LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Hundreds of protesters gathered at City Hall off of 1st and Spring Street last month to rally against the Detroit-based National Socialist Movement demonstration, the largest white-supremacist organization in the country, according to their official website.

The City of Los Angeles granted a permit to the NSM (Nazis) to hold their demonstration on the steps of City Hall, with the subject matter focusing on immigration.

The demonstration was scheduled at noon but counter-demonstrators began appearing as early as 10 a.m.

Communism, especially the Communist Party of the United States, is America’s Public Enemy Number One, according to the NSM’s official website.

Several socialist and communist organizations were present along with many radical, leftist and progressive groups.

Escorted by hundreds of riot-gear-ready police officers over a dozen NSM members marched onto City Hall. They waved swastikas, American flags and their NSM banner featuring a combination of a swastika, a sword, the American flag and an eagle.  The demonstration lasted about two hours with the counter-protesters committing to the full duration of the demonstration.

The NSM has a violence and terrorism free approach to Nazi political ideology, according to NSM Commander Jeff Schoep, but at yesterday’s event they unveiled a Mexican flag and an Israeli flag which they stepped upon and tore to shreds.

At least two violent outbursts were reported. One was when a shirtless man came up to the counter-demonstrating crowd revealing his swastikas and “SS” Nazi Lightening Bolt tattoos, taunting and provoking the counter-demonstrators.  A section of the crowd confronted the man and then there was fight. The police later aided the bloodied man away. Another incident was reported of a possible NSM sympathizer holding up a banner and a short fight taking place but it was unclear which individuals acted initially and what really happened.

“I am very much concerned of this resurfacing of the Nazis here in the heartland of Los Angeles, a multi-cultural city that has withstood countless years of racism and discrimination. Is it a coincidence or is it by design that this should come out in our time of major crisis in our country’s time of need?” demonstrator Richard Castro Jr. said. Castro said the roots of the current economic crisis can be found in the eight years of the Bush administration and the Republican Party rule. The Bush “administration is responsible for handing out millions of dollars in tax breaks to the rich and powerful of this country and the amassing of greater wealth to the rulers of monopoly capitalism. As a result the rich got richer and poor got poorer.” He added that the middle class is shrinking as a result of these policies and are ending “up with the poor.”

With the election of Barack Obama – “our first African-American president,” Castro said, “the Republican Party did not lay back in defeat.” Instead, he said, it has tried to “derail the victory of the people’s movements.”

In the GOP/tea party circles, “racism and discrimination have become the norm,” Castro said, and this demonstration is not a “coincidence” but a way to divide the people.



Luis Rivas
Luis Rivas

Luis Rivas is a native of Los Angeles who lives in Echo Park and works in the San Fernando Valley.  He currently edits the non-fiction online literary journal gloomcupboard.com.