Kalamazoo Project 2,000th Transportation Project under Federal Stimulus Package

Last week, the federal government announced that a $68 million project to widen I-94 in Kalamazoo was the 2,000th transportation project approved for funding under the federal stimulus package known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Thus far, the administration has committed about $6.5 billion of the $27 billion available for highway projects.

However, Michigan has been slow to get projects approved. According to an analysis from ProPublica, Michigan has received funding for only 27 projects. This has amounted to $110.8 million or 13.1% of the funds available to the state.

With the exception of Ohio, Michigan is has the lowest number of projects approved of any Great Lakes state. By contrast, Illinois leads the country with 249 projects approved and $606 million in funding.

Kalamazoo Repeals LGBT Anti-Discrimination Ordinance


Last night, the Kalamazoo City Commission repealed an anti-discrimination ordinance that sought to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered residents of the city from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The Commission voted down the ordinance rather than put it up for a citywide vote after receiving petitions from residents opposing the ordinance.

Opposition to the ordinance was spearheaded by the American Family Association of Michigan who collected signatures to force the city to either repeal the ordinance or put it up for a vote. The American Family Association of Michigan’s director Gary Glenn has said that such ordinances are “the bread-and-butter of [homosexuals’] national strategy.” An article in the rightwing World Net Daily said that:

“supporters of the campaign first seek so-called “non-discrimination” ordinances from local governments, then demand taxpayer subsidies for insurance for homosexual partners, Glenn explained. They then seek to incorporate protections for cross-dressing and other behaviors in state law and finally target the full legalization of homosexual marriage”

While Glenn has a history of emphasizing hyperbole over substance, the effort does mean that the ordinance is no longer on the books. The Kalamazoo City Commission is reportedly planning to put forward another ordinance in the future that would offer a compromise:

Mayor Bobby Hopewell: “My intent is that we will have an ordinance that will provide protections to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals.”

There is no time line for when a new ordinance might be considered or when–and if–negotiations would take place between opposing sides. According to the Kalamazoo Gazette there had been no opposition expressed at previous hearings.

I-69 Solidarity Action in Kalamazoo

Citizens in Kalamazoo, Michigan recently organized a solidarity action against a company connected to the construction of I-69 in southern Indiana.

On June 30, activists in Kalamazoo held a solidarity action against the construction of I-69 in Indiana. While this happened some weeks ago, it’s important to highlight as there is continued organizing against the highway in Indiana and around the country. Organizers in Indiana have called for a national day of solidarity actions on July 28 as the groundbreaking date for construction looms.

A report from the Kalamazoo, Michigan action:

“We are everywhere.

On Monday, June 23rd at 1:30 PM the Kalamazoo residents opposed to I-69 visited the DLZ Corporation in Kalamazoo for an office demonstration. They entered the building prepared to read a statement but were instantly harassed by an employee. He screamed obscenities, shoved the woman reading the prepared statement, and insisted that there was no office manager or anyone to discuss the impact of I-69 with. The Kalamazoo residents opposed to I-69 marched through the office with drums and whistles and exited the building.

The office seemed to instantly be aware that they were being protested. They did not want to talk or hear a word of what the residents had to say. The following letter was left on several desks and at the main desk:

Dear Kalamazoo Neighbors,

We are writing to inform you of something that is of great importance. Though you maybe unaware of this, your current place of employment, DLZ is in league with some very dark and disturbing things that are happening to the world we live in. You might be aware of the fact that DLZ is one of many companies that is helping in the formation of highway development in Indiana, the extension of Interstate-69. Now though this may seem to be “Business as Usual” or “Just another development in a long line”, this particular project is so much worse.

Interstate-69 is part of a massive undertaking that is spreading across states, countries, and indeed continents. It has been talked about for decades and gone under many different names. The NAFTA Super Highway, the North American Corridor, and Plan Puebla Panama are only a few.This expressway is a small part in the globalization of our world. To explain this further, jobs here at home are being moved across borders, the products of which will be shipped here, via I-69, to those currently unemployed. These jobs of course are going to be exploiting the global South. Not only will this further harm some of the most super-exploited people on Earth, but miles upon miles of forests, wetlands, farms, and homes will be destroyed and/or displaced from the construction of this expressway.

