CHAR­LOTTESVILLE

Kerrang! (UK) - - Contents -

Fuck fas­cism, ba­si­cally

LAST Week saw sick­en­ing vi­o­lence by Nazis and white su­prem­a­cists in the city of Char­lottesville,vir­ginia, usa.the re­sult was vile de­struc­tion and death, when a car was driven into the crowd of counter pro­test­ers, re­sult­ing in the mur­der of 32-year-old Heather Heyer. It was one of Amer­ica’s dark­est days, with many in our scene – and beyond – trau­ma­tised by what hap­pened.we at Ker­rang! felt like we had to write about what hap­pened in this is­sue. No mu­sic story seemed more im­por­tant. Ker­rang!’s friend, the es­teemed writer Kim Kelly, was there in Char­lottesville as events unfolded. Here, she tells us what went down.and why it’s so im­por­tant that we gal­vanise against the far-right threat now… “Ifyou’ve seen that gut-wrench­ing video by now, you know what hap­pened.the char­coal black car.the domino ef­fect it had on the two cars ahead of it.the black car’s rapid re­verse back down the street, and the sea of peo­ple he’d pur­pose­fully ploughed into.their bod­ies. “It’s dif­fi­cult to de­scribe the hor­ror of it all, and I’m sure that video leaves a lot of ques­tions unan­swered.the one im­por­tant thing that I’ve seen left out of all the me­dia cov­er­age around Char­lottesville, though, is the rea­son why we were march­ing. It wasn’t just a vic­tory lap, though we were feel­ing rather tri­umphant about the Nazis’ hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feat and evic­tion from eman­ci­pa­tion Park; it wasn’t a protest, though we chanted our de­mands for lib­er­a­tion as we walked.we were headed to a lo­cal hous­ing project, friend­ship Court, after get­ting word that a group of armed Nazis were go­ing there to ter­rorise its in­hab­i­tants, who are pre­dom­i­nantly work­ing class peo­ple of colour.we were go­ing to help pro­tect peo­ple whose town had been in­vaded by white su­prem­a­cists, Ku Klux Klan mem­bers, alt-right white na­tion­al­ists, far-right mili­tias, and hon­est-to-god Nazis.

“‘Alerta, alerta, an­tifascista!’ came the ral­ly­ing cry, rolling down our ranks like thun­der as sev­eral hun­dred of us – an­ar­chists, anti-fas­cists, com­mu­nists, IWW union ac­tivists, so­cial­ists, and var­i­ous other left-wing, Nazi-hat­ing folk – be­gan to march.the sun beat down upon our shoul­ders and Char­lottesville lo­cals cheered us from the side­walks; de­spite what our coun­try’s dis­gust­ing fas­cist-in-chief seems to be­lieve about the er­ro­neously-called ‘alt-left’ peo­ple seemed aw­fully happy to see us.we were joined by an­other group of marchers along the way, and there must have been 700 of us there; it was a truly lovely mo­ment of left­ist unity.

“And then, sud­denly, it was over.and there was noth­ing left but screams.

“It seemed to hap­pen in slow mo­tion; I saw the car ram­ming through the crowd, their bod­ies bounc­ing off its char­coal sides or – in an im­age I’ll never for­get – a woman in a turquoise blouse fly­ing ver­ti­cally up its wind­shield, and ly­ing still.as I heard his tyres screech and saw the car be­gin

to re­verse, my only thought was,‘he’s go­ing to hit us again. I have to tell peo­ple. Peo­ple need to come help us.’ I dashed a few me­tres away, fran­ti­cally fir­ing off a few tweets about the car­nage be­fore my phone died. I’m sure it sounds like an ab­surd move; why wouldn’t my first move be to call the cops? I’ll tell you why: the cow­ards in their riot gear hadn’t lifted a finger to pro­tect any­one but the Nazis all day. I wouldn’t trust them to help me change a tyre.

“At that point, it hit me – I was alone. I ran back out, scan­ning the road for fa­mil­iar faces un­til I spot­ted my friend M, sit­ting on a curb across from the car­nage. She’d been struck by the car, but sus­tained only mi­nor in­juries.at least two of my other friends had been hit, too; one ended up in the hospi­tal.twenty peo­ple in to­tal were in­jured by that mon­ster, and though we heard ru­mours of fa­tal­i­ties, Heather Heyer’s death wasn’t con­firmed un­til an hour or so after the at­tack.

“Painfully slowly, we found ev­ery­one else from our crew, and made our way to a nearby sanc­tu­ary church. once in­side, men­tal health work­ers did their best to help us process what we’d sur­vived. In the midst of those first mo­ments of heal­ing, the calm was bro­ken by the sound of stam­ped­ing feet and shouts of,‘nazis! out­side! They’re try­ing to get in!’ All hell broke loose as the church slammed its doors shut and most of us in­side suc­cumbed to panic; a Nazi with a gun was out­side, try­ing to get in.the church’s se­cu­rity set him pack­ing after only a few mo­ments, but it felt like hours – time had stopped again. one of the church work­ers told me sadly that they’d been get­ting ha­rassed by vi­o­lent white su­prem­a­cists all week­end.

“I thought I was go­ing to die there in that church; the fact that we didn’t, that we got out and got back home and have lived to fight an­other day is the great­est hope that is sus­tain­ing me dur­ing these dark­est of days. Love is its own pro­tec­tion.

“I must be clear: though these ab­hor­rent scum mur­dered an in­no­cent woman and rained ter­ror down upon a small South­ern city. Char­lottesville was an un­equiv­o­cal dis­as­ter for the alt-right.they brought their guns, their flags, their swastikas and tiki torches, and still, they failed.these bas­tards will never de­feat us, and the scourges of white supremacy and fas­cism will be erad­i­cated from these shores.

“What they for­got to kill will go on to or­gan­ise.”

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