Who toppled that statue in Durham?

According to local reporting from North Carolina, members of the Workers World Party (WWP) toppled the memorial to Confederate soldiers in Durham. The group said it destroyed the statue hoping to “take down white supremacy.”

I see.

Takiyah Thompson, a member of the WWP who climbed to the top of the statue to tie a rope around its neck, declared: “The people decided to take matters into our own hands and remove the statue.” Dana Milbank has placed Thompson and her commie group squarely among “the rest of us,” so maybe they have cause to think they can act for “the people.”

But what is the WWP? It is a communist party that was founded in 1959. Apparently, it split off from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) because it thought the SWP didn’t sufficiently support Mao’s China and was wrong to condemn the Soviet invasion of Hungary. In other words, the SWP wasn’t viciously totalitarian enough to suit the WWP. Today, the WWP says it’s “dedicated to organizing and fighting for a socialist revolution in the United States and around the world.”

I’m going to risk never being able to convene an advisory council of the titans (or wimps, as I see them) of U.S. industry. I’m going to suggest a parallel between the tactics of the communist revolutionaries of the WWP and the racist Nazis of the “alt-right” Charlottesville rally.

Both are using the issue of monuments to Confederates to generate momentum for their extremism. The WWP wants to appeal to the many non-communists who oppose such monuments. The Nazis want to appeal to non-racists who don’t want these monuments removed.

It’s a standard tactic — one with which I’m personally familiar. As a student radical in the late 1960s and early 1970s, we always tried to exploit opposition to the Vietnam War as a means of attracting support for our radicalism. We would advertise our rallies as anti-war, but use them to preach anti-capitalism, in addition to the anti-war message. We considered opposition to the war as the gateway to overarching radicalism.

That’s why President Trump was probably right to say there were good people alongside the abominable Nazi protesters. I wasn’t in Charlottesville, but I have attended protests off and on for 54 years and, as just noted, have helped organize a few small ones.

The “alt-right” rally was billed as an attempt to unite the right — in other words, to bring in an array of folks united around the idea that the statue of Robert E. Lee shouldn’t be removed. It would shock me if the only people who were induced to attend were Nazis and other racists. That’s not how such protests work.

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