This past Saturday evening in St. Louis, MO, the St. Louis County GOP hosted a talk by Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County, AZ sheriff notorious for his department's inhumane treatment of undocumented immigrants. The talk, which was condemned by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, was, at one point, disrupted by a young woman who shouted "You're a fucking fascist, so fuck you!" before fleeing the room. We spoke with that woman, whose name we are withholding for her safety.
Jewish Worker: What are you comfortable telling people about yourself?
Arpaio Heckler: I'm in my early 30's, live in St. Louis, and am a proud communist Jew.
How did you find out Arpaio was speaking?
I was asked by Latinx organizers to attend the dinner a few weeks ago, to utilize my white privilege and get in there unsuspected.
So you dressed up all nice to give the impression you belonged there?
Exactly. I wore a red dress, and dressed very conservatively. I was with another comrade, which made it a lot easier.
Did you have to pay to attend?
Unfortunately, we did. We got two tickets for a total of $160.
What are your thoughts on Arpaio?
Wow, what to say about Arpaio. This is a man who brags about having concentration camps — a fact he brought up again in his speech on Saturday night, the supposed "war on the police," and how [former NFL star Colin] Kaepernick should have been fired immediately for kneeling during the pledge.
He tries to play up the doddery old man act, but he is a full blown fascist. He is a racist, who singles out Black and brown folks. He gets pleasure out of controlling the lives of those who were under him in those camps. He is vile.
The people in that room were no better. They lined up to spend $20 to get their pictures taken with this man in front of a "wall" backdrop.
How could I not say anything in the face of fascism? He should never feel comfortable.
So after a while you got up, played the wall, had your friend start filming, and then just did your thing and left?
I was in that room for close to three hours.
We made everyone believe we belonged there, while comrades were outside with banners, shutting down the road.
Oh, I didn't realize there was a protest outside. How big was it?
It was around 30-40 people. They had amazing banners. We've got some amazing activists in St. Louis. Fearless Latinx folks who put their bodies on the line.
So after you shouted and left, did anyone follow you? Was there any attempt to assault you or have you arrested?
Oh yeah, a bunch of folks got up after me. I just kept on walking. When we drove by, I saw police officers searching the parking lot.
The thing that really got to me was when Arpaio was speaking why he was using tents. He thought since he had to be in one in the Korean War, that it was good enough for prisoners. He served in a racist and unjust war and thought he could bring that disgusting imperialism back home. So he literally bought up Korean War tents at army surplus stores.
And then he wants to know why people compare them to concentration camps.