Tag Archives: Antifa

Introducing Haymaker, Chicago’s New Anti-Fascist Gym

The growth of explicitly anti-fascist organization has been massive, with people entering into, and creating new, organizations all around the country to confront the rise of the Alt Right and white nationalism in Trump’s America.  Many organizations taking up the Antifa mantle are using direct confrontation with fascists, meaning that they may need to defend themselves and their communities from racist attacks.
With this in mind a new gym named Haymaker, a place for “popular fitness and self-defense,” has been formed.  We spoke with the founders of this gym to ask a few questions about why it was formed and what function it will serve to the community.
Why does a gym like this need to exist?
An anti-fascist, anti-sexist, and anti-racist martial arts gym will provide needed self-defense training for those most at risk of not only far right violence on the street, but also patriarchal violence in the home. Physical training is a crucial and often neglected component of anarchist practice. We believe that fostering material resistance starts with the most intimate of material forces – our bodies. We grow our potential as we learn what our bodies are capable of doing together. Revolutionary movements around the world have made use of the solidarity and strength that physical training fosters, but there are few, if any, political gyms across the so-called United States. Haymaker will be the first explicitly antifascist gym in Chicago offering free, donation-based expert martial arts training. This gym needs to exist so that when we encounter fascists in the streets, or patriarchs in the home, we have the capacity to respond in whatever way we deem necessary.
What threat are you seeing to the community?
With sadness in our hearts, and the passion for insurrection in our fists, we recognize a sharp spike in far-right violence in Chicago. Since 2016, there has been a 20% rise in hate crimes throughout the city, marking a 5-year high. There has also been a sharp decline in flights from Mexico to O’Hare reflecting fears the Latinx community is facing in the face of Trump’s Amerikkka. Since Trump’s election, Identity Evropa has been openly fliering campuses, and anti-Semitic propaganda has crept onto campus posterboards. A synagogue in downtown Chicago had a window smashed and swastikas drawn on the door, and a Jewish day school was forced to evacuate after a bomb threat was called on it. But beyond the spectacular rise in authoritarian and white-supremacist violence, we also recognize the less public but nonetheless ongoing reality of intimate partner violence against Chicago women, and in particular black women, who are four times more likely women of other races to die at the hands of a (current/former) boyfriend. Building a political force capable of fighting back means confronting the violence in public and private spaces. Currently, southwest Chicago does not contain a single martial arts gym and houses only one boxing gym. And yet this area is home to many affected by the immigration problems and hate crimes that have steadily risen beneath the Trump administration. We want to strengthen community while strengthening our ability to respond to fascistic and patriarchal violence we see taking place at ever-increasing rates in our neighborhoods.
How can anti-fascists effectively organize against fascist threats locally?
We believe that this project represents one avenue toward which collective antifascist power can be built. We envision a space where people from all walks of life and antifascist political orientations can converge and become powerful together. Many of the organizers involved in Haymaker believe that anti-fascism must move beyond simply reactive attacks to fascist mobilization, and pose new ways of living and fighting together that prefigure the liberated society we dream of building. In other words, anti-fascism means organizing a new way of life, one we hope a space for cultivating fitness and bodily power will help bring about. 
We want anti-fascism to be a political position that is open to a large number of participants – as such, we do not separate anti-fascism from anti-sexism or anti-racism. We see the gym as a practical way in which anarchist antifascists can open a window for sympathetic people from other places in the city to meet and join together against those who would see us dead. We all have a lot of work to do and we want to continue to find one another, strengthen one another, and build networks of mutual aid and support to weather these storms. Perhaps we will not only fight, but come out better for having struggled with and for one another. Perhaps we will not only make a life from within the ruins, but create a new world. Perhaps we will not only survive, but win
How can people join the gym, get involved?
  
Please donate to the campaign and share it in your networks! We recognize that this project is local to Chicago, but we appeal to political solidarity that refuses the limits of borders. We hope this project will resonate with others and encourage folks across the US to start training their bodies for the fight already underway. We especially welcome inquiries and emails from those in the Chicagoland area who would like to get involved with the project!
You can find us at: Haymakerchi@riseup.net
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Into the Fire: A Report Back from the Huntington Beach Antifascist Clash With Trump Rally

This is a report-back from an anonymous member of the resistance to the Make America Great Again pro-Trump march at Huntington Beach, California, on March 25th.

