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Confronting the KKK

The Klu Klux Klan came to Skokie, Illinois. They were
confronted by over 300 anti-racist protestors: gay, straight, women, men, african american, latino, asian and white. But why did the cops protect the Klan and not us...
December 19, 2000.

Today the Klan came to Skokie, Illinois to demonstrate. Why Skokie? The Klan is too chicken shit to actually protest IN Chicago, where they'd get their heads beaten in. So they decide
to come to a nice Jewish suburb to spew their hate.

The Klan obtained a permit to demonstrate outside the Federal Court House building in Skokie. Even before they arrived, a crowd over 300 counter demonstrators had assembled. We were chanting slogans, waving signs, and gearing up to drown out the KKK.

Police were everywhere. Skokie cops (and other cops) in riot gear. Conveniently they had no badges so we couldn't identify them. (Hey cops, that's why we have CAMERAS).

Police blocked the roads and wouldn't let you take any metal or glass into the area. I wanted to take my snare drum to make so much noise that the KKK couldn't be heard. But Mr. Cop wouldn't let me take in my drum. Seems that he thought it was gonna become a weapon.

The police had sectioned one area off with a metal detector. They didn't tell us what that area was for. Some protestors went through the detector and were assembled in that area. The rest of us just stayed clear.

When the Klan arrived, the police sealed off the area. Those who hadn't earlier gone through the metal detector were now not allowed to cross the barricade.

Who exactly was the Police force protecting and why?

It was clear that the police were protecting the KKK. Their batons and tear gas were aimed at us, the protestors. If we came too close to the KKK, they'd wave their sticks and tell us to "get back". The cops, the KKK, they're all part of the same racist institutions. Just one is seen as more extreme than the other.

A few racist skinheads came up to the crowd, trying to start shit. People started pushing and shoving. I got a wad of spit in my mouth and spat on one of the mother fucker racists. My dyke jew spit landed on his shirt.

There was pushing, shoving. The police stormed the crowd. More pushing. Some arrests were made. The skinheads finally got shoved out of the area.

The crowd got restless. There was anger but no resolution. We weren't allowed to go face to face with the KKK. Folks were mad, but there was no collective way to put all this anger to use. Some folks started pelting the cop horses with snowballs, which I thought was stupid. People hid batteries in snowballs. I was afraid of
a larger fight.

A skinhead dressed in black wandered into the crowd. He was immediately jumped and pummeled to the ground. The cops began trying to break it up. Snowballs flew in all directions.

A police car got its window smashed. Arrests were made. After the rally broke up, the racist skins started attacking the stragglers. An African American woman was hit in the face and lay on the ground. She was taken to the hospital. Anti-racists bashed in the skinheads' car windows.

The Klan, sans their sheets, boarded their school bus and left the area, under police protection. We shouted at them, gave them the finger, told them to not come back.

I reflect back. The day, to me, seemed full of rage with no place to go. We needed a collective means to put our anger to use. An organized way to deal with the rage. We seemed vocal but disinfranchized. And how come some anti-racists were violent? Was that a group decision? Was this a useful tactic? In a way, I wish that nobody had showed up to protest. I mean, if the Klan comes to demonstrate, and nobody shows up...then their protest would be a failure.

The next day, there was a Peace and Justice rally at a local high school. Over 1200 people showed up.

In summation...the anti-racist movement is alive and well, I'm happy to say. But we need to be more organized. To use our energy and build a bigger, better, more together movement.



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