Category Archives: Anti-Fascism

Fascism Today Lays Out How Fascism Rose in America, and What We Can Do to Stop It

“Shane Burley’s book includes a wealth of information about today’s far right groups, ideologies, strategies, and subcultures…. It also says a lot about the need for a multi-pronged approach to antifascism, and illustrates this argument with numerous and diverse examples of antifascist activism, past and present. It is the kind of book we need to help us understand—and end—fascism today.” Matthew Lyons, from the foreword

We can no longer ignore the fact that fascism is on the rise in the United States. What was once a fringe movement has been gaining cultural acceptance and political power for years. Rebranding itself as “alt-right” and riding the waves of both Donald Trump’s hate-fueled populism and the anxiety of an abandoned working class, they have created a social force that has the ability to win elections and inspire racist street violence in equal measure.

Fascism Today looks at the changing world of the far right in Donald Trump’s America. Examining the modern fascist movement’s various strains, Shane Burley has written an accessible primer about what its adherents believe, how they organize, and what future they have in the United States. The ascension of Trump has introduced a whole new vocabulary into our political lexicon—white nationalism, race realism, Identitarianism, and a slew of others. Burley breaks it all down. From the tech-savvy trolls of the alt-right to esoteric Aryan mystics, from full-fledged Nazis to well-groomed neofascists like Richard Spencer, he shows how these racists and authoritarians have reinvented themselves in order to recruit new members and grow.

Just as importantly, Fascism Today shows how they can be fought and beaten. It highlights groups that have successfully opposed these twisted forces and outlines the elements needed to build powerful mass movements to confront the institutionalization of fascist ideas, protect marginalized communities, and ultimately stop the fascist threat.


Shane Burley is a writer and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon.  His work has appeared at places like Jacobin, In These Times, Waging Nonviolence, ThinkProgress, Labor Notes, Roar Magazine, Upping the Anti, and Make/Shift.


From the introduction to Fascism Today:

White nationalists have a revolutionary vision, one that opposes the state and dominant white culture as much as it does the left and non-whites. It wants to reimagine this world as one that is exclusively for white interests, where the “strong” rule over the “weak,” where women know their place and gender is firmly enforced. They have reached into the culture and found a firm grasp and are going to use this moment in the sun to grow, to expand their influence, to make themselves a militant threat to the values of democracy and equality. The battle for those on the left, the organized faction interested in great human equality, is now to understand who the Alt Right are and what they want, and they must look past the contradictory phrasings and confusing tactics to do that. The incidents of reactionary violence, the mobilization that figures like Trump and his racial scapegoating has inspired in working-class people, and the mainstreaming of explicit nationalism has made real the threat that was only in the background of many political battles over the last sixty years. Fascism has never been silenced exclusively by its own ineptitude, but instead by the concerted efforts of organizers that risk everything to stop it. Fascism attacks all of our movements: from the labor movement to anti-racist struggle, the growth of the LGBT fight to that over ecological liberation. Fascism makes these battles intersectional since it acts as a orchestrated attack on the core values of all of these movements, making real the idea that all oppression has a common center. Fascism is an attempt to answer the unfinished equation of capitalism and, instead of challenging the inequalities manifested through this economic system, it hardens them. With the election of Donald Trump, this “worst case scenario”, Fascism taking a hold, now seemed possible, which added material impetus for movements on the left to link up and take charge. This changed everything.

Fascism Today is available for excerpt
Shane Burley is available for interview

Contact Colin Beckett, and you can also request an advanced copy: press@akpress.org

Fascism Today can also be pre-ordered at Amazon.

Both the Daily Stormer and Red Ice Media Have Been Shut Down

In the wake of the violent attacks and subsequent murder at the Unite the Right rally this past weekend in Charlottesville, the world is turning on the Alt Right even more than it already has.  The people who attended the rally, carrying torches and violently brutalizing Black Lives Matter and antifascist protesters, have been outed in mass doxxings.  This has forced a way of mass firings of white nationalists, caused families to disown their racist relatives, and gotten many to repent entirely.