11 am – Myself and four other communists walked along the bolsa chica bike path to meet up with our anarchist and Antifa comrades. The Facebook event showed at least 100 signed up to attend the counter demonstration, there were barely 20 in total. There was an anarchist book fair that may have drawn people away, but this is unconfirmed. As far as I could tell there were three factions making up the black bloc that day: my comrades, two separate groups of Antifa for a total of 10 and the organizer and a few of his people who identified themselves as socialist party members. They chose not to join the black bloc. None of us had met prior, there was no knowledge of who was local and who was not. My comrades and I tried to lead chants with bullhorns to embolden our side. Within our small numbers were many inexperienced, nonmilitants. With each group acting separately, there was no tactical consensus.

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The person in the left is wearing a Hammerskin Nations patch (two hammers), which is the largest skinhead gang in the country.  He is openly wearing these symbols at the Trump event.

12 pm – The organizer planned on forming a wall to deter the trump supporters, but our small numbers made that an ineffective choice. When the trump supporters began to march, we realized there were at least 1,000 of them and only a handful of us. The organizers decision to go ahead with the original plan in absence of any backup plan showed inexperience and unwillingness to assess the situation at hand. We were overrun and facing violence. We did not use physical violence as a means of provocation, but as a means of self defense. The trump supporters were emboldened by their numbers and felt comfortable attacking us in absence of initial provocation. Our comrades were punched, kicked, and tackled by the trump supporters. It was a difficult spot to be in, because we knew that if we retaliated we would be putting our lives at risk due to the sheer number of trump supporters looking for fights. Most of us did not engage the trump supporters, but our comrade who was beaten did not have this luxury. After she was beaten, the police placed her under arrest. Three Antifa were arrested, two released without charge and one released on bail. No arrests were made of Trump supporters.

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1 pm – This went on for over an hour before the majority of trump supporters left. The ones that remained were far more violent. The 7 black bloc that were left were armed only with small tasers and pepper spray. Some trump supporters were spotted with brass knuckles and knives. The symbols that we identified were the crossed hammers and Reichskriegsflagge, both used by white supremacists. We were still outnumbered and in even more danger than before. We decided to leave as quickly and quietly as possible, but we were followed and chased by two skinheads and a group of at least 20 trump supporters. There’s no doubt in my mind that they wanted us dead and the police had no interest in the situation. Those of us who were left were picked up at an undisclosed location and made it out relatively unscathed. Thoughts and reflections – This counter demonstration was poorly planned and ill executed. The only ones who showed any discipline or militancy were the two groups of Antifa and my comrades. Without greater numbers and coordination, we were immobilized and disarmed. Without an alternate plan of action, we were divided and that allowed the Trump supporters to beat on us without constraint. A call for unity is absolutely necessary to achieve any measure of success. In other instances Antifa has been successful in demoralizing the fascist right wing. As far as I can see, southern California lacks the organization and discipline that other Antifa groups exude.

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Anti-Fascist Overwhelm Nazis at Harrisburg Anti-Diversity Rally [VIDEOS]

On Saturday, November 5th, the Pennsylvania capital of Harrisberg had about 50 neo-Nazis from the National Socialist Movement descend on it for a planned rally.  This bi-annual “Rally Against Diversity” was one of the ways that the NSM attempts to show their presence in the state.  As expected, the 50 Nazis had their Confederate flags overwhelmed by over 200 anti-fascist counter protesters.

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In opposition to the NSM action another “Speak Up for Unity” rally was held from 2 to 4 p.m. at Harrisburg High School Auditorium.  This brought hundreds out, yet away from direct confrontation with the NSM.  The police had well prepared for counter protesters as they defended the Nazis with barricades, bringing in extra officers to ensure that no violent confrontations occurred.  It was clear that there was a strong sense that the police had protected the Nazis while refusing to side with the anti-racist community members present.

Despite the police presence their were brief scuffles between Nazis and anti-fascist protesters, who were overwhelming the racist contingent.  So far there are no reports about if there were any injuries, to Nazis or to anti-fascist counter protesters.

A number of organizations had committed to joining the anti-fascist contingent, including the Black Rose / Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation and various Antifa organizations.

Run the Nazis Out of HBG from Auntie Fa on Vimeo.

