Tag Archives: patriot prayer

#AllOutPDX Against Patriot Prayer on August 4th: What You Need to Know

On Saturday, August 4th, there will be one of the largest actions against Patriot Prayer, and their acolytes the Proud Boys, in the two years they have been terrorizing the West Coast.  Coming from Washington and areas around Portland, they have been converging on the city to hold far-right rallies with deep anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, and incredibly violent rallies where they have been attacking leftists.  Patriot Prayer, while using the civic nationalist rhetoric of “independent Trumpism,” have made themselves a vessel for white nationalist groups, including the active support and participation of groups like Identity Evropa, the Traditionalist Workers Pary, Cascadian Legion, Operation Werewolf recruits, as well as members of neo-Nazi skinhead gangs and “Patriot” militia groups like the Oath Keepers and 3%ers.

The last several rallies and marches from Patriot Prayer have increasingly become centered on the Proud Boys, the civic nationalist street gang that is known for its violent attacks.  On June 30th, the Proud Boys brutally attacked counter-protesters, critically hospitalizing community members, and this came after several unprovoked street attacks from various Proud Boys in the weeks before.  This Saturday they will be holding another public rally, centered on founder, and Senate candidate in Washington Joey Gibson.  This event has a vague goal of “freedom” and other buzzwords, but the point is to attack the left.

This action is being countered by a massive coalition.  Pop Mob, which means “popular mobilization,” has organized a mass coalition to march and amass on Patriot Prayer.  Rose City Antifa and other militant organizations will be having a huge direct response to Patriot Prayer, and both projects are coming together in mutual aid to shut down Patriot Prayer.

Here are the critical things that every attendee on Saturday should know.

10:30am

There will be a rally at City Hall in downtown Portland made up of a number of community groups and labor unions to stand against Patriot Prayer’s hateful rhetoric.  This will include SEIU Local 503, the Western State Center, Portland Jobs With Justice, and others.

11:30

Converge on Tom McCall Waterfront Park at the Salmon Street Fountain.  This is where Patriot Prayer will be coming.  This action will be frontlined by militant antifascists, including Rose City Antifa, Eugene Antifa, PNW Antifascist Workers Collective, SHARP, and RASH NW.  This will be backed by Pop Mob, which makes up the large mass of participants.  This coalition has been endorsed by a range of groups, from the one’s listed on the 10:30am rally to other groups like KBOO, Black Rose – Rosa Negra, the Democratic Socialists of America, and many other churches, labor unions, and community groups.  This is one of the largest coalition actions of the year.  This means that there will be spaces for both type of participation, and the “green zone” behind the militants intended to be a space where protesters can be protected to speak their views and support the protest of Patriot Prayer.

People are no longer meeting at Chapman Square, that was a placeholder location until Patriot Prayer revealed their actual location.

Patriot Prayer will have the ability to carry guns, and many promise to be armed.  If they are in Terry Shrunk Plaza, where they often amass, they are banned from bringing in weapons because it is a federal park and their are regulations preventing that.  This is not the case for Waterfront Park, and they have been open about bringing guns.  The announcement of the guns is intended to frighten counter protesters, and in a recent video from Joey Gibson he included a young boy playing with a semi-automatic weapon.

Patriot Prayer is also saying that they are going to be putting upwards of 35 members of their own group, including Proud Boys, dressed in black bloc clothing into the antifascist crowd.  Those people can then attack counter protesters or try to catch them being foolish.  This groups is supposed to be run by Russell Schultz, one of the violent Proud Boys doxxed by Rose City Antifa.  This is likely bluster to create a sense of internal discord, but may be something to watch for.

The far-right side is raising money to bring in Proud Boys from other state, and they had between 60-80 at the June 30th rally.  They could be bringing even more this time, and they will all be coming in at least four busses from Vancouver, across the river in Washington.  Those busses will have armed security on them.  The Proud Boys are the most violent contingent, and will come in body armor specifically to fight.

Protocols

  • Go in groups, do not walk by yourself.  Stay with the large crowd of protesters.
  • Prepare for police repression, depend on antifascists for defense and not the police.
  • The large mobilization is safer when they are all together, and the militant bloc is prepared for community self-defense.
  • Rose Hip Medics will be there, they are street medics trained to provide support to protesters injured by far-right thugs and the police.
  • InfoWars “reporters” are going to be there to try and harass protesters on camera.  Gibson and Proud Boys have gone on InfoWars to celebrate brutalized community members and to erroneously claim antifa are bringing guns.
  • Reporters and photographers/videographers should respect boundaries, including avoiding close-up shots on masked protesters.  Movement photographers should be aware that PP members are going to be using cameras in your crowd, so make sure to check in with others in advance so they know what you are filming and you can get good boundaries.
Advertisements

Patriot Prayer Releases Their Rally Info, Meeting at Waterfront and Canceling Berkeley Rally

Joey Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer, is finally putting out more information about his intentions for the August 4th rally, which is informing the antifascist organizing plans.

Joey Gibson is calling for people to be at the Fred Meyer on Columbia Way in Vancouver, WA at 10am if they want to take the busses down to Portland that he has secured.  He is promising to have armed security on each bus.  He is suggesting that everyone rides the shuttles, which he says are personally owned by attendees and not rented, so they will be there after the rally.  He is putting several teams on call for in and out transfer for people needing to get out, no matter at what point he feels his people will be at risk during the rally.

These are the same busses that were used when Joey came down to harass people at the ICE encampment, and gave them some cover to get out easily.

He has also announced that they will be at the Waterfront Park in Portland, though he has not released all the final details yet.  He promises that the full info will be out this weekend.

Though Joey tried really hard to keep everyone together for the August 5th rally in Berkeley, after the August 4th rally in Portland, though he did not organize it.  He suggested that people “back stabbed” him in regards to the rally.  The American Guard, founded by Klansman, had been a part of the organizing.  Gavin McInnis, the founder of the Proud Boys, eventually pulled the Proud Boys from appearing, and so Joey Gibson decided that he did not want to be a part of it.  In a recent video, Gibson expressed anger of the results of this rally, and blamed it on infighting and personal problems inside their movement, calling them “little demons” and suggested it was a “spiritual problem.”  Joey ended up doing a second video as well, discussing the growing infighting in their movement, especially between the people in Vancouver and Berkeley, and they are desperately trying to keep their movement together.  As far as we can tell, the August 5th rally in Berkeley is over and all of their attention will be on the Portland one.

The Portland rally he expects to be one of their largest, including better preparation and no coordination with the police.  Their position at the Waterfront means they will be out in the wide open space.  There is also some reporting that suggested that Gibson called the location so his people can bring weapons, which they could not do in the federal park like Terry Shrunk Plaza where they have held past rallies.  Rose City Antifa has changed the meeting location for their action to the Waterfront to meet Patriot Prayer, and Pop Mob is continuing their pre-protest rally at City Hall with the support of organized labor and community organizations.

Below is the information for Patriot Prayer’s rally, as put out by Joey Gibson.  This is the information they are giving to their rally participants.

The Portland Rally will start at Salmon Street Springs at the waterfront in Portland Oregon at 1000 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204.

It will be secured and ready for buses to drop off Patriots in large groups. Stay together and inside the security.

The bus will be picking people up at 108 Grand Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661. If you look at the two satellite photos there is a red circle along the road and side walk where people will load onto the bus. There will be armed security on the public sidewalk and the Vancouver Police are aware that we are going to be there. As most of you know the Vancouver Police do not put up with masked criminals like they do in Portland.

Shuttles will start leaving at 10 am. Last shuttle to leave 11:35 am

It is highly encouraged to show up at 10 am to guarantee a seat.

Parking: There is a giant parking lot next to the drop off spot and is extremely busy so it will be hard for people to go after your car but it isn’t a guarantee. People with flags and other obvious items are parking about a mile away and taking Uber in or just get dropped off by a friend.

We have 5 fast buses with armed security on each bus. These are the best way to get in safe and to leave safe. Please come to Vancouver to catch a bus.

People not taking the Shuttle

Those coming into the water front on their own should not be wearing anything that identifies you are with the Patriots. Wear normal clothing and get to Salmon Street Springs from the multiple different ways in.

 

This is the flyer for the Pop Mob pre-event rally, afterwards that crowd will then join the larger antifascist block protesting Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys.

37892035_2026360011008853_3467597101179863040_o

Pop Mob and Rose City Antifa are Organizing a Mass Antifascist Resistance to Patriot Prayer on August 4th

 

Portland has become a center of antifascist resistance as civic nationalist, Alt Light organizations riding the Trumpian populist wave take to the streets in public displays of bigotry.  Following the far-right “free speech” rallies that Lauren Southern started in Berkeley after the cancelation of events for Anne Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos in 2017, Patriot Prayer formed by provocateur Joey Gibson to celebrate Trump and accost the left.  They started in violent fashion, and one of their attendees went on two murder two people in an Islamophobic attack on a Portland train.  Since then, Portland has been generally disgusted by Patriot Prayer and Joey Gibson, but he keeps coming back to the city to hold his rallies and attack counter-protesters.

