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Sunday, January 6, 2019

CANCELLED YELLOW VEST PROTESTS IN SACRAMENTO HIGHLIGHTS CONTEST OVER THE MOVEMENT’S MEANING


By ABNER HAUGE|LEFT COAST RIGHT WATCH

 
Left-leaning Yellow Vest Sac's flyer warning about far-right groups attending a now-cancelled Yellow Vest protest at the State Capitol building in Sacramento.
There’s a fight in the United States over what exactly the Yellow Vests stand for.

A Facebook group called Yellow Vest Protest Sacramento planned a demonstration in front of the State Capitol building for tomorrow morning. The Facebook event and the Yellow Vest Protest Sacramento page have since been deleted for unknown reasons. The event is still viewable on the website carpe-diem.events. The description says it’s a “forum to gather public opinion on a peaceful protest of unconstitutional gun laws and excessive taxation.”

A left-leaning group called Yellow Vest Sac created an event in opposition slated for the same time and place. It’s since been cancelled due to bad weather.

A flyer posted on their Facebook page on January 1st reads “SHOW UP JAN 7. “Yellow Vest Protest Sac” is organizing a rally at the Sacramento Capital building. In attendance will be members of the State of Jefferson, New California, III% Militia, and other groups affiliated with right wing violence and a history of committing hate crimes. SACRAMENTO IS PROGRESSIVE!”

Numerous members of the III% Militia have been charged with hate crimes, including the firebombing of a mosque.

The State of Jefferson is a project to split parts of northern California and southern Oregon off into a new state with more right-libertarian laws. The Oath Keepers militia is listed among its supporters, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The New California movement is a similar effort to split the more right-leaning rural parts of the state into a new state

The left-leaning Yellow Vest Sac group says their demands are for healthcare, education, “workers rights over corporate profit,” housing, ending police violence, and an “end [to] enforced austerity.”

James Lee Clark, an activism coordinator at the Sacramento Green Party, shared the flyer on January 2nd. He urged people to come and go in groups “as there is a possibility that there may be some far right individuals in attendance.”

Two years ago, a rally at the State Capitol by the white nationalist Traditionalist Workers Party ended in a brawl with counter-protesters and multiple stabbings by neo-Nazi gang members.

In the top Facebook photo results for “Yellow Vest Sacramento,” there’s a picture of a bungee chord tied in a noose in front of a Confederate flag.

Dixon's photo of a noose in front of a Confederate flag captioned "Monday Justice comes the the [sic] Sacramento Capitol. Yellow Vest March. Demand Democrats hang."

“Monday Justice comes the the [sic] Sacramento Capitol. Yellow Vest March. Demand Democrats hang,” writes the photo’s author, Claude E Dixon.

The photo was posted yesterday, but it was repurposed from an earlier post that Dixon captioned “Democrats should fear what is coming. Americans all we need to do is wake up. I saw it at the MAGA rallies. Time to come together as a country. Voting didn't work, and if they are not stopped we lose in 2020. How much more do we tolerate? TIME FOR ACTION.”

Clark said in his Facebook post that “[m]any who have signed up for the right wing version [of the event] are regular conservatives who can be brought into the working class struggle.”

The Yellow Vest movement started in France as a popular reaction to austerity measures–policies by the government meant to balance the budget by raising taxes and lowering spending on social services. Because the Yellow Vests aren’t a strictly left/right movement, many on the far-right have been trying to hijack it in the United States.

Resist Marxism in Boston tried to co-opt a Yellow Vests event on December 22nd. People at that event waved III% Militia flags.

Haley Adams, an activist associated with Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys in the Pacific Northwest, adopted the Yellow Vest imagery in December for her own livestream protests.

The New California movement donned yellow vests to make an announcement against “globalism” and “socialism” on December 8th. In the statement, New California movement founder Paul Preston said they stood in solidarity with the French Yellow Vests. Preston claimed the French protests were caused by the United Nations Agenda 21 initiative. Conspiracy theorists think Agenda 21, a 1992 non-binding sustainable development project, is a blueprint for a malign, totalitarian global government.

For many, “globalist” can be interchanged with terms like “the 1%.” For far-right conspiracy theorists “globalists” are a cabal of specific wealthy and powerful people who want complete control of the world. Anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, particularly white nationalists, often use the term to mask their discourse about supposed Jewish control of the world and push for greater acceptance of their beliefs.

The Yellow Vest Sac protest cancelled the event as of 4:42pm, saying “Due to the nature of risk and the nature of the weather, you should show up at your own risk or not at all.”

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