Confront Augustus Invictus’ “White Genocide” Event on September 23rd

Augustus Sol Invictus, the self-named fascist attorney from Florida, has now tried to re-Christen himself as an activist after his Sentatorial bid blew up in flames.  Known for his Thelemic religion, his public goat sacrifice, his hobnobbing with neo-Nazi skinheads, and for shaking things up in the Florida Libertarian Party, Invictus is trying to insert himself as a player in the world of the Alt Right.

Playing on a common white nationalist talking point that “white genocide” is occurring, a claim that has zero factual basis, he has organized a blandly named “Americans Against Genocide” event in Jacksonville, Florida.  The “white genocide” meme is often used as a parable about the role of race in the modern world, where by miscegenation and multicultural society is tantamount to “white genocide” because the “purity” of the white race is compromised by “race mixing.”  It also traces heavily from South Africa, where the idea of “Boer farmer murders” is used to suggest that a genocide against Afrikkaners is taking place in an ANC nation.  They manipulate the numbers of farm murders, which are actually statistically lower than in the rest of the nation, refusing to look at the brutal conditions farm hands are treated with that has led to some acts of violence.

The speakers on the line-up to the event speak to this “white genocide” mythology, which is led off by Robert Engels, Karin Smith, and Vanessa Carlisle, all of which are from either South Africa or the former nation of Rhodesia, all attesting to the white South African perspective of the rally.  The Facebook Event Page has links tot he South African Family Relief Project, an NGO-sounding organization that many say is a front for the white supremacist movements throughout the country.

Vanessa Carlisle has been active posting on the Facebook page for the event, including different quotes suggesting that racism is just a word used to attack white people and was invented by communists.

Events like these cannot be allowed to go on without opposition, especially when they try to exploit liberal sentimentality with falsehoods about genocide.  This is the link to the event page, which people can use to expose the speakers and try to get pulled from Facebook.  The most important response will be to have a concerted antifascist action at the event itself, to confront Augustus and his army of racists.

 

On the Messy Psychology of Trumpism: Deception, the Right, and Neoliberal Trauma

By Jeff Shantz

In fascism, the monsters of childhood come true. – Theodor Adorno

 

In the words of tragic cultural theorist, and victim of actual fascism, Walter Benjamin, “Behind the rise of every fascism is a failed revolution.” A contribution of the Frankfurt School is thinking through the connection of the failed revolutions and fascism. While Trumpism might differ from historic fascism in not following a failed revolution (unless one looks at the failings of a mass movement like Occupy which is a stretch) it does respond to the failings of hopeful liberalism.

This is expressed in terms of fear and a seeking for comfort among those who feel or perceive a loss of status. Understanding rebellion and resistance in the current period also must involve coming to grips with the Trumpist counter-revolution and currents running through it.

How might the Trump phenomenon, and seemingly rising proto-fascism, be understood? While it is still early in the development of Trumpism (it is also late in terms of stopping real social harms from being inflicted) some outlines can be drawn.

 

Deceiving The Crowd

Trump can readily be situated within historical trajectories of fascism and Right wing populism. One can look to the historical social and psychological conditions of the nineteenth century. Then too popular progressive movements from below, including anarchism, were (quite rightly) viewed as a challenge to conservative elites. The growth of the masses in democracy raised concerns for elites about how to preserve their rule. Elite concern over these movements was the subject of numerous public discussions. Examples of social scientific writing on this include Gustave LeBon’s The Crowd and The Psychology of Revolution and John Henry Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

In The Crowd LeBon recommends mass deception to ensure a favorable outcome for elites. In the approach outlined by LeBon, conservative elites cannot actually practice democracy but must deceive the masses to appear to be doing so. One might pursue this argument in thinking about the role of so-called fake news and alternative truths in the Trumpist mobilization and the centrality they find among his key organizers like Kellyanne Conway. LeBon focused on supposedly irrational crowds that could be used by demagogues. LeBon was cited favorably by Mussolini and Hitler.

Passive democracy is no match for the power of the myth to mobilize the masses. This perspective finds an echo in the work of Georges Sorel and his emphasis on social myth. Sorel identifies the supposedly irrational in politics. In his view political actors must understand feelings that move the masses to action. LeBon speaks of elite manipulation. Sorel focuses on popular mobilization. These tendencies are combined in the figure and action of Mussolini. This convergence is reproduced in the Trumpist movement.

Nazi theorist of political power Carl Schmitt suggests conservatives must play the democratic game in order to maintain power. According to Andrew Sullivan, Trump is a result of too much democracy. Trump is of the crowd, by the crowd, for the crowd.

Precursors to Trumpism can be found in the works of Gottfried von Herder and Joseph de Maistre. In Trumpism, the artist of Romanticism is transferred to the entrepreneur or magnate who is presented as an artist (the art of the deal). The supposed genius of the entrepreneur, the “art of the deal” is contrasted with the supposed mediocrity of the mass and the degeneracy of the political establishment (the corrupt hacks of the swamp of Washington). Fascism proposes an elite that can save the nation from the degenerate state. This makes clear the choices made by Trump in his cabinet. The cabal of millionaires and billionaires are the elite who will bring about national rebirth. The ones posed as “doers.” They will make America great again. (Notably, Kevin O’Leary a financial blowhard and reality TV star is running for leadership of the Conservative Party in Canada as one of the entrepreneurial “doers,” his word, who will make Canada great again also).

 

The Trauma of Neoliberalism

To understand the response to Trumpism one must also understand the trauma of neoliberalism, the context of popular dissatisfaction fear, and hope. The advent of neoliberalism initiates a crisis period (see Shantz 2016, Crisis States). This involves punitive accumulation and a redoubled accumulation of wealth for the wealthy. The neoliberal period can be understood as a traumatic period of four decades. Social trauma. Margaret Thatcher even referred to “a short, sharp, shock.”

Fundamentally, neoliberalism has changed and dismantled processes of socialization and mutual aid. Indebtedness and a sense of being alone in your own debt. It is your responsibility alone in a context of declined social support. Supporters are people dispossessed and feeling left out or feeling threatened economically. This is a sense of being dispossessed or not cared for by society. Neoliberal trauma  is a loss of power as a collective capacity to act. Dislocation and isolation are conditions ripe for authoritarianism (both are central to Hannah Arendt’s account of authoritarianism).

Clinton, foolishly, took on the task of reducing expectations and denying people their frustrations. She played a role of lessening the experienced impacts of neoliberalism. Impacts that Trump acknowledged and affirmed. Sanders offered another story of the white working class, if in limited, constrained, terms. Clinton held a bond to the failed program of neoliberalism. This was a condition for Trump’s victory.

Properly understanding Trumpism perhaps requires a theory of trauma related to association with the aggressor. In an actual assault, one can get through with support and understanding. Hypocrisy gives victims a sense of abandonment. This leads to compliance. You perceive things as you are supposed to not according to your own feelings. One has to give up critical thinking since it raises possibilities of separation. You comply so you belong. Any feeling of abandonment can evoke this. This is associated with feelings of shame.

