Aug 7, 2007

Toledoans to Protest Use of City Funds to Protect Neo-Nazis

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(Toledo, OH) Toledo citizens will get a chance to tell city leaders their feelings about the use of police and city revenues to provide protection for neo-Nazi and racist groups during white power rallies.

Organized by a group known as the October Fifteenth Collective, the "Rally Against Racism" will take place Sunday, August 12 at noon, and will be held at Wilson Park. The flyer provided by the group calls on city leaders "stop supporting racism and violent threats toward minorities in our community":
The Rally Against Racism will be a chance for you to speak openly to city officials and tell them that our money, resources, and quality of life should not be jeopardized for the sake of those preaching hatred and genocide.
The group notes that the city's current financial difficulties have led to the cancellation of programs such as public pools, and members of the October Fifteenth Collective question the merits of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect neo-Nazis.

Wilson Park is located at 600 East Oakland Street in North Toledo, and the park is within the epicenter of the failed rally by the National Socialist Movement that sparked the 2005 North Toledo riot.

Members of a group known as American National Socialist Workers Party (ANSWP) recently announced that they plan to stage some sort of event on Friday, August 17 in Toledo. City officials have vowed to force ANSWP to restrict their activity to a designated area, much like the plan developed for the second NSM rally in December 2005 and the recent white supremacist rally in Kalamazoo.

20 comments:

Lisa Renee said...

I'm glad you wrote about Kalamazoo, I read about it over the weekend. I'm really struggling with trying to differentiate how counter protesting and protesting is really any different when violence and destruction happen.

The more I read about how some of these groups feel, the harder I find it to understand.

Anonymous said...

Give both sides a stack of 2x4s and let them beat the hell out of each other while the rest of us go about our business.

chadster said...

ANSWP=ANuSWiPe.
That is all.

Roland Hansen said...

Rally against racism by staying away from racists. Defend against racism by not affording another forum which only draws more attention to the racist views. Fight racism by practicing, not just preaching, love (as in "love thy neighbor") for all.

Anonymous said...

This makes perfect sense to me. In a city where we may or may not have garbage service on any given week, it seems like misplaced priorities to voluntarily front hundreds of thousands of dollars for Neo-Nazis to hold a rally.

I don't know about the rest of the city, but I don't want to see these outrageous expenses passed along in the form of future tax increases.

If these kooks want to come here and threaten people they can call the police and wait for them to show up and rescue them like everyone else.

historymike said...

Lisa:

Yes, some of the rhetoric of the October Fifteenth Collective can be interpreted as justification for violence.

But I think they have a valid point about the costs of defending neo-Nazis.

historymike said...

Anonymous:

Nah, they would each come back with bigger weapons.

historymike said...

Chadster:

I believe that Harry Schwartz coined the modification of the ANSWP acronym you used.

Kathleen Marie said...

Protect Nazis! Never! How can such groups exist!

I am not a violent person. I hate war. I do not understand hate groups but I will go with anonymous on this one.

Let them have at it, then send them all to a remote island off of Greenland.

historymike said...

Roland:

You make an argument that many responsible citizens make.

The flip side of that coin, of course, is that by ignoring thugs like the neo-Nazis, you run the risk of tacitly endorsing their malignant dogma.

Silence=approval, something like that.

historymike said...

Anonymous #2:

You raise a good point. The neo-Nazis and hardcore racists do not want to just stroll around and have friendly chats, like regular political operatives, when they rally.

They hope to provoke a violent reaction, like on 15 October 2005, so they can turn around and say: "SEE?!?! We TOLD you blacks and Hispanics are violent savages!"

This is the same sort of tactic the SA used in the years before Hitler took power: they would provoke the Communists into a brawl, and then point to the violence they helped create as "proof" that a strongman like Hitler was needed to restore order.

Before the North Toledo riot the NSM members taunted the crowd. While this is no justification for rioting, the neo-Nazis bear some responsibility for what transpired.

