On June 30th, far-right provocateur Joey Gibson brought his group, Patriot Prayer, back to Portland in an effort to stoke the anger of a city grieving from violent racist attacks. On June 3rd, Patriot Prayer held a march whose sole purpose appeared to be to fight the left. Lacking in political content, the repeatedly marched their crowd into counter-protesters, attacking them at will. The Proud Boys, the Alt Light street-gang started by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnis, has become the dominant portion of Patriot Prayer’s base as the rest of their larger support by Trump republicans slowly recedes. Over the past year many their key young participants have joined the Proud Boys, to the point that Patriot Prayer seems to be simply an extension of the regional Proud Boys crews.
On June 3rd they attacked people with increased brutality, though were fought back readily by a crowd of antifascists organized by Rose City Antifa. They eventually were unable to continue their marching and were chased off the streets as their numbers dwindled. They vowed to return to “stand their ground,” announcing the June 30th date.
On the day of, it was clear that they had dug into their connections across the country and had Proud Boys from crews in multiple states including, reportedly, California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and others. The crowd was dominated by Proud Boys in their yellow/black Fred Perry shirts, and after a school bus of additional Proud Boys arrived from over the river in Vancouver, they numbered around 80 participants. (Note, some people have listed the number closer to 60, some closer to 100. For our part, we counted about 80.)
They held their typical round of speeches, with long-winded diatribes from Joey Gibson comparing himself to the “founding fathers.” Then a Proud Boy rapper named Political Muscle, a white guy with clunky rhymes, did raps about Antifa. Another speaker discussed the Book of Revelation and the Satanists that control the government, and who were communists, were going to install all of us with RFID chips (The Mark of the Beast).
Once it was time for their march they got into multiple, well-planned formations and put on body armor, preparing to attack. They were open about this, mentioning that they were there to push back on the left and to fight if they deemed it necessary. They were hit with bottles, eggs, and other projectiles right out of the gate as they turned the corner away from the park. Two blocks later they took a left and were met, without obstruction by the police, counter-protesters. After a short standoff the Proud Boys charged protesters and attacked in brutal fashion, often ganging up on individuals and beating them on the ground. Several people went completely limp on the ground and had to be rescued by passersby, and could have died without that support. Ambulances had to come through to pull out the critically injured, including one protester who had cranial bleeding and a fractured skull.
Once the Proud Boys were pushed back, the police declared their permit pulled and the scene a riot, amid the dozens of flash grenades and pepper-balls they were firing. The Proud Boys continued their march despite this, yelling at the police even though it was clear that law enforcement had let them attack protesters without objection and had aimed their crowd-control weapons almost exclusively at antifascist protesters. One local reporter wrote that they had heard the police talking in a coffee shop nearby and saying that they were tired of this and would “just let them fight.”
As the march continue there were more and more disruptions from antifascists that were swarming on all sides, resulting in dozens of street brawls. In several of these situations, as is clear in the video, the Proud Boys were allowed by the police to continue their beatings, and sometimes even appeared encouraged to do so. Eventually Patriot Prayer was forced back into their park under police protection, unable to complete their march.
The video below clearly shows the Proud Boys level of violence, which is only increasing. This was one of the most brutal situations of far-right violence in a city that has been marked by skinhead attacks, and as it escalates it seems that the Proud Boys could easily become murderers. Without the antifascists there, including Rose City Antifa, the Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective, and Labor Against Fascism, a lot more people would have been hurt. They successfully pushed back their advance and denied them unopposed use of the space, a victory that has continued for two years now.
Joey Gibson will be returning on August 4th with a similar strategy, and antifascists will be out there to stop him.
Patriot Prayer isn’t known for its good taste.
The far-right organization, known for linking up “Patriot” militias with Alt Right white nationalists, became notorious for taking up the “free speech” rally model started by Lauren Southern in the “Battle for Berkeley.” In Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding suburbs, their organizer, Joey Gibson, instigated violent clashes with leftist protesters as he refused to tone down the “America First” rhetoric. In May, Jeremy Christian, a man who eagerly joined Patriot Prayer’s events, murdered two on Portland public transit in an Islamophobic frenzy. Gibson’s response was to hold his June 4th rally just a couple of weeks later in a federal park, which drew over three thousand protesters in a show of unprecedented antifascist unity.
On August 26, in the wake of the savage race riot and vehicular murder in Charlottesville, Gibson decided to bring his act down to the Bay area, where a number of far-right provocateurs were intending to join him. This would start with a “Freedom Rally” along the waterfront, which activists countered with a mass “poop in” by bringing their dogs to the beach without waste bags. The following day they the “anti-Marxist” message would be brought to the streets, picking up on the white supremacist conspiracy theory that modern “progressive” values are actually the result of subversive Jewish “Cultural Marxism.”
Patriot Prayer’s plans sparked one of the quickest engagements of mass organizing in years as coalitions formed around the city with everything from radical art shows to a mass marches to disallow Gibson access to the streets or city parks. While the Bay’s progressive line-up began their plans, it was the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 that stepped out in front to lead this community revolt. Just days before the Alt Right was to descend on the city, Local 10 passed the “Motion to Stop the Fascists in San Francisco,” calling for “all unions and anti-racist and anti-fascist organizations to join us defending unions, racial minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ people, women and all the oppressed.” ILWU was instrumental in raising the antifascist coalition’s profile enough to force Gibson to cancel the event, and when he tried to move it to San Francisco’s Alamo Park, the union took to the streets and helped form a block to prevent entry.
Right now, labor in the United States is being pushed to a state of execution. With the political power in the hands of the beltway right, attacks on public sector unions, collective bargaining, exclusive representation, and the rights of workers to organize, are forcing labor to look past immediate contractual gains and to the larger contradictions the working class faces. Capital’s attack on unions is happening at the same time as a radical right populism is sweeping the U.S., with Trumpism ushering in what the Freedom Party brought to Austria, Brexit offered to the UK, and what Le Pen could have leveled on France. With the Alt Right as the militant fascist edge of this movement, organized labor is placed where it is often put in times of crisis: uniquely targeted and decisively necessary.
“Then they came for the trade unionists…”
Looking at the historical fascist movements that rose to power in interwar Europe, labor is crushed swiftly and decisively. As the Nazis rose to power in Germany, the SS took control of the trade unions in 1933, banning them as working class institutions and molding their organs into the German Labor Front. With 7 million members, Germany had one of the largest labor movements in the world, bolstered by the social democrats and the revolutionary German Communist Party (KPD). In Italy, Mussolini took a different approach and captured the unions entirely, creating large Fascist Trade Unions with over four million members. These organizations were extensions of the fascist state, losing their ability to fight for workers interests as Mussolini gained power by cruelly crushing socialist and anarchist partisans. The attack on unionists was, largely, an extension of the fascist attack on the organized left as leaders rightly understood that both sides had the ability to pull heavily from the experiences of the working class. While Hitler and Mussolini appealed to the bourgeois classes by suppressing worker movements, it was an appeal to the broad masses that gave fascism its power. The class conflict implicit to capitalism is then suppressed in favor of mediated class collaboration; the fire for change the fuels class struggle then rechanneled into reactionary battles between identities, racial, sexual, and otherwise.
