Greensboro / Winston-Salem / High Point April 12-18, 2018 triad-city-beat.com
ANTI-RACISTS WITH GUNS
Community Defense, Counter-recruitment & Schism in the Antifacist Movement
Tide Eyes nation PAGE 20
6th District Dems PAGE 10
#SoGSO PAGE 6
April 12 - 18, 2018
Trickle-down from the mountaintop We pulled off a stone landing with an inch of rich mud the Blue Ridge settled on the bottom, we bear witness to Parkway while our the promise of the plaque at the trailhead: boy slept in the “Water plunges like liquid lace from overback seat, just the head and dashes past to swirl and slide three of us in the downward in an abandon of spray and car the way it was foam-lipped ripples.” It’s the best writing I almost 18 years have ever seen posted on a trail. by Brian Clarey ago, after our The water falls in a rush from the rock firstborn child turned us into a family. precipice above, crashes on a hard slope And now we were driving him home and makes this leg of its inevitable journey from what will likely be his last college visit in a fast, mad froth, slowly, imperceptibly before pulling the changing the stone trigger, a decision with every drop. Here between the mounit makes a cupped We can hear the waterfall tains and the coast roar as it lands on a well before we see it, a suthat I don’t envy. deep pit in the rock, surrus in the distance that At the overlook, there it wanders into we left him there, an eddy, swirling rises to a soft growl as we sleeping in the back momentarily to the get close. seat under his heavy side before joining coat, and started the current. Eventudown the Cascade ally it all gets to the Trail. bottom, and then to the river, and then to It’s a one-mile loop with a trailhead right the sea. there off the parkway: a short, gravel path It’s a short trail, barely a mile, but with leading to rough-hewn wooden bridges enough of an incline to give us a workout over an active creek, and then an ancient and enough metaphorical subtext to keep set of stone stairs wedged into the face of us quiet on the return. the mountain. Sooner or later it all runs into the sea. We can hear the waterfall well before The kid slept the rest of the ride back we see it, a susurrus in the distance that home, just like he did when he was a baby. rises to a soft growl as we get close. From
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
It could all end with the press of a button. If I hit just one wrong thing, tap the wrong pedal, it’d be all silence on stage. I try not to think about it though. My goal is to find the heart of music. To find what makes people move, that essence that made me fall in love with songs as a kid.
— Pat Brown, in Music, page 20
BUSINESS PUBLISHER/EXECUTIVE EDITOR Brian Clarey email@example.com
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1451 S. Elm-Eugene St. Box 24, Greensboro, NC 27406 Office: 336-256-9320 Cover photo by Daniel ART Hosterman: Redneck Revolt’s ART DIRECTOR Robert Paquette organizing MO combines email@example.com militan antifascism with an SALES appeal to rural, workingKEY ACCOUNTS Gayla Price class white communities. firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS
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April 12 - 18, 2018
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April 12 - 18, 2018
CITY LIFE Feb. 8 -14 by Lauren Barber
THURSDAY Up Front
Andy Tennille @ Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (W-S), 6:30 p.m.
Toubab Krewe and Africa Unplugged @ the Blind Tiger
Amy Willougby Burle reading @ Scuppernong Books (GSO), 7 p.m. North Carolina’s Amy Willoughby Burle signs copies of and reads from her debut novel about self-discovery and second chances, The Lemonade Year. Learn more at scuppernongbooks.com.
Emma Lee @ Preyer Brewing (GSO), 8 p.m.
SECCA presents “Coming Down Is the Hardest Thing,” a discussion with Winston-Salem’s Andy Tennille, previously a tour photographer and documentarian for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Durham musician MC Taylor of folk band Hiss Golden Messenger hosts as Tennille shares photos and stories. Learn more at secca.org. Norman Ornstein @ UNCG, 7 p.m. The League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad welcomes the renowned political scientist, best-selling author and resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute to the Elliott University Center auditorium.
Greensboro-based acoustic singer/songwriter Emma Lee brings her rootsy Americana to Preyer’s stage. Find the event on Facebook. Dori Freeman @ Muddy Creek Café & Music Hall (WS), 8 p.m.
Tom Kelly of the Bogside Artists @ Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education (W-S), 5:30 p.m.
Shot in the Triad
Detroit ’67 @ NC A&T State University (GSO), 7:30
(GSO), 9:30 p.m. Asheville-based instrumental musician Toubab Krewe combines rock, African traditions and international folk and Africa Unplugged plays traditional West African percussion instruments with guitars and bass to create funky, soulful blues. Learn more at theblindtiger.com.
Freeman’s Appalachian folk and country influences get the night going until all-female rock band Antigone Rising and always-folksy Christy Snow follow. Find the event on Facebook.
p.m. The sounds of Motown provide a backdrop as Chelle and her brother Lank turn their basement into an afterhours party space and find themselves immersed the 1967 Detroit riots. The play runs through April 22 in the Paul Robeson Theatre.
The Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County presents a conversation with Tom Kelly, one of three Bogside Artists, mural painters from Derry, Northern Ireland known for artwork that advances discourse around civil rights and social change. A reception follows. Find the event on Facebook.
Celebration of Jazz @ High Point Library, 1 p.m. The High Point Arts Council celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month all month long. This weekend, check out a free live jazz in the library. Learn more at highpointarts.org.
April 12 - 18, 2018
Earth Day celebration @ Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch Library, 1 p.m.
Lost & Found @ Peppercorn Theatre at Kaleideum Downtown (W-S), various times
Smile @ Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance, 2 p.m.
Up Front News
Two siblings explore a magical world of lost things to music from Colin Allured in this play most appropriate for ages three to six years. Learn more at peppercorntheatre.org.
Intrigue floods the stage as the Young American Miss Pageant unfolds in Santa Rosa, Calif. in this satiric musical starring area high school students. Learn more at wstheatrealliance.org.
Death by Delivery @ YWCA Greensboro, 1:30 p.m.
Experience hands-on nature and eco exhibits, hayrides, STEM activities, eco-art, alternative vehicles, facepainting, live animals, nature crafts, solar technology and gardening displays. Prior to the celebration, and volunteer with Greensboro Beautiful from 9 a.m. to noon at several Greensboro locations. Learn more greensborobeautiful. org.
Songkran Festival @ Wat Greensboro, 9:30 a.m.
Culture Shot in the Triad
Celebrate this festive, traditional Southeast Asian New Year’s Day. Expect food, games, traditional Khmer dances and live music, not to mention a meditation retreat and Dhamma talk. Find the event on Facebook.
The YWCA supports Black Mamas Matter Alliance’s Black Maternal Health Week with a free screening of Death by Delivery, a documentary illuminating racial health disparities with emphasis on the United States’ astronomically high mortality rates for pregnancy-related issues regardless of wealth and education. A panel of local experts focus on this issue in Greensboro. Find the event on Facebook and RSVP to be counted for a provided lunch.
April 12 - 18, 2018
15by Eric signs you’re #sogso Ginsburg
Shot in the Triad
1. You hate Kevin Powell, even though you’ve never met. Who among us hasn’t cursed “Krazy Kevin Powell” for his horribly obnoxious radio commercials that amount to verbal harassment?