Between jobs going over borders, products being shipped in, farms being destroyed and the utter destruction of the natural world here at home and abroad, it seems obvious to those of us in Kalamazoo that the completion of this expressway is an atrocious, repugnant act. It is opposed by those in its line of destruction, those in other countries, and now by us in Kalamazoo.

It is with this in mind that we write you. We want you to be aware of the fact that what DLZ is doing is wrong and under the watch of people throughout the country, and the world at large. Rather than just bear witness to this injustice, we demand that this project be stopped and that it be discarded. We stand in Solidarity with our brothers and sisters who will lose jobs because of this. We stand in Solidarity with those whose homes are being destroyed. We stand in Solidarity with those who are being exploited in Central and South America. We stand in Solidarity with the farmers who will now be putting down their tools and who will be left in the gutters of development because of the actions of DLZ.

We as residents of Kalamazoo, as friends, as neighbors, and acquaintances of yours demand that YOU stop this highway.


And in Solidarity with those oppressed,

The Residents of Kalamazoo Opposed to I-69″

Racist who Organized Rally in Kalamazoo Last Summer Possibly an Informant

Hal Turner–the racist radio talk show host that held a “Raly against Black Gang Terrorism” last August in Kalamazoo–is reportedly an FBI informant. According to an email obtained by computer hackers, Turner acted as an informant and passed along information to the FBI and a New Jersey State Police sergeant about a threat on the life of Senator Russ Feingold.

Turner had a history of making–even for the racist movement–over-the-top statements advocating the assassination of political leaders, immigrants crossing the border, and anti-racist activists. Some, such as the anti-racist group One People’s Project are not surprised that Turner might be acting as an informant. It could explain why he has been able to get away with such statements.

Author Derrick Jensen Speaks in Kalamazoo

Last night, environmental writer Derrick Jensen gave a talk at Western Michigan Unversity in Kalamazoo. In the talk, Jensen argued that industrial civilization is not sustainable and that it must be taken out.

derrick jensen photo of

Last night, author Derrick Jensen spoke at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. It was Jensen’s second appearance in Kalamazoo in the past two years. Jensen, who is a fairly prominent author in the environmental movement, has written several books on the environment. However, unlike many authors covering such topics, Jensen argues that the central problem is the existence of industrial civilization and argues that we (humanity and the natural world) must do “whatever it takes” to “take down” civilization.

Over the course of his several books, Jensen argues that civilization must be taken down, and indeed, it is a bold and controversial (to say the least) assertion that will likely leave many shaking their heads. Jensen’s talk was what he called the Endgame (his latest book) talk–focusing on the question of what do we do if we do not believe the culture will undergo a voluntary transformation and what that means for our tactics. The talk is based on the premises articulated in Endgame, beginning with the idea that civilization is inherently unsustainable and that our culture believes that there is nothing wrong with the destruction of the world.

In order to understand what Jensen means by civilization, it is important to understand how he defines it. Jensen defines civilization “as a way of life characterized by the growth of cities.” He then defines a “city” as “a grouping of people large enough to require the importation of resources.” Jensen argues that once this happens, your way of life can never be sustainable and that it must be based on violence. He asserted that once people are dependent on resources outside of their immediate area, they will do whatever it takes to secure them.

Jensen began his talk by telling the audience the story of the original plot for the first Star Wars movie. Jensen asserted that the familiar story was originally about the environmental movement and it was called “Star Nonviolent Civil Disobedience.” In the film, Darth Vader and the Empire awakened environmentalists who opposed the wanton destruction of the “unique” and “valuable” planets by the Death Star. In response, the environmentalists urged people to buy products made on the targeted planets, organized “eco-tours,” required Darth Vader to file an environmental impact statement, pressured corporations on whose boards Vader sits, and wrote letters to Vader. Jensen revealed that a note on the script emphasized that the letters must be “respectful and courteous” for added realism. At the same time, some rebels filed petitions and lawsuits, while others organized thousands to go to a targeted planet to sing “give peace a chance” and send “waves of love and kindness” in Vader’s direction. In what Jensen called a very realistic scene, the environmentalists could not come to consensus about how to resist, but some did do lockdowns to try to prevent the destruction. However, another group–calling themselves the Galaxy Liberation Front–got onto the Death Star and burned transport ships while another group snuck into Vader’s office and pied him. He shared that another realistic aspect of the movie was that there was “too much debate, not enough action.” The actions of the Galaxy Liberation Front were shouted down and the environmentalists decided that rather than destroying the Death Star–the source of the destruction–they would instead change Vader by changing their own hearts and remembering that he too was once a child. In the end, the Death Star destroys the planet–although the environmentalists leave just before they would have to give their lives for the planet–and the film concludes with a still shot of page 43 of the New Empire Times where the destruction got three sentences of press.