Photos from Diane Sandberg, Photojournalist

Voice and the Voiceless: What Does “No Platform” Mean in the Donald Trump Saturated Media?

The media loves a good scandal.  Hell, we do too.

Over the months, as the Donald Trump campaign has shifted from bumbling loudspeaker-style racist quips to copy-and-paste fascist political programs, the media response has moved from mockery, to horror, and, finally, to click-bait.  Trump’s campaign has rode this wave, which was a “shock/response” model, and the left-leaning media outlets that use a social media business model have been central to its ability to spread through the culture.  The “outrage machine” has been very real in that, from identifying a room full of Jewish Republicans as “deal makers” to banning and registering Muslims, his politics have only made their way up the ladder of offense and guttural bigotry.  The echo chamber, which has led his message and created the offense-racket that has made him popular with reactionary sectors of middle America, has been driven by this, and it has given his voice the kind of reach that he simply couldn’t have achieved with his own appearances and the standard political news machine.

Trump himself has created an entire media model of exploiting the disbelief in leftist coverage, but he has also been the gate-keeper to mainstreaming an entire narrative that has been developed over the last five years in the annals of web forums and news sites.  The Alternative Right, Neoreaction, Dark Enlightenment, and all the other variants of internet-focused and pseudo-academic neo-fascism has been developing a new language for speaking and “critiquing” society that breaks from the two sided coin of neo-Nazis and the Klan.  Now they return to race and IQ talking points, critiques of contemporary democracy, attacks on the idea of equality, rejection of modernity, and a range of other simple ideas repackaged in the aesthetics of Continental Philosophy.  Backed by the ideas of European New Right intellectuals, much of this resurrects previously fringe ideologues like Julius Evola or the Conservative Revolution, looking to build a strictly hierarchical society and the idea of ethnically defined societies.  This is not the posturing that Donald Trump has gained his popularity on, but it is much of the long-term vision that his seemingly casual comments have as their end game.  Just as there are “dog whistle” words that use economic rhetoric to signal racial tensions, neo-fascist supporters hope that his reactionary remarks are a “dog whistle” to an open fascist political program.

What the “Donald Trump phenomenon” has done, even more than just Trump himself, is to open the door to the voices of this reactionary movement in that they have a direct lineage between the two.  Buzzfeed began publicizing the use of “alt right” as a hashtag on Twitter, which has been used for years up to this point, giving extended interviews to people like Richard Spencer, RamZPaul, and Jared Taylor.  Rosie Gray, the Buzzfeed reporter who did the article on white nationalism and the Trump campaign, got pulled into an even more difficult situation when RamZPaul gave one condition to doing the interview: that he could film and broadcast it.  What resulted is another one of Paul’s well-known videos, this time where he talks to an understandably timid Gray over an iPhone speaker.  While Paul’s rhetoric in the video is confusing and rambling, it still gave him the perfect opportunity to actually draw some of the Buzzfeed crowd to an unedited piece of his own racial nationalist script.

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Richard Spencer got extended time in Vice’s recent “We Asked a White Supremacist What He Thinks About Donald Trump,” which followed a similarly vapid premise as their “We Asked a Fascism Expert About Trump.”  Here, again, Spencer’s ideas were given an open platform, not because he is an expert on the Trump campaign, but simply because his politics have now become a relevant part of the discourse.  Spencer was additionally interviewed in the New York Times for an article that placed him alongside David Duke and Stormfront founder Don Black, which angered him enough to do a response on the Radix Journal website going through the references to him point by point and discussing how he was misrepresented.  This shows a particular character of these internet-focused racialists, who exist in word vomit where they constantly have to ramble at length and can never give up the last word.

These articles are small snippets of dozens of articles in recent months that have shown that white nationalists from David Duke to the Traditionalist Youth Network’s Matthew Heimbach.  When interviewed, all parties are allowed a platform to explain very clearly their key points, why we should support trump, and what kind of vision they hold.

The problematic nature of this coverage often comes directly from its intention to reveal something very real about the Trump phenomenon and its growing far-right affiliations.  What these articles are intending to show is that Trump is, first, associated with these types of characters and, by association, tarnish his name.  But this does not end up being a straight line since, as much of the neo-fascist rebranding has done purposefully, the alt right bloggers are often prepared to muddy the discussion so as to avoid conventional critiques of white supremacist politics.  Reports in places like Gawker and Alternet are then not prepared to counter them, instead simply offering them an open platform that they could never have dreamed of on their own sites.  The intended effect, for these people to hang themselves on their own words, is often ineffective.

