Local right wingers, calling San Diego’s Chicano Park a “huge monument honoring Communism and La Raza ultra nationalism,” are campaigning to “take down” the site and its associated murals as a payback for the Confederate monuments being removed around the nation.
FINAL UPDATE: Here’s my account of how the community responded. It was a proud moment in the fight against racism.
UPDATE: To be clear, there is no right wing protest scheduled for Chicano Park on Sunday or any other time at this point. (The article doesn’t say there is; try reading it before declaring you’re willing to shed blood.)
What is happening is that a campaign is being organized by the fright right to make the murals a toxic issue, get funding cut, slander the history of Chicano/Latinx resistance.
Mr. Ogden and a small number of his fellow cockroaches WILL likely show up at the park, armed with cameras, hoping to get footage for a YouTube video they can shop to various reactionary media organizations.
There is currently a community solidarity event organized for Sunday, September 3 at Noon at the park. The original organizers have agreed to follow the guidance of the Chicano Park Steering Committee, to wit: NO ACTION WILL BE TAKEN without the express request of the CPSC. They, the brown berets, and others will handle any interaction needed. –dp
City Councilman David Alvarez’s office has received “many racist emails” calling for the park’s destruction after an extremist site called for readers “to make them more nervous to know that the effort is spreading nationwide.”
It all started with an interview with “local patriot activist” Jeff Schwilk on Carl Demaio’s radio talk show. The former Minuteman leader commiserated with the host about the indignity of removing a plaque from the Daughters of the Confederacy honoring Jefferson Davis from Horton Plaza, moving on to complain about “Nazi symbols**” and “Communists” in the murals at Chicano Park.
At Roger Ogden’s Patriot Fire, formerly known as Impeach Obama Now, the plea to contact city officials followed the admonition “Chicano Park is also a monument to the Aztecs, who performed mass human sacrifice and took part in ritualistic cannibalism. ”
The San Diego Free Press has obtained copies of correspondence discussing what appears to be a scouting expedition by the rightists, who are planning to visit the park on Sunday, September 3rd at 1pm.
Schwilk and Ogden have a storied history of “we’re-not-racist” nativist activism in San Diego.
Schwilk’s leadership role in the post-2000 re-incarnation of the Minutemen was documented at length by the Southern Poverty Law Center a decade ago.
On Saturday mornings, when they travel to the sleepy suburban gas stations where immigrant day laborers go to find work, they create scenes that would play well in a show called “Nativists Gone Wild.” They call immigrants “wetbacks” and “Julios.” They pull out Mace and threaten passing motorists who disagree with them. Calling those who hire day laborers “slave masters,” they’ve been known to slap flashing amber police lights on their SUVs and chase the would-be employers down. When they’re not busy physically intimidating migrants, they take to the airwaves and the Internet to accuse them, without a shred of evidence, of running child prostitution rings and practicing “voodoo Santeria rituals.“
In 2009, Schwilk was ordered to pay $135,000 to a Korean-American ACLU activist who filed a defamation lawsuit after the SDMM circulated photos of her and referred to her in derogatory and racist terms.
Schwilk reappeared in 2013 as one of the founders of the San Diegans for Secure Borders Coalition. A Doug Manchester era Union-Tribune profile of the group neglected to mention his past associations.
Roger Ogden has become one of San Diego’s foremost purveyors of right wing fright. He runs a YouTube channel (in addition to Patriot Fire) responsible for whipping local nativists into a frenzy when Imperial Beach considered a Welcoming City resolution in 2016.
A video titled: Imperial Beach Council Welcomes Terror / Drug ‘Refugees’ combined with a World Net Daily article was responsible for one of the more lamentable scenes ever to take place at a city council meeting. (And that’s saying something!)
Here’s a snip from the Reader article giving the flavor of the occasion:
Most recently Ogden’s leading the opposition to the San Diego Unified School District’s anti-bullying program created in the wake of increasing reports of anti-Muslim incidents.
Here’s a snip from Conservative Base coverage:
U.S. citizens, led by a group called Citizens for Quality Education, spoke out on Tuesday before the San Diego Unified School Board against the progressive/Marxist plan to force acceptance of Islam on students under the guise of an anti-bullying program, according to political activist Roger Ogden.
Regardless of what the right wing plan for “taking down” Chicano Park includes, activists in Barrio Logan are ready to oppose them.
SDFP editor and activist Brent Beltran put it this way:
“It doesn’t surprise me that white nationalist types would attempt to make Chicano Park an issue in their hateful propaganda. But the community is already mobilizing like they’ve done in the past. Chicano Park is sacred space and its caretakers don’t take too kindly to those attempting to disrespect it.”
**Ogden’s propaganda spews lies faster than Donald Trump, but I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the Nazi image fallacy. For the Mayans the Swastika stood for the creation and for the Incas and Aztecs it represented the four seasons due to its four arms, the center symbolizing the sun. It is a symbol found in various cultures dating back to a 10,000-year-old Stone-Age cave.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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