2. You’ve bragged about how much Greensboro has changed. Your friends in bigger cities aren’t impressed, and your college friends who move away only half-heartedly listen. But you boast anyway, determined to argue that Greensboro “ain’t so bad after all” or carp about how different downtown is than “just five years ago.” 3. You’ve made up a theme song for the Grasshoppers. It’s disheartening that the local team doesn’t have a true anthem. Good thing your friends thought up this one up years ago: “Greeeeeens-boro! Grasssssss-hoppers! Hoppin’ around, havin a good time!” 4. You’ve complained about how far away Winston-Salem is. You were going to go to Winston to try a new restaurant or visit a friend who moved, but 30 minutes is just so far. Next weekend you’ll drive to a show at Cat’s Cradle. 5. You’ve cast a specific developer as the villain in Facebook comments, nightmares, and/or at a public meeting. My money is on Marty Kotis or Roy Carroll, but you’re a true local if you go for a deeper cut like Nancy Hoffmann or Milton Kern. 6. You actually like those disgusting hot dogs at Yum Yum. Any ol’ transplant can vouch for the ice cream. Locals love the dogs.
Sometimes we find ourselves in Greensboro.
7. You talk about the old Rhino Club, how College Hill has changed, or how you helped save Café Europa. We’ve heard this one before, bud. 8. Your last parking ticket was $15 or less. If you even got one in the first place.
12. You’ve puked in Hamburger Square. Maybe it happened in the bathroom at Longshanks, in the alley by the Boiler Room or outside the old Snack Bar, but it happened, and your friends will remind you. 13. You remember when the dollar theater was actually a dollar. What a rip, man.
9. You complain about parking in a deck, about parking more than two blocks away from your destination, or “traffic.” Yeah, you’re a local. Shut up already.
14. You’ve yelled, “Ag-gie Pride!” Still counts even if you didn’t go to A&T.
10. You’ve been to United House of Prayer and Stephanie’s, and you have a favorite. Haven’t been? You’re probably white, you’re missing out and you’re not #sogso.
15. You’re already disputing this list as incomplete, not “Greensboro enough,” or in some way less authentic than you. Make your own, then.
11. You own one of those North Carolina “Home” shirts. And you insist on telling everyone that the company is based here.
Up Front News Cover Story Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Puzzles
The conventional idea behind congressional hearings is that our august representatives are supposed to ask probing questions to get to the bottom of serious problems and hold the powerful accountable. Not much of either transpired during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress on Tuesday. First, some of the more senior members needed a basic primer on social media to even make the most rudimentary inquiry into Facebook’s practices. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the 84-yearold Republican from Utah who chairs the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force — yes, seriously — memorably asked Zuckerberg, “How do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?” Appearing baffled and likely trying COURTESY PHOTO Sen. Thom Tillis decipher whether Hatch was kidding with him and then trying to figure out a way to not completely mock and humiliate his interlocutor, Zuckerberg took a full three seconds to compose his answer: “Senator, we run ads.” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), on the other hand, used his five minutes to show off how much he knows about tech, managing to ask not a single question. “I’ve worked in [a] data-analytics practice for a good part of my career, and for anybody to pretend that Cambridge Analytica was the first person to exploit data clearly hasn’t worked in the data-analytics field,” Tillis said as Zuckerberg pretended to be impressed, “so when you go back and do your research on Cambridge Analytica, I would personally appreciate it if you would start back from the first known high-profile national campaign that exploited Facebook data.” (The point of Tillis’ riff was to deflect attention from his own campaign’s utilization of Cambridge Analytica’s services in 2014 to President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.) While many senators relish dressing down powerful CEOs, Tillis took aim at another quarry: Facebook’s billions of users. “The one thing I would encourage people to do is go to Facebook — I’m a proud member of Facebook — I just got a post from my sister on this being National Sibling Day — so I’ve connected with four or five of my staff and family members while I was giving you my undivided attention — but go to the privacy tab,” Tillis said. “If you don’t want to share something, don’t share it. This is a free service. Go on there, and say, ‘I don’t want to allow third-party search engines to get into my Facebook page.’ Go in there and say, ‘Only my friends can look at it.’ Go in there and understand what you’re signing up for; it’s a free app.” Then this little nudge of support: “I have one question for you: When you were developing this app in your dorm, how many people did you have in your regulatory affairs division? Exactly. So if government takes a heavy-handed approach to fix this problem, then we know very well that the next Facebook, the next thing you’re going to wake up and worry about how you continue to be relevant as the behemoth that you are today is probably not going to happen.”
April 12 - 18, 2018
Sen. Tillis’ grandstanding by Jordan Green
April 12 - 18, 2018 Up Front News Cover Story Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Puzzles
Winston-Salem candidates want to roll back school segregation by Jordan Green The two seats for District 1 on the WinstonSalem/Forsyth County School Board are guaranteed new representation with the retirement of Victor Johnson Jr. and Deanna Taylor. The election will be determined in the May 8 Democratic primary, with five candidates vying for the two seats. All five Democratic candidates vying for the two seats representing urban District 1 on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board are unanimous on the “School Choice” assignment plan, which was adopted in 1995: It needs to go. “Quite frankly, that’s something that can’t be justified, and shouldn’t have been implemented to begin with,” said Eunice Campbell, taking the first crack at the most galvanizing question asked during a candidate forum at the Central Library on Monday. “It’s part of the systemic racism culture that is a part of our school culture — our district culture. Our schools are segregated, and that’s plain and simple. It has affected our students; it’s one of the reasons for our achievement gap.” Barbara Hanes Burke, who is currently employed as an assistant principal at Carver High School, articulated a severe toll that she said has been exacted on the urban Winston-Salem schools that serve District 1. “We have eight elementary schools in this school system, again, that are flatlining,” Burke said during the candidate forum sponsored by the New South Community Coalition and the Big 4 Alumni Association. “Out of 1,114 elementary schools in the state of North Carolina, Ashley Elementary is at the very bottom. They are 1,114. I don’t know how you can say this can be justified when lives are being affected, when the students are being hurt and harmed. One of our core values in this system is equity. Another one is student-centered. If we are going to put these words on paper we have got to put some actions in place to show that is what we mean. We cannot be student-centered for some and not for others because of what their ZIP code is, because of what their family’s income is.” She rattled off six other elementary schools in District 1. “Our schools are suffering. They are in the bottom 5 percent in the state of North Carolina, right here where
we have so many educators, so many degrees. We have all these people on the district level, the central office level, with PhDs, and we can’t figure this out? Some of that is because we’re not trying to.” Malishai Woodbury, an equity trainer in the neighboring Guilford County Schools system, described District 1 as a “school desert.” Citing school data, Woodbury said students from District 1 are opting en masse to go to school elsewhere. “At the root of it is a lot of parents are saying, ‘I want my child to have the best education possible, so I’m going to send them to a better school.’” she said. “That’s ironic because all of these schools are public schools. Why is one better than the other?” Woodbury proposed a “community task force” “And let us think holistically together as human beings to progress beyond School Choice and to bring our community together so that our school district is a success for all of our students,” she said. Chenita Barber Johnson called the School Choice Plan “terrible,” charging that it halted the progress towards school desegregation inaugurated with the US Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. As a solution, she proposed “centralizing” larger numbers of students under one roof to make it easier to achieve racial and socioeconomic balances that reflect the district as a whole. “That will integrate the students naturally,” she said. “They won’t have to do busing or anything of that nature, which tends to put a lot of people off.” Alex Bohannon, at 23 the youngest candidate, responded, “This plan has disproportionately affected communities of color across this city, and that is a problem. To answer the question, I can’t [justify it].” But Bohannon also made a point that’s more in line with proponents of neighborhood schools who have defended the current assignment plan. “Everyone has to do what they can to change that narrative [that predominantly black and Latinx schools are bad],” Bohannon said, “because after you change that narrative, then we understand that your child can go to any school in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School system, and get a fantastic education.”
