Black leaders, artists respond to Charlottesville

In a stunning protest by America’s white nationalist and neo-Nazi community, violence and chaos ensued when a mass of white men descended on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Va. and embarked on a surprise march that began after sundown at 9 p.m. Friday, August 11.

Many antifascists and protesters against white nationalism, including Dr. Cornel West and his constituents, were preparing to oppose the march that had been publicly scheduled for Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. The Washington Post reported in an extensive timeline of the events that took place last weekend, “By 8:45 p.m. Friday, a column of about 250 mostly young white males, many in khaki pants and white polo shirts, began to stretch across the shadowy Nameless Field, a large expanse of grass behind Memorial Gymnasium at

the University of Virginia.”

Although Saturday would be the tragic day that took antifascist organizer, Heather Heyer’s life, West spoke with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! about his experience that evening. “I knew I was going to hear a powerful sermon by my dear sister Reverend Dr. Traci Blackmon, and we heard one,” said West. “We heard poignant words by professor Jalane Schmidt. And I had a few things to say. It was a beautiful moment—all colors, all religious traditions, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Black, white, red, indigenous peoples. And we should never downplay the vicious attack on gay brothers, lesbian sisters, bisexuals and trans folk, that was part of the chanting

that took place the next day.”

West continued, “But what happened was they held us hostage in the church. We could not leave after the service, because the torch march threatening the people who were there. And so, in that sense, I said, ‘Hmmm, boy, these neofascists, they’re out of control. Where are the police?’ And who would think that our dear sister Heather, my dear comrade, who also was with IWW—you know, that’s very important. She was an organizer. She stood with us Saturday. She paid the ultimate price. And many of us may have to pay

that ultimate price.”

The Guardian reported that the white nationalists were swinging their burning torches at students and antifascist protesters. West told Goodman, “You had a number of the courageous students, of all colors, at the University of Virginia who were protesting against the neofascists themselves. The neofascists had their own ammunition. And this is very important to keep in mind, because the police, for the most part, pulled back. The next day, for example, those 20 of us who were standing, many of them clergy, we would have been crushed like cockroaches if it were not for the anarchists and the antifascists who approached, over 300, 350 antifascists. We just had 20.”

Other Black leaders and artists in the hip-hop community leaders took to social media to express their disdain for the protests. Rapper and activist, Killer Mike wrote on his Instagram, “One day when Blacks pull outta this evil system, these men will be the New Niggers. Poor, white, standard education will not mean a thing. They will fill the masters’ prisons and suffer a drug epidemic (like now) becuz the country needs money for war. That time will come and then they will see. They will see race is a myth and class war demands a victim and it will be them. The poor and white, the worker and least of them. That day all the people u refused to ally with will rejoice in knowing u suffer like u allowed others too. I pray finally u see that ALL along you are slaves too!#ReadSomeChomskyNShit #TheStateRulesUsAll”