The story provides a humorous introduction to Jensen’s question of how we resist what is essentially a death culture. Jensen said that he now feels pretty apocalyptic, especially after a friend asked him “What is it going to take?” to realize that this civilization is killing the planet. Jensen asked the question–what is it going to take–the deaths of all the salmon? Dioxin in every mother’s breast milk? Global warming? 90% of the large fish in the ocean gone? When they toxify every inch of our bodies? He asked if anyone really believes that this culture will undergo a voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable world, and as he said happens at all of his talks, nobody raised their hand.

Nevertheless, what does that mean for our tactics? Jensen said that the environmental movement loses all the time, in part because the dominant culture has tanks, cops, schools, and psychologists that ingrain its ideology and system by force. However, Jensen argues that part of the problem is that the environmental movement does not know what it wants. Environmentalists will do everything that they can to save a specific piece of land or species, but they repeatedly fail to question the “death camp mentality” that is killing the planet. Jensen said that you can see this in the debate over how to “solve” global warming as all “solutions” accept industrial capitalism as a given and do not investigate larger questions. He went on to argue that this is a symptom of a culture that does everything it can to mask what is “real”–forcing us to believe that its systems and ideologies are “real” when what is in fact real is the natural world. Similarly, he asked the audience why it is that much of the culture knows what is tattooed on Angelina Jolie’s genitals but that they have no idea what edible plants surround them or how to live without supermarkets. “We live with the celebrities, not with the land” asserted Jensen.

Jensen said that “every cell in his body” wants to believe that the culture will undergo a voluntary transformation, but that he knows that will not happen. At one point, he said simply “if we can’t breathe the air, it doesn’t fuckin’ matter”–summarizing his view that “the land is everything.” Rather than recognizing this, we have been made dependent on an “abusive system” that is slowly killing the planet. Like all abusive relationships, we have been convinced that the system is benefiting us. Jensen said that if our experience is that our water comes from the tap, we will defend that system. We have come to believe that it is natural for the needs of the economic system to come before the natural world. Moreover, Jensen argues that we have turned a blind eye to the violence that the system requires, we don’t see the inherent violence in civilization, in part because much of the violence is externalized, but also in part because the question of “what you do when you are involved in mass murder” is too difficult to address.

Jensen acknowledged that “taking down” civilization will be messy, but he argued that if we do not do it things are only going to get worse. He argued that the longer civilization exists; the resulting “crash” when it ends will be that much worse. He argued that the Earth has exceeded its “carrying capacity” for people and that there are more people than the Earth can support, especially at the current levels. Jensen acknowledged that this is a taboo subject to talk about and that it brings up the wrong ideas to many people–including himself. Jensen said that when one hears “overpopulation” they think of a baby in the third world, whereas when one hears “over consumption” they think of a person in the first world. He asked the audience to think about who causes the most damage to the Earth and explained that indigenous cultures always lived in a manner that did not destroy their land base. In order to prepare for the challenges that will follow the end of civilization, he urged the audience to start learning how to live in concert with the land base–learn about edible plants, learn to garden, and ask what it truly means to live sustainably.

He admitted that he does not know what exactly it will take to rid the earth of civilization; otherwise, he would have done it a long time ago. He told the audience that if there is anything “great” about the current state of affairs is that there is a wealth of work that can be done. He said that it will take “a billion different acts by people and non-humans” and that people should ask themselves what are their gifts, what they enjoy, and how you can use them for your land base. They should then act accordingly.

