Category Archives: Anti-Fascism

#AllOutPDX Against Patriot Prayer on August 4th: What You Need to Know

On Saturday, August 4th, there will be one of the largest actions against Patriot Prayer, and their acolytes the Proud Boys, in the two years they have been terrorizing the West Coast.  Coming from Washington and areas around Portland, they have been converging on the city to hold far-right rallies with deep anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, and incredibly violent rallies where they have been attacking leftists.  Patriot Prayer, while using the civic nationalist rhetoric of “independent Trumpism,” have made themselves a vessel for white nationalist groups, including the active support and participation of groups like Identity Evropa, the Traditionalist Workers Pary, Cascadian Legion, Operation Werewolf recruits, as well as members of neo-Nazi skinhead gangs and “Patriot” militia groups like the Oath Keepers and 3%ers.

The last several rallies and marches from Patriot Prayer have increasingly become centered on the Proud Boys, the civic nationalist street gang that is known for its violent attacks.  On June 30th, the Proud Boys brutally attacked counter-protesters, critically hospitalizing community members, and this came after several unprovoked street attacks from various Proud Boys in the weeks before.  This Saturday they will be holding another public rally, centered on founder, and Senate candidate in Washington Joey Gibson.  This event has a vague goal of “freedom” and other buzzwords, but the point is to attack the left.

This action is being countered by a massive coalition.  Pop Mob, which means “popular mobilization,” has organized a mass coalition to march and amass on Patriot Prayer.  Rose City Antifa and other militant organizations will be having a huge direct response to Patriot Prayer, and both projects are coming together in mutual aid to shut down Patriot Prayer.

Here are the critical things that every attendee on Saturday should know.

10:30am

There will be a rally at City Hall in downtown Portland made up of a number of community groups and labor unions to stand against Patriot Prayer’s hateful rhetoric.  This will include SEIU Local 503, the Western State Center, Portland Jobs With Justice, and others.

11:30

Converge on Tom McCall Waterfront Park at the Salmon Street Fountain.  This is where Patriot Prayer will be coming.  This action will be frontlined by militant antifascists, including Rose City Antifa, Eugene Antifa, PNW Antifascist Workers Collective, SHARP, and RASH NW.  This will be backed by Pop Mob, which makes up the large mass of participants.  This coalition has been endorsed by a range of groups, from the one’s listed on the 10:30am rally to other groups like KBOO, Black Rose – Rosa Negra, the Democratic Socialists of America, and many other churches, labor unions, and community groups.  This is one of the largest coalition actions of the year.  This means that there will be spaces for both type of participation, and the “green zone” behind the militants intended to be a space where protesters can be protected to speak their views and support the protest of Patriot Prayer.

People are no longer meeting at Chapman Square, that was a placeholder location until Patriot Prayer revealed their actual location.

Patriot Prayer will have the ability to carry guns, and many promise to be armed.  If they are in Terry Shrunk Plaza, where they often amass, they are banned from bringing in weapons because it is a federal park and their are regulations preventing that.  This is not the case for Waterfront Park, and they have been open about bringing guns.  The announcement of the guns is intended to frighten counter protesters, and in a recent video from Joey Gibson he included a young boy playing with a semi-automatic weapon.

Patriot Prayer is also saying that they are going to be putting upwards of 35 members of their own group, including Proud Boys, dressed in black bloc clothing into the antifascist crowd.  Those people can then attack counter protesters or try to catch them being foolish.  This groups is supposed to be run by Russell Schultz, one of the violent Proud Boys doxxed by Rose City Antifa.  This is likely bluster to create a sense of internal discord, but may be something to watch for.

The far-right side is raising money to bring in Proud Boys from other state, and they had between 60-80 at the June 30th rally.  They could be bringing even more this time, and they will all be coming in at least four busses from Vancouver, across the river in Washington.  Those busses will have armed security on them.  The Proud Boys are the most violent contingent, and will come in body armor specifically to fight.

Protocols

  • Go in groups, do not walk by yourself.  Stay with the large crowd of protesters.
  • Prepare for police repression, depend on antifascists for defense and not the police.
  • The large mobilization is safer when they are all together, and the militant bloc is prepared for community self-defense.
  • Rose Hip Medics will be there, they are street medics trained to provide support to protesters injured by far-right thugs and the police.
  • InfoWars “reporters” are going to be there to try and harass protesters on camera.  Gibson and Proud Boys have gone on InfoWars to celebrate brutalized community members and to erroneously claim antifa are bringing guns.
  • Reporters and photographers/videographers should respect boundaries, including avoiding close-up shots on masked protesters.  Movement photographers should be aware that PP members are going to be using cameras in your crowd, so make sure to check in with others in advance so they know what you are filming and you can get good boundaries.
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Alt-Right Not Welcome: An Antifascist / Abolitionist Bloc on August 12th in Washington, DC

A call for an antifascist and abolitionist bloc on August 12th to show that the Alt-Right is not welcome in DC.