The issue that liberal anti-racist activists often clash with radical anti-fascists over is free speech.  The liberal notion of free speech is to defend even the most vile and erroneous forms, which, in essence, the protections are there for.  Antifa organizers then have to propose a counter view, which is not to actually argue for state intervention to criminalize certain forms of speech, but instead to mobilize direct action to stop it cold.  The distinction here is based around the use of the state and whether or not empowering its infrastructure will have a long-term positive effect.  When the organs of political power shift they could very easily use the same rhetoric and repression used in hate speech laws against us on the radical left, and it is also less than appropriate to further empower a state that is designed to maintain capital and ruling class interests.  The “no platform” concept in Antifa organizing is to show the community’s resistance to all the methods by which fascist organizing attempts to gain a foothold.  The direct result of every racialist project is violence, inequality, and authoritarianism, either politically or socially, and therefore stopping it at the root is critical.  People are free to have any ideas they want, but we are also free to mobilize to stop violence and oppression from becoming an unstoppable wave in our community.

It is difficult, then, to figure out exactly what “no platform” will always mean.  An example of this difficulty is with someone like American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor.  Taylor has made a name for himself arguing points on the fringes of acceptable discourse, such as concepts like racial difference in IQ, racial disparity in crime, and the “inherent” problems and conflicts in multicultural diversity.  Taylor then uses any oppottunity, whether it is being brought by controversial student groups to campuses or going on liberal talk shows that use him as an oddity, to pitch his well choreographed lines.  His discourse is not meant to outline a clear point, it is to inspire doubt in the listeners.  People are generally not up on all the ways that race and IQ correlations have been disproven, or the very well documented explanations for racial disparity in the judicial system.  Taylor then uses this as a break through opportunity to then shift a small segment of the viewers into their whole world of “research,” explanations, and narratives.

This presents a conflict, which is often seen in how people respond to him.  One could be to simply ignore his work, refuse to debate or comment on it lest actually give it more exposure.  This has been successfully done in many Holocaust Denial situations, which is the pattern offered up by people like Deborah Lipstadt and in her book, Denying the Holocaust.  This is often the best course of action, but what if the ideas are already starting to spread because an effective counter to them has not been made?  This is often while people like Michael Shermer from Skeptic Magazine debated Mark Weber from the Holocaust denying Institute for Historical Review, or when anti-racist author Tim Wise has debated Jared Taylor on several instances.  The concept here is that the ideas actually are beginning to grow as the only available narrative is the one provided by the fascist right, and it is important to expose and disprove them.

The answer is actually situational, but if a “debate” or disproval of sorts is going to be in effect, the people have to be prepared to do it.  It is not that Jared Taylor is an expert on the sociology of race or intelligence and genetics, in fact he consistently embarrasses himself anytime he moves beyond platitudes to try and actually discuss these topics, but he is completely prepared to debate in sound bites.  This is really the entire front edge of the racialist movement, especially in the U.S., which means that those who are attempting to engage them as a means of attack have to be prepared to effectively counter their stylized argumentation.  Instead, Buzzfeed and related outlets, who clearly believe that exposure will generally lead to enlightened society expelling the Nazis, have not done due diligence and instead are providing them a platform completely open and uncontested.

The second real purpose, at least from an activist standpoint, would be to educate people about these movements and ideas so as to effectively understand and resist them.  This, again, has been a problem for reasons that parallel our own, yet miss the mark.  The conversations with Richard Spencer in the New York  Times, Vice, Buzzfeed, and CBS are especially telling examples of this.  He was allowed to put out points of propaganda, very attractive soundbites that are how he thinks people should first engage with his ideas.  They did not, however, actually deconstruct those ideas, provide much history, correctly correlate them to their more obvious neo-Nazi counterparts, and discuss what the real threat of them are.  This comes, partially, because they do not care what the details are because he is a racist and that is good enough.  On a certain level, we certainly agree.  Fascists of all stripes think that their specific narratives and sub-ideologies are incredibly important and unique.  In reality, to us and for our purposes, they are all really just branches of fascism, an ideology of nationalism, inequality, and anti-democracy.  The problem is, however, that we still have to understand them to effectively counter organize, and even to just have a better understanding of philosophy and politics.  In this way, we are provided with literally nothing by these articles, which instead provide a platform for fascist organizers while providing us no useful information and engaging in no concrete refutation.