Candidates for the two District 1 seats on the Winston-Salem/ Forsyth County School Board appeared together at Central Library
A change for the two seats representing District 1 is guaranteed with the retirement of the two incumbents. Victor Johnson Jr., who was appointed to the seat in 1997, is retiring from the board this year at the age of 83. Deanna Taylor, who is serving her first term, did not file for re-election. She has not publicly stated a reason for not seeking a second term. Johnson said in an interview that he is backing Woodbury, who was a student at Carver High School when the current school board member served as assistant principal, and Bohannon, who participated in a junior golf program run by Johnson. Considering that no Republicans have filed in District 1, the May 8 primary will determine the two candidates who will represent the district. Although the four white Republican incumbents who represent suburban and rural District 2 on the board did not attend the forum, the racial faultlines around school assignment policy were apparent. Leah Crowley, the sole challenger in the Republican primary for District 2, told voters she supports the School Choice Plan. “When you as a parent can be involved in your child’s school because it’s right down the street or a short drive away, you’re more likely to be engaged in that school, invest in that school and be a
part of your child’s education,” Crowley said. For the two Democrats whose names will be on the general election ballot for District 2 in November, the issue is more politically hazardous: Their party ideology likely cuts against the preferences of the white, suburban electorate in the district. Marilynn Baker, a Democrat from Kernersville, called it a “tough issue.” “Let’s face it: When you hear ‘school choice,’ that does sound good,” she said. “But the re-segregation of our schools in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County is not okay. And we must as a community come together. And I like the idea of a community task force…. I like the idea of coming together as a community and coming up with an equitable solution within the next four years. We can’t let this continue to go on.” Rebecca Nussbaum, who is the other Democrat on the ballot, hedged on the issue. “We have an awful lot of work together,” said Nussbaum, who serves as director of career development and community outreach at the UNC School of the Arts. “We have a lot of barriers we need to break down. We have a lot of thinking we have to do. And I think this is not just a school issue; I think this is a community issue. What you might see
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On criminalization of black students Bohannon: “There is a little more of a microscope put on these students. There is a narrative that’s perpetuated. We need to take seriously the need for additional competency around how we’re interacting with students in the classroom…. When you meet someone from a different culture, sometimes as a teacher you project your expectations, not necessarily about what they’re supposed to learn in the classroom; it’s good to have expectations around learning. There has to be some work done on the expectation that students have to act a certain way or dress a certain way. If they don’t act in a way that teachers expect them to act, they’re not necessarily being disrespectful. They just act different. If they’re perceived as being insubordinate and the teacher reacts to that, it can escalate to where a student makes a bad decision.” Johnson: “I think of that can be averted once teacher understand that students from culturally different backgrounds than they are from are going to express themselves differently.” Woodbury: Said she helped implement a program in Guilford County Schools where schools that exceeded a certain threshold for suspending AfricanAmerican males would trigger review from the superintendent. “I fully support that kind of initiative. If black males are disproportionately bearing the burden of suspensions, it’s incumbent on the school board to look at our policy on harassment and discrimination. You can use that policy to make sure we’re not discriminating against African-American males.” Campbell: “Once we actually get it out into the public, we can do something about it. Some of it is unintentional bias. Some of it is intentional. Some people really don’t believe it’s happening. I sat in a meeting with a middle school teacher where she described her students as ‘criminals.’” Burke: “As a school board member, to offset this problem, I would implement a platform that I already have ready for stepping into the position where… we focus on creating programs so that our students don’t receive discipline referrals in the first place.”
On police in schools Campbell: “We need to spend more money on those mental issues that cause those frustrations so that we won’t have to call the police all the time. Yes, it’s great to know that the police is ready, but who wants to really call them for that issue?” Johnson: “I think I want to say ditto on that one, because mental health is a missing piece. We tend to think that children have no issues. And children have issues every day. We don’t know what they go through at home, what they go through when they come to school, and bullying is a very real issue.” Bohannon: “I do not believe that increased police presence is conducive to a learning environment, and to making students more comfortable. One of the things that has to happen — the school system is reviewing their security protocol — is making decisions on where security needs to be amped up. Something that’s part of the bond program is increasing the number of [surveillance] cameras at schools. That’s something I wholeheartedly support.” Woodbury: “As a school board member, I would say that we need to make sure we’re planning with [the National Association of School Resource Officers] and the police department. The National Association of School Resource Officers has said that we need more SRO officers proportionate to their students.” Burke: “No, we’re not prepared at every school. We’re not prepared at the school where I am right now. And yes, something needs to be done. We need to find the money to make sure that our schools are as safe as any other government building in the country. We don’t have to worry about whether these courthouses are safe. We don’t have to worry about whether these federal build-
ings are safe. We don’t have to worry about anyone going into the White House and shooting anybody.”
April 12 - 18, 2018
in the microcosm of the school system is that it’s a problem. But I think when you start looking more broadly into the county you can say that it’s not just a problem in our schools; it’s a problem in our places of work, it’s a problem where we shop, it’s a problem where we eat. “This is where the schools might be able to take the lead,” she added. “I think that’s always going to be the hope for all of us is that the schools are where hope lives.” Candidates for District 1 also weighed in the role of police officers, or school resource officers, in schools in light of the Feb. 14 massacre in Parkland, Fla. and the disproportionate referral of black students into the juvenile system.