On Sunday, August 12th 2018, Nazis, white nationalists, and others fascist groups comprising the so-called ‘alt-right’ will descend on Washington, DC to hold “Unite the Right 2” in front of the White House at Lafayette Square. The rally will coincide with the 1-year anniversary of the cowardly attack against anti-racist demonstrators in Charlottesville that took the life of Heather Heyer and brutalized members of Charlottesville’s Black community, including residents Corey Long and Deandre Harris.

Here at the heart of the white settler-colonial state in America, communities of the DMV have learned well how to defend themselves against oppression. On a daily basis, in Black and Brown neighborhoods between DC and Baltimore, police act as an occupying army—a criminal gang in blue leaving a trail of broken lives in their wake. Days before Unite The Right in Charlottesville last year, Nazis rode through Southeast DC—a historically black neighborhood—openly brandishing guns and confederate flags. In the suburban communities around DC, sheriffs openly cooperate with ICE through 287g kidnapping our neighbors and tearing apart our families.

Make no mistake, the violence of the US police and prison systems and the genocidal agenda of these fascist groups are two sides of the same white supremacist coin: systems of racial domination predicated on state-sanctioned violence, murder and terror with impunity. The United States was and continues to be built on oppression, enslavement and mass extermination, today manifested in the form of police terror, mass incarceration, and imperialist war-making against racialized ‘others’ abroad.

The regime relies on and is sustained by the imposition of coercion and terror aided and abetted by its non-state allies and auxiliaries drawn from the far-Right like the KKK and neo-Nazi groups. As we have seen time and again, the fascist formations marching on Washington, DC on August 12th are working in close collaboration with law enforcement, including in Virginia State Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.

In the US and around the world, the rising tide of authoritarianism and fascism is fueled by the fomentation of violence against our communities: the retrenchment of long pervasive patriarchy and misogyny; the murder and degradation of Black and Brown lives; the criminalization of immigrants; the oppression and dehumanization of the LGBTQAI+ and two spirited communities; the normalization of Islamophobia and the expansion of the national security state; the intensification of anti-Semitism; and the ongoing war against working people waged by the corporate elite and their political cronies.

In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Contingent, the Queer Bike Bloc, aligned community groups, congregations, and individuals planning direct action, rallies, and occupations against fascism in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area, we are calling for an explicitly Anti-fascist / Abolitionist Bloc on August 12th. We call on all people of good conscience to support our community’s self-defense, confront the fascist filth, and shut them down.

Anarchists, anti-authoritarians, abolitionists, and all anti-fascists: let this be a call for unity with all oppressed peoples in a sustained struggle for our collective defense and liberation.

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom, it is our duty to win, we must love and protect each other, we have nothing to lose but our chains.” – Assata Shakur

Look and listen for the black flags and sound system on August 12th in Washington, DC. Watch for time and place on August 11th on @ShutItDownDC

Mask up, dress up in black, no phones, no live streams, solidarity and love one another. We’re not going it alone.

To see organizing updates, and who is involved please go to www.shutitdowndc.org

Alt-right not welcome #DefendDC #AllOutDC

Patriot Prayer Releases Their Rally Info, Meeting at Waterfront and Canceling Berkeley Rally

Joey Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer, is finally putting out more information about his intentions for the August 4th rally, which is informing the antifascist organizing plans.

Joey Gibson is calling for people to be at the Fred Meyer on Columbia Way in Vancouver, WA at 10am if they want to take the busses down to Portland that he has secured.  He is promising to have armed security on each bus.  He is suggesting that everyone rides the shuttles, which he says are personally owned by attendees and not rented, so they will be there after the rally.  He is putting several teams on call for in and out transfer for people needing to get out, no matter at what point he feels his people will be at risk during the rally.

These are the same busses that were used when Joey came down to harass people at the ICE encampment, and gave them some cover to get out easily.

He has also announced that they will be at the Waterfront Park in Portland, though he has not released all the final details yet.  He promises that the full info will be out this weekend.

Though Joey tried really hard to keep everyone together for the August 5th rally in Berkeley, after the August 4th rally in Portland, though he did not organize it.  He suggested that people “back stabbed” him in regards to the rally.  The American Guard, founded by Klansman, had been a part of the organizing.  Gavin McInnis, the founder of the Proud Boys, eventually pulled the Proud Boys from appearing, and so Joey Gibson decided that he did not want to be a part of it.  In a recent video, Gibson expressed anger of the results of this rally, and blamed it on infighting and personal problems inside their movement, calling them “little demons” and suggested it was a “spiritual problem.”  Joey ended up doing a second video as well, discussing the growing infighting in their movement, especially between the people in Vancouver and Berkeley, and they are desperately trying to keep their movement together.  As far as we can tell, the August 5th rally in Berkeley is over and all of their attention will be on the Portland one.

