This weekend, DSAers across the country rallied against the white supremacists and neo-nazis using "free speech" to support the glorification of slavery. More than a dozen New England chapters joined anti-hate rallies in Boston. And in communities like Anchorage, Alaska, Huntsville, Alabama, and Long Beach, California, DSAers stood up against racism as well.
And democratic socialists fight the ideological battle, too! Please write letters to the editor and opinion editorials, and call in to local radio shows to refute the idea that celebrating our heritage must mean celebrating the Confederacy and slavery. Open by affirming positive values and then pivot to the talking points below.
Below are some talking points you can use. And click here for a pdf you can share with friends.
Maria Svart, DSA National Director
DSA Charlottesville and Confederate Monument Talking Points: for use in writing local media op eds and letters
- We believe in celebrating our history and heritage, but unlike Trump who celebrates those who fought to protect and expand slavery, we celebrate the history of freedom fighters like Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells and Martin Luther King, Jr. on our own soil, as well as those who fought the rise of Hitler in Germany, those who led the resistance to Nazi aggression and occupation in France, Greece, Yugoslavia and elsewhere, and who resisted the rise of fascism in Italy.
- Donald Trump’s use of the invented term “alt-left” is an attempt to create a false equivalence between “alt-right” white supremacists and neo-nazis who supported his candidacy and who killed activist Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, and the leftists and anti-fascists that have always opposed the far-right.
- White supremacists know that anti-racist, anti-capitalist activists are the greatest threat to their horrific vision for this country because we build interracial solidarity through working together to demand fair wages, decent housing, and other basic human needs. Our vision is a society based on cooperation instead of competition, and we know it’s possible once we take our country back from the billionaire class.
- From combatting the Klan in Greensboro to fighting for the Scottsboro Boys in Alabama, the U.S. socialist and communist left has a long tradition of fighting white supremacy. That's part of why Trump and his predecessors, from George Wallace to Bull Connor, have always spent so much energy attacking socialists as "outside agitators."
- When conservatives or liberals attack socialists for supporting their Black and Brown comrades, they are doing the work of white supremacy. Martin Luther King Jr. said as much in his letter from Birmingham Jail, where he admonished the "white moderate" more devoted to order than justice. In Dr. King's time, as in ours, the choice was simple: you oppose white supremacy wherever you see it, or you support the racists. There's no middle ground between oppression and freedom."
- The idea that we need Confederate monuments to remember our history is only relevant if we recognize it for what it is - a history of subjugation and slavery. In fact, most of these monuments were erected at the height of the Jim Crow era, not to honor history but to intimidate and reinforce white supremacy as the norm, which then was and still is used to carry out economic violence against all working people through public policy.
Note: this blog is not an official/recognized outreach organ of DSA. We often work on things together.