Jensen said that he has often been labeled the “violence guy” because he will not rule out violence as a tool. He said that in reality, he is the “everything including violence” guy and that he recognizes there is a need for differing tactics. He argued that people have a responsibility to respect the choices of those who use different tactics, stating that there must be respect and understanding between those using differing approaches. Jensen then moved into a critique of pacifism. He challenged the idea that “people need to love more,” arguing that if people really loved themselves and the land that they “wouldn’t put up with this shit.” He also rejected the idea that “you can’t dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools” arguing that a “tool is a tool” and that just because those in power use it, they do not own in. He similarly rejected the idea that “if you fight back you become like them,” asking the audience if anyone really believed that if a woman fights back against a rapist that she will become a rapist or if a tiger fights back against a zookeeper that the tiger will become a zookeeper. Finally, he said the idea that “violence never accomplishes anything” is laughable–to believe that one would have to believe that the natives handed over their land or that the African-Americans willingly boarded slave ships. He concluded his comments on the subject by reminding the audience that the Jews who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising had a greater rate of survival than those who did not.

Contrary to what many people tell him, Jensen said that despair is an appropriate response to the desperate situation that we are in. However, he said that we can be angry at those things that should make us angry–for example, corporations ruining the earth–but that we should love the things that we love. A far greater problem is the idea of “hope.” Jensen said that false hope blinds us and helps us to believe the unbelievable. He defined hope as “a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency.” He told the audience that if one says “I hope” they are saying that they have not agency. He asserted that he will not hope–instead he will not allow the dominant culture to kill the earth.

Panel Discussion Explores Police Responses to White Supremacist Rallies in Michigan

At yesterday’s “Michigan Response to Hate: Building United Communities” conference in Lansing a panel discussion was held on “demonstrations” by white supremacist groups. The panel provided a rare inside look at how police plan for counter-protests.

At yesterday’s “Michigan Response to Hate: Building United Communities” conference in Lansing organized by the Michigan Alliance Against Hate Crimes and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, a panel discussion was held on “Demonstrations.” The expressed intent of the panel was help community leaders, non-profits, and law enforcement officials “organize and prepare for scheduled and spontaneous demonstrations involving hate and bias incidents, organized hate groups, and counter protestors.” The panel featured two members of local law enforcement and provided an interesting “inside” look at how governments have handled security preparations for white supremacist rallies following the 2005 Toledo riot.

The first speaker on the panel was Darlene Sweeney-Newbern of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission who talked at length about the riot that took place in October of 2005 in Toledo when the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) attempted to march through a residential neighborhood. Sweeney-Newbern explained that the community and police failed to prevent the riot by meeting only with whom they perceived to be leaders rather than those respected in the community as leaders and by allowing the neo-Nazis to march in a neighborhood. This allowed the Nazis to exploit existing tensions in the neighborhood and when the Nazis appeared chanting the same racial slurs that the police in the community frequently used, people quickly directed the protest towards the police after forcing the Nazis to retreat. Sweeney-Newbern pointed out that two buildings destroyed in the riot were specifically targeted with a bar burned because it had a reputation as being for “whites only” and a gas station being damaged because employees had a history of treating African-Americans “horribly.” She presented a fairly complex analysis of what caused the riot, understanding that it was far more than being simply a “violent rampage” as it has often been portrayed in the media. However, she fell into the trap of blaming the violence on the “anarchists and agitators” who are “not any better than the ones marching [the Nazis].”

The next speaker was Mark Alley who is the Chief of Police at the Lansing Police Department. Alley spoke at length about security preparations for the April 2006 NSM rally in Lansing. Alley explained that the Lansing Police Department learned extensively from what happened at the October 2005 event in Toledo as well as another rally that happened in December of 2005. Alley said that his department learned that they could respect First Amendment rights by restricting the time, place, and manner of the Nazis’ speech and consequently chose to restrict the Nazis to speaking at the steps of the capitol. The police further setup an “event participation zone” that excluded vehicles and required people entering to pass through a metal detector. Along with this, they positioned 575 police officers and required the Nazis to meet at a secure location to be bussed into the city. At the same time, the Lansing Police Department pursued an aggressive media and public relations strategy of working to dissuade people from protesting the Nazis. The strategy also included the Lansing Police Department asking businesses to close in the downtown area as well as sponsoring a “diversity celebration” to draw people away from the protests. Alley described the event as a “success” from his perspective with only 16 arrests, minor injuries, and little property damage. He made no mention of the fact that none of the charges stuck.

