Nickole Van Epp, a freelance writer and activist in Washington, DC, contributed to this report.
"Counter-demonstrators spat and threw balloons filled with a yellow liquid at protestors," Manny Fernandez wrote in the Washington Post last Sunday. The report was a highly inaccurate account of a demonstration Fernandez didn’t attend, a confrontation outside the Israeli embassy between Nazis and anti-Nazis that left a detail missing in its coverage -- the balloons were filled with urine.
"Someone in our group recognized one of the Nazis ... so we ran ... to throw a piss balloon at them" an anarchist named "Qwerty" posted on the DC Indymedia message boards (http://www.dc.indymedia.org) the next day.
The young woman tossing the balloons at Billy Roper, the National Alliance’s membership director, was an activist known locally for suffering from complex sexual issues that have recently expanded to include a fetishistic fixation with urine and the “pleasure” of wetting adult diapers with male assistance. Feeling badly abused by the world, the street theater of an anti-Nazi demonstration had become her outlet for release. Roper himself didn’t seem to worried by the attacks – the balloons having missed him and drenched the car of someone unknown passerbys. He told Pravda that:
“It would have been really easy to smash them; I was having to restrain my skinheads. … If I wanted to have the shit stomped out of them I could, or worse, but they’re more useful to me as they are at this point.”
The actual Post reporter on the scene was a pretty blonde girl from the photo editing department who spent her time lying to the activists on both sides, saying she was a "freelance writer" because, as she told Pravda, she was afraid the reputation of the Washington Post would cause them to attack her. Fernandez' report stated that "50 anti-Israel protestors" were met by "150 people who came to shout them down", and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (http://www.jta.org), picked up that theme and embellished it with even more ridiculous lies, citing a simply inaccurate report by the Southern Poverty Law Center that there hasn’t been any increase in National Alliance membership since 9-11, and making the simply untrue statement that “US support for Israel remains high.” The actual numbers, gathered by a literal headcount conducted by Pravda, were 60 National Alliance members, 80-90 anarchist-communist counter demonstrators, and 10 members of the black-supremacist anti-Jewish New Black Panther Party, who told reporters they were "there to observe."
But Fernandez wasn't the only hack covering the story. Justin Massa, a "researcher" with a truth-problem for the Center for New Community, an Ohio-based Christian group that "monitors" hate organizations, and Douglas Calvin, the director of the Youth Leadership Support Network, who days before the event released a wildly inaccurate report on alleged "far right" activity in Montgomery County, Maryland, were also on the scene.
Thinking “New Community”? -- Visualize World Feces
In April of 1999 a group called the Freedom Socialist Party -- a radical group of lesbians who believe themselves to be "revolutionary Trotskyist feminists" -- sent out a bogus press release under the guise of the "United Front Against Fascism" claiming that a Portland-based musician and author, Michael Moynihan, had published music that had incited Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to kill at Columbine. Though the accusation was wholly and deliberately false, an act of political revenge for a book Moynihan had published in 1997, “Lords of Chaos”, which had debunked a number of recent frauds conducted by “anti-hate” groups, several organizations, including the Coalition for Human Dignity (CHUD), the Center for New Community, the ultra-left Political Research Associates "think tank", the Searchlight magazine of Britain, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), released Moynihan's name to the press and claimed he was a neo-Nazi organizer. Moynihan, who has never been political or a member of any political group, and who's music is merely an exploration of European and Celtic culture and history, was horrified, and fought back.