The Portland rally he expects to be one of their largest, including better preparation and no coordination with the police.  Their position at the Waterfront means they will be out in the wide open space.  There is also some reporting that suggested that Gibson called the location so his people can bring weapons, which they could not do in the federal park like Terry Shrunk Plaza where they have held past rallies.  Rose City Antifa has changed the meeting location for their action to the Waterfront to meet Patriot Prayer, and Pop Mob is continuing their pre-protest rally at City Hall with the support of organized labor and community organizations.

Below is the information for Patriot Prayer’s rally, as put out by Joey Gibson.  This is the information they are giving to their rally participants.

The Portland Rally will start at Salmon Street Springs at the waterfront in Portland Oregon at 1000 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204.

It will be secured and ready for buses to drop off Patriots in large groups. Stay together and inside the security.

The bus will be picking people up at 108 Grand Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661. If you look at the two satellite photos there is a red circle along the road and side walk where people will load onto the bus. There will be armed security on the public sidewalk and the Vancouver Police are aware that we are going to be there. As most of you know the Vancouver Police do not put up with masked criminals like they do in Portland.

Shuttles will start leaving at 10 am. Last shuttle to leave 11:35 am

It is highly encouraged to show up at 10 am to guarantee a seat.

Parking: There is a giant parking lot next to the drop off spot and is extremely busy so it will be hard for people to go after your car but it isn’t a guarantee. People with flags and other obvious items are parking about a mile away and taking Uber in or just get dropped off by a friend.

We have 5 fast buses with armed security on each bus. These are the best way to get in safe and to leave safe. Please come to Vancouver to catch a bus.

People not taking the Shuttle

Those coming into the water front on their own should not be wearing anything that identifies you are with the Patriots. Wear normal clothing and get to Salmon Street Springs from the multiple different ways in.

 

This is the flyer for the Pop Mob pre-event rally, afterwards that crowd will then join the larger antifascist block protesting Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys.

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Pop Mob and Rose City Antifa are Organizing a Mass Antifascist Resistance to Patriot Prayer on August 4th

 

Portland has become a center of antifascist resistance as civic nationalist, Alt Light organizations riding the Trumpian populist wave take to the streets in public displays of bigotry.  Following the far-right “free speech” rallies that Lauren Southern started in Berkeley after the cancelation of events for Anne Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos in 2017, Patriot Prayer formed by provocateur Joey Gibson to celebrate Trump and accost the left.  They started in violent fashion, and one of their attendees went on two murder two people in an Islamophobic attack on a Portland train.  Since then, Portland has been generally disgusted by Patriot Prayer and Joey Gibson, but he keeps coming back to the city to hold his rallies and attack counter-protesters.

Now, Patriot Prayer has basically merged with the Proud Boys, the “Western Chauvinist” crew that is known for its street violence.  On June 30th, Patriot Prayer came with dozens of Proud Boys from multiple states and brutally attacked counter protesters in one of the most savage, and unwarranted, attacks in recent history.

Antifascist organizations like Rose City Antifa, the Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective, and Eugene Antifa, have fought back against Patriot Prayer, continuing to stop them from doing full-scale marches and having free reign of public space.  In response to the violence of June 30th, many organizers from Portland wanted to form an additional coalition to support the existing antifascist work, and to increase the numbers to include people that have not been involved in the more militant antifascist actions against Patriot Prayer.  Pop Mob then will create multiple “zones” of protest, respecting a diversity of tactics while also creating a safe protest space for many people who have felt threatened by the Proud Boys violence at previous Patriot Prayer events.

“We tried ignoring them, and that didn’t work,” points out Effie Baum, from Pop Mob.

Our plan is to bring together a wide coalition of folks in as large numbers as we can to show Patriot Prayer and other groups that he is associated with that we are not going to continue to tolerate this kind of hate in our city.  This is why it is so important for as many folks as possible to come out.  When all of us are together it can stop their attempts at taking over the city while also keeping each other much safer.

Patriot Prayer has continued to escalate in the weeks after the June 30th event, including coming down to the Occupy ICE PDX encampment to harass protesters in the process of cleaning up amid police repression.  The video of Proud Boy Ethan Michael Nordean (Rufio Pan Man) punching a protester went viral in Proud Boy circles, and he went on Alex Jones’ show to celebrate the action.  Jones himself has seemed to ally with the Proud Boys, and may even make an appearance on August 4th.  This particular date is just the first of other events, and August 5th has Patriot Prayer returning to Berkeley where they were pushed out in 2017 by a coalition of labor unions and community groups.

Rose City Antifa has continued their great work of doxxing the Portland area Proud Boys involved in this violence, and is also calling for militant antifascist resistance against Patriot Prayer on June 4th.  They will be working along with other militant antifascist organizations to mobilize in direct opposition to Patriot Prayer, not a distance away, but directly across from their supposed rally.  According to the RCA spokesperson we spoke with, this is to stop the ability of the far-right to organize, and grow, in Portland.

The goal of our action on August 4th is to show that the community will not allow violent nationalist opportunists to threaten our city and target our people.  We will overwhelm them both by force of numbers and commitment to defending our community.  Whatever it takes, we won’t allow Patriot Prayer’s political violence to become the new status quo in this country.

