On Saturday, October 17, 2020, about twenty labor union members, anti-police brutality campaigners, advocates for release of prisoners affected by COVID-19, and leftists from Oakland and San Francisco led a contingent to the counter-demonstration against a rally by the far-right Proud Boys. Initiated by Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party, the participants joined others standing against the bigotry of the self-described “Western chauvinist” group. It was clear from the start that the anti-fascist gathering far outnumbered the rightwing group assembled at United Nations Plaza in San Francisco. There were over 400 counter-protesters, versus 5-6 who came to support the white nationalist, misogynist, homophobic reactionaries.
Chants of “No Nazis, no KKK – no fascist USA” began the day as groups like Standing Up for Racial Justice, Resistance SF, Resist Fascism, and Berkeley Antifa joined together at the plaza.
“By standing united as queers, leftists, and working people we can stop the right-wing bigots before they grow into a mass movement” said auto mechanic assistant Norma Gallegos.
Kristina Lee, a museum worker, was proud to have played a part in organizing the contingent. “It’s important that so many people came out today. I felt like a lot of press and internet postings were sowing seeds of fear. Everyone here is standing up to that. As a Black, queer woman raised in the City, I know that we always need to come out against fascists. The more of us there are, the less dangerous they are.”
In spite of the blazing sun and 90-degree temperatures, a sense of camaraderie prevailed, with legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild making sure everyone had their emergency number, and volunteers sharing snacks and water.
Holding a sign that read “Capitalism is the problem – socialist feminism is the solution,” Freedom Socialist Party leader Nancy Reiko kato summed up the event. “It was a good day. We outnumbered the right. We out-organized the right. We are stronger than the right.”