Category Archives: Anti-Fascism

Survivors and Antifascists Confronting Misogynists, Proud Boys, and Patriot Prayer in Portland This Saturday

The far-right formation Patriot Prayer, and its base of Proud Boys, are again descending on Portland to try and antagonize the community.  This time led by Alt Light internet personality Haley Adams, they are holding a #HimToo event in Downtown Portland on November 17th.  Created in response to the growing #MeToo movement to confront unchecked sexual assault, and highlighted by the blatant misogyny of the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearings, Adams created the #HimToo event to give men “a day to speak about how they feel, what they have gone through,” raising the specter that false rape allegations are ruining the lives of men, which neglects the fact that false reporting is almost complete non-existent.

In response an organized coalition has created a number of events intended to compliment each other, raise the voices of affected people, and then confront the far-right directly.

Starting at 12pm, at Chapman Square, Pop Mob has organized an event called “Survivors Are Everywhere: A Survivor Shout Out” to show open solidarity with ALL survivors of sexual assault.

Not everyone is able to share their story. Some survivors choose to stay silent for their safety, others are silenced by those around them. Some survivors refuse to be silent.

The alt-right is trying to silence survivors, erase trans identities, control the bodies of women and people of color, and criminalize families and individuals seeking safety. WE ARE ALL SURVIVORS. As Audre Lorde said, “there is no such thing as a single issue struggle”. People are suffering multiple attacks because they belong to more than one targeted group. We are stronger when we stand together and lift up all of our voices.

Join us November 17th, as one strong, fierce, community coming together to amplify the voices of survivors who break the silence and share their stories. Stand in solidarity with survivors as we show the country that we will not back down, we will not shut up, and we will not be erased!

#SURVIVORSAREEVERYWHERE

Survivor stories will then be shared, some anonymously.  The Portland Democratic Socialists of America will be having a pre-rally at 11:30 and marching over to join the Pop Mob rally.

They have produced a video to promote the event, breaking down the boundaries between survivors and showing that all will be welcome:

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Rose City Antifa will also be organizing people in support of the survivor rally, focusing on the lies perpetuated by Patriot Prayer and their supporters about the #MeToo movement and casting doubt on survivors.

Patriot Prayer are holding a rally that will again bring misogyny to the streets of our city. We as a city have to stand up and reject their attempt to cast doubt on the sexual violence that women and others experience in our society. This so called ‘himtoo’ rally is another attempt by this crew of misogynists to come into our city and attack our community.

This rally by Patriot Prayer attempts to cast men as victims of false accusations of sexual assault. Not only is this untrue, it attempts to form a backlash to survivors so that their stories and allegations can be discounted. Patriot Prayer is attempting to create a world where men can abuse and assault people with impunity.

As a community we must stand against this attempt by Haley Adams and Patriot Prayer, a group rife with misogynists and domestic abusers, to turn back the clock on how sexual assault is treated in our society. Join us in pushing this misogyny out of our city.

The #HimToo rally banks up against the survivor rally in the same location, Terry Shrunk Plaza.  The survivor rally will begin at 12pm, and Patriot Prayer officially starts at 2pm, yet antifascists, feminists, and community members will continue past that point to show that the far-right’s anti-feminism has no place in Portland.

Join the rally and the protest of Patriot Prayer on Saturday, November 17th, and let’s build a vibrant feminist antifascist movement.  We believe survivors, and we will stand with you!

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Insurgent Supremacist: An Interview With Matthew N. Lyons on Antifascism, Anti-Imperialism, and the Future of Organizing

Matthew N. Lyons is an anti-fascist author and researcher whose work stretches back twenty-five years.  Always at the front of understanding how the far-right shifts and reconfigures itself, he has developed deep historical and theoretical work that is directly intended to aid in antifascist organizing that sees results.

His book Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, co-authored with Chip Berlet, looked through America’s history and dug into exactly what the elusive term “populism” means, and how it motivates working-class people to take up radical right-wing political movements.  He has been especially pioneering at the blog Three-Way Fight, named for the concept that in any revolutionary struggle you can have an insurgent force that is different that either the left and the ruling class, and it is at that point you can often find fascist ideologues building their own version of a revolutionary movement.