Compliance is a response when society does not accept or value someone for who they are. There is an intimate connection between neoliberalism and hyper-responsibility. Issues of inequality and injustice are viewed as being the individual’s fault. Society does not owe you anything (unless you are wealthy, in which case you are owed tax breaks, grants, subsidies because of your greater contributions to a trickle down economy that will benefit everyone).

A response is compliance and omnipotent fantasy. Excess can be directed toward scapegoats. This relates to a sense of exceptionalism and belonging for those who align with the authority. A reality of compliance is expressed through a rhetoric of standing up for oneself. People whose trauma has been invalidated need their trauma to be known. Trumpism expresses a move from individual trauma to social trauma. There is an individual sense of loneliness and sense of dispossession.

 

An Agitator-In-Chief

The crowd is typically understood by theorists like LeBon in relation to the agitator. Trump is an agitator rather than an insurrectionist. The agitator focuses on groups who can be targeted. The agitator does not want followers to think too much.

There is an attempt to individualize the mob in the form of the figure. The figure will tolerate reality for them. What they cannot tolerate, the figure can and will.  He speaks to discreet self-identified groups who identify in terms of losers (in trade, globalization, internationalism, metropolitanism, etc.) but not as classes. Agitation uses emotional tools to reinforce the power structure. The agitator differs from revolutionaries and reformers.

Trump is an over-inflated narcissist. He appears, on surface, to have none of the insecurities his followers are trying to escape. He is the mirror they look into and wish to see themselves. He is appealing to people who otherwise feel powerless. Secondary narcissism stimulates feelings of belonging and loss. Trump, unlike his followers, exhibits no self-questioning, no self-doubt. This is a great relief to his supporters. He is shameless, he has no shame. Refusal to feel shame is a guide to people. Trump expresses a politics of shame and a politics of repugnance.

Fascism promises certainties. It promises a return to more easily understood or familiar conditions for sectors of the population who feel threatened with loss of standing or position (these are often middle strata groups that feel economically insecure or threatened with decline rather than the poor).

Regular folks who support Trump (even as he represents elite interests) can see Trumpism as making the country great again while they are largely able to continue on with their lives. It does not ask much of them but promises much (even if it never delivers on those specific promises). The imagined community or imaginary love of a powerful leader emerges as an outlet for repressed drives even if the program is not realized. Charismatic nationalism offers narcissistic gratification and an outlet for repressed drives against the externalized other.

 

On Fake News and Alternative Facts

It has been well remarked that Trump shows a contemptuous regard for truth or facts. He is appealing to the constrained who do not want to be hemmed in or constrained by facts either, as they are by so much else in their lives. This is related to the wish to win that Trump so effectively conjured during his campaign (with his repeated emphasis on America winning again, winning huge, etc.).

Primacy of the wish to win is related to the sense to which one feels dispossessed. Trump tells an emotional truth for his supporters even if he is widely seen to be lying. This truth is his anger and the affirmation of his followers’ anger. This is the truth that comes to matter, a point rational critics generally overlook or misread. Omnipotent fantasy cannot be told the factual truth. There is a turn to emotional truth. Trust is based not on his truth claims but on the sense that he will do what really needs to be done. His supporters trust his promised power.

There is a libidinal investment of the masses in the leader. They have fallen in love with him. The crowd enjoys vicariously through the leader. Trump, on their behalf will restore the lost narcissistic idea of the nation. He will “Make America Great Again.”

Critical thinking isolates you and isolation is part of the problem in neoliberal societies. There is a pleasure in feeling free from thinking. It is partly presented as a reaction against the constant thinking through of political correctness (doing what you are supposed to do and thinking through the implications of all utterances, let alone actions). So-called political correctness (simple decency perhaps) is constructed as an artificial strategy that maintains hypocrisy.

Unknowing is derided but critics fail to see the enjoyment it can provide. Ignorance can indeed be bliss. Trump represents a poverty of ideas. He expresses a cathartic change. Trump is a grotesque character type. In the enactment of aggression, Trump is both a fool and a wizard.

Trump speaks the analytic session: be spontaneous; speak the repressed; no emphasis on truth; free association. Trump brings the language and posture of the analytic session. What of the return of the repressed? What is repressed is fear and hatred of the other.

 

Conclusion

Living with fascism has been the underbelly of US politics for a very long time. It is not coming, it has been there. Frankfurt School theorists Max Horkheimer and Erich Fromm did not see the United States as immune to fascism.  Their view is developed significantly in the largely forgotten “Studies in Prejudice.” See also The Authoritarian Personality and an earlier study on anti-Semitism in the US.

Fascist tendencies exist in all modern capitalist societies. This was true even after the defeat of fascism in World War Two. Resentment has been mobilized against the post-war social welfare state and union movements. It has focused on the progressive redistribution of wealth, particularly as it has benefited members of minority groups.

From the 1980s on there has been a reversal of these tendencies as state capitalist regimes have abandoned welfare state policies in favor of Crisis State arrangements (Shantz 2016). This shifted has been effected under the so-called neoliberal consensus for state managers. The turn to neoliberalism coincides with the rise of a new generation of Right wing parties. At the same time this period has seen the decline of communist and socialist parties and movements in the West. There is a rise to prominence of Right wing parties and fascist groups. This is happening everywhere. Russia and Putin. India. Much of the blame belongs with failed democratic, labor, and social democratic parties that still refuse to break with neoliberalism. Trump breaks with neoliberal consensus. This is expressed in his election opposition to trade deals.

What the Left wishes to secure through cultural means (recognition and inclusion) the fascists will actually secure through material and military means. The challenge of Trumpism is also a challenge to rethink positive resistance politics. There is certainly a need for the Left to re-evaluate its politics. On the Left, there has been a loss of the language of solidarity as a shared fate. And a politics unrestrained by economics or program.

 

Further Reading

LeBon, Gustave. 2002 [1895]. The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. New York: Dover

Shantz, Jeff. 2016. Crisis States: Governance, Resistance & Precarious Capitalism. Brooklyn: Punctum

 

Originally published in the Anarcho-Syndicalist Review.

Tendencies of Trumpocalypse

By Jeff Shantz

The rise of Trump and more importantly the far Right movements around him raise some questions about the nature of the Trumpocalypse (and its relation to Right populism or more to the point to fascism). The question is now being asked whether or not it is true that there is fascism of some sort in the US at the present time. While not providing a firm answer on that question there are some initial tendencies or shaping features that are suggestive and should be addressed. These are outlines of Trumpocalypse rather than hard and fast conclusions.

Fascism refers to a unique and most extreme form of bourgeois rule. This is so because under fascism the bourgeoisie gives up some of its control to shock troops and loses its customary hold over the mechanisms of liberal democracy. Big capital desires fascism to do its dirty work for it and fascism becomes a tool of big capital. Finance capital through fascism gathers all the organs and institutions of the state. Schools, press, municipalities. Not only the executive. Workers groups are crushed. At its heart fascism is an armed movement that uses extreme violence against the Left.

Some suggest that populism is a more useful term than fascism right now. Yet there are problems with the use of populism to describe the far Right movements today. Centrist notions of populism equate Left and Right. Both are lumped together as non-liberal, against trade, etc., and therefore both are bad. In this way the centrist notions of populism are similar to earlier versions of totalitarianism analysis, as in the work of Hannah Arendt, for example. FDR was referred to as a fascist by some communists. While at the same time Hitler was called a passing phenomenon—to be followed in turn by a victorious proletarian revolution.