With the help of a number of investigative journalists, including this investigative journalist and Cletus Nelson of Disinfo.com and LewRockwell.com, Moynihan launched a counter-campaign in the press to debunk the report. The LA Times ended up quoting Moynihan on the poor quality of CHUD's material. Willamette Week, a Seattle-area independent paper, did a front page story claiming the SPLC's evidence was "unpersuasive". Several other papers picked up on the theme, and, as reported August of this year in the Seattle Gay News, the end result was the destruction of CHUD's reputation, the pulling of its $600,000 annual grant, and its effective closure as an organization. It was an anti-hate group called on its deliberate dishonesty and destroyed – but it was not soon forgotten. Ever since then, the other members of the anti-hate smear crew have had us in their gun sites -- and my further reporting on how their spiritual mentor, Morris Dees, attempted to rape his stepdaughter in 1977 (http://www.deeswatch.com/court.html), hasn't eased the tensions.
Johnathan Mozzochi, the founder of CHUD, which produced Eric Ward, one of the co-writers of the Southern Poverty Law Center report attacking Michael Moynihan, was arrested several times before his career as an "anti-hate" activist. Besides a number of petty arrests for theft and shoplifting, Mozzochi was picked up in 1989 for the firebombing of an apartment building on Thurman Street in Portland, Oregon and indicted in 1990. Facing possible federal charges of using an explosive device in a crime of violence – a minimum 25-year sentence – he immediately turned state's evidence and cut a deal with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. Mozzochi, apparently at BATF direction, founded the Coalition for Human Dignity, which began a campaign of harassment and COINTELPRO-style information gathering against right-wing political dissidents.
CHUD began conducting acts of violence against alleged “racists” at the same time the BATF launched a national campaign to intimidate the far right – the same campaign which produced the Ruby Ridge and Waco tragedies. The first act of violence was in 1990, when associates of Mozzochi organized a gang of armed "anti-racist skinheads" to attack two teenage girls at a local grocery store. Using hammers and clubs, the “anti-racists” beat the two girls until their skulls were fractured. The federal government is then rumored to have supplied Mozzochi with funds to hold a series of "anti-racist skinhead" concerts, which were used to find recruits for further COINTELPRO operations. In 1992, this campaign of government-instigated "anti-racist" violence put a sixteen year old boy named Zack Taylor into a hospital with permanent brain damage. In 1993, it lead to a group of "anti-racist" skinheads shooting to death 21-year old Erik Banks, an ex-member of the white-power music group Bound for Glory who was passing through Portland to visit friends. And in 1992, after a series of "anti-racist" riots instigated by "activists" on the federal informant payroll, Mozzochi was seen throwing bottles and balloons filled with feces and urine at far-right historian David Irving. A decade later, the feds are still using the same shitty tactics.
Justin Massa’s big break into the world of hackery was his work in the Coalition for Human Dignity’s campaign against Moynihan. On Saturday, he surfaced again, this time as the Center for New Community’s man-in-Washington, telling the Washington Post that the Alliance doesn’t “really” feel sympathy for the Palestinians but that "they see [defending Palestine] as a way to recruit people.”
While focusing on the national socialists’ ulterior motives that day, he also worked hard to conceal his own.
A few days before the rally, the Youth Leadership Support Network, a Maryland corporation which forfeited its corporate status December 10 for failure to file a real property return for three consecutive years, released a wildly inaccurate "report" to local press bureaus claiming there was "neo-Nazi" activity going on in Montgomery County, Maryland. John Weaver of "YLSN" wrote:
"The 'SS Regalia' based in the backyards of Edgewater, MD and nearby Grasonville, sells neo-Nazi propaganda to the Gaithersburg-based MD chapter of the National Alliance."
Every "fact" in that statement, and in much of the rest of the release, was false. The "Gaithersburg-based MD chapter of the National Alliance" doesn't exist -- an Alliance source told Pravda that in the entire 880,000-person County of Montgomery they have "maybe three or four" members and "maybe a dozen names" on their mailing list. The National Alliance's "Maryland unit" is based in Hagerstown, with a secondary unit in Baltimore. And, of course, the "SS Regalia" propaganda distributorship, according to right-wing sources, is a one-man operation run out of Silver Spring, not Edgewater or Grasonville (hence the play on "SS").