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In Lyons’ most recent book Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire, he looks at the strains of fascism that appropriate anti-imperialist and other struggles often associated with the left, how the far-right is changing and creating new social movements, and how we can understand fascism’s future.

This is an interview with Matthew N. Lyons that asks some of these questions, how to understand populism and fascism, how fascists use anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist politics, and what we can do about it.

 

Your book spends a great deal of time discussing the anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, and anti-war movements that intersect with fascism.  What is the nationalist investment in these issues?  How does their perspective break from the left’s interpretation of these movements?

In the book sections you’re referring to, my focus isn’t so much on the intersection of anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, and anti-war movements with fascism. Rather, it’s on the anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, and anti-war tendencies within far right movements themselves. These tendencies have taken various forms and have deep historical roots within both classical fascism and sections of American conservatism. In the United States today, far rightists believe that the U.S. government and many transnational institutions such as the United Nations are controlled by malevolent globalist elites, who are working to weaken and destroy traditional societies and homogenize everyone to help build up their own wealth and power. White nationalists define this supposed threat in racial terms, as Jewish elites versus the white race, while other branches of the U.S. far right (such as Christian theocrats and most Patriot groups) tend to define it as an attack on U.S. national sovereignty and western culture.

There are a couple of different things going on here. Fascists and other far rightists have a long history of offering distorted versions of leftist, radical politics, to help them capitalize on people’s rebellious energy and anger at the status quo. When I describe it this way, it sounds like political opportunism, and that’s definitely part of it. But on a deeper level, there’s also a genuine conflict here, between modern global capitalism and the traditional social hierarchies such as race and nation and gender that have served capitalism well in the past but now sometimes restrict it. Modern global capitalism depends on moving goods and services and workers and investments across old boundaries, national and otherwise. This threatens many traditionally privileged social groups, whose privilege is based on those boundaries and divisions. So then you get, for example, multinational corporations pushing to let in more foreign workers, and sparking an anti-immigrant backlash. And you also get multinational corporations pushing to project military power overseas to help protect their investments, and sections of the right, fascist and otherwise, lining up against them and saying our people has nothing to gain from these wars.

On a surface level, far right opposition to military interventionism or capitalist elites or imperialism can sound leftist. But there are basic underlying differences. Leftist politics is predicated – at least in theory – on promoting human equality and dismantling human oppression and exploitation. In contrast, fascists and other far rightists believe that human equality is a sham. They say that inequality is either unavoidable or a positive good to be protected. To them, global capitalist elites are evil because they see them as promoting equality, not opposing it. A related issue is that a genuinely radical critique of power focuses on systems of oppression and exploitation, whereas far rightists generally analyze power in terms of conspiracy theories, which blame social problems on a sinister group of outsiders (such as Jews) who supposedly distort the normal workings of society.

 

How do you define fascism?

In Insurgent Supremacists and other writings I offer a working definition of fascism as “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 is based on an effort to combine two different approaches. The historian Roger Griffin sees fascism as a political ideology that emphasizes a myth of national palingenesis, or collective rebirth out of a near-fatal crisis. In contrast to that, a series of independent Marxists (from August Thalheimer in the 1930s to J. Sakai and Don Hamerquist today) have analyzed fascism as having a contradictory relationship with the capitalist ruling class – attacking the left and promoting class hierarchy but also pursuing an agenda that clashes with capitalist interests in important ways. Both of these approaches regard fascism as a right-wing revolutionary force, but Griffin is strong on delineating fascist ideology while the independent Marxists are strong on fascism’s class dynamics. Both are important.

I draw a sharp distinction between fascism and what I would call conservative authoritarianism. Most repression in capitalist societies operates more or less directly in the interests of big business. I see fascism as a drive to wrest political control away from big business and establish a new political elite. Historically, fascists have cut deals with capitalists to help them win power, but capitalists’ assumption that they could then rein in fascists has proved wrong. Instead, fascists have set about trying to reshape all spheres of society according to their own totalitarian agenda and, in the case of German Nazism, undertook a profound and far-reaching transformation of the social order in keeping with their racist ideology. Many capitalist regimes have pursued genocide against subject populations, but Nazism is the only regime that has pursued genocide against a significant section of the industrial working class, an effort that directly clashed with capitalists’ economic interests.

