All posts by antifascistfront

Community Action: Anti-Trans Speaker with Ties to Soldiers of Odin and Proud Boys Set to Speak in Vancouver on June 23

By Jeff Shantz

The University of British Columbia appears to be at it again. Mere months after hosting far-right speaker Ben Shapiro, and agreeing to host far-right figures Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern—an event that was eventually cancelled after community mobilization and outcry—the elite Vancouver university is going ahead with a talk by an anti-trans activist, Jenn Smith, with various ties to far-right groups like the Soldiers of Odin, Proud Boys, and Culture Guard. He event is scheduled for the evening of June 23, 2019. Smith has even used Soldiers of Odin as “bodyguards” at preceding events.

Smith’s talk is directed against the British Columbia educational system’s LGBTQ2-inclusive and supportive program SOGI 123 (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity). Smith, “a 54 year-old transgender identified male” who uses his identity to target the trans communities is slated to speak as well against “transgender ideology” and “transgender politics.” Smith has stated “that men cannot be women (and vice versa), no matter how much they pretty themselves up.” Transphobic, anti-trans politics, have been long connected to contemporary far Right movements and viewpoints.

In response, UBC says it will rely on the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the colonial police force that was recently involved in the racial profiling of a Black graduate student at a major academic congress on UBC’s campus). The RCMP is itself a force of settler colonial domination and white supremacy. Many people are not made to fee safe by its presence. This is in addition to the threat posed by the far Right groups who have accompanied Smith previously. The perspectives being pushed by Smith make communities, schools, and workplaces more dangerous and threatening, especially for transgender students.

As was the case for the Shapiro and Molyneux and Southern events, Smith’s scheduled appearance is being opposed by UBC Students Against Bigotry and other community members. Community outrage managed to get other scheduled Smith talks cancelled at Douglas College in Metro Vancouver and Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia.

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PEGIDA Racists Rally Again in Toronto, Confronted by Antifascsists, May 4, 2019

By Jeff Shantz

Anti-fascists in Toronto had to mobilize once more to oppose far Right racists PEGIDA (the “Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes”) who organized an anti-Muslim, anti-refugee rally at University Avenue and Armoury Street in the city’s downtown. Fascists were present from a range of groups, including Wolves of Odin, Soldiers of Odin, Canadian Combat Coalition and Northern Guard.

Part of a larger international network, PEGIDA is one of the most publicly active of the new far Right groups mobilizing anti-Muslim hate in the Canadian context. They began organizing demonstrations in Quebec in 2015 and have been a regular presence in several cities in Canada since. They hold monthly rotating rallies in Toronto and London, Ontario. Their rallies have been a magnet for neo-fascist individuals and groups, including the Northern Guard, Proud Boys, and the armed anti-Muslim Three Percenter militia.

An estimated 80 antifascists showed up to confront the 20 or so fascists. Toronto police again operated to provide the fascists a space to spew their hate. And spew they did. Someone from the fascist crowd set off a smoke bomb. This is something that so-called yellow vests protesters have taken to doing at small demonstrations at highway overpasses near Toronto. Andre Ch (Canadian Nationalist Party), Derek Storie/Rick Boswick (Yellow Vests), and members of Wolves of Odin, Proud Boys, and other Nationalist Party members were also involved in burning a Quran.

The fascists also tried to attack antifascists using their flag poles as weapons to do so. Toronto police, unsurprisingly, did nothing to stop that. They did however deploy violence against the antifascists reportedly using their police bikes to strike at antifascists.

The antifascists did manage to keep the fascists from marching. They remained confined to the space provided by and protected by police.

Given the recurrence of PEGIDA rallies in Canada, and Ontario in particular, much organizing remains to keep them from mobilizing.

Three Strikes and Molyneux and Southern are Out of Vancouver (For Now)

By Jeff Shantz

Earlier this week we reported that antifascist mobilizations had caused two Vancouver venues to cancel planned talks by far Rightists/white supremacists Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern hosted by the University of British Columbia “Free Speech Club” (FSC). We can now happily report that the FSC’s third attempt to host Molyneux and Southern in Vancouver has been thwarted despite their efforts to move it underground to a secret location.

Antifascist mobilization kept the focus and pressure up throughout, contacting venues and tracking down the final secret location. In this the UBC Students Against Bigotry played key parts (even as they maintained a unique position toward other antifascist organizing locally).

This final cancellation comes only hours after a fascist in Aotearoa (New Zealand) shot up two mosques in Christchurch killing at least 49 people and injuring dozens more in a targeted assault on Muslim people. Clearly even the fascists in Vancouver could figure out that holding an event with those particular speakers in this time frame was not a wise idea.

