Saturday, August 7th, 8:00 AM – The day of, we were in place to observe and respond to emergency situations. We knew that regardless what we asked people to do in regards to avoiding the area that a certain number of dedicated people would still show up. There was no presence outside the store around 8 AM, by 9 AM a small group of 4 or 5 had begun to form in front of the store. At this time they did not appear to be proud boys or militia but had American flags and some small signs. We remained mobile throughout the day and soon we noticed a small group of people showing up to support the trans community as we had expected. They were approached by and engaged in conversation with people headed to and from the store. Nothing violent but, as the anti trans crowd grew and more and more out of town plates started showing up and the proud boys uniforms became prominent among the crowd, many disgusting signs were seen as well as harassment shouted at these demonstrators.
Saturday, August 7th, 10:00 AM – As the now cancelled start time of ten approached, our group was relieved to see that the situation seemed to have been de escalated by the attempt to advise people to stay away. While perhaps 150 people flowed in and out of the “support the child molester side” there was no mistaking that there was no threat for them to defend against. They had engineered a threat and responded unnecessarily to a threat existing only within their minds. Around 10:30 the majority of the pro-trans group had congregated at nearby Zelasko Park, just down the road. We did observe one person stay, by themselves, feet planted in one spot, smiling with their sign at passing traffic and sneering fascists, in the very middle of everything – ALL. DAY.
Saturday, August 7th, 11:00 AM – Things slowly started to clear out as the people expecting a fight who didn’t get it probably had to get back down to Portland to terrorize that poor city more. Our local anti homeless/ addict hate group ‘Save Our Aberdeen Please’ (SOAP) was of course present from the get go and even went out of their way to clear up any confusion online as to where they stood on supporting Don.
Saturday, August 7th, 3:00 PM – It had cleared out enough that our crew took a break and ran our normal mobile route to get out the news of the day to those living outside and to warn them about possible violence from blue-balled proud boys looking to beat up on the local unhoused after the sun went down. We dropped off some supplies to a few places and decided things were calm enough to have the normally scheduled community meal at Zelasko Park we have been doing every Saturday for months now. We tailgated it up with some pizza, soda, and the basic hygiene supplies we normally carry with us. There was a wholly unrelated wound that needed some tending too, and we finally connected with the pro-trans sign holders who were STILL THERE, long after the out of town unfriendlies had given up and gone home.
Saturday, August 7th, 5:00 PM –We offered some food and made connections, talking with them about the day and the different dynamics of the last few days. What we discovered was that as soon as the threat to our city was gone and people felt safe to do so, those out to support the trans community made their voices and car horns heard in support of the remaining demonstrators. People stopped and yelled out their windows about bad experiences with Don or just shouted thanks for showing up. Some even parked and stood with them until it was time to go. We all watched out for each other as we made our ways to our vehicles. Everyone made it home safe – shaken, more or less traumatized, and in ever present danger from the far right for simply existing – but safe and alive.
Saturday, August 7th, 8:00 PM – Immediately that same night we began the process of sharing resources for recovering from trauma and compiling the timeline of events that served as the backbone for this article. We searched through EVERY article from EVERY outlet on this story. Turns out most “reporting” is just copy pasting the King 5 article or the Washington Examiner, but they showed a timestamp of the progression of this stories journey around the world. The overriding assumption we had been working on was that King 5 was the first outlet outside of our hyper local area to pick up the story and announce the time and place of the protest to the wide world. We were wrong. It turns out after looking at all the timestamps it appeared on Stormfront hours before appearing on King 5. In other words, it appeared on Stormfront before it left the Harbor. When we examine the thread from the explicitly white nationalist white supremacist website we can that it appears for the first time at 7:41 AM on August 5th, it wouldn’t appear on King 5’s live broadcast until 4 PM that same day.
This is not altogether surprising since our area is ripe with Neo-pagan fascists and Neo-nazis. It also fits the pattern of these message boards not being the place where right wing talking points end up, but often where they originate. This phenomena of right wing narratives and conspiracy theories originating in Neo-nazi corners of the dark web and making their way to the average American dinner tables is starting to be more well understood and well documented. John Oliver famously did a whole segment on the white supremacist to Tucker Carlson pipeline. This well funded hate machine picks up a narrative from the sort of places where people aren’t afraid to say “its the Jews” and it gets bounced around the lower level Andy Ngo/Steven Crowder grifter types, where the language must be first coded to talk about capital A “Antifa” and “BLM” or the “Democrats” instead but the overall narrative stays the same. The timeless chant of the oppressor:
Be scared, the reason you have so little is because of those with less power than you, not more. You think you have complaints now, oh just wait, if you don’t support me you could have even less. These people who disagree with us aren’t even real people, Americans, etc.
