The anti-Klan protesters jailed after the Pearson Park melee may not be getting a dime from local liberal groups, but support for their expected legal fight is pouring in from all over the world. A fundraising page for the “antifas” (activist slang for “anti-fascists”) has amassed donations totaling more than $27,000 in just three days time. The last of the arrested counter-demonstrators, save for one remaining holdout, got released Tuesday night because no charges had been filed by the Orange County District Attorney’s office—but the antifas aren’t out of the woods yet.
“The [OCDA] is in the process of reviewing the case in its entirety in order to make the appropriate charging decisions surrounding the rally incident on Feb. 27, 2016,” reads a statement by the agency. “We will make a public announcement when we have a filing decision.” While the OCDA takes its time to look over the mountain of video and photographic evidence from the melee, local activist groups wasted no time in organizing support for whatever felonies or misdemeanors may come their way.
“The anti-fascist comrades who got arrested are in urgent need of some real solidarity!” reads their plea on the FundRazr site they’ve setup. “That’s why we need to raise BIG MONEY for them. Your donations will go towards any medical or legal costs associated with their injuries and arrests from that day.”
The effort is being led by CopWatch Santa Ana and the Los Angeles Anarchist Black Cross, with plans to divvy up the dough evenly among the arrested. That there’s tremendous support pouring in should come as no surprise. In fact, online fundraising would have collected even more money by now if not for complaints about the page causing the host site to pause and investigate it before resuming. Militant anti-fascism is a movement spanning the world over, and CopWatch Santa Ana has been receiving encouraging messages from antifas everywhere:
“Solidarity from UK”
“Support from Berlin Antifa”
“Support from Australia, antifa for life.”
“Love from Melbourne, Australia. Proud of your achievements. Keep fighting the good fight.”
Those are just a few, with many, many more coming from across the United States. And it shouldn’t be surprising that in the age of social media, the Anaheim antifas aren’t only raising tons of cash, but have also turned into folk heroes of the Left, with memes exploding all over the internet. Sure, people will complain about them being valorized for rushing the KKK, but folk singer Malvina Reynolds did the same with “Battle of Maxton Field,” recalling when armed Lumbee natives ran the Klan out of their rally at Maxton, North Carolina in 1958.
At this very moment, rappers and punks are surely writing their own songs about the Klan in Anaheim, but memes captured the moment first, mostly by flipping Heather Davini’s breathtaking photography from the melee. One shows Armando Campos clutching his severe stab wound with the words “Chicano Power” emblazoned on top. Another shows the Felipe Esparza-lookalike punk readying a punch with the punchline reading, “Six Minutes Into KKK and Chill and He Gives You This Look.” Then there’s the meme that started this whole post, transforming a picture by our own Eric Hood into a lesson about having a white friend summoning his inner John Brown (or maybe even, Street Dogs!)
We know the Anaheim police want nothing more that the antifas and the media to bear the brunt of the blame for last weekend’s melee, but the first draft of popular history shows that ain’t happening anytime soon.