Especially given that the garbage spewed by Molyneux and Southern was taken up by the Christchurch shooter. Notably the fascist killer posted a “manifesto” online entitled “The Great Replacement,” the same title used by Southern for one of her videos, a reference to far Right fictions of “white genocide” peddled by many white supremacists.

Despite these cancellations we remain ever vigilant for any future far Right events in Metro Vancouver. Their hatred and brutality have no place here or anywhere and its should now be certain to people in Vancouver that any platform for these characters is a platform for brutal violence.

Antifascist Mobilization Leads Two Venues to Cancel Molyneux and Southern Event in Vancouver (BC): “Free Speechers” Turn to “Secret Location” for March 15

By Jeff Shantz

Anti-fascsists and anti-racists in Vancouver (Unceded Coast Salish territories) have successfully mobilized to get two venues to  cancel a planned speaking event by Canadian far Rightists Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern scheduled for Friday March 15.

The speaking event is being organized by the so-called “Free Speech Club” at the University of British Columbia, a Rightwing group that uses the cover of “free speech” to host far Right figures who oppose the “free speech” (and the very existence) of Muslims, feminists, Leftists, etc. while promoting white supremacy. The club has previously organized and hosted a speaking event by Ben Shapiro.

Molyneux, from Toronto, is the founder and host of the Freedomain Radio podcast and YouTube channel which has posted videos under titles like “The Death of Europe – European Migrant Crisis,” “Migratory Patterns of Predatory Immigrants,” and “The Female Evil” which espouse racist and anti-Semitic views. Southern, of Surrey, another YouTube favorite of altRightists has posted videos with titles such as “Asking Feminists: Women’s Rights or Islam” and “Why I Hate Pride Parades.”

This event was originally scheduled for March 16 at the Chan Center at UBC, where the Shapiro even was held, but was cancelled following mobilized community opposition, including a petition that gathered 450 signatures in a matter of days. The free speech club claims security costs were too high for the Molyneux/Southern event prompting a move to the Hellenic Community of Vancouver (HCV, 4500 Arbutus St, Vancouver).

This led to mobilizing to convince the HCV center to cancel. A demonstration was called for the 15th to oppose Molyneux and Southern. Right before midnight on March 12, ahead of the HCV general meeting of the 13th, the Free Speech Club put out a tweet saying the HCV was cancelling the event in response to the volume of community complaints.

Antifascists are still vigilant. The Free Speech club have said they will go ahead with the event in a “secret location.” Details to follow, when available.

For now it is satisfying to listen to the whine rising from the now twice disappointed “free speechers” as via their social media:

“ANNOUNCEMENT:

The Hellenic Centre must cancel our booking due to physical threats of harm towards their community, and church. Domestic Terrorist groups like ANTIFA have bullied this religious community into a crippling and life threatening situation. Please do not direct your hate towards this community. We are currently booking a new venue which will remain private and for ticket holders only.

– FSC Team”

Militancy in the Workplace: Interview With IWW Organizer Doug Geisler Pt. 2

Why is the labor movement such a central vehicle for revolutionary social change?  Why are they growing today?  Why did they go into decline?

We continue our interview with revolutionary union organizer Doug Geisler about how to build a revolutionary labor movement, and about his roleplaying game Beat the Boss, which teaches players how to organize their workplace.

What is a labor union? What really defines it?

A union is a group of workers that have the same employer that comes together to change what they hate and keep what they love at work.  A union is defined by the relationship between workers and bosses. It seems simplistic but history and law have laid so many complications on this relationship that people on the outside can be confused or afraid of the unknown. That complication is probably by design.

Why was there such a decline in labor unions in the U.S.?

To me, there are two reasons for the decline:

1) Labor was full of itself and turned inward. It ignored trends in business that eroded the edges of their domain. It ceased taking audacious steps to organize new industries in new ways.

2) A close coalition of business and social actors assessed, in the mid-60’s, that a vast pool of comfortable labor (high buying power baby boomers) and a growing labor pool of people of color would begin questioning the foundation of capital (and capital’s ties to American christianity) and took every opportunity to demolish a thinking, allied working class’s attempts to gain freedom.

Why do you think Millenials are turning back to organized labor?

My generation grew up on the very tail end, the bottom of the barrel of the class victories that the previous generation won and cemented in the Post-war detente. Millenials have found that the barrel is empty. The new paradigm for capital (gig work, monetizing fun, etc.) has stripped away all patriotic dressing from the debate. The cold war is over and communism is no longer grounds to invalidate someone’s argument.

What is Beat the Boss intending to accomplish?

Roleplaying games, especially thanks to talented improv-ers and the world’s most popular RPG, have become more accepted. Gaming offers the opportunity to experience new points of view. That builds empathy. I’m getting the game out there to encourage people to become comfortable with union organizing. After nearly 20 years of organizing there are patterns to this interaction. Pattern and experience builds comfort. There are best practices and lessons directly related to (and learned from) the field that are reinforced by the rules of the game. After creating a campaign or running one that the community produces players should see opportunities in their own work lives.    

