Build Anti-Fascist Unions

By Brendan O’Connor in Strikewave

Late last summer, ahead of the first anniversary of Heather Heyer’s killing in Charlottesville, Kooper Caraway wrote a blog post for the website of the Sioux Falls AFL-CIO, a labor council representing mostly immigrants, refugees, and workers of color in an overwhelmingly white state that is historically hostile to unions. Just months before, the council had passed an amendment to its constitution banning fascists and white supremacists from holding elected office. “It is our duty to let our fellow workers know that Fascism, White Supremacy, and its organizations have only ever existed to divide us as workers and do the dirty work of the Boss Class,” he wrote. “The White Nationalists have always been bought and paid for by those in power, they exist not to fight for any ideal, but to destroy the progress made by us as working class people.”

Three days later, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan dropped propaganda all around the city, proclaiming that “White Lives Do Matter” and demanding that residents “Save Our Land; Join the Klan.” “But after that,” Caraway told me, “a lot of what people were talking about was that the KKK’s out here trying to divide the working class. We see that as a win. We’re trying to shift and adjust the messaging as much as we can so that when folks think of working class—it’s not Trump supporters, it’s not these far-right reactionary folks, it’s regular folks who believe in solidarity over racism.”

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