The Daily Stormer did what many Alt Right outlets refused to do, they doubled down after the car murder took place, saying that the real tragedy was the car being destroyed and they were happy “the fat slut” was dead.  He was referring to Heather Heyer, the young woman run down as she protested blocks away from the Nazis.  Her family was subsequently unable to have her memorial service afterward after Nazis threatened further attacks on her family.  Associate of the Daily Stormer, going by Azzmador, was quoted as saying that the Unite the Right rally could not go on because of “Jew” politician running the city along with “criminal n*****s.”

Subsequently, Anonymous hacked the Daily Stormer and took control of it, before Andrew Anglin wrestled control back.  Then the hosting company promised to take down the website, and businesses were refusing to deal with the Daily Stormer.  While it is good this is happening now, the real question is why this did not happen before.   Anglin then moved his website to the “Darkweb,” where he is only available through the Tor service.  This may give him anonymity, but it shrinks his reach to almost nothing.

The Daily Stormer officially went offline, and was followed shortly by Red Ice Media.  Red Ice had almost ten thousand subscribers, largely building off of its history as a conspiracy and alt spirituality website, so their money likely bought them a lot of leeway.  That is quickly dissolving as their capitulation with murderous white supremacy is taking place.  The video on their homepage describes how they have been hacked, making it impossible to keep going right now.  The longer they are offline, the better.

To keep this up we need to continue to identify the web hosts for Alt Right websites and to pressure those companies to pull the contracts.  There is often anti-racist language in the Terms of Services that can be exploited for this, but the main point is to use our pressure as a united community to show that there will be consequences if companies continue to deal with white nationalists.

Communique: Torn Down Milo Billboards in Chicago

Below is an anonymous communique sent to us about actions done in Chicago.  We do not know who they are, are not affiliated with them, but celebrate their spirit of resistance fully.

Queers and Trans Women especially Trans Women Of Color are always on the front lines of Antifascism regardless of our choice to be there because bigots and fascists will attack us and our community without hesitation or provocation. It is essential to our survival that we are fight for our community and ourselves.

While we will continue to struggle to exist we call on anyone who claims to stand with the LGBTQI community to accomplice us in our militant fight for our right to live and love whoever the fuck we want and whoever we want to fuck. Solidarity with all the GLBTQI folx out there standing tall and battling genocide and heteropatriarchy! Solidarity with our LGBTQI Family who are in Chechnyan death camps whom we call on militants to liberate by bringing death to the Chechnyan State!

Solidarty with TQILA who have formed an Anarchist LGBTQI Militia with the IRPGF to destroy Daesh, the state, and Capitalism!  Total Liberation for all! Fuck Rainbow Capitalism and Assimilation to any oppressive behavior or system!

Milo Yiannopoulos is a bigoted fascist piece of shit who is a traitor to the GLBTQI community and deserves the same treatment as any other fascist scum. Exile and Death.” – A QT Antifascist

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

By Anonymous

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

Dealing With the Liberals

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

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

 

The Fascist Side

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

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

 

Our United Front

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

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

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

 

Final Count

0 fatalities

1 injury on our side

3 arrests on the fash side

-lessons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Free Speech?

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

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

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

On the Ground

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Signed,

 

NEW YORK ANTIFA ALLIANCE

 

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

Richard Spencer Gets Banned on SoundCloud

The podcast created the Alt Right.

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s keep this trend going.

When the Riot Cops Attack: Repression and Solidarity in Portland’s May Day

By Black Rose – Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation – Portland

Events like May Day are a temperature check for the collective hive mind of the left reflecting on the year behind them.  Because it is a tradition that skates back more than a hundred years, it rarely stands out as the most pressing of days, mainly because it is part of a regular organizing cycle.  Good years or bad losses, May Day comes on the same day.

In Portland, Oregon, it was the obvious confluences of forces, the ongoing revolt happening in Trump’s America, that helped to ignite the substantial growth around its activities.  How the Portland May Day Coalition planned for this year’s event was largely based around the practical work of the groups involved, how it tied into the ongoing projects of the component organizations.  The Portland Committee for the Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP) held an earlier event in the day along with the Brown Berets and Gabriella outlining the JustPeacePH project, supporting the peace talks currently happening between the Government Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the People’s Democratic Government of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).  They were then leading the anti-imperialist contingent in the following march, linking together the struggles against colonialism in the Global South and the increased victimization of Latinx immigrants from the Southern U.S. border and the long-standing history of workplace organizing that May Day signifies.

