Anti-racists shut down white supremacists in Philadelphia

Anti-racist activists confront skinheads.WW photo: Joseph Piette

Anti-racist activists confront skinheads.
WW photo: Joseph Piette

Around 200 anti-racist activists, primarily young people, stopped the skinheads in their tracks, physically confronting their gathering in a triumphant show of people’s power. Chanting “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, white supremacists go away!” the demonstrators held the line and stopped the racists from finishing their march.

For the seventh year in a row, the white supremacist organization Keystone United had gathered for “Leif Erikson Day” on Oct.19 on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Keystone United member Joseph Phy, quoted in the Oct. 18 Philadelphia Daily News, praised Erikson for his successes. These racists, this year, were not as successful as their 11th century icon.

Cops and Klan go hand in hand

The Philadelphia police force, itself a racist organization which consistently reigns terror on people of color, showed where it stood during the march by actively striking the group of young activists and defending the racists.  The cops took special care to attack young people of color on the front lines of the action. Despite the police presence, the anti-racist youth prevailed.

Keystone United, until recently called the Keystone State Skinheads, seeks to make Pennsylvania a place where white people dominate and oppressed people suffer from racist persecution and denial of rights.

There are an estimated 25,000 members of white supremacist groups in the U.S., organized into around 300 separate organizations. Skinheads, many of whom openly worship Hitler, are identified as the most violent and youthful wing of the white supremacist movement. While their numbers are relatively small, they represent a historic and real threat, the threat of fascism.

As capitalist society falls apart in front of us, with mass unemployment, the gutting of public schools and services, and intensifying racist attacks on young people of color, the growth of a fascist movement goes hand-in-hand with the ruling class’s denial of our human rights. Fascist movements thrive on the divide-and-conquer tools of the 1% — racism, sexism and anti-LGBTQ bigotry, along with destroying unions and left-wing organizations while suspending all civil liberties.

In Greece, which suffers from tremendous unemployment, the fascist Golden Dawn has gone from getting a half percent of the national vote in 2009 to over 7 percent in 2012. Golden Dawn members regularly brutalize immigrants and attack members of the strong Greek Communist Party (KKE). One of their members recently killed prominent anti-racist musician, Pavlos Fyssas, which led to the arrest of some of their 18 members in the Greek parliament.

In the U.S., the Tea Party, a movement financed by billionaires, provides fertile ground for recruiting to more hardcore racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQ organizations.

Pro-socialist revolutionaries are continually building a powerful multinational, revolutionary workers’ and peoples’ movement to replace capitalism and the dictatorship of the rich with socialism. Building unity and solidarity is the greatest weapon against the ultraright. Standing up against fascist organizations, as the courageous activists in Philadelphia did, is a powerful way to unite the working class and the oppressed against their true class enemy, the tiny percentage of billionaire exploiters.