Via Workers World
On May 19, one day before the 15,000-person protest against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Summit in downtown Chicago, another kind of protest took place in a suburban community of Chicago known as Tinley Park. Eighteen anti-racists, with weapons in hand, confronted members of the Illinois European Heritage Association. Ten people were reportedly injured, mainly with head wounds.
The IEHA, which is associated with Stormfront, the so-called “Nationalist Socialist Movement” and the Knights Party, was holding an “economic summit” at the Ashford House restaurant. It was the fifth such summit organized by white supremacists in the Midwest since 2010.
The group is part of the “Pioneer Little Europe (PLE) movement, which seeks to establish mutually supportive white supremacist enclaves throughout the United States,” according to the Anti-Defamation League’s website. The ADL is pro-Israel and against the Palestinian right to return. Stormfront has a forum with “over 6 million posts, 490,000 discussion threads, and 170,000 members.” Beside English, its discussion threads include “Croatian, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, French, Russian, and other languages.” (www.adl.org)
It is noteworthy that while the Department of Homeland Security, the Chicago police and other federal, state and local agencies were working overtime to wiretap, arrest and spy on anti-NATO activists, they allowed neofascists who openly promote the extermination of people of color and Jewish people to meet publicly in a restaurant. To think that these agencies were unaware of this meeting is to be naive.
The anti-racists, all of them white, are members of the Hoosiers Anti-Racist Movement based in Indiana. Its roots are in Anti-Racist Action, which was founded during the mid-1980s to confront racist and fascist organizations. ARA’s main ideology is anarchism. Chapters exist in various cities.
Just recently, HARM held a fundraising event for CeCe McDonald — the African-American trans woman who was a victim of a racist, anti-trans attack by white male bigots in July 2011. She was subsequently charged with second-degree murder. McDonald, who was exercising her right to self-defense, is facing more than three years in prison after agreeing to the prosecution’s offer to plead guilty to a reduced second-degree manslaughter charge.
Five members of HARM were captured immediately by the police on May 19. The other 13 escaped and are still being sought by the cops. Calling themselves the Tinley Park 5, three of them are brothers, Jason W. Sutherland, Cody L. Sutherland and Dylan J. Sutherland. The other two are Alex R. Stuck and John S. Tucker. Four out of the Five are in their 20s.
The Five are scheduled to be arraigned on June 12. The bond is $175,000 each for four of the Five and $250,000 for the fifth. Each bond is more than the one set for George Zimmerman, who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African-American youth on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman remains free.
According to the HARM Website, the Five have declined to make any public statements due to death threats their families are receiving from racists.
The right to preemptive strike
The May 19 incident should be viewed within the broad context of the global economic crisis that fuels the racist profiling of oppressed peoples, especially if they are Black and Brown. One only need utter the names of Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Ramarley Graham, Anastasio Hernández Rojas, Rekia Boyd, Darrin Hanna, Bo Morrison, Alan Blueford, Aiyana Stanley Jones and many others who have been killed by police or vigilante terror. Earlier this year, neo-Nazis randomly killed four Black men in Tulsa, Okla.
There are mass incarcerations, no jobs, attacks on education and virtually no bright future for young people under capitalism, no matter their nationality. The economic crisis is felt acutely throughout the U.S., but it has hit the Midwest especially hard.
In light of this unprecedented crisis, the Tinley Park 5, as well as many whites involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, are consciously choosing to side with the oppressed youth and workers and not succumb to racist demagogy by neofascists. No matter one’s view of the Five’s choice of tactics, the main question is: Don’t the workers and oppressed have the right to independently strike back, by any means necessary, when their rights are being threatened or denied by forces of political reaction?
WW says yes.
During the 19th century, the great militants John Brown and Nat Turner did not wait for approval from the abolitionist movement — whose leadership was dedicated to pacifism — to use organized violence to strike a blow against the barbaric, genocidal system of slavery.
There is no equal sign between the violence of the oppressed and those who stand with the workers and oppressed against the violence of the oppressor. The same principle should apply to any righteous struggle of an oppressed people against imperialist war and occupation, no matter what ideology may dominate that struggle. This is what communists refer to as self-determination of oppressed people.
The IEHA is not isolated from the repressive capitalist state; it is an appendage to it. It is an extra-legal terrorist force that does not have any legal standing, including any First Amendment rights. What the Tinley Park 5 did on May 19 was to carry out a preemptive strike to help expose the real danger that extremist groups pose to the movement and the masses here and worldwide. The Five heroically showed that these groups have to be crushed sooner than later.
Free the Tinley Park 5!
For more information on the case, including legal defense information, go to twitter.com @TinleyPark5 and @IndianaAntifa.