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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Racial Justice
Into the Fire: A Report Back from the Huntington Beach Antifascist Clash With Trump Rally
This is a report-back from an anonymous member of the resistance to the Make America Great Again pro-Trump march at Huntington Beach, California, on March 25th.
[ Photo: A man is wearing a Trump hat and brass knuckles. ]
11 am – Myself and four other communists walked along the bolsa chica bike path to meet up with our anarchist and Antifa comrades. The Facebook event showed at least 100 signed up to attend the counter demonstration, there were barely 20 in total. There was an anarchist book fair that may have drawn people away, but this is unconfirmed. As far as I could tell there were three factions making up the black bloc that day: my comrades, two separate groups of Antifa for a total of 10 and the organizer and a few of his people who identified themselves as socialist party members. They chose not to join the black bloc. None of us had met prior, there was no knowledge of who was local and who was not. My comrades and I tried to lead chants with bullhorns to embolden our side. Within our small numbers were many inexperienced, nonmilitants. With each group acting separately, there was no tactical consensus.
12 pm – The organizer planned on forming a wall to deter the trump supporters, but our small numbers made that an ineffective choice. When the trump supporters began to march, we realized there were at least 1,000 of them and only a handful of us. The organizers decision to go ahead with the original plan in absence of any backup plan showed inexperience and unwillingness to assess the situation at hand. We were overrun and facing violence. We did not use physical violence as a means of provocation, but as a means of self defense. The trump supporters were emboldened by their numbers and felt comfortable attacking us in absence of initial provocation. Our comrades were punched, kicked, and tackled by the trump supporters. It was a difficult spot to be in, because we knew that if we retaliated we would be putting our lives at risk due to the sheer number of trump supporters looking for fights. Most of us did not engage the trump supporters, but our comrade who was beaten did not have this luxury. After she was beaten, the police placed her under arrest. Three Antifa were arrested, two released without charge and one released on bail. No arrests were made of Trump supporters.
1 pm – This went on for over an hour before the majority of trump supporters left. The ones that remained were far more violent. The 7 black bloc that were left were armed only with small tasers and pepper spray. Some trump supporters were spotted with brass knuckles and knives. The symbols that we identified were the crossed hammers and Reichskriegsflagge, both used by white supremacists. We were still outnumbered and in even more danger than before. We decided to leave as quickly and quietly as possible, but we were followed and chased by two skinheads and a group of at least 20 trump supporters. There’s no doubt in my mind that they wanted us dead and the police had no interest in the situation. Those of us who were left were picked up at an undisclosed location and made it out relatively unscathed. Thoughts and reflections – This counter demonstration was poorly planned and ill executed. The only ones who showed any discipline or militancy were the two groups of Antifa and my comrades. Without greater numbers and coordination, we were immobilized and disarmed. Without an alternate plan of action, we were divided and that allowed the Trump supporters to beat on us without constraint. A call for unity is absolutely necessary to achieve any measure of success. In other instances Antifa has been successful in demoralizing the fascist right wing. As far as I can see, southern California lacks the organization and discipline that other Antifa groups exude.
The person in the left is wearing a Hammerskin Nations patch (two hammers), which is the largest skinhead gang in the country. He is openly wearing these symbols at the Trump event.