Report from Atlanta Antifascists on recent mobilization of anti-racist coalition against a #StoptheSteal rally featuring Proud Boys, far-Right militias, and white nationalists.
Starting Wednesday 11/18/2020, the #StopTheSteal coalition of Trumpist, far-Right, and white nationalist groups began to rally at the Georgia Capitol in a last-ditch effort to stave off certification of the election results in which Trump narrowly lost Georgia. Because of heavy promotion and the presence of InfoWars, the preeminent far-Right conspiratorial outlet led by Alex Jones, the events attracted right-wingers throughout Georgia and beyond. The #StopTheSteal movement in Georgia culminated in a large event on Saturday in which there were so many right-wingers that several city blocks were shut down and cordoned off by police.
Okay, here’s the clip of white nationalist Nick Fuentes and his followers joking about the Holocaust outside the Governor’s Mansion tonight.
In context, “Six million” is not only a sick joke but a reference to Fuentes’ earlier Holocaust-denial (& those who distanced as result.) pic.twitter.com/u6G4hMXaZC
— Atlanta Antifascists (@afainatl) November 22, 2020
There were a few cracks in the week’s Trumpist coalition, as Women for Trump pulled out of Saturday’s event at the last minute, but overall there was an unprecedented amount of unity because of the special circumstances. Nick Fuentes, the leader of the white nationalist “Groypers”, came on Wednesday and stayed throughout Saturday. Most of the other participants either embraced him (like Alex Jones and Ali Alexander) or kept him at arm’s length without explicitly denouncing him. Fuentes’ Groypers did not attempt to hide their crypto-Nazi leanings, making Holocaust denial jokes in front of the Governor’s mansion on Saturday night. Unknown parties also littered the Capitol with antisemitic propaganda. Fuentes broadcasted live from his hotel during the week, boasting that the mobilization’s security was protecting him, calling Atlanta a “shithole” full of “feral homeless,” and racially insulting the Black staff at the hotel.
These antisemitic flyers were found strewn around the Capitol — likely from yesterday’s big rally there.
Dog-whistling about “globalists” was one theme of the recent rallies at GA Capitol. Flyers just make the dog-whistle explicit. Many white nationalists took part in events. pic.twitter.com/1TmnXf0XZe
— Atlanta Antifascists (@afainatl) November 22, 2020
Proud Boy leadership – Enrique Tarrio and Jeremy Bertino – gathered alongside InfoWars. Vincent James Foxx of the white nationalist channel Red Elephants attended for part of the week. Local white nationalist Chester Doles attended the Saturday event and was interviewed on right-wing media. The Trumpist coalition was shot through with COVID denialism and anti-mask sentiment, and their maskless gatherings throughout the week – one of them indoors inside the Capitol building – likely constituted a super-spreader event.
Antifascists in Atlanta extensively monitored the events and began to organize a physical response immediately. The planning was made incredibly difficult by its last-minute nature and the COVID-19 spike environment, but a diverse coalition was rapidly assembled. F.L.O.W.E.R. (Front Line Organizations Working to End Racism), the Metro Atlanta DSA, PSL Atlanta, FAYER Atlanta, FC St. Pauli Atlanta, Atlanta Antifascists, Wall of Vets GA, Community Movement Builders, Guerrilla Company, Refuse Fascism and The Atlanta Rescue Coalition all sponsored the event. Wall of Vets, CAW (Collective of Armed Workers) and others provided perimeter security. Considering that Infowars and Alexander had brought heavy security – and Georgia militias such as the III% Security Force would be in attendance – the need for armed security was crucial.
— Atlanta Antifascists (@afainatl) November 19, 2020
The antifascist/antiracist coalition began assembling at 11AM on Saturday. Knowing that we would be outnumbered, a position capable of being guarded was chosen, at City Hall just around the corner from the Capitol. Some of the coalition had come in black bloc and were ready to form a shield wall. Security, open-carrying long guns, set up a perimeter at the street corners while medics set up a station to the side.
The coalition did turn out be extremely outnumbered as thousands of Trumpists swelled the crowd in front of the Capitol. City police set up a line between the two crowds. There were numerous attempts by right-wing live streamers and aggressive right-wingers to initiate fights throughout the day, but they were quickly isolated and pushed back. Enrique Tarrio accompanied an aggressive live-streamer and tried to use her as an attention gambit, but the counter-protesters blocked her stream and a Trump flag was burned in front of Tarrio.
HEADS UP ATL:
This Saturday (11/21) at 11AM! We will rally and march to let these racist chuds know THEY ARE NOT WELCOME in the ATL. Bring your masks, bring your friends. We will update as more info becomes available. pic.twitter.com/AcmwhLX7th
— F.L.O.W.E.R. (@flowerunited) November 19, 2020
The situation developed into a tense stalemate, as Tarrio had fifty riot police behind him and about a thousand desperate Trumpists screaming “FUCK ANTIFA” behind those riot police. The shield wall stood their ground and a chant of “ATL HOE” directed at the invading racists animated the outnumbered counter-protesters. Eventually the stalemate ended when police gently escorted Tarrio back behind the barricades.
An order to disperse was given. The more center-right Trumpists, generally families who had come in from the surrounding exurbs, began leaving. The counter-protest ended safely, with security making sure to escort those leaving in order to protect against roving bands of Proud Boys and militia.
Takeaways from this event: