Category Archives: Anti-Immigrant

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

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Letter to the Patriot Militias: The Alt Right Murders Veterans

By Portland Antifascists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In solidarity against fascism and the alt-right. 

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

Milo is Coming Back to Berkeley, and He Plans on Occupying It

You might have thought that a full scale uprising and millions in damage, a canceled book contract, being exiled from Breitbart, and losing all political cache he had would be enough to shove Milo Yiannopoulos from view.  You would be wrong.  The power of privilege, of doing what you want even though others do not provide you a platform, has proven too attractive for Milo.  He is now planning to force his way back onto Berkeley, even though his tour was ended there just a couple of months ago.

On a recent Facebook post, Milo announced that he not only was going to return to Berkeley, he was going to stay for at least a week (possibly a month).

In light of recent controversies, I am planning a huge multi-day event called MILO’S FREE SPEECH WEEK in Berkeley later this year. We will hold talks and rallies and throw massive parties, all in the name of free expression and the First Amendment. All will be welcome, regardless of political affiliation.

Free speech has never been more under threat in America — especially at the supposed home of the free speech movement. I will bring activists, writers, artists, politicians, YouTubers, veterans and drag queens from across the ideological spectrum to lecture, march, and party.

MILO’S FREE SPEECH WEEK will include events on the UC Berkeley campus. We will stand united against the “progressive” Left. We will loudly reject the venomous hectoring and moral hypocrisy of social justice warriors. Free speech belongs to everyone — not just the spoilt brats of the academy.

During MILO’S FREE SPEECH WEEK, we will give out a new free speech prize — the Mario Savio Award — to the person we believe has done most to protect free expression at UC Berkeley and its surrounding area. Each day will be dedicated to a different enemy of free speech, including feminism, Black Lives Matter and Islam.

If UC Berkeley does not actively assist us in the planning and execution of this event, we will extend festivities to an entire month. We will establish a tent city on Sproul Plaza protesting the university’s total dereliction of its duty and encourage students at other universities to follow suit.

I intend to return Berkeley to its rightful place as the home of free speech — whether university administrators and violent far-left antifa thugs like it or not.

– MILO
P.S., I will be releasing further details of my grand comeback tour in the coming few weeks, including information about a special CINCO DE MILO event on 5/5

The phrasing of it as “free speech week” is brilliant marketing, but nothing is further from the truth.  Milo was denied a platform at Berkeley because it was an opportunity to recruit for far-right projects like Identity Europa and he was planning on doxxing trans and undocumented students from the podium.  Their events are not about speech, they are about organizing, and the movements to defend against them are not cutting off their speech, they are simply not granting them free rein of their campus.

Milo’s decision comes after Anne Coulter was recently banned from speaking at Berkeley, a decision made after the administration saw what happened when Lauren Southern and her Alt Right cadre decided to hold their anti-immigrant, racialist rally in Berkeley and then proceed to attack students and counter-protesters.

What is great about Milo in this situation is that most of his right wing and Alt Right friends have abandoned him, and his profile is so high in anti-fascist circles that even a brief appearance will get shut down quickly.  That is, of course, only if an organized response happens, which, in Berkeley, is assured.

He is now promoting an event on May 5th, one that we should be watching for in Berkeley.

Center for Immigration Studies Associating With Open White Nationalists

Center for Immigration Studies With Kyle Bristow, Know Racist and anti-Semite
Center for Immigration Studies With Kyle Bristow, Know Racist and anti-Semite

Is it a surprise that the Center for Immigration Studies, an openly anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant group, is associating with the fringe of the white nationalist movement?

While the rhetoric around immigration restriction has become commonplace in the backchannels of the Donald Trump campaign and ultra-conservative louspeakers like Breitbart, it is easy to forget that this is a movement that does not have a left, right, and center.  Directly from the start it has been dominated by far-right ideas, with publications like VDare standing directly with the white separatist camp that simply uses Republican talking points to broaden the support for blocking foreign immigrants.