Now, Patriot Prayer has basically merged with the Proud Boys, the “Western Chauvinist” crew that is known for its street violence.  On June 30th, Patriot Prayer came with dozens of Proud Boys from multiple states and brutally attacked counter protesters in one of the most savage, and unwarranted, attacks in recent history.

Antifascist organizations like Rose City Antifa, the Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective, and Eugene Antifa, have fought back against Patriot Prayer, continuing to stop them from doing full-scale marches and having free reign of public space.  In response to the violence of June 30th, many organizers from Portland wanted to form an additional coalition to support the existing antifascist work, and to increase the numbers to include people that have not been involved in the more militant antifascist actions against Patriot Prayer.  Pop Mob then will create multiple “zones” of protest, respecting a diversity of tactics while also creating a safe protest space for many people who have felt threatened by the Proud Boys violence at previous Patriot Prayer events.

“We tried ignoring them, and that didn’t work,” points out Effie Baum, from Pop Mob.

Our plan is to bring together a wide coalition of folks in as large numbers as we can to show Patriot Prayer and other groups that he is associated with that we are not going to continue to tolerate this kind of hate in our city.  This is why it is so important for as many folks as possible to come out.  When all of us are together it can stop their attempts at taking over the city while also keeping each other much safer.

Patriot Prayer has continued to escalate in the weeks after the June 30th event, including coming down to the Occupy ICE PDX encampment to harass protesters in the process of cleaning up amid police repression.  The video of Proud Boy Ethan Michael Nordean (Rufio Pan Man) punching a protester went viral in Proud Boy circles, and he went on Alex Jones’ show to celebrate the action.  Jones himself has seemed to ally with the Proud Boys, and may even make an appearance on August 4th.  This particular date is just the first of other events, and August 5th has Patriot Prayer returning to Berkeley where they were pushed out in 2017 by a coalition of labor unions and community groups.

Rose City Antifa has continued their great work of doxxing the Portland area Proud Boys involved in this violence, and is also calling for militant antifascist resistance against Patriot Prayer on June 4th.  They will be working along with other militant antifascist organizations to mobilize in direct opposition to Patriot Prayer, not a distance away, but directly across from their supposed rally.  According to the RCA spokesperson we spoke with, this is to stop the ability of the far-right to organize, and grow, in Portland.

The goal of our action on August 4th is to show that the community will not allow violent nationalist opportunists to threaten our city and target our people.  We will overwhelm them both by force of numbers and commitment to defending our community.  Whatever it takes, we won’t allow Patriot Prayer’s political violence to become the new status quo in this country.

This also relies on direct confrontation as a way of eliminating Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys’ ability to operate with impunity.

Without direct confrontation, PP and other white nationalist groups will feel entitled to threaten people wherever and whenever they like.  First they target antifascists and anti-ICE activists, then they target Pride, marginalized community spaces, minorities, and migrants.  They believe “might makes right,” and unless the community steps in to stop them, there is no telling who they will attack next for political gain.

All the antifascist groups, working in concert, get at different aspects of resistance, creates multiple fronts to push back on Patriot Prayer, and creates the space to get a huge wave of people involved.

“The entire purpose of [Patriot Prayer’s] event is violence.  From what I have seen, they have instigated the violence at all of the past rallies,” says Baum.

“Their speech has consequences, and we have the right to stand together against their hate in our city.”

Below we are posting the links to several of the FB event pages, starting with Pop Mob’s event page for the broad-based protest action that will be happening simultaneously.  Pop Mob will be having a large rally of unions and community organizations at 10:30 at City Hall, which will then, at 11:30, move to join the larger contingent at Waterfront Park.

Stop the Hate Event Page

Resist Patriot Prayer: Violent Alt Right Bigots Off Our Streets

37726473_2043213195993862_4396175202443067392_n.jpg

 

Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys Clash With Antifascists in Portland in Bloody Confrontation [VIDEO]

Video by Daniel V. Media

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.

Donate to Support the Legal and Medical Costs of Antifascists Who Stood Against the Proud Boys in Portland

On Saturday, June 30th, the far-right organization Patriot Prayer came out in Portland, Oregon to hold a rally and march.  The organization has been known for its allyship with white nationalist, patriot, and fascist organizations, and is now made up predominantly of violent Proud Boys.  Over the last two years, Patriot Prayer has repeatedly held their violent events in Portland while being rejected by the city at large.  Last June, after Patriot Prayer follower Jeremy Christian murdered two people in an Islamophobic rage on a Portland train, Patriot Prayer decided to still hold their public rally despite desperate pleas against it from the community.  They were met with 4,000 protesters from dozens of organizations, showing a unified voice against their hateful agenda.

