Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:04 pm

Matthew N. Lyons at the Peace and Justice Studies Association 2018

The theme of this conference is “revolutionary nonviolence in violent times.” My work focuses on one of the forces in this country that is helping to make these times more violent: political movements of the far right. Far right movements perpetrate physical violence, threats, and harassment against their opponents and against members of oppressed groups. Far right movements bolster and intensify institutionalized systems of violence, such as white supremacy, male supremacy, and capitalism. And far right movements encourage more mainstream political forces to expand their own bigotry and scapegoating, and their own mainstream policies of repressive and supremacist violence.


These are violent times, in part, because in 2016 far rightists played a bigger role in electing the U.S. president than they have ever done before, and because that president has echoed far right themes more than any other president in living memory. But these far right movements didn’t just appear suddenly. They have been developing for decades, and they are a response, in part, to the protests and anti-oppression struggles of fifty years ago.


The call for proposals for this conference asked the question, “Are our notions and definitions of what constitutes violence and nonviolence oversimplified?” I want to use that question as a framework to talk about the far right, because I think that many of the ways we have been taught to think about the far right are, in fact, oversimplified. Getting past oversimplifications about the far right isn’t just an intellectual exercise – it’s vitally important if we want to develop good strategies for defeating far right movements, and good strategies for liberatory struggle. In that spirit, I’d like to offer five key points that guide my work and that can help us move beyond oversimplifications about the U.S. far right. I offer these points not as any sort of definitive truths, but as a contribution to a larger discussion.


Point 1: The far right includes multiple supremacist ideologies. White nationalism has played a pivotal role in galvanizing far right activism, by telling white people not only that they are superior but also that they should break with the United States and form an all-white nation. All far right movements promote racial oppression to one degree or another, but not all of them put race at the center of their politics. There’s a branch of the Christian right that wants to create a full-blown theocracy, and that vision centers not only on religion but also on patriarchy, heterosexism, and enforced gender roles. Some Patriot movement activists, meanwhile, champion an absolutist kind of capitalist individualism. To cover all of these different currents, I define the U.S. far right to mean political forces that (first) promote human inequality as natural, desirable, or inevitable, and (second) reject the legitimacy of the established U.S. political system. These far right forces are distinct from, but interconnected with, system-loyal white supremacists, male supremacists, and authoritarians. Whether or not you think that’s a useful schema, it’s important to be aware of the ideological diversity among militant right-wing forces in this country.

Point 2: The far right is made up of regular human beings. Contrary to what we are sometimes told, people who join far right movements are not especially irrational or stupid or fanatical or opportunistic. You can find people like that on the far right, of course, but that’s not what keeps it going. Far right movements attract supporters because they speak to people’s fears and hopes, because they offer a sense of meaning or community or power, and because they offer appealing explanations for real problems and complex social changes. If we understand what makes the far right attractive, we have a better chance of blunting or neutralizing its appeal, and maybe – just maybe – winning some of its potential supporters to liberatory politics.


Point 3: The far right grows out of an oppressive social system. Many liberals and conservatives describe the far right as an extremist threat to democracy, but the U.S. is not and never has been a democracy. It’s a shifting mix of pluralism and repression. Popular struggles have won real political space that you wouldn’t find under a dictatorship, but still a tiny elite holds most political and economic power, and multiple lines of oppression shape most social relations. Challenging the structures of power can get you fired, or jailed, or beaten, or killed – especially if you are, for example, black or an immigrant or trans. This system encourages both far right and mainstream political forces to demonize and scapegoat oppressed and marginalized people. But when people in privileged social groups believe that their privilege is under threat and that the existing political system does not protect their privilege effectively, some of them will find far right politics appealing.


Point 4: The far right hates the ruling class. If it’s a mistake to gloss over the deep connections between far right politics and mainstream institutions, some leftists make the opposite mistake, which is to treat far rightists simply as tools of the ruling class. It’s certainly true that white supremacists and right-wing vigilantes have traditionally helped economic and political elites by attacking the left and organized labor and communities of color. But the U.S. far right as it is constituted today believes that economic and political elites have betrayed them. It believes these elites are using multiculturalism, mass immigration, and globalization to weaken and destroy white Christian America. This belief feeds on fear of losing privilege, but it also feeds on people’s sense of disempowerment, people’s sense of being beaten down. The far right draws on rebellious anger and transmutes it into poison. That’s why the far right sometimes sounds like a twisted version of the left, denouncing global capitalism or U.S. military interventions – not in the name of justice or human liberation, but in the name of racial purity or patriarchal religion. Hatred of elites has even led some far rightists to take up arms against the federal government, in hopes of inspiring a right-wing revolution.


