October 7 was a beautiful sunny day in Quincy, a comfortable 70 degrees. There was rain in the forecast for the night, but until then, the conditions were perfect for building a counter-protest against Blue Lives Matter fascists.
On October 7, 2020, dozens mobilized against a far-right “Back the Blue” rally in Quincy. Solidarity Against Hate, a “coalition of community groups and individuals who have been mobilizing against fascist organizing in Boston since 2017,” organized the counter-protest to confront the far-right rally on Quincy Shore Drive across from The Clam Box restaurant.
“In a time where we’re all witness to an endless stream of videos documenting the extrajudicial murders of Black people by police officers, the true intent behind the ‘Back the Blue’ rallies is clear: to intimidate people of color in our communities and to celebrate their oppression at the hands of the police,” Solidarity Against Hate wrote on its Facebook event. “This is part of an ongoing project to build an ultra-far-right movement across the North East, and so we must condemn and come together as a community to reject the thinly-veiled white supremacist messaging of ‘Back the Blue.’“
Racist far-right organizers under the guise of “Back the Blue” have been notoriously trying to ramp up support by popping up in towns all over Massachusetts, especially on the South Shore, holding rallies that are highly protected by the agents of the state.
As participants started arriving for the counter-protest at 3:45pm in front of the Squantum Yacht Club (about 5 blocks from the bootlickers’ event), the organizer for the protest expressed that we may very well be outnumbered by the fascists. Only about 20 people had responded to the Facebook event as “going,” and looking at the far-right rally from a distance, there seemed to be a large group, waving their thin blue line flags. But this worry of being outnumbered quickly changed.
We started marching towards the rally about fifteen minutes later, and many counter-protesters started showing up to join our group. As we neared the white supremacists, we saw that their group was smaller than we had estimated, and we were starting to amass a larger contingent of about thirty-five protesters.
A Solidarity Against Hate organizer had told us that our goal was to drown out the “Back the Blue” contingent and its hateful message with our chants, noise makers, and bullhorns. We started chants of “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” when all of a sudden, police tried to block us on the sidewalk from walking any closer to the racist rally. Our crowd effortlessly stepped around them in the street and we proceeded on towards the “Back the Blue” goons. Police created a barrier with their bicycles around the rally, so we marched right up to this line.
At this point, I counted, we had fifty protesters to their forty, and we chanted with bullhorns and out-shouted the racists with chants like “Black Lives Matter!” “Say her name: Breonna Taylor!” and “Indict, convict, send these killer cops to jail; the whole damn system is guilty as hell!” The Blue Lives Matter crowd didn’t seem to have any chants of their own and just blasted pop music from a P.A. system, while making dirty faces at us, laughing at us, calling us “f*ggots,” and hurling other bigoted epithets at us.
Disappointingly, many cars driving by honked in support of “Back the Blue,” but just as many cars honked in support of our group when they saw Black Lives Matter signs. We went on chanting as our group spread out to try to surround the fascist rally. This is when I started to see infiltration tactics craftily executed that brought an unexpected aspect to our counter-protest.
Given the unique location of the event, situated on the sidewalk along Wollaston Beach, participants of our crowd were able to utilize the beach to get around the police and stealthily slip across enemy lines. Very quickly, we started seeing signs of Breonna Taylor and Black Lives Matter hoisted up high amidst the thin blue line flags and “America Backs the Blue” signs. Several members of our contingent came face to face with the far-right rally-goers within the heart of their group, squeaking rubber pigs in their faces and chanting them down. Police repeatedly tried to grab counter-protesters and force them back over onto the other side of their bike barricade, as their clear mission was to protect the bigots at all costs.
Some counter-protesters pulled down a thin blue line flag, and a Back the Blue supporter got right in their faces with a menacing look, and threatened to hit them. He was quickly pulled back and guarded by a cop, whom he put his arm around as if to say “We got your back, you got ours.” Other counter-protesters crossed the street where there was no police presence. There, an altercation broke out after a counter-protester flew an upside-down American flag, a common symbol of political protest.
A cop immediately ran over to seize the flag from this individual, and confusion ensued. No one seemed to understand what caused the hostility of this cop, as he aggressively gripped the flag pole, and was able to rip the pole from out of the individual’s hands. But the counter-protester maintained possession of the flag.
Minutes later, that same flag was being burned on the sidewalk by counter-protesters across the street, in front of The Clam Box. This triggered the Blue Lives Matter crew, and some of their members left their barricaded bubble to put out the fire. They were too late, however, as the flag had completely burned to a black crisp. They still wanted to show their patriotism, especially in front of the police, so they proudly stamped the smoking ashes.
Six o’clock rolled around and our contingent of solidarity against hate was still going strong, surrounding the “Back the Blue” rally and drowning them out with chants and bullhorn sirens. The far-right ralliers’ only defense was to mock us and make fun of counter-protesters’ appearances, using vulgar hand gestures. It seemed as if this could go on all night, as two hours had already passed.
But there was one element of the day left waiting. Dark clouds began rolling in from the direction of our Solidarity Against Hate counter-protest, like symbolic comradely weather rushing in to wash out the fascists, as they and their ugly flags melted away under the pelting of heavy rain. Our group watched as the bootlickers packed up all their thin blue line flags and disappeared into their vehicles before we all took cover under roofed seating areas alongside the beach.
The rally was over, and the counter-protesters went home after a job well done. It is very important for communities to organize and stand in solidarity together against these “Back the Blue” rallies to thwart the rise of fascism in our communities. The “Back the Blue” rallies seek to embolden the police state to maintain their use of excessive force and carry out their discrimination of minority groups and communities of color. A prime example of how we fight back and win can be seen in our most recent article on Lynn residents successfully halting a deportation of an immigrant father, in which the Lynn police aided in ICE’s detention and attempted deportation.