The John Brown Anti-Klan Committee grew out of the revolutionary movements and struggles of the 1960’s and 1970’s from largely white radicals who were doing support for black liberation prisoners. After learning through their other organizing work that prison guards and police officers in different institutions and departments were part of the Ku-Klux-Klan, the JBAKC was formed to organize against a new wave of white supremacist organizing. The group also documented the crossover between the KKK and the growing neo-Nazi skinhead subculture in the 1980s, under the direction of white supremacist leaders like Tom Metzger.
Moreover, JBAKC worked with and took seriously the potential of the growing punk-rock scene and set up various benefit shows and festivals with the help of bands like the Dead Kennedys and MDC. JBAKC produced newspapers, discussion documents, and also created and advanced critiques of white supremacy within the United States. A film (seen below) was also produced along with other organizing materials which were made available to other groups and organizations. JBAKC relied on a diversity of tactics, ranging from street confrontations to mass community organizing to confront the Klan and various neo-Nazi groups that expanded throughout the Reagan era.
For anarchists and antifascists in the current period, the work of the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee offers a crucial history, and gives us an opportunity to look back at previous generations and learn from their lessons, mistakes, successes, and decades of experience.
This podcast was recorded at the ROAR Conference in San Francisco, CA in mid-March.