On the evening of January 20th, hours after Donald Trump was sworn into office, several dozen militants converged in the San Gabriel Valley – not only to make our stance against authoritarianism clear, but to begin making steps toward actualizing our desire for communities controlled by their own residents.
In the days prior, groups around the SGV engaged in a concerted postering effort, pasting up hundreds of fliers around high schools and working class neighborhoods.
Around 7 p.m. on the night of the 20th, individuals began meeting on a corner in La Puente. Multiple police cruisers and SUV’s were on site and patrolling the neighborhoods that surround the corner as people began to trickle in to the convergence point. By 7:30, there were around 40 people, many masked, waiting for the march to begin. A large banner reading “NO PASARAN: VALLE DE SAN GABRIEL SERA LA TUMBA DEL FASCISMO” was unfurled – prompting the group to immediately take the street.
As the march proceeded down the large residential street of Valinda, chants of: “make racists afraid again!”, “make the guillotine red again!” and “no more presidents!” were shouted as residents looked on, some cheering along, from their homes.
The size of the march was relatively small, granting the group agility as its main asset. Some high school students and various residents who came across the march shouted “fuck trump!” in support, raising the spirits of everyone on the streets. As the march continued, some of those residents elected to join the march for a short period of time.
By 8:30, CHP, West Covina PD and the LA Sherrif’s department had all been called in and skirmish lines formed on major streets that the march passed, in an effort to keep us away from the freeway entrances for the I-10. These skirmish lines were greeted with jeers and chants from the crowd: “la migra, policia, la misma porqueria!”.
The group maneuvered around these blockades, but after quick internal discussion, decided to remain in the residential portions of West Covina and La Puente, in order to try and boost the fighting spirit of the largely working class latino population that resides here.
By 9:30 the march returned to its starting point and all participants were able to disperse in different directions without being snatched up by the police.
We believe that this event is significant for a number of reasons. First and foremost, La Puente and the San Gabriel Valley at large have a unique history of radical organizing. Ricardo Flores Magón and his brothers agitated and hosted speaking events in La Puente between 1916 and 1918. We see the militant nature of this march as continuing that forgotten legacy.
We also recognize that organizing and agitation, especially by militants, rarely happens in suburban areas. Most organizing work places its focus squarely on metropolitan sections. We believe that it is obvious for us to organize in our own communities, the ones that will be directly targeted by the new administration’s agenda.
We aim to build toward a movement of autonomous neighborhoods that can adequately defend themselves from racist vigilante and state repression.
This march was a first step.