 

Since then Patriot Prayer has only gotten more violent, even though its leader, Joey Gibson, believes he could be elected for Senate in Washington.  On June 3rd they came out to Portland with nothing on the agenda other than fighting people, and after antifascists pushed them back they were unable to complete their march.  On June 30th they came back to “stand their ground,” which meant bringing in Proud Boy crews from multiple states prepared for violence.  They pushed their march into counter protesters where they began attacking them in gang-style beatings, leaving many people in the hospital after cruel assaults.  Antifascists again stopped their march from continuing and overwhelmed their numbers, and several antifascists are also facing criminal charges for these defensive action.

Between the medical and legal costs, they need people’s support now!  Below is a fundraiser controlled by Portland Anarchist Black Cross that will go to support those protesters affected by what happened on June 30th from multiple organizations.  The money will go directly to their support, so you can count on it getting to the people that need it.

Please donate if you can and share widely!  They need our help!

Click Here to Donate to the Fundraiser for Portland Antifascists

Antifascists Confront Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys in Portland on June 3rd [VIDEO]

By Daniel V. Media

A year after Patriot Prayer, and it’s leader Joey Gibson, brought in white-nationalist and neo-Nazi speakers for an Alt-Right rally they returned with another rally labeled as a “Free Speech” event.  This came one year after the action they held in the same location on June 4th, 2017, where almost four thousand people came out to oppose them. This charade quickly became clear when they showed up with the white-nationalist and misogynist hate-group Proud Boys and attacked journalists, one incident involving a Portland Mercury reporter being shoved and then questioned who she was reporting for.

Anti-fascist groups Rose City Antifa, Eugene Antifa, Rash NW, Pacific Northwest Anti-Fascist Workers Collective, and others organized to shut down this rally and prevent white-supremacists and those that give them a cover to organize under from marching in the streets and instilling fear in the at-risk communities that they target.

Police struggled to keep Patriot Prayer’s numbers protected which lead to panic and anger from their crowd. After several attempts by Patriot Prayer to march, all of which were prevented by the large coalition of anti-racist activists, Patriot Prayer returned back to Terry Shrunk Plaza and called it a day.

Several core members of Patriot Prayer, along with Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, who has been arrested for fighting at past events, were chased throughout the streets of Portland and finally found police protection at the Portland Waterfront. The numbers of the crowd opposed to Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys had swelled from random onlookers who only had to hear who was being chased to join in on defending their town from hate.

Rose City Antifa has continued a series of articles outlining exactly who these Proud Boys are and a call to hold them publicly responsible.

Here is the Facebook event for the June 9th action against Patriot Prayer in Kent, WA, where Patriot Prayer is targeting a Planned Parenthood location

June 9th – Say NO to Misogyny/Say NO to Hate

Patriot Prayer will also be returning to Portland, in the same plaza, on June 30th to further antagonize the city.  There will be a counter action.

Unions Against Fascism

 

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.

 

Labor’s Turn

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.

Originally Published in the Anarcho-Syndicalist Review

‘Eclipse Hate: Solidarity with Charlottesville’ March & Rally, Portland [VIDEO]

In Portland, on the afternoon of August 18th, activists, radicals, and community members united to march in solidarity with Charlottesville. More than a thousand gathered to mourn the loss of anti-fascist activist, Heather Heyer, and the losses of our own local heroes at the hands of white supremacy.

Portland has had increasingly violent demonstrations organized by Patriot Prayer, a local organization that works with and supports alt-right and white supremacist groups and individuals. These demonstrations were, to many, a warning sign of what took place in Charlottesville, where violent racists gathered to attack those who opposed them, leading to the terrorist attack that killed Heather Heyer and left 19 other anti-racist activists injured.

Portland is bracing itself once again for a forthcoming rally from Patriot Prayer on September 10th that is planning to unite racists and other bigots under the guise of a “Freedom March”. White nationalist street preacher, Allen Pucket, who called for “bloodshed” at future events, and has been captured in photographs and videos assaulting people at similar rallies, is expected to be there along with other groups Patriot Prayer has marched with, like the neo-nazi founded Identity Evropa and National Socialist Movement.

Local anti-racist and anti-fascist groups Rose City Antifa, Portland Stands United Against Hate (A coalition of 70+ Portland area organizations), and Queer Liberation Front are either planning to disrupt Patriot Prayer’s event or host a larger counter-protest to show that white supremacy and fascism aren’t welcome in Portland.

Patriot Prayer is returning to Portland with its far-right and Alt Right supporters, and will be attempting to hold space on September 10th.  Rose City Antifa has organized a response with huge community and coalition support, so come out to stand against the racists.