This also relies on direct confrontation as a way of eliminating Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys’ ability to operate with impunity.

Without direct confrontation, PP and other white nationalist groups will feel entitled to threaten people wherever and whenever they like.  First they target antifascists and anti-ICE activists, then they target Pride, marginalized community spaces, minorities, and migrants.  They believe “might makes right,” and unless the community steps in to stop them, there is no telling who they will attack next for political gain.

All the antifascist groups, working in concert, get at different aspects of resistance, creates multiple fronts to push back on Patriot Prayer, and creates the space to get a huge wave of people involved.

“The entire purpose of [Patriot Prayer’s] event is violence.  From what I have seen, they have instigated the violence at all of the past rallies,” says Baum.

“Their speech has consequences, and we have the right to stand together against their hate in our city.”

Below we are posting the links to several of the FB event pages, starting with Pop Mob’s event page for the broad-based protest action that will be happening simultaneously.  Pop Mob will be having a large rally of unions and community organizations at 10:30 at City Hall, which will then, at 11:30, move to join the larger contingent at Waterfront Park.

Stop the Hate Event Page

Resist Patriot Prayer: Violent Alt Right Bigots Off Our Streets

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Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys Clash With Antifascists in Portland in Bloody Confrontation [VIDEO]

Video by Daniel V. Media

On June 30th, far-right provocateur Joey Gibson brought his group, Patriot Prayer, back to Portland in an effort to stoke the anger of a city grieving from violent racist attacks.  On June 3rd, Patriot Prayer held a march whose sole purpose appeared to be to fight the left.  Lacking in political content, the repeatedly marched their crowd into counter-protesters, attacking them at will.  The Proud Boys, the Alt Light street-gang started by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnis, has become the dominant portion of Patriot Prayer’s base as the rest of their larger support by Trump republicans slowly recedes.  Over the past year many their key young participants have joined the Proud Boys, to the point that Patriot Prayer seems to be simply an extension of the regional Proud Boys crews.

On June 3rd they attacked people with increased brutality, though were fought back readily by a crowd of antifascists organized by Rose City Antifa.  They eventually were unable to continue their marching and were chased off the streets as their numbers dwindled.  They vowed to return to “stand their ground,” announcing the June 30th date.

On the day of, it was clear that they had dug into their connections across the country and had Proud Boys from crews in multiple states including, reportedly, California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and others.  The crowd was dominated by Proud Boys in their yellow/black Fred Perry shirts, and after a school bus of additional Proud Boys arrived from over the river in Vancouver, they numbered around 80 participants. (Note, some people have listed the number closer to 60, some closer to 100.  For our part, we counted about 80.)

They held their typical round of speeches, with long-winded diatribes from Joey Gibson comparing himself to the “founding fathers.”  Then a Proud Boy rapper named Political Muscle, a white guy with clunky rhymes, did raps about Antifa.  Another speaker discussed the Book of Revelation and the Satanists that control the government, and who were communists, were going to install all of us with RFID chips (The Mark of the Beast).

Once it was time for their march they got into multiple, well-planned formations and put on body armor, preparing to attack.  They were open about this, mentioning that they were there to push back on the left and to fight if they deemed it necessary.  They were hit with bottles, eggs, and other projectiles right out of the gate as they turned the corner away from the park.  Two blocks later they took a left and were met, without obstruction by the police, counter-protesters.  After a short standoff the Proud Boys charged protesters and attacked in brutal fashion, often ganging up on individuals and beating them on the ground.  Several people went completely limp on the ground and had to be rescued by passersby, and could have died without that support.  Ambulances had to come through to pull out the critically injured, including one protester who had cranial bleeding and a fractured skull.

Once the Proud Boys were pushed back, the police declared their permit pulled and the scene a riot, amid the dozens of flash grenades and pepper-balls they were firing.  The Proud Boys continued their march despite this, yelling at the police even though it was clear that law enforcement had let them attack protesters without objection and had aimed their crowd-control weapons almost exclusively at antifascist protesters.  One local reporter wrote that they had heard the police talking in a coffee shop nearby and saying that they were tired of this and would “just let them fight.”

As the march continue there were more and more disruptions from antifascists that were swarming on all sides, resulting in dozens of street brawls.  In several of these situations, as is clear in the video, the Proud Boys were allowed by the police to continue their beatings, and sometimes even appeared encouraged to do so.  Eventually Patriot Prayer was forced back into their park under police protection, unable to complete their march.

The video below clearly shows the Proud Boys level of violence, which is only increasing.  This was one of the most brutal situations of far-right violence in a city that has been marked by skinhead attacks, and as it escalates it seems that the Proud Boys could easily become murderers.  Without the antifascists there, including Rose City Antifa, the Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective, and Labor Against Fascism, a lot more people would have been hurt.  They successfully pushed back their advance and denied them unopposed use of the space, a victory that has continued for two years now.

