On August 19, close to 2,500 people gathered at the Dallas Texas city hall to stand in solidarity with the victims of the Charlottesville attack. Gone were the signs ridiculing Trump for his “tiny hands,” decrying him as “an agent of Russia” and other backwards slogans. In their place were signs repudiating bigotry, racism, the so called “Alt-right” and all manifestations of fascism.
Nearby at the Pioneer Park Confederate Cemetery, a small group of about 20 white supremacists, fascist-sympathizers and outright fascists rallied against the removal of Confederate statues at the nearby Confederate War Memorial. With their backs to the monument and the heavily armed police defending the monument, they found themselves surrounded by sections of the Charlottesville solidarity marchers. Many progressive people from the community and radical organizations confronted the right-wingers including the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the International Socialist Organization, Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Antifa.
As tensions rose, two or three small fights broke out, two people were tased, and at least one person was pepper sprayed. Police forces guarding the Confederate monument were reinforced by five or six horse mounted officers, and an estimated 40-50 additional foot officers.
Officers began to push the largely peaceful crowd out of the cemetery onto the street as the dwindling clutch of right-wingers exited the scene. The protesters, however, were not willing to move. As they resisted being pushed away, the protesters chanted “Cops and Klan go hand in hand” while locking arms and ensuring that their comrades weren’t isolated and snatched away by the police. The night concluded with the police leaving after the crowd of protesters had dwindled, leaving a small group that lingered further into the night.
As can be seen, many people in Dallas are staunchly opposed to fascism, white supremacy and the so called “alt right.” This is a small but very significant indicator that the working people of Dallas and of so many other cities are coming to understand that tolerance of these groups is unacceptable and hazardous to marginalized people and to working people as a whole. Organizers and educators should use this heightened consciousness of the people to organize and guide the movement into a strong and effective socialist one that will fight for meaningful and permanent solutions to the problems of racism and bigotry.
As one anti-racist organizer in Dallas Fort Worth explained:
“The days when white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched en masse, intimidating and threatening people of color with torches aflame are over.
“We will no longer tolerate their hateful rhetoric. They will find themselves confronted every step of the way by people who have learned the lessons of history and refuse to see it repeated here.
“As to the Confederacy and its iconography, its symbols represent a brutal system of oppression, torture, murder, and rape. How can its monuments be justified? … No. It serves as a reminder, to millions of our fellow citizens, of the brutality that went into the creation and maintenance of a U.S. Empire which had rivaled the most infamous regimes in cruelty and barbarism.
“I stand in solidarity with all those who oppose white supremacy and neo-Nazism in all its forms. I ask you to do the same.”