At the same time there is a Trumpism—against urbanism, rationalism, metropolitanism. It is a proto-fascist movement. It is about a dynamic. The proposed “purification” of society. A new anthropology—creating the human anew (as in fascism).

Of some importance, there is a tendency to underestimate the movements of contemporary brownshirts in the US. Some commentators might still assume that real fascists in the US live in bunkers in the desert and are merely odd survivalists. But that is a dangerous misreading of current movements. It is an analysis from the 1990s. Fascists today, and this is one thing that can be said about the Trump campaign, have come above ground.

 

Trump and Brownshirt Infrastructure

Trump represents the construction wing of Wall Street. He will oversee a regime of infrastructure building particularly of Brownshirt infrastructure. That is infrastructure of repression such as prisons, policing infrastructure. His will be a regime of building as his campaign expressed—build a wall; build prisons; build detention centers. He will provide help to banks and he will provide help to construction industries.

Trump will build his base and reward it through Brownshirt infrastructure and physical infrastructure (roads, bridges, airports). This will help the Midwest and the Rust Belt and shore up his base in those areas. That means it will reinforce the white nationalist base and white nationalist rhetoric.

Tax holidays for corporations to repatriate wealth. If taxed at one percent it could be used to fund Brownshirt infrastructure. Funding would be through banks and government would secure the loans. This will be a state assisted accumulation of capital.

 ***

Trump represents warmed over Reaganomics. His plan is the dream of investment bankers. The DNC will carry out his agenda as it benefits Wall Street. There will be a battle in the DNC over the nature of support for Wall Street. They will do so around infrastructures spending and a child care tax.

The Democrats will align with Trump. Sanders, Warren, Chuck Schumer, and the AFL-CIO have all said they could work with Trump. They will hope to gain some credit for some policy decisions. Yet this will only reify Trump as the dealmaker who gets stuff done and can work with anyone (on his terms) as he has said throughout his campaign. There will be no benefit accruing to Democrats for doing this.

This raises the need for organizing within the infrastructure industries. At present too many unions in those industries are crass business unions with less than progressive practices.

Contemporary far Right populism, Trumpism, in the US, is something of a coalition of the one percent with people of all classes who are outcast (dislocated from the social system at all levels), declasse (particularly, of course, among white American males). People supporting Trump are not the most downtrodden, not the classic lumpenproletariat, as is often assumed. They are instead the ones who fear losing their assumed place in the social structure, those who fear precarious status and economic decline (the much talked about loss of the middle class).

 

Context

Fascism comes to power when the Left has abdicated its role and responsibility. That is when it is not fighting fascism directly in the streets or when it has not carried through a revolution in the making. Today’s far right operates in a different context and has a different intent.

In Europe and Latin America there are right populist movements. There are fascist organizations, but they are small and few in number. Furthermore, they have no significant connection to either capital or state power. Big capital is not significantly supporting the fascist groups. The main purpose of the current far right is anti-globalism. But big capital wants globalism. Social phobias find a home in the parties of the far right—nationalism, not globalism.

The one percent (particularly building capital) has little interest in populism. It wants migration, for example, in order to keep wages down and increase completion on the labor market. Indeed, many of the voices for the movement of refugees come from neoliberal capital rather than the broad Left.

Historic fascism emerged in face of an imploding world market. Some might suggest that there is no need of fascism for capital since there is no Left working class movement and no imploding world market.

Yet one can see hints of an answer in current social struggles, particularly over extreme energy. As one instructive example we might look to the militarization of police at Standing Rock. Some mobilization against extractives. Is this being used as an impetus for capital to mobilize fascism in the present period? The militarization has already happened in Canada. As the stakes get higher this militarization will increase. It has not yet developed in the form of Right wing mobilization of civilian gangs to attack Indigenous peoples defending their lands. But there are isolated individual instances that suggest it could.

 

When Reform Fails

Far Right populism is what you get when social reform or social democracy fails. Today there are not significant working class movements of the Left in the US. Right wing populism thrives where the Left has failed. There have been mass movements representing refutation of elites and neoliberalism recently. Arab Spring, Indignados, Occupy Wall Street represent examples. There has been, since the decline of these movements, a hard swing to the Right. This is represented in Trump, Modi, UKIP, and the Front National in France, etc. In the current context the far Right has taken up the challenge that the Left has failed to meet.

The Left has abandoned even its bread and butter “wheelhouse” issues. There is virtually no Left movement against global trade agreements anymore. While there has been some spoken opposition against CETA and the TPP there is no semblance of the public mobilizations that challenged NAFTA in the 1980s and early 1990s and the WTO in Seattle in 1999 or the FTAA in Quebec City in 2001. There has been no large scale movement against any of the smaller agreements passed over the last few years either. And that is at the level of manifestations, not at the level of organization in workplaces and neighborhoods.

And this has been an organizational challenge. The Left in the West has built very little in the way of real world, material infrastructures of sustenance and resistance. Unfortunately the far Right has moved in to occupy this abandoned territory. Megachurches gave a center to sprawling suburbs. They provided community life. The Left used to do this but does not anymore.

Unions are business unions and there is no contestatory ideology. They offer service for workers for pay. They organize over contracts and grievances. It is a commodified form of unionism. There is nothing that makes mainstream unions inherently working class, let alone radical working class. Organized labor has become a form of clientalism. Organized labor does not organize labor. It is focused on contract negotiations. There are some public campaigns on issues like education. There are some “get out the vote” efforts.

 

Neoliberal Populism Today

The present period is perhaps closer to the 1970s period of neoliberal populism. The Left in the 1970s was marked by three different tendencies. First was welfare state social democracy. Second was the advocacy of class conflict. Third was the denial of class (post-modernism).

Neoliberalism impelled a shift from understandings of classes to notions of taxpayers versus elites. Corrupt elites were understood not as capital and politicians but as state bureaucrats and unions within neoliberal frameworks. Individual liberation was viewed as everything. The aim of neoliberal populism was identified as getting welfare state and union bosses off your back, not capital. This would supposedly allow anyone to win in the market game. These were staple views espoused by Reagan and Thatcher.

After some years of course the realization grew that the market game produced mostly losers. And these losers were working class. By the time this realization set in for broad cross-sections of people there was no likelihood of getting back the welfare state that neoliberals had transformed (into a carceral or workfare state). Capitalist globalization circumvented and destroyed unions.

Now neoliberalism is unpopular and the welfare state is not on offer. The Left cannot deliver on hopes for a return to the welfare state. Right wing populism emerges keeping at its center the rugged individualism of neoliberal populism. But now it has also to focus on bailed out bankers and big capital. It must focus on corporate welfare as well as social welfare as its motivating social ills. But, not surprisingly, Right wing populism gives less focus to corporate welfare. Indeed, for Right wing populists many of their leaders are part of the establishment.

Neoliberalism has made the irrationality of supporting capitalism (a planet destroying system) seem to be the only possibility on the planet. Right wing populism has been ramping up a counter-revolution in culture. It is a cultural counter-revolution rather than an economic counter-revolution.

