A diverse gathering of pro-gun protestors set to descend upon Virginia’s capital on Monday could include an unlikely ally, a local antifa group.
In what Vice called a “bizarre meeting of the minds,” Richmond-based Antifa Seven Hills also strongly opposes the gun measures now likely to become law since Democrats won control of both Virginia houses last year, and they too want Democratic leaders in Richmond to know.
“I think it’s been pretty important for us to focus on the fact that gun control in America has a legacy of racist enforcement,” an Antifa Seven Hills spokesperson called James, a self-identified anarchist who withheld his real name for fear of getting doxxed, told Vice. “Like taking guns away from black people, because black people were perceived as a threat to property and the sanctity of the state.”
“This is our fight as much as anyone else’s,” James continued. “It’s our state, and we are left largely out of the debate. The presence of an armed left is not discussed, it’s not understood.”
To the “armed left,” gun control represents the rise of a police state and the oppression of minorities made powerless by disarmament, but it’s a class issue as well.
“In the case of Antifa Seven Hills, they believe they’ve got more in common with working-class white Virginians, regardless of their political bent, than they do with many of the moderate Democrats who helped their party win control of the Legislature in November, for the first time since 1994,” Vice reported, adding that the group sees the coming January 20 rally “as an opportunity to extend an olive branch to other gun owners — at least those who don’t align with the far-right militias or white supremacists who are also expected to show up to the event.” (RELATED: Elderly Woman Harassed By Antifa Protesters Speaks Out. Here’s Her Defiant Message)
While antifa groups in other areas, particularly the West coast, often practice and condone violence against their political enemies and have even been called “a major organization of terror” by President Donald Trump, James says his group takes a different approach: “I think what’s particular about the South is that we have to be a bit more creative and sensitive to the people around us — instead of fulfilling some sort of meme of what antifa is,” he told Vice. “That’s really what we’re trying to work against right now, especially by talking to conservatives and showing we aren’t just a black-clad group of rabble-rousers who are out for attention and have jobs funded by George Soros.”
James declined to “discuss” the group’s “plans” should white supremacist groups join the protests. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency and banned firearms on Capitol grounds.