Riverside's Neo-Nazi (National Socialist Movement) Demo: A Preview of Phoenix, November 7?

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Naui's footage from Saturday's neo-Nazi demo in Riverside, CA shows that even 12 NSM members can mean trouble, if the cops aren't on their game.

About a dozen neo-Nazis from the National Socialist Movement got run out of Riverside,CA on the proverbial hot rail on Saturday. The swastika-lickers were protesting illegal immigration nearby where day-laborers congregate in the town. They were soon overwhelmed by a coalition of activists from anti-racist groups, assorted anarchists, the Brown Berets, and others, who hurled epithets at the sieg heil-ers, spat on them, yanked their neo-Nazi flags from their hands, and so on.

Footage from famed California activist and videographer Naui Ocelotl shows that the Hitler-worshippers were quickly surrounded, despite the presence of U.S. Department of Justice observers and members of the Riverside police SWAT team. The skinheads and their cohorts were soon hightailing it out of there in their, ah-hem, Japanese imports.

Why should we care if these punk 14/88-ers got their comeuppance in Riverside? Because this was a National Socialist Movement demonstration, and the NSM will be in Phoenix November 7 to party on the lawn of the state legislature. This near-riot in Riverside is troubling because the Riverside gendarmes were not on their game. As is evident from Naui's videos, the police did not "keep 'em separated" like in the old Offspring tune. The result was physical confrontation and chaos.

I recently spoke with NSM Captain Charles Wilson, who says he hopes to bring in up to 130 neo-Nazis from out of state for NSM's anti-immigrant "America First" rally at the state Capitol. I'm skeptical that he can draw more than 50, but as Riverside demonstrates, the NSM does not need to have that many to cause consternation for the cops.

Thing is, Phoenix ain't Riverside. The dynamics are different here. You don't need to tattoo a swastika on your skull to have the same views about immigrants. Look no further than state Senator Russell Pearce or United for a Sovereign America to find racist anti-Mexican diatribes similar to the stuff NSM spews.

That's where the NSM's name and swastika-fetish prevent it from picking up support from like-minded bigots. Which, in turn, is why I suspect they won't score anything close to 130 attendees.

Former NSM-er Thomas Coletto, who was once NSM-Arizona's "contact liaison" under the name "Vito Lombardi," has told me that you can count the number of active Arizona NSM members on one hand. Coletto has renounced Nazi-ism, and says he'll be nowhere near the November 7 rally, though the wing-ding was originally his idea back when he was in Nazi ranks.

Coletto submitted the first request to reserve the state Senate lawn earlier this year, and he formally withdrew his request today. (It had been pending -- kinda, sorta -- even though the NSM has since submitted its own request for November 7.) Hypothetically, this leaves one of the legislative lawns (state House or Senate) open for the same date and time that the NSM will be there.

Coletto explained that the NSM's goal is garnering press, and to make themselves look good by comparison to those provoked by the presence of its members.

"The whole point is to get media attention," Coletto stated. "And incite violence, or incite, like, a riot, so that the other people [the counter demonstrators] look crazy,and they look normal."

The NSM achieved that to some degree in Riverside, at least if you're watching Naui's videos. I'm less concerned about the neo-Nazis getting spit-on than the prospect of people walking around openly with loaded weapons here in Arizona and directly interacting with NSM blackshirts. That's when things could get really ugly.

As an aside, check out this blog, which belongs to one-time Nazi candidate for President John Taylor Bowles. Bowles was not amused by the NSM-ers in Riverside, and plainly states that, "[the skinheads] chickened out when they got their butts whipped." He also dings them for not buying American cars, and for looking like freaks. Heh. Funny stuff. 

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