Tensions in Georgia, a state playing a key role in the outcome of the 2020 election, are rising. Far right groups continue to mobilize around the unfounded claims of widespread election fraud in the state.
Yesterday, far-right radio personality Alex Jones led a group of Trump supporters into the Georgia statehouse to “stop the steal”. In reality, the demands of the far right are part of a racist campaign to disenfranchise voters in the state with the fourth largest Black population in the country.
“We have confronted various right wing mobilizations before,” explains Atlanta-based organizer Monica Johnson. “We are committed to showing up to counter, and we plan to challenge this current mobilization.”
North Georgia activist Brad Lathem added: “This battle didn’t just start with this election though that has certainly elevated the situation in a dramatic way recently. Nevertheless, for years we have been in opposition against various kinds of far-right, racist, neo-confederate, and fascist groups.”
All eyes are on Georgia as the state begins a hand recount of the presidential elections and the Jan. 5 runoff election for two Senate seats. This outcome of the Senate election could determine which party controls the chamber. Georgia law requires candidates to win greater than 50 percent of the vote in the general elections. If no majority is attained, then the top two candidates advance to a runoff.
Racism a cornerstone of Republican strategy
In this context, far right activity is being stirred up not only by fascistic personalities like Alex Jones. Racism and conspiracy theories are central features of the Republican Party elite’s strategy leading up to the runoff election that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.
Republican senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have promoted the right wing claims of widespread voter fraud, saying there were “failures” but without noting any evidence. The two senators have called on Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to resign after he refuted the claim that the election was invalid.
Loeffler, who owns a stake in the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream team, smeared the Black Lives Matter Movement as being “anti-Semitic” and promoting “violence and destruction across the country”. Former Dream player Layshia Clarendon tweeted that the multi-millionaire senator was “happy to own us as long as we stay quiet and perform.”
Progressive organizers are continuing to fight back against the racism of the right wing, whether at the grassroots level or the elite. Lathem argued that, “On the one hand, Georgia has a large Black population and a lot of the issues coming up with the runoff election and the recent vote counting have been very racist in nature and we oppose them on principle, and this includes uniting with a large variety of progressive forces who would agree with opposition to this.” But he cautioned against, “putting too much energy and faith into the senate race and the ability of Democrats to do anything meaningful if they were to get the majority.”