The Burgerville Workers Union was celebrating the anniversary of its break-out campaign, one that went public in multiple shops a year ago, bringing with it one of the most dynamic and persistent struggles seen from a direct union shop in the Pacific Northwest.  The showing from organized labor was large, as it usually is, and there was a clear openness to the growing linkages between social movements as the possibility of nationwide Right-to-Work and the further erosion of state programs lends urgency to an already dire attack on working people.

You wouldn’t hear about any of this, however, because what came next was a full-frontal assault on the long-planned event, its organizers, and their neighbors.

From the march of almost a thousand people through the streets of the Southwest Downtown district came the militarized invasion of hundreds of police, letting loose with explosive weaponry and laying siege on a crowd comprised of families, people with disabilities, and many raising their voices for the first time.  From many photos from that afternoon it is hard to see what happened, a haze that filled the gap between skyscrapers from the canisters of “tear gas” that were fired with only seconds in between.  When the police forcefully rushed the crowd, which had already formally dispersed, they began a frightful chase through the streets of the commercial and financial territories.  It would be obtuse to point out that the narrative that the police offered, which began even before the actual force was felt as they took to Twitter to premeditate the media stories, was dishonest.  Instead, it showed a clear set of priorities, ones that double back on several decades of crowd control, ones that had evolved to avoid the kind of escalation that was doubled down on here.

 

The Cop in Our Heads

In Mike King’s recent treatise on the repression of Occupy Oakland, When Riot Cops Are Not Enough: The Policing and Repression of Occupy Oakland (Rutgers University Press, 2017), he reflects on the way the repressive police measures evolved nationally to the more complex web they have today.  During the wave of confrontations starting the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and the urban uprisings that rocked urban areas in the 1960s, police used heavy handed dispersal tactics that were aggressive to forcefully put down that unrest.  While some would argue they are tame by today’s standards, they were an outgrowth of the institutionalized white supremacy that was holding on for dear life.  Starting in the 1970s, police entered a new phase acknowledging that the “brute force” strategy they were employing was only escalating and mobilizing increased opposition, and it began radicalizing a generation of those injured in street fights.  They began systems of negotiation and compromise with protest movements, offering up permits for demonstrations.  This concept relied on the negotiating power of the state, and a large majority of American social movements have been brought in on these agreements, usually accepting some limitations in exchange for less direct police repression.  A permit is much easier than going through a mass crackdown on a simple street march, so why not?

The effect of this change was, by and large, for the police to transfer their authority of containment from the station to the protesters themselves, turning the organizations and leadership themselves into the acting agents of the state’s boundaries.  If protesters were given legal leeway, they would then police themselves, and it could even hold a few people in leadership roles accountable for the actions of participants.  This can and does have the effect of turning many in a project against other elements, where those engaging in certain tactics are necessarily blamed for putting others at risk, all outlined in the structures of the permitting system.  This created a structure that, when mixed with a moderated police presence, would both contain the social movements and make sure that the effective repression came without social backlash.  As the years went on and the war on drugs, gangs, and poor people broadly took shape, the structure of police engagements increased volatility across the board, until now the police that surround broad-based political rallies look liked they are armed to “liberate” Fallujah.

Since centrist Democrat Ted Wheeler took the reigns of the Portland Mayor’s office, he has made the decisive move to crack down on the growing discontent in the city.  The election of Trump, the organized resistance to gentrification and displacement from housing organizations, and the reaction to ongoing police killings of black and brown “suspects” has led to a climate of resistance that is growing exponentially.  This hit a fever pitch in the days after the election where thousands flooded the streets, blocking every major highway and shutting down businesses.  The direct action taken by some protesters, amounting to broken windows and other property destruction, was not out of bounds for the city’s history, nor was it maliciously interpersonal as the police department persisted.  Nonetheless, the police, under oversight from the mayor’s office, went after suspects aggressively, charging some with compounded multiple felonies in stacked cases that shocked even the most jaded activists.  In one case, a protester is facing upwards of thirty-months in prison for some broken car and bank windows, using riot charges to compound the offense and turn it into a veritable “anarchist scare.”  In another, they tried to charge different broken windows as separate offenses so as to make the case eligible for a state statute that allows excessive sentencing if the acts of property destruction are seen as separate incidents.

