North Carolina’s most outspoken teachers’ association is organizing under a controversial banner ahead of its second march on Raleigh.

The N.C. Association of Educators has become well-known for loudly protesting the Republican majority in the General Assembly. Last year, the group organized a large-scale rally in downtown Raleigh, calling for better pay.

This year, the NCAE plans another rally. But as they begin organizing, the group has taken on a logo that has rattled some teachers — a Communist-associated clenched fist.

The new logo appears on the NCAE Facebook page and in communications with teachers.

Perhaps the N.C. Association of Educators does not have any history teachers in their midst. The clenched-fist emblem was first used by communist factions during the Spanish civil war, and later adopted in the Soviet Union.

The logo’s adoption is the latest sign that the NCAE’s opposition to the General Assembly is rooted in something deeper than education policy.

It is also no coincidence that the 2019 teachers’ rally is scheduled for May 1, also known as May Day. The date is widely recognized among communist and anarchist groups as International Workers’ Day.

Last year’s rally was held May 16.

This year’s May 1 rally also intentionally falls on a school day. Last year, so many teachers called in sick that many districts were forced to cancel classes. The NCAE hopes to achieve the same disruption in 2019.

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson has asked teachers to choose a day to demonstrate that will not disrupt school. NCAE president Mark Jewell shrugged off the suggestion: “Time is of the essence so that we do not lose a generation of students with underfunded, starving, under-resourced public schools,” he said.

Cover image of a protest at the General Assembly by Gerry Dincher via Flickr (Creative Commons).

7 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps some more history is in order. The raised fist logo has been used by many groups from many parts of the political spectrum. The communists have no monopoly on it.

    “Fist images, in some form, were used in numerous political graphic genres, including the French and Soviet revolutions, the United States Communist Party, and the Black Panther Party for Self-defense. However, these all followed an iconographic convention. The fist was always part of something – holding a tool or other symbol, part of an arm or human figure, or shown in action (smashing, etc.). But graphic artists from the New Left changed that in 1968, with an entirely new treatment. This “new” fist stood out with its stark simplicity, coupled with a popularly understood meaning of rebellion and militance…..
    ..This fist (or versions of it) was adopted by “the movement,” appearing in numerous posters and flyers for student, antiwar, women’s, and other political activities within the United States…..”

    http://www.docspopuli.org/articles/Fist.html

    “The raised fist, or the clenched fist, is a symbol of solidarity and support.[1] It is also used as a salute to express unity, strength, defiance, or resistance.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raised_fist

    “Decades earlier, the raised fist was a signal of resistance associated with the Black Power movement. But during his campaign, on Christmas cards and onstage, Trump used the fist as an aggressive symbol of dominance, wielding it throughout his rallies after speeches. And yet the fist was also a focal point at Women’s Marches the next day, appearing on unofficial and sanctioned guides and graphics…….it is a symbol that’s been repurposed throughout history by various movements, embedded within visual cultures and discarded, only to be recycled again later.”

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/nielaorr/what-does-the-raised-fist-mean-in-2017

    “For psychologist Oliver James, author of Affluenza, the clenched fist has proved such a powerful symbol because it encapsulates connotations of resistance, solidarity, pride and militancy in one simple gesture.
    “It’s a way of indicating that you intend to meet malevolent, massive institutional force with force of your own – you are an individual who feels bound with other individuals to fight an oppressive status quo,” James says….”
    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17739105

    “The raised fist gesture is associated with numerous political movements, and it can’t be tied to any one ideology or message. In a 2012 post on The Lede blog, the New York Times detailed some of the many movements that have adopted the gesture. Along with the civil rights groups many Americans most readily associate the imagery with, anti-Franco groups in Spain, leftists in Europe, and even white supremacists have used the salute…”
    https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/is-a-raised-fist-a-political-gesture-or-a-celebratory-one

    • The fist was used different ways, alright. However, this fist is the SAME style, and in the quintessential RED color, as the one used in the USSR. So, there’s that…..

    • Also, I must ask you truthfully, in your defense of using such an emotionally connected symbol, would you also defend the use of the swastika if the NCAE decided to use it? After all, that has extensive history in its resume BEFORE the Nazis decided to use it and give it such a horrible taste.

    • But when you have the combination of a raised fist logo, the color red, and a May Day rally- that combination all is indicative of only one thing and one ideology.

  2. We took personal days, which is completely within our rights as educators. We did not “call in sick.” The color red has been used across the country for public education advocacy. A raised fist means strength and solidarity. May 1st is an international day honoring workers. That’s it. End of story.

    • Sure it is.

      You don’t accidentally adopt all your symbolism and your day of protest exactly the same as is used by communists as a happy accident.

      That’s like a group adopting the swastika because it’s a “symbol of good luck and a religious icon” and dispalying it on a red flag in a white circle “because we like those colors” and holding a rally on Hotlers birthday because “that’s when the schedule worked out”.

      Would you believe those people if they said they were not Nazis and it was all just a happy coincidence?

      Communism is just as reprehensible an ideology as Nazisim. But the NCAE seems perfectly happy using its symbolism.

  3. Whoa what an unprofessional hit job on educators. This symbol is obviously the Solidarity, “black power” and unity version of the raised fist. To pretend this is an overt communist symbol is a very weak thinly veiled smear without merit.

    God bless our educators who fringe right types believe work in a socialist institution, but who actually dedicate themselves to the fundamentals of our society and our future!

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