Dwayne Dixon faces trial over defending his community from the KKK.
In Durham, North Carolina on a hot August evening in 2017, a Confederate monument was toppled by community members in an act of collective courage. Days later, the KKK threatened to mobilize in retaliation against the city. The sheriff’s department warned community leaders, closed the county buildings, had armed deputies escorted fearful government workers to their cars, and parked squad cars blocking the street in front of the forlorn pedestal for the collapsed and humiliated Confederate monument to white supremacy. All this unfolded only six days after the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville by a white supremacist.
After receiving numerous texts over the course of an hour about the planned KKK mobilization, Dwayne Dixon went downtown to aid and support the resistance, materially and ethically prepared to defend the city against the threat of racist violence. For the last several months, Dwayne had been organizing within his Redneck Revolt branch and his community to build stronger defense networks. The concept of community defense means recognizing that our liberation and safety is bound up with one another’s, and that we have a collective responsibility to take action and personal risk to defend each other when we have the capacity to do so. With those principles in mind, Dwayne headed downtown with his rifle, profoundly aware of the risks he and others were taking by simply being in public space and mobilizing for their own communal defense. So many brave people, many of whom had never participated in direct action before, were catalyzed into collective defense. They stood to block off the street with their bodies, ensuring the safety of the growing numbers of folks who took to the streets that day in opposition to the Klan. With thousands of Durham residents mobilized to resist them, the KKK failed to show up, and the day was chalked up as a victory on multiple fronts.
Dwayne’s actions on August 18th built directly from the examples previously set by the local queer, Black, trans, immigrant, Latinx, Asian-American comrades who are now facing trial for the alleged destruction of a Confederate statue that celebrated generations of trauma inflicted upon them and their ancestors.
Please show support and help defend the Durham Freedom Fighters here: doitlikeDurham.org and durhamsolidaritycenter.org/bondfund. Their trials are coming up on February 19th, and they are still asking for courtroom support, legal funds, and help raising awareness about their cases.
The actions of Dwayne and other Durham residents in August, 2017 added to a profound historical lineage of North Carolina people dedicated to the direct, armed defense of others and unflinching defiance of white supremacy. From studying the history of these brave resistance fighters, we discover the strength they found in a diversity of tactics and unity across their differences, especially those who stood the line of defense, such as Robert F. Williams in 1957, who with other African Americans, used firearms to drive off the KKK during an attack on the home of the Monroe NAACP president.
This kind of courage is invaluable, but not exceptional. So many ordinary people have found the capacity to risk their lives for their beliefs and their communities, and together, they have successfully stood against the combined forces of the State and the Klan. Many have also lost their lives in this endeavor, such as the five protesters murdered by the KKK in Greensboro, NC on November 3rd, 1979. Their deaths and the suffering and the struggle of countless others is not and can not be in vain, unless we should fail to carry it forward and hold the line. Durham does not forget them, and Redneck Revolt celebrates their fight by continuing it daily and by any means necessary.
Dwayne was present in Charlottesville, where he was given the courage to confront white supremacist threats by the people who love him, and by the community that supports him and insists on his responsibility to a shared project for liberation. That same support sustains him as he now confronts the State, taking the struggle from the streets to the courts. From legal help to financial support to ideological engagement and ethical debate, all manner of people have become allies and acted as part of an ongoing and growing bloc of resistance.
Dwayne is now facing two weapons misdemeanors for his actions in defense of his community last August. He has refused a plea deal from the District Attorney and is about to go to trial. His actions are a clear demonstration of 2nd Amendment rights, and more importantly serve as a testament to our shared ethics and belief in community defense. Dwayne carried arms to defend his community that day, not as an individual acting in self-interest, but directly because of and with the support of the people around him, the community he is accountable to. His participation only accounts for a small part of the events that day, and once he helped to catalyze a sense of collective defense among those gathered, he then let others and their tactics take the lead. Cowardly liberal concern over “optics” was tossed to the wayside as people took to the streets in a day-long demonstration of direct resistance. On that day in Durham, everyone demonstrated the power of trust and radical solidarity with one another, and a shared ethics that stands apart from and is greater than simple legality.
We in the Redneck Revolt network believe that Dwayne acted both within his rights and within the law, but more importantly, we assert the firm conviction that he acted alongside –and with full accountability to– a community that matters: a trust in collective relationships that is worth defending with one’s life. What’s right may not always conform to what is legal, and we need to nurture our collective courage to put our jobs, our reputations, and even our bodies on the line for the freedom and safety of every single one of us. We can no longer constrain our desire for liberty within the abstract bounds of liberal discourse and polite debate. The threat to ourselves and our neighbors, friends, and loved ones is clear and demands action. We have to organize and fight as if our lives depend on it… for indeed, they do.
We support Dwayne Dixon today as he faces trial in Durham, and every day as he works hard to be a solid, accountable member of his community, and rise to its defense when necessary.
UPDATE: Dwayne Dixon was acquitted of all charges! He urges support for the Durham folks still facing trial for bringing down the Confederate memorial: doitlikeDurham.org
Dwayne Dixon has trial on February 8th, in Durham, NC. Redneck Revolt will continue to stand by him during his case and offer updates when available. Please share and donate to the Durham Solidarity Center bond fund if you are able, to help with the legal cases of the folks who are being charged with the removal of the Confederate statue.