Nov 5, 2016

There is a scale of arrestability in the protest circuits I’ve been in. As a part of a medic check-in you would gauge with your buddy where your team is best placed and what risks you are willing to take. It’s a color scale, with Green being little to no risk of danger, and Red being you are most certainly going to be attacked and/or arrested. Today I did not have a buddy, I just put my faith in Harrisburg that I would run into people on the street. Ran into a hard edge today. Most of my protest today was purely support, but because I felt extremely unsafe while doing it, I was most definitely and firmly in the yellow.

So, I didn’t have a buddy today, I was definitely not a medic in this demonstration. There were six teams for about 100 to 150 folks. Sure they were bloc’ed up, but they were still serving in medic roles. I remember hearing that and getting really excited and asking if there was a medic collective in the area. There isn’t, but within the Antifa I guess there is enough with the training, that we should had no worries more than normal.

I was in a privileged position, because, at everyone with an active part in the Neo-Nazi Rally, Peacekeeper folk, and Anti-fascist demonstrators’s best ideals, they were doing it for me. That’s the only reasonable way that I can believe that everyone was human. Well, except for the NeoNazis, ’cause I’m non-white, non-christian they would rather me and my kind exterminated, fuck those guys.

The tactic chosen by most people today was of black boc. Most of the time, I could just write them off as being ridiculous because the massive amount of regular people who were behind them. In the streets of Chicago, thousands of people, wearing a shirt, expressing frustration and anger at the everyday injustices that civilized society demands that you ignore, or play off with humor, or accept. Ahead of them was the thin dark line, a sprawling angry warrior edge, the ones who could be violent.

The masters of improvised weaponry. The folk who would do anything to protect and fight if the time came to fight. Their only true protection is their anonymity, by the black that they wear, their fists, and their sticks and stones. Though they are capable of so much more. Their demonstration is that they must show that they are willing to be violent for the right cause. Nazism is dead, Neo-Nazis are trying to ressurect a system of governance based on fear and hatred, that dehumanizes and oppresses those that do not think like they do. There must be that hard edge against a racist fascist society. As wildfires that burn uncontrollably and threaten the places where people live, fire must be met with fire sometimes.

The second most worn costume used tactic was that of the peacekeepers using a very ordered hierarchy of roles. There were riot cops, there were normal Unis, there were horse cops. They switched lines back and forth depending on how riled up the Antifa was getting. There was a single white drone with a red light that buzzed over the crowd a couple times, like a grocer using a barcode scanner. A couple more lines of cops marched in file out of the capitol and in groups up and down the capitol steps. There were several police vans at the end of State Street, with pockets of plainclothes roaming the edges here and there. Though my continuing worry is that a few of them were creeping Neo-Nazis. I think they did well today, they sat there silently, though their expression were hard to ignore as I chatted with a guy that I met to try to relax myself. It was comforting to connect to another in mutual wingnuttiness.

The fourth most worn costume, (because there were still more people who were wearing whatever they had), the pale imitation Nazis did not live up to a prompt German sense of efficiency as they showed up about 20 minutes late. They were afforded much space from the rest of the city. There was no one who gathered who was going to listen to them speak, except for the media allowed beyond the police line and their own. To my relief it was a pitiable amount of about few dozen. My impression is that the Neo-Nazis were cocky that they didn’t get attacked and were able to spout their nonsense on the capitol steps to a crowd that hated them because they were protected by the government that they rail against. The Neo-Nazi at the podium shouted into his bull horn, but if he was channeling the Furhur, all that I ever managed to hear was regurgitated Trump rhetoric. #MAGA #buildthewall So for those who still are going to vote for trump, you have Neo-Nazis on your side, how does that make you feel?

There was a wedding that was going on, that now have memories of our protest for a lifetime. A man in a zany gender ambiguous Hitler costume sauntered around the crowd, a vegetable peeler sticking out of the top of his helmet. Little Amps sucks because they closed their shop. A family that I met and talked with briefly offered to get me a coffee. The Mother was an nice hippy lady that said it reminded her of the 60s, though she was surprised at how aggressive our side was being. A very stupid Neo Nazi, tattooed and shirtless had a signpost broken over his back, he was chased off by about 50 Black Bloc, for the slightest of moments I feared that he was going to have the shit kicked out of him. That moment passed as now I have no care for if he did or did not.

All I did today was cook a bunch of food with my family and offered it to the Black Bloc. Just some bean and rice burritos with a little bit of homemade salsa. I livestreamed what I could, but mostly I was just paying attention to the people around me and took in the revel of rebellious attitude. And when the Nazis left, and we were dispersing, I was the huge nerd who brought garbage bags and reminded everyone to take their garbage with them. I cleaned up a few bottles and broken sticks, because if there’s one thing I know about protesting, never underestimate the propaganda that ‘they cleaned up after themselves’ reflects upon your movement. I could only ask, and a couple individuals helped out. People were thankful for the food and drink. I was happy to help just a little bit, even if I live in a position of unreal idealism. This is my home, after all.