Militant Journalism

Bay Area stands with Charlottesville!

A “Unite the Right” rally, scheduled to take place over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va., was violent from the start. White supremacists marched, carrying torches, through the University of Virginia campus on Friday night, surrounding and beating a small group of counter-protesters. The next day, counter-protesters turned out in the thousands, to confront the neo-nazis. Twenty-year-old Deandre Harris, who had been protesting with friends, was brutally attacked next to a police station by a group of racists, leaving him badly injured. Nineteen more people were harmed, and 32-year-old Heather Heyer killed, when a fascist rammed his car into a crowd of protesters.

Hundreds of people gathered in Oakland to show solidarity with the anti-racist protesters of Charlottesville. | Photo: Rudy Ruiz

In Oakland and San Francisco, as in many other cities across the country, emergency actions were called to denounce the racist violence that had taken place earlier that day. Party for Socialism and Liberation members from San Francisco and Sacramento had a strong showing at the Oakland rally, in Latham Square, with signs reading “From Charlottesville to the White House: Shut down white supremacy!” and “Smash Racism, Bigotry, Sexism, and Fascism!”

Speakers during the rally drew important links between the resurgent white-supremacist movement of today and the ongoing generations-long oppression and abuse perpetrated by the state against Black and Brown communities. They also stated the urgent need to continue showing up against these fascists, to defend the very people they want to harm. While Trump and liberals alike condemn violence on “many sides,” progressives know that standing up against these fascist forces is crucial to protecting and empowering our communities. “How long can we sit here and be run over by cars?” Jamier of PSL Sacramento called to the responsive crowd. “How long are we supposed to be attacked by these white supremacists? We cannot sit back anymore!”

Photo: Rudy Ruiz

At the end of the rally, protesters took to the streets of downtown to march, and eventually circled Lake Merrit. With signs and banners decorating the procession, people chanted “Black lives matter!” and “Nazis say get back, we say fight back!” There was also a growing recognition for the complicity of the police in standing back and allowing (and at times, even protecting!) these racist organizations to carry out their terror, not just in Charlottesville last weekend but at all nazi rallies that have cropped up in the past year. With chants like “Cops and the klan go hand in hand. Down with the nazis and the ku klux klan!” and “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” protesters made it clear that the police in this country exist to enforce a system that is white supremacist in nature.

Oakland PD stayed to the fringes of the rally and march, but protesters made sure to call them out for their history of racist policing practices.

The last-minute coming together of both progressive organizations and outraged individuals, responding to a vile and tragic example that racism is alive and well in this country, shows the willingness of more and more people to confront these issues. While mainstream media continues to give credence and critique to both the “alt-right” and the progressives who fight against them, the people are increasingly choosing their side and saying firmly ‘no’ to fascism, and solidarity with the brave anti-fascists who risked (and lost) their lives in Charlottesville.

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