Publicity of any sort can be useful to a fascist fringe, yet it can be on us to continue to create a strong counter narrative.  In a certain sense, Donald Trump has actually done this by boiling down the “alt right’s” pseudo-academic drivel to offensive racial sound bites.  Creating a strong counter-narrative is the real work that people on the radical left can do in this regard as the mainstream media can and will do what it knows and not what is best suited to anti-racist struggle.  This means confronting claims directly, continuing to be open about about the how and why of revolutionary projects, and shutting down public organizing and presence of the radical right in every available opportunity.

Trump and the Alt Right echo chamber provides us with a couple of opportunities, the primary one being the ability to counter organize and openly refute the outright lies.  If we cannot expect conventional media outlets to do this effectively, the torch is passed to us, though this can be done without providing any additional power to the voice of the racists.  The greatest weapon against their reactionary ideas of race and social divisions is to actually uproot white supremacy in our communities, and this is a project that goes far beyond the fascist framing.  As we grow anti-racist struggle, their voices will become angrier, yet we will continue to set the narrative agenda.  When Donald Trump makes claims about undocumented peoples, it provides an opportunity to undermine that false narrative and to organize a movement to stand with immigrant rights no matter who the opposition is.

When thinking further about “no platform,” the most important lesson to take into media and propaganda is to not let the racialist fringe set the conversation.  Anti-fascists around the world are growing alongside the opposition, and we can together make confronting racial oppression a priority and not just a response to the reactionaries.  Avoid sharing their lines, do not link to their blogs, block their Tweets, and generally make unavailable their rantings, while also confronting any of the lies and memes that they are successfully getting into the general culture.  It is by walking this line that we are able to undercut the only power they have while eliminating any crossover points they have.

The media is going to continue to use white nationalists as an oddity, but if we know how to approach these daily case studies we can use it to continue to silence and step over their violent impulses.

Why We Delete The Comments of Racists and Neo-Nazis

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We have an interesting readership over here.

Anti-fascist and anti-racist organizers are regularly interacting with us here, sharing news stories that are relevant, as well as things like fundraising projects.  This is a great way of meeting anti-fascist organizers internationally who are doing amazing work that we are proud to be associated with.

Then there are the other readers.

We have been regularly linked to by radical right-wing publications like The Right Stuff, The Daily Shoah, and Attack the System.  Through this, we have gotten a stream of comments, well several hundred, that are just blatant retreads of the racist vile that they enjoy over at their HBD comments threads and  Dark Enlightenment message boards.  We are regularly accused of being “cultural Marxists,” a term that no one uses but them to describe something that doesn’t exist.  We often get notes from email addresses like FuckOff@Youreakike.com.  On a daily basis we get entire thesis’, often running several pages long, that go into bizarre conspiracy theories about Jews, explaining how we have an obligation to publish that people of color are “degenerate,” and obscure blogs that outline bizarre readings of evolutionary science.  Plainly put: we get traffic, ever day, on a pretty huge scale, of fringe wing nuts and racists.

The most common claim though, after they notice their comment never appeared, is that we are censoring them.  You’re absolutely fucking right.

We have no interest in what you think you are owed, what you think we should be doing, or what you think is important for people to know.  The most basic principle of Antifa organizing is “No Platform.”  What this means is that we intend to not allow you into our communities.  To not allow you to organize.  To not allow you to publish.  To not allow you to speak.  We are determined to silence you in any way possible.

So, why would you think that we would allow your delusional rants on our site?  Feel free to keep commenting, and we will continue to delete your comments and ignore you.  Perhaps someday we will publish a “best of” set of snippets of the most bizarre claims and accusations, but until you hit our Funniest Home Videos tribute, you will continue to be silenced.  We would never support state censorship as we know that when the political tides turn it could easily be imposed on us, but we certainly support the right of a community to suppress you and your ideas at every turn.

If that means that we have to keep deleting your comments every morning, then so be it.

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.