Out of town fans of the Galactic Empire stage fascism LARP in Aberdeen causing many locals to fear for their safety.
///CONTENT WARNING/// This article mentions sexual abuse involving minors, contains transphobic language and images, direct screenshots from literal neo-nazis, including white supremacy, antisemitism, and discussion of the potential for violence.
Our small town was threatened by fascist street gangs aligning themselves with local hate group SOAP, local candidates for City Council, and armed right wing militias who showed up to defend against a non existent threat they cooked up in order to support an actual child abuser and his hate speech. What follows is a detailed timeline of the events of the next few days, starting with the story of the original sign in Tiesa’s own words below. We will examine the order of events, and how this spread throughout the country, namely in the right wing ecosystem. We will then debrief on what we learned during and immediately after this event, and finish up with some lessons learned and ways to be more prepared next time.
WEDNESDAY THE 4TH
As mentioned in her post below Tiesa entered the store on Wednesday and her interaction was filmed. She was there as a private citizen, the fact of her position on the council was brought up by Don in a snide jab about her gender transition. She can be seen backing away from Don’s appraoch and upon being asked to leave she promptly did so. Don couldn’t let this go though, word around town would suggest he is probably not used to being called out on his bullshit. So naturally he followed Tiesa out onto the sidewalk he apparently thinks he owns and is always littered with his junk. He asked her what her sexual organs were and his behavior was even challenged by an onlooker who was simply passing by at the time.
Wednesday August 4th, 3:02PM
From Tiesa’s Facebook Page:
There is a store downtown that I used to think was pretty cool, even though the owner had some wild beliefs. But, today I learned that he put up a sign that was a direct attack on me personally as well as every trans member of our community.
So, I went down to just see if this was real and if so I was going to grab a picture and leave. The business owner had other plans which are in the videos.
We have the right to be who we are and no one gets to belittle us, ever!
This post was shared with our group shortly after being posted to Tiesa’s personal page. Wednesday evening was when some local residents started suggesting and circulating calls for an action outside his shop on Saturday August 7th at 10AM. Our group reached out to the people making these suggestions to try and form a plan for what seemed like something with a potential for violence from the local reactionary right. We asked for consent in sharing the call for action on our public page and received it.
Wednesday August 4th at 6:27PM – Our original post once the decision was made internally to join the calls for actions, and consent was obtained from those originally calling for action:
CONTENT WARNING – Transphobia ****JUST HAPPENED IN DOWNTOWN ABERDEEN.Call to action below.
Our entire community is outraged at this disgusting display of hate. An attack on one is an attack on all. The video is of Don Sucher of Sucher & Sons Star Wars Shop, phone number 360 970 7080, harassing a member of Aberdeen City Council and fiercely brave trans woman Tiesa Meri Meskis Aberdeen City Council over her mere existence apparently.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR –
Saturday August 7TH at 10:00AM.
There have been grassroots calls for a protest against this individual outside of their business on Saturday.
We will be out to support and possibly live stream. Bring big beautiful signs carrying your message of support for our trans community. Other creative acts of resistance are always encouraged. Give Ol’ Don a ring, stop by and let him know what you think of his actions, let Google know, Yelp, Trip Advisor, whatever the hell Foursquare is… You get it.
We went to bed Wednesday night thinking that, although plans should be made and contingencies planned for, the event looked like a relatively calm and certainly peaceful signholding demonstration outside the shop. Nothing crazy, just some families showing love and support to the trans folks we all know.
THURSDAY THE 5TH
We woke up on Thursday to a new landscape, one in which the story had been picked up by Seattle news outlet King 5. One in which the right wing reaction had already gone far beyond what we had originally expected. Not expecting any announcement of our little protest on air, we were excited to see a major outlet like King 5 provide exposure to the story.
Thursday, August 5th, 3:31 PM – CRMAN Facebook:
UPDATE – We have been informed that KING 5 will be airing a segment covering this developing story at 4 PM. Please consider turning up to watch the broadcast and share this story as widely as you can.
Thursday, August 5th, 4:00 PM – King 5 aired their segment live on air, mentioning the grassroots calls for action inaccurately as a protest planned BY Tiesa in a move that can only be called irresponsible. WATCH KING 5 COVERAGE HERE. A short while later a corresponding article and Facebookpost was made. Both went viral immediately.
Thursday, August 5th, 4:52pm – We were made aware of and shared the moving and brave story of a woman who had survived years of abuse at the hands of this man, as a runaway, and growing up into adulthood. This story was the watershed moment of us receiving many tips from all over town about Don’s storied past. We posted:
CRMAN: An incredible show of strength from this survivor of abuse at the hands of Don Sucher at Sucher & Sons Star Wars Shop . Thank you for sharing your story, this is clearly an individual with a HISTORY of abusive behavior.