Wheeler’s actual approach seems to be done within an amnesia of institutional memory, the lack of a known history.  “Little Beirut,” as Portland was named in the 1990s by George H.W. Bush, has always had a long history of militant street protests and projects, from the Earth First! and ELF campaigns of the 1990s to the more recent Black Lives Matter insurgencies.  For Wheeler to lean on the side of aggressive policing, especially in situations where the police appear as the clear instigators, he is acting without a clear understanding of the role of police in the escalation of confrontation.  The police were not there to quell unrest, they were the foundations of that unrest, and their presence, violent victimization of protesters, and unwillingness to even own up to their own “let them police themselves” idea has ended the specter of the police as an institution of “public safety.”

What they destroyed with their flash grenades was the police in the protester’s head, not the willingness of protest movements to take the streets.

 

So what happened?

Twenty minutes into the march on its negotiated route,  as they went down 2nd Ave, the police summarily announced that the “permit for this march has now been revoked.”  This mid-march revocation is a new concept for the city, one more step in the extra normality the events took.  This decision was allegedly because a window at the Federal Courthouse had been cracked and some in the Black Bloc had thrown Pepsis at the riot cops that were encroaching on the route, a reference to the disastrous recent Pepsi ad with Caitlin Jenner and the “peace” brought by handing the police soda.  Apparently, that doesn’t work in real life.

While some will see even that as an escalation, it comes after the police honed in on the rally park beforehand, confiscating mundane objects like flag poles and surrounding march attendants, often destroying materials.  The conception of the permitted march as one that would be free of police intervention seemed dashed quickly, so the impetus to follow the narrowing constraints was compromised.

Within a few minutes of the first notifications an order of dispersal came that, because of their position at the back of the march, only a few people could hear.  Many of the families, younger children, people with disabilities and special needs, and others were towards the front.  The first they heard of this dispersal was when flash grenades started indiscriminately flying into the crowd.  Dozens flowed in violent bursts in the next few minutes as protest goers frantically tried to figure out just what was happening.  Security volunteers were ushering people to safety, yet there seemed to be no safe spot as flash grenades were going off in every corner and there was literally no sidewalk area that people could crowd into in compliance.  Legal observers from the ACLU tried to document this in flurried rushes, but as full tear gas canisters began flowing into the streets, there was mass confusion, especially as people were collapsing, struggling to breathe in the chemical cloud.

The response from the Black Bloc came in kind, with debris being lit on fire in the area between the cops and the protesters, the windows being busted out at a Target location, and a police SUV vandalized.  The police chased protesters around the city, bum rushing crowds with dozens of officers in formation, attacking those that appeared the most vulnerable.  Many noticed riot police prioritizing a houseless woman in the area, while others saw that anyone in marked attire, whether or not they were a part of the Black Bloc, was suspect.  By the time many arrived back at the park where the opening rally was the police were in tow behind, declaring that this was “now officially a riot,” and promising the use of projectile weaponry.

 

Unity Through Struggle

While there are often disagreements over tactics and strategy, the May Day Coalition immediately placed the blame on the police, both for instigating violence and propping up false allegations on their social media and PR outlets.

Today the Portland police chose to violently escalate a peaceful march. The people asserted their (lawful) right to be in the street and express solidarity with immigrants, with workers, with Indigenous sovereignty, and against capitalism. The Portland Police Bureau responded by

1) Forcibly removing the accessibility vehicle, which was present to allow those with mobility issues to participate and raise their voices

2) Fabricating stories about “Molotov cocktails” being thrown at them, which thousands of eyewitness reports will refute

3) Trying at every step of the way to force themselves into a crowd that very clearly did not want them there

4) Arbitrarily revoking the march permit and informing only the rear of the march, while the elderly, youth, and folks with mobility issues were at the front

There will be a lot of articles about “the march turning violent” but make no mistake, the PPB attacked a permitted march whose only goal was to keep moving along its planned route because some noisemakers and name-calling were enough of an excuse for them to use their large surplus of explosives and chemical weapons against those who had committed to rise, resist, and unite, against fascism and capitalism.

