BEING THERE: We The People Rally

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Photo by HENRY SAVAGE

The threat of a large contingent of violent, pro-fascist Proud Boys and racist skinheads descending on the MAGA-aligned We The People rally this morning at Independence Mall never quite materialized. In fact the two dozen flag-waving MAGA types that assembled behind a vast police cordon on the lawn on the northside of Market street were outnumbered by hundreds of anti-fascist #PushBack counter-demonstrators who taunted them from across the street with chants of “WHO’S GOT THE NUMBERS?” and “ASS-HOLE” and signs that read NAZI PUNKS FUCK OFF and SMASH THE FASH. There was a giant pussy puppet prowling the crowd, a New Orleans-style street band and even a coven of anti-fascist witches putting hexes on the pro-fascist demonstrators — which is something you don’t see every day. A sizeable contingent of Antifa showed up dressed in black battle gear and spoiling for a fight but a huge police presence kept both sides separated on either side of Market street.

At one point pro-fascist demonstrators attempted to infiltrate the anti-fascist side shouting white nationalist/MAGA slogans and attempting to sow chaos but were quickly unmasked and physically ejected by anti-fascist demonstrators. Alan Swinney, a notoriously violent white nationalist/Proud Boy who was last seen strangling Antifa members at an October rally in Providence, showed up dressed in riot gear but kept his powder dry behind a cordon of police protection throughout the event. During the course of the rally, members of each group broke off onto the side streets off Independence Mall to duke it out. At least four people were arrested and many others were pushed off each other by police. Dialogue or discussion of differences did not take place, no political divides were bridged, and after a few hours of chants, taunts and scuffles, both sides left the ideological battlefield and returned to their respective homes in the Red and Blue Americas of the mind. — HENRY SAVAGE

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Photo by JONATHAN VALANIA