Worldcon 76 Response to Protests Planned Outside SJCC on August 18

Opposing rallies will be held outside the San Jose Convention Center on Saturday afternoon, August 18, while the World Science Fiction Convention meets inside. The Worldcon committee has issued a statement that they and the San Jose police are aware of these events, recommending attendees avoid engaging the protestors.

Jon Del Arroz announced in May plans for a “Rally For Freedom And Anti-Discrimination Demonstration At Worldcon 76 San Jose” where he would be joined by Erin Sith, whom he describes as a “civil rights activist with a focus on the 2nd amendment”.

The event now renamed “Predators Out Now! Patriots Rally Against Pedophiles in SciFi” is listed on Facebook as being held in conjunction with the “San Jose National March Against Far-Left Violence”

***this event is partnering with the National March Against Far-Left Violence happening the same day, and the program will include an open mic portion for testimony from people victimized at the Trump Rally two years ago at this location.***

An antifa counter-protest was announced a few days ago on a newly-created website, “Hate Not Welcome in San Jose”, scheduled for the same afternoon at the San Jose Convention Center:

Rally in support of immigrants, refugees, people of color, women, LGBTQ, and all others under attack by Trump’s agenda and his violent supporters

A mob of racists, fascists, neo-Nazis, and bigots are descending on our city to intimidate members of our community and forward their hateful message. These individuals are members of the fascist organization the Proud Boys as well as other groups of violent Trump supporters that are coming to San Jose from out of town. Members of the Proud Boys have been recorded making threats against immigrants at their rallies, including declaring that immigrants heads should be “smashed into concrete.” We are calling for a mass mobilization to send a clear message that their racism and bigotry will not be tolerated here.

Worldcon 76 today advised members how to cope with the “Outside Event Taking Place on Saturday”:

Worldcon 76 in San Jose, the San Jose Police Department, and the McEnery Convention Center Security are aware of the protest and counter protest that are planned to occur on Saturday afternoon adjacent to the convention center plaza. The San Jose Police Department, the center, and Worldcon 76 have discussed how to ensure that these demonstrations do not impact events inside the center.

The best course of action to maximize your safety is to simply avoid engaging either the protestors or the counter protestors. We encourage our members to consider alternate routes and entrances to the convention center that avoid the front plaza on Saturday afternoon. Convention volunteers will be available to assist you in accessing the center through these alternate entrances. As with any other convention, only properly credentialed members will be allowed into our convention spaces.

If you have any questions about this you can email [email protected] or during the convention come by the Ombudsman office in room 112/113 or ask any staffer and they can direct you.

The rally is Jon Del Arroz’ most ambitious effort so far to leverage Worldcon 76 for attention, after being banned from attending and filing a lawsuit against the convention.

He says about Erin Sith:

Erin is also extremely brave by being a member of the trans community speaking out on behalf of Trump. She is the Candace Owens of the trans community and more people need to see her message for equality’s sake.

As Del Arroz sees it, “Antifa is showing up to attack a rally by a Hispanic and a trans woman against pedophilia in fandom. Why are they pro pedophilia and attacking minorities? It’s almost as if the left is a bunch of racist bigots.”

Erin Sith has been involved in violent clashes between alt-right/neo-fascists and Antifa. An article on IndyBay (which misidentifies her by her legal name, Erin Smith) offers this take on the upcoming event:

On August 18, Erin Smith is organizing a rally outside of Worldcon, a science fiction convention. Smith has been known to show up at rallies to livestream and agitate crowds, filming activists to be doxxed later on by right wing internet trolls. Smith also attended the violent far-right rally in Portland on June 30th. She was filmed getting on top of someone who was on the ground, beating them while shouting homophobic

Erin Sith’s Twitter account is here.

Click the link to see footage of Sith beating a protestor in Portland.

Same footage, with better audio of the homophobic slur she was shouting.

A pro-Erin version:

Del Arroz and Sith can be heard discussing the forthcoming rally in a YouTube video released August 9.

Update 08/12/2018: Learned Erin Smith is the person’s legal name, so the IndyBay story was not a “misidentification”.

