Filed under: Announcement, Anti-fascist, Featured, Southeast
The Nazis Converge
The Traditionalist Workers Party, The Nationalist Socialist Movement, The American Freedom Party, League of the South, The Iron March Forums, and other neo-Nazi organizations are converging to form The Nationalist Front. Nazis will gather on Friday, April 28th on private land for camping, a series of speakers, and trainings. The following day, they are planning to rally in front of the courthouse in Pikeville, KY at 2:00pm EST to “March to take back Mayday” and “Celebrate the working class.” (This seems like an effort to co-opt our radical narrative…). They plan to retreat to the location where their camping and the conference is being hosted to hold an after party as well as a “secret event,” as stated in their most recent video update.
Why Are they Coming to Pikeville?
They are using this convergence of nationalist organizations to rally their troops and attempt to form a nation-wide organization that will expand The Nationalist Front. However, they failed to account for the anti-fascists who are organizing here or the deep-seeded history of resistance in these hollers of rural Kentucky. They chose a location where they think they can build inroads into the white working class, but the folks in Pikeville don’t want them here. Despite what they say in their video encouraging people to come to their event, they are not working within our community. Instead, they are exploiting our people in Appalachia to further their political agenda.
We ask that folks remember that the citizens of Pikeville are not the enemy. We are asking people to come to help defend the area, not attack it. Keep in mind that the Nationalist Front rally is also happening the same weekend as Pikeville High School’s prom, and we are not attempting to ruin their fun. Together, we can run Nazis and their message of fascism out of our community. There’s a long history of destruction and exploitation of these mountains and we don’t want to continue that legacy with this action.
The rally on Saturday is located at 126 Main Street. We encourage you to come prepared. There aren’t a lot of places within the radius of downtown to get food, water, or to rest – and the police may block areas downtown off so that people cannot leave the demonstration. Downtown Pikeville is a pretty small space in a valley between two mountains, and there are two main roads in and out of town. We encourage you to take a look at the Google Earth that is linked above, and familiarize yourself with the area before coming. One thing to remember, is that a lot of folks have spotty cell service, or none at all, and it may be helpful to look useful places up ahead of time and bring paper maps.
White power has long been co-opting our language and tactics. In their invitation to this event, they have asked that people dress in black. Because of that, it is not suggested that you come dressed in all black. We have concern that folks utilizing black-bloc tactics will be targeted by police or confused for Nazis, and we want y’all to be as aware as possible of their intentions. Instead, once you get plugged in, you will be made aware of how we will be able to identify one another as anti-fascists.
**Please be aware of the Nazis’ intent to open carry at this rally. They are encouraging their people to do this, and several groups coming have already been threatened with violence. They have stated that they anticipate and are excited about being able to use Stand Your Ground laws (see info in legal below.)**
We welcome y’all to bring a diversity of tactics. While we want to protect our community, we ain’t trying to police affinity groups. Please be careful and cautious of other people’s safety when engaging in action.
Some folks in Pikeville have been organizing a more family-friendly counter rally at UPike for the same time as the Nazi rally downtown. We appreciate their efforts to connect more people to the work and to engage in fighting fascism, even if it’s in a different way. We ask that you respect their space, and allow for their event to be autonomous, as it is important for more folks in the community to confront fascism in the way that feels good to them. If you are interested in checking that rally out, you can find out more info here.
How You can Plug In
We ask that you come with a crew, bring your own gear, and get plugged in beforehand so that we can share details of the action with you.
If you are planning to come by yourself, or with just a couple of other folks, that’s cool. We know what it’s like to be seated in the mountains away from large groups of other antifascists, but together, we are many. We’d love to hear from you before you arrive, so send us an email to introduce yourself! You could also touch base with an antifa group in your area and ask if they are sending a crew. We are already in contact with multiple cities, and that’s a great option if it’s available to you.
If you’ve already done that, and your crew isn’t already connected with us, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to get an idea of how many people to expect.
Places to Stay
In order to keep us all safe, we ask that you plug in with us before we share logistical plans. We can promise that we will do our best to accommodate y’all, but can’t say much else publically. If you could make your own housing arrangements, please do so. Resources in the mountains are limited, and we are trying to plan for a large number of people.
NOTE: We do not suggest you camping at Jenny Wiley State Park. Originally, the Nationalist Front was planning to host their conference there and several of their people may still be planning to stay there. This may also be the case for hotel rooms downtown Pikeville.
There is no mask law on the books in Pikeville.
You may open carry firearms in Kentucky.
If you have a concealed carry permit in your state, it applies to Kentucky. We have reciprocity with all other states in the US.
Kentucky is a Castle Doctrine State, meaning Stand Your Ground laws apply.
While the local police department only has 21 officers, we know they are bringing in officers from surrounding counties and there may also be state troopers and other law enforcement present.
Several anti-fascist street medic collectives will be providing first aid infrastructure throughout the weekend and will be present for the rally. However, the greatest protection from harm is yourself and your crew. Know your people, know your surroundings, make a plan, and support each other. Nazis are dangerous. If you want to plug in with the street medics, email [email protected]
Pikeville Medical Center is the nearest hospital with a trauma unit.
We have secured some legal support on the ground, and further information can be given after you email us – also, get in touch with us if you have specific skills or can lend a hand with this!
Faces of Fascism
Following images are Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP) members from Kentucky, Indiana, and surrounding region.
How to Help if You Can’t Make It
Remind folks that anti-fascists exist in the mountains, and help keep the Nazis from writing our narrative for us.
Host an action where you live to put pressure on these groups that are taking part.
Drop banners, paste up flyers, and write slogans in solidarity!
Help sponsor another group coming out to the mobilization by helping them with supplies and donations.
So, here is our ask, from the mtns, regional Appalachia, and KY – to all the anti-fascists groups who have been waiting to hear from us:
We’ve done a lot of groundwork down here to get ready for this action. This is a national call for action against white power. We cannot let them have Pikeville, because letting them have rural Kentucky leads to them eventually having space in your community. Bring your friends, your skills, and your body to show fascists that they aren’t welcome here, or anywhere else.
Love and solidarity,