Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Anti-fascist, Southeast
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Murfreesboro, Tennessee – In the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia where fascists brutalized antifascists in the streets and drove a car into the crowd, injuring 19 and killing protesters and comrade Heather Heyer, Nashville Antifascist Action returned to Tennessee committed to continuing the struggle against fascism. On August 13th, a candle-light vigil was held in Murfreesboro at the public square to honor the victims of Charlottesville. The local liberal and progressive organizers requested our presence at the vigil and, though weary from travel, brutality and state oppression, we complied.
Local clergy led the vigil, calling for direct action against racists and oppression in all arenas of life. The speakers condemned the wanton violence perpetrated by white nationalists and called for a social revolution to bring about equality and peace. Folks from around middle Tennessee found fellowship honoring the memory of the fallen, and the wounded. The crowd was diverse, comprised of about two hundred individuals, and included Muslims, Christians, white, Black, Asian, Latinx, and representatives of the LGBTQIA community. Local organizations handed out candles and flowers. The anarchists present included representatives from Burns AntiFa, Nashville AFA, and comrades from New Orleans Leftist Action (who were passing through returning from the #DefendCville action).
The vigil was peaceful for the most part, with a single exception of a known fascist attempting to infiltrate the event while wearing a Three Percenter shirt. He was confronted by Antifa and his presence at the rally was minimized subsequently.
Upon completion of the vigil, our attention turned to the prominent confederate monument in the square. This monument was erected, “In commemoration of the Valor of Confederate Soldiers.”
It seemed grotesque that a statue of stone and metal should exist as a reminder of what a shameful past Tennessee has in complicity with elevation of the Confederate narrative, but no statue exists for Heather. To that end, we sought to convert this monument in her honor. Liberals and progressives placed candles and a sign at the foot of the monument, reading “We are Heather Heyer” next to the placard which indicates the statue is, “A monument for our soldiers. Built of a people’s love”.
Two of our most agile antifascists climbed atop the monument to drape and cover the confederate soldier with a sheet, hiding the offending sculpture. The statue remained enshrouded until the following day.
We’d like to offer this piece of timely advice to the local officials in Murfreesboro: Take heed. Follow Lexington and New Orlean’s lead and take down this statue. Remove these symbols of white supremacy while you still can, and you might be able to maintain a semblance of legitimacy. Do it now, as we’ve been kind enough to wrap this statue and ready it for storage in some dark, fetid cellar.
Erect a new monument in Heather Heyer’s honor, perhaps. Or prepare for us to come for these symbols of oppression and take them down ourselves. This will be the first steps to destroying the systems of oppression that keep us all in chains. Because we are committed to deracinating of white supremacy and fascism from our world, wherever it resides. Until then, we intend to honor Heather’s bravery and the sacrifice she made standing up for her principles.
Nashville Antifascist Action
New Orleans Leftist Action