After the recent anti-fascist and anti-racist acts of resistance in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, and Durham, N.C., over the following days, including the toppling of a Confederate statue by Workers World Party comrades and allies, statements of solidarity and support were offered by:
Condemns the violent attack in Charlottesville, Va., and celebrates all those who fight against white supremacy
Our hearts go out to the people of Charlottesville, Va., especially to those who lost their lives or who were injured during Saturday’s racist attack [on Aug. 12]. We also stand in solidarity with all those who in the face of these attacks have fearlessly taken action to confront white supremacy.
As those who have been threatened with physical violence and have watched the Ku Klux Klan burn crosses in front of our strike headquarters, we are no stranger to this type of racial violence. We have seen this violence from farmers who seek to stop the progress that we have made and return the institutions of slavery and sharecropping to the South and Midwest. We have seen this violence from local police who target our people and collaborate with ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to tear apart our families. We have seen this violence from the North Carolina state legislature, most recently with Farm Bill, SB 615, a targeted attack against our union and farmworkers who are fighting to improve their working conditions. And we have seen this violence from our president whose words and policies have not only directly hurt us, but have also emboldened neo-Nazi and other white supremacist organizations to commit acts of terror.
Racism hurts us all and seeks to divide us as a people. Those who dismantle the structures and institutions of racism should be celebrated, not criminalized.
On Monday night [Aug. 14],Takiyah Thompson removed the Confederate monument in Durham, N.C., that has for too long sent the wrong message about who we are as a nation. We applaud her actions and encourage everyone to commit to organizing and building unions and strong peoples’ organizations to challenge the systemic inequities in our daily lives.
In the words of Heather Heyer, who died while fighting for what she believed in, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”
FLOC is paying attention, and we remain committed to continuing the fight for racial and economic justice for all people.
Baldemar Velasquez, President
August 21, 2017
Resolution of the Secretariat
Long live anti-fascists and anti-racists! Solidarity with Workers World Party!
On Aug. 12, Charlottesville, Va., was the scene of a far-right and white supremacist march, people nostalgic for the days of U.S. apartheid. They saw the march as an opportunity to protest against the recently renamed Emancipation Park, which had been dedicated to General Robert E. Lee, chief of the Confederate Army during the U.S. Civil War of 1861-65. The racist procession, with the collaboration of the present police forces, attacked the many comrades who had arrived in Charlottesville to block the event. In this context, a pro-Nazi militant drove his car into the anti-racist march, killing the demonstrator Heather Heyer and wounding another 19 people.
This act aroused an unexpected response. Throughout the country, anti-fascist and anti-racist demonstrations continue to take place. Although many establishment political leaders asked that people react to hatred only with “love,” some had another answer. To those who appealed to the First Amendment to justify the attacks of the Nazis, as well as to the repulsive attempt by Trump — who was also elected by the support of the ultra right — to put an equal sign between the “opposite extremisms,” the Workers World Party (WWP) comrades responded by re-launching the slogan “Make the racists afraid again! Smash white supremacy!” Thus they firmly refused to accept a narrative that would cut off every possible effective protest movement against the xenophobic offensive. In a period of social and economic crisis that is putting the Western imperialist command center through a difficult test, racism can produce debilitating divisions within the newly aroused U.S. working class.
To the slogans the comrades added their deeds. On Monday, Aug. 14, an angry protest took place … in Durham County and the people demolished the statue dedicated to the Confederacy that stood [outside] the court … since 1924. As a result, [WWP comrade] Takiyah Thompson was arrested — and then released after a few hours — for playing a material role in the destruction of the statue. Heavy charges are now pending. The same thing happened to other WWP militants involved in the demonstration.
Takiyah Thompson and her other comrades in Durham, the Workers World Party and all those who are opposed to the drive for further racism of American society can count on our utmost support.
U.S. society is in fact reacting to the high level of inequality that characterizes it and which becomes more and more unbearable every day, compounded by the severe economic crisis facing the entire capitalist West. Especially among young people, the desire to fight for drastic change and for a more just and fair society is turning them into the protagonists. Despite all its contradictions, the unexpected success of Sanders in the Democratic primaries of 2016 is an example of this movement, as is the irresolvable political crisis that led to Trump’s election. In short, it all speaks of a political class [of] capitalist interests that can no longer persuade and intoxicate the people with the “American dream.”