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90 thoughts on “Worldcon 76 Response to Protests Planned Outside SJCC on August 18

  1. A bit of fan history might be in order here. I’m not sure JDA is aware of this, but the modern practice of conventions barring members who promise to be disruptive, or who are a known threat to the safety of the attendees, comes from a couple of past incidents that ignited major feuds in fandom.

    Worldcon 1 was marked by the exclusion of six members of the Futurians over mundane political issues that were intruding upon the fandom of the day. As far as I can tell from the published evidence, both sides mishandled the situation, and it got out of hand (what do you expect from organizers who were short on social skills, and whose average age was twenty or less?).

    In the years that followed, committees hesitated to do anything to cause a repeat of the controversy over the Futurian exclusion. Then, with the 1964 Worldcon, a known, convicted pedophile was excluded from that convention. The resulting feuding was even worse than that over the Futurian business, if I read my history correctly. This happened several years before I found fandom (I go back to 1973), but I’m sure Mike Glyer and a few 770 readers have personal recollections of the “Breendoggle.”

    It was this issue, when reconsidered much later, which prompted con committees to issue set rules of conduct for con attendees, and to bar attendance by individuals who broke these rules, or were a threat to the safety of attendees. Thus exclusion, on a case-by-case basis, became socially acceptable in fandom (and has, no doubt, protected concoms from a good deal of legal trouble).

    It is ironic that, since such exclusion has become normal, JDA was excluded for cause–the rationale behind this change in fannish customs involved the exclusion of a known pedophile. Under the old customs, JDA would probably have been tolerated. Under the new customs, he got the heave-ho. And the change in customs came about partly due to the issues surrounding the “Breendoggle.” Keeping safety threats and troublemakers out of the Worldcon is an issue dear to JDA’s heart. He should have known better than to become a troublemaker himself.

  2. @Mike Glyer– my information isn’t autopopulating either. On desktop Chrome or Android chrome.
    I figured it was just me until Red Wombat said something. This occurred across several sessions and two days now.

  3. This is the first I’ve heard that the Breendoggle had anything to do with the modern movement toward codes of conduct, which by my recollection began decades later. Can anyone confirm?

  4. Have a safe con, everybody. I’m slightly puzzled by the purpose of the del Usional protest given that he is also, if memory serves, a big fan of Milo. But then consistency in narrative has never been a strong point for these folks…

  5. The demonstration is scheduled for between 12:30 (I think that is for people to gather and set up. I checked their Facebook page) The official time is 1 to 4 pm.

    I was always advised when visiting a foreign country to avoid all demonstrations. I worked for the Navy and they did not want Americans involved in going to foreign jails etc. I would also advise all foreign nationals (this is a WORLD con) to avoid the demonstrations even if seemingly peaceful for the same reasons I was told to avoid demonstrations when visiting other countries. If Antifa shows up they will cause trouble. My main temptation is if there are any cool signs or flags that I will want to photograph them. This would only be after I get my mobility disabled friend safely into the convention center. I have been told that all entrances are wheel chair accessible and now I have heard that this is not even the main entrance that we would most likely be using anyway.

  6. Guys, this is, at most, going to be a small (probably embarrassingly small) protest. Please don’t overreact.

    Obviously out-of-control events can happen, but not in these circumstances. I attended what became the AB101 Riot in September 1991 as an observer for GLAAD. I saw the windows shattered and the Molotov Cocktail thrown. (It really happened; ask me to tell the story at the Filer get together.) But you only get that kind of event when a large number of people are directly targeted by something and when they already have a simmering grievance. (And when you count them in the tens of thousands.) Even then, when the firetrucks showed up and started spraying the crowd, my guys and I just walked away. We even waved at some police in riot gear we passed on our way back to the car, thanking them for coming out, and they smiled and waved back.

    If Jon had successfully pushed this as a protest against anti-Hispanic behavior, there would be local Hispanic groups supporting him, and there might well have been a chance of a big turn out. But he did not, they are not, and there is not.

    The other avenue would be aggrieved right-wingers, but the whole right-wing resentment movement is very weak right now. Look at the way the right-wing protests in Washington, DC fizzled this past weekend, that’s more along the lines of what to expect. Or even much less than that: Protests over a single person’s problems never draw more than a few friends and family.