Well we think your politics are boring as fuck!
After being laundered for a more mainstream audience, primed for years to look forward to turning their outrage to a new manufactured problem delivered to them by FOX, it makes it’s way to Tucker Carlson and BOOM, that’s how you get white supremacist narratives at your dinner table. Our group actually ended up being called out by Andy Ngo on his twitter. For those who are unaware Andy Ngo, who we have it on good authority is the type of person who leaves their brights on as they pass you, is also a low effort troll on the far right. He is famous for his doxxing of antifascists and leftists and so called Antifa. It’s hard when EVERYONE is Antifa though. After loosing his job at the Quilette for witnessing the Proud Boys planning a violent attack on Portland activists and doing absolutely nothing to stop or report it. He now poorly edits The Post Millennial (think Der Stürmer meets VICE News) and is known to love a nice cold milkshake on a hot summer day. He sees antifa as a boogeyman, a shadowy organization that controls all dissent and all opposition to those whose political leanings could well be described as fascist. He probably checks under the bed each night, poor guy. Andy Ngo uses Antifa as a tool to code for more standard white supremacist thoughts as well as stirring up the outrage trolls of the far right to harass, threaten, intimidate, and doxx people he deems to be Antifa.
Him and others like him helped create the narrative that our group was “Antifa”, either some invading force from Seattle or Portland. Or perhaps an outpost located in Aberdeen itself. They also created out of whole cloth the idea that what was intended (and ended up being the case) wasn’t a small local affair, some sign waiving in support of our trans community, but in fact Antifa coming into Aberdeen to destroy this poor veteran’s business. They accomplished this feat in less than 24 hrs. The participants in this network all live in Grays Harbor. As previously mentioned the “counter-protesters” did not. So, an outside force of armed and violent people descended on our town in order to “save” this man from a supposed outside force coming to descend on our town – a wholly manufactured narrative they themselves created. They supposedly came to defend his free speech as well. That means that a small group of people in a small city somewhere can ask their friends on Facebook to join them down at the corner some weekend to express THEIR free speech and demonstrate support for THEIR firmly held beliefs and some group of out of towners looking for a fight might very well come into their town to shut it down. That’s what they did. They came to intimidate US, harass US, and scare US into NOT coming down to enjoy the very same “right” they are supposedly standing to defend. The hypocrisy doesn’t end there. We mentioned previously that SOAP made an appearance. For a previous history of this local hate groups actions and rhetoric regarding their dog whistles of “Cleaning up Aberdeen” check out our previous reporting in them here, here and here. From the poor and homeless to the LGBTQ2IAX+ community they see us as dirt that needs to be scrubbed of the face of the earth. They see us as avirus, not their peers, not their family, not their neighbors. They have completely dehumanized us for many years, and now we see the results. This SOAP presence included city council candidate Kacey Ann Morrison, who has left us all with no more misgivings about where her political alignments are – fascist street gangs to say the least. On top of dodging questions on her socials about Jim Walsh and antisemitism, she has taken her politics to the next logical step. Let’s take a minute to examine the narrative Kacey Ann is trying to advance even as this report is written.
Kacey Ann is saying that because Tiesa sits on City Council here in Aberdeen that she was, and presumably always is, automatically acting in her role as councilwomen and therefore the actions in the video must constitute government interference in business.
Well we have news for you Kacey, Wilapa Behavioral Health is a business too.
Are we to believe that you and Debi Ann plan to stop interfering with their business if/when you are seated on the City Council? What a joke! First of all, legally speaking, any council member can simply state their intentions to act as a private citizen and that seems to be enough. But in regards to Kacey Ann – This is a person who has been standing outside of the local needle exchange in town, now operated by a private business, protesting with signs for the entirety of the program. So they think its fine for them to show up to harass and intimidate both clients and staff of the businesses they don’t like, and its OK to hold a protest outside of it EVERY WEEK if they don’t like it. But if anyone else wants to do the same thing they call the militias in. We all know her desire to get onto city council and “Clean Up Aberdeen” is spurred by her anti homeless, anti addict hate work. I doubt anyone sincerely believes that she or any other SOAPists will be leaving the good folks at WBH alone as soon as they take their seats on the council.
Despite this entire ordeal centering around the use of gender pronouns, all the articles this author came across called Tiesa a councilwoman and used she/her pronouns throughout their article. The exceptions being, Kacey Ann Morrison’s Facebook page, The local right wing rag The Daily World, Andy Ngo, and of course Stormfront. The first three also deadnamed Tiesa in their comments.
