Fortunately for the peace of the nation, no dairy products were hurled

Nothing to see here, nothing to worry about. Move along, move along.

Really, no problem at all. It’s just a few armed neo-Nazis crashing into a Pride parade.

In Detroit, an armed white supremacist group called the National Socialist Movement (NSM) descended on the annual Motor City Pride Festival, where they held placards, gave Nazi salutes and displayed armbands with swastikas.

Photos from the event, which was attended by thousands of LGBT+ supporters, showed a group of around 10 neo-Nazis marching surrounded by police officers.

Dressed in black with a number carrying firearms and shields, the NSM marchers tore apart pride flags and pushed over at least one counter-demonstrator. One even appeared to urinate on an Israeli flag.

See? They were supported by the local police, so you know it was an entirely trouble-free and socially acceptable intervention. They didn’t mean any harm, as a few quotes from the NSM show.

[The National Socialist Movement] NSM will be armed and counter-protesting the freaks, wrote Burt Colucci, the self-identified “commander” of the neo-Nazi NSM, on Russian social network VK.

NSM, lets put some boots on the ground!! I don’t really give a damn about op-sec or Antifa in this situation. We go in with Swastikas blazing and if people don’t like it, tough shit…

I might have been concerned and distressed, but no milkshakes were thrown. I repeat, there were no milkshakes. Thus was civility and order preserved.


  1. says

    I don’t think it is correct to say they were supported by the local police. It was appropriate for the police to surround them to prevent a violent confrontation. We’d need more information to know whether the police response was entirely what we would want it to be, but they certainly should have been there.

    That said, this is real ugly.

  2. DanDare says

    The world is going insane.

    WTF were the police doing. How were these total nut jobs allowed to even come close to other peaceful and respectful citizens? That’s not free speach its hate and intimidation.

  3. says

    I’ve seen a few cowboy movies, which represent the height of American rugged individualism. It’s pretty common for the sheriff to have visitors check their guns in order to protect the peace.
    I’ve seen what the police do with leftists/liberals at political events: sequester them in “free speech zones”.

    The appropriate thing for the police to have done, then, was take away any weapons from the Nazis and keep them apart from the parade. They did not do that. They escorted them into a confrontation. I call that “supported by the local police”.

  4. cartomancer says

    I’m sure there were some !very fine people” on both sides. There usually are.

  5. andiek712 says

    I just watched a group of veterans of D-Day telling their stories last night. Now I feel like I’ve slipped through a time warp.

  6. says

    My grandparents’ generation were trained to kill armed men bearing swastikas. Now cops escort the bastards straight to their targets.

    Sad to say the US keeps slipping down my Travel Bucket List. Stay safe, all.

  7. Artor says

    The pig in that photo looks perfectly comfortable standing with a gang of actual Nazis. I am unsurprised.

  8. says

    This is from the report to which PZ linked:

    A buddy of mine is a first responder in Detroit: “The Nazi group had no escort at first. There was TONS of Detroit Police at Pride. Like, as in… THEY CALLED IN EVERY OFFICER PHYSICALLY ABLE TO WORK. When NSM was found to be armed they were given an escort because…” 1/x

    — Jon Olfert (@canuckfreezeray) June 9, 2019

    “…it’s easier to control a smaller & coherent group with said escort than increase presence in a chaotic mob & hope for the best. NSM was stopped still for a while until there was a suitable escort to keep them in line.” 2/x

    The police could not legally do what PZ proposes, that is disarm them and prevent them from walking freely in a public space. The police are not allowed to arrest people for something they might do in the future.

  9. PaulBC says

    “I don’t really give a damn about op-sec or Antifa in this situation.”

    Where were Antifa? I thought they were pretty good at predicting where Nazis were going to show up.

  10. Rich Woods says

    Swastikas blazing

    I’m happy to provide a public service and set light to all their swastikas for them. I’m sure I can make myself available long before the next parade. Form an orderly queue, my little blackshirt friends.

  11. Ichthyic says

    The police are not allowed to arrest people for something they might do in the future.

    actually, this is very much not true, both in fact, on paper, and historically.

    police are at all times given a TON of leeway to make personal determinations of what constitutes a potential threat to public safety. Apparently you never paid attention to all the times they have detained and arrested people at peaceful protests every fucking year. It’s just that the people they arrest are:

    A: Not White
    B: Progressive

    it has been this way for as long as there have BEEN police in the US.

    I’d laugh at you but what’s the point,really?

  12. lochaber says

    I saw a clip of that yesterday, and thought it was disgusting.

    but not surprising.

