On May 7, a breath of fresh air entered Lansing, Mich., the first since ultrarightist gangs — with the blessing of the Trump administration — held an armed demonstration and invaded the State Capitol April 30. To justify such brazen aggression, the Capitol assaulters hid behind the Second Amendment — the “right to bear arms.”The gangs — some carrying Confederate flags along with their assault weapons — attempted to frighten Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer into forcing workers to go back to their jobs despite the lack of precautions and protections.The fascist provocation aroused a calm but dramatic response. Six people — four men, two women; five African American, one Latinx — provided an armed escort for Black woman legislator, Sarah Anthony, when she entered the Capitol on May 7. Their action lifted the spirits of antiracists throughout the United States.Anthony is the first African American elected to Michigan’s State House of Representatives from the 68th District, which includes part of Lansing. She welcomed the escort. Of the racist demonstrators of April 30, she said, “They were there to threaten us. Not to prove a point or make a statement.” (WILX, May 7)Michael Lynn, a firefighter who spoke for the Black and Brown Second Amendment Advocates, the group escorting Anthony, said that the aim of his group was to change the narrative. While this struggle is far from over, Lynn’s group has already accomplished this aim.Before the defense group’s action, Trumpites, racists and the most right-wing elements of the ruling class used the armed fascists to try to impose a reactionary, antiworking-class program. The fascists pushed elected state governments to accelerate the end of the COVID-19 lockdown, using the threat of arms to impose the bosses’ schedule. Local and state police did nothing to stop them.This was far from the first time in U.S. history that the capitalist ruling class and its state power unleashed fascist or racist groups to use force to rob the working class and oppressed peoples of their rights. (See May 7 WW editorial: “Fascists do dirty work for bosses” at workers.org.)By their modest, defensive and yet heroic action, the six people in Lansing — seven including Rep. Anthony — showed the people of the U.S. one powerful way to counter fascist gangs. It is the other side of racist U.S. history, like Rob Williams’ armed NAACP chapter fighting the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina, like the Deacons for Defense and Justice, like the Black Panthers standing up to racist police. Like all who were willing to smash racism — in the words of Malcolm X, “by any means necessary.”This struggle is only beginning. Antiracists around the U.S. of all nationalities should unequivocally support the right of people like the Black, Brown and Indigenous Second Amendment Advocates to defend themselves and their representatives against anyone who threatens them.And take any action that is needed to thank them — for changing the narrative.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
One thing that makes Fool’s Paradise so special is what happens after dark. When the music at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre comes to an end each day, fans will have the option of continuing the night by heading over to the Elk’s Lodge for additional late night after shows. The quirky and intimate venue will host a series of separately ticketed shows for the night crawlers looking for more!On Friday, March 31, there will be performances from Jaw Gems, Eric Krasno Band, and the “Infinity Jam” hosted by Eric Krasno and Oteil Burbridge. Jaw Gems is one of the hottest bands on the scene, having recently toured with Lettuce and STS9, and their silky smooth electro-hip-hop sounds are a welcome addition to the late night scene at Fool’s Paradise. The Eric Krasno Band has been crisscrossing the country on a lengthy tour with the Marcus King Band, delivering nightly lessons in funk, soul, and the blues while leaning heavily on his debut solo album, Blood From A Stone. Kraz will stick around after his set to join forces with Oteil Burbridge for an unforgettable performance of the “Infinity Jam” with plenty of surprises in store. With so many incredible artists on site for Fool’s Paradise, you never know who might show up at the Elk’s Lodge!On Saturday, April 1st, Dumpstaphunk will bring their unique brand of down-and-dirty New Orleans funk to the Elk’s Lodge for a very special late night set, their only performance at Fool’s Paradise. After Dumpstaphunk finishes up, they’ll join forces with members of Lettuce to form this year’s “Fools For Funk” super group. If last year’s jam session with members of Vulfpeck, Lettuce, Goldfish, and Snarky Puppy was any indication, the this year’s “Fool’s For Funk” will be filled with incredible musicians delivering a set of balls-to-the-wall funk music. The proper festival lineup includes Lettuce x2, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, The Motet, The Floozies, Manic Science, The Main Squeeze, Organ Freeman, and Oteil Burbridge & Antwaun Stanley as artists-at-large. With all these players in the area, there’s really no limit as to who might show up where, and you can expect plenty of sit-ins throughout Fool’s Paradise! For more information, visit the Fool’s Paradise website.
Mitchell released a statement Tuesday via the Deseret News, saying he was “deeply hurt” by the exchange and promised to help improve the environment in NBA arenas moving forward.“I am personally hurt by the incident at the game on March 11th,” Mitchell said. “As a black man living in a community I love, and playing on a team that gives me the opportunity to live out my dreams, this incident hits close to home.“Racism and hate speech hurts us all, and this is not the first time something like this has happened in our arena,” he continued. “The Utah that I have come to love is welcoming and inclusive and last night’s incident is not indicative of our fanbase. We don’t want to create a negative reputation for athletes who potentially may want to come to Utah.”Donovan Mitchell’s statement on Russell Westbrook’s incident with Utah Jazz fans at Vivint Arena last night. pic.twitter.com/mJUhfSeQeU— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) March 12, 2019Five Jazz fans were reportedly given “warning cards” for their inappropriate actions during the dispute. But they were able to return to their seats once the problem was addressed.According to Westbrook and his teammates, he was told to “get down” on his knees during gameplay. But it appears there may have been more to the insults, given Utah’s response. Russell Westbrook details heated exchange with Jazz fans: ‘I’ll f— you up’ Fans can say shit about a mans family, wife, & kids.. Tell a player “Get down on your knees like your use to.” As men, what do you expect us to do? Shut up & dribble? No one is held accountable for their actions except for us. Fans are protected in every way possible but not us.— Patrick Patterson (@pdpatt) March 12, 2019Westbrook was fined $25,000 for “directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.” A Jazz fan has been banned for life from Vivint Smart Home Arena due to an “inappropriate interaction” with Russell Westbrook.The Thunder star was captured on video screaming “I’ll f— you up, you and your wife” to hecklers Monday during Oklahoma City’s 98-89 win over the Jazz. Utah investigated the exchange between Westbrook and one spectator in particular, and it decided the fan would not be welcome back at the arena in the future. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy and play the game in a safe, positive and inclusive environment,” Jazz president Steve Starks said Tuesday. “Offensive and abusive behavior does not reflect the values of the Miller family, our organization and the community. We all have a responsibility to respect the game of basketball and, more importantly, each other as human beings. This has always been a hallmark of our incredible fan base and should forever be our standard moving forward.”Donovan Mitchell even spoke out about the incident. Related News