The unions themselves were, at the time, the largest and most successful results of social movements, a hundred years of struggle to create massive organizations that took on the interests of the oppressed classes. That strength, rooted in the ability to withhold labor, could bring the country to its knees, and its nature is rooted in the working class unity that necessitates antiracism. If the unions are weakened, removed as militant vehicles for the desires of working people, then mass movements lose one of their key strategic vessels.
Unions today are often defined by their concessions, what was allowed to them by the state during the 1920s and 1930s. But a union is more that Collective Bargaining Agreements and grievance procedures. It is simply an expression of unified class power, the ability of a group of workers to exert power through solidarity. For workers today (and throughout the history of organized labor), their subjective experiences of class and identity are more than just pay scales, but include everything from racial discrimination by management to the fear of violence they have leaving their houses in the morning. For non-white workers, that violence continues, both from the state as police murders continue unchallenged, and through vigilantes, from the KKK in earlier generations to the Alt Right terrorizing campuses and city centers today. Unions can expand their conception of working class struggle to take on issues not only at the bargaining table, but also throughout the world that workers inhabit, something that is only becoming more necessary as those traditional rights are legally eroded. With a larger financial infrastructure than most left organizations and the growing injection of labor into broad coalitions, they have the tools and membership to be active in directly undermining the radical right surge.
IWW General Defense Committee
For many syndicalists, the IWW has been a centerpiece of this radical experiment for a century, starting as an alternative to the increasingly compromised AFL models of negotiated labor. The IWW continues to explode at moments of contradiction, organizing that stretches models to the point of redefinition. The non-contract campaigns of the Burgerville Workers Union, the prison organizing of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, and solidarity networks are windows into what is possible when the strictures shackling organized labor are ignored and the basic principles of organizing are opened up to the imagination.
It is no wonder that the IWW then looked to the past to rebuild a project that could extend the reach of the organization into the increasingly caustic world of tenancy, police violence, and insurrectionary racist threats. The General Defense Committee (GDC) was first started in 1917 as a technically-separate organization from the broader IWW to take on issues like state repression of members around anti-war protests and during later red scares. Because it was a legally separate entity, it could take some shelter from state attacks on the IWW that seemed imminent. The GDC was brought back to take on issues that were not strictly workplace derived, and antifascist work has become the brand it is best known by. The Twin Cities branch chartered a GDC in 2011, yet their antifascist committee started long before that as members had previous experience as founders of Anti-Racist Action in the 1980s and the Torch Network that is known for linking up Antifa organizations. The GDC has grown to over 200 members with committees being chartered across the country.
The Twin Cities GDC Local 14 started by confronting a 2012 appearance of David Irving, the notorious WWII historian turned Holocaust Denier, building the praxis that would instruct their later work. As opposed to the close-knit and highly secretive format that describes most Antifa organizations, the GDC has used a “mass antifascist” approach. This means focusing on bringing in large coalitions of people, generally being public about their image, and trying to do popular education and engagement. This still results in the battle over “contested spaces,” music venues, public arenas, and college campuses. This can also mean in direct engagement, forcing the neo-Nazis out of their speaking event or meeting spaces, but it is done through appeals to huge community contingents. Mixing a radical analysis, direct action, and broad community involvement are the same principles that have made the Wobblies such a success in workplace organizing, and it those winning methods that they are using to turn entire neighborhoods and social networks into mass antifascist forces. Since the rise of the Alt Right starting in 2015, the GDC has been present in almost every major action, from shutting down far-right agitator Milo Yiannoupolous in Seattle, De Paul, and the University of Wisconsin, challenging Infowars at the Republican National Convention, and shutting down fascist neofolk artists like Blood + Sun.
Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective
In Portland, a group of trade unionists whose roots in militant antifascism went back thirty years came back to that anti-racist organizing by looking exactly at where they work. In places like the Carpenters Union, workers were regularly forced to interact coworkers who were openly adorned with neo-Nazi iconography, such as portraits of Hitler in visible tattoos. For many neo-Nazis who had been involved in skinhead gangs and were felons, building trade unions provided a pathway to a good and stable job that often shielded them from political fallout and did not penalize them for criminal histories. Organizers from the Carpenters Local 1503, Ironworkers Local 29, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Local 10, and antifascist organizers came together to form the Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective (PNWAWC) to confront the influx of the far-right from inside of the labor movement.
One of PNWAWC’s key strategies was to put through antifascist resolutions in union locals whose membership may actually have some allegiances to white supremacist formations. IUPAT Local 10 and the Carpenters Union Local 1503 passed this resolution, next attempting to build antifascist committees internal to the local. IUPAT went as far as forming an Anti-Racist Mobilization Committee that will be used to get union members to support antiracist community actions and to reach out to other trade unions to do the same.
Their work extends to antifascist strategies that are often well known to Antifa and Anti-Racist Action groups, which many of their members started in. This includes organizing as a coalition with groups like Rose City Antifa to confront far-right assemblies, especially in “contested spaces,” refusing access. Doxxing, information dissemination, and popular education are all a part of this, as well as committing many of their members to act as community defense and security in situations that could result in fascist intimidation. After a local public-sector union had been hosting antifascist events from groups like the Portland Assembly and Demand Utopia, threats began coming down on the union hall. When several alleged far-right agitators showed up, donning masks, the collective coordinated unionists and organizers to surround the building, refusing to allow them on the property.
Portland Labor Against Fascists
Many organizers with some relationship to PNWAWC came together to form the Portland Labor Against Fascists coalition to have a labor presence at the growing number of collisions between far-right rallies and the public. When Patriot Prayer announced its June 4th rally despite the pleas of the city, including the Mayor’s office, multiple groups organized to surround the event. On one side was a more mild-manner coalition of progressive groups brought together by the International Socialist Organization, while adjacent to the in the park was the united Antifa block. On the south side of the far-right rally was the labor coalition, organized, in part, by Trotskyist organizations like the Internationalist Group and Class Struggle Workers, and with members from the various building trades as well as Amalgamated Transit Union 757, CWA 7901, and different AFL-CIO affiliates.
The rhetoric here was simple: destroying the narrative that the Patriot militia and blue-collar white power groups have, that they are acting in the interests of the white working class. With Ironworkers and IBEW electricians on the megaphones, they were able to speak to worker exploitation, not from “mass immigration” or affirmative action, but from mega-corporations that are crushing wages and collective bargaining. Since some participants in the Alt Right come from those represented trades, hearing from people in the same professions and workplaces makes a difference. This has been the strategy of non-labor specific organizations like Redneck Revolt, who use the language of gun-rights and government mistrust to speak to the same crowd that the militia movement recruits from.
As the cultural wave of reactionary anger turned into a Trump presidency, many in the broad labor movement were forced to speak up out of the crisis of circumstance. With the heavy focus of Alt Right groups like Identity Europa on campus recruitment, student and faculty groups have found common cause in confronting their threat. The Duke Graduate Student Union and the University of California Student Workers have come out to endorse student projects like the Campus Anti-Fascist Network, which is using a nationally coordinated approach to long-term mass antifascist movement building. As Patriot Prayer’s event loomed on the horizon in Berkeley, a large coalition formed for the Bay Area Rally Against Hate that would link up a huge swath of community and labor organizations. This again drew from unions with an association with education and college campuses, including the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, AFSCME Local 3299 (a UC Berkeley local), SEIU Local 1021, and UAW Local 2865, as well as a contingent of Berkeley student workers. The Alameda Labor Council and San Francisco Labor Council both signed as endorsers, a success for such a highly partisan affair. ILWU Local 10 was a leader in the effort to block Patriot Prayer, bringing out retired members who had joined the movement against South African apartheid in the 1980s. IUPAT Local 10 voted in a resolution and public statement that put their full support behind the ILWU’s decision in the bay, saying that they take from their example “in the struggle for workers’ rights against racism, war, and police repression.”
While many large unions have avoided using the language of antifascism, there has been an impetus for many to rise up on the primary issues of racial victimization in the Trump era. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined the Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff in a “categorical rejection” of Islamophobia, and after the comments Trump made after the Charlottesville violence he decisively pulled out of the American Manufacturing Council. Trumka is far from a radical unionist, but it shows the tone that is shifting inside large labor institutions. In years past, the rhetoric of “America First” echoed into union halls as jobs were being offshored. This attempt to stoke a subtle racism while mobilizing workers against de-industrialization lost them the ability to effectively fight the experiences of racism that workers face, and there are signs this decision is being reversed as they continue to lose ground with their attempts at class collaboration. The movement by many unions, from UNITE HERE Local 2850 to National Union of Healthcare Workers, to become “sanctuary unions” is another turn, acknowledging the horror of ICE deportations that are entering into their member communities. Local 2850 has been working to add protections for immigrants into contracts as well as going for local and statewide resolutions in support of their immigrant workforce.
The role of large labor organizations is more mixed than militant unions, but with their large memberships and financial infrastructure there are opportunities they can lend to antifascist movements. This may end up more passive than anything, the allying of resources, buildings, and participation in coalitions, while leaving the more open antifascist work to organizers free from the strictures of non-profit status. As unions have increasingly diverse membership, they will be pressured to stand up for the issues that fascist ideologues have owned, confronting mass deportations, the victimization of racial and gender minorities, and the increased threat that far-right politics represent to their membership.
The position of unions as a conceptual force is even more central as its mechanisms of class power are some of the most profound in history. The ability to use solidarity to dethrone the authority in a workplace can be expanded to the community, and the mass base, the ability to strike and worker empowerment can all be pivoted to see not only institutional injustice, but also the insurrectionary violence of white supremacy, as a target. Fascist politics splits the working class, a fragmentation that spells defeat in even the most class reductionist sense, and there is every reason for union members to be on the front lines.
The trolling culture that has marked the Alt Right since 2015 has been treated with kid gloves by most media outlets, seeing it almost as a form of pranksterism that avoids the real cost and violence it has ensured. On college campuses, Alt Right white nationalists are recruiting young men, often dissidents from College Republicans or Students for Trump organizations, leading them into a world of paranoid conspiracies, racial supremacism, and vigilante harassment and violence. This hatred has been directed at marginalized students and faculty alike, forcing many to have to leave campus fearing for their life. Recently, antifascist academic George Ciccariello-Maher had to leave the tenured position he earned at Drexel University after facing massive harassment from Alt Right and Alt Light groups, and teachers like Mark Bray, Mike Isaacsson, and many, many others have faced this kind of treatment.
It is exactly this type of unending harassment and threats that graduate student, educator, and organizer Tariq Khan of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign has faced. The harassment against Khan has been laid town by the organization Turning Point USA, which is affiliated with Alt Right/Alt Light movements with close associations with white nationalism. It’s media wing, Campus Reform, has been used to create a campaign of fear against Khan and his family, drawing in the Alt Light media sphere with places like Breitbart.
Tariq Khan has been smeared for his campus organizing, confronting hateful, white nationalist and far-right contingents on campus. TP USA and far-right supporters began mischaracterizing Khan’s work immediately, framing him as aggressive and violent and publishing his personal information publicly. The attacks on Khan have relied on racist and Islamophobic characterizations, further targeting him because of his Pakistani ethnic background. This further builds on TP USA’s shameful use of populist Islamophobic anger, a tool that has been successful for them in drawing in angry white recruits. The public campaign against Khan and his family has reached a fever pitch, with articles and posts being sent out by people like former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. For people of wealth, power, and privilege, they are using racist attacks to brutalize a struggling teacher who is standing up against racist violence. Khan is also an Airforce veteran, something that the far-right desperately wants to ignore as they use Islamophobic slurs to create an insufferable picture of his life.
As the Campus Antifascist Network has pointed out, this campaign by the Alt Right has also turned it’s attention to the history department in which he studies.
The Department of History at UIUC has also been harassed since this incident. TPUSA/Campus Reform posted links to the department’s public website with Khan’s contact information. Khan and others in the department have since received threatening and harassing emails, including death threats, threats of physical violence, and racist and Islamophobic language. These threats were reported to the University Police by Khan and by department faculty. For his own protection, Khan has been forced to withdraw from academic spaces, even removing his email address from the department website, at the expense of future career prospects.
It is questionable whether Khan and his partner will be able to continue their studies uninterrupted, putting their dreams on hold until racists can stop making harassment their pet cause. This is disgusting, and it is not something we are going to stand by and just let happen. Khan is a respected academic and scholar, a celebrated educator, a committed student, and an amazing father and husband. We will not allow college campuses to be the killing fields for Alt Right terror, and we stand with Khan and anyone else who has been victimized by this kind of threat.
We will be standing with Tariq Khan and doing whatever is possible to support him in the organizing against this injustice.
Khan has asked three things of people to help, and we call on people to join in and give this support:
1. I need good leftist journalists to cover what is happening to me.
2. I need a lot of people to call or write in to the university’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution to respectfully but firmly demand that they drop all charges against me.
3. I need organizations to put out public statements of support for me: statements which include a) statement of support for me, b) condemnation of TPUSA and the far right’s campaign of vilification, racist harassment, and threats against me and my children, c) condemnation of the university administration’s complicity in the far right’s campaign to hurt me, and d) demand that the university drop all charges against me unconditionally.
