Workers Vanguard No. 1130
23 March 2018
East Lansing, Michigan
Drop All Charges Against Anti-Fascist Protesters!
On March 5, hundreds of activists came out to oppose would-be führer Richard Spencer, who was holding a rally for race-terror at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing. Fascist thugs, including the Traditionalist Worker Party, marched in formation toward the venue chanting “white power” and giving Nazi salutes, but protesters blocked the way, preventing this putrid rabble from forming up again over the course of an hours-long stand-off. Cops from eight different police agencies, on hand to ensure the fascists could mobilize, beat protesters, using bicycles as battering rams and causing numerous injuries.
In the end, Spencer gave a speech, which was live-streamed, to a small mob who were ushered in under police escort. Twenty anti-fascist protesters, arrested for their heroic acts of trying to drive these scum off the campus, now face a range of charges, including felonies that carry lengthy prison sentences. We demand: Drop all charges against the anti-fascist protesters!
Emboldened by Trump’s election, fascists have been increasingly rearing their heads, including on college campuses across the country, which they see as fertile ground for recruiting to murderous violence. The fascist outpouring in Charlottesville last August was kicked off with a Spencer-led white-supremacist rally at the University of Virginia. The next day, a fascist drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and seriously injuring 19 others. After a Spencer rally at the University of Florida on October 19, three Nazis shot at anti-fascist protesters.
We salute the courage of those who fought to keep Spencer and his fascist goons from having their way at MSU. The day before, some of the same activists were among those who stymied a fascist gathering in Detroit by exposing its secret location. The fascists have put a bull’s eye on the protesters in East Lansing, aided by the cops and by the court’s release of personal information. Among the many in court on March 16 to show their support for the anti-fascists was Chelsea Manning, who was imprisoned for seven years by the U.S. imperialist military after exposing many of its war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. At this hearing, the judge conceded that the defense should be given time to view police video footage of the event. But the judge denied requests for the names and personal details of the defendants to be redacted to protect them from doxing by fascist thugs.
The fascists are paramilitary shock troops that are held in reserve by the capitalist rulers and unleashed at times of social crisis against any prospect of revolutionary struggle by the working class. The goal of the fascist scum is nothing less than the elimination of the unions and the left as well as genocide of racial minorities. From the Ku Klux Klan to “alt-right” thugs, the fascists have black people especially in their sights; they wave the Confederate flag of slavery and “speak” with the lynch rope. Stopping the fascists is an elementary act of self-defense for black people, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, trade unionists, leftists and all the fascists’ intended victims.
The fascist killers can and must be smashed in the egg. But individual acts of heroism are not enough. What is necessary is to mobilize the power of the unions with their large components of black and Latino workers. The working class uniquely has the interest and social power not only to sweep the scum off the streets but to put an end to the capitalist system that gives rise to and sustains the fascist scourge.
The Partisan Defense Committee, the legal and social defense organization associated with the Spartacist League, has written a letter demanding the charges be dropped and has contributed money to the legal defense. We encourage our readers to do likewise by writing to Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon, 303 W. Kalamazoo Street, 4R, Lansing, MI 48933, and making donations at www.fundedjustice.com/stopspencermsu.