Joey Gibson will be returning on August 4th with a similar strategy, and antifascists will be out there to stop him.

Donate to Support the Legal and Medical Costs of Antifascists Who Stood Against the Proud Boys in Portland

On Saturday, June 30th, the far-right organization Patriot Prayer came out in Portland, Oregon to hold a rally and march.  The organization has been known for its allyship with white nationalist, patriot, and fascist organizations, and is now made up predominantly of violent Proud Boys.  Over the last two years, Patriot Prayer has repeatedly held their violent events in Portland while being rejected by the city at large.  Last June, after Patriot Prayer follower Jeremy Christian murdered two people in an Islamophobic rage on a Portland train, Patriot Prayer decided to still hold their public rally despite desperate pleas against it from the community.  They were met with 4,000 protesters from dozens of organizations, showing a unified voice against their hateful agenda.

 

Since then Patriot Prayer has only gotten more violent, even though its leader, Joey Gibson, believes he could be elected for Senate in Washington.  On June 3rd they came out to Portland with nothing on the agenda other than fighting people, and after antifascists pushed them back they were unable to complete their march.  On June 30th they came back to “stand their ground,” which meant bringing in Proud Boy crews from multiple states prepared for violence.  They pushed their march into counter protesters where they began attacking them in gang-style beatings, leaving many people in the hospital after cruel assaults.  Antifascists again stopped their march from continuing and overwhelmed their numbers, and several antifascists are also facing criminal charges for these defensive action.

Between the medical and legal costs, they need people’s support now!  Below is a fundraiser controlled by Portland Anarchist Black Cross that will go to support those protesters affected by what happened on June 30th from multiple organizations.  The money will go directly to their support, so you can count on it getting to the people that need it.

Please donate if you can and share widely!  They need our help!

Click Here to Donate to the Fundraiser for Portland Antifascists

Antifascists Confront Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys in Portland on June 3rd [VIDEO]

By Daniel V. Media

A year after Patriot Prayer, and it’s leader Joey Gibson, brought in white-nationalist and neo-Nazi speakers for an Alt-Right rally they returned with another rally labeled as a “Free Speech” event.  This came one year after the action they held in the same location on June 4th, 2017, where almost four thousand people came out to oppose them. This charade quickly became clear when they showed up with the white-nationalist and misogynist hate-group Proud Boys and attacked journalists, one incident involving a Portland Mercury reporter being shoved and then questioned who she was reporting for.

Anti-fascist groups Rose City Antifa, Eugene Antifa, Rash NW, Pacific Northwest Anti-Fascist Workers Collective, and others organized to shut down this rally and prevent white-supremacists and those that give them a cover to organize under from marching in the streets and instilling fear in the at-risk communities that they target.

Police struggled to keep Patriot Prayer’s numbers protected which lead to panic and anger from their crowd. After several attempts by Patriot Prayer to march, all of which were prevented by the large coalition of anti-racist activists, Patriot Prayer returned back to Terry Shrunk Plaza and called it a day.

Several core members of Patriot Prayer, along with Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, who has been arrested for fighting at past events, were chased throughout the streets of Portland and finally found police protection at the Portland Waterfront. The numbers of the crowd opposed to Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys had swelled from random onlookers who only had to hear who was being chased to join in on defending their town from hate.

Rose City Antifa has continued a series of articles outlining exactly who these Proud Boys are and a call to hold them publicly responsible.

Here is the Facebook event for the June 9th action against Patriot Prayer in Kent, WA, where Patriot Prayer is targeting a Planned Parenthood location

June 9th – Say NO to Misogyny/Say NO to Hate

Patriot Prayer will also be returning to Portland, in the same plaza, on June 30th to further antagonize the city.  There will be a counter action.

To Spite The Face: A review of Insurgent Supremacists by Matthew N.Lyons

By Rhyd Wildermuth

Reviewed in this essay: Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire, by Matthew N. Lyons (Published by PM Press)

Anti-fascism in the United States has two deep problems, neither of which can easily be unraveled. The first problem, which is the foundation of the second, is that it cannot accurately identify precisely who or what a fascist actually is.

This first problem can best be shown from a rather amusing conversation I recently encountered regarding myself and Gods&Radicals Press (where I am the managing editor). It turns out, according to some deeply wise Twitter commentators, that I’m a fascist, or possibly a proto-fascist, or an anarcho-nationalist with white-nationalist leanings.

Their evidence? A recent essay regarding the commons, an essay critiquing racial and gender essentialism, and an anti-imperialist essay.

While it’s tempting to dismiss such a conversation and laugh about the general absurdity of American social media “call outs,” their error points to something much more endemic than mere ignorance or poor reading skills. The essays selectively cited do indeed contain some ideas that could be mistaken as fascist, but not because the ideas themselves are fascist. For instance: the essay on reclaiming the commons from an anti-colonial perspective mentions the word “land” a lot. Some fascists also wish to reclaim land. Likewise, the essay against imperialism shares with some fascist tendencies a disgust for the occupation of peoples by the military. And my critique of social justice essentialism criticizes non-Marxist “feminist” reduction of men to their bodies and genitals.