In the United States today, fascist politics is still driven by a totalitarian vision to reshape society, but that can take different forms. White nationalists’ vision centers on race and their dream of creating an all-white nation. But I think it’s appropriate to use the term “fascism” also for totalitarian right-wing visions that don’t center on race. The most important example is the hardline faction within the Christian right – spearheaded by Christian Reconstructionists – that wants to impose a full theocracy. That vision centers on religion, of course, but also on male supremacy and gender conformity – much more than race. Also, some fascist currents, such as the Lyndon LaRouche network, carry forward classical fascism’s vision of a large centralized state, but many fascists now want to impose their totalitarian vision in a decentralized manner – through “tribal” networks or segregated “ethno-states” or local churches and patriarchal families. I’ve used the term “social totalitarianism” to describe this kind of politics that is simultaneously authoritarian and decentralist.

 

How do you see the Trump administration in relationship to insurgent white nationalism?  Has your opinion of it changed in the time that Trump has been in office?

White nationalists – not just people with racist politics but people who specifically want to create an all-white nation – played a bigger role in electing Donald Trump in 2016 than they had in electing any of his predecessors. More specifically, alt-rightists’ skillful use of internet activism was a significant factor in defeating Trump’s Republican rivals and to a lesser extent in defeating Hillary Clinton. After the election, Richard Spencer proclaimed that alt-rightists were the vanguard of the Trump coalition. At the same time, alt-rightists were clear that Trump was himself not a white nationalist – he was useful to them, but he was not one of them. He would do some of what they wanted, and he would buy them time and space to spread their message, but he did not share their long-term goals.

Since Trump’s inauguration, alt-rightists have had very mixed feelings about his administration. They have liked his demagoguery and scapegoating and his moves against immigrants of color and Muslims, but wish he would go a lot further. They like some of his foreign policy actions, like challenging free trade orthodoxy and criticizing NATO and reaching out to Kim Jong-un. But to varying degrees they also think he has capitulated to (or maybe is being blackmailed by) the conservative establishment. They don’t much care for the staunchly conservative positions he’s taken on tax policy and destroying Obamacare. They hate his support for Israel and his missile strikes against Assad’s government in Syria. Some of them still look on Trump positively, while others think he is beyond redemption.

In Insurgent Supremacists, I argued that Trump’s administration represented a coalition between conventional conservatives of various kinds and “America First” nationalists, some of whom had ties with the alt-right. I still think that’s accurate. Several of the America Firsters have left the administration, such as Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn, but there are several still there, such as Stephen Miller, Peter Navarro, and especially Jeff Sessions. They benefit from what seems to be Trump’s sincere contempt for most establishment politicians, but they’re limited by the lack of a coherent organizational base and the lack of a coherent base of support within the ruling class. The Mercers and Peter Thiel are scary, but it’s unclear to me whether they represent a larger organic tendency within the business community or just hardline right-wingers who suddenly happened to become billionaires. It’s clear there are business sectors that are happy Trump is dismantling industrial regulations, but that part of his agenda is just an extension of previous neoliberal policies. Which business sectors support America First nationalism? I’m very interested to learn more about that.

The periodic warnings that Trump is either a fascist or is moving in a fascist direction seem to be picking up momentum again. I don’t agree, although I agree with some elements of the argument. A lot of people use the term “fascism” much too loosely, to cover any and all forms of right-wing authoritarianism or repression. To me, fascism has to involve a drive to systematically transform all areas of society according to a totalitarian ideological vision. I don’t see any evidence that Trump has such a vision or has the drive to implement any such systematic change, and he certainly doesn’t have the kind of independent organizational base you would need to carry it out.