    People should relax and plan to enjoy the convention. Saturday is just going to be a sideshow, if that.

  7. @OGH, I’m having the same issue with not autopopulating as RedWombat and Techgrrl72.
    So it appears to be an issue that affects even middle aged white cishet men…

  8. Microtherion, I can attest that the no-auto-populate problem also applies to middle-aged white cishet women…

    <edit to add> Weirdly, I just got a “subscribe” email for this post. I did NOT click the button (at least, I don’t think I did.)

    <additional edit> Ok, the box appears to have been autochecked. That’s a new development…

  9. Jeanne (Sourdough) Jackson: The Breendoggle affected the 1964 Worldcon. I got into fandom in 1970.

  10. I have found one computer where the fields autopopulate, two and a phone where they do, and one of these, I have no recollection now which, also auto-subscribed me to both the thread I was commenting in, and the site in general. it doesn’t *look* like it’s this one (the only Internet Exploder in the dataset, the other 3 are all using Chrome of some age — yes, including the only one still populating).

    Not going to Worldcon myself, but wishing safety for those who do. I have minimal experience with protests and the like, all recent, but I think the “Don’t worry too hard” crowd have the right of it — but I still appreciate seeing people offering to walk with others if they feel unsafe.

  11. If anyone wants someone to walk with on Saturday, a group of us will be escorting members gratis. Look for the pink shirts that say “I Am Here To Help.” We will make a contact phone number available on Friday so you can call for an escort on Saturday. We will have routes that are accessible and will avoid the temper tantrum at the north entrance.

  12. I have the auto-populating problem, too, both here and at Galactic Journey:

    Del Arroz says he intends to walk into Worldcon 76 despite his banning, to buy a ‘ticket’. Uh-huh. That figures.

    Well, if he tries that, he simply will be escorted out again by security or, if he makes a big fuss, by the police. Which will feed his persecution narrative, but then everything does.

    @Linda Robinett

    I was always advised when visiting a foreign country to avoid all demonstrations. I worked for the Navy and they did not want Americans involved in going to foreign jails etc. I would also advise all foreign nationals (this is a WORLD con) to avoid the demonstrations even if seemingly peaceful for the same reasons I was told to avoid demonstrations when visiting other countries. If Antifa shows up they will cause trouble. My main temptation is if there are any cool signs or flags that I will want to photograph them. This would only be after I get my mobility disabled friend safely into the convention center. I have been told that all entrances are wheel chair accessible and now I have heard that this is not even the main entrance that we would most likely be using anyway.

    That’s good advice in general. I was a kid in the late 1970s/early 1980s during the time when there were plenty of protests in Germany, anti war, anti nuclear weapons and anti nuclear power mostly, and often drew violent police response involving water cannons, tear gas, etc… You saw the footage of police in riot gear attacking protesters on the news every night, which was flat out disturbing when you’re a young kid and have been taught to view police officers as trustworthy adults. As a result, I resolved to stay away from protests as far as possible.

    In your own country, you usually know which protests are harmless (trade union marches, parents demonstrating for better childcare, high school student protests, pensioners demonstrating for higher pensions, nurses protesting for better working conditions, etc…) and which are not (Pegida, anything rightwing in general, anti G20/G7 protests, anything involving the Middle East and Turkey, anything involving the black bloc) and which can go either way (anti nuclear power protests). Indeed, one of the reasons why the police response to the Stuttgart 21 protests against a massive rebuilding project at Stuttgart’s central train station was so shocking was because this was not the sort of protest and not the sort of protesters (most were white middle class people, often elderly, protesting a development project) where you would expect to see water cannons and tear gas deployed.

    However, if you’re in a foreign country, you don’t usually know which protests are harmless and which are potentially dangerous, what sort of people to avoid (e.g. I suspect Antifa in the US means something more like what I would call black bloc), what sort of police response to expect, etc… So it’s best to avoid all protests.

  13. Dear Jeanne,

    “… “Breendoggle.”
    It was this issue, when reconsidered much later, which prompted con committees to issue set rules of conduct for con attendees…”


    I’m with Lenore. First I’ve ever heard of any connection between the too (other than alt-right agitprop**) and I’m familiar with an awful lot of CoC history.

