All you fas­cists bound to lose

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In the 1940s, leg­endary amer­i­can folk singer and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist Woody guthrie wrote the lyrics to a song called ‘all you Fas­cists Bound to lose’. Of­fer­ing words of re­sis­tance and unity, it was a re­sponse to not just the hor­rors of hitler and nazi ger­many but events much closer to home, namely the racist Ku Klux Klan, who lynched black men and women across the South­ern states up un­til the 1960s.

as a man who played a gui­tar scrawled with the words ‘this ma­chine kills fas­cists’, guthrie fought for so­cial jus­tice through mu­sic and ed­u­ca­tion. So when he died in the midst of the Civil rights Move­ment, he must have be­lieved that his coun­try and the rest of the world were fight­ing their way to a bet­ter fu­ture. lit­tle did he know that his words would need to be called upon again in 2017.

last week­end, in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, one of the most sin­is­ter parts of amer­ica’s his­tory re­peated it­self, with a white su­prem­a­cist rally held in protest against the re­moval of a statue de­pict­ing Con­fed­er­ate gen­eral and big-time racist robert e lee. By now you will have all seen pic­tures from the ‘Unite the right’ march – men (why is it al­ways men?) bran­dish­ing torches and storm­ing through the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia cam­pus, chant­ing nazi slo­gans and wav­ing swastikas.

their ac­tions were called a “cow­ardly pa­rade of ha­tred, big­otry, racism and in­tol­er­ance” by the mayor of Char­lottesville and clashes be­tween coun­ter­protesters the fol­low­ing day led to the tragic death of an­tifas­cist demon­stra­tor heather heyer. She was killed when a right-wing ex­trem­ist de­lib­er­ately drove his car through the crowds, also in­jur­ing 19 oth­ers.

the ac­tions of the fas­cist demon­stra­tors have been widely con­demned, though don­ald trump’s ini­tial comment on the sit­u­a­tion was sketchy, not specif­i­cally mark­ing out the white su­prem­a­cists as the bad guys. even when – after two days – he fi­nally called them “re­pug­nant”, he failed to re­ject their sup­port. Some­thing you think’d be kind of key, es­pe­cially after for­mer KKK boss david duke pledged his al­le­giance to him and his poli­cies. Some have taken trump’s seem­ing ap­a­thy even fur­ther, with singer John leg­end tweet­ing, “We have nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers and white na­tion­al­ists in the White house. Con­demn them too.”

But what does this all mean for us in the UK? the an­swer is ev­ery­thing. ‘Unite the right’ has shown us that there are some truly hor­ri­ble peo­ple out there, but the counter-protests show that we are many and they are few. the UK is a coun­try that should be proud of its his­tory of re­sis­tance against racism, from the Bat­tle of Ca­ble Street in 1936, where 20,000 demon­stra­tors fought the Bri­tish Union of Fas­cists on the streets of east lon­don, to the rock against racism move­ment of the 1970s, to vi­ral hero Saf­fiyah Khan, who stepped to the de­fence of a woman wear­ing a head­scarf at an english de­fence league rally ear­lier this year. We stand by the counter-pro­test­ers in amer­ica, be­cause all you fas­cists are bound to lose. @leoniemay­cooper

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