What I do think is true and is quite serious is that Trump is making the U.S. political system more authoritarian. Part of that is continuing the process of incrementally expanding the government’s repressive powers and machinery, a process that has been going on for decades under both Republican and Democratic presidents. But Trump and his supporters are also dramatically changing the political climate, ratcheting up the scapegoating and demonization of political opponents, even mainstream ones, to levels we haven’t seen since the early 1950s. Trump and his supporters have vilified news reporting to the point that the New York Times can publish a major expose of his family’s tax crimes and he doesn’t even bother to deny it. These moves don’t add up to anything close to fascism, but they do significantly weaken the liberal-pluralist framework (it’s not democracy but it’s not a dictatorship either) and make it significantly easier for some kind of systematic, organized, ideologically driven authoritarianism to emerge and impose itself. I don’t think Trump is part of that but it could come quickly.

 

How do you define populism? Why do you think that there has been an upsurge of populism around the world right now? 

I see populism as a type of politics that aims to rally “the people” around some form of anti-elitism. That’s how Chip Berlet and I defined it in Right-Wing Populism in America, and it’s based on political scientist Margaret Canovan’s work. Populism can be broadly divided between left-wing and right-wing varieties. John Judis in The Populist Explosion gives a good succinct explanation of the difference. He says that left-wing populists define the struggle in dualistic terms – the people versus the elite – while right-wing populists claim the elite is manipulating one or more out-groups – such as immigrants or Muslims or welfare mothers – so that “the people” are being squeezed from above and below.

There are serious problems with both left-wing and right-wing populism, but the problems are different. Left-wing populism can be a framework for attacking real inequity and disempowerment, and to that extent it can play a positive role, but it oversimplifies social conflict by reducing everything to the people versus the elite. So it tends to gloss over – and thereby reinforce – other forms of oppression that don’t coincide with that simple dividing line.

 

Right-wing populism glosses over lots of stuff as well, but the bigger problem is that it directly targets oppressed and marginalized groups for scapegoating and demonization, because its concept of “the people” is as much about defending privilege as it is about anti-elitism. In addition, the way right-wing populism defines the elite is itself based on a kind of scapegoating, which focuses either on a specific subset within the elite or on people who aren’t elite at all. So even though right-wing populism feeds partly on people’s anger at being beaten down, it channels that back into attacks that strengthen and intensify hierarchy and oppression and institutionalized violence.

As you say, there’s been an upsurge of populism lately in many parts of the world, and that includes both left and right versions. In very broad terms I see two big contributing factors. One is a crisis in the global capitalist system – highlighted by the 2008 financial crisis but going far beyond it – and a widespread recognition that the conventional policies that have dominated most governments for decades really only serve a tiny minority. The other big factor is the weakness of the radical left – brought about by a combination of external repression and its own internal failings – and the radical left’s inability to rally major segments of the population in most countries. So, many people are hungry for alternatives, hungry for a way out, and a lot of times populism seems like the best option.

 

Are there any examples of organized resistance happening currently that you think are a good model for combating the far-right?

I don’t know that there’s any one example where I’d say, “here’s the model of resistance for us to follow,” but I think there have been a number of very positive developments. I think the principle of “diversity of tactics” is very important – meaning actions organized so that there is room for people to take a variety of militant and non-militant approaches, and where those are understood as complementing and supporting each other, rather than competing or in conflict. I know that folks in the Bay Area and in Portland, for example, have worked hard over the past year or more to build coalitions based on this approach, and have had some important successes as a result.

I also really like the principle of “community self-defense,” as advocated by the Twin Cities General Defense Committee of the IWW and others, meaning that antifascists should not look to the state to protect us, because the state is really not on our side, but rather should look to build connections with, and base themselves in, working class communities. Another positive example I would cite is the network Solidarity & Defense Michigan, which is one of a number of groups that helped to halt the alt-right’s mobilizing drive in 2017-2018, and which has emphasized the linkages between resisting far rightists and combating institutionalized oppression in the form of housing evictions, police violence, deportations of immigrants and refugees, and so on.

I also particularly appreciate when people approach antifascist activism in a spirit of humility and willingness to learn from mistakes. I think an example of that was the article “Tigertown Beats Nazis Down,” which is a self-critical reflection on the April 2017 mass protest against Richard Spencer in Auburn, Alabama. I can’t speak to the specific events that happened there, but I thought the spirit of the article was really constructive and positive.