So there and four or five "neo-Nazis" out of 880,000 residents. Some threat. And the inaccuracies didn’t stop there. After the rally, the YLSN released a press statement claiming that members of the Libertarian Party had helped to organize the National Alliance event. When asked about this, Roper told Pravda that: “That was just a joke I made to the little girl who was pretending to be a journalist and interviewing me. I didn’t think she would take me literally. [She had] no sense of irony.
But the accuracy of the release didn’t matter -- the truth can be damned when it comes to "fighting hate". It is "intolerable to tolerate" even one resident with "hateful" thoughts, we’re told, and the solution is always another government program: thus giving us the real motive for the Center for New Community's sudden efforts in DC.
After 9-11, Montgomery County Executive Douglas Duncan announced a new program of cooperation between local law enforcement and the military. This was followed by a speech by Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, a man with a checkered past who was literally chased out of his home town of Portland, Oregon, by an angry mob, who told a crowd at a C-SPAN broadcasted meeting at Montgomery College in September that “the Ku Klux Klan”, “people who oppose abortion”, and “people who disagree with US policy towards Israel” are the “#1 domestic terrorist threats” that the new law enforcement initiatives would be addressing.
According to sources inside the Montgomery County and Maryland state governments' "anti-hate" bureaucracy, a new "anti-hate" initiative is being planned for Montgomery County, Maryland, that will play into this new McCarthyite attitude towards political dissent. Designed as a justification for the militarization of the County's police forces, it will be one of a number of pilot programs for a larger-ranging plan to militarize the police forces in other American localities in order to counter growing discontent with the policies of America's Central Government.
So your humble correspondent was not surprised when the Center for New Community dispatched two agents to photograph his car as he covered this weekend’s events. Part of a campaign of intimidation targeting the American dissident press, the Center’s efforts included two reporters from West Virginia who had the misfortune to be seen within ten blocks of a Nazi rally with license plates from a “redneck” state. It was a reflection of the mentality of the bourgeois liberal ruling class – they give lip service to a free press, but actively harass writers who show the least sign of dissidence from their “official”, and often untrue, party line.
Stormtroopers And The League Of Junior Spies
Sunday’s demonstrations were marked for two things: One was the use of Hammerskins as a disciplined guard force for the National Alliance demonstration. The second was the use of naпve “anarchist” youth as spies for the FBI.
A year ago, the idea of cooperation between the Hammerskins and the National Alliance would have been unthinkable – the Hammerskins "didn't have a lot of respect for the NA" according to one source, who stated that the Hammerskins “said [the NA] were too uptight … disciplined, and not active.” But this has changed as the Hammerskins have seen the energy that left-wing skinhead gangs, their sworn enemies, have devoted to the Alliance’s recent efforts. Apparently, they’ve decided that if the NA is worth their enemy’s attention, it’s worth theirs as well. In the words of Roper:
“I anticipate this cooperation between the NA and the Hammerskins to continue to grow. Think NSDAP and the Brownshirts.”
Of course that begs the question: who plays Ernst Rohm?
Similarly, a year ago, the thought of a group of anarchist kids fighting with communists and snapping pictures at the direction of FBI informers was unthinkable, but in the wee morning hours, as the anti-Nazi demo was organizing, the anarchists and the communists nearly came to blows. As one anarchist youth put it on DC Indymedia:
“The ISO [International Socialist Organization] people wanted to get everyone together and discuss what the group wanted to do. Some guy took charge and said he was going to moderate the discussion and proceeded to tell people what … to do.”
According to a Pravda correspondent who witnessed this, the two groups were ready to fight over the questions of whether or not to “storm the embassy” and “physically occupy” the space set aside for the Alliance, or to merely peacefully protest across the street. Eventually, a dozen youth – the same dozen with the “piss balloons” --tried the former strategy, and were stopped by two cops, who turned them around.