Captain Gregory A. Krusinga of the Michigan State Police also talked about this model as it was applied at the recent white supremacist rally in Kalamazoo. Krusinga explained that the white supremacists wanted to drive a wedge in the community and that to prevent that the Kalamazoo police decided to implement a controlled “event zone” similar to what was used in the December 2005 rally in Toledo and the April 2006 rally in Toledo. He told the audience how fences were positioned in a manner that made it impossible to throw missiles at the speakers or between the “supporter” and “protestor” cages. Additionally, Michigan State Police officers were dispersed throughout the surrounding neighborhood to “diffuse” tensions. Krusinga also explained that the media was helpful in making the event a “non-event.” He further told the audience that they “knew” that some supporters wanted to confront Nazi sympathizers so that following the end of the rally the city of Kalamazoo let the protestors march without a permit in order to prevent a conflict. Krusinga explained that overall, the protest was “actually a pretty good demonstration” and that the event was a success with only four arrests.

Also speaking on the panel was Sheri Wander of the Michigan Peace Team. Wander talked about how “peace teams” have been used to diffuse violence at protests against white supremacists over the past ten years in Michigan. She shared stories of how peace teams have prevented protestors from violently attacking white supremacists and argued that they have had success in deterring violence. She explained that the highly militarized police response is in itself an act of violence that essentially says that the police do not trust citizens to respond how they see fit. On a similar note, Valerie Newman of the National Lawyers Guild talked about how the Guild provides legal and direct action training. She also explained how the Guild could interface with police and work to make sure that people know the legal consequences of the decisions that they make at protests, although she said that ultimately the police can simply do “whatever they want.”

Racist Rally in Kalamazoo Part of Pattern of Organized Racism in Michigan

The racist rally that took place in Kalamazoo was one of three events by organized racists in Michigan over the weekend. The three events make it clear that organized racism cannot be ignored as city officials and the media in the Kalamazoo urged.

In advance of the white supremacist rally in Kalamazoo on Saturday, the media, law enforcement officials, and others called for people to ignore the presence of organized racists in Kalamazoo. The Gazette reported the Kalamazoo Police Department’s call for people to ignore the protest, while at the same time editorialized that people should ignore the rally. The Gazette applauded the fact that many in Kalamazoo ignored the rally in an August 5, 2007 editorial, praising “the fact that, when hate rolled into town on Saturday, most people chose to ignore it.”

However, the calls to ignore the white supremacist rally failed to take into account the fact that the rally is part of an increase in overall activity of white supremacists in Michigan over the past two years. On Saturday alone, there were three separate events held by organized racists in Michigan. There was the aforementioned rally organized by the New Jersey-based racist Hal Turner, a conference organized by the Council of Conservative Citizens, and a picnic organized by the Michigan unit of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM). The Kalamazoo rally received some limited attention in the mainstream and independent press, but the other two events were completely ignored. The Council of Conservative Citizens picnic, held in Lansing, featured two prominent racist speakers, the Canadian Paul Fromm and Wayne Lutton, a member of the national Council of Conservative Citizens board of advisors and an editor at Social Contract Press, a racist publishing house located in Michigan. Moreover, the NSM picnic was the fourth annual “white unity” event held by the group in Cadillac, Michigan. It is also important to remember that the rally on Saturday–while organized by an out-of-town racist–featured two Michigan residents as speakers, the Christian Identity pastor James Wickstrom and Ku Klux Klan member Randy Gray.

While three events on one day should be indication enough that organized racists are to be taken seriously in Michigan, it fits into an overall pattern of activity in the state. Over the past two years, the National Socialist Movement has held a national rally in Lansing and a national conference in Grand Rapids, the Council of Conservative Citizens have held several events, as has the European American Association. Michigan has also seen organized racists attempt to influence the political process, with the Council of Conservative Citizens and the Ku Klux Klan campaigning in support of the ban on affirmative action that passed in November of 2006. In Grand Rapids, there has also been an increase in racist graffiti, with at least two “waves” of graffiti attributed to “White Aryan Resistance” and the Nazi Low Riders. Media Mouse’s own research has been backed by findings of the Southern Poverty Law Center (http://www.splcenter.org) who has documented as many as 25 “hate groups” operating in Michigan.

