There were two sides of the fight at the California State Capitol on Sunday, but there were more than two groups involved.
Traditionalist Worker Party
The initial rally was held by the Traditionalist Worker Party, which on its website calls itself “America’s first political party created by and for working people.” And yet, the Traditionalist Worker Party is not a registered political party in the state of California.
Instead, the group is a front for neo-Nazi sympathizers, founded by a prominent white nationalist. Matthew Heimbach, the group’s founder, is “considered by many to be the face of a new generation of white nationalists,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
On Heimbach’s Twitter, he quotes Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. He also tweets anti-Semitic sentiments, recently referring to Jews as parasites.
Golden State Skinheads
The Traditionalist Worker Party was joined by the Golden State Skinheads, which on its website encourages its members to unite under the Traditionalist Workers Party banner. The site also has photos of its members giving the Nazi salute, and on a page titled “Nationalist Networking,” lists a link to the Texas Klu Klux Klan.
By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)
The anti-fascist effort was led by a group referred to as By Any Means Necessary; its full name is the “Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.”
The group used grassroots organizing techniques to bring members to the Capitol on Sunday to protest the neo-Nazi rally. One of the group’s founding members, Yvette Felarca, told ABC10 News that the counter-protest was a success because they made it harder for the Traditionalist Worker Party to hold its rally and recruit potential members.
“In the current climate today with the level of anti-immigrant scapegoating, and even racism that we see exemplified in the political campaign of racists like Donald Trump, these fascists do feel that they now have a green light to start organizing,” Felarca said.
Anti-Fascist Action Sacramento
BAMN had allies in the Anti-Fascist Action Sacramento group. On its website, the group displayed a poster promoting the counter-protest that read, “Fighting fascism is a moral duty, not a political one!!! Ignoring them only perpetuates white supremacy!!!”