1. The far-right fake outrage machine has been vilifying me all over the place. High profile spokesmen of the worst, most racist elements of the far right such as anti-immigration zealot Lou Dobbs, short-lived Trump White House Press Secretary Anthony Scaramucci, conspiracy peddler Alex Jones, and fascist “Proud Boy” Gavin McGinnis among others have been publicly vilifying me, and spreading TPUSA’s dishonest narrative to smear me all over the internet because of my openly anti-fascist politics.
At the same time this is all going on, the far right has mobilized its online troll army to bombard my department and university administration with demands I be harshly punished, fired, expelled, arrested, killed, etc., and when university administrators look it up to find information, there are only far-right narratives for them to refer to. The university discipline officer who is treating me as a criminal is using as his main piece of evidence a video with a TPUSA logo on it. Think about that for a moment. Further, the way the university discipline system is set up, he acts as both the prosecutor and the judge. He was thoroughly unconcerned about the fact that a TPUSA member with a known history of stalking and harassing people made a veiled threat against my children. My attorney was not allowed to represent me in the university system. The Office of Student Conflict Resolution decided I was guilty before I ever even got a chance to defend myself, and when I was making my statement to him, he cut me off before I was even a quarter of the way through to tell me he doesn’t have time for all that. In other words, I was not afforded even a fair hearing.
Despite the attacks against me from high profile mouthpieces of the far right, no high-profile counter-narrative has emerged in the media. When university administrators get these emails and calls about me from the alt right’s troll army, they look it up online and only find the far right’s narrative. There is nothing out there challenging that narrative. Not a single story. No reporter, other than a couple of shady right-wing propagandists who I won’t talk to, has even contacted me about this for a story. The result is that the right wing has control over this narrative, and that narrative is what the cowardly, narrow-minded university administrators are now treating as the truth. This has left me isolated and vulnerable to university “discipline” which could potentially make it impossible for me to qualify for funding to finish my dissertation and cut my academic career short before it has even started. I need a counter-narrative to emerge in the media. There are plenty of great leftist journalists out there who I am friends with or friends of friends with. I need you to cover this story. I need more than one of you to cover this story.
2. I need people (as individuals or as organizations) to write in respectfully but firmly to pressure the OSCR to drop all charges against me unconditionally. My labor union, the Graduate Employment Organization did this already, but one email is easy to ignore, especially when there are hundreds of emails from the far right demanding the opposite. I need as many people as possible to write to the Assistant Dean of Students and the Associate Dean of Students to let them know that the charges they have against me are unjust, and that they need to send a clear message to the “alt-right” fascist TPUSA bullies on campus and the larger right-wing outrage machine by dropping all charges against me unconditionally. Also demand they issue a public apology to me and my family (and my children who a TPUSA member threatened, which is what sparked this entire episode) for the OSCR’s complicity in carrying out TPUSA’s malicious agenda.
Assistant Dean of Students, Rony Die: firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Dean of Students, Justin Brown: email@example.com
3. I need organizations to publicly post statements of support for me. Don’t just send them to me privately. Private statement are nice and I appreciate them, but they don’t do anything to challenge the right’s very public vilification of me, which is what I need right now. Statements should include a) statement of support for me, b) condemnation of TPUSA and the far right’s campaign of vilification, racist harassment, and threats against me and my children, c) condemnation of the university administration’s complicity in the far right’s campaign to hurt me, and d) demand that the university drop all charges against me unconditionally.
I appreciate the extraordinary amount of support I have received so far in the form of donations to my legal defense fund, kind words, letters of support, and other acts of kindness. Several people have asked me what they can do to help. These three things are what I need right now. Solidarity.
– Tariq Khan
A dramatic shift in American political discourse began in 2015. This was not the emergence of white nationalism as a revolutionary political force, we have had that since the earliest “wages of whiteness.” Instead, a new form of racist popularization occurred when the Alt Right, a new branding for pseudo-intellectual American white nationalism, hit a synergy with certain points of the culture like the Trumpist populist phenomenon and the troll culture of 4Chan. The Alt Right became a buzzword for the media, an elusive movement that was bringing Millenials into “white identity” politics. After 18 months of coordinating with nativist elements in more standard American conservatism, the Alt Right’s movement culminated in their attempt to stand on their own: Unite the Right in Charlottesville.
Since their confirmation transformed into a horror film, they have been hit hard by the culture and the media infrastructure, leaving their future undecided. They have seen unprecedented growth, building on the increasing mistrust Americans have with public institutions, but questions arise about whether or not the far-right will be able to capture additional ground in 2018. Building on what we have seen over the past several years and drawing together what we know of the composition of the Alt Right and the history of insurgent fascist movements in the U.S., there are a few expectations that are clear for the Alt Right in the next year.
Difficulty Reaching the Public
What allowed the Alt Right to recruit en masse was their access to the culture through democratized web institutions. Social media and web publishing allowed them to be on the same Web 2.0 channels as major media outlets, which allowed subculture celebrity to drive their talking points. Hashtags, memes, and trolling created a style of argumentation that allowed them to Trojan Horse ethnic nationalism, all while playing to contemporary social issues and antagonism.
The openness that they have relied on is all but dead at the close of 2017. What has been termed “mass platform denial,” the banning of Alt Right figures and institutions from major web platforms, has decimated the financial and social infrastructure that Alt Right institutions like the National Policy Institute and The Right Stuff have depended on. Web hosting and archiving services, podcast hosting, financial transaction services, email design software, social media platforms, and just about every other vessel for commercial speech have been severed to them. This has forced these organizations into a corner where they are creating subpar services, like Gab or Hatreon, to sustain their stream of outreach and using pay subscription services that limits the reach of their message. While you used to find their podcasts on iTunes, popular Alt Right accounts like Ricky Vaughn on Twitter, and heavy funding coming through small donations on Patreon and PayPal, they are all but gone from the mainstream Internet. With the death of Net Neutrality and the further enforcement of Terms of Service on Twitter, they are only going to find it harder to reach out to the undecided, a problem that they share with many sectors of the left as well.
It is hard to have an Alt Right public event today. The National Policy Institute is the largest Alt Right conference in the country, taking place twice a year and often held at the publically-owned Ronald Regan building in Washington D.C. After recent clashes with antifascist protesters, Richard Spencer was booted from this location and, after being unable to find anyone else to host him, ended up hosting the conference with a fraction of his usual patrons in an unheated barn. After they figured out who Spencer was, the owners of the facility canceled the conference halfway through and banned them from the premises.
This is the world for the Alt Right now, and the only exception the have found is at public universities. Spencer has always argued for using public institutions since it is harder for them to suppress speech, and this has meant his special focus on universities. He has successfully held speeches at places like the University of Florida – Gainesville and Texas A&M, and after a successful lawsuit at Auburn University he is using the courts to force universities that deny him to allow him on campus at great cost to the student body. Spencer is currently battling with the University of Michigan to get on campus, despite mass campus walkouts and building occupations.
