Hartford–(Thursday January 11th, 2018) It has come to the attention of the Connecticut membership of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the Legion of Queer Anarchists and the New Haven Anti-Fascists that on the afternoon of Friday December 29th, 15 white supremacists associated with an organization calling itself “CTVanguard” held a white pride demonstration. Beginning at noon at the statue of mass murderer Christopher Columbus at Washington Street and Lafayette Street, CTVanguard waved USA flags, held signs that read “we belong here,” and rallied for white power in Frog Hollow, a well know Latinx neighborhood in Hartford. In addition to glorifying a figure who initiated a wave of genocide and racism that still reverberates across the Americas to this day, they saw fit to denigrate with their presence the memorials to the 1798 Irish Rebellion at Heaven Skate Park, and Ancient Burying Ground which is considered an important African-American landmark. At various times anti-fascists faced physical aggression and hate speech while bearing witness on public property, but held their ground so as not to give fascists the impression they could march through our city with impunity. While no one was hurt, we will be doubling our efforts to monitor and oppose them wherever they go.
In response to this and other provocations, the IWW is organizing a series of public educational talks on fascism and anti-fascism. Longtime social justice organizer Roger Benham volunteered as medical support for counter-protesters in Charlottesville, VA this past August, and returned home to Connecticut with a renewed urgency to raise awareness about the dangers posed to our communities by right-wing terrorism. Following his September lecture hosted by the Think-and-Do Philosophy Club at the Mansfield Public Library, the IWW approached him to organize more such talks. The first will take place at Diaspora Multicultural Society at 90 John Street in New Britain, CT on Friday February 9th at 7:00pm, with a Hartford engagement to be announced shortly. Roger will discuss the history and ideologies of right-wing extremism in the United States from the 1930’s to today, and how we “not only as antifascists but also as working class radicals with a class-based analysis and liberatory vision beyond liberal democracy can effectively respond to them.”
Since June of last year there has been a steady and alarming uptick in white supremacist activity in Connecticut. The Islamophobic “ACT for America” was outnumbered by counter-protesters in Waterbury. Fascists from such hate groups as the Proud Boys, Identity Evropa and the American Guard were promptly chased off the New Haven Green by hundreds of anti-fascists. In October the “White Whalers Book Club” harassed the towns of Southington, Bristol and Newington with Neo-Nazi-affiliated propaganda that drew universal condemnation from the affected communities. And in November, the UConn College Republicans, hijacked by members of the extreme right-wing Turning Point USA, hosted Lucian Wintrich, white supremacist provocateur. Wintrich not only disparaged the humanity of UConn’s diverse community, he also assaulted nonviolent protester Katie Gregory, violently grabbing her, after she sought to end his deluge of racist, misogynistic and Islamophobic abuse. Since this incident, Katie been the victim of a coordinated white supremacist doxxing campaign that has called for her arrest and firing. She has also received death threats.
Upon learning of CTVanguard’s attempt to hijack the Irish freedom struggle for racist ends, this latest insult provoked an impassioned rebuke from the US-based National Irish Freedom Committee: “To all fascists, white supremacists, hate mongers, bigots, and sectarian mongrels; you are cautioned to leave our monuments alone, our songs out of your mouths, and our legacy free from your tarnishing hate speech. We unequivocally condemn your use of Irish republicanism, and your use of its monuments to our patriot dead.” (Full text below).
From the National Irish Freedom Committee (http://irishfreedom.net/)
To our friends and comrades worldwide who condemn fascism and sectarianism we extend our greetings and solidarity.
The reasons and lessons learned from Éirí Amach na nÉireannach Aontacht, the 1798 rebellion, led by the United Irishmen are as clear and present today as they were 220 years ago! The revolution was fought for the core values of Irish Republicanism, to unite the people of Ireland, regardless of race, religion, or creed; to unite catholic, protestant, and dissenter; to fight not only for Ireland, but to espouse the cause that small nations might be free.
It has come to the attention of the Irish republican movement in America that an attempt to hijack the good name of republicanism and connect it to white supremacy was attempted in Hartford Connecticut at New Ross park at the 1798 monument; the audacity!
You seonin dogs! How dare you stand on sacred ground in an attempt to connect your hatred with a proud and lasting tradition! We have endured plague and famine, language suppression, draconian laws, political persecution and outright war, our history is written in blood, and our legacy is written in stone! Make no mistake, revisionists of history in any form will not be tolerated. You will be exposed for the bigots and cowards that you are.
Furthermore we point out that all those who interact with fascists in any manner, using the name of Irish Republicanism, are by their actions undermining the cause of a free Ireland. We call on them to immediately cease their use of the historic and noble name of Irish Republicanism as a cloak for their sectarian bigotry.
The Fenians were the inheritors of 1798, as we are the inheritors of 1916, written in the
Fenian Proclamation of 1867 are the following words: “All are born with equal rights, and in associating to protect one another and share public burdens, justice demands that such associations should rest upon a basis which maintains equality instead of destroying it.”
To all fascists, white supremacists, hate mongers, bigots, and sectarian mongrels; you are
cautioned to leave our monuments alone, our songs out of your mouths, and our legacy free from your tarnishing hate speech. We unequivocally condemn your use of Irish republicanism, and your use of its monuments to our patriot dead.
An Phoblacht Abu, Long live the All Ireland Republic.
Cumann na Saoirse, The Irish Republican movement in America