The violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, including an attack
by a neo-Nazi that resulted in 19 injuries and the death of Heather
Heyer, brought into focus the danger of white supremacy. It
reminded Americans of the legacy of slavery and racism in the
It also catapulted resistance to white nationalism into the
limelight, resistance which has taken many forms: Black Lives
Matter; INCITE!; subdivisions of socialist organizations; Refuse
Fascism, sponsored by Revolutionary Communist Party organization,
and leftist parties like Workers World Party and the Party for
Socialism and Liberation.
Each has worked tirelessly to resist not only physical displays
of racism but systematic abuses perpetuated by the state.
I spoke to members of the Workers World Party, the Party for
Socialism and Liberation, Democratic Socialists of America, and
Refuse Fascism about the ongoing struggle against a system that
actively seeks to further marginalize a number of communities, and
destroy a growing left movement. They outline not only what a
leftist response to white supremacy should look like but also why
white nationalist groups will not simply crumble and disappear if
they are ignored.
Democratic Socialists of America Jewish Solidarity Caucus
Lane Silberstein, 29-years-old
NYC; member of DSA JSC, and IfNotNow
Emily Lever, 24-years-old
NYC; member of DSA JSC, and the Socialist Feminist Working
Chamseddine: After Charlottesville and other efforts by
white supremacists to mobilize, do you believe that anything has
changed in terms of the lefts response to their violence?
Silberstein: The JSC believes in self-defense, direct
action, and materialist analysis. Howeverand this might be a
dissatisfying answerthe JSC also comes together with liberal Jewish
groups to form coalitions against fascism. The left will have to
really think about when and how to organize alongside liberal
groups, but not be afraid to call them to task. DSA is holding
rallies with [International Socialist Organization], [Industrial
Workers Of the World] and [Movement For Black Lives], et al, in
attempts to unite the left; but JSC exists in part to radicalize
liberal Jews and inform them of Jewish socialist history and praxis
[which is enacting or putting theory into practice].
Lever: There is even more of a sense of urgency than
there was before and a renewed understanding that the left needs to
set aside ideological differences and pull together. DSA may be the
largest socialist organization in the country, but 25,000 members
is still tiny in the grand scheme of things.
The left needs to both grow, including by calling to action