However, far from simply being reflective of “fringe” activity in Michigan, the presence of organized racist groups in Michigan has direct consequences for groups targeted by the organized racist movement, including people of color, gays, immigrants, women, and other oppressed groups. Michigan ranks third in the United States for hate crimes, with a 640 reported hate crimes placing the state just behind California and New Jersey. Economic problems and segregation are often cited as motivating factors of hate crimes in the state, as are the presence of organized racist groups.

Racist groups must be challenged publicly in order to prevent them from gaining a foothold in communities. Many of these groups are able to have success in taking what are in many cases legitimate fears such as concern over economic uncertainty and direct them in racist directions, for example targeting immigrants rather than focusing on neoliberal trade policies. Racists are emboldened in areas where they are allowed to organized unopposed, when they are challenged they often back off entirely or are forced to resort to “underground” tactics such as graffiti or random literature drops. It is not enough to “ignore” organized racists while hoping that they simply go away.

Media coverage of these rallies often fails to challenge these movements, at best treating them as inconsequential “fringe” rallies that cannot be taken seriously and at worst providing racists a vehicle through which they can spread their message. In the coverage of Kalamazoo the rally, both techniques were seen, with the Gazette failing to look at exactly what the individuals and groups supporting the rally were seeking–essentially the genocide of people of color. In the post-rally coverage, the focus was primarily on whether or not the protests were “peaceful,” although white supremacists were given an almost equal amount of time as anti-racists to articulate their views. WZZM 13 allowed white supremacists to talk on camera unchallenged, as did WOOD TV 8. Similarly, the Kalamazoo Gazette’s article focused primarily on security concerns, giving space to neo-Nazi leader Bill White and rally organizer Hal Turner. None of the media coverage looked at the larger context of organized white supremacy in Michigan.

Racists Overshadowed by Protestors in Kalamazoo

Saturday’s white supremacist rally organized by Internet radio talk show host Hal Turner was overshadowed by the two-hundred protestors that showed up to tell Turner and his racist friends that they were not welcome in Kalamazoo. The racists turned out about 25 people, all of whom appeared to be connected to the organized racist movement.

hate speech = terrorism banner photo

Racist Internet radio show host Hal Turner’s Kalamazoo, Michigan “Rally Against Black Gang Terrorism” on Saturday was overshadowed by protestors, with Turner’s small rally of out-of-town racists and a small group of supporters–numbering around 25–easily outnumbered by the approximately 200 protestors who (un)welcomed them to Kalamazoo. During the rally, Turner and other speakers spoke to each other and a handful of supporters while facing an empty parking lot in 90 degree heat. Reflecting the fact that they have no base in Kalamazoo and were largely ignored by the media, Hal Turner failed to turn out any supporters outside of the racist movement and his calls to “Take Back Kalamazoo” went unanswered as he and his racist friends spoke behind lines of police and multiple layers of fencing.

Protestors began the day meeting at Bronson Park in downtown Kalamazoo at noon. The group waited to gauge the energy of the crowd before deciding to move to the rally site several blocks away at the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety building on Crosstown Parkway. The protestors held a spirited march on the sidewalk down Burdick Street, loudly chanting, making noise, and handing out flyers exposing the racists behind the rally. The energy was high and the reaction from community members was overwhelmingly positive.

When the protestors arrived at the rally site, they encountered Bill White and Michigan resident Neal Joitke, both of whom are affiliated with the American National Socialist Workers Party. The two men argued with protestors outside of the security zone while wearing their ill-fitting Nazi uniforms until they were essentially forced behind police lines by protestors. Apparently, this was the much hyped (by Bill White) “independent action” that he promised to organize in Kalamazoo. During this confrontation, several members of the Michigan chapter of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) including Dan Hill and Dan Carlson excited the “supporter” area of the rally and attempted to instigate a fight with the anti-racist protestors. At first it appeared that the police were willing to let this happen as they seemed to be looking for reasons to make arrests throughout the day, but they eventually moved in and forcibly separated the two groups using horses.

The protestors maintained a presence outside of the security perimeter for the duration of the racists’ rally, attempting to drown out the speeches with noise and chants. The crowd remained energetic throughout, waving signs that read “K-Zoo Not K-K-K-Zoo” and “Racists Go Home” along with banners reading “Hate Speech = Terrorism,” “No Nazis, No KKK, No Racist USA,” and “Racists Here w/Gov’t. Help.” The crowd banged on bucket drums, used air horns, and chanted while making it clear that the racists were not welcome in Kalamazoo.

