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The Anti-Racist Action Network (ARA) is a decentralized network of anti-fascists and anti-racists in North America. ARA activists organize actions, including criminal violence, to disrupt neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, and help organize activities against fascist and racist ideologies. ARA groups also oppose sexism, homophobia, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, and the anti-abortion movement. ARA originated from the skinhead and punk subcultures.
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Anti-Racist Action was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the late 1980s by members of the anti-fascist skinhead group Minneapolis Baldies and other activists. ARA then expanded to several communities in the United States and Canada. Members of Love and Rage, a revolutionary anarchist organization, played a major role in building ARA groups and the ARA Network in the 1990s, and the group's structure was formalized in 1994 at the first Midwest Anti-Fascist Network conference, in Columbus, Ohio.
On August 24, 2002, a neo-Nazi demonstration was held in Washington, D.C., and several ARA affiliates held a counter-demonstration. A melee resulted and 28 ARA activists were arrested. Within about 36 hours, most had been released from jail, and many claimed that they were not properly informed about any crime they had allegedly committed until their release, if informed at all. The group became known as the Baltimore Anti-Racist 28. The charges were eventually dropped, and one of the 28 was not charged with any crime due to her status as a minor.
On March 21, 2010, ARA members scouted downtown Chicago waiting for the "White Pride World Wide" march that was advertised months prior by the Illinois National Socialist Front. Apparently, the INSF had backed out of the march several weeks prior, but four Neo-Nazis were spotted and confronted by anti-fascists. Two members of racist groups were arrested, and a pro-diversity rally was held nearby. No Anti-fascists were arrested.
On April 15, 2011, ARA members confronted the National Socialist Movement's annual conference in Pemberton, New Jersey. A melee ensued with reports indicating that four members of the NSM being hospitalized and the conference being shut down. The following day in Trenton, NJ, the NSM Held a 90-minute rally at the Statehouse, which was outnumbered fourfold by anti-racist counter-protesters.
On May 19, 2012, up to 20 people wearing masks and black clothes entered the Ashford House Restaurant in Tinley Park (a suburb of Chicago) and used bats and hammers to beat patrons who were attending the fifth annual White Nationalist Economic Summit and Illinois White Nationalist Meet-and-Greet. Five members of Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement, which is part of the Anti-Racist Action Network, were subsequently charged with felony counts of mob action, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property. The meeting was organized by the Wood River-based Illinois European Heritage Association, which claims associations with White News Now and Stormfront, an Internet forum for white nationalists.
Points of Unity
Anti-Racist Action has four points of unity to which all chapters must agree.
- We go where they go. Whenever fascists are organizing or active in public, we're there. We don't believe in ignoring them or staying away from them. Never let the Nazis have the street!
- We don't rely on the cops or courts to do our work for us. This doesn't mean we never go to court, but the cops uphold white supremacy and the status quo. They attack us and everyone who resists oppression. We must rely on ourselves to protect ourselves and stop the fascists.
- Non-sectarian defense of other anti-fascists. In ARA, we have a lot of different groups and individuals. We don't agree about everything and we have a right to differ openly. But in this movement an attack on one is an attack on us all. We stand behind each other.
- We support abortion rights and reproductive freedom. ARA intends to do the hard work necessary to build a broad, strong movement against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination against the disabled, the oldest, the youngest, and the most oppressed people. We want a classless, free society. We intend to win!
- Anti-Fascist Action
- Lin Newborn
- Red and Anarchist Skinheads
- Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice
- "A Better Way". www.splcenter.org. Retrieved 2015-09-11.
- Matt Snyders (20 February 2008). "Skinheads at Forty". City Pages. City Pages, LLC. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- Love and Rage Archive, Minneapolis Anti-Racist Action(archive), Love and Rage
- "A History of "Anti-Racist Action"". Anti-Racist Action. The Anti-Racist Action Network. 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "Support the Baltimore Anti-racist 28".
- "Support the Baltimore Anti Racist 28!".
- "Call to Action Against Neo-Nazis in Toledo! : Cleveland IMC (((i)))". Cleveland.indymedia.org. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- C. Alexander (2010-03-14). "Solidarity & Defense: Callout to Confront INSF ‘White Pride World Wide’ March in Chicago". Solidarityanddefense.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Anonymous (18 April 2011). "The Battle of Pemberton: ARA vs. NSM". Anti-Racist Action. The Anti-Racist Action Network. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "Neo-Nazis, opponents brawl". Burlington County Times www.phillyburbs.com. 2011-04-18. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Ben Feldheim, Nick Swedberg, Carrie Frillman, and Lorraine Swanson (19 May 2012). "Police: Mob Attacked Specific Group of People Inside Tinley Park Restaurant". OakLawn Patch. OakLawn Patch. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- Rueff, Ashley. "Five charged in mob attack at Tinley Park restaurant". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- STEVE METSCH (21 May 2012). "Bail set for five charged in attack at Tinley Park restaurant". Sun-Times Media (Sun-Times Media, LLC). Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "The Anti-Racist Action Points of Unity". Retrieved 1 April 2011.
- Official website
- A Communiqué on Tactics and Organization to the Black Bloc, from within the Black Bloc, by Columbus ARA & The Green Mountain Anarchist Collective (NEFAC-VT), 2001.