 

How can the anti-imperialist movement insulate against the far-right?

First, leftist and liberal anti-imperialists should have a strict policy of non-collaboration with far rightists. That means not attending their political events and not allowing them to attend ours. It means not giving them a platform on our media to air their views, and not legitimizing their media by accepting invitations to publish our articles or be interviewed.

Second, let’s recognize and combat oppressive dynamics within the left that resonate with far right politics – dynamics such as authoritarianism and transphobia and sexual violence. And more specifically let’s combat the elements of far right ideology that have influenced sections of the left itself. In the 1980s, the Christic Institute borrowed “anti-establishment” conspiracy theories from the Lyndon LaRouche network and other far right sources and repackaged them for progressive audiences. Today, groups like the Center for Research on Globalisation play a similar role. Let’s develop strong radical analyses of institutionalized power systems and reject fake-radical conspiracy theories, many of which are rooted in antisemitism.

And we need consistent radicalism specifically with regard to Israel. I’m an anti-Zionist Jew: I reject Israeli apartheid rule over Palestinians and Zionist appropriation of Jewish identity for racist and imperialist ends, and I reject smear campaigns that equate criticism of Israel with antisemitism. But it’s disturbing and dangerous when we see self-described leftists portraying Zionists as some kind of super-powerful force controlling U.S. foreign policy or global capitalism, or dismiss any concerns about antisemitism on the left as Zionist propaganda.

Third, I think we need to reject simplistic left analyses that celebrate any perceived opposition to U.S. international power as “anti-imperialist” – and that automatically equate anti-imperialist with “progressive.” The Assad government has implemented neoliberal economic policies, collaborated with the CIA’s rendition program, and murdered thousands of Palestinians, but somehow it’s supposed to be anti-imperialist now. And if all anti-imperialism is automatically progressive, are we supposed to celebrate the 9-11 attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Those attacks hit the centers of imperialist power more forcefully than anything Assad and his allies have ever done, but they also killed 3,000 people and were carried out in the name of a deeply reactionary ideology. And if all anti-imperialism is automatically progressive, are we supposed to join forces with the neonazis who did in fact celebrate the 9-11 attacks as heroic blows against globalist Jewish elites? What’s needed here, again, is a recognition that there are more than two political poles in the world, and – as radical antifascists have been saying for years – my enemy’s enemy is not necessarily my friend.

Organizing Matters: Tent Cities, Self-Determination, and (Against) the Fascist Targeting of Homeless People

By Jeff Shantz

Some have expressed confusion over the apparently contradictory actions of neo-fascist Soldiers of Odin (SOO) toward homeless people in various urban contexts in Canada. There is a dual targeting of homeless people as opponents to be socially cleansed and as potential recruits. Both within the same fascist organization. Understanding the strategies of SOO in targeting homeless people tells us important things about how fascists are mobilizing and how collective organizing can work against them.

On one hand SOO have mobilized confrontations and attempted assaults against homeless people on multiple occasions in Nanaimo, British Columbia, a small, historically blue collar city, now university town. They have taken a poor bashing, bigoted approach against homeless people. On the other hand SOO have tried to recruit homeless people to their cause in Surrey, British Columbia, a blue collar suburb, and new, gentrifying, city center, in Metro Vancouver. They have also tried to do food servings as means of recruitment of homeless people in Edmonton, a major industrial city and seat of provincial government in Alberta.

So, what is behind these apparent contradictions and inconsistencies—bigoted anger and friendly recruitment? Well, to understand the SOO tactics around interacting with homeless people we first have to analyze the different contexts in each case, and, in particular, the levels and types of organizing among homeless people themselves. And we can also look at assumptions about community responses. These assessments provide important lessons about the need to organize our communities—all our communities, including the most marginalized and excluded—in order to oppose and discourage (and hopefully stop) fascist mobilizations. And they provide lessons about the role played by poor bashing and hatred by mainstream institutions.

