The New Jersey European Heritage Association has been hassling Princeton, NJ for months now. On Saturday, they decided not to show for a rally they announced and pretend it was all a joke when we said we will hassle them back. We still will.
PRINCETON, NJ – The day before the New Jersey European Heritage Association (NJEHA) was to hold a rally, the fledgling White supremacist group posted on their Twitter and Gab accounts that it was all a prank and never intended to have a permit, even though residents caught group members posting flyers a week before announcing a rally at Palmer Square on Saturday at Noon.
In the end even though the NJEHA failed to make an appearance, hundreds of community members, clergy and antifa who came out to protest Saturday and celebrated what they saw as cowardice on the part of the group.
Despite the NJEHA cancellation, the city still prepared for massive numbers of people converging on the Square, but instead of confrontations with hatemongers, those that did opted to call attention to the racism and hate of such groups, encouraging communities to push back against them. No injuries or arrests were reported and much of the city operated business as usual, with Nassau Street, the main road through Princeton still open to traffic and shops taking in customers, serving as a backdrop to ralliers as theye chanted, “No Nazis, no KKK, no fascist USA!”
Joining the protesters was Dr. Cornel West, a Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and he reminded the crowd that they were all there “as human beings” and to not be discouraged by today’s political climate that seeks to foster division. “Do not become discouraged, this of this moment!” he said. “We can and we do make a difference!”
The NJEHA is a group that first got noticed last August at a rally in Washington, DC organized to observe the anniversary of Jason Kessler’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that turned violent and where Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer lost her life with neo-Fascist James Alex Fields, Jr. drove his car into a crowd of people, injuring several and killing Heyer. At the Washington, DC rally group members wore helmets and American flags as masks to conceal their identity. The group’s website says they believe that “we must wrest political, economic and social control away from the hostile elite who have usurped power in America.”
They reinforced this belief by saying, “Our creed can be summed up by fourteen simple words; we must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children,” using a mantra created by neo-Nazi terrorist David Lane of the Order. It is believed that the group is being led by Dan D’Ambly a worker at a New York Daily News printing plant in Jersey City.
For several months, the NJEHA has been flyering not only Princeton, but also nearby towns such as New Brunswick. Last November they performed a flash mob down Nassau Street where five members wore sunglasses and mouth gags while holding signs reading “It’s Okay to be White”. Last Sunday, a person believed to be D’Ambly was seen and photographed posting several flyers, including one announcing Saturday’s rally. Upon learning of the group’s announced intentions, community members began to organize a counter protest. Meanwhile some supporters of the NJEHA were promoting their event as late as Friday.
Late Friday afternoon, the NJEHA announced that they never planned to hold a rally. Saying that promoting one was a hoax.
The New Jersey Democratic Socialists of America posted a statement and read it at Saturday’s rally:
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) condemns both fascism and the enabling of fascism through silence. We commit not only to non-racism, but to anti-racism by organizing working people against fascist agitators trying to provoke racial hostility. Racial animosity is a core tenet of fascist organizing, and as socialists we stand against any actions that divide the working class with racist ideology. Today we are proud to say that our organizing has scared off the fascists, but we will still be rallying tomorrow to display our unity and strength.
In order to resist fascist action, we must understand that these racist agitators did not come from nowhere. They are part of a system that enables the abuse of people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, native peoples, disabled people, and others regularly targeted by fascists. Indifference from governments and the police mean that we must rely on solidarity to protect each other from those who wish to do harm.
We ask you to join us in actively resisting white supremacy in all its forms: on the streets, in the workplace, and in positions of power. Acknowledge, encourage, and assist local resistance organized by marginalized people. Recognize that peace without justice is tyranny.
People who attended the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville are trying to gain sympathy and attract like-minded people in Princeton. They want to make themselves presentable, and we’re here to let people know who they really are and what they’re really doing. We believe that the best way to avoid a violent confrontation is to overwhelm them with numbers and deny them the space to spread their genocidal ideology. By dominating the space with sheer numbers, we believe that we can show them that they are not welcome, in New Jersey or anywhere else, and steal away their platform to promote our own vision of a better world. Our adversaries’ retreat proves that we are right.
In Charlottesville and similar rallies around the country, the press has inevitably defaulted to a false equivalency in their reporting, writing about “extremists on both sides.” The police have protected white supremacists as they provoke violence; more counter-protesters have been attacked and arrested despite the violence coming from the racist groups. We are protesting this rally not to provoke violence, but to show the white supremacists that our communities will not stand for their hate.
Last year, the Charlottesville chapter of DSA put out a statement after the anniversary of Unite the Right which included: “We ask that you join us in confronting all forms of white supremacy in your community, however explicit or subtle. Whether it is gentrification, policing, prisons, ICE activity, schooling, environmental injustice, inaccessibility, or capitalism, we must confront the ways racism and fascism intersect and structure our daily lives. As a DSA chapter we believe that building a better, socialist world is not possible without this anti-fascist work. And we specifically ask DSA chapters around the country to do their part in this struggle against white supremacy and fascism.”