by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
Sorry about the late notice, but a conference with that name took place today in Durham. The host was an organization called Defend Durham. It doesn’t seem to have a website, but here’s what an anonymous member had to say about it at the “antifascist” website, ItsGoingDown:
Durham, NC, has been a crucial locus for activist energy with a storied history of queer, feminist, Black, and anarchist fervor enlivening Southeastern networks of radical organizing. More recently Durham is contributing to our collective understanding of tactics and providing sharp examples of solidarity in action.
Eschewing factionalism, Defend Durham coalesced around the 11 brave people arrested for allegedly toppling the Confederate statue on August 14, 2017, days after the Nazi riot in Charlottesville, Virginia. Freedom-loving people from different political spaces rapidly organized themselves to maximize the pressure on the county government and intensify popular mobilizations against white supremacy across the city. What Durham activism offers is a compelling model of concerted, sustained actions based on consensus, rigorous planning, tactical diversity, and the unwavering belief that through solidarity and militancy we can all win. To extend the complex narrative of Defend Durham, I want to share my own story of armed resistance to the Klan and my subsequent trial in the hope that new ideas can be germinated, new possibilities imagined. and new critiques developed.
I’ll spare you the description of the anonymous writer’s heroic struggle against “white supremacy across the city” and skip to the end:
What’s right may not always conform to what is legal and we need to nurture our collective courage to put our jobs, our reputations, and even our lives on the line for the freedom of every single one of us. We can no longer constrain our desire for liberty within the abstract bounds of liberal discourse and polite debate. We now have to organize and fight as if our lives depend on it. For indeed they do.
Do it like Durham!