The racists won’t go unopposed in Boston

June 12, 2018

Michael Fiorentino reports on a successful counterprotest of the far right in Boston.

SOME 200 Boston anti-fascist demonstrators drowned out a rally organized by the far-right group Resist Marxism on June 2.

The counterprotest was organized by a coalition of organizations, including Boston Democratic Socialists of America, Showing up for Racial Justice and the Boston branch of the International Socialist Organization.

Coming almost exactly a year after the far right was able to mobilize 300 people for a cynically branded “Free Speech Rally” in Boston, this year’s protest that outnumbered the far right by at least five to one was a political success for anti-racist forces.

Resist Marxism was founded by Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman, a fascist thug known primarily for violently attacking anti-racist protesters. While Resist Marxism attempts to downplay their political identity as a white supremacist organization, its membership overlaps with openly fascist organizations like Patriot Front and American Guard.

Opponents of the far right march in Boston
Opponents of the far right march in Boston (Greg Housh)

In recent months, Resist Marxism has showed up to taunt demonstrators at the Women’s March, March for Our Lives, and May Day, while also organizing a string of its own small rallies. The June 2 rally was their attempt at a show of force.

RESIST MARXISM billed its rally as “June 2nd for the Second Amendment,” in the hope that a demonstration framed around gun rights would draw out a broader audience than their core membership and immediate periphery.

They gambled that they would be able to tap into the right-wing backlash against the anti-gun violence student walkouts in the spring. They publicized their rally for months and were bragging on the Facebook event page about a turnout of hundreds.

They failed miserably. On the day of the protest, they could only muster 40 or so bigots, and were forced to end their rally an hour and a half early due to confident and incessant chanting from anti-fascist counterprotesters. In a particularly satisfying turn of events, Resist Marxism’s Facebook Live stream of the event was filled with their sympathizers complaining about the rally’s pitiful turnout.

The anti-fascist contingent, following a boisterous rally in Copley Square, marched to the far right hate rally behind a “Nazis Out!” banner. Upon arrival, it was immediately clear that the several dozen people who answered Resist Marxism’s call to rally were of the hard far right.

Masked members of “Boston Free Speech” spent much of the rally throwing up white power signs, and a Confederate flag was on display. One rally-goer, a member of American Guard, had a Nazi tattoo. Despite Resist Marxism’s public claims that it is only interested in promoting free speech and the Second Amendment, its base is clearly comprised of far-right forces.

The far right has been so far been unable to regain the momentum it had before last year’s march in Charlottesville, Virginia, where anti-racist protester Heather Heyer was murdered by a far-right protester who drove into counterprotesters.

After a week of outrage and spontaneous protests around the country, 25,000 counterprotesters were on hand to confront them when the far right tried to return to Boston Common.

Still, conditions favorable to the right’s growth remain. There is no room for complacency in the face of their violence and bigotry. Only a day after the successful June 2 counterprotest in Boston, Patriot Prayer engaged in street brawls with anti-fascist demonstrators in Portland, Oregon.

At the Boston rally, members of “Boston Free Speech,” the group behind the ill-fated far-right rally last August, announced their intention for another rally in August.

It will take more than one successful demonstration to defeat the far right. We need a movement ready and able to out-mobilize them on the streets whenever they attempt to rally.

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