    I’m calling “nonsense.”

    [[** No, I don;’t mean you’re engaging in alt-right crap, just that that they are the only folks asserting ties a mid-60’s Worldcon to present day. Falsely, of course.]]

    pax / Ctein

  14. @Cora: When I was a wee sprog (Briticism for ‘child’) in 1960s Hong Kong, sometimes during the summer, big protests (against actions of the mainland government, this being during the Cultural Revolution) were scheduled for downtown Victoria. However, if the thermometer rose above 90° F (32° C), there was reliably no protest at all, because, hey, no point in being a martyr just to make a point.

    I wish Jon of Clan Hardly-Any-Friends-Left a sunny, toasty 30° C San Jose day, which is certainly possible in mid-August. Even given his abode in hot-as-Hell Danville, CA, that’d cramp the style of his entire tiny clot of speech-makers just a bit. (I can also hope that a brief bit of Hong Kong-style humidity wafts down from the Sacramento River Delta, but that’s less likely.) Whoever NoHateSJ are, they’ll be a bit wilt-ey, too, and moreover likely to pretty much ignore Del Arroz’s barbershop quartet: If you read their flyer, you’ll notice their focus lies entirely elsewhere.

    ETA: In case you missed it, Del Arroz’s non-ironic use of the word ‘ticket’ is a tip-off that he has absolutely no clue, and thinks only in terms of gate shows.

  15. Let me see if I understand this correctly:

    JDA, who has harassed many people online (indeed, I was aware of him only as a harasser and cyberstalker for about half a year before I learned he also writes fiction) publicly boasts that he will violate WorldCon’s code of conduct. This, in addition to private communications WorldCon received about his behavior to people, convinces WorldCon to ban him from attendance.

    While boasting in public that his career is taking off like a rocket and asserting he’s so successful that Hugo-winning NYT bestsellers John Scalzi and Ann Leckie feel “threatened” by and are “jealous” of his success, JDA simultaneously claims that his writing career is so obscure, weak, and fragile that NOT being allowed to attend WorldCon (a convention that the hundreds—possibly thousands—of working sf/f writers are not attending) will do terrible damage to his career. This is an assertion he makes despite not attending any recent WorldCons, by choice.

    His lawsuit claims that WorldCon is discriminating against him for being “conservative” and “Hispanic,” and his legal complaint “supports” this claim by, um, directly quoting WorldCon’s official statement that it’s banning him because he announced his intention to violate WorldCon’s code of conduct.

    He then announced he would hold a public rally to protest WorldCon discriminating against “conservatives,” even though (a) WorldCon doesn’t vet political affiliation when selling m’ships, (b) a number conservatives will be at WorldCon, and( c) some of those conservative attendees will also be speakers there.

    He announced his rally would also protest WorldCon discriminating against Hispanics… even though (a) there is no ethnic screening for WorldCon attendance, (b) people of Hispanic ethnicity are attending and/or work on WorldCon, (c) this year’s WorldCon will have possibly-a-record-number of Mexican sf/f professionals attending, thanks to fandom’s support of GoH John Picacio’s crowdfunding program.

    And NOW….. (I think I missed a chapter?) JDA claims he’s holding his rally to protest pedophilia in sf/f. This is confusing. As far as I know (?), there is no intersection whatsoever between WorldCon 76 and pedophilia. Whereas JDA, by contrast, deliberately associates his name and reputation with MiloY, who lost his lucrative book contract a year or two ago in large part over his public pro-pedophilia riff.

    With each new stunt this creep pulls, he makes me realize that the last time I dismissed him from thought as a lying, whining, delusional, malicious sack of maggot-infested excrement, I really overestimated his worth.

  16. @laura Resnick. Aside from d his false flag operations that he really only just wants to spread love and joy of SFF,. your write up just about entirely sums up the entirety of Mr. Del Arroz and his activties in a comprehensive manner.

    The pedophilia crusade to “protect the children” is his newest thing. It seems that he was inspired by Mr. Beale.