I have known the owner of Sucher & Sons Star Wars Shop since I was a young child, because my mom would take my brothers and I to the store as kids.When I was a teenager I began working for him at the store. I even started a Facebook page for the shop. I was thrilled because it was my first ever social media client.As an adult, knowing what sexual harassment and exploitation is, I see how Don groomed me. I believed he was just an old man, who loved Star Wars and was a little cooky.But he isn’t just a cooky old man. He is a grooming, transphobic, racist man.Like I said before, I started working for Don when I was 16 years old. I’d come to work and he’d make constant statements about my appearance… Calling me a “ripe tomato” and telling me how disappointed he was that I wasn’t 18 yet. If I ever wore my hair up, he would touch my neck – so I stopped wearing my hair up around him.I felt like I owed him. I was a 16 year old runaway who had a job that paid me cash daily. I would’ve done just about anything to stay employed. Including wearing the Leia costume, and dealing with his constant harassment. He’d tell me about his sexual exploits and talk about women in disgusting ways.After I turned 18, he proceeded to tell me repeatedly over the years that he’d pay me to have sex with him. I’d laugh it off. He was an innocent old man. He wasn’t serious. I thought…Then when I was 20, he asked me if he could take a picture of my vagina with his digital camera. I told him no repeatedly, and finally told him I’d take pictures in Star Wars underwear at home… Which I did and they are still in the store to this day even though I have asked him to take it down.
Over the course of the last 9 years I have been much less involved with the Star Wars Shop, but have still been recommending that fans and friends go to the store for an incredible experience.I was blinded, groomed and manipulated.Don’t go there.Don’t support this store.If you love Star Wars, find another person to support. Not this person who exploits teenagers and abuses women.I’m sorry that I didn’t open my eyes earlier and stand up against him.
**(youtube video links redacted, see above)**(Trans women are women and it shouldn’t need to be affirmed in this statement, but here it is clear as day.)
The response to all these events on social media was, unsurprisingly, toxic and disgusting. Many of the usual white nationalists, holocaust deniers, TERFs, and other reactionaries showed up to attach themselves to this situation. We do not engage in such conversations and these cowards were silenced by our moderators. Although we certainly were not surprised by the reaction online nor the possibility of some local assholes showing up armed again, as we have seen in the past, we never expected what happened next.
Even with the low level of risk presenting itself as Thursday drew to a close CRMAN tried to impress upon those calling for actions the importance of transparency and that we felt the situation called for a full cancellation in the name of safety. It may have felt like a bit of an overreaction at the time but come midday Friday we would all agree that canceling, as best we could, was the only safe move. We at CRMAN also realized that simply posting a cancellation on our page wasn’t going to reach everyone the original call did, and even if it did some would undoubtedly not take our advice and choose to show up anyway. There was also the danger posed to our unhoused community who were also aware of the situation and seeking justice, but couldn’t simply “avoid the area”. The decision was made internally for a small team of medical responders would show up and observe the crowds, moving in for triage and extraction as best we could if the need arose. We began to coordinate with regional mutual aid and street medics groups to get as much support as possible for the day of.
FRIDAY THE 6TH
Friday August 6th, 10:50 AM – Tiesa took to her City Council page to post the following clarifications based on the already shifting narratives being perpetuated on the right in mostly local comment threads on the related posts on Facebook.
As many have seen the videos I posted on my personal Facebook page and from there they have been shared, by others, on many other platforms I am pretty certain you know what this post will be about and I would ask that you actually read through the entire thing before rushing to judgment.
On Wednesday, August, 4th I received a call from Hoquiam resident *name redacted* who was very distraught about a hateful, transphobic sign prominently displayed in a local business, where children visiting the shop could clearly see it. She sent me a picture of the sign and I was floored that this was anywhere near a place that is advertised as a family-friendly business, and above all, they focus on one of my favorite movie series, Star Wars.
My partner *name redacted* and I decided that we needed to verify whether this was the case and came up with a plan to simply go in, test the waters, get a photo of the sign, and get out. Unfortunately, because of many issues we also had to be prepared to record video as a form of defense if the shop owner decided to become aggressive. Had this been a false claim or the owner had a change of heart we were looking forward to getting something for our daughter’s upcoming birthday as she loves Chewbacca.
Julie went in first to determine how Mr. Sucher would treat a cis woman, and she was greeted with the usual welcome and everything is on sale and 50% off. I entered the shop and met up with her and that is when Mr. Sucher’s attitude changed dramatically.
As I made my way to the sign he wound around and got to it first and took it down and placed it behind him against a trunk. This is where the video footage started and Mr. Sucher responded to my simple question with a verbally abusive attack.
Since posting the videos there have been calls to rally and protest from many different groups, though I will say that I have not once asked anyone to do anything other than listen and watch. I would speak to everyone that is planning to come to Aberdeen and rally/protest/have a cheeseburger, please do so peaceably.
I do not wish any harm on anyone, including Mr. Sucher. Any rallies, please make them about peace, acceptance, and love for our community.
My partner and I have been overwhelmed with the support we have gotten from so many people! Your words of kindness have negated the hateful messages we have been getting one hundredfold.