April 12 - 18, 2018 Up Front News Cover Story Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Puzzles
th Two Dems vying for 6 Congressional District differ in style by Jordan Green A 64-year-old long-haul truck driver and a 28-year-old business consultant are battling for the Democratic nomination to go up against Republican incumbent Mark Walker in the 6th Congressional District in November. One week after 17 students and staff died in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Republican Mark Walker filed for re-election for North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District, reiterating a 10-point conservative pledge from his first election in 2014 that includes “protect[ing] our Second Amendment freedoms.” Both of the Democratic candidates vying for a shot to take on Walker in the November general election are taking a decidedly different tack on gun issues. COURTESY PHOTO Ryan Watts “I don’t believe there are that th many people, even in the 6 District, that have semi-automatic weapons of war. I support making those rifles that want to convert them to illegal. That is not the least risky thing automatic rifles,” Gerald Wong said. to say.” “They’re worried about their pistols, Aside from their stance on gun maybe even their bows and arrows. control, the two Democratic candidates There’s no need to get this bent out of are vastly different: Wong, a 64-yearshape. The military’s not gonna come old long-haul trucker from Greensboro, and overthrow us. There’s no zombie wears tattoos of a tiger and dragon apocalypse. I’m sure if there is, the govdown the length of his forearms and an ernment will open up the armories so we orange safety vest announcing his conget firearms.” gressional campaign in black lettering. Wong, who said he owns a pistol that Watts, a 28-year-old business consultant he rarely uses, favors a ban on accesfrom Burlington, favors three-piece suits. sories like bump stocks and imposing a Wong is prone to sardonic quips, while surcharge on ammunition and weapons Watts brings a more polished, earnest that would pay for a fund to compensate style of persuasive rhetoric. victims of gun violence. Watts proudly identifies himself as a Ryan Watts, Wong’s opponent in the fourth-generation North Carolinian in May 8 primary, is also unabashed in his a campaign video. Wong relocated to call for gun reform. North Carolina from Washington state “I’m a gun owner; I support the Secafter meeting the woman who is now his ond Amendment; I passed the conwife on Match.com. Before taking up cealed-carry class,” Watts said. “I don’t trucking, Wong held a string of colorful know of many, if any, Democrats that blue-collar jobs, including a brief stint as are saying, ‘We want to take guns away.’ a DJ in Arizona, picking apples and pullThat is a trumped-up argument. There ing beets with Mexican migrant workers is a vast agreement across the country in the Pacific Northwest and working in for commonsense gun control, with 94 a fish cannery with Filipino migrants in percent of people indicating they supAlaska. port universal background checks and Both candidates cite the grassroots closing the gun-show loophole. I’m talkenergy behind the Women’s March as ing about making sure dangerous people an inspiration, and pledge to close the bring a knife to your gunfight, making wage gap while protecting reproductive sure weapons that are purchased legally freedom, with Wong adding the Movedon’t have the high-capacity magazines, ment for Black Lives as a guidestar. But bump stocks and military-grade silencin temperament the two candidates are ers. I do not think we should be selling
in different ballparks. Watts talks in his campaign video about bringing “a spirit of collaboration back to Washington,” and says he would have to temper expectations from the Women’s March if he won in 2018, while potentially modulating to a bolder vision if a Democrat takes the White House in 2020. “We can show the millennials that their home should be in the Democratic Party,” Watts said. “We should be the party that’s fiscally responsible, that cares for the many and not the few, that fights for education, healthcare and the only planet we have. Millennials are the most inclusive generation in history. Which party is about inclusion? I don’t think there’s any question but that it’s the Democratic Party.” Wong, who favors single-payer COURTESY PHOTO healthcare, describes himself as an Gerald Wong “unabashed progressive, a Roosevelt Democrat, a Bernie Sanders that can beat Mark Walker in a blueprogressive. When you go into negotiawave year.” tions, I’m more resistant to being moved Wong said he finds the expectation into the center than a moderate is.” that before a candidate is even considThe 6th Congressional District — covered viable they must raise hundreds of ering a northern tier of three counties thousands of dollars to be “grotesque.” along the Virginia border, a portion He’s found it challenging to balance of the Interstate 85/40 corridor from his work responsibilities with attending Mebane to the east Greensboro, and campaign events, but he says if he wasn’t Randolph, Chatham and Lee counties serious he wouldn’t have ponied up the to the south — represents a steep climb $1,700 filing fee. for a Democratic candidate. Walker “I’m spending my retirement money won the 2016 election by 9.2 points over — my motorcycle fund,” he said. Democratic challenger Pete Glidewell. His wife, who joined him for an interIn comparison, the most competiview, quipped, “So he’s really serious.” tive Republican-leaning district — the Both candidates, for different reasons, 13th — was carried by Ted Budd by 6.1 believe they have a shot at unseating points. At the other end of the spectrum, Walker. Republican Walter Jones won the 3rd “It traditionally has been a Republican District by 17.2 points. As the incumdistrict,” Watts said. “There are a lot of bent in the 6th District, Walker sits on a unaffiliated voters. If Democrats show $371,239 campaign war chest, according up and vote in a blue-moon election, to his most recent filing with the federal we’ll win. If Democrats are enthusiastic Election Commission. about voting, and Republicans aren’t, Receipts for the two Democrats in the and unaffiliated voters look around and race are negligible, with Watts reporting say, ‘What in the world is going on?’ a total of $64,322. Wong said he isn’t they’ll come over and vote Democrat.” accepting contributions until after the Wong also believes he could have a primary. He said he’s spent slightly less cross-party appeal. than $5,000 — the reporting threshold “I’m the kind of Democrat that mod— out of pocket. erate Republicans see as a success story,” “We feel good about our chances of he said. “I think I’m the kind of Demowinning the primary,” Watts said. “We’re crat that could get Republican votes. If certainly the most prepared candidate you’re looking for someone who’s pulled and campaign. I think the district will himself up by the bootstraps, I’m that ultimately agree. I respect the other guy person.” running. I think we’re the only candidate
April 12 - 18, 2018 Up Front News Cover Story Opinion
The Community Theatre of Greensboro presents
Culture Shot in the Triad
A New Musical by Mel Brooks
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April 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, May 3, 4 & 5 @ 7:30 pm April 22, 29 & May 6 at 2 pm Tickets $10-30 (+NC Sales Tax & $2 Restoration Fee) Starr Theatre, 520 South Elm Street, Greensboro
April 12 - 18, 2018
Story by Jordan Green Photos by Daniel Hosterman
Community defense, counter-recruitment
he gathering, which took place at a picnic shelter along the French Broad River in July 2017 and was billed as “Meet Your Local Redneck,” functioned as a sort of coming-out party. After months of firearms training and partially successful efforts at community gardening, the Carolina Mountain chapter of Redneck Revolt was ready to unveil its program to allies in Asheville’s far-left activist community. Wearing uniform red kerchiefs around their necks, sleeveless shirts, tattoos, and looks ranging from shorn-haired punk to bearded mountain man, they mingled easily with their left-wing friends: anticapitalists from Industrial Workers of the World, Democratic Socialists of America interested in responsible handgun ownership, a representative of an LGBTQ self-defense outfit called the Pink Pistols, and hardcore communists. They grilled chicken and gathered in a circle with banjos, fiddles, and guitars to sing “Solidarity Forever.” Redneck Revolt is a national network of antiracist militias founded in July 2016. Four chapters sprang up in North Carolina in 2017, although only one remains in the national network today. Assault-style rifles in hand, Carolina Mountain, with members from Asheville and Boone, played a key role in responding to the violent white-supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. The arrival at the July picnic of three members of the Ashevillebased far-right militia American Pit Vipers didn’t come entirely as a surprise — a couple Redneck members had invited them after encountering them at a July 2 impeachment rally in Asheville. Both sides were wary of each other but eager to talk. Considering the deepening polarization and escalating tension surrounding Donald Trump’s presidency, each side worried that they could find themselves on opposite sides of a firefight. Carolina Mountain’s hospitality set the tone for the impromptu summit. A handful of members leaped to their feet and greeted the right-wing militiamen with handshakes and wide grins. Seated across the picnic table from each other, three to three, the conversation was friendly but intense, more like a spirited bar chat than a court-ordered mediation. One of the Pit Vipers wore an American flag-patterned dorag and a black T-shirt with Arabic-style lettering that read, “Go fuck yourself.” He flashed a genial smile. One Carolina Mountain member from Boone broke away from the huddle to provide an elated report on the dialogue. “It’s going well,” he said. “We probably disagree on 95 percent of things, but they’re about community defense and we’re about community defense. The next time we see each other is going to be in the streets, and we’re both going to be armed.”