What better weapon could there be but racism for the ruling class to try to sabotage this wind of change? And so, the new White House tenant, signaling his support for powerful U.S. right-wing currents, is facilitating a new wave of racism that is raising its head in the U.S. Many, many others are answering this courageously, deciding to avoid the trap of a war of poor people fighting each other. Their anger remains firmly concentrated on the real enemies. The struggle of African Americans and other oppressed nationalities, far from having benefited from Obama’s presidency, is now firmly established with that of fighting for a more dignified life and a job, goals that can benefit the entire U.S. working class.
But ours is not just the look of those who look concerned about xenophobic violence and police repression directed at our overseas comrades. Ours is a watchful and militant look!
We are well aware that the watchdogs of capitalism are also trembling here in Italy, waiting to be unleashed to carry out the repression of those who are organizing and struggling for an alternative to the present state of affairs. The fascist and police repression targets those who resist in the workplace, who are accused of exploiting the crisis to break an (inequitable) social cohesion. But the fascists who fill their mouths with the tastes of nationalism are in fact the first traitors in a country that they help to plunder and impoverish more every day.
Racism, although in a different way than that of the U.S., here too is used to divide the working class, explicitly against the migrant worker. Sadly, even here the answers offered even by those in the society who welcome the migrants are unsatisfactory as they are based on the rhetoric of love and charity against hatred. This solution dodges a class approach to the issue of migratory flows and to that important sector of proletarian immigrants on European soil.
However, we are fighting the same struggle: that of workers from all countries against exploiters and their watchdogs!
Make racists afraid again! Smash white supremacy!
Translation by WW editor John Catalinotto.
Solidarity statement to anti-racist activists arrested in Durham
The Party for Socialism and Liberation extends its full solidarity to Takiyah Thompson of the Workers World Party and North Carolina Central University and seven other anti-racist activists who were arrested in the aftermath of the courageous action that brought down a monument to the Confederate slavocracy in Durham, North Carolina. As white supremacist, fascist forces gain strength — with the backing of Donald Trump — these types of militant actions are what is needed to intensify the struggle against racism and capitalism.
The nature of the capitalist so-called justice system is clearly exposed. The Nazis and Klan members enjoy impunity, but anti-racist protesters are arrested and hit with heavy felony charges.
We demand that all charges be dropped against the protesters arrested in connection with the toppling of Confederate statues and monuments. They were erected all over the country decades after the defeat of the Confederacy and the slave system it sought to maintain indefinitely. These statues and monuments celebrating the defeated Confederacy are evidence of nothing more than the counterrevolutionary onslaught against Black freedom that followed the betrayal of Reconstruction by the Northern capitalist class and its political operatives.
This assault by the capitalist class against Black America accelerated in the decades after the end of Reconstruction and continues to this day. By removing the Confederate statue, the community and progressive movement in Durham carried out people’s justice in the face of the endless obstruction of justice by the government.
As we wrote in our statement about the events in Charlottesville:
“The fascist conference and rally was billed as one to ‘Unite the Right.’ While they have considerable ideological and tactical differences, they are coming together in the streets to oppose those who they see as their common enemy. Those on the Left must do the same, forging steadfast unity in the streets — as the heroes and martyrs of Charlottesville did today.”
August 17, 2017
Statement on the events in Charlottesville
The coming to power of Trump and the strengthening of the right-wing camp in the U.S. led to an upsurge of American ultra-right groups. White racists, neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and neo-fascists of all kinds, including the newfangled “alt-right” with whom Trump was flirting, grew stronger. The ideologist of this trend, Steve Bannon, was appointed to a high post in the administration of the American president.
The reforms proposed by the right-wing Republicans — cutting back on social spending, dismantling of “Obamacare,” a sharp increase in the military budget, and continuing attacks on the civil and political rights of workers, women, labor, migrants and minorities — provoked the opposition of millions, and protests swept across the country.
Although Trump’s opponents from the liberal Democratic camp tried to take full control over the protests, the protests went beyond the limited political agenda of the Democratic Party. Attempts by the right to counter the mass actions of left radicals and liberals looked pitiful and unconvincing. On one side of the barricades millions gathered, on the other — hundreds and thousands. In clashes between the neo-fascists and left-wing radicals, those in the street were behind the latter.
However, in the course of the confrontation, the left was increasingly criticized by the liberal mainstream media, which, expressing the point of view of the liberal bourgeoisie, began to equate the actions of the left-wing radicals with the ultra-right. Some writers reached the opinion that they considered the socialists more dangerous than the fascists.
The fact that neo-fascist fanatics were going to hold another rally in the city of Charlottesville was known long before the clashes. The formal reason for this was the decision of the local authorities to move the monument to the slaveholders’ General Robert Lee, who even before the Civil War in the United States led a punitive operation against the abolitionist leader John Brown.