The local so-called news outlets were some of the last new outlets on the planet to pick this story up. Once they did their reporting was slanted and inaccurate, they all fail to mention the key point. Namely THE REASON the protest was called off: the danger posed by the Proud Boys and militias. They failed to mention it when describing how there were less people in support of the trans community than in support of Don. As though they didn’t know, or purposely left out, the fact that things were called off for safety concerns. The Daily World actually called US organizers of this thing! Not only did we not organize this, NO ONE organized this, it was a mess, and we did what we could to reduce the negative impacts of a situation wholly outside our control. We also can not find any evidence a single outlet has been able to present to demonstrate ANYONE planning to engage in violence against Don or his business. Again, the very rights being infringed upon by these supposed free speech advocates IS the free speech of those in our town who wanted to peacefully hold space outside his shop in support of the trans members of our community so that they know they are cared about. Honestly, this level of reporting from the sports editor can’t be entirely surprising but it certainly reads more like an opinion piece than fact-based journalism. For one they never reached out to our group before making false claims about us. They never got a hold of Tiesa before MISQUOTING both King 5 and Tiesa in regards to who called for this demonstration. I suppose citations are a things of the past and one can just claim stuff to be true with no evidence and call it journalism. Ryan Sparks (@SparksOnSports), the author of all three articles, took the time to talk with Don, platformed a random Proud Boy, actually quoted Andy Ngo’s twitter as an expert on our group instead of talking to us, and went so far as to call Andy a journalist. Some would say something false ASAP rather than wait for the truth.
Daily World Articles:
Local law enforcement prepared for protests after viral video throws business owner, council member into national spotlight
The first article described the plans the police department had made,with their concerns being the militias coming in from out of town not “antifa”. Ryan mentions the police’s willingness to use chemical agents on residents. But at least Ryan manages to identify Tiesa and her position on the Council without deadnaming her this time. They drop the good old, “We would hate to see something bad happen to the protesters” Maybe another familiar vehicular homicide? Despite the fact that they allow fascists to invade and terrorize local residents into not acting they even claimed to care about our rights to “gather and make sure they are spoken and heard” and “We just want people to be safe and respect each other’s rights and stay out of the roadways. We don’t want anybody to get struck by vehicles.” Oof respect each others rights? Whose rights were protected that day? He also says,
According to a KING5 report, Meskis said “her supporters plan on demonstrating in front of the store Saturday, Aug. 7, at 10 a.m.”
Which is strange since again, this was not planned by Tiesa and she herself has stated that King 5 asked her about the protest, she did not bring it up. So clearly King 5 had already heard about it elsewhere as it was still very local at that time. The King 5 article has since been edited to say the STILL INCORRECT statement, “Meskis had planned to have her supporters rally outside the store…” Which is NOT TRUE. So why, if King 5 had seen this grassroots call for action on a local Aberdeen residents Facebook page, and were the ones to bring the subject up in their interview with Tiesa, would they then claim that Tiesa had planned anything?
The second article is where Ryan writes the puff piece for Don that frames their anti-trans counter protest as a success somehow because they scared the people of Aberdeen into not showing up for a fight with the right wing’s new brown-shirts for fear of injury. He also literally just claims without any evidence that “While demonstrations organized by the group Chehalis River Mutual Aid Network — an organization billing itself as a “grassroots disaster relief network” but has been described by journalist Andy Ngô as an Antifa group — were cancelled late Friday, plenty of supporters of the Star Wars shop showed up Saturday morning.” JOURNALIST! Sheesh, that’s a stretch, it is very telling to see this report in our local paper quoting Andy Ngo as some sort of Antifa expert. This is Neo- fascist propaganda you would expect from explicit alt-right “commentators” and those who hold sway in their “influencer” culture. Ryan Sparks couldn’t dig past the about section of our Facebook page to our contact info or to our website where we go into detail about our group. Instead he felt it proper to rely on someone who hasn’t heard of our group until that day and probably already forgot about us.
