Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Moment of Silence

Charlottesville, Virginia

A moment of silence for Heather Heyer, a 32 year old woman anti-racist and Sanders supporter, who was murdered yesterday in Charlottesville, VA.  She was part of a protest against a fascist, racist and nationalist mobilization by various 'alt'right', Nazi and Klan groups.  This murder took place at the hands of a car driven by a 20 year old Republican and white supremacist in the "Vanguard America" group from Ohio.  Some of the other 19 people hurt could be members of various groups like the IWW, Black Lives Matter or Red Neck Revolt.  It has been reported that two DSA members and one ISO member were injured.  Also unknown is who has been arrested.  This is reminiscent of the killing of 5 CWP members by the KKK in Greensboro, NC in 1979.

Fascists Blocked in Charlottesville, VA
A new stage in the class war in the U.S. has arrived.  Perceptive analyses of actual fascism - as opposed to impressionist, borrowed or lazy ones - posit that it is only when a wing of the ruling class decides to back these forces that fascism can gain strength.  At this point at least 3 people in the Trump cabinet - Bannon, Gorka and Stephen Miller - are supporters of these kind of forces.  Top capitalists in the Republican Party benefit from them, especially those based in the former Confederate south.  This rally was an attempt by the fascists to forge a 'united front' to increase their paltry numbers.  That is significant. 

Trump 'evenhandedly' denounced 'violence by both sides' and was immediately praised by the Daily Stormer for his restraint.  Because of this clear support by the White House, a wing of the Republican Party and the part of the capitalist class tied to that party, the left must begin to mobilize a large, permanent anti-fascist front.  It has to ignore the liberal's plans to protect racist speech or to 'ignore' the fascist right.  This is not a polite debate.  As any reading of history understands, it is precisely their ability to march and attempt to violently control the streets that is at stake.  The Democrats and liberals would prefer that we go back to the 1920s, when the Klan proudly marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in their thousands.    

Leftist observers in Charlottesville claim 500-1,000 right-wingers were confronted by 'thousands' of counter-protesters, some flying black and red flags, who prevented them from marching from their rally site to other places in Charlottesville, including to a black housing project.  The police were absent except around a small area of the original rally, and did not separate the two sides.  The spent the day passively watching for the most part.  Any idea that the 'police' would somehow lessen this confrontation is wishful thinking.  They actually hope the right gives the left a thumping.  A brawl in front of the police station resulted in the police looking ... away.  Even when the right-wingers pushed into a police line, no one was arrested.  A black student was severely beaten by rightists in a parking garage, and no one was arrested.

Weapons carried by the right-wingers included baseball bats, AR-15s, Glock handguns, brass knuckles, tear gas & pepper spray, smoke grenades, clubs and flag poles with metal tips. Many of them wore helmets and shields.  The deployed in military order. This weaponry far outweighed anything the left brought.   Unprovoked physical assaults by these racists on older counter-protesters did not elicit any response by police and patrolmen.  The police did not intervene. Some ostensibly neutral armed 'militia' members attempted to keep the two sides apart, but could not.

This is not about 'free speech' - this is about intimidation, violence and death.  A scraggly 'left' opposition will not succeed in most cases in opposing this until large and more organized numbers are brought to bear.

Robert E Lee was a supporter of slavery, and removing his statute to a private park full of historical statutes is the right thing to do - not enshrine him as a hero in a public park.  Lee has always been treated with veneration, even by Civil War historians who admired his military skills and his aristocratic and reserved personality.  These historians - Catton, McPherson, Foote - for the most part approached him a-politically.  That is now changing through the efforts of anti-racist and anti-fascist forces.  It is about time.  Finish the Civil War!

An excellent analysis of security and defense needs by the U.S. left in confrontations with armed right-wingers was just published on Counterpunch: https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/18/the-fetishization-of-violence-reflections-on-charlottesville-wwii-and-activism/

Prior commentaries on the violent U.S. ultra-right, below.  Use blog search box, upper left.

(Prior reports that Heyer was a member of the IWW on IWW web sites were incorrect, according to a press release by the IWW.  My apologies.)

Red Frog
August 13th, 2017

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would you please change 'International' to Industrial? thanks!

Red Frog said...

What was I thinkin? Of course, you may want to change that name...