For Immediate Release
June 10, 2020
Pittsfield, MA- The Berkshires chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America supports non-violent protest, including the ongoing efforts of local anti-fascist volunteers around the world, internationally recognized as antifa. Antifa is not an organized group but an idea that supports and defends peoples’ right to live free from oppressive abuse of power.
“Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer unfortunately succumbed to the histrionics of the right last week, taking sides with Donald Trump in blaming antifa for outbreaks of violence at recent protests, and suggesting that antifa posed a threat to residents of Berkshire County,” says Berkshires DSA Co-Chair Christian Kennedy.
Berkshires DSA wholeheartedly supports Tyer’s desire to protect our communities from violence. We therefore call on Tyer and other elected officials to denounce and make clear the threat posed by alt-right terrorist groups. Moreover, we call on Tyer and other elected officials to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to defund the police. Funds should be diverted from policing to critically needed social services and programs in Black, Latinx, indigenous, and other communities of color.
“Antifa is not an organized group,” says Kennedy. “Antifa is an orientation to confronting and crushing fascism, whether at home or abroad.”
While the right blames antifa for violence at recent protests, these accusations have all been proven false. The FBI Washington Field Office, for instance, found that there was “no intelligence indicating antifa involvement/presence” in the DC protests.
Antifa has made its presence felt in defending against fascism around the world in numerous significant events and ongoing actions, such as the Battle of Cable Street in London 1936, the Battle of Waterloo 1992, and the Unity Carnivals. More recently, in 2017, antifa played an important role in protecting activists protesting against the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA; despite their efforts, activist Heather Heyer lost her life to a neo-Nazi. As Democratic Socialists, we support the fight against fascism and stand in solidarity with our comrades who identify as antifa. Recent events have illustrated that standing up to fascism is more important now than ever, as the COVID-19 crisis intensifies the crises of structural racism and police brutality. We support the protesters across the country and around the world, and we will continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. DSA’s members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics. We believe that working people should run both the economy and society democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for the few. DSA members use a variety of tactics, from legislative to direct action, to fight for reforms that empower working people.
For media inquiries, please contact Amillie Coster (413) 854 5611, email@example.com