edited by Ellen Isaacs and Karyn Pomerantz, Sept 1, 2017
Thousands of anti-racists rallied in Charlottesville on August 12 against the largest rally by a combined force of white supremacists seen in decades. Although protestors succeeded in disrupting the planned agenda of the alt-right, one anti-racist was murdered. This right-wing gathering was allowed to occur, as others will be in the future, because racism and terrorism are necessary to capitalism when it can no longer provide jobs and services that people need. Trying to divide workers by race and nationality is the bosses’ way of protecting their interests and weakening us. But we won’t have it!
Make no mistake. The fascists in Charlottesville were organized and disciplined. Though armed, they did not shoot (with one exception). The police allowed the fascists to attack the anti-racists, and the police only intervened when they saw that the racists could not clear the streets by themselves.
After their rally was disrupted, racists roamed the streets of Charlottesville in small groups carrying their weapons and symbols of racist hatred looking to instigate violence. They wanted to fight. The horrific terrorist act of driving into a crowd of anti-racist protesters was a chilling example of their willingness to kill. And the police? They guarded the Wells Fargo bank and the racists. Their pepper spray and organized intimidation tactics were directed at anti-racists.
This approach by the police and National Guard was no accident. In 1978, the police let the KKK kill anti-Klan protesters in Greensboro. The police did nothing to protect the protesters. Similarly, last month in Charlottesville, police went to anti-racists’ homes to intimidate them, and then arrested protesters who successfully shut down a smaller KKK rally. This shows that WE must have a disciplined, organized force ourselves. We must provide our own security and not expect help from this racist-capitalist system.
Liberalism won’t win the day for the working class. At one point in Charlottesville, a group of racists jumped behind the police guarding the Wells Fargo bank after an altercation with an anti-racist. When the police pepper sprayed the anti-racist protesters, someone bewilderedly questioned, ‘Why did they use pepper spray on us? Nobody was being threatened.” One answer was, “Because they can—they need to terrorize.”
The ACLU and many liberals defend racist free speech and rallies. The ACLU declared “[t]he First Amendment is a critical part of our democracy, and it protects vile, hateful, and ignorant speech. For this reason, the ACLU of Virginia defended the white supremacists’ right to march.” But we will not accept any such “rights” for vicious racists. The working class cannot achieve an egalitarian world by nonviolent opposition to racism and fascism while supporting liberal politicians and their “kinder gentler” capitalism. Smashing racism is step towards an egalitarian world!
History tells us this. Street fighting by Nazis helped to develop shock troops for Hitler. After they defeated the militant communists in Germany, they were able to rule. The combined understanding of history and practical experiences most recently remind us that liberal resistance isn’t enough.
Capitalism needs racism for their system to survive, and capitalism strives to divide workers. The capitalists and their government don’t want us to be able to fight back in a powerful and united way against our real enemy, this system. Multiracial unity was evident among the brave protesters in Charlottesville, from many groups. Now this has to become a well-organized force with a common goal. Mobilize for struggle on the streets, in factories, in the service industry, in each city’s transit system, in schools, in health care settings, within the military, and everywhere. Don’t rely on spontaneity or planning on the fly Unity is power.