Yesterday Richard Spencer, a white nationalist and leader of the alt-right movement, spoke at my school, Texas A&M. There were several protests and counter protests going on, but my friend took this photo and sent it to me right before she was pushed to the ground by officers forcing protesters out of the building.
This picture was taken in the MSC, Memorial Student Center, a building erected to honor all Aggies, past, present and future, who gave their lives fighting for this country, many of whom fought to defeat the Nazis in WWII. But now, officers had to protect a man in that building who quotes Nazi rhetoric and promotes racism, fascism, and white supremacy.
I don’t like what the police officers had to do, and I’m sure they didn’t either. They used force but we’re not excessively violent.
There is a difference between the right to free speech and the right to spread racism. Rhetoric like Richard Spencer’s can’t be ignored.
These are troubling times. We must not ignore the signs. We must not let history repeat itself.
We wear the mask of Ha-Satan,
the flames of rebellion ignited.
We are the star that arises in
the face of the night that covers land
and the star that remains
in the dawn that always comes.
We are the Angel Apollyon and
the Adversary of Society,
it is time to cause the ripples
to destroy the matrix in place.
They’ll place us as the Tempter,
and say we are the Decievers
and ridicule us,
but they cannot stuff the idea
that we represent.
From a talk by Sara Flounders, co-coordinator of the Hands Off Syria Coalition, to a Dec. 2 coalition meeting in New York.
Big political changes can catch some of us off guard. Hope can lull people into the illusion that a U.S. administration has a secret plan for peace.
One month ago, the media were unanimous: Clinton’s electoral victory was a sure thing. All who know Clinton’s criminal role in Syria, Libya and in NATO’s expansion had every reason to be concerned. Donald Trump’s electoral victory came as a big surprise.
Now, all the same media pundits, Republicans and Democrats, are telling us that we must give the racist bigot Trump a “chance.”
Much publicity was given to Trump’s claims that he does not intend to expand the war in Syria. But we should view with great apprehension the naming of generals, far-right extremists and known fascist forces, including Steve Bannon, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and retired generals Michael Flynn and James Mattis, to key cabinet positions.
We need to prepare for ramped-up war at home and abroad.
Information about the protests at Texas A&M Last night.
A quick recap of why these protests were happening:
Richard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist and creator of the term “white supremacy,” was invited by someone who attended A&M for a single year (and who has strong ties to other racists) to speak at our campus.
So basically, I showed up at the MSC shortly after the Silent Protest and the Loud Protest began at around 4:15. The silent protest was in Rudder Plaza, and the loud protest was at the corner by Rudder, the MSC, and Kyle Field. I joined in the loud protest because I feel in these situations, the more disruptive we are, the better.
The loud protest did chants of solidarity with various minority groups, chants against Trump, and chants against Spencer for a while as we grew in numbers. There was a small crowd around a group of 3 white nationalists nearby where people were exchanging rhetoric.
Some notable groups that showed up to the loud protest were A&M Students (of course), the United Left Alliance (of Bryan/College Station), the Dallas Workers Front, the Houston Socialists, and various factions from Austin.
At some point, after the three white nationalists decided it was best if they left, someone yelled from the outside of the group, “Hey! The Nazis are over there! They can’t hear you from here!” This prompted about half the group to detach and move towards the line of people waiting to get in to see Spencer talk.
About 15 minutes later, the rest of the group decided to join us by the south-east entrance to the MSC near the bookstore as we continued to chant for solidarity and protest Spencer.
Sometime after 6pm, after the people waiting in line had all filed into the building, we attempted to enter the building. About a third of our group made it in before the A&M Police Department and riot police stopped our advance into the building and split our group at the doorway. Those of us that were inside continued chanting loudly, starting a new chant directed at the riot police of “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?”
Our group did not attempt to go upstairs, since we were contained near the doorway, and the staircase was blocked by a couple lines of riot police.
After being inside for 30 to 45 minutes, the riot police began pushing our group back out of the door. At this point, I was on the other side of the barricade in the MSC because @cutecajunlizard and I had gone around and entered through a different door to get water. We watched the group get pushed out and watched as police detained a woman who had fallen down a couple times as they pushed people with their batons and shields.
After they got the group out of the building, the riot police began requesting that all the students in the building also leave. They formed a line funneling students out the door and away from the main body of the protest down a ramp.
I stopped and joined some of the other protesters on the ramp, where we stayed for a while and chanted “Who’s school? Our school!” and “We pay tuition! This is our building!” until the riot police started pushing everyone away from the MSC and across the street to Kyle Field. Part of this pushing involved officers on horseback riding into the edge of the crowd (I really hope I can find a picture of me in front of the horses).
After we were pushed across the street, the protest mostly calmed down. We all joined together to sing A&M’s fight song, and then @cutecajunlizard and I made a trip to the bathroom, where we saw the woman who had been detained earlier. Apparently, she had been cooperative enough to bore the officers who were keeping her, and they let her go.
We then walked her to her car in the Cain garage, and met up with a friend, who had been in one of the libraries all night and went back to my apartment.
I heard afterward that the protesters we had in the room did a great job of stumping Spencer, but also that every time he said something racist or belittled someone, there was cheering from the crowd. These people came out believe that Spencer had “won.”
Tensions inside the room were high, and at one point, a fight almost started between some skinheads and silent protesters. This occurred while part of our group was in the building, and someone near me was watching it unfold on a live stream.
I also heard that a small group from the loud protest broke off, entered the MSC from a different entrance and managed to get upstairs right outside the room Spencer was in before they started being corralled by the riot police.
Overall, there were two arrests made, both from the Dallas Workers Front and likely from the group that made it upstairs.
Someone I know was also hit in the head with a baton, causing bleeding, nausea, and vomiting (indicators of a concussion). I’ve interacted with her today, so I’m pretty sure she’s doing alright.
I’d like to thank everyone who showed up last night for their contributions to our cause. Specifically those from out of town. This protest would not have been as great a success if it were not for the help of the Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, Anti-Capitalists, and other members from outside our own school.
“It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. | “The Other America.” Grosse Pointe High School (1968)