By SOCIALIST RESURGENCE
On the evening of Monday, Feb. 21, neo-Nazis came with swastika flags to harass the Red Ink Community Library in Providence, R.I., during a community reading of the Communist Manifesto. The event celebrated the 174th anniversary of the date that the revolutionary text by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels was published. The library put out a Tweet that explained, “They showed up on our sidewalk, banged on our glass windows, shouted horrible slurs, and attempted to assault our members.”
David Raileanu, the director of Red Ink Community Library, told WBUR radio, “There was definitely a sense that we were not safe.” He continued, “As a socialist, it was difficult. As a person of Jewish ancestry, it was brutal.”
The fascists raised the chants, “Commie scum, off our streets!” and “White power!” Some in the group wore facemasks with “131” stitched on them, a likely reference to NSC-131, a white supremacist group from the Boston area.
Community, socialist, and labor organizations have already begun giving support and solidarity to Red Ink and Ward 3/Mount Hope against fascist intimidation and violence. The initial groups expressing solidarity included BLM Rhode Island PAC, Never Again Rhode Island, Party for Liberation and Socialism (Rhode Island), Providence Democratic Socialists of America, and International Union of Left Publishers (IULP).
It is essential that every group and individual fighting for justice and a better world stand against fascist and neo-Nazi aggression everywhere. The attack on Red Ink came only two days after right-wing vigilante Benjamin Smith murdered an anti-racist demonstrator and wounded five others in Portland, Ore. (The protest was called largely in response to the Feb. 2 killing of Amir Locke by Minneapolis police.) Rising right-wing violence is a symptom of the severe and ongoing crises of world capitalism.
The only cure to fascism is workers’ power. Every attempt by fascists to demonstrate in public and intimidate workers, people of color, immigrants, Queer people, and other marginalized groups must be countered by the largest numbers possible. In the wake of harassment like that experienced by Red Ink and Mount Hope residents it is essential to organize defense of future events with the broadest community support and participation possible. The attack can be used to inspire and organize against the common threat of fascism.
Socialist Resurgence was also victimized when one of our book tables in Stamford, Conn., was attacked by a far-right “lone wolf” in 2020. At our next book table, dozens of people showed up to stand with us and defend our right to share our ideas in public space. Socialist Resurgence stands with Red Ink and fully intends to participate in any planned political defense campaigns against further intimidation.
Red Ink is hosting a virtual community forum to discuss future collective defense work at 11AM EST on Saturday, Feb. 26. Register at https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcqceyurTkjE9JqPZ92rWXP_4z-CQrqWtrp
Photo by Nina Sparling / The Public’s Radio.