The Democratic Party claims that they can be and will be better managers of neoliberal capitalism. They claim to be more efficient and thus will be able to manage more tax money to put into some, limited range of, social programs. They also claim a more diverse base of interests in their representative politics. The Democratic Party since 2008 has, despite the hopeful rhetoric, been pro-Wall Street and pro-war as, indeed, it has always been. They offer nothing to the working class, even in the Sanders wing.

 

In Response

Fascism always needs to be fought directly, not argued with. You cannot fight power unless you build power. There is a need for organizing infrastructures of sustenance and resistance. Syndicalist organizing and a militant approach to challenging structures of ownership and control are crucial. On the one hand there will be a need to organize against development capital. On the other green syndicalist approaches can connect struggles over extreme energy and extractives.

It might be recognized that organizers have to engage with some Trump voters (some, not by any means all). Not doing so is to replay the elitism of Hillary Clinton. At the same time, and crucially, organizers have to support and defend the main targets of Right wing populism. There is a pressing need to find the common ground there.

There are real questions about how to provoke progressive politics in the US. One necessity is to refocus on locally based struggles and work to share them and their lessons internationally.

Some have suggested a Left Tea Party. This is a futile hope. There is no Left equivalent of the Kochs and Coors who build up Right wing infrastructures. The Left cannot have a Left version of the Tea Party. The Left has no real organizational form or movement like the Tea Party. The Tea Party was a real movement, it was not strictly Astroturf. There is no equivalent on the Left.

One approach is to think of organizing space. Especially in the cities. Trumpism is a war against the cities. It is a war against diversity. It is a war against metropolitanism. Cities are refuges of migrants, queers, women, unions, the Left. Cities are also a concrete space. Imagined communities do not exist the way cities do. There could be a broad based strategy focused on cities.

Cities are controlled by real estate developers. Thus struggles confront the Trump wing of builders and real estate capital. Cities are huge bases of support and opposition. They are large economies. There is a need to organize city by city. At the same time it is a historical fault of the Left not organizing the working class in the suburbs. Suburbs are the areas of the working class. Yet the Left organizes downtown in the city center.

Finally something must be said about the anti-Trump protests. The Republican Party wants to pose the working class as white reactionaries. Anti-Trump protests are working class protests. The diversity of the working class. A working class revolt against Trump. These manifestations are already posing questions of organization (beyond street manifestations) anew.

 Originally published in the Anarcho-Syndicalist Review, Issue # 69 

 

Standing Against Islamophobia: Report Back from San Bernardino Action Against Islamophobic March

By Anonymous

This is a report back from someone on-the-ground in the San Bernardino anti-fascist action against the “March Against Sharia,” an Islamophobic event that happened across the country on June 10th.  Check out our report back from the Lansing, Michigan anti-fascist response as well.

Dealing With the Liberals

During our anti-fascist organizing meetings, people from the liberal group rise up tried to derail us. They disrupted our meetings and tried to get us to stay home saying that they thought we weren’t going to be effective and that we would just play right into the fascists hands. We made it clear that they were not welcome back, but they still tried to sabotage us in other ways.  One of our organizers was the target of a harassment campaign set up by a member of Rise Up. He received dozens of phone calls from members of Rise Up harassing him.

Despite the needless roadblocks presented by liberals, we were still able to organize a force of about 100 people to take the northwest street corner of Waterman and Orange. In Southern California, especially San Bernardino, it is almost impossible to organize any kind of demonstration without the sponsorship of liberals and Democrats. We threw them overboard and actually organized more people than they did at their “counter demo,” which they organized more than a mile away. Given the unfavorable organizing conditions here, triple-digit attendance is a huge win for us.

 

The Fascist Side

We instantly recognized at least 50 of the people in attendance at the “anti-Sharia” rally as Orange County residents. The group that calls themselves the Proud Boys showed up in droves, and are from Orange County (one of our chants was “Proud Boys, Shameful Men!”). We also recognized some Oath Keepers and 3%ers, local violent patriot militia members, although they were not carrying firearms. According to our intelligence gathering, the Oath Keepers and 3%ers were actually driven in from out of state.

This tells us the fash can’t effectively organize without importing other non-local groups, something they have done around the country at these “free speech” rallies. This just goes to show that they have no ties to the community whatsoever.

 

Our United Front

We organized a coalition comprised of a dozen socialist, communist and anarchist groups all local to the Inland Empire. We were supposed to have the support of a lot of Los Angeles based groups, but the majority of them bailed on us at the last minute. Despite the non-locals who did not turn out for us, we still had a big enough crowd to hold that street corner. The fash attacked us on four separate occasions. We were a quarter of their size, so we recognized that any action on our part that could be seen as “violent” would result in us losing the street corner. The reality was, the fash charged us and if we had responded, it would have been self defense.

Our tactic instead was to pack together as densely as possible and lock arms so that we couldn’t be split by the incoming fascists. When the cops saw that we were literally going to turn ourselves into punching bags, they decided to get involved. Every time the fash tried to charge us, we locked arms and the cops blocked their path. We were all expecting the opposite. We thought the cops were going to watch us take a beating. Even though they did the right thing at those moments, the cops still surrounded us with their batons out, acting like they were going to attack us. The cops were a lot rougher on our guys than they were on the fash. If we set one foot on the street the cops were all over us screaming to get back on the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, the fash was doing the exact same thing with very little interference from the cops. At the end of the day, despite being a fraction of the size we were louder, more disciplined and more militant. We weren’t able to shut their rally down, but we held our ground successfully. We frustrated the fash so much that they turned to vandalism to get their anger out. 

 

Final Count

0 fatalities

1 injury on our side

3 arrests on the fash side

-lessons

1. Don’t consider liberal feelings, you don’t need their sponsorship to do anything.

2. Keep going. What we’re doing is absolutely necessary.

3. Be aware of the reality of your situation. Poor choices will result in self-destruction and a clear victory for fash.

Stand Against Islamophobia: A Report Back from Lansing Class with “Sharia Law” March

About thirty Islamophobes convened in Lansing, MI to protest “Sharia Law” in a multi-city action organized by ACT for America on Saturday, June 10th. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, ACT for America is the largest anti-Muslim hate group in the country and just like many other cities, a massive counter-protest was organized by several different anti-fascist and anti-racist groups to stand up to their hate. The counter-protestors who showed up considered their action a complete victory. They easily outnumbered the Islamophobes by four to one, remained peaceful, and were able to keep the protestors from fulfilling their main objective of marching through a local Muslim neighborhood.

The Lansing State Journal covered this story with a photo montage that didn’t truly capture the visuals of just how much these protestors were outnumbers and failed to provide the context of a dramatic picture at the end that showed two men hugging at the end of the protest.  The man on the left is Michigan Militia member Chas Brothers from Vandalia, MI and the man on the right is Timothy Grey of the Traverse City chapter of Redneck Revolt, an anti-racist outreach group. Redneck Revolt is a relatively new organization that’s only a year old, but already has thirty chapters across the country. Per their website: “Redneck Revolt is a national network of community defense projects from a broad spread of political, religious, and cultural backgrounds. It is a pro-worker, anti-racist organization that focuses on working class liberation from the oppressive systems which dominate our lives. In states where it is legal to practice armed community defense, many branches choose to become John Brown Gun Clubs, training ourselves and our communities in defense and mutual aid.”

