Points of View

by Armando Simón (January 2020)

The Agitator, George Grosz, 1928




Depending on who you talked to, the city of Landport in Oregon was either a mess, or it was a model for other cities.


      On the surface, it did look like a model city, since it was a fairly well-run beautiful city in a beautiful area of the country. However, periodically, a group of masked black-clad young thugs took over parts of downtown, disrupting traffic, making noises and harassing people, all in the name of politics. Anyone who happened to voice or display political or social opinions that the thugs considered anathema was assaulted, or his belonging vandalized. If a car, belonging to a resident or a visitor, displayed a bumper sticker that stated offensive views, it was surrounded during traffic stops by the thugs who took the opportunity to shout obscenities at the driver and the passengers. Sometimes the car would be blocked by one or more of these thugs, knowing full well that the driver would not run them over because the driver was a law-abiding citizen, even if one of the black clothed thugs put out a cigarette on the car hood while looking at the driver with an arrogant sneer.


      Curiously, during these times, police were not to be found and if one did wander into the scene, no dispersals, no arrests, took place. Just as curious, the news media never reported negatively on the thugs, but would instead refer to them as “idealistic,” and “activists” and state that they were against “racism” and something called “fascism.”


      Eventually, a loose knit group formed that was opposed to the thugs’ antics. About half the group was formed of people who lived just outside of Landport, but who knew of conditions there. They announced an upcoming rally at the Landport central park in favor of the right to free speech and to hold prayers.


      The Antifa—for that was what the thugs called themselves—went berserk upon hearing this. Landport was going to be overrun by neo-Nazis! Outside racists were going to bring their Hate to Landport and take over the city! An appeal for reinforcements went out and their ranks swelled from California and Washington states.


      When the persons traveled to the park for the prayer and free speech rally arrived there, they could hear the shouts and whistles before they could even see the park. The ones making all the racket were the Antifa “activists,” wearing helmets on the head, their faces masked and carrying clubs and homemade shields. On all of the shields were the words No Hate, each one accompanied by a drawing of a flower, a sun, or a smiling bird. As for those “activists’” who did not wear masks, their faces were distorted with ferocity. All shouted a continual barrage of obscenities at the group in the park, who were praying. A couple of the “activists” waved the hammer and sickle flag of the defunct totalitarian Soviet Union. The two groups were separated by a thin line of police.


      A passerby who had been attracted by all the commotion asked one of the few “activists” what it was all about. The response was immediate and energetic.


       “You see that flag, right?” The curious person saw someone in the park carrying a white flag with a blue square in the corner that had a small cross inside it, a flag that he had previously seen on some churches and a hospital in town. “Right? That’s a known white supremacist symbol. So, them going around pushing their Christian religion to those who aren’t Christians, their obsession with their religion, their obsession with their ‘free speech’ makes that they want to hurt people because they’re more obsessed with their own rights than the basic things that people need. These people have a disdain for human rights.”


      And with that, the agitated “activist” resumed shouting obscenities and extending his middle finger at the bad people. His companion had a miniature megaphone and now started expressing himself. “Communism will win! That’s not a joke! That will happen! We must have a single class society!”


      The passerby quickly left the scene.


      The group inside the beautiful park stopped praying. Some of the participants carried signs, some of which stated, “Free speech is for everyone,” “People should not be afraid to voice their views,” “Jesus saves,” “Free speech is guaranteed by the Constitution,” all of the signs obviously expressing fascist ideology.


      One of the organizers of the rally, a short man with black hair, picked up a small megaphone and spoke up. “Hello. I’m Jared Leiter and I would like to say something in favor of why free speech must be protected.”


      The fact that a member of the Hate group was going to speak and spread his message of Hate and intolerance sent the “activists” into a greater frenzy, and the volume of obscenities, screams, cowbells and mechanical whistles intensified, anything to drown out the racism coming out of the speaker’s mouth.


       “It’s vitally important for a free society to guarantee the citizens’ Constitutional right to free speech, to be able to express themselves.”