They then joined under the leadership of a number of individuals known to Pravda to affiliate with groups that provide information to the FBI and international law enforcement, but who were dressed down and playing at being “cool kids” for the duration of the demonstration. Breaking away from the other demonstrators, an individual the DC Metro Police confirmed as an undercover officer in tow, they went off to hunt “Nazis” cars – leading to the photographing incidents mentioned above.
Another group which tried to initiate violence was the Progressive Labor Party, which had three or four activists, all of whom looked to be in their late 50s/early 60s, carrying bullhorns at the scene. As your correspondent approached the initial rally, just ahead of the Nazi marchers, one of their number, an older Jewish woman from the group, wearing a bright orange vest and blue knit cap, began to harangue the crowd, saying:
“We must physically attack the Nazis and the fascist cops who protect them. They protect the racist ruling class. We have to confront the Nazis physically. We have to physically attack them and any who give them shelter.”
Fortunately for the crowd, who were facing a line of police officers with gas guns and itchy trigger fingers, she didn’t live up to her words.
There were only two instances of physical confrontation at the rally, and the first didn’t even involve the Nazis.
Several members of the New Black Panther Party – ten individuals over the course of two hours, with about six at any given time – attended the event as “observers.” One, a fat black man who looked to be missing at least ten teeth, and a second skinny black man with a leering grin and black corduroys in lieu of the standard fatigues, nearly attacked an orange-haired young white kid from DC Indymedia. As the youth attempted to “interview” the larger man, his skinny companion warned “You’re disrespecting the man’s space.” The fat man then raised his fist and took several hostile steps towards the youth and then chased him a bit further, stating “I will steal you!”
The New Black Panthers, who told members of the press that they were black supremacists who agree with the National Alliance’s views on Jews and Israel but disagree with their skin color, almost seemed more interested in asserting their racial superiority over the white members of the left than in demonstrating. Eventually, to avoid a riot, they decided to self-segregate and stand apart from the crowd.
A Lieutenant Herold of the DC Metropolitan Police’s Civil Disturbance Unit, when asked about the Panthers, described them as “very professional.”
The second confrontation occurred as the Alliance group was leaving. The Hammerskins, who had been riling themselves up chanting “Stamp out commie reds; who's gonna do it -- Skinheads” for a TV news crew, broke ranks with Roper and the rest of the NA crew, and charged ahead, leaving the police escort, and challenging the anti-racists to a fight. At first, the anti-racists declined and seemed confused – here there were with no police to stop a fight, and yet they now seemed less willing to provoke it. But that quickly changed as the Hammerskins and the anti-racists decided to crash together.
The vanguard of the Hammerskins marched rapidly across an intersection in a six-man formation. “Have any of y’all gotten your ass kicked in Baltimore lately, ‘cause that was us” their leader, with the words “White” and “Power” tattooed on each of his forearms, bellowed. The Hammerskins, allegedly at NA direction, though “for the record, the National Alliance will not condone any acts of personal violence or vendetta against our enemies”, had launched a series of targeted assaults on Baltimore anti-racist activists in the past few months, breaking up punk rock shows and hunting down leftists accused of violence against right-wing organizers. Regarding this, Roper told Pravda that:
“At this point I am publicly and officially distancing myself from anything that might happen to any ARA or SHARPs … just as I am not associated with any knowledge of how Nathan Pett [an alleged police informer who was beaten into a coma by unknown assailants last January] fell down and hurt himself.”
But Roper had also told Pravda that an incident reported by the YLSN, later confirmed by other NA sources, where “a vanload of Hammerskins roamed the area [of the Israeli Embassy], threatening at least one person with assault” never occurred – though for the record, a Hammerskin source told Pravda that they were the targets, not the perpetrators, of the assault.
Upon reaching the far side of the intersection, the Hammerskins began to quarrel with the old men and women of Progressive Labor, and the quarrel would have broken into a fight if several DC Police Officers had not rushed to the scene as the aforementioned Lieutenant Herold radioed a riot unit.