In general, the local media parroted the police as well as they could.  There was minor vandalism of the KOIN news truck while KGW did their best to turn the event into a veritable “car chase,” complete with their helicopter live-streaming the protest locations. The Portland Mercury, which leans a little to the left of the rest of the regional outlets, did a large spread of photos and videos, indicating that the police charged after very minor vandalism and even went after a press photographer.  Even in their photos you can see protesters flung to the ground as twenty-five were arrested, reporters being screamed at to walk away from their posts.

After the arrests were made and the streets cleared, mayor Wheeler eventually made a public statement echoing the kind of liberal non-committal signaling that many “progressive” Oregon politicians are known for.

In Portland we respect peaceful protest, but we do not and cannot support acts of violence and vandalism.  That’s not political speech. That’s crime… Last night was another chapter in a story that has become all too familiar in Portland: Protests that began peacefully but devolve quickly due to the actions of those whose only desire is to damage people and property.

This “tough on crime” rhetoric seems perfectly in line with the language of Trump’s administration, and it could be simply that Wheeler does not want to deal with what will likely be several years of escalating conflict as the austerity and white supremacist machinations of the political state unfold. He thinks that by demonizing protesters, using extreme acts of violence, and shifting the narrative, he will be able to create a ghost of fear in the collective left, and turn them in the direction of moderate parades like the Women’s March instead of the more militant formations.  The police have followed up with broad requests for information on protesters, and will likely do what they have done in the past: post pictures of people they are suspecting for different activities to try and get the community to turn them in.

This is not, however, the historical legacy of the city, nor the pattern that the growing revolutionary spirit has had over the past decade.  Instead, the truth is that this will not actually stop the organizations from participating in growing demonstrations, but instead show them that the middle ground provided by state actors offer little comfort.  Long-term movement building and organizing is what will actually create a force capable of resisting the mission of Trump and the profiteers in Portland, and even these kind of momentary showings of force from the police are not going to scare off those who have committed to confronting this terror.  As Trump attempts to rename this as Loyalty Day, and the Alt Right and white nationalists acted as the strong-arm of the police in many cities, the flung Pepsi cans seem to fade in importance.

On May 2nd, the organizers in PCHRP, the AAPRP, the Burgerville Workers Union, and all the other organizations and projects continued their work.  No matter how the police and mayor’s office intend on reframing this work, the projects themselves have a life that goes far beyond one repressed event.  The question is if the state will make it a priority to put down these social movements as the administration continue to speed to the right, and how we will respond.  This highlights why the movement against police violence is at the critical intersection of all other struggles, but also why we need to make this a collective fight with our arms firmly linked together.  The revolutionaries of the city are more unified than they were before the event, the realities of repression has a way of firming up alliances in defiance.  The opinions about the efficacy of the Black Bloc are diverse(and principled), but an understanding was forged clearly, and the sight of the Black Bloc defending protesters and acting with conscious unity has bridged a divide that, at times, seemed unresolvable.  Many in the Bloc brought in large Black Widow props, owing to the defensive actions that the spiders take in mutual aid and lending to the language of direct action.

When the grenades landed, we were seen as one large mass, all dangerous (though people of color and other marginalized identities took on a special focus from state actors).  Our fate is firmly in the hands of each other since, as has been the record, the only way we are to continue is if we find solidarity even in these moments of repression. If the state wants to instigate violence, then they will see our numbers grow, our resistance mount, and our spirit firm up into the vocalized rage.  The next time will be larger, permit or no permit.

The Alt Right Has Taken the Public Step Towards Violence

For the Alt Right, branding has been everything.  The mission of people like Richard Spencer or groups like Identity Europa is to rebrand white nationalism as just another intellectual movement about identity, disconnected from the long and relevant history of violent white supremacist attacks.  With expensive conferences, snarky advertising, and coded language, they want to avoid the linkage with violence.

