Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Nazis are Coming to Town

That is not a flippant title, my peeps. The National Socialist Movement has applied for and been granted a permit to march on our fair city on Saturday to "protest the promotion of Marxism at the university." This leads me to question whether they are aware that "Socialist" is part of their name. I know National Socialism and Marxism are NOT the same thing, but still. Doesn't everyone know that they are not REALLY protesting Marxism? Doesn't everybody know that they just want to stir up shit? Wouldn't that have been interesting, if, on their permit application, under "Reason for Application for Permit" they wrote "to stir up shit"?

The town has mobilized over the last few days, organizing alternative activities in protest of this "racialist" (yes, that is what they call themselves) march. At school, much of the buzz from students is of the "I want to go bust some Fascist head" variety. All of the faculty response has been of the "pay no attention to these jerks" variety. The police and several other town leaders have made it clear that the marchers want people to come out and be pissed off. They want people to throw rocks and get mad. They will provoke people with verbal taunts. That way, when the police have to descend on the counter-protesters, since they are officially breaking the law and the Nazis are not, it will look like the police are on the Nazi's side. Then, when people get pissed off at the police for protecting the Nazis and start rioting (a distinct possibility), the Nazis can point to that behavior as evidence of the wildness and undesirable nature of the "mud people" (i.e., anyone not like them (including me, since I am officially a Catholic, plus I am part Spic (as they might call it))).

I am scared. I don't want a riot in my town. I recognize the Nazi's right to march, even if I think they are small minded jerks, but I do wish they would maybe forget to show up. I do have hope in my heart, however. Hope that no one will show up to be provoked by the neo-brown shirts. Hope that nothing of consequence will occur. Hope that where I live, a diverse, intelligent community (with problems, yes, but trying to fix them), will be spared the misery and tragedy of any sort of dickhead-induced civil unrest.

I hope that I have good news for you on Sunday morning.


Anonymous said...

This queasy feeling in my stomach is familiar. My dear alma mater is unfortunately located not far from one of the largest organized KKK groups in the country (if the memory I try hard to repress is serving). Regularly during my undergrad years, the KKK would get a permit to march down Main Street, right along the university. Every time I felt that my home was being violated by those seeking to provoke anger, violence, and the spread of hatred. I always prayed for a peaceful response and that no one would be hurt in any way. It is an inherently hurtful thing, though. It sickens me to imagine something like that in my former home of Columbia as well.

Peace and blessings.


Bill White said...

Castillian Spanish isn't spic -- and its somewhat sick that you're so desperate to be "multi-cultural" that you would pretend it is.

Heil Hitler.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is that you can't fight Crazy. Crazy will fade into antiquity, and you have to let it do so.

I also recall them marching through my college town. Many people watched -- not out of any kind of sympathy or allegiance -- but out of fascination. And it is fascinating, no matter how you feel about it. Those same spectators, though, walked away when it was over. Got on with their lives and didn't expend any more attention to it. You have to believe that we, as a society, are growing out of this (still).

You can't change people's minds, and certainly shouldn't try to with your own inflammatory language.

Joking about Hitler is narrow-minded (if serious) and just bad taste (if joking). [Historically, it's also a little bit uninformed -- since Hitler used that propaganda to further his own cause which wasn't any kind of ethnic supremacy as much as it was cultural dominance and nationalistic fervor as a way to resurrect the German nation's society from the economic castigation it received post-WWI. It's a bit like Hendrix -- he probably wouldn't have been all that great if he had lived to be 50, which he didn't. Just look at The Who. The Rolling Stones. Iconic in their time, part of antiquity now.]

I would add that "multi-cultural" really has nothing to do with ethnicity. It has to do with openness, attitude, tolerance, and the dedication to being a "citizen of the world." And it's ill-advised to enmesh any kind of animosity about multi-culturalism with fascism. If the information age has taught us anything, it's that we have one planet -- and we surely need to be citizens of the world to ensure the survival of it, let alone us.

Anonymous said...

Your thoughts are well-put and meaningful, Evolving. It is useful to maintain a larger perspective as you suggest. As hard as it may be sometimes, I feel that it is important to hold fast to my strong value in freedom of speech for all and respect for all, even when that respect may not be given in return. Whether or not I agree with another's opinion is not the issue. Rather, whether I can rise above a reactive stance and remain true to my values respecting all people is what is most crucial. It can be difficult, and it can also be a valuable opportunity to discover important things about myself that may not come into question otherwise. In that way, it is a clarifying and beneficial gift.

There are many reminders of brave and brilliant people who shine in this way, from internationally-renown activists to many of us common people striving to live in a manner that embraces compassion and understanding. We witness it in our communities daily, though that can sometimes be easily overshadowed by acts of greed, selfishness, and mean-spiritedness by some others. I encourage each of us to actively foster compassion, perspective, and caring in each of our lives and to notice this spirit in others all around us every day.

I enjoy quotes as a source of inspiration and perspective, so here is one I appreciate in light of this discussion:

"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love." - Martin Luther King Jr., December 11, 1964

I am grateful for the thoughtful discussion we're having as a result of this issue arising!