 46 years old, I'm a fourth grade teacher, and I'm just like you." "No!" responded the jingoist, "I'm an American!"

Another man came out and attempted to provoke some of the activists. "Point me to where in the constitution it says you can break our laws!" he demanded. One compañero attempted to engage him, but was stopped short when the man said, "You have no say in this!"

Following this assertion, we realized he wasn't genuinely seeking dialogue and refused to let him deter us.

Shouts of "Love! Not Hate!" and "Down with Racism!" filled the parking lot. As was inevitable, the state security apparatus interfered, forcing us to move our rally from the parking lot to the sidewalk. We organized a sidewalk picket and chanted until someone secured permission from the restaurant adjacent to the hotel to use the sidewalk in front of their business, and our shouts were again able to disrupt the hate speech going on inside.

As dusk fell, we returned to the grassy area near the street for a small rally. We heard again from the professor, as well as from an activist attorney.

He informed us, "I just talked to the property owner. He did not know who Jim Gilchrist was and he said that now that he does know who he is, he's not welcome back. They wanted to book this place every month for the next year. He's also going to go to the chamber of commerce and tell the other business owners, so I doubt he'll be at any place in Claremont again. We've made a lot of progress in that regard, and if we can do this in other cities, he's going to realize he's not welcome anywhere."

We then heard from a student organizer, a day laborer, an activist who invited us to participate in the May Day mobilization in Riverside, and a local schoolteacher.

We closed with announcements (a checkpoint in Pomona on Wednesday and a vanpool to Riverside for International Workers' Day), a movement song, and a few more chants to rededicate ourselves to continued struggle.
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Hater #1

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Hater #1...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_014__2_.jpg, image/jpeg, 445x594

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Hater # 2

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Hater # 2...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_016.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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Peace

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Peace...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_010.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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No al racismo

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

No al racismo...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_018.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x445

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love not hate

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

love not hate...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_019.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x445

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Veteran@s

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Veteran@s...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_022.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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piquete

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

piquete...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_024.jpg, image/jpeg, 608x198

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Claremont = No Hate City

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Claremont = No Hate ...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_029.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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amnistía

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

amnistía...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_031.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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hope and peace

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

hope and peace...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_032.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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No more Republican racism

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

No more Republican r...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_034.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

the compañero who invited us to May Day in Riverside (not the one in the picture) reminded us, "I'm holding a sign in front of me, it says "No more Republican racism," and the reason I'm holding this sign is not because I made it today, but because I made it a few months ago when the Republican Women in Upland decided to put out a letter with "Obama bucks." It was a food stamp that had his picture and fried chicken, watermelon, kool-aid, and they put this racist graphic in their newsletter. And so we know that the Republicans have these very, very strong racist leanings, especially out here in this area, and that's why it's all that more important for us to come together and unite."
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Queremos reforma migratoria

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Queremos reforma mig...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_037.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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Peace Amnesty Compasión Respeto

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Peace Amnesty Compas...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_038.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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Hate is not a family value

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Hate is not a family...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_039.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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Immigrant rights are human rights

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Immigrant rights are...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_042.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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Jim v. Jesus

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Jim v. Jesus...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_043.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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Stop racism/alto a las redadas

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Stop racism/alto a l...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_047.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x445

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Legalize education-Pass the DREAM Act

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

Legalize education-P...
gilchrist_in_claremont_20apr2009_049.jpg, image/jpeg, 594x792

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Picket (video)

by Rockero Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM
rockero420@yahoo.com

QuickTime movie at 14.2 mebibytes

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 10 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Gilchrist SPLC Bono Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2009 at 8:56 AM
That's interesting Fredric L. Rice Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2009 at 9:32 AM
reply Jammer CC Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009 at 2:28 AM
reply Jammer CC Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009 at 2:32 AM
reply Jammer CC Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009 at 4:47 AM
Simcox Fredric L. Rice Saturday, Apr. 25, 2009 at 9:04 AM
The good guys win Fredric L. Rice Saturday, Apr. 25, 2009 at 9:08 AM
Chris Simcox V Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2009 at 5:16 PM

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