Personally, I think that the neo-Nazis should be allowed to rally, but when they start taunting the crowd with racial epithets or calls for genocide or threats of violence, the police should lock them up and charge them with a crime such as 2917.11 Disorderly conduct:

(A) No person shall recklessly cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to another by doing any of the following:

(1) Engaging in fighting, in threatening harm to persons or property, or in violent or turbulent behavior;

(2) Making unreasonable noise or an offensively coarse utterance, gesture, or display or communicating unwarranted and grossly abusive language to any person;

(3) Insulting, taunting, or challenging another, under circumstances in which that conduct is likely to provoke a violent response;

(4) Hindering or preventing the movement of persons on a public street, road, highway, or right-of-way, or to, from, within, or upon public or private property, so as to interfere with the rights of others, and by any act that serves no lawful and reasonable purpose of the offender;

(5) Creating a condition that is physically offensive to persons or that presents a risk of physical harm to persons or property, by any act that serves no lawful and reasonable purpose of the offender.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Mike,

I like your response to Anon #2; it makes perfect sense to me.

Why build and set the stage for their kind of drivel, when we are only liable for responding (manpower permitting) to their calls for help, or to arrest and charge them if/when they break our laws?

Besides this bunch traditionally turns tail and runs, when they realize that we aren't about to play "their" game, in the traditional way.

Mad Jack said...

Uh-huh. 2) Making unreasonable noise or an offensively coarse utterance, gesture, or display or communicating unwarranted and grossly abusive language to any person;


Which is real good right up until the time you apply it to rap music and boom cars. Then you're infringing on someone's rights. Or something. While I'm at it, let us not forget about the actual start of the previous riot, which consisted of two neighbors that couldn't get along. The TPD got involved and threw gasoline on the fire. Then the Nazis came along to help the white homeowner and the pellets got launched into the windmill.

See how this can snowball? The real solution is to give the TPD a brand new directive: Keep the peace. That's what the PD does in Madison, and it works.

Lisa Renee said...

I'm not so sure Mike, considering it was this same group who is taking responsibility for the "uprising", some of the costs related to the October 15th riot was a direct result of their involvement as opposed to just the Bill White boys.

Without the counter demonstrators there that day it most likely would have been an entirely different scenario. So, all things being equal it seems a bit ironic for this group to be complaining about the costs when had they taken another course of action it's entirely possible the businesses that they justify destroying might not have happened.

Man with the Muck-rake said...

What if they called a rally and no one came?

Fat chance, eh?

Kooz said...

What killed me is watching a news report about what is to be expected during the Neo-Nazi visit. City leaders interviewed said they believed the people of Toledo would not resort to violence again. Then, in the very next couple of interviews with teens in the North End...the teens all said the violence will be worse this time.

Listen. These punk thug teens (in Toledo) don't need a good reason to start rioting...lets be honest...they're looking for a reason. Also, this city is stupid to protect or pay for anything having to do with the idiot neo nazi's coming here.

I say, let them come with no media coverage and no police protection. The Toledo thugs and Neo Nazi's won't be as likely to get out of control when nobody is watching....and if they do...I say let them all kill each other. We will have less thugs in our community...and have less idiot Nazi's traveling to cities causing problems as well. Either way, Toledo wins.

historymike said...

A couple of general thoughts (cross-posted at Toledo Talk and Glass City Jungle):

1. The efforts of groups like the ISO and local anarchists at the 15 October rally did not lead to violence. While approximately 50 organized activists showed up to protest, many hundreds more were just neighborhood citizens - black, Hispanic and white. This was an event in large part driven by cell phones and word-of-mouth.

2. Local residents did not require the prodding of leftist activists to be pissed about the arrival of Nazis in their neighborhood. They would have shown up to protest even if the ISO, ARA, or Skinheads Against Racism had not been present. To suggest otherwise is akin to 19th century slaveowners who claimed that slaves were happy with their lot until Yankee abolitionists showed up.

3. The Nazis know that if they announce a rally in advance, the city is obligated to provide protection. If they just showed up in a black neighborhood and started chanting stupidity like "N**GERS BACK TO AFRICA" or "DEATH TO NON-WHITES," they would get their as*es kicked. Heck, they would probably get a beatdown if they just walked around with their goofy uniforms on without all the "Sieg Heils" and Hitler-worship.

4. The neo-Nazis thrive on notoriety and publicity. That's why they go in for high-profile rallies and events, hoping to spark incidents that get them more coverage. Walking door-to-door or standing on a corner passing out pamphlets is pretty dull work for a jackbooted thug.

5. Yes, neo-Nazis have the right to free speech, but they do not have the right to disturb the peace, act in a disorderly fashion, or incite a riot. Much akin to the old example of shouting "FIRE" in a crowded theater, there are legal precedents on the limits to individual and group speech.

6. Attempts to force controversial groups to post a bond have been overthrown by courts. Municipalities can only charge small permit fees that accurately reflect the administrative costs of processing the rally permit.

historymike said...