After the rally concluded, protestors attempted to confront the white supremacists, but the racists were quickly led by police onto Kalamazoo city buses and escorted out of the area. Realizing that they were not going to be able to confront the racists, the protestors staged an unpermited march back to Bronson Park. The march was initially led by chants of “Whose Streets? Our Streets” and “Nazi Crew Out of K-Zoo,” although “Cops and Klan Go Hand in Hand” became a prominent chant when police began to force the march onto the sidewalk by pushing protestors with horses. Police repeatedly told protestors that “your protest is over” and appeared to be looking to make arrests, although none were made during the march despite a tense stand-off when the group of 75 protestors was split in two in front of the Kalamazoo Gazette building at 401 S. Burdick. Following this stand-off, the march continued from the Gazette building to Bronson Park on the sidewalk. Upon arriving at the park, the police arrested two people who went on the amphitheater stage, an area that was for some reason determined to be “off limits” by the police.

Much touted plans by Hal Turner and company to stage a post-rally event in Detroit appear to have been cancelled, as the information has been pulled from Turner’s website and there have been no reports coming out of Detroit.

The protest was organized by Michigan Against White Supremacy.

Protest White Supremacists Tomorrow in Kalamazoo

The following comes from Michigan Against White Supremacy:

On Saturday, Internet radio talk show host Hal Turner, members of various Ku Klux Klan groups, and other representatives of the organized racist movement will hold a rally in Kalamazoo in order to spew racist hate speech and attempt to attract new members to the racist movement.

In opposition to the event, there will be a protest to oppose the racists:


Bronson Park (corner of South Rose and West South St)


Bring signs, banners, noisemakers, and drums to make it clear that white supremacists are not welcome in Kalamazoo.

The protest is organized by Michigan Against White Supremacy.

“Eye on Hate” Raises Concern about another Racist Event in Kalamazoo on August 4

On the Thursday, July 26 edition of “Eye on Hate” radio, again featured a lengthy discussion of the upcoming white supremacist rally in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Cochran, who is a former member of the Aryan Nations who left the racist movement in the early 1990s, dedicates his show to exposing organized racists.

He set the context for the program by explaining that Michigan has around 20 identifiable white supremacist groups and that they are a part of what is essentially a “flourishing” movement around the country. Cochran explained that organized white supremacy in Michigan can be traced back to the late 1920s with Father Charles Coughlin who hosted a racist radio program. The Klan and neo-Nazi groups maintained a low-level presence until the 1960s according to Cochran, when a man named Bob Miles of Howell–who was connected with Aryan Nations–was eventually convicted for bombing school busses in an effort to stop desegregation. After Miles death in the early 1990s Cochran asserted that he thought the movement had waned, but in recent years there has been an upsurge in activity with leaders like James Wickstrom, neo-Nazis in Cadillac, Michigan, and a national rally in Lansing.

Cochran explained that the tactic of attacking “black on white” crime has been effective one for white supremacists in terms of getting them media coverage at past rallies. He emphasized that Turner–who is the main organizer of the rally–is dangerous in that he encourages violence but that he himself is not violent. He argued that the rally will be entirely surrounded by police, but that the bigger threat to the community might be neo-Nazi organizer Bill White who has also announced that he is coming to Kalamazoo. Cochran expressed concern that White might take his “activism” to the streets. In the past, this has included a variety of stunts designed to gain media attention–especially the marching of racists through neighborhoods of color. Cochran argued that anti-racists in Kalamazoo must have a plan for dealing with White if he attempts to march through an African-American neighborhood in Kalamazoo. Cochran also explained that when he was a racist organizer, the white supremacist groups with whom he worked rarely returned to areas where they were directly opposed and instead focused on areas where little challenge was made to their organizing efforts. He further stressed the importance of organizing for the long-term and not just focusing on the fourth of August.

Cochran reminded his audience that this was the third time that Turner has organized a rally against so-called “black on white” crime. Two previous rallies–dubbed “flops” by Cochran were held in Knoxville, Tennessee. During the first of these two rallies one of the speakers for the Kalamazoo event–Alex Linder–was arrested. Both events were overshadowed by protests organized by the Knoxville Anti-Racist Action and other groups.