Point 5: Defeating far right movements and dismantling institutionalized violence are distinct but interconnected struggles. To defeat the far right, part of what we need is broad, inclusive coalitions where there is room for people to act in different ways and with different politics – militant and non-militant, leftist and non-leftist. In these coalitions, as Anti-Racist Action put it in their Points of Unity almost thirty years ago, we need to practice non-sectarian defense of antifascists – set aside our differences to support those who are serious about confronting this threat we all face. However, this does not mean that our efforts should be purely defensive, or that we should set aside systemic change in order to “defend democracy.” Alongside broad coalitions, we also need radical initiatives which target established systems of power and the two major political parties that protect them. In these violent times, when millions of people are angry and confused and frightened, we cannot allow far rightists to present themselves as the only real oppositional force, the only ones committed to real change. Thank you.


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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:57 am

https://www.weareplanc.org/blog/feminis ... hats-next/

FEMINIST ANTIFASCISM – OCTOBER VICTORY, WHAT’S NEXT?

BY PLAN C LONDON

On 13th October 2018, more than 2000 antifascists, led by the Women’s Strike and Feminist Anti-fa, took to the streets of central London and stopped the vastly outnumbered Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) in their path, preventing them from reaching their final meeting point at Downing Street. Further support was offered by the Stand Up to Racism static demonstration, whose numbers bolstered the feminist-led demo when it reached Trafalgar Square. This was a significant turn in the numbers of late, with the DFLA only managing to get around 1500, or a third of their recent numbers to central London. The success of the demonstration comes in part from the feminist analysis of power, racism, ‘safety’ and the grooming gangs crisis, opposing the racist instrumentalisation of sexual violence.

If you were inspired by the demonstration yesterday and want to get involved with the Women’s Strike, our next meeting is the 22 October, 7pm, at Halkevi in Dalston.


Building a Feminist anti-fascist movement capable of changing our current political horizon is in no way an easy task. It involves a lot of shifts: in the way we understand what anti-fascism is and what it can be, in understanding what a feminist intervention looks like on the streets, in our workplaces, in our childcare centres, in society. A shift in our collective understanding of violence and how to confront it. It’s also about rooting out lazy assumptions about safety that rely on setting ourselves against others who have, just as much, or more, to lose. This means standing firm against liberal feminists defending, relying on and believing that the state’s institutions and categorisations are benevolent and that they will keep us safe. So what kind of activism and thinking are we doing as part of the Women’s Strike Assembly? How does gender work in the present moment: what is safety and violence, and what is, or ought to be, the resistance against it? Who gets affected and who gets to participate, and why?

I’ll start by looking at the relationship between the alt-right and normative gender roles, then have a look at ways we might collectively build cultures of care that don’t rely on securitised ideas of safety; I then want to take issue with some of understandings of ‘violence against women’ that mean feminism does the bordering work of the state, leaving sexworkers and migrant workers as victims in need of rescuing, therein denying them their agency and power. I’ll then finish up with some of the excellent feminist projects you can get involved with so we can get on with changing the world.

This is a moment for thinking differently about protection, safety and violence–and we in the Women’s Strike are making attempts to do that. I’m going to spend a bit of time unpacking some ideas about safety. Following previous research about the negotiation of gendered experiences of violence as migrant solidarity activists and feminists as part of Calais Migrant Solidarity, I am really inspired by the way that the feminist left continues to work at the intersections between safety, postcolonial thinking and what it means to be kept ‘safe’ from others who are also structurally and physically brutalised by the state. I am interested in us developing what it means to build and sustain spaces that can do this too. I’ve been a member of Plan C’s care and justice working group where we’ve spent an extensive amount of time writing guidelines about what it might look like to experiment with justice from below, separate from the police and judiciary (where possible), which is sometimes called restorative justice. So I want to do some unpacking of safety and violence, whilst also inviting you to our antifascist feminist brigades and street patrols (but importantly not security groups) coming soon to a Women’s Strike Assembly near you.

There are of course important overlaps between growing far-right attempts at providing safer communities and the inherently oppressive and even violent ways that this constructs ‘good women deserving of safety’ and ‘strong men who know how to keep those women in check’. At Plan C’s festival Fast Forward, there was a session on ‘Feminist leadership in antifascism’ which covered the rise of the incel, or ‘involuntary celibate’ subculture which declares that men are entitled sex from women and has carried out violent attacks on this basis, clamouring nostalgically for an imagined time when women understood their sexuality as being for the sole pleasure of men, and rape in marriage was not only legal but to be expected. Groups of incels often are interlinked with fascist groups, an example being the so-called ‘Western Chauvinist’ group the Democratic Football Lads Alliance who claim the enemies of their movement are undocumented migrants, feminists and Muslims.