      The “activists” now employed the old, tried and true, tactic of erecting an acoustic Berlin Wall: chanting.


       “No Hate! No KKK! No fascist USA!”


      Now, only snatches of the speaker’s message could be heard.


       “ —even opinions which may not be popular— “


       “No Hate! No KKK! No fascist USA!”


       “ —prevents the establishment of a tyrannical— ”


       “No Hate! No KKK! No fascist USA!”


       “ —no intimidation should— “


       “No Hate! No KKK! No fascist USA!”


       “ —whether fanatics or opportunists— “


       “No Hate! No KKK! No fascist USA!”


       “ —the group opposing it may see it turned against it— “


       “No Hate! No KKK! No fascist USA!”


      Leiter looked across, at his group’s opponents. Their venomous visages, their paramilitary outfits, he had to admit were indeed intimidating. He could tell that his companions were nervous. They had all expected some hostility, but this? this degree?


      This continued for a while. The only way that the attendees could hear the entire message was to huddle close to the speaker. When he finished, another speaker took his place, speaking along similar lines, and with the same result. And a third.


      The rally disbanded and the participants walked to where they had parked, sticking together in groups as the obscenities and chanting continued. A man and his teenage son set off apart from the others. They carried an American flag and the flag seemed to once again send the “activists” into a frenzy. A dozen of them rushed at the two and began clubbing them. The son tripped and fell to the pavement, whereupon an “activistraised his No Hate shield with the intention of ramming it down on his neck, thereby severing his spine, but the boy’s father slammed into him, putting him off balance, and he grabbed his son and they went inside a store, seeking safety. The “activists” all seized the flag, tearing at it the way a pack of ravenous wolves would tear a deer to bloodied pieces, then sent their sights on the store. The store clerk went outside the door and fearlessly forbade them entry while another clerk motioned to the father and son about the exit at the back. The anti-fascist “activists,” half satisfied in desecrating the flag, became content at simply hurling stones and metal objects at the store’s window, which broke apart into pieces.


      The police, nearby, did nothing.


      The “activists” likewise ultimately disbanded.


      The city’s newspaper and television newscasts left no doubt as to who was responsible for the entire disruption: the white supremacists! The white supremacists had even assaulted some protesters and damaged property. Mayor Fred Wheelby was interviewed. The skinny, bearded, white mayor was full of self-righteous indignation.


       “Landport is an Inclusive and Diverse city. We will not be divided. We have no room for people who advocate Hate, racism, sexism, ageism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia and hamburgers.”


      The journalists also interviewed the sole black city commissioner (Landport lacked a large black population). She was a skinny old woman with an incredible resemblance to the Crypt Keeper.


       “I was afraid for my life! There’s no telling what these white supremacists are capable of. They have such a record of violence. There have been killings by them in other parts of the country. They’re quite capable of doing the same thing, right here in Landport!”


      None of the journalists bothered to interview the people who attended the rally.


      By telephone, in person, or through the internet, the rally’s attendees communicated with each other, recounting what had happened and discussing what—if anything—they should do. Everyone agreed that they had greatly underestimated the degree of the “activists’” thirst for violence. After much discussion lasting for days, it was spontaneously decided that they would not be intimidated. There was too much at stake. They would return the following month to hold another rally in what they now referred to as The People’s Democratic Republic of Landport.


      When they obtained the necessary permit, alarms went out again. When time for the rally came, there was a replay of the previous altercation, except that this time the attendees were not intimidated and there were more of them. Some of them carried with them homemade shields with a cross painted on them.


      Insults went back and forth now, instead of being unidirectional. If a loner person was attacked by a group of Antifas, a number of racists would run to help the victim, and this time it was the “activists” who were the ones surprised.


      One of the racists approached a quartet of “activists” that were off to one side, and tried to reason with them. A couple of them had painted a red hammer and sickle on their helmets.


       “Why do you call us racists? I’ll bet that you don’t know any of us!”


