A few days ago, a group of activists including individuals from Disarm the NYPD protested at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, New York. They were confronted by a “motorcycle club” called the Hollowed Sons. In full view of the police, members of the Hollowed Sons committed acts of violence against the activists. You can see videos of this yourself from Animal New York.
Nonetheless, no one was arrested. In fact, local political leaders and the media differed only in the degree of whitewashing the violent fascist response from the Hollowed Sons. CBS Local New York cited moderate critics, such as one Steven McKie, who said, “It’s two different things. One stands for freedom and democracy, another stands for something completely different.” The New York Post ran a headline that said: “Weenies burn flag to protest cops, get attacked by bikers, need cops to save their asses.” The Post quoted one of the bikers:
“They took off like little bitches,” said one biker. “They lit the fucking flag and took off running once they got slapped once or twice.”
(How would the New York Post have responded if the activists used superior violence to the motorcycle gang? Would they be called the opposite of “weenies,” “brave” perhaps – or would they be called “terrorists” or some such thing instead?)
Incidentally, neither the New York Post nor CBS decided to quote the threats Disarm the NYPD received. These included support for racist violence – “I am praying that a few patriots with some automatics and dum-dum rounds attend and blow their black stupid ignorant asses to hell.”
Don’t forget, this protest was intended to be a response to the racially motivated shooting of nine black individuals in a church by Confederate-flag-waving Dylan Roof.
Most articles, the New York Post being particularly noteworthy here, focused on the illegality of starting a fire in a public park, and the subsequent loophole of burning a flag in a barbecue grill. They didn’t mention any of the minor crimes or park violations committed by the pro-flag reactionaries. If we wanted to nitpick, for example, we could point out the fact that kicking over the barbecue grill or trying to “steal” the burning flag are technical offenses, at least on par with starting an illegal fire.
But they’re not even talking about the fact that a fascist motorcycle gang used violence on peaceful protesters exercising “First Amendment rights.”
Authority figures lined up to condemn the activists and support the motorcycle gang. Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams said he was merely “sympathetic to those protesting institutional racism,” but went on to condemn the act of flag burning. Bill de Blasio, Mayor, called the flag burning “divisive, disrespectful,” but also said nothing about the acts of violence committed by the motorcycle gang.
NY Senator Marty Golden condemned the activists. He even went further, expressing his support for the motorcycle gang and calling them “pro-Americans”:
As a proud American, I was disheartened to learn that an American Flag was burned tonight in historic Fort Greene Park. It is a sad day for all of us to watch this despicable act of hatred take place on sacred Brooklyn ground. I salute the many pro-Americans who showed up and stood tall in the name of our rights and liberties.
To all, remember that freedom is not free. Never forget it. And fly those flags. The stars and stripes, the red, white, and blue, are not going anywhere. These colors don’t run.
Disarm the NYPD issued a statement on their Facebook highlighting facts that that no one in the media has covered. They said that the motorcycle gang, or other “pro-Americans” as Senator Marty Golden called them, were carrying weapons; “far right counter-protesters, flanked on all sides by rungs of NYPD officers, were permitted to openly and menacingly brandish hammers in public in Fort Greene Park.” They also pointed out that the Hollowed Sons is a motorcycle gang “primarily composed of former and off-duty police officers.” And no one in the media has mentioned that the Hollowed Sons were wearing Nazi regalia: “As the green Iron Cross on their leather jackets indicated, those who don Nazi regalia are more than willing to stage another Draft Riot in the same way that Dylan Roof acted on the ideology of the insignia that he wore.”
Keep this in mind the next time someone refers to “media bias.” Bias isn’t merely a pro-Republican or a pro-Democrat spin. It has to do with the full marginalization of certain perspectives, and the whitewashing and endorsement of others. The idea that individuals exist who oppose the American regime is intolerable to American institutions across the political spectrum. This results in the fabrication of a narrative across the board; politicians, the police, the media – and even fascist criminal gangs – collude to tell a story in a way that benefits their interests and minimizes critical analysis.