Redneck Revolt’s interest in firearms dates back to efforts by the anarchist-oriented Kansas Mutual Aid Network to disrupt the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, which attracted the attention of the FBI. Organizers, including future Redneck Revolt founder Dave Strano, decided to start training with legal firearms to signal that they wouldn’t be intimidated. Strano hoped his example would encourage friends in far-left activist circles to undertake bolder modes of organizing. For several years, Strano and his associates cultivated the ideas of class struggle, antiracism, and Second Amendment advocacy that would form the basis of Redneck Revolt. The network’s founders adopted the term redneck in part to open
Members of Redneck Revolt sit in silence at the edge of Justice Park in Charlottesville shortly after receiving perpetrated by James Alex Fields Jr., a Unite the Right attendee.
doors in predominantly white communities. But it was also meant as intentional subversion, in much the same way queer has been reclaimed by the LGTBQ community as a term of empowerment. Some chapters have found that the racial connotations of the word redneck impede cross-racial organizing. The Carolina Mountain chapter, for instance, ultimately swapped the “Redneck Revolt” moniker in favor of “John Brown Gun Club”—a reference to the antislavery zealot who tried to lead a slave rebellion in the years before the Civil War—explaining in a public statement that redneck did not reflect its membership and might be “initially off-putting or possibly offensive” to marginalized people they seek as allies. The emergence of Redneck Revolt in Phoenix in the summer of 2016 coincided with Trump’s acceptance of the Republican nomination, but it also followed years of anti-immigrant hostility in Arizona. Beyond the state’s repressive SB 1070 law — which requires police to determine the legal status of anyone arrested or detained when there is “reasonable suspicion” that he or she is not in the country legally — right-wing militias had been showing up at mosques and harassing migrant border-crossers. In the 21 months since the network’s founding, Redneck Revolt chapters have participated in armed defense actions against white supremacists, engaged in outreach to right-wing militias to discourage
extremism, and experimented with p programs of the Black Panthers and But the group has also come upon 2017, a series of posts on an anonym unsupported by evidence—of misco threatening a lawsuit if the allegatio Nonetheless, organizations in the an Redneck Revolt’s handling of the m Revolt chapter — Rose City in Portl Strano could not be reached for c City Beat’s inquiry into the matter res Carolina and Arizona withdrawing c What most sets Redneck Revolt ap course, is its open-carry tactic. Even value of armed self-defense, displayi with skepticism — although, after C cist demonstrator was killed by a wh grudgingly conceded that the netwo bulwark of stability. Redneck has only open-carried in ing competence through target prac group’s involvement with firearms h
April 12 - 18, 2018
S W I T H GUN S
t and schism in the antifascist movement
g news of the deadly car attack allegedly
projects modeled after the survival d Young Patriots in the late 1960s. n internal difficulties. In the fall of mous blog made an allegation— onduct against Strano. In a letter on was published, Strano denied it. ntifascist movement have challenged matter, and at least one Redneck land, Ore. — withdrew as a result. comment. Displeasure over Triad sulted in key members in North cooperation for this story. part from the traditional left, of n among leftists who recognize the ing assault rifles has been greeted Charlottesville, in which one antirahite supremacist, some critics have ork’s armed presence provided a
n limited circumstances, while honctice and buddy-team drills. But the has opened a dialogue with right-
Silver Valley Redneck Revolt hosted a Really, Really Free Market, where community members can take or leave goods with no exchange of money, in Denton, NC on Aug. 5, a week before the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally.
wing militia groups — and that’s kind of the point. Based on a reverence for the Second Amendment and limited government, patriot militias have styled themselves as the contemporary equivalent of the original American revolutionaries. The movement draws heavily from military veterans who are well versed in handling firearms. Right-wing militia members frequently espouse a working-class brand of libertarian self-sufficiency that denies the authority of federal agencies. This was on display in April 2014, when patriot militias in southern Nevada engaged in an armed standoff with federal authorities to prevent the impoundment of rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle. Some patriot militia members are also nostalgic for a time when white Christians held unchallenged dominance in the United States. While gun ownership is embedded in the cultural fabric of the right, the mainstream left treats gun control as something of a civic religion, and that sensibility has only grown over decades of mass shootings, including the most recent Parkland massacre in February. But the American left also has a long history of using guns as tools for self-defense or radical action. The most prominent example is the Black Panther Party. Founded in 1966, the Panthers instituted armed community patrols to protect residents from the police in Oakland. The next year, they marched with rifles into the California statehouse.
Even within the Southern civil rights movement, which was grounded in nonviolent resistance, firearms played a role. Most notably, the Deacons for Defense and Justice provided armed security for the March Against Fear across Mississippi in 1966. Redneck Revolt positions itself as an inheritor of these legacies. But its anarchist streak, combined with its efforts to court rural white people living paycheck to paycheck, bring it closer to right-wing militias than the Panthers or the Deacons would ever be. Redneck Revolt has used this proximity for counter-recruitment, trying to shift potential militia members away from right-wing ideology and conspiracy thinking. “When we refer to counter-recruitment, what we mean is that we’re working to pull our families and neighbors away from white nationalists and other formations that have threatened our communities,” said an unidentified host during a Redneck Revolt podcast in September. Carolina Mountain’s engagement with the American Pit Vipers heightened during the four weeks leading up to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. To demonstrate good faith and earn trust, Carolina Mountain members showed up to support a pro-veteran rally organized by the Pit Vipers’ Tom Horne. The gesture paid off when Chance Allen, another Pit Viper, drafted a statement that disavowed the white-supremacist ideology of marquee speakers like Matthew Heimbach and Richard Spencer.
April 12 - 18, 2018 A badge worn by a Redneck Revolt member in Charlottesville
“This event does not represent APV, our morals or our standards,” the statement reads. “APV will not stand in accord with any individual or unit that is in attendance and has openly expressed their support for white nationalists… APV will stand by and support any community in any state that opposes the appearance or existence of white nationalists among them.” At a time when liberal commentators are calling for media “conversations” with hard-hit working-class folks to better understand Trump’s populist appeal, Redneck Revolt members have done the work face to face. And it’s guns — and shared gun culture — that have brought people to the picnic table.
