What’s F.A.B? Fighting Fascism
By Ad Astra, FAB member
In April this year, some Spokane Valley students organized a pro-guns alt-right protest. The sentiments expressed by one student garnered the attention of contemporary post-Aryan fascist groups. In response, Families Against Bigotry formed initially without a name within two weeks of the alt-right student rally. The initial group was comprised of several understandably motivated and concerned individuals, parents, a pastor, and a professor.
Over the course of the summer, Families Against Bigotry have been meeting in private to organize. FAB has hosted a few experts on white nationalism; these talks have been openly available to the public. The first speaker was Tony McAleer, who spoke of his own experiences providing personal insight, having been affiliated with a white supremacy hate group for several years. Lindsay Schubiner, program director at Western States Center, spoke of the past fascist efforts and contemporary movements, encompassing the whole of recent socio-political change and the drives, differences, and motivations of alt-right movements. Most recent speaker Dr. Shon Meckfessel spoke on “When Free Speech is Actually its Opposite.” He highlighted 4 key points in organizing against white nationalism:
- Platforms are not a right.
- Some questions are closed.
- Tolerance has a limit.
- What do we give space to?
Everything changed in political discourse when Trump controversially commented after Charlottesville and the resulting death of anti-fascist activist Heather Heyer, “What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at, as you say, the ‘alt-right,’ do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact they came charging with clubs in hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem? I think they do,” adding, “You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent; nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now.” (CNN)
At home in the Pacific Northwest, our region has become a center for fascist organizing. It is being led by young, eloquent, social-media-prominent, seemingly charming individuals who wrongly believe that they alone are on the cusp of a positive societal shift. They advance stereotypical, racist bigotry, willful targeted intolerance, hate-speech, and violence.
Here we find people such as a white nationalist socialite and Post Falls resident, frequently present at fascist events, who has a strong social media following of 23,000 on Instagram. Her boyfriend is a leader of the white supremacist Identitarian Movement in Europe, responsible for organizing and employing anti-refugee ships on Europe’s coastal shores, unnecessarily risking the lives of desperate human beings.
Here we also find Whitman County’s new Precinct Committee Officer and alt-right Charlottesville provocateur, always outspoken racist James Allsup. (One of his most recent actions targeted refugee charity World Relief of Spokane.)
Identity Evropa, distinct from other hate groups, orients itself toward a polished neo-nazi glow, refined to deceive and confuse the uninformed. This becomes all the more disastrous when local media outlets wrongly frame Identity Evropa’s intentions as matters of “free speech,” instead of recognizing an infringement on the safety and freedoms of our friends and neighbors, including vulnerable youth. Families Against Bigotry seeks to clarify this threat posed by Identity Evropa, most especially to the parents, students and staff of our local school districts.
Toxic politics happen when Spokane County Republican leaders comfortably associate themselves with a prolific neo-nazi wolf James Allsup, wearing conservative wool, who was hosted by Northwest Grassroots, a group which has featured speakers from hate groups before. Currently elected Spokane County and Spokane Valley officials were present at Allsup’s talk: recently resigned County GOP Chair Cecily Wright, Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins, and Rob Chase, County Treasurer. Within 3 days of the revelations of Allsup’s talk, on August 2nd some 20 organizations including Families Against Bigotry and PJALS mobilized a response, organizing a No White Supremacy Rally outside the Spokane County Courthouse, which was followed by another at the Spokane Valley City Hall led by FAB.