That is, what the commentators were looking for were signs of fascist ideology, ticking off boxes on a checklist of fascist traits. But unfortunately, opposition to fascism is not as easy as completing a Buzzfeed quiz or reading an Everyday Feminism listicle.

In this error they are hardly alone. American antifascist organizing has faced a much larger difficulty identifying precisely who’s a fascist, or even whether any particular idea is indicative of fascist ideology. This problem leads to all sorts of practical problems, particularly when it comes to organizing against groups and theorists on the far-right who don’t fit into traditional stereotypes of fascism.

Two examples should suffice to show the problem here. First of all, Jack Donovan and the group to which he belongs, The Wolves of Vinland, cannot easily be classified as fascist according to popularly-accepted metrics. Donovan is specifically anti-imperialist, criticizes capitalism and anti-globalisation, rejects racism, and is homosexual. In addition, The Wolves of Vinland might be better described as a Pagan body-cult than a “Fascist counter-cultural tribe” , particularly because they not only do they not participate in demonstrations and have rejected alliances with alt-right groups, but have absolutely no interest in seizing political power or taking control of the state. So any litmus strip we might apply to either Donovan or the Wolves of Vinland in order to determine whether they are fascist will come back completely clean.

Likewise, fascists are at least according to popular understanding supposed to be anti-Black, anti-gay, and most definitely anti-Semitic. So that makes encountering the occasionally violent ideas of Milo Yiannopolous quite difficult: he is homosexual, has a Black man as a lover, and also happens to be Jewish. That is, he isn’t anti-Black, nor anti-gay, nor precisely anti-semitic, yet we still generally see his ideas as fascist.

This nebulous nature of Fascism also means that many leftists find themselves considered fascist because of their adherence to ideas which appear (at least at first glance) to be of fascist provenance. For instance, the anarchist publisher Little Black Cart and its publications have been repeatedly identified as fascist by other anarchists because of their anti-civilizationist and eco-extremist tendencies, both of which appear (under a glance no more attentive than what is needed for a Teen Vogue article) to be identical to some white-nationalist positions.

Similarly, those who use the works of clearly leftist philosophers such as Max Stirner or even Slavoj Zizek are often painted with a fascist brush because of the similarities between both philosophers’ rejection of Liberal Democratic capitalism and the European Nouvelle Droit’s rejections of the same regime.

This inability to distinguish between right-wing (and fascist) critiques of Liberal Democracy leads to the second and more intractable problem within American Anti-fascism. That problem? By mis-identifying Marxist and other far-left opposition to Liberal Democracy as fascist, antifascists end up siding with Capitalist interests and becoming defenders of Liberal Democracy. That is, in an attempt to fight off white supremacists and other far right challenges to the state, antifascists can enable the state to continue its oppression against the very people antifascists claim to defend.

The Revolutionary Right

Thus Matthew N Lyons’ forthcoming book, Insurgent Supremacists: The US Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire, is a deeply needed work.

In the title itself, Lyons begins to unravel inherited, popular misconceptions about the entire political constellation in which we (often clumsily) attempt to locate fascism. Generally (at least within liberal and “progressive” anti-fascist currents), the far right is not considered a threat to Empire, but to be the political foundation of Empire itself. But while to speak of an anti-imperialist far-right seems oxymoronic, Lyons provides an almost overwhelming onslaught of detail as to how much of the Far Right is predicated on a critique of and opposition to liberal democratic imperialism.

Opposition to global capitalism and the international governance organizations which protect it, fierce criticism (sometimes backed by weapons) of oppressive policing and surveillance apparatuses, and moral reprehension at imperialist US foreign policy in the Middle East have all been parts of many movements within the Far Right in the United States. For instance, consider the following words:

When a U.S. plane or cruise missile is used to bring destruction to a foreign people, this nation rewards the bombers with applause and praise. What a convenient way to absolve these killers of any responsibility for the destruction they leave in their wake.

Unfortunately, the morality of killing is not so superficial. The truth is, the use of a truck, a plane or a missile for the delivery of a weapon of mass destruction does not alter the nature of the act itself.

These are weapons of mass destruction — and the method of delivery matters little to those on the receiving end of such weapons.

Whether you wish to admit it or not, when you approve, morally, of the bombing of foreign targets by the U.S. military, you are approving of acts morally equivalent to the bombing in Oklahoma City …

These words by Timothy McVeigh (the far-right bomber of a federal building In Oklahoma City that killed 168 people, many of them children) might just as easily have been written by indigenous resistance leaders, the Black Panthers, or other leftist revolutionary groups in the United States. Or as I note in an essay about him, many of Jack Donovan’s critiques of the police state and of liberal democracy could just as easily have been written by those same groups.