 

Class Solidarity and Organizing Against Individual Vulnerability and Fascist Recruitment

In terms of organizing, it is important to note that in Surrey, where SOO tried to recruit homeless people into an anti-migrant position, using false claims that refugees were taking up housing from homeless people, there was little collective self-organizing on the basis of autonomy, self defense, and community solidarity. So SOO could approach individual homeless people to stir up resentments as potential recruits. Luckily homeless people there had little time for them. There were community support groups who worked in solidarity with residents of The Strip, where dozens of people lived in tents (but which was not an organized tent city). There were discussions about the real nature of SOO which helped build opposition. And SOO offered nothing to people except racist blame placing.

In Edmonton, similarly, homeless people were not organized in any sort of collective, self-determining, autonomous space. So SOO again apparently assumed they could also recruit homeless people playing on desperate circumstances to stir up, to construct, individual resentments.

In Nanaimo, conversely, and I would argue significantly, homeless people had self-organized into a conscious, a class conscious, tent city community, Discontent City. Along with allies they could collectively organize to oppose and confront SOO and other bigots and poor bashers. In Nanaimo, SOO viewed collectively organized homeless people as a threat. As a point of working class solidarity against bigotry and division and for an alternative built from the ground up. The fascists may have recognized the class solidarity operating in Discontent City  and viewed it as an obstacle to their own efforts to split the working class and target more vulnerable sectors (including migrants).

 

Producerism and the Targeting of Homeless People  

Fascists view organized homeless people (as part of the working class more broadly) as a threat needing to be removed. Generally fascists have targeted homeless people for violence. This is in keeping with their producerist vision. This is a Right wing approach to class issues that divides the working class between supposedly productive “producers” (in a way they further construct as white workers) and those they view as unproductive or as social parasites. This latter category can include both bosses, who do not labor productively, and unemployed people.

For fascists, the supposedly productive sectors of the working class are pinched by the unproductive who allegedly live off of their labor from both above and from below (without properly distinguishing actual exploiters who steal surplus value and less fortunate workers who have simply not had a sale of their labor power in a system where only bosses have the power to hire and fire). Rather than seeing all who need to sell their labor to survive as working class in a vision of class solidarity, and anti-capitalism, the producerist view divides working class people among deserving and undeserving according to fascist criteria.

 

Class Wide Organizing

Fascists have typically viewed homeless people as targets to be socially cleansed, and/or as recruits to be bought for a potentially small price. Where there is a class conscious organizing the latter becomes improbable. So the fascists feel a material threat.

This shows the importance of class-wide organizing , including among our most vulnerable members. This provides the defense against recruitment and mobilization of opportunistic fascists looking to use people in dire straits as fodder for their movements. This is a lesson about organizing more broadly in a context in which working class people feeling vulnerable and hopeless and economically precarious can be susceptible to supporting or sympathizing with far Rightists or become open to actual active recruitment.

Notably, in Nanaimo, there has developed a layer of poor bashing opponents or the tent city who have shown up in larger numbers to hurl epithets at homeless people and to express support for the SOO mobilizations. And this has been encouraged by mainstream political institutions that have opposed the tent city and used poor bashing language and policy approaches against tent city residents ad supporters. Notably, the leader of SOO on Vancouver Island has decided to run for city council in upcoming municipal elections.

 

Conclusion

So the role of official political entities in fanning fascist flames must also be recognized and openly contested.  But collective organizing and self defense provide important counters to all of this. Fascists fear collective organization of working class people for solidarity and social and economic justice. In its absence they see an open ground for organizing of a fascist basis. In this way, the actions of SOO are not so much contradictory as shaped by the absence or presence of threats and potentials they see for their own organizing.

Mohawks Block Far Right La Meute from Entering Their Territory at Kanesatake

Jeff Shantz

An attempted mobilization by far Right group La Meute (Wolf Pack) at Oka, Quebec, on Saturday, September 15, 2018, was stopped in its tracks by Mohawk activists who refused to let the racists cross their territory at Kanesatake. Mohawk community members rallied to block entrance to the reserve as a vehicle caravan of La Meute members and supporters sought to gain access. La Meute is known for its anti-migrant and Islamophobic positions and has organized several public rallies in Quebec.