This level of campus focus, as well as with groups like Identity Europa who want to pull from dissident areas of college Republications, antifascist university groups like the Campus Antifascist Network have formed to do ongoing counter-organizing. This dynamic of clashes, like we saw over the last two years when figures like Spencer or Milo Yiannoupoulos appear, is almost guaranteed to continue.
Acts of Violence
There is a common dynamic to American white nationalism that is important to identify. White nationalism is unpopular on its own, so it often has to ally with slightly more moderate areas of conventional conservatism so that can mainstream its message on issues like immigration. As time goes on, the more moderate contingent of the coalition begins to turn on the radicals, blaming them for left attacks. This has happened in the past, and today this contingent is labeled the “Alt Light,” the nativist Civic Nationalists like Mike Cernovich, Lauren Southern, and Ann Coulter. The betrayals hung heavy since the election of Trump, so Unite the Right on August 12th was the Alt Right’s chance to try and stand on its own away from the more centrist counter-parts. They were defining themselves to the right, including Klansman and neo-Nazis.
When that betrayal takes place, the radicals begin acting in desperation. Their organizing isn’t working, the general public rejects their message, and the motivating issues become even more bizarre, conspiratorial, and radical their focus in on their echo chamber. It is that equation that breeds acts of “seemingly random violence,” which is acts of racial terror that could have been predicted because of the stoking of fascist thought leaders. While the leadership, including people like Richard Spencer, would decry this violence as destructive to their aims, the rhetoric and ideology itself necessitates these acts of violence. This “Lone wolf” strategy has already begun with attacks by Alt Right figures on the fringes, the most obvious of these being James Alex Fields Jr. attack on protesters that causes multiple injuries and the death of activist Heather Heyer.
Even the infighting among actual white nationalists creates further instability, a factor that is ever present in the white nationalist movement. Are Jews the prime concern? What about Muslims? What do they do with queer members? All of these create critical problems for having any unity.
There is no reason to believe that these acts of violence are in decline, and as the situation becomes more severe for the Alt Right it will likely lead to more desperate acts of cruelty. Desperation on the far-right is what motivates colossal acts of terrorism, which is both terrifyingly predictable and obvious.
The concern with predicting failures in the world of the Alt Right is that people will assume their decline and fall is assured. It is not. Instead, there is a good chance that they will be able to recover and to reap recruits and power from the ongoing racial tension and the reactionary sectors of the white working class that have been tricked to work against their own interests. Instead, we need to come back with a massive antifascist movement, one that will continue to put pressure on their public appearances and media platforms, shutting them down before they have the ability to gain power.
This is an interview with Kevin Van Meter, the author of the new book Guerrillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible. Van Meter draws on the Autonomist Marxist tradition to discuss how the concept of “everyday resistance” can inform antifascist struggle.
AFN: You have written about the fragmentary position of the left, especially the state of the labor movement and the changing tide of class consciousness and composition. What do you think left and revolutionary organizations should do now?
Kevin Van Meter: I think it is remarkable to note that the labor movement predates things like the 1886 Haymarket Massacre. It really goes back to the 1850s in the United States and Europe. It took capitalism a hundred and seventy-five years to smash the labor movement. From it’s rise and development, the formation of the American Federation of Labor, from the development of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in 1905 and its initial suppression in the 1920s. But we have never had a weaker labor movement than we have right now, and it took capitalism a fucking long time to destroy it. That is remarkable and worthy of our attention.
With that said, the activities which lead to the formation of the IWW, the rise of feminist consciousness raising collectives, of the Black Panthers, and similar formulations was the expression of prior forms of self-activity, which the left and labor in our contemporary period ignore. I make this claim in Guerillas of Desire that left organizing assumes that the people are unorganized and not resisting in their everyday lives. I think I’ve shown empirically that this assumption is unfounded. Any good union organizer is going tell you when they walk into the shop for the first time they want to see where those existing power relationships are. Who’s the trusted worker that fellow workers talk to when looking for advice? Who is taking really long bathroom breaks? Who is punching in their drunk friend? These forms of organization, communication, and resistance are already taking place.
I open Guerillas of Desire with a story about how I went on a job interview with Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known by it’s acronym ACORN. We knocked on doors to get people to sign our petition, give donations, and support legislation around getting child care. Well, it is a fundamentally different thing when you’re going around knocking on doors asking for the state to provide child care than to actually acknowledge that the people who are surviving under very difficult circumstances and are, in fact, already addressing the childcare needs in informal ways. The question should instead be about how we can assist people so that they can survive more efficiently and have a better quality of life […] from those initial methods of survival to something that’s expressed on a higher level of organization or composition. So I would argue that it’s a fundamentally different thing to demand that the state provide child care than to organize child care collectives or take existing survival methods of child care and further organize them to a higher level and then make the state pay for it. Those are not the same thing. The first is how the left behaves regularly, leading to chagrin and failure. The second is the road that is not regularly taken, to see the existing forms of self-activity and everyday resistance as the real core of effective organizing.
I’m interested in how we further struggles, how we circulate struggles, and how we understand how particular communities are surviving. Even under the horrible fucking conditions of the capitalist state and the massive deprivation of resources. So we need to understand that and to then internalize what those communities’ needs and desires actually are. Maybe they need and desire revolutionary organization or maybe they need a “survival pending revolution” programs. Who are we to decide ahead of time? Where do our needs to reproduce ourselves connect the needs for other people to reproduce themselves […] for education, for housing, for childcare, and other necessities. We also need to put the reproduction of our movements and the self-reproduction of the class on our political agenda. Those are two important questions.
AFN: How do you think the concept of “everyday resistance” applied to antifascist struggle?
KVM: I think these new antifascist formations must connect to the self-activity of the working class, and then we hear of projects like Redneck Revolt or the Bastards Motorcycle Club that argue just this. These things actually are emerging out of existing working class formations and new working-class organizations are forming. These new antifascist projects are coming out of some existing social sphere, so the question is what that sphere is. What things are taking place in our communities that could provide new approaches?
These antifascist groups are also going to have to address their own self-reproduction of their members and their own survival. If that is slush funds for legal counsel, if that is safe houses for organizers and marginalized people, if that’s creating infrastructure, those are all important. One of the lessons I learned from the “Green Scare” is the density and strength of social relationships among the thousands brought to revolutionary activities, and then the movements relationship to the larger community, is vitally important. Because you want the larger community to come to the defense of antifascist forces when they’re under attack, you need that connection. It’s one thing for someone to say they support person “X” because they’re an antifascist. It’s a totally other thing for them to say they support a particular individual, a member of their community that they know intimately. That is a different kind of social relationship. We’re going to have to consider those and I think what’s exciting about the new formulations that are coming out, like Redneck Revolt, is that they are coming out of a different social relationship and community than we often have had in the past.