Of course our home-grown version of this is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s ‘Free Tommy’ crew, so desperate to protect the young (white?) women of Rotherham that they’ve launched street brawls outside of court houses and sent camera crews to anti-fascist meetings. Racist groups have mobilised against what are being called ‘grooming-gangs’ in towns like Rotherham and Telford, which seek to portray black and Asian men as inherently more prone to committing acts of violence. On the continent, groups like ‘120db’ have campaigned against ‘imported sexual violence’, again racialising abuse by men ignoring the structural issues of austerity, precarity, patriarchy and state violence, and what these things mean for the lives of young women of all colours.

In both trafficking and grooming gangs cases, women and girls are stripped of their agency and routinely discredited and not believed (be it when reporting rape and sexual abuse, or in their assertion that what they do for a living is work). The message is clear: women are not to be trusted as narrators of their own lives and only ‘worthy’ victims will be protected. What makes the current framing of trafficking and grooming gangs so insidious is that the structural conditions that perpetuate harm and violence against women are rarely mentioned, let alone acted upon. Gone from the narrative are the immigration laws that criminalise border crossings, visa applications that cost thousands of pounds, wars that force people to leave their homes, and our failing social care system that routinely stigmatises and blames vulnerable young women for their own plight. Further to this, the overwhelming majority of abuse and harm experienced by women and girls happens under utterly ‘normal’ circumstances – it is perpetrated by husbands, boyfriends, ex-partners, priests, sports coaches etc., and it is utterly normalised in these circumstances. Ava Caradonna encourages us to be even clearer: the problem is not of exceptional monsters and evil men, despite how horrifying and shocking the cases are. We have to ask why the sexual crimes of certain men are framed as ‘grooming gangs’ (which has become a racially coded term used specifically for cases involving South Asian men, whereas for white men ‘paedophile ring’ is the preferred term’), while the same logic isn’t applied to instances of child sexual abuse in institutions like the Catholic Church, international sports teams, invading armies or the nuclear family.

In what can only be seen as a slippery slope, the British citizenship of the men convicted of grooming underage girls in Rotherham is possibly about to be revoked by Theresa May, after they lost an appeal,despite having lived in the UK for decades. What these individuals have involved themselves in is horrific, as argued above, but using deportation as a means of punishment brings the carceral state yet more power. The law was originally used to deport those guilty of terror offences, but a Whitehall legal adviser told the Express: “There are no limits. It is not just potential terrorists who face losing their UK citizenship. Those involved in serious or organised crime, and who hold dual nationality, can expect similar justice”. The potential here ought to make any communist’s blood run cold.

The bordering practices of the state that purport to be ‘providing safety’ make for a truly bitter pill to swallow given that that there are direct and simple ways the state could actually try to make us safer in the here and now. A government interested in making marginalised people safer could halt all austerity measures and funding cuts that strip domestic violence shelters of their ability to help survivors. It could extend the funding of these shelters to accommodate all women and nonbinary people regardless of their immigration status or recourse to public funds. It could fund welfare to a standard that is liveable, it could stop criminalising sex work. It could provide free childcare to all in need so that carers could make their own choices about their work lives. A better funded welfare state certainly has the potential to make us safer, but we can do better than Plan B.

So, it is clear that this far-right creep is of course about more than Tommy fans on the street (even in their thousands), and it is about more than the hyper nationalism of Brexit rhetoric (as poisonous as that might be): it’s also about the way that this plays in to ideas of gender and power and how we as feminists organise. Who needs protecting, what it means that so many liberals and liberal feminists think a benevolent state needs to provide that protection, and how that ‘protection’ involves the further marginalisation of migrants, sexworkers, people of colour, queers and all sorts of other groups mobilising in various non-traditional forms of antifascist work.

One of the campaigns the Women’s Strike is involved in is the campaign to decriminalise sexwork, because again, keeping women safe is not legislating to make their work more difficult or dangerous by criminalising the purchase of sex which is what the Nordic Model intends to do. The campaigning by some feminists for the Nordic Model provides a moment of visibility where some feminists are doing the work of the state and calling it feminist struggle. Yet it is not protecting women to force sexworkers underground by closing down the websites they use to find clients, it is not saving them from the patriarchy to take away their livelihood.

So, million-dollar question time, what is safety? What would it be to collectivise it?

If we don’t think that safety can be assured by rooting out bad apples and relying on the institutions and categorisations of people that the state provides, but by a cultural shift towards collective ideas of safety, then how do we get there?