Additionally, when more creative people put their minds to the problems of workers new, innovative ideas will come to light. The fight for justice can end up stodgy.
Do you think gaming can be a center of reigniting workplace organizing?

Gaming and workplace organizing have key elements in common: a core group of people come together to collaboratively solve problems; both talk out resolution; and it’s difficult to find time to schedule a meeting.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/346468029/beat-the-boss/widget/video.html

TRUMP’S BETRAYAL OF SYRIA – PARIS COMMUNE FALLS AGAIN?

By David Van Deusen

December 22, 2018, Vermont -As an American, as a Vermonter, and as a Labor leader I have marched many times against US lead wars.  However, I do not oppose wars and US military action because I assert war as always unjust and always unnecessary.  I am not philosophically a Kantian; this is not a moral imperative for me. I am also no liberal. If truth be told it was only through war and armed conflict that Vermont and the United States became republics free from the British Empire. And like the US, Ireland would still be an exploited outpost in the same empire if it were not for the force of arms demonstrated by the IRA. Cuba, today, without their victorious 1959 revolution, likewise would remain an economic colony of America.  And further, it was only through the Allied war effort that Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy & their murderous ideologies were crushed for generations. But since my birth, from the Vietnam War, to armed interventions against Latin America, up through the invasion of Iraq, I am hard pressed to find a US military intervention that, by purpose or accident, carried with it an intrinsic moral clarity; rather contemporary US military action time and again has been launched to serve the interests of corporations and a tiny minority of wealthy elite.

For these reasons I was proud to serve as a Vermont AFL-CIO officer when we were aligned with US Labor Against The War, and when our Unions called for the rapid withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq.  I was also proud to have helped write the Vermont AFL-CIO resolution stating our solidarity with the Longshoremen when they conducted a one day strike, shutting down West Coast ports as an act of resistance against the Iraq War. And even now I am supportive of calls coming to finally end the generation-long war in Afghanistan.  But again, I do not condemn such military actions because I am a pacifist or because I am rejecting the notion of war in and of itself. I do so because I judge the conflicts which the US engages in, much more often than not, as wrong and immoral based on the specific facts and specific interests being served by these imperialistic conflicts.

For some years now the United States has provided arms and limited Special Forces support (now 2000 boots on the ground) to the Kurdish lead YPG/YPJ in Syria.  The YPG/YPJ has used these arms to extend their control over most of northern Syria. They have effectively engaged ISIS, driving them out of the north. They have also held the dictatorship at bay (and they have brought a relative stability to this region of Syria).   But what deserves our respect is not simply their military prowess, but rather the type of society which they seek to create in liberated areas. They hold socialist tendencies, but what sets them apart is their desire to organize their world according to directly democratic means; something like a secular, decentralized, Town Meeting system where all the people have an actual voice and an unabstracted vote concerning the issues that face them as a people and as a community.  Here they take political influence from the Vermont anarchist sociologist Murray Bookchin. Their vision, similar to that espoused by the EZLN & the Zapatistas (Chiapas, Mexico), is as far reaching as that which was dreamed of on CNT/FAI barricades in Spain from 1936-1939. Their fight has parallels to Mahkno and his brigades in the Ukraine in 1919. They do not fight for an ethic Kurdish state, but rather for a new social formation whereby the individual and the community collectively control the world in which they live.  Their dreams, perhaps, are not dissimilar to those who manned the walls of the Paris in 1871. And to this very point in time, remarkably, they have been winning.

The historical significance of what they have been achieving in Rojava (northern Syria) has not been lost on those in other nations who also can imagine what a truly democratic and equitable society could look like.  Presently hundreds, if not thousands, of regular working people (Americans included) have made the difficult journey to Syria in order stand with them, rifle in hand, to fight for this common dream. And many have died defending this dream from ISIS, from Turkey, and from those who instead seek the domination and brutality of a misguided & twisted Islamic state or the repression which a dictatorship or new form of fascism brings in its wake.  And still they fight, and still they organize a direct democracy, composed of Kurds & Arabs, in the lands which they have freed.

And now, our own (so called) President Donald Trump has announced his intent to withdraw the 2000 brave American troops currently deployed in this region (and who by circumstance fight with honor alongside YPG/YPJ).  And even tonight, Turkey stands in wait, sharpening their swords…

But given the long history of the US imperialism and economic subjugation, why has the US supported them?  Some would argue that the very presence of US guns mark the YPG/YPJ as no more than pawns of a morally questionable US foreign policy.  Some would say they are dupes of the CIA. After all, why would the US elite support a revolution which seeks to topple the exploitive American capitalism which underpins the old world order (and which continues to sell out American and foreign workers alike)?  How can this be? The answer is simple… The United States has supported this revolution because YPG/YPJ are fiercely opposed to ISIS and are effective fighters. The US therefore has acted on the premise that the enemy of my enemy is my friend (at least for a time).  

