Mein So-Called Kampf: Downtown Houston Edition
Few might have noticed, but a scene that would not have been out of place in the tail end of Germany's Weimar Republic unfolded on the streets of downtown last Saturday, with Neo-Nazis and anti-fascists doing verbal battle right in front of Christ Church Cathedral.
A group of area Neo-Nazis called the Aryan Front Line Skinheads planned a rally to salute the memory of David Lane, a white nationalist author and founding member of the white supremacist group The Order. Along with several other members of The Order, Lane was convicted of several crimes in relation to the 1984 race-related murder of Jewish Denver talk radio host Alan Berg. Lane died in an Indiana federal lock-up in 2007.
Though it had been deleted from the white supremacist message board it was posted on by Monday morning, we were able to fish the invitation out of Google cache. For reasons that will become apparent momentarily, it seems likely that it was sent by a local neo-Nazi by the name of Kensa Chandler, a California transplant to the Houston area. (Chandler, if it indeed it was her who posted the invite, didn't respond to an interview request from Hair Balls.)
The poorly-spelled invite referred to Lane as the organizer's "personal hero," and continued to say that "his priceles article's, essay's, nd poems" would be handed out, along with "some blown up picures of him to paste to cardbord to walk around with while makin some choice word chants."
While the event was being hosted by Aryan Front Line Skinheads, the invite continued, "any and all are welcome. The ONLY thing NOT WELCOME IS DRAMA." To keep the event drama-free, the organizer urged a certain restraint in the dress code department: "Please leave your flags at home, unless it is the [White Power World Wide] flag. And most importantly please no Giant swazi t-shirt's, or swazi arm bands, ect. Before you chew my ass, I love the swastika, as it is forever placed on my body multiple places, and throughout my home BUT THIS IS DAVID LANE'S DAY. Not your's, not mine, Not Hitlers, Not anyone but David Eden Lane's and I don't want any attention taken away from that."
Unfortunately for the Nazis, the local anti-fascists were on the case. Only there wasn't much of a case to be on: only one carload of Nazis showed up. Meanwhile, 40 rabble-rousers from area anti-racist and socialist groups were there to wave banners sporting legends like "The only good fascist is a dead fascist" and make their own "choice word chants."
In fact, according to this report from Houston Anti-Racist Action (a representative of which also declined to be interviewed, and who also blurred the faces of all the rally's non-racist participants pictured at the link above), the anti-fas (as they are known) were about to go home when lo and behold, the Lone Pick-Up Truck of the Would-Be neo-Nazi Apocalypse arrived. Inside the truck were the heavily-swastika-tattooed Kensa Chandler and an entourage of three burly biker types, only one of whom sported a mullet. (Though they all rocked goatees, which as I hope everyone would know by now, is the new mullet.)
Bedeviled by chanting anti-fas, Chandler attempted to harangue the masses with rhetoric about her hero, only this was a sweltering Saturday afternoon in downtown Houston, so masses were in short supply. After ten minutes, Chandler and her heavies gave up and skulked back to whatever beyond-the-Beltway Aryan Homeland they came from. We're imagining it's somewhere to the north, because in Houston, you've got to go north to find the Deep South's scary side.
The whole event couldn't have gone off much worse for Chandler. In the invite, the writer had insisted that "we are not going to be made to look like idiots on this day."
Um, Hair Balls is gonna have to go ahead and declare an epic fail on that, hmm-kay...
Leaving aside Chandler's reprehensible politics, why would anyone think it would be a good idea to give a speech (about anything) in downtown Houston on a Saturday? Nobody is down there when the weather is glorious, still fewer when the heat index tops 115 degrees. (Maybe it was too hot to hate.) You might as well take a bullhorn and walk out in that sad void where Astroworld used to be and yell at passing traffic on the South Loop.
Second, there's that whole "What if I threw a party and only I showed up" deal. That had to smart a little. Evidently it did, because back at one of their online Nazi-lairs, the same person who sent out the original invite had this to say :
"Just wanted to say Thanks to all those who came out and supported. Oh wait, Just about no one did.(except for 3 righteous bikers/Klan) So all you ****in people who claim to be white nationalist in the Houston area, you STAND REAL TALL AND PROUD RIGHT NOW BECAUSE WE GOT SHOWED UP BY ANTI'S AND SHARPS. So thanks for your time and shown respect for a man who I am starting to think no one is worthy of in this ****in town."
A town unworthy of David Lane? Even in week three of this comically brutal heat wave, maybe Houston is worth it after all.