      Screaming chanting to his face was their response. “Die, Nazi scum! Die Nazi scum! Die Nazi scum!”


       “But all we’re doing is holding a prayer vigil.”


       “Die, Nazi scum! Die Nazi scum! Die Nazi scum!”


       “We’re not racists. We’re not fascists. We simply are in favor of freedom of speech for everyone and against censorship.”


       “Die, Nazi scum! Die Nazi scum! Die Nazi scum!”


       “Why don’t you answer me?! Why won’t you debate?!”


       “Die, Nazi scum! Die Nazi scum! Die Nazi scum!”


       “Stop screaming at me! What are you afraid of?!”


       “Die, Nazi scum! Die Nazi scum! Die Nazi scum!”


      This situation became a monthly event and things slowly escalated. The “activists” resorted to pepper spraying the attendees’ eyes. The latter began to wear goggles and helmets and carried baseball bats to counter the “activists’” clubs, though they never got to use them and there were rarely any large-scale clashes. A Canadian bearded man formed a group with the ridiculous name of The Proud Boys to actively confront Antifa, mostly by ridiculing them.


      The anti-Antifas would often taunt their opponents. “You’re all whites and you say you’re against white supremacists and racists, but we have whites, Asians, blacks in our ranks! We even have a big Samoan! Who’s the real racist?” This was true and it was a sore point with the Antifas. Finally, the “activists” found a black man they suckered into joining them, at which point they always shoved him in front to show how Inclusive and Diverse they were.


      Occasionally, the clashes would be reported by the national newspapers—never the television networks—which invariably portrayed Antifa in a good light, as being “courageous activists,” “idealists,” “anti-fascists,” “Inclusive,” “Diverse.” The anti-Antifas were always referred to as “far right,” “racists,” “Nazis,” “white supremacists” and something called “alt-right.” None of the journalists ever interviewed them.


      Almost a year into the monthly confrontations, Mayor Wheelby announced that the City Council would meet to pass a symbolic motion to condemn racism and white supremacy. “We have a Moral Obligation to do so. Landport is Diverse and Inclusive.”


      When the day came for the vote, the City Council first passed a bill authorizing $195 million of taxpayer money to remove all the urinals from the Landport Municipal Building in order to accommodate the eight transgenders in the community who might be traumatized in remembering that they had requested their penis be chopped off. Then, the floor was open to citizens’ input in regards to the motion to condemn white supremacy, as was customary while the council members listened to their input.


      First to speak was a fat black man in a business suit who spoke in a slow, calm voice. He was the Director of the Department of Inclusivity and Diversity at the local institution of indoctrination. “My name is Paul Brown . . . Far right extremists were responsible for every extremist killing last year. The continual existence of white nationalism is a constant threat to peaceful communities everywhere. The combination of bigotry and sexist violence is present in Patriot Prayer . . . in Proud Boys . . . and other neo-Nazi hate groups. These groups cause disruption in our institutions and drain our limited municipal resources and threaten the lives of People of Color, women, LGBTQ residents, immigrants and Muslims. The resolution you are about to pass sends a clear signal to these purveyors of Hate that they are not welcomed here. You are on the right side of history.”


      The next speaker was a Mexican-American. He was a sociology professor at the same institution and he, too, wore a suit. Likewise, he spoke in a slow, calm tone. “My name is Guadalupe Martinez . . . We have groups coming into our community intent on dividing us with Hate. But we’re grateful to you for your resolution that we will stand together with one voice, one mind, united against today’s hateful voices, and that we will not tolerate Hate. By passing this resolution, you are supporting peace, respect, Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity. Those who do not support these noble principles have no place in our community and must be driven out and kept out. In short, you are on the right side of history.”


