Natasha Lennard: This Is Not a Time for Civility

On his application to hold a demonstration in Washington, DC, to mark the anniversary of last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, white-supremacist Jason Kessler ticked “yes” to the question of whether any groups might seek to disrupt the demonstration. “Members of Antifa affiliated groups might try to disrupt,” Kessler wrote.

The National Parks Service approved the application. This Sunday, assorted white nationalists will gather at Lafayette Park to rally for “white civil rights” and, metaphorically, to spit on the grave of Heather Heyer, the counter-protester mowed down by a neo-Nazi in a Dodge Charger in Charlottesville last year. Planned speakers include neo-Nazi Patrick Little and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. Kessler is correct that “antifa-affiliated groups” will be present, too, in numbers likely far larger than the less-than-400 expected on the white-supremacist side.

In the case of this weekend’s mobilization in DC, “antifa-affiliated groups” entails a broad and diverse coalition, coming together from different areas of the anti-racist and social-justice struggle—an alliance that belies the reductive and demonizing image of anti-fascist activism painted by the far right and the civility-fetishizing liberal commentariat. Activists from Black Lives Matter, Jewish Voice for Peace, March for Racial Justice, the Democratic Socialists of America, and many more have been organizing for weeks alongside anarchist groups and seasoned antifa participants from DC, Virginia, Philadelphia, and beyond.

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