The murder of Heather Heyer by a neo-Nazi was horrifying but not surprising. The Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazis and the alt.right have increased in confidence under Trump and indeed in his rambling and incoherent speeches he refused to completely condemn them. Heather’s murder was not an isolated incident. It follows the shooting of a member of the revolutionary union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Seattle, the double murder on the Portland train, and many other incidents in Berkeley, Minnesota etc.
As the General Defence Committee of the IWW stated: “Fascism is a deadly threat to all of us. There is no escape from the demand that we confront it. Politicians, the police, and the university will not save us. We cannot vote our way to safety. As always, police aided and protected the fascists, while permitting and assisting wholesale violence against counter-protesters. University officials refused to use campus security to protect students and others from a gang of hundreds of fascists”.
Far from intimidating people the attack appears to have led to a strengthening of the movement against the growth of the far right. When the far right tried to rally in Boston shortly after Charlottesville, they managed barely a hundred supporters. They were surrounded by an angry crowd of 40,000.Trump labelled these as “anti-police agitators”. A demonstrator was quoted as saying: “Our generation has been radicalized by police murdering people of colour. And cops shut down a massive section of Boston and protected about 25 rightwingers while 45,000 people joined counter-protests. I think for a lot of people it’s clear what side the police are on. It wasn’t on the side of the people protesting white nationalists even though Marty Walsh [the mayor of Boston] talked tough earlier in the week.”
This massive response threw fear into the far right. As a result 67 rallies across 36 states organised by the hate group Act for America were cancelled. Many actions in solidarity with the Charlottesville attack took place around the USA, and around the world. In Asheville, North Carolina a crowd gathered and tore down a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee. San Francisco dockers called for a strike against a far right rally organised by the Patriot Prayer group.
The movement that is developing in America is radicalising. It sees how the police protect far right rallies, is increasingly aware that the police are a murderous and racist institution, and increasingly sees now that the whole problem of racism and white supremacy is a result of the system itself. For too long the alt.right and their allies in the KKK and the neo-Nazi groups have been tolerated and have become more and more confident under a President who is himself a racist, xenophobe and misogynist. Now they are starting to panic as mass resistance to them grows. They can be swept back, Trump can be overthrown. It all depends on mass action rather than waiting on possible impeachment.