The Carolina Mountain and Silver Valley chapters — the latter is composed of members from rural Davidson County, Greensboro, and Durham — from North Carolina provided the backbone of Redneck Revolt’s armed presence in Charlottesville. Members from Pennsylvania and Michigan, along with the allied Socialist Rifle Association, filled out the ranks. Redneck Revolt members viewed their operation — maintaining a security perimeter around Justice Park — as support for the larger antifascist cause. Armed with assault rifles, Redneck Revolt transformed Justice Park into a staging area that allowed antifa and other militants to confront white supremacists and then return to safety. Members of the Redneck Revolt network traveled from North Carolina to Charlottesville for extensive meetings with locals in the run-up to Aug. 12. Redneck Revolt fell into a camp favoring a more militant response, while Black Lives Matter Charlottesville and Standing Up for Racial Justice, a white antira-
cist group, were part of a coalition that wanted to take a more moderate tack. As recalled by an anonymous member of Anarchist People of Color in a CrimethInc. podcast, “A group of us wanted to establish an agreement toward a diversity of tactics that respected different tactics such as open-carry as a deterrent of violence, antifascist blocs, blockading, and basically any tactic that would go toward the goal of defending Charlottesville from fascism. People from SURJ, even people in the newly formed Black Lives Matter chapter, the clergy, liberal groups, progressive groups resisted that idea and that strategy very strongly, with the feeling that we would get bad press after the fact, that we Carolina Mountain members met with representatives of the American Pit Vipers, a would be putting people in harm unnecright-wing militia, in Asheville’s Carrier Park in July 2017. essarily, that people were not consenting to being confrontational.” they saw the armed contingent and then arrested nine days later, but the charges Representatives of the less-militant walked back in the other direction. against him were dropped in February. faction — although no one from Black “Justice Park was a safe place,” MatDixon is part of the Redneck faction that Lives Matter — spent a day with the thew Casella, a member of the Internadeclined to cooperate with this story. Silver Valley chapter of Redneck Revolt tional Socialist Organization, recounted While overt white supremacists looked discussing tactical differences and visitduring a tearful speech the following day for opportunities to attack Justice Park, ing a gun range. Ultimately, SURJ and in Greensboro. “It was under guard by right-wing militia members equipped Black Lives Matter opted to stage their Redneck Revolt, who repeatedly kept the with assault rifles roamed the streets of resistance to the alt-right separately from fascists at bay each time they came and Charlottesville and interposed themRedneck Revolt. marched around the square to intimidate selves between the alt-right gladiators Walt Heinecke, who took out the event us.” and antiracist counter-protesters at permit for the counter-demonstration in From their vantage point, Redneck Emancipation Park. Redneck Revolt Justice Park, says he wasn’t notified of maintained radio Redneck Revolt’s communication plans to show up with the Ameriwith assault rifles. can Pit Vipers, At a time when liberal commentators are calling for An associate according to a media “conversations” with hard-hit working-class professor at the recent Facebook University of Virpost by APV folks to better understand Trump’s populist appeal, ginia, Heinecke member Chance had hired a local Redneck Revolt members have done the work face to Allen. private security Whether face. And it’s guns — and shared gun culture — that firm for the day’s through APV or events. The have brought people to the picnic table. other sources, security profesRedneck Revolt’s sionals ended up plans to show coordinating with Redneck Revolt as the Revolt members warily observed susup in Charlottesville were well known threat of violence escalated. pected white supremacists circling Justice within the patriot movement days before “When I got there, I didn’t know who Park in vehicles. One of the drivers, it the event. they were,” Heinecke recalls. “I asked turned out, was James Alex Fields Jr., Francis Marion, a prominent patriot one of my security people. They said who had rallied with the white supremaleader active with the militia American they were an antiracist and pro-Second cist group Vanguard America. Shortly Freedom Keepers, broadcast a FaceAmendment militia. They never entered after encountering Redneck Revolt, book Live video on Aug. 9, directed to the park. They were on the corner. Fields drove his Dodge Challenger into Redneck Revolt, antifa, and Black Lives When I went over to talk to them, they a crowd of antiracist marchers three Matter, as well as to right-wing militia alseemed like an affable group of people. blocks away, killing Heather Heyer and lies. Without explicitly disavowing white They didn’t cause any problem.” injuring 19 others. nationalism, Marion staked a neutral In one of many tense encounters over In a later Facebook post, Dwayne position while recognizing the legitimacy the course of that Saturday, Redneck Dixon, an assistant professor in UNC’s of the antiracist groups on the left. Revolt stood down a column of activGlobal Asian Studies department, “We’ve been told that Redneck Revolt ists associated with Identity Evropa, a boasted of chasing Fields away from has reported that they are taking the white-supremacist group that recruits on Justice Park. Dixon gained local notosame stance,” Marion said. “They’re college campuses. According to Redneck riety six days after Charlottesville when providing First Amendment security for Revolt members who were present, the he showed up at an antiracist rally in folks on that side that are holding the Identity Evropa members hesitated when Durham bearing an assault rifle. He was event, that are holding their event in
April 12 - 18, 2018
the parks. So if antifa’s holding an event and Redneck Revolt is providing security, their position is the same as ours as far as protecting free speech without violence. And that is our intent. George Curbelo, the state commander of the New York Light Foot Militia commented in Marion’s Facebook feed: “I’ll get this to the right people.” While Redneck Revolt’s armed presence and dialogue with patriot militias likely prevented further violence, the armed antiracist group was not welcomed by official Charlottesville. The city, along with neighborhood associations and local businesses, filed suit against Redneck Revolt, along with a collection of white nationalist and patriot militia groups. The suit charges that “private military forces transformed an idyllic college town into a virtual combat zone.” Despite its tactical differences with Redneck Revolt, SURJ condemned the lawsuit, charging that it “outrageously” echoes the “both sides” argument infamously voiced by President Trump. “When the city having ordered its police to stand down, groups like Redneck Revolt and SRA were the last line of defense from the alt-right’s planned violence,” SURJ Charlottesville posted on its Facebook page on March 20. “Now, instead of taking responsibility for permitting the white supremacists to hide their hate behind the First Amendment, the city of Charlottesville and several local businesses and neighborhood associations have filed this lawsuit, attempting to shift the blame and perpetuate the ‘both sides’ narrative, suggesting that leftist groups are just as blameworthy as the white supremacists they helped us defend against.”
While an independent review by the Charlottesville law firm Hunton & Williams concluded that law enforcement “failed to maintain order and protect citizens from harm, injury and death,” contributing to “a deep distrust of government within this community,” for many on the far left, Redneck Revolt’s stand vindicated militant antifascism. By all indications, Charlottesville broke the momentum of the alt-right. In Knoxville, Tenn., on the day of the second annual Women’s March, the avowedly fascist Traditionalist Worker Party drew only people, compared to 14,000 who turned out to protest the Trump administration. By March, Traditionalist Worker Party appeared to be collapsing after its leader, Matthew Heimbach, was discovered having an affair with the wife of the organization’s spokesperson. Meanwhile, celebrity fascist Richard Spencer complained that his provocative campus appearances, which have faced relentless harassment from antifa, are no longer fun. The militant left’s forceful response in Charlottesville raised the stakes for the alt-right. Notably, the neo-Confederate League of the South began to shy away from street battles with the far left after Charlottesville. But Redneck Revolt may have inadvertently rewritten the rules for future engagements. “After Charlottesville, the League of the South decided we weren’t going to participate in any further disarmed rallies,” Brad Griffin, the league’s chief propagandist, wrote on his Occidental Dissent website. “We’re always going to be as armed as Redneck Revolt at all of our future events.”
Music has a strong history in revolutionary movements, and this tradition is carried forward by Redneck Revolt and other leftist groups that attended a “Meet Your Local Redneck” event in Asheville in July 2017.
Charlottesville also created repercussions for Redneck Revolt. The Carolina Mountain chapter withdrew from the national network in January. According to two sources, the split arose because of troubling conduct by one Redneck Revolt member in Charlottesville, his treatment of other members, and ultimately his unwillingness to take responsibility for his behavior. The departed Carolina Mountain and Rose City chapters were not outliers: in March, the Shelby, NC chapter also disassociated itself from the national network, renaming itself the Carolina Workers’ Collective. In a Facebook post, the Shelby chapter accused the network of perpetuating oppression to the detriment of women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and differently abled members. Carolina Mountain has discontinued the counter-recruitment work initiated with American Pit Vipers after concluding that it required too much time and energy, and that ultimately the chapter’s first priority was building strong relationships with marginalized communities on the left. Members view the work with the Pit Vipers as valuable in the context of preparing for Charlottesville, but the circumstances of the relationship were so unique that it would be impossible to use as a model for future organizing. Chance Allen remains friendly with the Carolina Mountain members, but Silver Valley — the one North Carolina chapter that has remained with
Redneck Revolt — has picked up the baton to continue the counter-recruitment work. Since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the armed antiracists, molded by their experience in Redneck Revolt, have grappled with the implications of the progressive ardor for gun control. Among both loyalist and breakaway chapters, many members resist the idea of disarming while police violence goes unchecked, while respecting the agency of high school students demanding change. Pro-gun antiracists also argue that white supremacy and toxic masculinity are more proximate causes for gun violence than firearms. Redneck Revolt’s sudden rise coincided with the election of Donald Trump, but in the second year of the administration, its internal contradictions have raised marked difficulties: What is the central cultural idea for the network if many of its chapters have discarded the moniker redneck as too problematic? And how does an organization that attracts both anarchists and communists balance autonomy and cohesion? Whatever Redneck Revolt’s future, even in the #NeverAgain era, its primary legacy may well be a demonstration of armed community defense against fascism for the 21st Century.