Along with Redneck Revolt, the other counter-protest organizers decided it would be for the best for them to not bring arms to this protest, but they did come out on the front lines and introduced themselves to several members of the Michigan Militia before the rest of the counter-protest showed up in block formation to oppose them. According to Timothy Grey, they introduced themselves to a few guys in the Michigan Militia and both sides agreed that they wanted the day to go peacefully. As Timothy explained, they knew that a lot of these guys were old vets and that they would be more likely to uphold this promise on the honor system if it was established ahead of time. Prior to that Timothy and the rest of Redneck Revolt had been involved in providing the counter-protestors with the intel they needed to determine which groups had shown up and exactly where they finally decided to convene, which was a half a mile away from the Muslim neighborhood they were originally targeting. The Michigan Militia was there, along with the Proud Boys, some older people who’ve watched too much Fox news, and a few Trump frat-boys.

The counter-protest arrived with chants of “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” and “No Hate! No Fear! Muslims Are Welcome Here.”  They kept their chants going for about two hours as police barricaded the two sides from each other. During all of this though, activists from Solidarity & Defense broke into the “Anti-Sharia” side and began passing out pamphlets to people, letting them know that there was a verifiable neo-Nazi amongst their ranks. He was with the Proud Boys crowd, which should be noted were not particularly proud, because several of them chose to cover their faces while they attempted to sling incoherent insults to counter-protestors.

Once the Michigan Militia got word that the neo-Nazi was trying to pass out literature of his own and had an obviously anti-Semitic sign he was planning to pull out, they made him put it all away. Despite their racist fears of “Sharia Law,” they had decided that blatant Nazism was just taking it too far. Timothy Grey and the other guys from Redneck Revolt then began a conversation with some of the militia members. Timothy asked them “You guys are veterans right?” and then looked at each of them sizing them up by age: ” You were in Desert Storm, you were in Vietnam, and you were in Korea right? The people a generation before you gave their lives to defend the people you are now defending on U.S. soil,” referring to the soldiers who fought on the Western front during WWII against the Nazis.

After that the militia members began to defend themselves by expressing their concerns about “Sharia Law.” Timothy and his friends challenged them to find a real bill where this was actually proposed. He told them they were fighting a specter, something that didn’t exist. One of them told him that this was a “Christian nation” and they refuted that you had to support everyone’s right to freedom of religion. Then to everyone’s surprise the cop who was standing near them agreed and said this country had freedom of religion. The militia men had expected full police support.

As the counter-protest decided to pick up and march back to the front of the Muslim neighborhood they were trying to protect, Michigan Militia man Chas Brothers crossed the police barricade and said “Sir I need to talk to you,” to Timothy. Timothy walked back over to him and Chas said “I want you to know that my grandparents, aunts, and uncles were in Dachau. Only two out of my seven aunts survived.” He told him how one of his aunts was the meanest person, but he knew it was because of her horrible experiences in a concentration camp. Finally Chas, who Timothy described as a Vietnam Vet in his 70’s said, “You really started me thinking today. Thank you for coming out here and sticking up for my grandparents.” Then he teared up and asked if it would be alright to give Timothy a hug and that is how the Lansing State Journal captured a really powerful moment that never got fully explained.

Afterwards Timothy reflected to his friends in Redneck Revolt that although the idea of counter-recruting is part of their mission “I have to say I underestimated the power of counter-recruiting.” This exchange showed that there are many ways to connect with people and reach across the divide to counter hate and increase better understanding.

Timothy, who works as a filmmaker,  said he got involved with Redneck Revolt this past year. He had previously been involved in anti-racist organizing over the years and had most recently worked on helping change Traverse City’s Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. He said that he was inspired by their success to see what else he could do and had a friend who suggested Redneck Revolt.  Their chapter currently has 12 members and is still growing.

Some people have asked them why they embrace the term redneck. According to their website “Today, the term redneck has taken on a demeaning connotation, primarily among upper class urban liberals who have gone out of their way to dehumanize working class and poor people. Terms like ‘white trash’ and ‘hillbilly’ have come to signify the view among these same upper class liberals of poor rural folks. To us, the term redneck is a term that signifies a pride in our class as well as a pride in resistance to bosses, politicians, and all those that protect domination and tyranny.”

This is a group that is trying to find a way to connect with other disenfranchised working class people and help them learn that their real oppressors are not immigrants, people with different ethnicities, or different religions all without the typical academic rhetoric. Timothy says that if you would like to find a Redneck Revolt chapter near you check out redneckrevolt.org. If there isn’t a chapter within an hour of you, you can apply to start a new chapter yourself.

 

You can also follow their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RedneckRevolt

A Community United: Reportback and Video from Portland Clash Between the Alt Right and Anti-Fascists

The image across Southwest Madison Street in Downtown Portland, Oregon, was reminiscent of naval warfare, of two opposing camps hurling across a blocked divide.  Inside of the federally-regulated Terry Schrunk Plaza an Alt Right “Free Speech” rally was swelling while the community was descending against it on all sides, amassing its most militant faction in the park directly across the street.  A line of riot police backed by federal officers from the Department of Homeland Security kept the groups apart, at least in principle until individuals decided to bridge the gap to antagonize the other.  Attendees from the “right-wing” side came over to blast protesters, instigating fights that were met immediately by hundreds who had come there to respond to the culture of racist violence that had left the city shuttering over recent weeks.  There was anger, but it made sense for what had transpired and the brazenness of the Alt Right and “patriot” groups who were gloating in their amphitheater.

Free Speech?

The idea of a “Free Speech” event held in a public park with a dais lined with minor far-right celebrities has been a new concept since Lauren Southern led the stage in Berkeley, California on April 15th.  Following the months earlier response to Alt Right provocateur Milo Yiannoupouls at Berkeley and the cancellation of anti-immigrant antagonist Anne Coulter, Southern led commentators from AltRight.com and Kyle Chapman, a man made famous for showing up at a previous Bay Area event to attack anti-fascist protesters.

While their branding is one about open access to speech and their rhetoric is traditional Trumpian fare, their driving element is an opposition to the growing anti-fascist mass movement.  This phenomenon has been labeled “independent Trumpism” by anti-fascist writer Spencer Sunshine, taking the Trumpist cultural space outside of the official bounds of the GOP and creating a tacit coalition of the Alt Right, the militia movement, some areas of evangelicals, hard right rural people, and the anti-PC trolling crowd into a violent opposition to the left.  Labeling all opposition as Antifa, which is a more militant organizational praxis used to confront neo-Nazis and white supremacists directly, they have created unity in their own ranks in opposition to the organized resistance they are seeing in cities around the country.  From open Alt Right white nationalist organizations to patriot militias, their direct repression is not coming from state actors, but instead community organizations across the left spectrum that have seen the threat they present as Trump rose to power.  Now that resistance has given them a targeted enemy to vilify, and these events are designed to draw out that opposition so that they can stage attacks.

