The Campus Antifascist Network stands in solidarity with the Mercy Junction Six who have been arrested and charged for protesting the appearance of Neo-Nazi Wayne Heimbach at the University of Tennessee. The arrests took place February 19th during a non-violent protest against Heimbach’s invited lecture on the UT campus.
The Traditional Worker Party is a white supremacist, anti-semitic organization. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 2013, Heimbach praised neo-Nazi David Duke and joined a cross and swastika lighting hosted by the Aryan Terror Brigade, the Imperial Klans of America and the National Socialist Movement. The TWP routinely uses anti-semitic rhetoric and appeals to white supremacy.
The six members of Mercy Junction were bravely and non-violently protesting Heimbach when they were arrested and charged. They are now scheduled to appear in court March 23rd. The Campus Antifascist Network encourages everyone to contribute to a defense fund for the arrestedby Paypal to [email protected] Donations can also be mailed to Mercy Junction Justice & Peace Center, 1918 Union Ave., Chattanooga TN 37404.
Please read the powerful statement of these antifascist activists and stand with them:
As the state continues to shut down our cities to coddle Nazis, we must shut down the streets and demand an end to white supremacy.
When the state gives Nazis warm indoor accommodations in the name of free speech and locks the people out of state-owned spaces without access to food, water or restrooms, in the cold rain, we must shut it down.
On Saturday, Feb. 19, 2018, Mercy Junction Co-Director Beth Foster, Pastor Alaina Cobb, Elders Eva Watler and Laura Richardson, member Kaitlyn Brock, and ally Thomas Knopp were arrested after unfurling a banner stating: “God Condemns White Supremacy” across Cumberland Avenue at the University of Tennessee at the time Traditionalist Worker Party Chairman Matthew Heimbach, a neo-Nazi, began his lecture at nearby Buehler Hall. The six were handcuffed, searched, personal items seized and put into the back of a dark paddy wagon for almost two hours.
The six are charged with blocking an intersection and will appear in court on March 23. If you are able to help with legal expenses, please send donations by Paypal to [email protected] Donations can also be mailed to Mercy Junction Justice & Peace Center, 1918 Union Ave., Chattanooga TN 37404.
UT had every reason it could cancel Heimbach’s appearance but chose not to do that. Heimbach made his reservation under false pretenses and a false name. A person claiming to be from a local church, which had no knowledge of the call and no affiliation with Heimbach or the Traditionalist Worker Party, called to make the initial reservation. Heimbach’s Traditionalist Worker Party is connected to the Florida white supremacist militia that had claimed it trained the man who killed 17 people in a school on Wednesday. Heimbach was also part of an assault on an interracial couple in Brentwood, Tenn. in October and assaulted a woman in Louisville during a protest. Public safety alone should shut it down. Lies and deception in making the reservation alone should shut it down.
In addition, UT did everything in its power — to the point of creating dangerous conditions — to keep counter protesters away. The school denied counter protesters access to food, water, and bathrooms. It attempted to put counter protesters into an outdoor open air pen. While counter protesters stood in the cold and rain with no food and water to protest fascism, UT provided the fascists comfortable indoor accommodations where they were able to serve food and beverages and have access to state-owned restrooms.
This is not about free speech. The vast majority of the people were denied free speech Saturday while the university and the state coddled a Nazi and our resources were used to keep him safe and comfortable and to ensure his hate lecture went off without a hitch.
Mercy Junction is an interfaith congregation in Chattanooga, Tenn. committed to the work of hospitality, social justice, equality and peacemaking and strives to operate from anarchist principles of consensus and mutual aid. The congregation operates the Mercy Junction Justice & Peace Center at St. Andrews, which is a community of artists, activists and people of faith. Mercy Junction is anti-capitalist, anti-racists and feminist.