    I’ve attended a handful of anti-nazi and “leftist” protests, and all of them were adamant in the organizing info not to bring weapons, backpacks, or even sticks for posters (just rolled up paper). Meanwhile, these fucks show up armed, and try to claim they are “peaceful protestors”, get police protection, and then try to claim they are being oppressed?

    then there is that bit where there is nothing peaceful about white supremacy

  13. PaulBC says

    @Ichthyic And police in the US have de facto carte blanche to shoot you for what they think you are about to do. It is very interesting that a 15 year old black kid reaching for a cell phone can be plausibly spun as a threat while armed Nazis are treated as a “peaceful” demonstration. It says something about how our police and our dominant culture assigns threats. There’s a word that means reaching a judgment beforehand, if I’m not mistaken.

    Thankfully I don’t live in an “open carry” state, but if I did see someone carrying a gun without any conceivable reason, I would go. Ideally, I would leave conspicuously enough to make my reasons clear, though seriously I would just want to get the f— out of there without incident.

    I wish this was the most typical reaction to “open carry” so the self-style good guys with guns would receive the same treatment as a person with a few weeks of unwashed body odor. They are not fit for polite society.

  14. azpaul3 says

    Someone screwed up. There should have been a dozen milkshakes thrown at the Nazis.

    All vanilla. Goes real well on those black uniforms.

  15. nomdeplume says

    Can we agreee that Godwin’s Law has passed its use-by date, and that analogies between Germany in the 1930s and what is happening now in America and some European countries is the rebirth of fascism? And yes, PZ “Nazis were Christians who were fighting for something they truly believed in“.

  16. cartomancer says

    It strikes me that one of those McDonald’s milkshake machines could quite easily be modified with hoses rather than nozzles, then mounted on a Pride float to douse unwanted fascists along the parade route. Ideally you would want to change the recipe to avoid wasting foodstuffs – I’m sure a synthetic concoction that combines stickiness, visibility and aerodynamic qualities could be whisked up no trouble. Follow up with a wide-muzzle glitter cannon for maximum effect.

  17. Rob Grigjanis says

    nomdeplume @19: Godwin’s law is simply inapplicable in this case, since we’re talking about actual nazis. The probability of comparison involving nazis necessarily starts at 1.

  18. nomdeplume says

    #21 Rob, you and I know that, but I am guessing there are those who would resist the comparison.

  19. Saad says

    The safety of people operating as Nazis in public shouldn’t be important in a decent and moral society.

  20. davidnangle says

    I’m a bit confused about their own designated name. Yes, “National Socialist” from the original Nazis… but they are contemporary American right wingers… So are they National Socialists against socialism? And they urinated on an Israeli flag, but they’d fight tooth and nail to maintain military funding for Israel?

  21. brucegee1962 says

    Speaking as a Charlottesville resident, when Nazis go prancing around in public, don’t blame the locals or even the police — blame the Supreme Court’s Skokie decision that guaranteed them the right to march. Besides, horrible as they are, there have been Nazis in this country for almost a hundred years now, and yet we’ve survived.

    What makes these new cases different and strange and scary and insane is the fact that now they’re allowed to be armed. The first and second amendments mix really badly. Legislators and courts all need to address this post-haste and give municipalities the ability to make protests gun-free zones, or one of these confrontations is going to turn into urban warfare with a bunch of cops and civilians caught in the middle.

  22. F.O. says

    The police likes fascists by inclination.
    On top of that, fascists are deliberately infiltrating it.

  23. Scott McKinley says

    I think PZ is right in that there seems to be a class of laws referred to as “going armed to the terror of the public” that is used to deny guns at protests. I don’t know if Detroit has that law, but it seems pretty common.

    However, I would not blame the individual police at the event since they may not have been the ones who made that determination. And maybe they could only make such a determination on the ground if the guns were used in a threatening manner.

  24. ck, the Irate Lump says

    brucegee1962 wrote:

    Legislators and courts all need to address this post-haste and give municipalities the ability to make protests gun-free zones, or one of these confrontations is going to turn into urban warfare with a bunch of cops and civilians caught in the middle.

    You might think the biggest threat is the guns in those spaces, but you’d be wrong. It’s actually the masks the counterprotesters wear that threaten public safety the most, so that’s why the “Unmasking Antifa Act of 2018” was introduced by Rep. Donovan to put an end to this dire threat of masked faces. And in case anyone is worried that this might impact the ability for the KKK to rally, keep in mind it’s the “Unmasking Antifa Act”, so it should be quite clear who it’s targeting.

    Who knows how many more people will be killed, maimed, assaulted, or intimidated if these masks are not taken off the street?

  25. Rob Grigjanis says

    Saad @23: What a weird sentence. If you mean you approve of killing people who say they’re nazis, why not just say so? And maybe you could provide a comprehensive list of people/groups whose “safety shouldn’t be important” in a “decent and moral society”.