Lisa:

Agreed that this is confusing. Let me add some background:

There were at least six distinct groups that participated in the protest that turned into the North Toledo riot. Some were simply anti-racist, while others were socialists, anarchists, and even Communists. Each of these groups has different philosophies, and each will interpret the events of that day in a different way.

If Group A passed out some flyers on LaGrange Street the days prior to the rally, they could claim that they "spaarked" the "uprising."

Group B will argue that it was a "spontaneous uprising in response to the presence of a neo-fascist invasion of the neighborhood."

Both views, in my opinion, are off the mark. This event was as much cellphone driven as anything else, and the only common denominator was that the people who gathered at Mulberry and Central despised the genocidal views of the Nazis.

The idea that the rioters "gained revolutionary consciousness" is a bit absurd. I heard no one spouting Marxist philosophy that day, except for a handful of activists in the early morning.

And today, there are still at least a dozen left-leaning and antiracist groups in the area. To someone in the political center or far right, you would think Socialists, Anarchists, and Communists would be best pals, but the truth is they agree on very little. An event like a neo-Nazi rally can bring them together for a few days, but they are back to their separate corners afterwards.

So the October Fifteenth and Toledo Solidarity groups may have some philosophical overlap - and might even share a few members - but they are as different as Democrats and Republicans.

(cross-posted on my blog and GCJ)

Anonymous said...

Just to clear up a couple points:

It is clearly stated on our page that we "helped to organize" the resistance to the October '05 NSM visit. Helped. It would be pompous and Simplistic to claim that any one group or person was totally responsible for what happened that day. The October 15th Uprising was the result of a lot of factors, most notably the police attack against the counter-protesters.


In addition, the fact that we joined other residents in defending our community from abusive police does not make us a violent organization. Generally, we would prefer to work things out without people ending up injured or arrested. The police however don't always make this easy to do.

People may have the right to speak freely, but even the law - to some extent - recognizes that such rights apply within a certain context. To go into a neighborhood that is 60% black, and state that your goal is to kill all black people, those on the receiving end of the threat have every right, if not a responsibility to respond. Nobody should feel obligated to hide away in their houses so that people can invade their community and preach their annihilation.

In a city with Toledo's budget issues, and especially in the North End, where financial promises from the city have yet to be fulfilled, it is nothing short of absurd to spend $350,000+ to host a group commited to killing off 35% of the people in our city.

-October Fifteenth Anarchist Collective

Anonymous said...

TPD Shuts Down Anti-Fascist Rally



NBC 24


(Toledo, OH) --- On Sunday, Toledo police said they shut down a rally at the North Toledo park --- The same park where neo-Nazi protests sparked riots two years ago. But there's a twist: Sunday's rally was a call against racism.

The rally was setup by the "October 15 Anarchist Collective." They're a left-wing group, founded in reaction to the 2005 neo-Nazi rally.

They say they're surprised and disappointed that the city shut them down, when all they wanted was to spread a message of peace.

Wilson Park in North Toledo in empty after Toledo police told everyone to leave.

Members of the October 15th Anarchist Collective say they'd hoped between 50 and 100 residents would show up to protest racism and have a good time.

"We were going to bring food and simply have fun and have a rally saying that they don't want Nazis in their neighborhood and they don't want the cops to protect them," said Brian Matthews, a member of the Collective.

They planned this rally last week, in response to a group of white supremacists who plan to rally in the park, next Friday.

They say if the racists want to come that's fine, but the taxpayers shouldn't be paying for police to protect them.

"We're not denying anyone their first amendment rights, we feel we have first amendment rights to say we're against everything these Nazis represent and everything they espouse," said George Windau, a member of the Collective.

"We think if they don't get police protection, they just won't show up," Matthews says.

They're hoping to avoid a scene like two years ago. A Wilson park protest by neo-Nazis in 2005 sparked a riot that tore across North Toledo.

Residents there say if the white supremacists can spread their message in the park, folks preaching against hatred should be welcome there, too.

"People hate racism," says North Toledoan, Will Davis. "It's a new day, a new era. People aren't the same like they were. I think it would have been real peaceful."

The mayor's office issued this brief statement: "Wilson park was closed, effective noon, today. Toledo police received word of a rally with potential for confrontation. To avoid problems, Mayor Finkbeiner ordered the park closed."

Police referred all of our questions to the mayor's office. Neither the mayor, nor his spokesman, Brian Schwartz, would respond.