While it is a movement that has been centered on the far-right since the 1980s, it has used crossover points into the mainstream GOP to continue to save face.  Paleoconservatism and Libertarianism of the late-80s was this melting point where people like Pat Buchanan, Sam Francis, and, later, Peter Brimelow, were able to work on anti-immigrant narratives that coded language incredibly cleanly.  These were the crossover individuals that themselves were acceptable both in radical right circles and establishment beltway boardrooms.

It is not uncommon to see someone like Brimelow with the Center for Immigration Studies, but they have now taken it a step further.  In recent reports from places like the Southern Poverty Law Center, it looks like cozying up to the upfront wing of the racialist movement.  Their “Immigration Opinions” volume was written by British nationalist Paul Weston, known for his association with the British Freedom Party and the neo-fascist English Defense League.  Earlier in September, this section was written by Pat Buchanan(the obvious crossover) and Robert Weissberg, of American Renaissance fame.  All of these covered the traditional range of xenophobic topics, including the “third world invasion” and the “Muslim problem.”  The director of the Center for Immigration Studies, took this all a step further, and was pictured with militant white nationalist Kyle Bristow, who is as “out of the Nazi closet” as you get.

This example, though not unexpected, should serve as an example of what the immigration debate has been hinged on.  There has been a lot of “acceptable” faces in this conversation, but this has only appeared this way in as much as they are able to code the language in Dog Whistle jargon.  The foundations of the anti-immigration position, its hard ideas and arguments, were developed and curated on the radical right.  Behind every seemingly moderate proposal at restriction or control is a foundational argument that the U.S. is a white nation that must be preserved as such.  When presented clearly people are able to confront the racial ideas that are scapegoating racial and religious minorities, and it is positive when we can see the dividing line clearly.

Violence on Violence: Looking Back at the British Antifa and Red Action [VIDEO]

Drawing a little from the history of Anti-Fascist Action and Anti-Racist Action, we bring back this classic reporting about the confrontations happening on U.K. streets.  The news reports goes into the work of Antifa and Red Action in England and their use of “physical resistance” and militant anti-fascism to prevent the street attacks that are happening from racist skinheads.  This is an important component of the street action that was developed in Germany and the U.K. to confront the neo-fascist organizations that focused almost solely on almost random acts of violence rather than mass organizing, and a blanket approach of complete elimination was used to silence and remove all neo-Nazi and racist sympathies.

The report itself is not always sympathetic, but does act as a useful document when looking at these movements.

Antifa Confronts Organized Islamophobic Street Militias in Vienna [VIDEO]

We are continuing to bring you Vice Magazine’s anti-fascist videos under the “Hate in Europe” series, which looks at the different fascist movements in Europe and their anti-fascist response.  A lot of neo-fascist parties and organizations throughout Europe are basing their growth on the targeting of Muslim immigration into generally “white” countries.

In Austria, the anti-Islamic group Pegida(Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West) is going after Muslim neighborhoods, demanding that they leave “their” country.  Pegida began in Germany, but is now prevalent in Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, and other Western European countries.  This is part of a larger movement, which is taken up by the Austrian Freedom Party, UKIP, the National Democratic Party, the European Defense League, and a whole number of other above ground movements calling for a hault on Muslim immigration into Europe.  As is happening in a lot of places, such as with the Ultras in Rome, Pegida takes the form of soccer hooliganism, where the social bonds that keep it organized were developed in sports arenas.

The anti-fascist protesters that formed noted that Pegida began by protesting foreigners and refugees, and act that clearly undermines their claims that they are just against the conservative and anti-democratic strains of Islam.  They were using the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in 2014 to whip up a racist and Islamophobic fervor.

Polish Nationalists Clash with Anti-Fascists at Music Day Festival [VIDEO]

Continuing to share Vice Magazine’s documentary coverage of European fascist/anti-fascist clashes, we are sharing their video on the violence that occurred at the Music Day festival in London.  The party Zjednoczeni Emigranci Londyn (Emigrants United London), which is a Polish ultra-nationalist organization, began attacking the crowd at Music Day because of their multiracial nature.  Though they only had a small handful of participants(20 or so neo-fascists), this is a part of the new trend towards racist street action where the rhetoric is specifically targeted at non-white European immigrants.