In Portland, they knew the opposition would be massive given the palatable community rage about what had recently transpired.  In a racist attack, Jeremy Christian, a local man with white supremacist roots, killed two men and injured one other who were intervening on his treatment of Muslim women on public transportation.  Christian was known to frequent these “Free Speech” events, including the one organized by Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson.  After the attacks, the community banded together, supporting the families of the victims and holding vigils at the attack site, yet an upcoming Alt Right “Free Speech” rally was planned.  While Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tried to get the federal government to intervene and cancel the rally, he failed to do so, and instead hundreds of community organizations, churches, political projects, and labor unions got ready to stand up to their presence.

On the Ground

What resulted is a window into the multiple minds of a left opposition, both in contradiction with each other and congruent in varied approaches.  To the west was a “Stop Hate” rally organized by various socialist parties looking for an alternative to direct engagement with the right, vying for chants, speakers, and banners in a unified block.  In front of the federal building to the east of the “Free Speech” rally was a block of labor activists, headed by building trade union rank-and-file members including the Carpenters Local 1503, Iron Workers Local 29, AFT-Oregon, IUPAT Local 10, and IATSE Local 28.  This solid block of chants was a rhetorical alternative to the “working class” lingo that the patriot militias, particularly the Oath Keepers and III%ers from rural counties of the state, were attempting to capitalize.  To the North, and closest in to the right-wing convergence, was the more militant action, called for by Rose City Antifa and the Pacific Northwest Anti-Fascist Workers Collective, and amassing the largest group of people.  In unison, the three events compressed Terry Schrunk, creating a horseshoe of vocal opposition.  While the “Free Speech” rally pulled in almost three hundred, the anti-fascist collection brought in more than 3,000.

While their rally did not begin until 2:00pm, many were in the park by 10:00am getting set up.  Coordinating with a security detail calling themselves The Guardians, a group of mostly patriot militia members brandishing well-worn insignia patrolled the area, pushing through bushes in an attempt to reveal hiding protesters.  They were then flooded with an influx of participants, including large out-of-state contingents.  This included Proud Boys, part of the Alt Light configuration formed by Vice co-founder Gavin Mcinnis, who are “Western Civilization chauvinist.”  While most were white, and often dressed as skinheads, there were a few Proud Boys of color, all of which who were open about their Eurocentrism, anti-immigrant anger, and pro-market perspective.  The security teams met with the police and then worked in concert with them, including assisting with arrests in one controversial move.  They were even allowed to bring in a crate of riot helmets; all allowed by Department of Homeland Security Agents.  Members of the white nationalist Traditionalist Workers Party were there with “Diversity = White Genocide” signs.  Members of the National Socialist Movement moved throughout the crowd, though didn’t identify themselves.  They were only singled out by anti-fascist doxxing previously that revealed their affiliations.  This was not surprising given the large collection of racist signs, such as suggesting Black Lives Matter were violent terrorists.

The event was headlined by “Based Stickman,” Kyle Chapman, and Baked Alaska, the Alt Right YouTube phenomenon who livestreamed on his own face the entire time he was there.  In between baiting the counter-protesters, yelling about “throwing communists from helicopters,” and labeling all of the press as “fake news” or “ISIS,” he acted like a scene celebrity, talking down to those who approached him.  Chapman was more open, giving interviews and asserting that he was a firm “American Nationalist.”  They set the tone for the event, where the purpose was to mock and fight the left.  Dozens came in pads and helmets, often with shields, ready to attack the left.  Kek flags were flown or used as capes, as well as Pepe signs held under MAGA hats.  The goal was less a conscious political event and more of a spectacle, an antagonism to the community that has already suffered so much.

Their tokenism was on full display, where a Samoan member of The Guardians was invited to do a “warrior dance” in the beginning and they included a trans-woman as one of their first speakers.  She proceeded to take the Chinese flag, spit and step on it, and then said that all the mayor cares about is “communists and criminal illegals.”  She was celebrated for her past “special forces” training that she used to attack leftist protesters in Berkeley.

As the crowds swelled, the police mobilized to block interaction, making it next to impossible to move between the crowds.  Those that moved into the streets were identified and tackled, mostly being on the side of the opposition.  Based Spartan, a cartoonish buffoon who dresses like a sword-and-sandal warrior got into fights with their own security, demanding that they stop “suppressing his free speech” by asking him not to stand on the sidewalk.

Eventually the police declared the assembly adjacent to the “Free Speech” rally canceled, saying that illegal activity took place.  This included claims that bricks were taken off of bathroom facilities and thrown at the cops, yet this was unseen in photographs or videos and a reporter from KBOO radio went to the facility and found that no bricks were missing.  The police then fired off rubber bullets and concussion grenades into the crowd, topped off by tear-gas canisters.  After blockades were set up by protesters, they eventually headed into the streets of Portland in a large march.  Police responded by violently kettling protesters and reporters, attacking many and arresting almost twenty.  The Alt Right crowd shrunk, but those that remained taunted the leftists as the police engaged.

The police action did not define the day, the community response did.  What the police’s response indicates, more than anything, is that there is an ongoing antagonism between the police and Portland protesters, and that a culture of violence is permeating between the departments in how they handle dissent.  No matter what the police’s response was, the community was united and has built a base that can further feed anti-fascist organizing.

Syracuse, NY: New York AntiFa Alliance’s Statement on the so-called “March Against Sharia”

We, the undersigned, represent a coalition of anti-fascists from across the State of New York. We have chosen to assemble in Syracuse on June 10 to take action in defense of people in this community who have been targeted for violence by attendees of the so-called “March Against Sharia”. (https://itsgoingdown.org/nationwide-day-action-muslims-june-10th-need-stop/) As in many cities throughout the United States, today a collection of right wing groups and provocateurs will once again use “free speech” as a smokescreen in an attempt to gain a foothold for groups that use broad anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric to advance programs of racial exclusion and expulsion. Due to Syracuse’s central location within New York State, this provocation is being taken as aimed at the whole of Upstate itself, and along with our comrades in Syracuse, Upstate is responding.

We refuse to allow fascists a platform to organize and incite racial violence. In so doing, we are not suppressing “free speech.” In these current matters of “free speech,” we are not dealing with opinions that have withstood the scrutiny necessary to place them on par with those which provide meaning and purpose to a just and fair society. Instead, we have emotions dressed up in the language of a victim, paraded and bleated from soapboxes in such a manner as to play to the sympathies many would otherwise reserve for the oppressed and vulnerable. Right now, other groups aligned with these alleged crusaders for the first amendment are threatening speakers and harassing students on university lecture and book tours. (https://itsgoingdown.org/richard-spencer-gets-not-warm-welcome-auburn-university-alabama-april-18-2017/)

The overstated threat of “Sharia law” is a dogwhistle to the anti-Muslim sentiment that has crept through communities across the country, especially since 9/11. Religious law is not only unconstitutional, but Muslims comprise just 0.9 percent of the religious makeup of the United States. This overstated fear of the minority has, for years, translated into calls for mass deportations, the erosion of civil liberties, and flat out violence against Muslims. There is nothing original to the script of ACT for America in their crusade against depictions of Sharia law. This is the same script used by the Nazis in their genocide against Jewish people in the 1930s and 1940s.