Lastly, I would like to say that hate speech of this kind and discrimination of any form is unacceptable. I took an oath when I joined the council, I have taken oaths previously as an Eagle Scout and Taekwon-Do practitioner to stand up to injustice and fight against it. I will fight for our rights to exist and be who we are, but I will do so without violence and work toward making a more peaceful world.
Friday August 6th, 11:00 AM – Despite NOT having organized this protest, we had decided the previous night to do whatever we could to “cancel” this “protest” after King 5 announced LIVE ON AIR that there would be an action outside his shop at 10 AM on Saturday, August 7th, and that Don was assembling his supporters to counter. With that, the local group of trans supporters and families waving signs that was planned ballooned into some sort of antifa-commie-battle in the way-gone comspiracy laden minds of some on the right. This broadcast made its rounds and before long the right wing outrage machine had spun itself up into high gear taking the usual narrative and trying to flatten our complex local siutaiton to fit their pre constructed narrative.
Friday, August 6th at 11:12 AM
Our public post cancelling the orignal call to action:
PROTEST POSTPONED. You are advised to AVOID THE AREA around the Star Wars Shop this Saturday if possible. We must protest this, but another day.
PLEASE SHARE.Because of the INTENSE amount of attention this protest has received, we as CRMAN are not comfortable encouraging people to attend this protest. The people who called for it originally have agreed this is best as well.After being announced live on air by king 5 this story blew up and is now ALL OVER the internet. There is already a counter protest planned and it doesn’t seem safe based on previous armed chud actions here in town.Other arrangements will be made for a safe place to chill on the day of for those who do come. CRMAN will still be there to inform people who DO show up what’s going on and try to keep people safe, but if you are not comfortable helping us do that PLEASE AVOID THE AREA.Obviously this doesn’t mean we don’t support a protest any other day, just not this day that has so much publicity. There are any number of days to protest this creep that dont endanger us. On terms we set.
Stay safe out there.
Friday August 6th, 2:00 PM – We quickly started receiving messages from all over about the potential for violence from the growing mass of angry and well-armed assholes. This new information was not contained to the hellscape of social media bots and trolls, this time they included many credible threats and stories of people planning to come in from halfway across the country. As mentioned above there had been alternative plans made to hold space off-site as a safe alternative but support for that was pulled around 3PM on Friday. We adapted our plan many times throughout the day on Friday and by the end were resigned to getting the word out as best we could to STAY AWAY if possible. We also realized that our unhoused neighbors do not have that luxury and live and congregate in that area. Our priority was keeping them any anyone else who still showed up as safe as we could.
Friday, August 6th, 3 PM – The story officially went national, appearing on MSN, the WA examiner, NY Post, and Steven Crowder ran the story along with many similar but smaller right wing outrage generators. What started as a local and peaceful dispute between two residents in this small town grew in the minds of some on the right to be another boogeyman. A reason to issue their call to arms in defense of this poor veteran’s endangered shop. The penultimate nod to how big of a trigger this was and the type of people being triggered was the stories appearance on the infamous white supremacist hate site Stormfront. Stormfront’s wikipedia can do a better job explaining what its all about for the unaware. The following screenshots are alarming and should be viewed with discretion but do a SHOCKINGLY good job of illustrating both the typical arguments from Don’s supporters as well as the typical audience for this sort of drivel. All from the internet’s most famous white supremacist hate site. Let’s look closer at that which is hard to view and be aware of where these arguments originate and fester the next time we hear it from the mouth of a fellow family member, church congregant, or friend. There is a reason why these avowed white supremacists latch onto and advance certain narratives.
CAUTION CAUTION CAUTION CLICK WITH CARE
//CW// EXTREME Antisemitism and transphobia
Stormfront’s forum logs **UPDATE – While it was originally assumed to have ended up at Stormfront closer inspection shows that the neo nazis forum was one of the stories first stops outside of Grays Harbor County.
Friday August 6th, 4:05 PMOur focus soon turned to emergency response, not that our small collective was prepared for that any more than we were prepared for anything else we’ve ever done. But we made a plan with what we had and aimed to be able to extract any individuals who found themselves in the harm’s way. Our hearts overflowed with what we did end up having though as it expanded to include many instances of regional and national solidarity. One comrade from Atlanta spent their free time doing some valuable internet sleuthing for us and also was able to shut down a group text that Don set up. His son also set up a GoFundMe…for funds I suppose. Never hurts to capitalize off of the situation.
SATURDAY THE 7TH
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 SOAP group 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 hygeine supplies we normally carry with us. There was a wholly unrealted 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 and is known to love a nice cold milkshake ona 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. This 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. Let’s take a minute to examine the narrative Kacey Ann is trying to advance even as this 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. The author of all three articles released in quick succession took the time to talk with Don, platformed a random Proud Boy, actually quoted Andy Ngo’s twitter instead of talking to us, and went so far as to call Andy a journalist.
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 their 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, thats 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 call 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.