April 12 - 18, 2018
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The story that almost wasn’t
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Jordan Green worked the story for a In the alternative press, we are year, bouncing it back and forth to his lumped together with the mainstream, editors at the national magazine as they media all the time — and all too often made notes and he added string. we take the bait and defend our colGreen’s been covering far-right leagues breaking stories at the New groups since the beginning of his career, York Times, Washington Post or any of a and the emergence of the alt-right number of journalistically serious glossy after Trump’s election had infused his magazines. expertise with value, as his freelance But here’s a key difference: None of work began appearing in national publi- those publications would run Jordan cations like the Green’s piece Guardian and on the Redneck the Nation. But Here in the alternative press Revolt. The Redneck two altweeklies Revolt pitch are stepping we go where the reporting was different to put this leads us, whether we like the up because this out there. Both time, the armed destination or not. Triad City Beat militia came and INDY from the left Week in the and not the Triangle are right. The RR folks stood against white- publishing the Redneck Revolt story this supremacist militia in Charlottesville and week — special thanks to Editor Jeffrey through North Carolina, an incredible Billman, who helped edit the piece — grassroots movement that turned the and not only are we proud to bring it to prevailing narrative — that people on you, we agree that not to do so would the right are pro-gun and people on the amount to journalistic malpractice. left are afraid of them — on its ear. Because where the “mainstream” Ultimately — after a full year of media tends to service a narrative and research, writing and editing — that police any subtext that strays from deviation from the conventional wisit, here in the alternative press we go dom, combined with the new anti-gun where the reporting leads us, whether sentiments sweeping the country after we like the destination or not. yet another high school shooting, is why the story got spiked.
April 12 - 18, 2018
Cues from the Oath Keepers and Redneck Revolt
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The story about Redneck Revolt the outcome of the election. There are sub-rosa forces on that we’re co-publishing this week both the far right and far left that shape events, whether we with INDY Week changed my life. acknowledge them or not. And it seemed to run into one obMy journalistic interest in the culture of the far right stacle after another. It consumed after the 2016 election led me, paradoxically to the far left, more than a year, and changed the and then pinged me back to another precinct of the far way I see the world. right. Specifically, I discovered Redneck Revolt when the I started researching the story in then-fledgling Silver Valley chapter in Davidson County by Jordan Green March 2017 and filed a first draft in organized a counter-event against a Ku Klux Klan crossearly September. After multiple revisions for two national burning outside of Asheboro. I was immediately intrigued: publications, both of which pulled out, I can finally release They were not a traditional civil rights organization or the story I’ve carried with me like a secret companion all liberal interfaith group preaching tolerance, but rather a these months. militant organization pledging to defend marginalized In hindsight, it should have been apparent why it would communities against white supremacist terror. And their be such a difficult story: As a subject for journalistic docuaudience, at least in part, was the disaffected working-class, mentation, far-left activists who promote firearms as a tool rural white people who might be susceptible to recruitment for deterring fascism while embracing the term “redneck” by white-supremacist groups. Through my Redneck Revolt as a cultural signifier are radioactive on more than one source, I learned about the patriot militia, or III Percenter, level. Increasingly, and especially after the Las Vegas and movement, about which I had previously known next to Parkland massacres, gun control has become an article of nothing. liberal faith. Armed resistance to One weekend, on April white supremacy, like the militant 8, 2017, I was attending an Redneck Revolt were not a tradistreet tactics of antifa, supposOath Keepers Summit at edly flies in the face of the phiJomeokee Campground tional civil rights organization or losophy of nonviolent resistance near Pilot Mountain outside liberal interfaith group preaching espoused by Martin Luther King of Winston-Salem. A handful Jr., although firearms are more of middle-aged men in militolerance, but rather a militant deeply embedded in the civil tary fatigues milled around a rights movement than the sanifolding table holding walkieorganization pledging to defend tized history of the era accounts and drinking coffee marginalized communities against talkies for. Further vexing the story at an improvised checkof Redneck Revolt, shouldn’t point. I followed the North white supremacist terror. accounts of the struggle against Carolina commander, Lane white supremacy center on “Gunny” Reynolds back to people of color? Either of these questions alone would be his campsite for an interview. Later, I heard Stewart Rhodes, difficult to disentangle. the Oath Keepers’ founder and executive director exLike the countervailing political ascendancy of Donald pound on a voluntarist vision of community first-responder Trump and rise of the alt-right, Redneck Revolt seemed to networks. Although Rhodes’ paranoid worldview — replete come out of nowhere. But in fact, like the ideology of white with tropes about black crime and disorder, and fantasies supremacy, militant resistance to fascism has been here about radical Muslims as dupes of a globalist conspiracy of all along. The mainstream liberal frame, which polices actotalitarian domination — is deeply troubling, I found his ceptable discourse and modes of resistance, has prevented enthusiasm for volunteer fire departments as a backbone us from seeing what’s truly happening in this country. If it for civil preparedness teams oddly appealing. wasn’t clear before, it became abundantly apparent on Nov. Flip the Oath Keepers’ preoccupation with violent gang8, 2016 that a tectonic shift was underway. The rupture exbangers and jihadis to a more realistic threat assessment posed deep fault lines; the cultural forces of white nationalfocused on white supremacists and anti-Muslim domestic ism, Christian radicalism and xenophobia that had been terrorists, and you have a tactical response formation that previously been dismissed as marginal were now impossible looks something like Redneck Revolt. to ignore. One week later, on April 15, I was sitting with a group The real story of the 2016 election should have been of anarchists in an outdoor assembly space behind a apparent to me when I covered Trump’s campaign stop at church in Denton, as Redneck Revolt planned a counterLawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winstonaction against the Ku Klux Klan. A revolutionary anarchist Salem, where I spotted a man wearing a T-shirt depicting a explained his interest in firearms in terms of mastering a bare-chested Vladimir Putin on horseback in the audience, tool similar to learning how to safely use a chemical soluand two women browbeat me with supposed evidence of tion to develop photographs. Something clicked for me a murderous body count lain at the feet of Hillary Clinin that moment about wanting to develop competency, to ton. These details were too strange and counterfactual to cultivate useful skills and engage in a self-generated activity merit inclusion in respectable journalism, but they clearly that could form the basis for community. represented a current beneath the surface that determined I went home and planted a garden.
