The Eugene Weekly recently reported a hate crime in the University area (http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2009/01/15/news.html#2) and many members of Eugene’s radical community are aware of the Nazi presence in our city. Many of us have also noticed a lot of fascist graffiti around town. Rising unemployment and Oregon’s overwhelmingly white population means that this area is a breeding ground for racist groups, below are some examples of how other communities have coped with hate groups:
Dave described his work organizing in Montreal’s East End, which is a poor, white working class district. There was a lot of organized racism in the district, by skin-heads and neo-nazis. The district residents had been beset with violent personal assaults by these groups. Dave and his friends decided to do something about it. They eventually recruited about fifteen activists who were interested in launching and conducting a campaign to deal with the problem. The group right away decided not to deal with it in physical terms, that is, they decided not to fight the neo-nazis (I guess I’ll refer to them as fascists, although Dave didn’t), as had been the practice of some anti-fascist leftists/anarchists in the past. Instead they decided on a community approach. They wanted to try to involve the whole community. They took as their model tactics used by certain Irish neighborhoods to drive drug dealers out of their communities. Most East End residents were at least mildly progressive but there was a substantial minority who were attracted to the fascists. These people were hurting from economic and other forms of oppression and were angry. The fascists offered them a certain kind of solace. So Dave and friends started organizing cultural events, and appealed to punks, hip-hop artists, and various other music groups. At these events they would hand out leaflets and make literature available to educate the neighborhood about the problem. They also eventually studied out the areas and groups which the fascists were targeting for recruitment. So they focused on those groups too, like skate boarders or graffiti artists, and would hang out with them and try to neutralize the appeal of fascists. Also, since the actual physical attacks were an ongoing problem they organized community patrols which would try to defend individuals who were being attacked. All these tactics worked to greatly reduce the violence in the neighborhood. The Neo-Nazis are still there, but they are pretty much confined to certain bars and hangouts, and no longer are able to recruit very openly or freely among the youth, let alone attack individuals at will as before.
- From a Public Forum Organized by the Anarchist Communist Union of Boston (the Boston Chapter of the Northeast Anarchist Communist Federation)
What Is ARA?
Anti-Racist Action is an international movement of people dedicated to stopping racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry from harming our communities. We work hard to "expose, oppose, and confront" hate in whatever form threatens the diversity and safety of the places we live in and the people we live with. We also firmly believe in building a fun, diverse, liberated and explicitly anti-racist, anti-sexist and anti-homophobic youth culture.
Having organized in over 200 different communities across North America, Anti-Racist Action is a diverse movement. Each chapter is autonomous, and members are free to decide for themselves what are the issues and problems in their community that need to be addressed. Still, we find enough common ground to work closely with each other on a number of fronts. All ARA members and chapters agree with the Points of Unity, the statement of beliefs and principles adopted by the Anti-Racist Action Network.
The Anti-Racist Action Points Of Unity
The Anti-Racist Action Network consists of people from all different backgrounds, with a lot of different viewpoints. With over 150 ARA chapters out there, it's not surprising that no two are alike! What we all agree on, however, is the following:
1) We go where they go: Whenever fascists are organizing or active in public, we're there. We don't believe in ignoring them or staying away from them. Never let the nazis have the street!
2) We don't rely on the cops or courts to do our work for us: This doesn't mean we never go to court. But we must rely on ourselves to protect ourselves and stop the fascists.
3) Non-Sectarian defense of other Anti-Fascists: In ARA, we have lots of different groups and individuals. We don't agree about everything and we have a right to differ openly. But in this movement an attack on one is an attack on us all. We stand behind each other.
4) We support abortion rights and reproductive freedom. ARA intends to do the hard work necessary to build a broad, strong movement against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, discrimination against the disabled, the oldest, the youngest and the most oppressed people. We want a classless society. WE INTEND TO WIN!