By Anti-Racist Action , Nashville TN
We came, we saw, fascists took over Knoxville. Not literally of course, and their victory was not won in our preferred arena. We’ll take our wins there. Now is the time for increased action.
The Holler Network welcomed us back for the second time in less than a month to join them and drive TWP back out by any means necessary. The TWP can’t and wont beat us with force. They win through laws, politics, and hiding behind cops. It has become abundantly clear that law enforcement will not only fulfill their legal obligations to protect nazis and fascists, but they will do so willingly and joyfully.
In a recent post and call to action, we predicted that Heimbach and the TWP would “pull into a parking structure where they are greeted by their police escort. They will discuss the minutes of previous meetings between them and the local police department where plans for security and details of the day will be laid out. They will leave the parking structure under the protection of law enforcement and proceed to their destination. They will be guarded as they safely park and leave their vehicles and make their way to their pre-arranged location with police and sheriffs watching for anti-fascists who will likely show up to do whatever is necessary to make it as hard for them to speak as possible.”
That is exactly what happened, again, on February 17th at UT. It keeps happening. We will never get another Charlottesville. We will never get the chance again to openly engage racists in physical street combat on that level without police intervening to save the nazis from Antifa. Not anytime soon. We knew we were facing a situation without any real optimal planning choices.
We had just been to Knoxville in January for the Women’s March, where Heimbach marched again into town under police protection to protest feminism and promote segregation and racism. Meanwhile, Anti-Racist organizers are pinpointed, followed and monitored by fascists and pigs at the same time. Actively collaborating and communicating with each other. This was a repeat of what we witnessed in Murfreesboro at Heimbach’s “White Lives Matter” rally, which was stoked to be Unite the Right 2.0
Heimbach is making a play to take over Appalachia and grow his movement by exploiting the struggles of poor, working class white folx. With the current political climate and collaboration of law enforcement/government agencies with neo-nazi and fascist organizations, they have that advantage. But The Holler Network isn’t backing down in defending their territory and ARA will always be there when the call is made.
To us, the question we have to ask ourselves moving forward is how much are we willing to risk, and how much are we willing to lose to be effective in our fight? When your life is on the line the answer is easy; everything. The key to success is failure, and not every failure is a loss. We failed at our objective of getting to strike at fash. But we were successful in laying the foundation for the next steps and gaining critical pieces. The protest and speech went exactly how we knew it would go, as we observed. Big shout out to our friends at Mercy Junction and Peace Center for once again, as always, putting their bodies and freedom on the line. We appreciate y’all and everything you do for us and for your community. Beth Foster and 4 other members of the clergy and comrades were arrested and detained for civil disobedience.
For us, protesting isn’t enough. And we want to be clear, we value each and every person who shows up every time and supports in every way that they can, and this doesn’t mean we won’t show the love back and support calls to action. But if we’re being honest here, we are here to put them down. That means leaving the city every once in a while. We would do a service to ourselves and our comrades by being active collaborators in bridging the gap between rural and urban organizing. At first glance it may seem trivial, but again if we are honest with ourselves we are perhaps missing broader issues with greater implications than appear on the surface. Tennessee is becoming a breeding ground for fascist activity. We have the opportunities. Holler Network is dedicated. ARA is dedicated. The game is changing and it’s getting harder. But you know what they say. All you fascists bound to lose.