We affirm the rights of the people of Syracuse to resist bigotry in whatever capacity they find appropriate. We embrace a diversity of tactics in the struggle against fascism, and we respect the right of other counterdemonstrators to assemble. As such, we do not plan to interrupt other counterdemonstrations. We urge all attendees to refrain from acts that would compromise the stated intent of this counterdemonstration, to respect the boundaries and safety of one another, and to be cognizant of public perception. The fringes of the right have grown increasingly violent, even when faced with nonviolence. As such, we would also like to address the tense situation in the city of Portland, Oregon after the brutal attack on three men coming to the aid of young women who were being verbally abused by a white nationalist who presumed them to be Muslims (https://itsgoingdown.org/antifascism-community-self-defense-fight-revolution/). We stand with Portland at this time as they cope with loss, increasing threats, and the task ahead of rooting out fascism from their community. We, the groups assembled, are prepared to undertake this burden in New York State if need be. We send our love and solidarity to Portland. You are not alone.

We also wish to clearly convey that our purpose for gathering in Syracuse is not to incite violence or destroy property. We will be there to represent organized resistance to fascism in our communities. While we do not plan to commit acts of offensive violence, we cannot say the same for the groups who have assembled to “march against sharia.” We cannot fully anticipate the reaction of the groups assembled with ACT for America, like the Syracuse Proud Boys, affiliated motorcycle clubs or patriot militias. Any escalation into violence will be at the hands of the previously mentioned groups and/or the Syracuse Police Department. We will not stand by idly if these groups incite or organize violence. We will defend our communities and ourselves by any means necessary.

 

Signed,

 

NEW YORK ANTIFA ALLIANCE

 

Buffalo Red and Black/Roja y Negra, Capital Region Anti-Fascist Action, Central NY AntiFa, Great Lakes AntiFa, Hudson Valley Anti-Fascist Network, North Country Redneck Revolt, Syracuse Antifa, Utica IWW, Western New York AntiFa, Anti-Fascist News

Richard Spencer Gets Banned on SoundCloud

The podcast created the Alt Right.

The conversational nature of the podcasts have allowed them to take the canon of white supremacist philosophy, from the Conservative Revolution to the French New Right to “Race Realism,” and make it easily understood.  Richard Spencer, the founder of the Alt Right and the person behind the National Policy Institute and the Radix Journal, was on the front line of this with his original podcast Vanguard Radio.  He had on guests like Jared Taylor and even Pat Buchanan, and starting at AlternativeRight.com he has churned out hundreds of episodes on everything from immigration scandals to film analysis.  He ported his original Vanguard Radio podcast over to the Radix Journal in the form of the Radix Journal Podcast, then merging with other media projects to form AltRight.com.

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His ability to do this, however, has been halted as his hosting, SoundCloud, has finally booted him.  After a “tweetstorm” from Alternet contributor Alex Kotch, SoundCloud responded and took down his podcast library.  This is an important and useful tactic for antifascists as going after their media communication is critical for severing their ability to recruit and organize.  We have gone after many Alt Right podcasts in the past, helping to get podcasts like The Daily Shoah and Fash the Nation removed from SoundCloud.  Spencer has already had his podcast removed from iTunes due to pressure, and so has most of the Alt Right podcasts (Counter Currents Radio archive is still available on iTunes, however.).

As it stands, the Radix Journal is basically a ghost town.  It has been all but formally abandoned, and now with their podcast feed severed there is even less reason for people to visit there.  This is an incredible turn of events as the most popular Alt Right media outlets are being destroyed.  This method of community pressure needs to be continued for other podcasts held by SoundCloud and distrubited by places like Stitcher.  Right now, Kulture Kampf and others are still on SoundCloud, and the Red Ice Radio feed is still available on Stitcher.  The advantage we have is the Terms of Service of these platforms preclude this type of content, so we can easily push them to remove them through mass community comments.

This is how it can work: First, figure out the podcast in question. Then single it out and promote the SoundCloud or other platform’s customer service lines, whether by phone, email, or social media.  Then do mass contact asking it to be taken down, and give examples of the offensive content (which is incredibly easy to find).  This can take them down one at a time, and will easily sever their most popular platforms.

Spencer will likely find some type of hosting that will be free from pressure and where he will continue to be able to keep his podcasts running.  What that lacks, though, is a mass audience social networking component that he gets by using well known services.  This is what has allowed the Alt Right to gain an audience quickly, because they use the same platforms as some of the biggest media names in the U.S.  Once that is gone they will only be able to reach their core audience, and their ability to recruit will be destroyed.

Let’s keep this trend going.

Letter to the Patriot Militias: The Alt Right Murders Veterans

By Portland Antifascists

The alt-right is closer to power than ever, yet they have never been further from reality. The media portrays them as everywhere at once—from the beleaguered White House to your neighborhood street corner, wheat pasting fascist literature about “European identity.” Yet for all their online presence and in-real-life media attention, their assortment of “Kekistan Flags” and “Pepe” memes expose a dying culture of hatred. Using their memes to maintain an ironic distance from one another, as well as reality, they hope to supplant the modern world with their own jaded vision—one which we are sure you support just as little as we do. We ask that, when you see a Kekistan Flag flying, when you identify the ironic subcultures of Reddit and 4chan that bubble up to the surface of everyday life through the alt-right’s manifestations, that you refuse to look the other way. Oppose them as we do, because they seek your undoing as much as they do yours.

For the newbies who don’t know what the alt-right is, it is a white supremacist movement that came out of different libertarian and far right trends in the 2010s. Its leader, Richard Spencer, advocates violence against political enemies who believe in freedom and equality. The other key alt-right personalities like Mike Enoch, Andrew Anglin, and Matt Heimbach advocate various forms of neo-Nazism.  Their ideas are not new, they have floated up over the years, blaming immigrants for crime, Jews for “subverting Western culture,” and destroying any unity working people have had. Although the alt-right supported the Trump campaign, they have since moved to a more autonomous political position.  While the alt-right hopes to portray themselves just as “not PC” or simple Trump supporters, their rhetoric, friendships, and plans reveal them to be the same white supremacists that have terrorized this country for years.

Because their neo-Nazi ideas remain unpopular in the US, alt-right leaders use the general rejection of their white identity politics as a rallying point to defend their “free speech.” Laden with bitter anti-Semitism, racism, and conspiracy theories, these “free speech” rallies quickly became lightning rods for the revival of neo-Nazism in the US.  Free speech was, itself, a lie, since they have been open about how they would dispose of democracy and the free exchange of ideas if they were to ever take power.  Instead, they saw it as an opportunity to recruit for their ideas, and they could use the banner of free speech to argue for racial separatism without interruption.  The rally in Berkeley held by the alt-right drew a crowd of hundreds with the impetus of attacking left-wing counter-demonstrators, leading to bloody confrontations. Similar rallies in Boston and Portland deliberately antagonized local communities, as outsiders affiliated with Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman and other militant, violent alt-right groups descended on cities looking for a fight.  The communities, in response, turned further against them and their followers.