No one should be under any illusion that the US ruling class has supported the YPG/YPJ because they approve of the cooperative democratic society which they seek to create.  The ruling elite of the US (Republican & Democrat) would be perfectly happy supporting an authoritarian dictator as long as such a strongman would support America’s perceived long term economic and strategic interests.  But as it turns out, few in northern Syria were or are willing to engage in a protracted fight just to see the deck chairs of authoritarian politics rearranged. But the people have been willing to fight (and die) for something much more far reaching.  And this has transformed the YPG/YPJ into something far more significant than a regional militia; it has made them into a multi-ethnic force capable of constantly beating back ISIS and other reactionary elements in Syria. And for America, the short term aim was always to diminish ISIS.   Here, as the YPG/YPJ was compelled to face existential enemies on all fronts, they were glad to accept guns and logistical support from wherever they would come. When a man’s house is on fire he does not stop to ask the politics of the one who hands him a bucket of water. If that bucket comes from a Republican, it does not make him a Republican. Thus the US support for the YPG/YPJ was nothing more than a temporary marriage of convenience, and the YPG/YPJ are not defined by the politics (and motivations) of those that offer them material aid.          

But now, after the YPG/YPJ has diminished ISIS and pushed them into more remote areas, Trump has grown tired of this marriage and his Administration’s true face has begun to look up to again reveal its twisted contours.  Trump would have American troops evacuate in order to turn their attention to other more sinister projects (such as those transpiring on our southern border). And no matter that the second largest army in NATO (the increasingly Islamic-Fascist Turks) have announced their desire to launch invasions of northern Syria with the sole aim of crushing this experiment in direct democracy, the United States of America is preparing to look the other way.  The reactionary government of Turkey, under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, views the YPG/YPJ as a treat in that they represent an alternative not only for Syria but also for Turkey. Further driving Ankara’s genocidal ambitions, is the government’s view of the YPG/YPJ as having close links to the armed PKK (which operates within Kurdish-Turkey and which shares similar politics with their Syrian cousins). What gives Erdoğan & the Turks pause, for now, is the presence of American troops.  Once this deterrent is removed, it is hard to envision a chain of events which does not include a devastating invasion of this island of hope, this city on the hill overlooking the chaos that is the Middle East.  And no matter how America got there, once America leaves Trump will own the history that follows. If the Paris Commune must fall again let it be known that the invaders were enabled by a country which once called itself great.       

 

In Solidarity with the YPG/YPJ & The Struggle in Rojava,

David Van Deusen, District Vice President of the Vermont AFL-CIO

 

***

 

What follows is a link to the resolution passed by the Green Mountain Central Labor Council of the Vermont AFL-CIO in support of the YPG/YPJ and the struggle in Rojava.  This resolution was passed in February of 2018:

https://vt.aflcio.org/green-mountain-labor-council/news/solidarity-struggle-rojava

The Rising Wave of Fascist Terror: Notes on Its Organization and Disruption

 

By Joshua Sturman

The week of October 21st saw three high profile, fascist terrorist attacks. The first of these was an unsuccessful attack on (purportedly) left-wing political leaders: pipe bombs were sent to several prominent Democratic Party politicians, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The next two were more successful and explicitly racist in nature. On October 24, a terrorist failed to gain access to a Black church near Louisville, KY, then crossed the street to a grocery store and murdered two Black shoppers. The following Saturday, October 27, a terrorist entered a synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA and opened fire, killing elevent Jewish worshipers. This week of terror was followed by a high-profile attack the following week in Tallahassee, FL, when a misogynistic attacker murdered two women in a yoga studio on November 3.

We must not doubt that all of these attacks were fascist in nature. Each attack targeted a type of person on which fascist, extralegal violence is traditionally inflicted: the left, subordinated races, and women. A0t least one of the terrorists, the Pittsburgh shooter, was tied to the fascistic social media site Gab, a refuge for right-wing extremists banned from Twitter and Facebook.

These four attacks, like all acts of terrorism, served a double function. On the one hand, they served to inflict immediate harm on the “enemies” of fascism, whether these enemies be political opponents, such as left-wing politicians, or people whose free existence is a fundamental threat to the fascist project, such as Black people, Jews, and women. On the other hand, the attacks served to create a climate of fear, a climate eventually intended to scare opponents of fascism out of exercising their freedom.