      The third speaker, a short man in casual dress clothes, a shirt and jeans, was as calm as his predecessors. “My name is Jared Leiter . . . and I am one of the organizers of Patriot Prayer. I am sure that you all expect me to be against the resolution condemning white supremacy, but I am going to disillusion you. I am not. I am married to a Mexican girl. We have a brown daughter and a white son, both whom I love very much and I would be very angry if anyone said anything bad to either of them because of their skin color. It’s good to be against racism, but I’ve noticed that in all the indignation thrown around today, a lot has been directed at Patriot Prayer and The Proud Boys, and that’s not right. We’re not racists or white supremacists, but we’ve been labeled as such and this lie has been repeated countless times until it’s gotten stuck in people’s heads. I also heard a lot about violence. The City Council should also pass a resolution condemning Antifa because violence is all that they do. The federal government has declared that Antifa is a domestic terrorist group, yet we don’t hear any condemnation of them coming from you. Or the media. They claim that Antifa stands for anti-fascist, but it really stands for anti-First Amendment. It’s gotten to the point that the definition of a ‘fascist’ nowadays is someone who believes in freedom of speech. Why won’t you denounce them as well?”


      Mayor Wheelby stared with undisguised hostility at this Jared Leiter dressed in a Brownshirt uniform, sporting a swastika armband, and he wanted to shout out at him and damn him, but the rules were rigid and he had to stay silent while he put up with his words full of Hate. “We will take over Landport, then Oregon! And from here we will expand to the rest of the country! We will have a purified country with no Diversity no Inclusiveness, no Equity! The Mexicans, the blacks, the Muslims, the Asians, oh, yes, and the homosexuals, all these vermin will be hunted down and thrown out of the country. And those that refuse to leave? Well, we’ll just put them in camps to work, if they really want to stay! We will follow the precepts of our beloved Führer, Adolf Hitler! Heil Hitler!!”


      The fourth speaker was a fat, balding, white man with a beard, wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt. He did not speak in a calm tone of voice. “My name is Jim Robertson . . . I’m now with Patriot Prayer. Now, a year ago, I heard that this here fellow that just spoke was a racist. I don’t like racists!” He slammed his knuckles on the table in front of him. “I went to hear him speak so I could give him hell. I was a bit nervous ‘cause . . . hey, I’m goin’ into a den of racists! But I went . . . This man ain’ no racist!” Again he slammed his knuckles. “It’s a lie! There aren’t racists coming to Landpor.’ But I tell you what there is. I see masked criminals roaming ‘round Landpor’—and yer allowin’ it! And yer encouragin’ it! Yeah . . . thas’ righ’! Yeah, ahm lookin’ at you. We know yer doin’ it. We know tha’ tha’s wha’ this is all abou.’ Yer behin’ Antifa! 100%! We know it! You don’ hide it very well, ‘cause the lot of you are arrogant. There was a lot of talk earlier about hate. You want to know about hate? Come with me to the park to pray, jus’ to pray, and you’ll be surrounded by a bunch of these Antifas insulting you, spittin’ at you, hitting you with clubs . . . And yer OK with that.”


      Mayor Wheelby looked at the racist in front of him wearing his KKK robe and hood, polluting the chamber with his vile, disgusting, speech and he grit his teeth and clenched his little fists. “When we take over dis here city, we ah gonna go huntin’ fo’ n-words! And when we find them, we gonna lynch ‘em! String ‘em up from the nearest trees! And then, we gonna do the same to the spics! And to the sand n-words! And we ain’ gonna stop with Landpor,’ no siree, we gonna spread ou’ throughou’ the state ‘til we make it a white state agin. Ahma tellin’ ya righ’ now, the Klan will rise agin!!”


      After Robertson finished, there were other speakers, all of them in favor of the resolution, which in the end was passed unanimously.


      And aside from approving the resolution, nothing else changed.



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Armando Simón is a retired forensic psychologist and author of When Evolution Stops, Samizdat 2020, Orlando Stories, The U, A Prison Mosaic, and The Only Red Star I Liked Was a Starfish, obtainable at Lulu, Amazon and Barnes and Noble in case you are one of those strange people who still reads books.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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