But for those who thought violence was something that came and ended with the rally, there was a disturbing prelude to future incidents when Erica Hardwick, the National Alliance organizer assaulted in my previous piece, “Raw Power” (http://english.pravda.ru/main/2001/11/29/22445.html) – recognized one of her attackers – a prominent local activist who, as head of the American University branch of United Students Against Sweatshops, has splashed her name and face across enough television and radio, speaking at AFL-CIO events and organizing the A16 anti-IMF rally, that it is hard not to identify her by name. Hardwick had to be dragged away by other National Alliance organizers, who stopped her from climbing over a police officer to reach the girl, but now that a positive ID has been made, future violence seems inevitable. Because Pravda is aware that there is an active bounty being offered on the heads of those involved in the attack, your correspondent has decided not to print the girl’s name, though readers of my pre-Pravda freelance work would know her as the girl I once described as addressing an ISO meeting while wearing a “Young Judaea” T-shirt.
There are new dynamics forming in extremist politics. Not only are extremist groups getting larger, despite the fact that Heidi Beirich and other employees of the Southern Poverty Law Center are trying to defend a recent load of bad information they sold to the FBI claiming the opposite, but their alliances and inter-group relations are radically shifting. The anarchist movement has broken free of the left, but had not yet found its own identity, and is still adhering to MTV-like depictions of what nihilist youth “should be.” On the right, extremist groups are pulling together, as witnessed by a recent announcement from the World Church of the Creator, the National Alliance, and the Hammerskin Nation stating they would hold a joint rally Jan 12th in York, Pennsylvania. And then there is the growing force of racist Black supremacy which is beginning to make appearances in the DC area.
Even within the world of far-left communism, there has been an internal fracture over the issue of Israel. The International Action Center and several other groups, including the DC Coalition Against the War, the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, and the Washington Peace Center, made a pointed note of holding competing anti-Israeli lectures at the same times as a prep meeting for the Center of New Community’s and DC Indymedia’s anti-Nazi event. The IAC is one of several groups that have been targeted by pro-Israeli forces like the ADL for their opposition to the Afghanistan war.
What this boils down to is that the left of the 1960s – the mostly Jewish organizers of groups like SDS who declared, like Jay Rosenberg, that they could not be part of any movement that did not support the struggle of their people [in Israel] – are being pushed out by a younger generation of activists who equate such ideas with the ruling class. As the inadequacies of the policies advocated by the last, failed generation of leftists becomes more and more evident to the people forced to live in the misery they’ve created, activists looking for alternatives are abandoning groups led by old-school activists, and striking out for new, often poorly defined, alternatives. Unfortunately, many are falling into nihilism – whether it’s the nihilism of a young girl who pisses in a diaper before throwing urine balloons, or the nihilism of a group that sees genocide as a solution to modern social problems.
What is dangerous is that into the void of nihilism are stepping members of the bourgeois liberal power structure who, counting on the fact that the youth they are dealing with are blinded by hate, are manipulating those youth and turning them into agents of the state – causing them to spy on other for the purpose of promoting political agendas that enhance the power of the ruling, not the working, class. Without any real leadership structure or a concept of the real world outside of the consumerist emptiness that modern capitalism produces, and with a burning emotional desire to destroy, such youth are unable to channel their efforts into “real leftism” – activism that seeks to help the working class rather than use random violence to achieve a personal release.
“Unity” among extremists is not what is needed to combat this so much as rationality and psychological stability. Activists who think independently, rather than running along with a herd of anonymous informers and their dupes, are less likely to fall into traps. Those who seek to hurt the world because of some imagined hurt the world has inflicted on them need to take time to reflect on their own psychological inadequacies, rather than using the political milieu as a substitute for therapeutical self-examination. And ultimately, activists need to realize that it is the government and the governing structures, and not two-bit leftists and rightist groups, which comprise the real enemy their words and deeds should be targeting.