Unlike those leftist revolutionary groups and also unlike Jack Donovan, Timothy McVeigh was a white nationalist, expressing fondness for the white supremacist book The Turner Diaries, as well as selling copies of it at gun shows. And so there is where someone like McVeigh fits into our preconceived notions of what makes a fascist…except as Lyons points out in his book, white supremacist ideas are not a clear indicator of fascism, either.

That difficulty of pinning down precisely what makes someone on the far right a fascist might otherwise plague such a book as his, but Lyons wisely dispenses with the question altogether until the very end (a previously-published essay included as appendix). Rather than attempt to build a catalogue of fascist ideologies and movements in the United States, he instead details all the Far Right movements which intersect with this slippery category.

The first part of Insurgent Supremacists provide a detailed sketch of five ideological movements (Neo-Nazis, Christian Dominionists/Theocrats, The Alt-Right, the Patriot movements, and the LaRouche Network), and at least for the first four groups, readers with only a surface understanding of Right-wing ideology may find themselves surprised to learn how thoroughly different each ideology is from the others. While crossovers absolutely exist, many of the adherents of each group would be just as likely to vehemently oppose the other groups as to claim them as fellow travelers.

In the second section, Lyons then looks at each group again through the lens of their views on gender & sexuality, decentralization, and anti-imperialism, and here again the average anti-fascist may find their original analysis uncomfortably complicated by what Lyons details. Particularly of interest are the problems of anti-imperialism and decentralization (anti-federalist– or in some cases even anti-government–positions ), both of which are critiques autonomous Marxists and anarchists share with many on the far right (albeit for different reasons).

The third section, however, is the most useful and unfortunately the most short. In it, Lyons discusses the complicated relationship that police and the FBI have had with far right groups, as well as the influence the Liberal political structures (especially the Democratic Party) has had on creating the conditions for the rise of these groups as well as increasing police oppression of society at large in the name of fighting them. Returning to McVeigh’s bombing, Lyons points out:

The Clinton administration also used the Oklahoma City bombing to help win passage of the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which loosened restrictions on the wiretapping and other surveillance of alleged “terrorists,” expanded the use of secret evidence to deport non- citizens (which means that the defendants have no opportunity to see the evidence being used against them), and, in the words of legal journalist Lincoln Caplan, “gutted the federal writ of habeas corpus, which a federal court can use to order the release of someone wrongly imprisoned.” The law made the death penalty more “effective” by making it much more difficult for death row inmates to appeal their sentences, even though a notoriously high proportion of death sentences have been shown to have serious flaws.” (174)

Antifascist Alliances with the Capitalist State

In fact, it’s Lyons’ consistent (but understated) criticism of liberal politics throughout his discussion of the Far Right that makes Insurgent Supremacists most useful. Lyons runs directly counter to most popular antifascist thought by insisting that the Far Right is not made up of idiots without political sensibilities or actual grievances. People like McVeigh were absolutely right to be incensed about the government’s slaughter of innocents in Waco or at Ruby Ridge, just as many of those who supported Trump in the recent election had absolutely legitimate grievances against the Democratic Party’s destructive hyper-capitalist economic policies and imperialist expansionary foreign policy positions.

Of course, such a position runs counter not only to the received wisdom of many antifascists, but stands directly in opposition to Liberal dismissals of the Right as merely ignorant or hateful. Accepting this Liberal position is how antifascists have gotten to the place they’re in now, finding themselves continuously pulled toward the Democratic Party’s “centrist” positions and thus unable to distinguish a leftist from a fascist.

This is not merely an unfortunate problem of mis-identification, however. As in the case of McVeigh, Lyons points out that antifascism and opposition to far right ideologies have historically sometimes served to increase State violence and power.

Many people think of growing state repression as a trend toward fascism. But these events of the 1930s and ’40s highlight the fact that antifascism can itself serve as a rationale for increasing repression, as Don Hamerquist has pointed out: “when did this country outlaw strikes, ban seditious organizing and speech, intern substantial populations in concentration camps, and develop a totalitarian mobilization of economic, social, and cultural resources for military goals? Obviously it was during WWII, the period of the official capitalist mobilization against fascism, barbarism and for ‘civilization.’” (166)

The particular difficulty here, which Lyons touches on occasionally, is that the political interests of Capital are able to manipulate opposition to far right ideologies, particularly through the Democratic Party. And here many looking for easier answers will likely either dismiss or take offense at his discussion about whether or not Trump (or the US government in general) is fascist or in “process” of becoming fascist.