Students of the American fascist movement will recognize that all four of these attacks fit into the longtime white supremacist strategy of “leaderless resistance.” First proposed by Louis Beam in 1983, the strategy marked a departure from the attempt to build popular institutions such as the Ku Klux Klan towards the reconstitution of the movement into one in which “all individuals and groups operate independently of each other, and never report to a central headquarters or single leader for direction or instruction.” The adoption of leaderless resistance as a key organizing principle encouraged fascist activists to act without directly consulting one another, instead interpreting the public proclamations of fascist leaders by themselves and acting as they see fit. It took and continues to take advantage of the widespread authoritarianism, racism, and misogyny embedded in American culture, gambling that these ideas can be activated in independent activists through the piecemeal diffusion of fascist propaganda, thereby creating a general social attitude of support for and fear of fascists without relying on the establishment of a major institutional presence dedicated to supporting the fascist cause.

To date, the largest successful act of terrorism carried out on the basis of leaderless resistance was Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols’ bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people, including many children. Other high profile terrorist attacks carried out on the basis of this strategy other than those mentioned above include Frazier Glenn Miller’s attack on a Kansas Jewish Community Center in April, 2014, Elliot Rodger’s rampage through Isla Vista, CA the following month, and Dylann Roof’s massacre of Black churchgoers in July, 2015.

One major advantage of this strategy for fascist organizing (which is emphasized by Beam) is that the decentralization of activism keeps movement leaders safe from activist criminality. Popular institutions are easy targets of government suppression because such institutions link everyone from foot soldiers to the institutions’ upper echelons through the institutional hierarchy. As a result, taking down someone at any level of the hierarchy can lead to the imprisonment of all members on conspiracy and collaboration charges and a resultant disorganization. By keeping white supremacist cells as small as possible, the leaderless resistance is able to avoid large scale suppression by either the government or anti-racist and anti-fascist movements through a separation of propagandists and theorists from terrorist activists. Strategies developed publically by fascist ideologues can be taken up by individuals or small cadres who serve as martyrs without the ideologues facing repercussions greater than public censure.

Another advantage of leaderless resistance (which goes unmentioned by Beam) is that very few of those engaged in the strategy need to be cognizant of their participation. Only a handful of ideologues need to be intentionally focused on shifting the Overton window – the limits of acceptable discourse – for efforts to be successful. A small but dedicated group of theorists and propagandists making a concerted effort can move fascist concepts into the mainstream. Once this is accomplished, mainstream politicians and media outlets are able to whip up racist, misogynistic, anti-leftist, and anti-liberal hysteria to the point where lone-wolf terrorists are bound to emerge. Knowledge of this phenomenon helps explain why aforementioned terrorist Frazier Glenn Miller, who previously maintained ties to the white supremacist terrorist cell The Order, spent the first several decades of his life propagandizing through the KKK before picking up guns, as well as why former terrorist Don Black has abandoned his paramilitary activities in favor of running the influential white supremacist website Stormfront. When fascist ideologies penetrate mainstream society, some number of people will be brought to the point of “leaderless” violence regardless of their familiarity with white supremacist tactics.

In light of the above, it is clear that fascist media platforms like Gab and Stormfront, as well as “fellow-traveler” forums like 4chan and 8chan and offline institutions like Stormfront book clubs, are crucial aspects of the success of leaderless resistance. These platforms and others like them play several roles. First, they serve as spaces for the development of fascist theory, locations where committed activists can further fascist doctrines and where inductees can receive indoctrination. Second, they serve as repositories for mainstream figures to draw ideas from, either directly or through layers of distillation as concepts are taken up and filtered through mainstream platforms like Twitter, once the Overton window has moved. Third, they serve as vehicles for the highest levels of agitation, pushing those on the edge of terrorism to engaging in leaderless resistance.

Despite the importance of these radical right-wing spaces, explicitly and implicitly fascist forums are not a sufficient environment for the production of lone-wolf fascist terrorists in and of themselves. As indicated above, they remain reliant on fascist ideology mainstreaming itself through public figures for the strategy to be fully successful. Wittingly or not, these public figures make their own contribution to acts of terror carried out in the name of leaderless resistance. Most obviously and as previously noted, anti-democratic, racist, and misogynistic statements from prominent politicians and media personalities contribute to fascist agitation. They also both create and reflect public support for terrorist activities. Racist statements from Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson therefore contribute to the spread of racist propaganda and indicate to fascist theorists that large segments of the public are supportive of (aspects of) the fascist cause. Even more crucial than statements are actions of material support. Presidential pardons like those given to prominent racists Dinesh D’Souza and Joe Arpaio demonstrate that elites and the public are willing to support them (to a degree) not only rhetorically, but concretely. Media narratives downplaying or dismissing the threat of fascism, such as the widespread claim that the bombs sent to Democrats were an elaborate hoax designed to discredit the Republican Party, provide space for fascists to move in public without fear of social exclusion, let alone retribution.