The racists, who flew several banners and flags with racist slogans from their vehicles clearly viewed their efforts as some form of intimidation and provocation. It did not work as they were forced to turn away. The Quebec provincial police, the SQ, did the usual work of police in assisting fascists as they intervened to escort La Meute supporters away from the blockade, Mohawk resisters sent them all off with warnings not to come back.

Cops and Klan Go Hand in Hand in Toronto as Antifascists Try to Stop Fascist “9/11 Memorial” March

Jeff Shantz

It has long been said that cops and klan go hand in hand. This holds in Canada as in the US. On Saturday, September 8, 2018, Toronto police provided a personal security detail to ensure that fascists were able to march through the streets of Toronto, the country’s largest and most diverse city. The march was the first of two slated to happen over the first weekend after Labor Day. Groups claiming attendance include PEGIDA, Soldiers of Odin, Wolves of Odin, Worldwide Coalition Against Islam, Proud Boys, Northern Guard, and III%ers, a veritable cross section of neo-fascist and white supremacist groups in Canada. About 65 fascists in total showed up.

Witnesses say Toronto Police Service (TPS) formed a wedge to force through groups of counter-protesters who came to oppose the fascsists. At one point, witnesses report, police punched an Indigenous woman in the face to clear a path for their kindred spirits.

PEGIDA put forward the call under a banner of the memory of 9/11 as the rallying cry for their march. Initial numbers put antifascists at at least 30 with PEGIDA et al at only 10. Cops formed a barrier protecting the fascists. At some point a larger group of 20 fascists showed up, with a dozen or so more joining later, and police moved against the antifascists. Toronto City bylaw enforcement officers supplemented TPS.

Antifascists held ground to stop the march from starting despite the aggressive actions of police. Of note, several non-participant members of the public cheered on the counter-protesters against the fascists. At least one antifascist was arrested on phony claims of assaulting prominent white supremacist Eric Brazeau.  These actions came after a series of confrontations between antifascists and the Soldiers of Odin, the white supremacist anti-immigrant patrol organization that started in the Nordic countries before expanding over to Canada.

It is worth pointing out that TPS actions came only two weeks after some of their members were photographed, in uniform, with neo-Nazi candidate for mayor Faith Goldy.

Rally Drives Soldiers of Odin out of Edmonton Neighborhood

By Jeff Shantz

The white supremacist Soldiers of Odin (SOO) are clearly feeling emboldened as they have openly mobilized in communities as distinct as Nanaimo, British Columbia and Edmonton, Alberta over the last month. And their approach is clearly opportunistic as they have mobilized to threaten a homeless camp in Nanaimo while announcing plans to give food and water to homeless people outside a street ministry in Edmonton. The attempt to connect with homeless people is not a unique one as SOO in Surrey, BC, tried to stir anger among homeless people against refugees who SOO blamed, incorrectly of course, for “taking” housing. In Edmonton, as in Nanaimo, a community rallied to confront the neo-Nazis and drive them off the streets.

Online messages claimed that the Soldiers of Odin, Onward Christian Soldiers, and the Northern Guard were planning to serve food and water to homeless people outside of the Mustard Seed Church on Labor Day, September 3rd, 2018. They called on all “like-minded patriotic groups” to join them.

Instead residents in the city’s McCauley neighborhood went door to door to bring people out to confront the racists. In the end about 40 residents showed up to oppose a dozen or so SOO members and a handful of their supporters. After some verbal sparring the SOO moved on. Counter-protesters followed them as they moved a few blocks away. After a half-hour standoff, monitored by cops, the neo-Nazis packed up and took off.

As in Nanaimo it should be noted that there are layers of supporters who show up to encourage the SOO and/or to express bigoted views (against migrants but also against homeless people). This needs to be recognized and confronted.

The SOO event happened only a few blocks away from the Edmonton and District Labour Council’s annual Labor Day barbecue and was likely planned to draw people from there. It is unfortunate that a sizeable contingent from the organized labor gathering did not go to confront the neo-Nazis. That would have been a show of social unionism, organized working class community defense, and perhaps a recognition that fascists are always geared toward destruction of unions and union movements. Antifascist organizing is something the labor movement needs to re-orient towards actively in the present period (and beyond).

#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.

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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