Each of these claims that the U.S. government or public officials are driving us toward fascism represents a misuse of the term, one that blurs the line between fascism and the more repressive, racist, and militaristic sides of the United States’ liberal- pluralist political system (181)

In particular, Lyons critiques the dogmatic approach to Trump of Alexander Reid Ross (an antifascist writer I’ve criticized before for mis-identifying leftist opposition to capitalism as fascist or fascist-adjacent):

Radical journalist Alexander Reid Ross argued that we should look at fascism “as a ‘process’ rather than an ‘outcome’,” and that “Trumpism” was “part of a process of ‘fascist creep,’ meaning a radicalization of conservative ideology that increasingly includes fascist membership while deploying fascist ideology, strategy, and tactics.” This approach rightly emphasized that many political initiatives occupy a gray area between fascist and conservative politics and that the political character of such initiatives can change over time. But Ross simply assumed that Trump’s campaign—unlike previous right- wing populist candidates such as George Wallace and Pat Buchanan—had an inherent tendency to move toward fascism and would not be co- opted by the established political system. (197)

But then, if Trump isn’t fascist and if many of the implementations of oppressive (and often explicitly racist) policies and powers of the United States isn’t fascist either, than what exactly is fascism? In an appendix of the book, Lyons discusses the difficulty of defining fascism and looks at others’ attempts to do so before coming up with a definition that will satisfy very few:

Fascism is a revolutionary form of right- wing populism, inspired by a totalitarian vision of collective rebirth, that challenges capitalist political and cultural power while promoting economic and social hierarchy.

This definition will be unsatisfactory to most because of what it doesn’t explicitly include (white supremacy, misogyny) as well as what it does include (a challenge to capitalist political and cultural power). With such a definition we are forced to question almost everything we think we know about fascism’s traits, and find none of our checklists or listicles make sense anymore.

That’s a good thing, but with a caveat. Because the culture of constant reaction within America, especially via the reductionist forms of internet “discourse,” makes it very likely that capitalists and the government which serves their interest will continue to summon antifascists to their defense. While the challenge fascism presents to capitalist power is not our challenge, we must avoid making façile concessions to the Liberal Democratic state out of fear that the fascists might win. As Lyons points out in the case of the House UnAmerican Activities Committe during the middle of the last century (which was originally set up to prosecute fascists!), supporting (or even celebrating) government repression of the far right always empowers the state to then turn its weapons on the left.

Antifascists can and must oppose both the capitalist liberal democratic state as well as fascists, and must do so always at the same time. To make alliances with the state against the Far Right which threatens it will also lead the left to abandon their own challenge to the state, cutting off our nose to spite the face.


Rhyd Wildermuth

Rhyd Wildermuth is a co-founder of Gods&Radicals and one of its co-editors. He is currently teaching a course on Marxism, and currently lives in Bretagne. Follow his dispatches from other shores here.

The Alt Right is Back Offline

The last year has been difficult for the Alt Right.

Since Charlottesville the counter-organizing by antifascists and the broader community responses have forced Richard Spencer and his growing white nationalist cadre further into the shadows. Starting in 2015, the Alt Right began moving its fascist ideology into the more public realm through publishing, podcasts, activist organizations, and by linking up with the slightly more moderate Alt Light. That all changed in the wake of Trump’s election as the counter-movement grew, and that exploded after the debacle and murder at Charlottesville.

The two largest venues for struggle were their appearances and their web platforms. Antifascists made the Alt Right throw its hands up and stop public appearances as it became too difficult to operate in public. A parallel, but equally powerful, effect has been that public pressure has forced web companies to pull the Alt Right from using their services. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, website companies like Cloudfire and WordPress, financial platforms like Patreon and PayPal, chat functions like Disqus, all have banned the Alt Right over this year, and that number only continues.

While Richard Spencer and his various websites, many associated with the National Policy Institute, thought that he had weathered the storm, he is now officially back offline.

 

GoDaddy had been handling the hosting for Spencer’s AltRight.com, a trashy tabloid style hate-site that is considered low-brow even for this most racist followers.  Composed mainly of racist blog threads, rambling podcasts, and synth-fash aesthetics, it had become a main venue for his inner-circle.

GoDaddy did issue a statement as to why, outlining the content.

In instances where a site goes beyond the mere exercise of these freedoms, however, and crosses over to promoting, encouraging, or otherwise engaging in specific acts of violence against any person, we will take action.  It is our determination that altright.com crossed the line and encouraged and promoted violence in a direct and threatening manner.

This came shortly after Spencer’s two Facebook pages for AltRight.com and the National Policy Institute were taken down, a common thread for the Alt Right.  Right now Spencer is still on Twitter, but that has a short count-down to it.

As this “shuttening” continue to limit their ability to recruit, they are starting to shrink in numbers and turn to infighting.  This is a standard cycle for white nationalists, who cannot sustain a movement when opposition is strong from organized antifascists.

Antifascism Today: A Conversation Between Shane Burley and Alexander Reid Ross

As the far-right is constantly shifting and redefining itself, both in the U.S. and in Europe, it can be hard to pin down the enemy so as to create a successful counter force.  Antifascism today requires a deep understanding of the underlying principles and behaviors of the fascist right, as well as to understand how social movements can and should operate in the 21st Century.

Below is a conversation between Shane Burley (Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It) and Alexander Reid Ross (Against the Fascist Creep) about what makes up the fascist movement today, how it is changing, and how antifascism can be strengthened.  A particular amount of time here has been dedicated to the idea of “decolonizing antifascism” and how antifascist can think about fascism as a truly international force that is not only cemented to Europe and the U.S.