This is obviously a mirage since they have always been tied to the violent wing of the white nationalist movement since they are birthed right out of it, the same people in a new generation.  The Council of Conservative Citizens, while allying with Alt Right figures and talking points, has also been a meeting point for KKK members and inspired the violence of Dylan Roof.  American Renaissance is regularly attended by the Stormfront crowd and Aryan Nations members, and even inspired the Arizona shooting that left many dead and a congresswoman with a critical head wound.  In every one of these Alt Right organizations you will find a history of white supremacist violence, from Identity Europa’s Nathan Damigo’s conviction of a racially motivated assault to the neo-Nazis that make up much of Matthew Heimbach’s Traditionalist Workers Party.

As we saw on April 15th, the Alt Right has now shifted towards open assault and attacks on leftist protesters, uniting with militia movement members and more volatile parts of Trump’s base to create stirring confrontations in the streets.  Led in part by “Based Stickman” Kyle Chapman, they are forming corps of volunteers to being attacking opposition in public ways.

As the SPLC reported:

Kyle Chapman, a California activist arrested earlier this month in a clash in Berkeley between anti-fascist protesters and pro-Trump demonstrators, announced this week he is forming the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights (cleverly called “FOAK).

Chapman, who uses the Internet meme “Based Stick Man,” says his new militant, highly-masculine group will be the “tactical defensive arm” of the Proud Boys, another group that shows up at pro-Trump rallies looking to rumble with counter-protesters.

“We don’t fear the fight. We are the fight,” Chapman said in a recent social media post announcing FOAK’s formation.

“I’m proud to announce that my newly created Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights will be partnering with Proud Boys,” Chapman said, with the “full-approval” of its founder, Gavin McInnes.

McInnes is a co-founder of Vice (although he and the magazine severed ties 10 years ago) and more recently has been a frequent guest on FOX News and a contributor for the racist site VDARE where he denigrated Muslims and called Asian Americans “slopes” and “riceballs.”

Now described as a “neo-masculine reactionary,” McInnes calls his Proud Boys a “pro-West fraternal organization.”

Others describe it as the military arm of the Alt-Right.

And now there’s “FOAK,” which Chapman proudly describes as a “fraternal organization,” a Proud Boys affiliate chapter, “with its own bylaws, constitution, rituals and vetting processes.”

Although there initially aren’t any overt racist themes, the new Alt-Right group of street fighters sounds quite similar to a neo-Nazi “fight club” called the “DIY Division.”  Members of that white supremacist group showed up last month in Huntington Beach, California, mingling with an estimated 2,000 Trump supporters.

The Proud Boys reportedly have a four-step initiation process. It starts with a prospect declaring himself a “Proud Boy,” suiting up in Fred Perry polo shirts with yellow stripes—similar to those worn by skinheads.

The second degree is a “cereal beat-in” during which the new member is punched and beaten by current members until the plebe can rattle off the names of five cereals (you know, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Cheerios!)

The third degree reported involves “adhering to the masturbation regimen and getting a tattoo,” blogger Will Sommer wrote in a recent post.

Since then, a fourth-degree has been added to the initiation ritual – brawling with antifascists at public rallies.

Chapman said his Proud Boys’ affiliate, Alt-Knights, are ready to take it to the streets.

“Our emphasis will be on street activism, preparation, defense and confrontation,” he said. “We will protect and defend our right wing brethren when the police and government fail to do so.”

Chapman says his organization “is for those that possess the Warrior Spirit.  The weak or timid need not apply.”

The willingness towards this violence was seen especially in Nathan Damigo’s brazen assault of a protester on camera on April 15th, one that has been used as a snapshot of the movement’s turn towards excessive violence.

Spencer himself has been calling for right-wing “defense squads” since he cannot go out in public without opposition, yet this seems to be a code for far-right violence.  This is something for the anti-fascist movement to consider, and especially when it comes to the necessity of community self-defense movements.  The reality of their violence is becoming explicit, and this could result in seemingly random acts of violence as they become increasingly desperate.