Organizing Against White Supremacy and Fascism

Organizing Against White Supremacy and Fascism

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Movement Building, Toppling Racism

On December 3rd, 2022, white supremacists attacked an electric grid station in Moore County, NC in response to a drag show in the county. This drag show featured performers from the Durham, NC based House of Coxx, who organize drag performances across North Carolina to reduce isolation and offer support to LGBTQIA+ communities.

Tens of thousands lost electricity and heating due to this attack, putting many older, health-insecure, working-class community members at risk.

Similar acts of vandalism against power stations occurred in Oregon and Washington states. A total of 170 such attacks or plans were reported in 2022. Far-right extremist groups were implicated in these attacks.

The attacks are a reminder of the continued organizing by the white supremacist and extremist forces, who target marginalized communities. As seen in the Charlottesville, VA, white supremacist rally in 2017 or the violent insurrection attempt at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. These forces have enablers and supporters in the form of corporate funders and politicians who have introduced racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQIA, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and other oppressive bills into state legislatures across the country.

Southern Vision Alliance has been organizing against racist and white supremacist violence, both institutional and individual, since our founding in 2014. We view intersectional oppressions of racism, classism, sexism, xenophobia, and anti-semitism as stemming from the same roots.

SVA has developed a grassroots movement to protect and defend our people. Our movement has opposed reactionary forces who took over NC state power (both houses of the NC General Assembly and NC Governor) and passed oppressive bills, including voter suppression bills, tax breaks to the rich, and other extremist bills. For example, SVA staff members and partners were arrested during a protest against the anti-Trans (“bathroom bill”) HB2, which denied the trans community the ability to use the bathroom based on the gender they identify with. This bill also denied municipalities the ability to increase the minimum wage and protection from discrimination based on race, class, ability, religion, and other backgrounds. Bills like HB2 are textbook examples of intersectional oppression that target many impacted communities. Through robust grassroots organizing, SVA and our broader coalition defeated the reactionary governor and repealed the HB2 law.

Picture of the toppled confederate statue outside the old Durham courthouse in August 2017.
Source: NC Collection, Durham Public Library NC

SVA played a leading role in taking down confederate statues in Durham and other cities in North Carolina at a time when white supremacist forces were emboldened by the election of Donald Trump as the US President. Soon after Trump’s election in late 2016, racist alt-right extremist attacks spiked in the country. Anti-racists organizing against these forces were harmed – including the murder of Heather Heyer and injury of countless people in Charlottesville, VA. As a response, our partners built a grassroots movement to dismantle Confederate statues. One of the first to come down was a Confederate statue outside the old Durham courthouse on August 14, 2017.

After that, the movement for the removal of Confederate statues grew steam. Over 100 Confederate and other racist statues were removed across the country in response to a grassroots movement against racism and police brutality, a movement that grew in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. These included numerous Confederate statues dismantled or removed in Richmond, Raleigh, Asheville, Chapel Hill, and other cities across the South.

It was natural for our forces to organize against the attack in Moore County, NC, which showed the intersections of racism and transphobia. Moore County has a history of overt racist organizing. In 2015, Pinehurst, a town in in Moore County, hosted anti-Muslim speaker, Bill French, and anti-Semitic banners were displayed weeks after the attack on the electric grid station. Southern Vision Alliance issued a statement in response to the attack in Moore County. In addition, we organized a food and clothing drive for folks impacted by the power outage in Moore County that left 40,000 people without power and who faced five days of curfew.

A crisis is an opportunity to bring together our people and build a stronger movement. In that spirit, SVA organized an event against white supremacist and fascist forces on January 6, 2023, the two year anniversary of the alt-right attacks on the US Capitol. The event included member of the House of Coxx, Naomi Dix, who had been performing in Moore County when the power went out. Members from Black Workers for Justice, Muslims for Social Justice, Mapinduzi, and Jewish Voice for Peace also joined the panel. Participants discussed how fascism impacts Black, brown, trans, Jews, Muslims, and other communities. They also drew attention to the rise of fascist forces globally, including in India (the rise of Hindutva forces), Hungary, Brazil (as symbolized by the political movement headed by Jaer Bolsonaro), and other countries. Panelists shared insights on how to build a stronger united front to defeat the extremist forces at home and abroad.

Photo of January 6, 2023, panel against white supremacy by Tori Grace Nichols

Southern Vision Alliance and our partners are clear about the need to build a long-term movement against white supremacy and fascism that brings together movements to liberate Black, brown, LGBTQIA, working class, and other impacted communities. We are many, and they are few. We have defeated the forces of hate and extremism in the past, and we will defeat them again by building a stronger grassroots social justice movement!

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