April 12 - 18, 2018 Up Front News Cove Story Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Puzzles
CULTURE A life in (the) service (industry)
by Brian Clarey
y son started busing tables at Natty Greene’s Kitchen + Market a few months ago, acting on a piece of advice I dropped that, unlike most of the other gems I send his way, he actually took. “Learn to work in a restaurant,” I told him, a whole bunch of times. “If you can stay sober and show up on time — and, frankly, sometimes even if you can’t — you will always be able to find a job no matter where you are.” Like all of my life’s lessons, I came by this one the hard way. I started in the biz when I was 15, mopping floors and stocking the three Snack Shack kiosks scattered throughout the Roosevelt Field mall on Long Island. We usually worked in pairs down in the truck tunnels beneath the mall: loading misappropriated shopping carts with boxes of hot dogs and racks of buns, jars of mustard, sleeves of cups and their lids, cases of frozen pretzels and giant bags of salt, then getting them upstairs to unload. The preferred method was to kick the cart into a twowheeled wheelie, then back it onto the escalator and ride it up. The first time I attempted this I blew the dismount and dumped a stack of hot dog buns onto some people at the bottom. I later transferred these skills to an opportunity at Charlie’s Snack Bar & Deli, also at the mall. Charlie’s bears the distinction of being the first place from which I was ever fired. I landed my first bartending gig before I was a proper bartender, as a freshman at Loyola University of New Orleans. It was a Cajun dance, the job offered by another student who recognized that I knew my way around the bottle and family, a pedigree that required he take ballroom dancing lesthe glass. It was held at a neighborhood sons throughout his youth — you know, for cotillions. Behind community center out in one of the river the bar he was the picture of grace. parishes, and I remember they spread He showed me how to pour propsalt over the erly from a bottle and jerk a cocktail parquet floor shaker, to handle high volume and before the music why we never scoop ice with a pint started and they glass. He taught me that a clean bar If you know how to work in the scraped along in is a happy bar, and that you don’t restaurant business, you will ala wide circle. have to go home but you can’t stay I learned to ways be able to find a job. here. tend bar at I was able to parlay that experia club called ence into bartending gigs all over Rosy’s Big Easy New Orleans — I used to get fired a on Tchoupitoulas lot — and a few in New York. I’d even get offered jobs when I Street in New Orleans, taught by one was visiting Las Vegas, which happened a lot more then than it of the best: Kevin McCaffrey, who in his does now. prime was the fastest I’ve ever worked About the only city I’ve ever been in where I wasn’t immewith. He came from an old New Orleans diately offered a bartending job was Greensboro, where I’ve
noticed we sometimes have problems getting the square pegs into the square holes. I had been a food writer for six years at that point and a bartender for 10, so it was an easy trick to convert into a finedining waiter, a role I played until 2004 when my journalistic circumstances dictated that I get out of the game. Up to that point, restaurant work paid for diapers and groceries, knocked out a bill or two and financed my own bad habits. Before that, as a full-time bartender in New Orleans, I made more than most white-collar workers my age. And before that, in college, a couple shifts a week gave me enough walking-around money to cover most — but not all — of life’s little incidentals. That last part, I think, is what got through to my son, who is off to college in the fall. Me, I’ve still got a good pair of beat-up boots with gel insoles, a set of waiter’s black-and-whites in my closet and my old wine opener which now rests in a kitchen drawer. Worse comes to worse, I’m ready to go.
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CULTURE Tide Eyes’ brand of personal effects
by Spencer KM Brown
t could all end with the press of a button. About 14 different effects pedals lay fanned out across the stage by his clean white shoes, a few synth pads and mixers and loopers lying on the closed guitar case set before Pat Brown, the man behind Greensborobased synth pop band Tide Eyes. Amid the pedals, roughly 50 buttons and knobs, dozens more on the table within arms’ reach right before him. Moving from song to song, Brown hit each pedal with precision, and adjusted knobs for perfect sound, his finger’s dancing along the stings of his guitar with natural ease. The setup, with a surfeit of blinking lights, would be enough to overwhelm or deter most any musician who didn’t know what they were doing. But for Tide Eyes, it just makes sense. “I had no idea what I was doing at the start,” Brown said. “I’d never used any drum machines or synth pads or any of it before. So I bought a few cheap ones from the ’80s online and found the original manuals and read everything I could.” For Pat Brown music came naturally. Surrounded by parents who were always listening to classic rock when he was growing up, he finally got a chance to make his own music when his uncle gave him his first bass guitar. “I’ve always been more interested in the heart of songs,” Brown said. “I’m not closed off to any genre or style, as long as there is this driving force behind it, as long as there is this essence. I want to make people feel good with my music. I want them to dance and move. I think that’s the point of it all anyway.” Tide Eyes opened the bill at On Pop of the World in Greensboro on April 5, followed by Swartzwelder and headliners Lawn Chairs and the Ringos. Brown’s wife and young son were in the crowd, dancing and cheering along with the entire room. “I try to bring my family to all the shows if I can,” Brown said. “Most people try to separate their families from what they do, but I kind of insist on it. It’s a part of my life, my wife is so important to my music, why wouldn’t I want them there?” Brown had done the normal band thing for years before taking an indefinite hiatus from music. Playing guitar or bass in band after band eventually led him moving to Greensboro to play in
Casual Curious in 2010. But with the birth of his son and wanting to focus on his married life, Brown quit the band and laid his guitar down in 2012. “It’s definitely tough sometimes,” Brown said. “Doing the normal band thing with other people was just impossible for me. Scheduling practices never worked; taking time to go write songs together never worked; it was just a nightmare.” Working a full-time job at Barnes and Noble and also being a father and husband cut into any time that was left for music. But the itch to play never quite left. “I knew I couldn’t do the band thing again so I started messing around with recoding things at home,” Brown said. “I’d always loved the sort of yacht-rock, synthpop vibe and that’s what started coming AMANDA Pat Brown, aka Tide Eyes, is more inetrested in the heart of a song than its genre or out. I did like endless MOSCHETTA style. research on what all my favorite bands used small tour. for drum machines and how they modulated their guitars and What separates Brown’s music and vision from many other I just started messing around with sound and writing songs groups is his ear for precision. Tide Eyes’ uncanny knack for again.” composing near symphony-depth of layered sounds elevates It’s just him, so time for writing songs is easier to come by. his music. Each knob and pedal pressed at exactly the right “It’s like a band for the 21st Century,” Brown said. “My day time, each layer of guitar and backing keyboard make for a job is pretty passive and allows me to sort of daydream and sound as fierce and beautiful as an ocean tide. Remaining in do a lot of writing as I work. I have no real set schedule when the synth-pop, yacht-rock style, Brown’s talents most abound it comes to music, it’s sort of whenever I have a few minutes I in the realm of melody. With driving drum machines shaking can go and work on a new song or legs free where they stand, the mix something I’ve recorded. My melodies in his set are easily stuck wife is really the one who keeps in your head for hours after the To listen to music and find tour dates, me organized. If I come up with show. But while the sound resomething that’s kind of good, mains happy and brilliant in that visit tideeyes.bandcamp.com. she’ll tell me to go off and be a dreamy, shoegazer way, there is recluse for a few hours to work on still a fear Brown faces each time it. In bands, you’re always having he takes the stage. to find a time that works for everyone. Now I can be some“It could all end with the press of a button,” Brown said. “If what selfish. I do it when I want and it’s really nice.” I hit just one wrong thing, tap the wrong pedal, it’d be all siAfter officially starting Tide Eyes in 2014, it is only recently lence on stage. I try not to think about it though. My goal is to that Brown has been starting to play more shows. His first full find the heart of music. To find what makes people move, that length album will be coming out in May, to be followed by a essence that made me fall in love with songs as a kid.”
Shot in the Triad CAROLYN DE BERRY
April 12 - 18, 2018
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April 12 - 18, 2018 Puzzles
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April 12 - 18, 2018
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