I mean we have to ask ourselves what else is coming out of that community. What kind of working class needs and desires are being expressed in other ways that might not be antifascist, but are still critically important. Something simply like “survival pending revolution” programs, these could be educational projects or workplace organizing, it could be a referral service for collective houses. All kinds of projects that meet the needs of that community. Antifascist work is just one of those needs, but not the whole need. The mistake would be to only look at what’s coming out of antifascist activity and not all the needs and projects that are emerging. Other things are coming out to they might not be expressed yet, that aren’t fully formed, but still will be where the needs, activity, and consciousness of the class is at.
AFN: How do you think the broad resistance to Trump and Trumpism plays out in this context?
KVM: I think that’s also dangerous because that’s focusing on an abstract enemy instead of the kinds of struggles that are actually taking place.
We have rising rent in a lot of places. We have the eroding structure of the welfare state. People are surviving in some way, and we don’t really know what that looks like. How do we connect the needs with the projects people are creating to survive so we can further develop alternatives to capitalism? Community gardens, alternative schools, or other projects people create to just survive. And I think we need to ask some of these larger questions.
Also, and this is more theoretical, but in fact the desire to liberate and the desire to oppress are, in fact, the same desire. We have this terrible idea that “fascist bad,” “lefties good.” But there are fascistic desires that exist that circulate. For example, the anti-Semitism currently being expressed by certain sectors of the left is a fascistic desire. Anti-trans politics (i.e. TERFs) by certain sectors of the left is a fascistic desire. It’s a desire to oppress and I think what we need to ask ourselves how is the desire to liberate and the desire to oppress emerging and formulated in such a way to create different kinds of power relationships and organizational forms. I think we have to constantly ask ourselves where the desire to repress is coming from and how it is manifesting.
Below is an interview with Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It author Shane Burley discussing the Alt Right, anti-fascism, and what a mass movement looks like.
So where did the Alt Right come from?
The Alt Right really comes from a few converging political movements, both inside and outside the U.S. The real beginnings of this goes back to France in the 1960s when a number of far-right intellectuals laid the groundwork to “rebrand” fascist ideas using the language of the left. The European New Right, led by figures like Alain de Benoist and Guillume Faye, used the language of the New Left, appropriated the arguments of post-colonialist and national liberation movements, and attempted to engage in a type of “cultural struggle” as proposed by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. Their ideas really were to pick up where the German Conservative Revolutionary movement and Radical Traditionalist thinkers like Julius Evola left off and argue for a going after the culture with nationalist values. If they change the way that Europeans think about the world, and think about themselves, maybe this can allow a radical shift in politics down the line.
They argued that they were “anti-colonialist” and that white European nations had been “colonized” by forced of “globalist” capitalism and modernity. Their argument was then for “Ethnopluralism,” a sort of “nationalism for all peoples,” that could then fight the destructive elements of modern multiculturalism, internationalism, and capitalism. This approach avoided racial slurs, violent white nationalist politics, and the baggage of fascist political parties, and really laid a heavy intellectual groundwork for a new generation of fascists who wanted to appear as academics rather than Klansman.
The next is really paleoconservatism, a sort of far-right American conservatism that defined itself in opposition to the hawkish foreign policy of the neoconservatives that were coming into power inside the GOP in the 1980s. They saw themselves as a part of the “Old Right,” which was likely a fantasy rather than a reality, which was isolationist, traditional, and America First. The paleocons were aggressively conservative on social issues, especially in reaction to queer rights and the AIDs crisis of the 1980s, and were reactionary on racial issues. Pat Buchanan was the best known of these figures, though he was moderate by their standards.
The third real key element to the Alt Right is old fashioned white nationalism. The white supremacist movement in the U.S., rebranded in the 1990s as white nationalism, has a train going back to the early part of the century as it had to define its ideas as the rest of the world was leaving vulgar racialism behind. Many of the major Alt Right institutions, such as American Renaissance, VDare, and the Council of Conservative Citizens, trace back to years of white nationalism past. The difference with the Alt Right was really one of tone and class rather than ideas. There has always been a suit and tie contingent inside American white nationalism, but the Alt Right wanted to scrape the top of that intellectual layer off and crystalize it. The ideas were not much different, but they wanted to make sure that it would mimic radical movements on the left that have huge depth inside the academy.
The Alt Right, really then the Alternative Right, was a concept created by Richard Spencer with a web zine of the same name in 2010. He wanted to capture an energy he found while working at the paleoconservative magazine Taki’s Mag that was coalescing around different schools of thought. The European New Right had largely not had major texts translated into English, but they were starting to make their way over, and that was a huge foundational set of ideas for the Alt Right. Against modern conservatism, capitalism, Judeo-Christianity, and Americanism, it instead wanted an elitist, traditionalist, and aristocratic right. It broke with American conservatism, which was still founded in enlightenment values, and was open that it believed race was real, identity was fixed, and human beings were not equal. Paleoconservatism had been considered the edge of mainstream conservatism for years, so that is where a large amount of the its founding energy came from. It was white nationalism of America that ended up giving it its focus on race and its aggressive tone, which then allowed it to merge with the troll culture found on places like 4Chan and the Men’s Rights Movement.
From that cauldron it created its own synthesis, a more academic foundation for its racism, an aggressive revolutionary aspect from white nationalism, and the communities and connections from paleoconservatism.
What is the ‘Alt Light’ then?
The Alt Light is the sphere of slightly more moderate right-wing people that surround the Alt Right, giving them cover and helping to mainstream their ideas.
Fascism has always required a bridge to the mainstream. Even inside the GOP, open white nationalism is not going to bring a ton of converts on its own, it needs to have a stop over point if their ideas will have currency with the beltway. Political movements have done this in years past, whether it was the Goldwater campaign, pro-Segregationists in the 1960s, or paleoconservatism in the 1980s-90s.
Today, the battle is more cultural than traditionally political, just as the European New Right had always wanted. The ideas and community were also forged online, so it would make sense if it was online cultural figures ranting on social media rather than fringe politicians.
The most obvious of the Alt Light was Breitbart and, now, Rebel Media. Milo Yiannoupoulos was the first to really champion the Alt Right’s ideas without committing to open white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and anti-egalitarianism. Later it would be Gavin Mcinnis and his Proud Boys, Lauren Southern, Alex Jones and the conspiracy and patriot crowd, or anti-immigrant nutjobs like Anne Coulter. The “free speech” rallies have been this in the physical world, as have many patriot militia types.
The main point is that they are often “civic nationalists” rather than racial ones: they are simply more inclusive in their authoritarian nationalism. This means, though, that the Alt Right and the Alt Light won’t agree on some of the really big questions like race and eugenics. In that way, the Alt Light, like any of these more moderate crossover movements, are built to betray their more radical counter-parts. In the end, Milo refused to really endorse the Alt Right’s racialism, the same with figures like Laura Loomer, and, therefore, they were unable to continue the relationship. This is a very traditional process as well. The more moderate folks who were helping to mainstream the white nationalists eventually betray them and leave them behind. And the alienation that those nationalists feel during this process is often what leads to desperate acts of violence.
Is it this process of marginalization that is leading to acts of Alt Right violence? Is this violence going to increase?