  17. Laura: yep, if he only had 50p to his name, he’d still have more money than sense.

  18. There’s more people reading this thread than will be RWNJ protesting. Or even antifa counter-protesting. Or cops.

    Of all the times I’ve been to that facility, I don’t recall using the front entrance more than once.

    Do make sure you get to the Tech Museum (it’s down the street, it’s purple and orange, you literally can’t miss it). It is Maximum Geekitude. Your tinier young’uns will enjoy the Children’s Discovery Museum, which last I was there had a giant rubber duckie atop it — just down the light rail line. And though it isn’t on the official expeditions, check out the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum — very little mysticism, TONS of authentic ancient Egyptian stuff.

    It’s going to be such a tiny deal nobody’s going to notice. Like I heard dire warnings about traffic and marching in Berkeley weekend before last, and by the time I got there, downtown was less crowded than usual.

    They want us to be scared and inconvenienced. Ignore them and go about your lives, enjoying the air conditioning and congenial atmosphere. Stay inside and point and laugh from there.

    I’ve got tons of programming ticked on my schedule so I may miss the thing entirely. Oh noes, what a shame that would be. Not.

    @Steven Poore: Heh. All true.
    @Laura Resnick: I… think so? It doesn’t make sense to anyone.

    I have the lack of auto-population here, Galactic Journey, and on a non-US site that doesn’t run anything related to WordPress, AFAIK. Happened at about the same time. Commie plot, I guess, or else computers also go in for August Silly Season/long vacation.

  19. JDA’s comment about Erin Sith–She is the Candace Owens of the trans community
    Bless his heart, do you suppose he really thinks that’s a compliment?

  20. @Jeanne: I would say that the movement towards Codes of Conduct, with actual teeth, is informed by but not caused by the Breendoggle. For some time, I believe that it was an example of how it was politically impossible to actually exclude someone. I certainly saw it cited as the reason why a convention could not create and enforce Codes of Conduct in the Eighties. Things changed, but not because of the Breendoggle, as far as I can tell.

    Part of what happened is that fandom became much larger, and more fragmented. Part of it was that younger women, raised with very different expectations of the world, expected that from Fandom. Part of it was that people of color started insisting on a place at the table. The tipping point was probably Scalzi’s pledge to attend only conventions with a robust CoC. But Scalzi was just clearly articulating an already robust movement in that direction, and giving it both visibility and a bit of a push.

    The Breendoggle is historically interesting, and I know people who were actually harmed by either Breen personally, or the incredibly botched way in which the situation was handled. It certainly reverberates through our sub-culture. But I do not believe it was causative.

  21. [[late addition due to not allowing for non-autopopulating wedge]]
    @Lenore Jones: your recollection matches mine. I came into fandom in the early 1970’s; the Breendoggle was so far past(*)/distant that nobody was talking about it, and formal codes of conduct were decades in the future. There were arguments over weapons, but those were mostly handled by warning people who mishandled the weapons; in the 1980’s there were some bans on weapons specifically, but no general codes. Codes of conduct are even less related to the blockage at the first Worldcon, which Jeanne … simplifies.

    (*) at the time, it was commonly said that a fannish generation was five years, so the Breen episode was almost two generations back. Also, I was on the other coast; @OGH can comment on whether anyone mentioned it when he got into fandom, a few years earlier and a couple of thousand miles closer than I did.

  22. I’ve been going to conventions since about 1977 or 1978. My first Worldcon was 1982. And I first heard about the Breendoggle…. here. On File770. And since I didn’t start reading File770 until the puppy kerfuffle…. Well. <wry>

    So, while I’m sure it loomed large and was well-known in some fannish communities, in others… not so much. (I was shocked and appalled when I found out about it; I’d been cheerfully buying MZB’s books, all unknowing. Which I would not have done, had I known. <sigh> )

  23. Chip Hitchcock: I joined LASFS in 1970. Bruce Pelz was among those who made up LASFS’ social center, and because of his extensive collections and interest in fanhistory, whenever some tangential comment caused a bit of major history to surface, we’d want to hear all about it. The Breendoggle had been one of the items that Plunged All Fandom Into War, as they say. Bruce was married to Dian at the time it happened and apparently they both were strong proponents of the decision to ban him from the 1964 Worldcon, publishing satirical comics about the other side (which he showed us) and that sort of thing.