What is most important to note throughout in an examination of leaderless resistance is that while the strategy has led to a relatively non-institutional fascist movement, it has not led to an unorganized one. Fascist leaders, theorists, and propagandists are linked to fascist activists, including terrorist activists, through formal, predictably operating channels. Fascist ideology, tactics, strategies, and “commands” are declared in explicitly fascist venues such as Stormfront, Radix Journal, or the National Policy Institute Forum. They are then conveyed to larger, “fellow-traveler” locations like 4chan, where they are picked up and placed on larger, politically neutral sites like Facebook and Twitter, and then heard from the mouths of politicians like Donald Trump, media figures like Tucker Carlson, and celebrities like Kanye West. At each stage of transmission, the ideology and commands are available to be heard by activists, at louder and louder volumes at each stage, some of whom inevitably begin leaderless resistance, thereby reliably producing the results sought by those who initiate the process. Additionally, each stage provides the initiators of the process with feedback on methods of refining the content and distribution techniques of their propaganda as they can see which ideas are and are not transferred and the degree to which ideas are distorted as they pass from one place to another. What ultimately links all the locations is the shared epistemological framework the concepts produce and maintain as they are transmitted, a fascist framework initiated by a small cadre of fascist activists for the purpose of agitating leaderless resistance.

The threat of fascist insurgency must be taken seriously. The recent attacks prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that fascist violence is both immanent and rising. Moreover, the above analysis demonstrates it is highly organized movement. It must be challenged. There are several areas of social existence in which this can be done.

First, fascist space in the range of acceptable discourse must be eliminated. Allowing any space for fascist propaganda is, as discussed above, a key hinge of the fascist leaderless resistance strategy, without which the production of fascist terrorists and activists cannot operate. Actions taken by major corporations and private citizens alike to remove fascist media platforms from the web, as well as successful struggles to prevent fascists from propagandizing on college campuses, mark the most significant contributions of recent vintage to this effort. Unfortunately, it is likely that such actions are too little, too late. Now that mainstream, widely followed political figures and media outlets have adopted fascistic rhetoric, fascist discourse has probably saturated mainstream culture to a point where simple “no-platforming” is no longer a viable strategy. At present it seems the far-right has opened the Overton window for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, such actions demonstrate widespread disapproval of fascism, racism, and misogyny that may serve to demoralize and demobilize fascist activists in the long term. Such actions may also serve to disrupt fascist organization in ways that cannot be accurately valued at the present moment.

More important in the near future than closing the discursive space in which fascists operate is taking away the material base of fascist activists. Since the base of dedicated fascist activists is relatively small, crippling that base is both simpler than closing the Overton window and an effective way to smash the beating heart of fascism. Several strategies have been successfully employed to this end. Once again, major corporations have played a part in the fight, with prominent payment processing and fundraising companies taking adverse actions against major fascist organizations, though they have often not gone far enough. Other effective actions have seen fascists lose their jobs and face difficulty at their universities. Attacking the material base of fascist operations disrupts fascists’ ability to  participate in activism by increasing the cost of such participation or simply overwhelming them with the difficulty of maintaining their everyday existence. Additionally, it can serve to prevent the process of fascist organization from beginning when it is the originators of fascist theory who are attacked. This said, assaults on the material base have limited effectiveness in combating fascist terror carried out by already radicalized activists. The leaderless resistance strategy intentionally relies on terrorists to commit to, plan, and carry out attacks over relatively brief time periods, thereby avoiding detection (and consequently resistance) until the time of the attack. Furthermore, because most terrorists die or go to jail in the course of their action, attacking their economic base is of limited effectiveness even if their motives are suspected ahead of time. It takes few resources to stage a terror attack when the attacker does not intend to live after the fact. For these reasons, depriving key fascists of a material base does more to stunt the movement over a longer period of time than to prevent bloodshed in the near future.

Another, and possibly the most, effective means of fighting fascism is to socially isolate fascists. Isolation destroys fascists ability  to evangelize. It prevents the transmission of fascist ideology from one part of the leaderless organization to another, thereby limiting fascists’ numbers and preventing the spread of radicalization. Moreover, disrupting social ties among fascist activists using methods like infiltration creates paranoia and lack of trust in the fascist community, effectively preventing interfascist solidarity. These strategies can even disrupt leaderless resistance, since confidence in community support and the agitation of friends can lead to individuals undertaking terrorist actions. Yet even attacks on the social lives of fascists face obstacles. The biggest of these challenges is the internet, which serves as a space for geographically and physically isolated and communally shunned fascists to come together. Moreover, fascist internet spaces are easily reconstituted after disruptions. Even more importantly, anti-fascist organizers must be cognizant their efforts serve to isolate only the most committed fascists. Isolating members of the general public with some authoritarian, racist, or misogynistic tendencies is both impracticable given the reach of these tendencies in American culture and risks stigmatizing the naive who would, if treated with care, abandon fascist leanings in favor of liberal and leftist positions.

