Permit sought for 2nd free speech rally on Common, in November

A “free speech” rally was held on Boston Common in August.
A “free speech” rally was held on Boston Common in August. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/File)

A second free speech rally is planned for November on Boston Common, after a demonstration there in August was overwhelmed by counter-protestors, who accused the organizers of providing a platform for racists.

A group calling itself Resist Marxism says on its website that it will hold a “Rally for the Republic” at 1 p.m. on Nov. 18 on the Common.

Organizers of the prior rally adamantly denied they were propping up bigots, and Resist Marxism is toeing the same line.

Who’s not allowed at their event?

“No Marxists, No Fascists, No Communists, No Racists,” the site says.

It also dubs the November demonstration as a moment when “Freedom of Speech returns to Boston,” when those gathered will “Honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice” and “Stand for the flag, Stand for your Constitution.”


A spokesman for the city parks department said in an e-mail that a “Free Speech group did apply for a permit for what they call a ‘Patriotic Freedom Rally.’ The permit is pending and will go through our normal special event review process.”

The August rally ended early after the speakers addressed only a small group of sympathizers and were drowned out by counterprotesters, who chanted “Go home, Nazis” and other slogans.

John Medlar, an organizer of the August event, told the Globe last month that the Boston Free Speech Coalition was planning a second rally on the Common for November, with a theme of “Defending Free Speech.”

Medlar posted the Resist Marxism flyer for the November rally on his personal Facebook page Monday.

Resist Marxism describes itself as an umbrella organization that includes groups across the political spectrum, including “conservative, libertarian, civic nationalist, and classical liberal organizations. We do not associate with neo-Nazis, fascists, communists, and of course Marxists.”

The group says it was formed “in response to the extreme hostility towards free speech exhibited by local governments and militant Marxist, anarchist, and communist styled organizations. The administrations in cities such as Berkeley CA and Boston MA have worked to actively suppress the 1st amendment rights of those seeking to host patriotic and free speech rallies and events.”


Prior to the August rally, which occurred one week after the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh had vowed to do everything possible “so that the march or this demonstration does not happen in our city.”

Beth Healy, Meghan E. Irons, and Michael Levenson of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.