“Fascists are not just marching in the streets. They hold the levers of power. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves. Who else will?”
Washington DC – On August 11th and 12th, antifa from Washington DC joined the call to protect Charlottesville from attack and harassment by the so-called “Alt-Right,” which is merely a rebranding of neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other white supremacists and nationalists. DC antifa worked as frontline medics, provided security, helped organize, and participated in the demonstrations. When a Nazi Alt-Right terrorist attacked us with his car, several DC antifa assisted in emergency response.
One DC antifa medic responded by preparing to perform CPR on Heather Heyer, who died in Charlottesville, with the help of another antifa medic. Tragically, both medics were ordered by the police to stop CPR, supposedly so that police could secure the area. We were shaken. This was also an attack on us and everyone we marched with.
We were coming off a hard won victory. Before the attack occurred, we chased the Nazis out of their park, removing their platform. They were on the move towards a community with many people of color. We mobilized to intercept. We were at our most powerful, all of us together chanting with enthusiastic support from the people of Charlottesville. That was the moment that we were attacked.
We are the people: women, men, nonbinary, queer and straight, white, black, brown, from many nationalities, the workers of the world united. And that beautiful scene of fighting together, that is what upsets the fascists more than anything.
We literally put our bodies on the line to stop the inertia of their movement. It was our bodies that stood in the way of that speeding car, a tragic metaphor. We have lost a life now, and at the same time, we are succeeding in stopping them.
We don’t need “both sidesism” right now. We need people who are willing to stand up to fascists.
The fascists are the ones bringing weapons to their events, and a zeal for death. The fascists are the ones calling for genocide. The fascists are the ones actually killing people. Antifascists stand against them. We are willing to be militant, but our goal is to protect the marginalized and ourselves. Their goal is to deny others the right to exist.
They are terrorists. They are oppressors. That is what unites them. What unites us is love for each other and common humanity. What unites us is that collective gasp of horror when we imagine the holocaust they would like to see, the thousands of trails of tears that they would like to see, the oppression and subjugation of others that they would like to see. We are united in our need to stand against them, though it is our unity that they wish to destroy. We fight back.
Militancy is essential for the struggle. Love doesn’t conquer hate. Organizing and action does. When the powerful and privileged are attacked, they can rely on the police, but the police don’t protect the marginalized. On Friday they stood aside and watched torch-wielding Nazis surround and attack anti-racist UVA students. Once the fascists started leaving, the cops declared it an “unlawful assembly” and pushed the students out. They sided with the assaulters. Then the brown shirts killed one of us. The blue shirts have killed many more. Fascists are not just marching in the streets. They hold the levers of power. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves. Who else will?
We won, but at a tragic price. We mourn the death of our comrade, which was a catastrophe, though not in vain. We hope for a swift and full recovery for the injured. For the families who have lost, we share condolences and great pain as well.
Love and power to the people, and know this: we have got your back.
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This statement was prepared by several organizers with the DC Antifascist Coalition, with input from other local activists.