It is hard to say definitively that the violence of the Alt Right is going to escalate, but the pattern is pretty well established. Right now it appears as if acts of organized violence from Alt Right and white supremacist groups is increasing, especially in the wake of the “free speech” confrontations with antifascist groups and with the debacle at Charlottesville, and that violence is turning bloody. At the same time, acts of “seemingly random violence” are increasing, with the murder of Heather Heyer just being a recent example.
This process of white supremacist terrorism, which often plays out as “seemingly random violence,” is often less random than it appears. In the 1980s, after decades of failure to meettheir objectives, many insurrectionary white supremacists took to the strategies of “lone wolf” terrorism and “leaderless resistance.” These eschewed more formal revolutionary organizations for random acts of violence that were intended to have a “propaganda of the deed” effect on the white working class. They believed that these acts would spark “racial consciousness” in white people and create a race war. In periods when more conventional organizing, both community organizing and political organizing, fail to show white nationalists any results, these attacks increase exponentially. These are also mixed with the increase of violent street formations, which in years past included KKK and skinhead projects and today look more like the Proud Boys and Vanguard America.
With the massive platform denial that the Alt Right has faced since Charlottesville and the growth of a mass antifascist movement, this is largely where the Alt Right is at. Desperation, failure, and the inability to meaningfully organize leads to increased acts of violence. While the Alt Right has been hit very hard in the last few months, it isn’t gone, and its acolytes will likely turn towards violence before they simply disappear.
Antifascist organizing has seen a massive explosion with a whole number of organizations and types of projects out there. What kind of work should someone do who is just now wanting to get involved?
This really depends on who they are, where they are, and what they want to do. The honest truth is that we always want novelty in times of crisis, and there is certainly some room for that, but this is also a good opportunity to re-establish and re-enforce the organizations that have been doing this work for years. Many organizations go back more than a decade and have a great handle on antifascist praxis, from how to handle neo-Nazis taking space to doxxing and reporting detailed information to even drawing together mass coalitions. The first real step would be to look at those organizations that have a track record in doing the work and see if that is something you can connect with. This is doubly important given the very real material threat that white nationalists offer to people’s safety. Not only are they targeting marginalized communities, but they are going after those that dare to stand up to their growth, and they often target individuals and make examples of them. This means that it is important to not behave recklessly or go off half cocked, and instead work with organizers who are experienced, know how to do the work, and give it the care and respect it deserves.
The other thing would be to look at what skills and resources you bring to organizing work, and what type of organizing and projects you can fit into your life. I don’t offer this line as a way of providing an “out” to the actual organizing work, it requires organized coordination in formalized groups that are going to do the not-always-fun organizing work, but it is important to make sure that you are able to continue contributing over time. It is not uncommon to find activist projects that explode with excitement only to peter out months down the line when those doing much of the work find that it is unsustainable in the way planned. Instead, find a pace and commitment you can sustain over time because continued involved over longer periods is always going to be most effective.
I would also caution against putting too much faith in large electoral or reformist movements, they often fail to deliver the kind of movement building or direct action necessary for antifascist work. Instead, it may be good to look at organizations that have a deeper foundation in their analysis, that look at the ways that capitalism and white supremacy feed and necessitate insurrectionary fascist movements. We are not going to Democrat our way out of the rise of populism and white nationalism, and instead we are going to need to have much deeper solutions. This will also require looking towards community defense as the Alt Right and neo-Nazis pose a threat of violence. Plainly put, they are out there murdering people, and if we do not organize to stop them then this will only increase.
When did white nationalism first come on your radar? This isn’t exactly a new thing.
No, it’s not, it really has been one of the most consistent features of the white supremacist institutions of the U.S. It is really one of the ways that the system of racial injustice gets its sharp teeth. In the segregation-era South, it was insurrectionary groups like the Ku Klux Klan that helped reinforce the system through the extralegal violence of lynchings. Technically not state sanctioned, but encouraged and socially condoned anyway. White nationalism has also always existed as the sort of violent reclamation of privilege. In times of crisis, rather than choosing to target the white supremacy that enforces worker subjugation, they scramble after lost privilege and attack people of color. This violence is a consistent feature of the way white supremacy works in late capitalism, reinforcing itself repeatedly.
I began looking at what was then called the AlternativeRight.com in 2011 when famous Holocaust Denier David Irving was touring through upstate New York, where I was living at the time. When doing research I ran across a podcast that was covering different far-right figures, and the interviewer had a certain way of speaking that seemed as though it could catch on at some point. That was Richard Spencer, then editing his webzine AlternativeRight.com and hosting a podcast called Vanguard Radio. From there he sort of lingered in the background through 2014, seeing increased opposition internationally and even in his then home of Whitefish, Montana. It wasn’t really until 2015, though, that the huge Internet cadre going under #AltRight came forward, and his movement got energy beyond their quiet conferences and academically-toned articles.
How have antifacists been approaching the rise of the Alt Right? What has been different or successful in the last couple of years?
Honestly, they have been getting shut down everywhere.
The Alt Right, for years, focused on an academic demeanor. Their move towards what they call “IRL [In Real Life] activism” is pretty recent. So one of the main sites of struggle was things like their public conferences, especially from the National Policy Institute and American Renaissance. Organizations like the One People’s Project has made it a focus to confront those conferences for years before the term Alt Right was commonly known, they even got the American Renaissance conference shut down in 2010 and 2011. The National Policy Institute conference has also been a site of growing protests, with attendants photographed and doxxed regularly. This has created such an issue that Richard Spencer, who runs NPI, was unable to even get the same public venue this year as he had for the past several. Instead they had to cram into an unheated barn whose owners booted them when they realized who they were.
One place that has become an increasing location of conflict is on college campuses. Groups like Identity Europa have honed on college recruitment, and “crossover” groups, who we often call Alt Light, like Turning Point or many Trumpist College Republican groups, have acted as a trojan horse for Alt Right ideas and members. So antifascist campus groups have grown heavily, and flashpoints like the appearance of Milo or “free speech” rallies have seen huge battles. Richard spencer wants to focus on public universities since they are more indebted to support his “free speech,” which means they will use hundreds of thousands of dollars of public subsidies and student tuition funds to pay for security if he appears. The Alt Right is also about “cultural struggle,” the Gramscian battle to change the culture to make it more palatable for their influence. All of this means that the college campus if very important and a main focus for them.
This has inspired a massive growth in college campus centered groups that are challenging them. The Southern Poverty Law Center, known for its lawsuits that have crippled white supremacist organizations and for its detailed reporting on hate groups, has moved in the direction of campus organizing. Their Columbia University chapter has taken on speeches by Mike Cernovich and the founder of the European Defense League, along with the Liberation Collective.
The Campus Antifascist Network is another huge example, growing really quickly since its announced formation only in August. They have been taking on huge challenges, defending professors threatened by fascists, confronting events by Milo and other speakers, basically responding to Alt Right organizing on campus.
