Summary: Neo-Nazis and Klansmen are planning a rally on April 23, 2016 at Stone Mountain, Georgia, as well as a racist rock show at a venue elsewhere that evening. Anti-racists will organize against these white power events. Please spread the word. We must resist this show of force by militant white supremacists.
The Upcoming “Rock Stone Mountain” Event
White supremacists are busy organizing an “openly White Power March up Stone Mountain” plus a “White Power concert at a separate location that evening” in Georgia. The march and concert are scheduled for April 23, 2016. It is being promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and on white supremacist websites such as Stormfront. Figures such as former White Revolution chairman Billy Roper in Arkansas are assisting with publicity. The event’s Facebook attendee list includes ex-members of the Aryan Nations and current Ku Klux Klan activists. The post-rally concert will feature rock acts catering to a bonehead (racist “skinhead”) audience. The “Rock Stone Mountain” Facebook page mentions that one or more bands could be supplied by the international Blood & Honour neo-Nazi network.
Rock Stone Mountain event page on Facebook
Discussion of bands for the white power concert
The upcoming April 2016 event follows in the wake of a “Defend Stone Mountain” rally held on November 14, 2015. The November rally billed itself as a Southern “heritage” protest against a proposal to add a monument in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Stone Mountain site. (The debate regarding Stone Mountain has since shifted, see this story for details.)
Confederate displays on public property have increasingly been criticized and opposed after Dylann Storm Roof’s massacre of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC earlier this year. In response to the outcry about symbols of the Confederacy on public property, Confederate flag/monument supporters have stepped up their own organizing, including an August 1st Confederate flag rally at Stone Mountain that attracted hundreds.
Explicit white supremacists and Klansmen organized and promoted the later November 14 Stone Mountain protest, which was also backed by neo-Confederate organizations. Whereas Atlanta Magazine misleadingly claimed that “No KKK members or white supremacists made their attendance known” at the November 14 protest, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has fully documented the Klan and white supremacist presence on that day. The AJC also notes that Stone Mountain officials knew that members of the International Keystone Knights of the KKK were involved in organizing the event.
November 14 2015 Stone Mountain rally: a protester displays his Klan “blood drop” ring
The November 14 protest emboldened Klan and neo-Nazi activists–the circles who are now putting together an openly white supremacist show of force at Stone Mountain. As the April 23 event page states: “It is time to stop apologizing […] If it were not for Our Race, that Flag [the Confederate flag] would not exist! They are going to call us ‘racist’ anyway, so wear it as a Badge of Honor […] Better to be called a Racist than a traitor!”
Stone Mountain is inexorably linked to Klan history—it is where the modern KKK was born one hundred years ago. The giant carving on the mountainside was begun by Klan member Gutzon Borglum, but the project ran out of funding before completion. (Only General Lee’s head was carved by Borglum.) Work on the monument was restarted by others decades later, once the State of Georgia purchased the site. Resumed work on the monument coincided with the State’s fierce efforts against the Civil Rights movement. The monument is a symbol of racial subjugation—it is no wonder why racists love the site, and why they are determined to fight for it.
While current Klan and neo-Nazi activists are tapping into an earlier white supremacist history, the plans for April 2016 also represent a more virulent form of racist politics than other recent events at Stone Mountain. Previously, Klansmen and their comrades still made concessions to fit in with the broader flag/monument protest crowd (which tried to portray itself in more moderate terms.) Now, flagrant white supremacists are confident enough to go it alone. Neo-Nazis and the Klan are completely controlling the agenda for the April 23rd events.
Who “Rock Stone Mountain” is following on Twitter. Note: “88” is alphanumeric code for “H.H.” or “Heil Hitler.”
Anti-Racists: Start Getting Ready…
The white supremacists who are organizing the April event will not go away if we ignore them. They are a real threat. Allowing blatant neo-Nazis to rally without opposition would pose at least two serious dangers. First, if allowed an easy victory white supremacists will further gain confidence, and this in turn will make violence against their perceived racial or political enemies more likely. Second, successful neo-Nazi and Klan organizing will allow others on the racist Right to portray themselves as “moderate” by comparison, which could help these other racist forces to progress towards the political mainstream. It is for these reasons and more that the April 23rd march and gathering must be resisted. Doing work against the far-Right is especially important at a time when militant racists harass and shoot protesters against police killings in Minneapolis, and when xenophobic and anti-Muslim incidents have spiked in the US.
On behalf of some anti-racists in Atlanta who have been discussing the upcoming white power event: organizing against the April 23rd rally and concert will begin in the not-too-distant future. We aim for a large and multifaceted response to white supremacist organizing. We are committed to doing our part in local anti-racist mobilizations.
First steps to be taken: most importantly, please circulate this news far and wide. Get in contact if you have information that may be useful in combating the Klan/neo-Nazi mobilization. Please be on the lookout for further updates, and start to talk with your circles about responses you would like to see happen. We urge anti-racists and anti-fascists to mark their calendars for the weekend of April 23-24, 2016. If you are an anti-racist living in the South—or even further afield—consider making a trip to Atlanta during this time. We promise you will not be bored.