Such rallies have fostered an atmosphere of hatred against antifascists and Muslims, directly contributing to the double murder on Friday, May 26, of innocent people attempting to defend Muslim teenage girls from hatefully harassment on public transit. The two men were killed for behaving out of heroic bravery. Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche was a peaceful 23 year old who had just graduated from a local college and was trying to get his life started. Rick Best was a 23-year veteran of the US military with a wife and kids—the youngest of whom is a 12 year old daughter.

Disgraceful as ever, supporters of the alt-right descended on the pages of mourning community members to question the attitudes of the culprit, calling him a “Bernie-bro,” a leftist, and a supporter of antifa. From research that we have done, including speaking to former associates in the local metal scene, there is more to the story than that. According to their accounts, before the Trump campaign, Jeremy Christian was a troubled and damaged man but he was not a killer. He did support the Sanders Campaign and spend time reading comic books and going to rock concerts. However, when Sanders lost, his ire against Hillary Clinton developed into support for Donald Trump. Soon, it appears, his anger began to fester and grow into conspiracy theories about Jews and Muslims.

Christian was increasingly obsessed with the same conspiracy theories that the alt-right cultivate in order to expand the gap between reality and fiction.  While many on the alt-right disbelieve conspiracy theories like “Pizzagate,” they continue to promote them to gain followers and manipulate a distrust in the surrounding community and media. When the alt-right began holding “free speech” rallies, Christian’s rhetoric became increasingly violent toward those targeted by the alt-right. Joey Gibson’s local Portland Prayer group, also known as the “Warriors for Freedom,” helped Christian locate a material outlet for his hatred. When he arrived at one of Gibson’s “free speech rallies,” Christian immediately attempted to attack counter-protestors with a baseball bat unprovoked. After police confiscated his bat, Gibson continued to scream at antifascists, even throwing up a Nazi salute and racial slurs, but was welcomed within the rally.

Police had thwarted his desire to engage in physical violence against counter-protestors, and despite finding an outlet for his rage, Christian continued to fume. Amid Gibson’s renewed calls for another “free speech rally”—this time in the heart of Portland—Christian could not control himself. On a well-trafficked light rail MAX line in the relatively docile neighborhood of Hollywood, Christian verbally assaulted Muslim women, one of whom wore a hijab. Three white men stood up for the women, and an enraged Christian stabbed them in the throat, killing two and critically injuring the other. These were not incidental killings due to the kind of indiscriminate collateral damage of a knife fight; they were clear and precise throat strikes with the intention of severing the carotid artery and jugular vein. The surviving victim is alive because, although the knife struck the jugular, it barely nicked the carotid.  He will carry the scars of this attack the rest of his life, a reminder of the time he sacrificed everything to defend someone in need.

Think of the distance between the heroic act of defending a vulnerable teenager from a stranger’s aggressive harassment, on one hand, and the cowardice evidenced by alt-right members on the web following the attacks. Some alt-right members called the murderer “/ourguy/” and others called him “based knifeman.” Harold Covington, the murderous white supremacist who took part in the murder of labor activists by KKK members in the 1970s, claimed Christian as one of his own.  Although Richard Spencer has distanced himself from Christian, his followers have already built up a kind of cult for him as a logical and reasonable representative of their cause—an extension of Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman. And that’s exactly correct.

Jeremy Christian is the alt-right today. He represents the kind of mob violence that happens when you combine the mob violence mobilized by Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman with the lone wolf violence promoted through alt-right forums from 4chan to Andrew Anglin’s Daily Stormer website. The response to such a violent movement that slaughters law abiding citizens for no other reason than acting on the defense of civil rights must be unified opposition.  This has always been how white supremacist groups operate, mobilizing those who feel powerless to feed on their bigoted rage and to enact putrid acts of violence while the leaders stay comfortable in their plush Montana homes.

The “based knifeman” alt-right double murder, it should be noted, came on the one-month anniversary of another alt-right attack—this one carried out on a university campus in Kentucky by a young man brandishing a machete. It came less than a week after a cowardly member of the alt-right stabbed and killed Richard Collins III, a second lieutenant in the US Army, while waiting for an Uber ride at the University of Maryland. It came one week after police discovered the gruesome murder of two people by a member of the alt-right who, like Jeremy Christian, idealized Timothy McVeigh, and was apparently building a dirty bomb.

Jeremy “based knifeman” Christian is not someone outside of the realm of the alt-right. He is, as their community members have claimed, a part of the increased pressure the alt-right has placed on college campuses and left-leaning liberal hubs throughout the US. No self-respecting human being in the US should participate in the atrocious deterioration of humanity manifested by the alt-right and its persistent attacks against the innocent and vulnerable in society. Ask yourself, if you are an Oath Keeper, a militia member, or if you are just a right-wing member of society—would you support the slaughter of innocent civilians at war? If the alt-right is doing that today under the auspices of a self-declared war against a society that wants nothing to do with them, why support them in that effort? Why wrap villainy in the flag and give it that protection, rather than identify the movement for what it is?

The alt-right no more believes in the American flag than it does the Kekistan flag or the memes of Pepe the frog. They are using you to gain ground, and once it came to your turn, they would turn against you as mercilessly as if you were a teenage Muslim girl or those attempting to protect her. In supporting Joey Gibson, “Based Stickman,” and the alt-right’s mobilizations, you are encouraging the murder of innocent people in defiance of your own stated ideals. We can all see where this hypocrisy leads. We ask you humbly to step away from it before it destroys you and us.

In loving memory of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and Rick Best.

In solidarity against fascism and the alt-right. 

Click here to donate to the surviving person attacked by Jeremy Christian.

Donate to the Muslim Women Who Were Assaulted in Portland by the Alt Right Murderer

The story of what happened in Portland, Oregon on Friday, May 26th has gone viral.  An Alt Right person on a train began assaulting two young Muslim women for wearing Hijabs.  Three men stood up to intervene and they were brutally attacked with a knife, two of them were killed and one of them left in serious condition in the hospital.

We are trying to post the fundraisers for everyone who were involved, and we just posted the fundraiser for the survivor of the attack who is currently in the hospital.  We are now sharing the fundraiser for the two women who were targeted by the white supremacist and had to endure one of the most traumatizing experiences imaginable.  The money is intended to support them in their recovery, from treatment to transportation, and the funds will be critical to allowing them the time and space needed.

We need to support each other not just with words, but with actions.  Donating some money is a great start, but it cannot end there.  We need to get involved in a material basis, organizing in our communities and confronting these fascist movements as they grow and confront.  We stand with a “no platform” mentality, where we disallow people like this to actually recruit and organize.  Jeremy Christian, the Alt Right murderer on public transportation that day, was a part of the Alt Right “free speech” rallies that were happening in Portland.  On June 4th, Kyle Chapman, the “based stickman,” is holding another rally in Portland, one where Christian was likely to be.  For those in the area, Rose City Antifa, the Pacific Northwest Anti-Fascist Workers Collective, the Torch Network, and a number of supporters, including the Black Rose Anarchist Federation, are organizing to stand up to the Alt Right.  They will not let something like this happen again in their town.

Donate Here to the Women Targeted by the Alt Right Murderer

Taking on Fascism and Racism from the Ground Up.