On August 12, hundreds of fascists from across the United States met in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the protest called “Unite the Right”, a joint protest organized by several fascist groups. Unite the Right opposed the removal of the statue of a Confederate general that opposed the abolition of slavery. The statue was to be removed from a city park. The local community organized an anti-fascist counter mobilisation, in which thousands of people took part. When the Nazi demonstrations had ended in the afternoon, the Nazi James Alex Fields drove a car into an anti-fascist demonstration, leading to the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and to 35 people seriously injured. Solidarity demonstrations and other events that oppose fascism have been organized since yesterday all over the United States and also in Europe.
A video shot from behind, where Field, that had previously participated in the Nazi demonstration, drives the car into the crowd.
A video shot from the side where Fields drives into the crowd.
The groups behind the Unite the Right -demonstration already organized a secretly announced torch march on Friday night. For the fascist movement, the purpose of the unified demonstration is very similar to that of the annual 612-torch march in Finland, initiated in 2014 by Nordic Resistance Movement, the online magazine Sarastus and Suomen Sisu in Finland. The demonstration in Charlottesville consisted of a multitude of different Nazi groups, including Ku Klux Klan, Alt Right, Soldiers of Odin, and so on.
According to American anti-fascists, driving a car into the demonstration was an expected consequence of an increase in Nazi violence and a silent approval of it by the conservative elite. On American Nazi websites people have long been fantasizing about driving into a crowd to terrorize political opponents. At the same time, at least two Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation that has even legalized driving a car into a crowd. Conservatives have legitimized driving a car into a demonstration after it has become general practice in the movements against structural racism and police to block key traffic routes to disrupt the functioning of authoritarian governance. In Europe, the Nazis have also been inspired by ISIS’s car attacks, and in England, for example, a Nazi drove into a Muslim crowd in front of the local mosque. Driving by car into a crowd is just the latest innovation in the wider development where Nazis resort to desperate individual terrorism when faced with popular resistance.
In the United States, the far right began to grow dramatically during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump rewarded the support of “white nationalists” and appointed Steve Bannon, an admirer of the fascist Traditionalist school, as main strategist for the White House and as a member of the Security Council (a few months after, Bannon was dismissed from the Security Council). The President of the United States’ racist, misogynous and anti-working class politics supports the increasing fascist demonstrations in the streets. Following the Trumps inauguration his supporter shot an anti-fascist in Seattle in January 2017. After James Alex Fields drove the car into the crowd, the mayor of Charlottesville urged all “people of good will” to return to their homes and stop protestisng. As the US anti-fascists said, “staying at home” when the fascist movement is rising its ugly head, is only part of the problem. We fully agree with their call to organize in anti-fascist action groups and face the Nazis everywhere and whenever they try to appear. The fascist movement dissolves only when it is faced with a broad-based and uncompromising resistance.
We send our condolences to and solidarity with the family, friends and comrades of Heather Heyer and all the victims of fascist violence and their relatives in Charlottesville. Additionally, we send our warmest regards to all those who are fighting fascism in Charlottesville, the United States and around the world. Anti-fascism is self-defense!
Varis – anti-fascist network