Here in Knoxville last weekend, almost 3,000 people took the streets to protest a rally by white supremacists. It was a local battle in a war by anti-racist comrades against white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis that has been taking place across the United States.
The crowd of the anti-racist protesters dwarfed that of the white supremacists by 70-to-1. The anti-racist comrades jeered the Nazis from across the street since a barrier was kept by police to prevent confrontations.
Despite the huge anti-racist crowd, the Knoxville News Sentinel still centered its narrative of the confrontation on the beliefs and feelings of the white supremacists. The newspaper quoted white supremacists at length and featured a video of their talking points. Only near the bottom of the story covering the event was a comment from a person of color.
The News Sentinel’s cowardly capitulation to fascists is a clear example of what should be obvious: The overwhelming support of the American state and the rich – and its institutions – of white supremacy. And it should be a wake-up call to anyone who shares a vision of smashing the fascist ideology.
Trump showed his fascist colors last week with the pardon of racist Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff in Arizona who kept people in concentration camps. Democrat Nancy Pelosi criticized anti-fascists after anti-racist activists chased Nazis from a rally in Berkeley, California last weekend.
The ACLU has spent untold amounts of money defending the rights of fascists as opposed to fighting for the rights of black and brown people. On the day of the fascist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month, the ACLU of Virginia tweeted an utterly unverified statement that said the fascist murderer of comrade Heather Heyer was justified in his crime because someone threw a rock at his car. (The claim was completely untrue).
Only when people threatened the ACLU with what really matters – its donations – did the organization back off and make a ridiculous attempt to condemn white supremacy.
Also at the Charlottesville, confrontation, white supremacists marched, chanted Nazi slogans, shot at and beat anti-racist counter-protesters while the state’s police forces sat by and watched. The police did not arrest any of the white nationalists who shot at or beat protesters until weeks later when social media pressure mounted.
In the aftermath of that horrific scene, a few days later, heroic communist comrades in Durham, North Carolina, led by Workers World Party member Takiyah Thompson (among many others), pulled down a white supremacist statue in that city. When the statue was pulled down, it became a symbol of white fragility itself and crumpled to the ground in a flabby heap.
Now Durham police are working to arrest anyone they think might be in connection with the destruction of the worthless statue and are cracking down on the communist movement in that city.
These confrontations and the support given by the American power structure to the white supremacists should make us realize that the struggle to uproot white supremacy and settler colonialism and build socialism won’t be as simple as jeering at Nazis or even pulling down statues, as vitally important (and fun!) as those things are.
The quest to smash white supremacy must be done by overturning its structures and building new ones of solidarity among the poor, the Indigenous peoples of this continent, black and brown people and all those oppressed by capitalism.
We will have to organize and build new, parallel structures to create a new socialist society. That is our task, and it is the only way to truly smash white supremacy and throw it into the trash heap for eternity.