Charlottesville. Virginia. A statement by anti-fascists from Charlottesville in the wake of the Sines v. Kessler trail.
Originally published by Charlottesville Against Fascism.
Charlottesville anti-fascists are in awe of the courage and fortitude of the plaintiffs in the Sines v Kessler case. Listening to the trial was exhausting enough, and we cannot imagine what it was like to be in the courtroom and on the witness stand. We are happy there were some positive outcomes in the case, and we hope the community members involved are given the love and support they need.
But the summer of 2017 in Charlottesville was neither the beginning nor the end of the threat that white supremacy poses to our community. While it will be satisfying to see this particular set of Nazis bankrupted, we hope that all those following the case recognize that there is still so much to do to root out fascism and confront a growing Nazi threat in America. Anti-fascists around the globe have been fighting white supremacy for decades, and will continue to do so.
The defendants tried to create a bogeyman in “antifa”. This strategy is a tool to divide us and distract us from their goals of creating a nationalist ethnostate. To be anti-fascist is to rise against systems, movements, and powerful figures that seek to further oppress marginalized community members. To be anti-fascist is to contribute to mutual aid networks that make sure our neighbors are fed, clothed, and healthy. We create alternatives to the police and carceral system that prioritize the safety of community members. We spend countless hours identifying white supremacists and their counterparts so when they come to town or attempt to visit their violence and hateful speech on other communities, our friends and neighbors are aware, and we can all work together to keep us safe.
Our ask in the wake of this trial, and in the face of looming white supremacist violence, is simple: We invite you to embrace anti- fascism as a daily practice.
- We encourage communities across the country to build solidarity networks that keep the most marginalized safe. These networks should organize to create material change in community members’ lives — providing things like food, clothing, shelter and other needs. They should be alternatives to the carceral state and to capitalism, and they should affirm BIack, Indigenous and POC leadership, acknowledging the needs and initiatives those communities have articulated and continue to articulate for themselves.
- We encourage building rapid response networks to combat the spreading threat of right wing violence. White supremacists and the far right are organized, militant and emboldened. Let us say this very clearly: what happened in Charlottesville can and will happen again until we abolish white supremacy. It is up to us to protect ourselves and others against this threat, and we do that by organizing and mobilizing.
- We encourage anti-fascists to educate and organize. Anti-fascists should educate others as a way of de-mystifying the myths of “antifa”, but also to build stronger bonds in our communities. Folks should recognize us and our movement as working to create a better world for those around us. Our community should feel safe and secure to work in collaboration with us in achieving a community free from violence, whether it’s from the state, corporations, or white supremacists.
Working together in our communities to keep each other safe is inherently anti-fascist. It is not something fascists know how to do. Fascists can’t defeat a movement whose members respect and protect each other despite their differences. We seek to build what they want to destroy.
We are anti-fascists — we are leftists, we are socialists, anarchists, communists, and community members whose goal is to keep our community safe. We hope this call to action will encourage others to mobilize in response to the increasing threat of fascism at home and abroad. Solidarity forever!