    Breen, as you’re aware, continued to create history on the West Coast for years, being jailed, etc.

  24. Apropos of the topic:

    I’ve been going to Worldcon (and other cons) since 1981, and didn’t hear of the Breendoggle till … I dunno, within the past 5 years? And many of the cons I’ve attended have been in the same area he and MZB lived. Breen was dead way before CoC’s became a thing. Peacebonding of weapons didn’t start till the 80s and that was way before anti-harassment CoC’s began

    @Harold Osler: I had to look Owens up, at which point I thought, “So his buddy is self-hating, rude, incompetent, and likes to hear herself talk a lot?” Not much of a compliment!

  25. The peacebonding or banning outright of weapons in Chicago-area conventions happened (so I’ve been told) as a direct result of a few irresponsible* LARPers running out of the hotel and firing “laser pistols” at the highway traffic passing in front of the hotel; this was at either Windycon or Capricon in the early to mid-1980s. This is why we can’t have nice things… <sigh>

    It was a local situation handled locally by the convention committees; so far as I’m aware it was not influenced by anything happening elsewhere in the country, but I was not on any concoms at the time so I cannot say for sure whether or not such bans were already being discussed and that incident simply broke the camel’s back. However, I’ve heard from multiple SMOFs that this incident was the proximate cause of weapons banning (for some conventions) and peace-tying (for other conventions) in the Chicago area.

    *Please note, most LARPers LARP in a safe and responsible manner. But it just takes a few nincompoops to ruin it for the rest of us…

  26. Peacebonding was definitely already a thing at my first convention, which would’ve been in 1984 in Saint Louis.

  27. I think my first con was in about 1978, and it was a thing fairly early on. Early 80s is very plausible. I just assumed it had always been like that, of course, as it seemed so entirely sensible.

    (No auto-populate)

  28. @Lenore Jones

    The scrollvolution will not be autopopulated
    The scrollvolution will not be brought to you by Godstalk
    In four brackets without large supplies of facecloths
    The scrollvolution will not show you pictures of felines
    Sitting on books of non-binary taverns in the snow
    Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein and more
    Old Favourites been touched by unforgiving Suck Fairies
    The scrollvolution will not be autopopulated

  29. @Soon Lee, with the recent creation of the “Space Force”, I’ve been introducing my friends to “Whitey on the Moon”.

  30. @Soon Lee Well done! One of my favorite pieces and you did it justice.

    The scrollvolution will not be autopopulated
    Because the scrollvolution will be pixels.

  31. @Soon Lee, nicely done. And I am honored to have poetry written to me. Whee!

  32. @Cassy B: It had come to both Colorado and California by the mid-80s, again thanks to stupid LARPers. Citizens and cops got nervous at strangely-dressed people running around screaming threats while waving real-looking weapons. Lots of cons nation-wide banned all LARP for a few years, particularly in cities where the cops had shown up and the hotels thus had their jimmies rustled. For their own survival, many cons from sea to shining sea had to sign hotel contracts that stated there’d be none of that, we promise.

    @Soon Lee: fabulous! I can hear it, bongo drums and all.

  33. Thank you all.

    I am but a sporadic filker at best, but sometimes an idea takes hold & won’t let go. This was one of those times.

  34. @Cassy B: fake pistols? Is that all? [sniff] Back East we were dealing with idiots waving swords, “morningstars”, etc. that were actually dangerous instead of just frightening nervous mundanes.[/sniff] We also had idiots with fake weapons; the 1980 Disclave was in a hotel on a strip backed by apartment buildings, one of whose residents’ alarmed call turned into (by report) the appearance of a SWAT team — that one of said idiots pointed one of the fakes at. Unlike what’s frequently reported, this team had the presence of mind to hold fire; otherwise that convention would have been the first (and only AFAIK) to be the site of a Darwin award.

    Sometimes ISTM that midwest fans (despite such things as the Cincinnati rule) are slightly less crazy — or at least have fewer edge cases — than easterners, as in leather people taking up an entire floor at the 1998 Minicon, but not damaging the hotel, unlike the 1997 Disclave.

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