Responding to white nationalist rallies

Here are some things we know after Charlottesville. The overt and violent white supremacy of Unite the Right rally and other white nationalist rallies is terrifying. And this kind of violence, this form of white supremacy, has been a part of this country since its beginning. From the brutality of chattel slavery that existed in this country for 250 years, to the systematic killing of people Indigenous to these lands, to the vigilante and state response to the Civil Right’s movement. If you have ever wondered what you would have done during the rise of the Klan or the Nazis, it is what you choose to do today.

In this email we have information on Bay Area rallies this weekend and resources on understanding and responding to white nationalist rallies all over the country.

We have re-entered a time period when white supremacist groups are not fringe or powerless, but connected to, and supported by, the White House. They must be delegitimized and confronted with every creative tactic in our toolbox. Everyone who is against racism has a place in this struggle, in the streets, supporting those who take to the streets, and in groups explicitly organizing for racial justice. We need leaders moving racial justice in workplaces, churches and schools. However you can find ways target the institutions and symbols that support white supremacy, do it.

We can take inspiration from the hundreds of thousands of people who have responded since Charlottesville. Just in the last week there have been Movement for Black Lives actions across the country, 30,000 people in the streets of Boston, and successful campaigns to tear down confederate monuments in Durham NC, in Lexington KY and so many other places. We are moved by the people who are protecting and defending leaders who are now being targeted by white supremacists and police for their brave actions.

We need to face the fact that the white supremacists carrying torches, chanting Nazi slogans, and committing horrifying acts of violence in the streets are intimately connected to how white supremacy functions in the systems, structures, and culture of our society. It’s easy to call out these overt displays of racism, but let’s also call out the link between these rallies and the defunding of public education, the DAPL pipeline being routed through Indigenous land, how the people of Guam are talked about as ‘collateral damage’ or deportations.

At a time when police violence that helps maintain political, economic, and racial inequality is under more scrutiny because of the Movement for Black Lives, these extralegal acts of racist violence step in to do some of that enforcing, and to deliberately instill fear in communities of color, queer and trans communities, and Muslim and Jewish communities.

We need broad and bold and creative and diverse resistance. Let’s be united in taking action, in our shared goals of eliminating racism, and in protecting each other from state repression, even if we disagree with each other about tactics. We cannot allow white supremacists whose goals include creating a white ethno-state to have more space publicly to say things like “a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here.”

Bay Area Rallies this weekend

White supremacist groups are turning their attention to the Bay Area this coming weekend. If you are local here is some information. The risks are real and we urge you to be courageous as you determine what action steps to take:

  • Friday night 7-9pm
    • Informational session about the SURJ anti-white supremacist rally on 8/27. Location announced soon on the event page here. SURJ leaders will give an overview of Sunday’s action, answer questions, address concerns, and talk about what to bring and how to prepare.
  • San Francisco Saturday the 26th
  • Berkeley Sunday the 27th
    • Catalyst will be supporting this rally led by SURJ. We will provide a clear, mass response to the white nationalist rally while not engaging in physical confrontation with them.
    • For people who, for any reason, do not want to be near the white nationalist march but still want to be in the streets there is this rally at the UC Berkeley campus.

Below is a collection of resources that we have compiled. Use it, share it around. Let’s all get grounded together in what’s happening, what it means and what we can be doing.

Rahula Janowski
Oh behalf of Catalyst Project

Resources for Charlottesville and Beyond

Understanding the context (both historical and systemic)


Action Steps

Anti-semitism in White Nationalism

Understanding current White Supremacist movements