Fascism must also be fought through a transformation of left and liberal institutions. Activist organizations must add a function of machine politics to themselves at the same time that the machine political operations in existence must begin to organize direct actions. The fascist right has already perfected this strategy through organizations such as Focus on the Family and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). These organizations keep activists mobilized and furthering the fascist agenda in periods between election cycles, while ensuring a base for right-wing politicians in election periods. The role of far-right mainstream politicians in promoting fascist terrorism and agitating the fascist base, and the government’s ability to suppress both fascist and left-wing movements as it likes, is too important to cede in the anti-fascist struggle. However, mobilizing simply for elections requires enormous effort and resources to reestablish electoral organizations every two to four years. By adding machine aspects to anti-fascist organizations and activist aspects to machine organizations, the most important work, that is, direct action, can be accomplished while a grip on the formal levers of political power is maintained.

A broad-based coalition of leftists and liberals must agree on common terms for fighting the fascist threat. Fascism is able to gain power quickly in a fractured political environment, where factionalism and infighting keep anti-fascists of all varieties fighting with each other and away from anti-fascist organizing. While a revolutionary left consensus may be the ideal tool for mobilizing against fascism, it is not a necessary one. Common terms enable different tendencies in the anti-fascist struggle to fight a common enemy how they see fit while remaining in solidarity with those with whom they are not in total agreement.  “We must,” above all and in the words of Assata Shakur, “love each other and support each other.” We must help each other grow and stand in solidarity, instead of indulge in petty personal disputes in the face of growing fascism. We must resolve differences with respect for one another and without forcing our comrades to abandon deeply held beliefs that, while contrary to ours, do not harm the anti-fascist struggle. The fascists are well organized and “we have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Far Right Yellow Vests Convoy Rolls into Ottawa: Met with Resistance

By Jeff Shantz

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, a convoy made up of hundreds of semi-trucks, pickups, cars, and buses rolled into Ottawa for a protest against the Liberal federal government. Dubbed the United We Roll Convoy, the protest originated in Alberta ostensibly to protest the federal government’s policies on the oil industry and to call for new oil pipelines and extractives industry developments. However, the convoy and protest were made up largely of people associated with the far Right “Yellow Vests” movement in Canada (the original name of the convoy was the “Yellow Vest Convoy”—changed to cover up that connection). The Yellow Vests movement in Canada have nothing in common with the French Gilets Jaunes and are really an effort by far Right and white supremacist groups to give a populist dressing to their hate.

Despite spokespeople’s efforts to emphasize the fossil fuel industries, and to deny far Right and racist motivations, participants have openly stated their displeasure with the government recently signing a non-binding United Nations compact on global migration. Even lead convoy organizer, Glen Carlitt, has insisted that “Canada’s borders need to be controlled by Canada and its citizens.”

While the convoy of vehicles took up a large space, almost a kilometre of Wellington Street, in front of Parliament, the numbers of actual individuals protesting was relatively small. Notably they included far Right speakers, in fact known fascists, such as open white supremacist, self-proclaimed propagandist for the “alt-Right” Faith Goldy. Fascist supporters of the convoy included: David Selvers and Millennium Crane in Sault Ste Marie; Christopher Hayes of Soldiers of Odin and Worldwide Coalition Against Islam (WCAI). Dan Dubois, leader of the Canadian Combat Coalition, led the convoy at points along the route. The Yellow Vests movement has issued death threats against Muslims in Canada.

What is perhaps more telling is the open public support, and active participation, of several high-profile mainstream conservative politicians in Canada. This includes federal Opposition Leader and Conservative Party head Andrew Scheer, and leader of the new alt-Right Peoples Party of Canada (and former Conservative Party member and leadership hopeful) Maxime Bernier, high ranking Conservative Member of parliament, Pierre Poilievre and Conservative Senator David Tkachuk. Scheer went a step further and got into one of the trucks with a slogan on the side. Ontario Premier Doug Ford gave supportive public messages to the Yellow Vest convoy along the way, as did United Conservative Party of Alberta leader Jason Kenney.  

The convoy was confronted, and indeed outnumbered, by a counter rally organized by Indigenous Solidarity Ottawa and Ottawa Against Fascism. Under the banner Stand Up for Land Defenders, the counter rally shouted down and drowned out Yellow Vests speakers with chants of “Nazi Scum off Our Streets!” About two dozen people held a round dance in front of Parliament and the Yellow Vests. Predictably police organized to protect the fascists. They stood facing the Indigenous and antifa rally who they clearly view as the threat here.