The fascist torchlight procession and the influx of armed racists were meant to intimidate local authorities and counterdemonstrators — but this did not happen. Massive clashes between left-wing radicals and their neo-fascist opponents took place in the streets of the city. The fanatic fascist James Fields deliberately drove into a crowd of leftists, killing … Heather Heyer, and injuring about 20 people.
This attack is a typical terrorist act, borrowed from the arsenal of the “Islamic State.” However, President Trump, whose father himself [marched with] the Ku Klux Klan, gave hypocritical condolences to the victims and laid the blame for the incident on both sides. This statement is a perfect testimony of how the American bourgeoisie perceives the situation in the country. It is not capable of rebuffing fascist groups, it is afraid of any popular upsurge, it compares the socialists to the Nazis — and its affection is obviously on the side of the latter.
The events that Ukraine has experienced since the Euromaidan show how important the political and street struggle for historical memory is today. Symbols in the form of monuments are used there to promote right-wing ideology in public space. The authorities set up monuments to the most odious figures: Stepan Bandera, SS Galichina soldiers, and in the town of Vinnitsa, a monument to Simon Petlyura, who was killed by anarchist Shalom Shvartsbard in retaliation for Jewish pogroms committed by his atamans, will soon appear. Against the backdrop of the destruction of the monuments of Lenin, Marx, Engels, participants in the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, workers’ activists, communists, socialists and anarchists, the country massively erects memorial plaques to ultra-right politicians and militants, calling them “decommunized” streets.
The appearance of such monuments and street names is an outrage to many Ukrainians, but the right-wing regime imposes them on society by force. Thus, despite the fact that more than 10,000 residents of Kiev signed a petition against renaming the avenue in honor of Soviet war hero General Vatutin, the authorities simply ignored their position. The avenue will be renamed in honor of the Hitlerite army officer and organizer of punitive police actions Roman Shukhevych. A peaceful picket against this renaming was brutally dispersed by ultra-right militants — with the open protection of the regime, which simultaneously carries out unprecedented anti-people reforms imposed on Ukraine with U.S. assistance.
It is not surprising that the Ukrainian Nazis actively support the American ultra-rightists, who defend the symbols of the slave-owning Confederacy. Moreover, they were delighted to receive news of the murder of an anti-fascist activist in Charlottesville. In general, we can say that the American ultra-right is copying the actions of its Ukrainian counterparts during the Euromaidan. They use the same symbolism, the same tactics of street violence with the use of various weapons, the same form of torchlight processions, which goes directly back to the tradition of Hitler’s storm troopers.
The Ukrainian experience shows how dangerous such movements become if they are not met with a timely rebuff from progressive socialist movements and are allowed to forcefully impose on society the dominance of their ideology and their heroes.
We, the communists of Ukraine and Russia, welcome the active struggle against the shameful racist heritage in the United States. We express our solidarity with the communist and workers’ organizations of the United States, which are now at the forefront of the anti-fascist resistance, and to all who fight against the rule of finance capital and all forms of exploitation of man by man.
I.B. Khlebnikov Workers University
New Communist Movement
August 16, 2017
The signers include revolutionary left organizations and websites that have participated in the struggle against fascism in Ukraine. They include activists and journalists forced into exile since the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev in February 2014.
Translation by WW contributing editor Greg Butterfield
Dear friends and comrades,
On behalf of the MLPD (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany) I would like to extend our warmest internationalist greetings. We stand in solidarity with the activists of Workers World Party and the many people in the USA who are ghting fearlessly against fascism and racism. Activists in Durham have taken matters into their own hands and have courageously and self-con dently torn down a racist statue.
We are deeply appalled by the death of young Heather Heyer. Here in Europe too, fascist forces have attacked progressive and innocent people. Like Trump in the USA, the German government maintains that right and left forces are the same. However, it was actually always fascists who committed the murders. In Germany we fought for the ban of all fascist organizations and their propaganda and to unite people of different nationalities and origin. We struggle to abolish the roots of fascism, which lie in capitalism, and to establish genuine socialism.
The growing progressive movement in the USA has achieved that Trump’s proto-fascist and war-mongering government experienced its greatest defeat so far, causing an open crisis of his government. Trump’s fascist chief strategist Stephen Bannon had to go. He lost three advisory staffs. That is also your accomplishment! Congratulations!
Please keep us informed about all important developments.
In this year of the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution let us join forces more closely in the struggle against fascism, racism and the growing threat of a world war. For a world without exploitation and oppression!
Person in charge of internationalism in the MLPD
Gelsenkirchen, Aug. 28, 2017