On Tuesday the 14th of August, Bristol IWW attended the vigil in memory of Heather Heyer on College Green. The vigil was organised by Fred, a member of Young Labour and was attended by a variety of local groups, residents and anti-fascists.
Heather Heyer was an American civil rights activist who was killed whilst demonstrating against the the fascist ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on the 12th of August. Her killer, if video footage is to believed, was James Fields who was seen to be marching with and bearing a shield with the insignia of Vanguard America, a white nationalist group. Fields attacked the group of anti-fascists that Heather was part of by ramming his car into them, killing Heather and wounding a further 19 counter demonstrators. In the immediate aftermath of her death, it was reported that Heather was a member of Industrial Workers of the World and Democratic Socialists of America however the union has not been able to verify this.
At the vigil, one of our members kicked off the speeches with a call out to unite and fight fascism together:
“Heather Heyer didn’t want to be an antifascist, she wanted to be a civil rights worker. She wanted to work on positive campaigns to make the world better. The same way that I’m sure all of you would rather be here talking about workers rights, talking about the environment, talking about feminism but the thing that Heather Understood, and we all need to understand, is that when you hear the call you have to answer. There’s a long history of fascism that we all know about, it can never be allowed to happen again. In order for it not to happen again, society, all of the people that Fred mentioned, all of the different types of people, need to come together. And wherever fascism tries to build it’s movement, we HAVE to destroy it. It is a negative thing, but we HAVE to destroy fascism. Because if fascism flourishes, we all wither.”
Whether Heather was an IWW member or not, we send our love and solidarity to her friends, family and comrades. She was one of us and her death will not be in vain. Bristol IWW and WISE-RA reaffirm our commitment to building a strong, combative anti-fascist union. We will ensure that whenever and wherever violent fascists raise their ugly heads we will be at the forefront of the resistance, defending our community and each other from hatred and intolerance. The EDL front group Gays Against Sharia are planning to hold a rally in Bristol on the 10th of September and we will be there to help send them packing.