The success of different projects has really been from the willingness to do the hard organizing work, to commit to high quality research and journalism work, and to build connections with a real world presence. The organizations that are successful are not just avoiding interacting with fascists, they are getting into the middle of things. Here in Portland, groups like Rose City Antifa, the Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective, the Unite Against Hate coalition, the Rural Organizing Project, among others, really have come together to challenge the space occupied by far-right outfits like Patriot Prayer, who have basically protected explicit white nationalist groups. They challenge them directly, often with thousands of people in tow.
The increase of the far-right’s “free speech” rallies, which were happening in notably liberal cities simply to get a reaction, saw an increase in this battle over space. In Boston, directly after Charlottesville, a similar event sponsored by Proud Boys brought out 40,000 people in response. This did not just go to another area of the city, but came directly to the space that the fascists hoped to hold. The Alt Right’s event was effectively canceled by this, and then they continued the march, growing the community presence, reaching out to affected communities and people interested in organizing, and creating a strong and vibrant set of alliances.
Groups like the IWW’s General Defense Committee have used this mass movement antifascist approach, working in plain sight and building a mass movement with the community while refusing to allow white nationalists to have space. Redneck Revolt has done similar work in more rural areas, trying to connect with the people that would be the recruiting base for “Patriot” militias. Groups across the gamut, from non-profits like the SPLC, the Rural Organizing Project, and the Montana Human Rights Network, to militant antifascist groups, have all stepped up a presence to create long-term organizing solutions that don’t see each incident as a one-off affair.
It is hard to overstate just how bad the Alt Right is at actual organizing work, they birthed their ideas out of chatter not action, but without an organized opposition they will find a way.
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.
1 injury on our side
3 arrests on the fash side
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.
The Traditionalist Youth Network and their leader Matthew Heimbach’s attempt to fundraise on their massive loss in Sacramento has been shut down by a massive show of pressure by anti-racist community organizers.
The Traditionalist Youth Network and their political wing, the Traditionalist Workers Party, linked up with neo-Nazi skinheads and KKK members throughout California to have their rally against multiculturalism in Sacramento. TradYouth, which often tries to act as a working-class oriented Alt Right organization, likes to mask its fascist ideological roots. This rarely works since it shares members with the Golden State Skinheads and Sac City Skinheads as well as various neo-Nazi and Klan groups.
The event was shut down when hundreds of anti-fascist protesters arrived, canceling down their event before it happened, forcing their permit to be voided, battling them out in the open in a large street action, and chased the NAzis out of the park. In response, TradYouth started stabbing people.
Afterwards, TradYouth claimed “victory” even though their event was shut down and they were publicly beaten and humiliated. They then continued to fundraise through PayPal, asking supporters to give money to the Traditionalist Youth Network LLC. This fundraising effort was shared on neo-Nazi and Alt Right websites while they went on social media calling their members “Spartans” who went up against Antifa.
On Tuesday, TradYouth announced that they had their account blocked and were unable to receive donations. When someone attempts to use their fundraising link a warning comes up and lists that the recipient was unable to receive payments.
This is a major victory, one that follows the strong showing of community power this last Sunday. Cutting off their line of funds is an important part of stopping the violence that they spread and their attempts to threaten and intimidate communities of color.
After the Traditionalist Youth Network, Traditionalist Workers Party, the Golden State Skinheads, and various KKK members and neo-Nazis rallied in front of the California Capitol Building on Sunday, the anti-fascists in the crowd swarmed them in ways they couldn’t have imagined. Before they were even confronted directly, one of the Nazis stabbed an elderly woman who was doing nothing more than yelling. As they were shut down and had their members humiliated, they began stabbing anti-fascist protesters, sending several to the hospital.
Even though their members almost all left broken and bruised, and their meeting was not allowed to happen, the Traditionalist Youth Network are continuing to “claim victory” for stabbing people. Matthew Heimbach, their leader, often prided himself on “fighting fair,” yet this act of stabbing protesters and then hiding is one of the most shameful in their sordid history.
Using this rhetoric, the Traditionalist Workers Party/Traditionalist Youth Network is using this act of putrid disgrace to fundraise for their nationalist aims. Alleging, still, that they are a “peaceful” ethnic nationalism, TradYouth is asking that supporters use this opportunity to send money to their PayPal account.
We delivered the message we intended to deliver today; We will not be intimidated. We will not stand down. Our event was a victory by all metrics. We won the physical fight. We provoked the leftists into showing their true colors. The national media story about our event is becoming a conversation about how our attempt to peacefully demonstrate was viciously attacked by the leftist mob.
Christians, pagans, and skeptics marched as one today, fighting and winning as one. Workers of all professions battled side-by-side. High school dropouts and the college educated stood their ground against what was the single greatest show of anti-white force ever organized in America…and won! Today was not only a victory against the forces of the Left who wish to exterminate our people, but against the voices on the Right who would divide our cause up by religion, class, and background.
No clever “metapolitics” can work around the fact that our enemies want us dead. While blog posts and social media debates are excellent work for our cause, they’re not a replacement for men who are willing to risk injury or even death to guarantee that our message is heard and our voices are not silenced or marginalized. I was not out there today and neither was Matthew Heimbach. We fully trusted the leadership of our California chapter and GSS to host a successful event, and they succeeded against staggering odds. We all owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.
But we also owe them a real financial debt, as well.
The fact that PayPal is still allowing them to do business, even though they are technically an LLC, is surprising. PayPal has shut down funding to a number of nationalist organizations, such as the Daily Shoah podcast and National Youth Front, the organization that was later rebranded by Nathan Damigo as Identity Europa. Neither of those groups, as disgraceful as they are, have ever engaged in the type of racist violence that Trad Youth has now displayed, yet Matthew Heimbach is continuing to raise money using PayPal.
The Donation link on their page takes you to pay directly to the Traditionalist Youth Network, LLC, which does not have the protections of a non-profit organization. It is time to let PayPal know that Trad Youth is using their service to fund a violent terrorist movement, one that stabs protesters when their event gets shut down.
We need to contact PayPal’s Customer Service center collectively and let them know that a violent neo-Nazi organization, which is easily provable with public information, is trying to use PayPal to raise money. You can either email the report in at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can go to their Customer Service center here to do a direct email or a phone call. We recommend doing both if you have the time.
When looking back at the event, it is delusional that they are claiming victory today. They were not able to recruit, almost all of their organizers were chased out with force, and they were made to look like the degenerate fools that they are. This is attempt at spin will not work simply because the KKK and neo-Nazis skinheads have so destroyed any public media game they could have had with their persistent and cartoonish violent racism.
What the action in Sacramento really displays is that anti-fascists are growing in numbers and increasing in militancy. This has come in response to the growing threat the Alt Right and the rest of the neo-fascist movement presents, and is one that has to be shut down at every chance.
If sending an email, feel free to send along a link to some of the articles below to give them a better idea of who this group is and what they have done.