The third article changes it’s tone. This one begins to frame Don as a innocent and frightened old man on the verge of loosing his business. This is also the one where Ryan goes out of his way to deadname Tiesa. A dick move on top of a shit sundae of coverage. As of Monday morning he still hadn’t gotten a hold of Tiesa to get her side of the story. He quotes Don as saying there were 400 people outside his place at 9:30 AM which is laughable considering all the documentation that took place, including a photographer from the Daily World. But Ryan lets this go unchallenged. Ryan’s new role as main field reporter seems to have gone to his head as his writing, while clearly attempting to be flowery and poignant, falls flat into the territory of petty and snarky. This article also brings up the phone line in Don’s shop. As previously mentioned we got word from a comrade in Atlanta that Don had set up a service that subscribed all incoming callers to a group text for planning his counter protest. Obviously this was a mistake since this anonymous person had subscribed and sent us some screenshots from the subscribers list. This person was also able to spam Don’s group text so much that it was soon shut down. We also mentioned that Don’s son Koby also started a GoFundMe for some reason, this was also soon shut down by those acting in solidarity with the trans people in this town from all across the country. Koby Jordan Sucher, the son @kobyJ1984 on twitter and @westxword on IG, himself is apparently a character possibly deserving of his own article in the future. We have received so many stories full of independent corroboration of many different accusations from back alley heroin sales to sexual abuse, inappropriate behavior around children, and even a long term romance with a SOAPist familiar to this group. We have chosen to cover these in their own article centering on Don’s long history of being a shitstain. The abuse survivor who bravely shared her story of abuse at the hands of Don for years also managed his Facebook page right up until it was deactivated just a couple days after the videos came out.
Many have been getting a hold of our group with suggestions for action items to be taken, and with the desire to plan a follow up event. We will say this, Chehalis River Mutual Aid Network will never call for participation in an event that we ourselves did not have a hand in actually organizing and planning – for safety purposes. As a collective that celebrates autonomy we realize that people will do what they want and think is best. Those with an agenda of blaming every piece of poop on the sidewalk, and every sticker slapped on a window in this town on us will continue to do so. they have no incentive to examine the nuanced and complex structures of horizontal organizing that allows for individual autonomy within collective action. The actions this collective takes is solely what is featured on our public page, our structure and goals are clearly defined and sketched out on our website for anyone to view. Our collective treats the threats of climate change, rising authoritarianism, and capitalism as a struggle to be taken seriously both in our real life actions as well as in digital spaces. We recommend other local activists do the same, these fascist have shown how well funded they are and how quickly they can respond to a few people in a small town calling for holding signs on a corner. This behavior will not stop and yet we must be able to organize still, this requires another level of security practices. Be aware that when you call for an action publicly it might balloon into something like this, through no fault of your own. CRMAN does not conduct organizing on any social media for this very reason. We protect our faces and IP addresses because the threat is VERY real. We hope this does not cause more people to pull inward and detach from political action altogether but will instead be a learning experience and help us grow into a community able to defend itself against these fascist actions in the future. We are always looking for people to get involved in any capacity they can in this movement, reach out to us.
So what is to be taken away from this weekend? Can we learn anything to aid us in a future scenario like this?
- We learned that Tiesa Meskis is one rock solid individual capable of tremendous strength in a difficult time.
- We learned the negative role that Major media coverage can have when pertaining to sharing actual organizing plans and not just coverage of the topic at hand.
- We learned the benefit of not telling unfriendlies your plans ahead of time.
- We learned that there is likely someone local to us who has an account on Stormfront or a close connection to someone who does.
- We learned that it is VERY easy to make these unfriendlies show up in a place and expend resources preparing for a non-existent threat.
- We learned that we could likely cost the Proud Boys lots of time and energy while expending little ourselves.
- We learned that we need lots more people with street medic training and self/community defense training. We also need people with those skills to step up and share them for free.
- We learned that Andy Ngo sees Antifa behind him in the mirror, in his shadow, under every rock.
- We learned that the Daily World is waaaaay red pilled.
- We saw Kacey Ann Morrsion take her mask off and own up to her fascist tendencies for once.
- The unfathomable hypocrisy of the right was reinforced yet again.
- We learned that the threat of fascism is real, its here, and we need to organize collectively in order to be able to kick hate of our town. Keeping ourselves safe so people are no longer afraid to speak or show up to an innocent protest or community meal.
- We learned a lot of crazy shitty stuff about this Don guy that will make its own article to come soon.
We learned that we could not have gotten through this without each other, the support of our small collective, our volunteers, the wider community’s understanding of the difficult decisions that were made along the way. We always knew that We Take Care Of Us but we have come through this smarter, more compassionate, closer to each other, and better prepared than ever. Prepared to continue the struggle as it is presented to us. This group has never and will never initiate calls for a protest, but we will always show up for marginalized communities. Despite the definite feeling that most people local and abroad expected us to show up with Molotov cocktails in hand or something, our priority has always been and remains safety. That is the best role for this group, a supportive role, a healing role, an educational space, a method by which to form affinities that can go onto inspire actions while keeping us safe together. Although this threat is an old one, our struggle against it just as old.