Recently the local SURJ [showing up for racial justice] chapter held a community meeting based around the threat of fascism and how to deal with it on the local level. These discussions and meetings have been happening everywhere since the notorious August 12th events in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is now more pressing than ever to seriously consider the threat of fascism and how does a community deal with it when it arrives.
This meeting, entitled “Hate In Public Space,” featured members of the local town council and the local cops. Despite NRWP being a host of this event we were not informed that cops, local politicians, and bureaucrats were going to be given a platform to push their agenda on the community. As an organization that is committed to the development of independent working class power we find several issues with the structure of the event and the content of what was said by these officials. But before we go into detail about these problems we would like to affirm our support in the fight against white supremacy and look to ally with any group that seeks its destruction, so we thank SURJ members for taking the time and energy to piece the event together and acknowledge that NRV SURJ and its membership are committed to the fight against white supremacy. We hope to have further dialogue and collaboration in realizing our shared goals.
NRWP organizes to build independent working class power. When we say “independent” we mean at a distance from the state – which includes cops and local municipal government. We believe this is crucial, not only for the working class in realizing its interests, but in order to actually defeat all forms of oppression including white supremacy and patriarchy. The local politicians and cops of course disassociate from conscious white supremacists, yet they fail to recognize or acknowledge that the entire structure and social roles they assume – as agents of the state – are inherently white supremacist.
They adamantly insisted throughout this meeting that 1) they are committed to fighting against potential white supremacist threats and 2) that they are the sole authority in conducting this fight. But how ludicrous of a position is it to expect the agents of a structure that is inherently oppressive and exploitative to protect the community from other oppressive elements the structure is responsible for creating in the first place? This is the conundrum of liberalism. Liberalism, as a political philosophy, is the normal lens through which all US citizens interpret social reality, including the means in which the people address social issues. This view normalizes the state and the class system which was built upon white supremacy, and is still maintained to this day despite all the mass movements struggling against it.
White supremacy as a conscious political ideology is no longer socially acceptable as a result of the heroic struggle of enslaved Africans and their descendants fighting for liberation against their continued oppression. But this doesn’t mean, as liberalism would have us believe, that white supremacy isnt ingrained within the economy, the laws which ensure the economy, and the political representative system which decides who gets to set policy.
If we as a community are seriously committed to the defense of oppressed peoples, our friends and family, then looking for solutions through the representatives of the white supremacist structure is the last thing we should be doing. This is NRWP’s primary issue with the SURJ meeting, it was not conducive for the real work needed in building organization, networks, and institutions that are not rooted in maintaining the white supremacist capitalist system. By giving state agents a platform it misleads the community into thinking the white supremacist state is capable of resolving the social problems it actually re-enforces.
This is why it is incorrect to think the proposed ordinance offered by the town council and town attorney Larry Spencer will magically protect the community as it confronts any fascist threat. Fascists have proven themselves more than willing to disobey law to carry out their violence against anyone who stands against them. What this ordinance will do is leave community members less able to defend themselves and others in the face of not just fascist organizations or individuals, but any persons who may be hostile to their politics or social identity. This opens the doorway for greater cop repression of community members who assemble within Blacksburg limits, which is already rather restrictive.
The current code and the proposed ordinance do nothing but ensure the protection of the local business owner class. These proponents falsely equate their class interests as “everyones’ interests”. The reality is the law does not serve the interest of the community fighting for justice, and will be wielded against the community if and when it decides to struggle against white supremacy and its siblings of capitalism and patriarchy.
We encourage the community to stand with us against delegating the community’s struggles against oppression to the local cops, politicians, and bureaucrats. We say “NO” to this proposed ordinance and we say “YES” to the community organizing independently from the state, its channels, and its agents. Let’s make the NRV a powerhouse for workers of all social identities and gain ground in defeating white supremacy in all its facets.