Indigenous counter-protesters, like Wolf Tabobondung of Wasauksing First Nation, point out that the extractives projects and pipeline developments that the Yellow Vests are promoting are being carried out on Indigenous lands and imposed on Indigenous communities. Often these are unceded lands, that the state and corporations have no standing over, and in other cases are happening in violation of treaties. These are significant matters that connect issues of resource extraction, industrial development, statist “nation building,” and fascist mobilization (including against Indigenous communities).

A point that can be raised in this regard is the composition of the Yellow Vests convoy. The trucking industry in Canada is made up of large numbers of workers of color, including many recent migrants. Yet, for a rally of supposed truckers, the Yellow Vests convoy was exclusively or nearly exclusively made up of white drivers. In no way a representative expression of concerns and interests of drivers in the industry.

How We Can Organize and Beat Back Our Boss: An Interview With Union Militant Doug Geisler

 

The struggle in our workplaces is some of the most direct organizing that working class people can do, creating power directly at the point of economic production.  Unions, the collective strength of workers, have the ability to grind the economy to a halt and completely re-establish how power and resources are distributed.  For decades the labor movement has been under attack, but a new generation of union radicals are coming forward with a revolutionary vision for how we can take back our power in our everyday lives.

Doug Geisler has been an IWW member and union organizer for twenty years, and how now created a roleplaying game to teach people exactly how they can organize their workplace.  We talked with him about where the labor movement is at, how Millenials can push it further, and what his game Beat the Boss is going to accomplish.

For people who did not grow up in a union family, or do not have a foundation in organizing in their workplace, what is a union?

A union is a group of workers that have the same employer that comes together to change what they hate and keep what they love at work.   A union is defined by the relationship between workers and bosses. It seems simplistic but history and law have laid so many complications on this relationship that people on the outside can be confused or afraid of the unknown. That complication is probably by design.

Why was there such a decline in labor unions in the U.S. over the past forty years?

To me, there are two reasons for the decline: 1) labor was full of itself and turned inward. It ignored trends in business that eroded the edges of their domain. It ceased taking audacious steps to organize new industries in new ways. 2) a close coalition of business and social actors assessed, in the mid-60’s, that a vast pool of comfortable labor (high buying power baby boomers) and a growing labor pool of people of color would begin questioning the foundation of capital (and capital’s ties to American christianity) and took every opportunity to demolish a thinking, allied working class’s attempts to gain freedom.

Why do you think Millenials are turning back to organized labor?

My generation grew up on the very tail end, the bottom of the barrel of the class victories that the previous generation won and cemented in the Post-war detente. Millenials have found that the barrel is empty. The new paradigm for capital (gig work, monetizing fun, etc.) has stripped away all patriotic dressing from the debate. The cold war is over and communism is no longer grounds to invalidate someone’s argument.

What is Beat the Boss intending to accomplish?

Roleplaying games, especially thanks to talented improv-ers and the world’s most popular RPG, have become more accepted. Gaming offers the opportunity to experience new points of view. That builds empathy. I’m getting the game out there to encourage people to become comfortable with union organizing. After nearly 20 years of organizing there are patterns to this interaction. Pattern and experience builds comfort. There are best practices and lessons directly related to (and learned from) the field that are reinforced by the rules of the game. After creating a campaign or running one that the community produces players should see opportunities in their own work lives.    

Additionally, when more creative people put their minds to the problems of workers new, innovative ideas will come to light. The fight for justice can end up stodgy.

Do you think gaming can be a center of reigniting workplace organizing?

Gaming and workplace organizing have key elements in common: a core group of people come together to collaboratively solve problems; both talk out resolution; and it’s difficult to find time to schedule a meeting.

Neo-Nazi Gym In East Nashville Closes To Move Into New Location

Vengeance Strength Kvlt” an Alt-Right Neo-VolkishGym has closed its East Nashville location on Gallatin Pike in order to move into a new building. This comes from an anonymous tip sent to us that all the gym’s fitness equipment had been removed from inside of its formal location. Posts from VSK’s social pages also confirmed that they had not only closed but where relocating into a bigger facility.
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The gym first sparked controversy at its East Nashville opening in 2017 for being tied to the White Power group “Wolves Of Vinland” as part of “Operation Werewolf” started by known extremist Paul Waggener.
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The gym stayed open a total 6 months before Anonymous vandals smashed the windows and defaced the gym’s muralforcing it to close for 2 months for remodeling.
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Since it’s re-opening VSK has shared spaces with Neo-Fascist Marcus Follin who spoke at White Supremacist Conference in Burns Tennessee. The gym also sells merchandise to its customers dismissing equality and human rights on top of housing White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and WOV supporters.
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