The Roestone Collective refers to a praxis known as ‘intersectional inclusion’ as the relational work of cultivating safety. They argue that the pursuit of safer communities cannot be understood as seeking static or decontextualised notions of ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’ places and people, but instead as a process of understanding and creating the kind of spaces people feel able to live together in, through negotiating difference and challenging oppression (2014). This isn’t easy and means we hold each other to account; it’s difficult but important work. Within the contemporary political and social context of variously layered ‘practices of homeland security’ in the everyday it is easy to understand anti-racist activists’ increasing investment in the construction of a notion of safety ‘from below’, and an interest in creating alternative or community-based forms of ‘security’ and ‘justice’ as a response. This work is a constant unlearning of the societal norms about who counts as dangerous Others, and the understanding that people fail each other in their actions, but can and ought to be collectively brought to account through community justice processes where possible. In this short article, I won’t attempt to talk about the ways this does and doesn’t work under capitalism or what this feels like for survivors, but there is a lot of important literature on restorative justice if you are interested, much of it is signposted on the Sisters Uncut website (http://www.sistersuncut.org). This means a commitment not only to opposing prisons as unquestioned institutions of reform, but it means trying to understand where that kind of carceral thinking gets us.

The ‘Prison Industrial Complex’ (PIC) is a ‘multifaceted structure that encompasses the expanding economic and political contexts of the corrections industry’. Angela Davis describes prisons as rapidly expanding institutions reacting to the nationalist fixation on insecurity, leading to the use of prisons as ‘warehouses’ in which the state is able to deposit its ‘undesirable others’ in the name of making communities ‘safer’. She argues that prisons disproportionately affect poor communities and communities of colour because the notion of safety as it is currently constituted is gendered, raced and classed. We know where that kind of carceral thinking gets us: by using feminist ideas to promote the criminalisation of certain groups, we hold up prisons that both respond to but also create a national fixation on insecurity which makes it difficult even for all of us to think outside of redemption through punishment/exclusion of someone who has ‘done something wrong’.

But here’s the good news! Women are pissed off. We’ve had enough of being kept safe by people in power who think they know what’s best for us. You probably aren’t the kind of people who missed the MeToo moment earlier in the year as a result of the work of black feminist Tarana Burke. She was working with young black and brown girls in the American south and was trying to find resources for them as survivors of sexual violence and ways of sharing their experiences of sexual violence. The term gained momentum in a show of solidarity following the multiple allegations against former film producer, Harvey Weinstein. The response was utterly overwhelming.

What this incredible volume of stories tells us is that violence is systemic, and cannot be beaten via individualised accounts, on or offline. What we need to do is take this anger, this disappointment, this rage and this sense of earned feminist righteousness to the centre of power. We have to change our society.

We saw it again with the incredible victory for the right to abortion in Ireland. We saw it with the marches organised by Ni Una Menos in Argentina for abortion rights–a battle not yet won in parliament, but they’ve undoubtedly won over the public. Closer to home we saw it with the demonstration by sexworkers in July demanding the decriminalisation of sexwork instead of adopting new laws that follow in the footsteps of SESTA and FOSTA in the US, making online advertising websites illegal. The Women’s Strike is leading a massive campaign to decriminalise sex work, and we will be seeing more of that, not only with launching ‘Labour for Decrim’ at The World Transformed this September but through all kinds of political avenues. The International Women’s Strike on March 8 this year took place in 50 countries, including more than 5 Million in Spain, hundreds of thousands across Latin America and across the world. The London Assembly was an incredible thing to be a part of, celebrating the kind or red feminist horizon where trans women’s rights, experience and knowledge are central to what we do. Women know their power, and our time is coming. Let’s win.

**************

Claire is a member of London Plan C and the London Women’s Strike Assembly.
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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:10 am

http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/2018/ ... itter.html

Yes, we have Twitter.

By C. Alexander | Wednesday, October 17, 2018

well, we've done it. we have finally attempted to update ourselves beyond this 14 year old blog. yes, we signed up to Twitter. but we're still keeping the blog. for now.

we will be using the Twitter account to help publish new material from Three Way Fight as well as reposts/retweets of material related to what we're attempting to do here. not all retweets are necessarily endorsements but all will be part of the thinking and discussions that we're attempting to have and that we hope can be useful.

so here you go: https://twitter.com/Three_Way_Fight


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After 14 years we're finally managing to get ourselves some social media (image courtesy of BRRN).
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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:15 am

New Stuff from an Old Guy - Part 1

By ThreeWayFight | Tuesday, October 23, 2018

By Don Hamerquist


Editor's Introduction

Don Hamerquist is a longtime contributor to Three Way Fight and co-author of Confronting Fascism: Discussion Documents for a Militant Movement (first published 2002) [cite], which helped to inspire creation of Three Way Fight in the first place.

In this essay, Hamerquist addresses the conflict between transnational capitalism and populist nationalist movements, conceptions of fascism, and some pitfalls facing the radical left. The essay is divided into three parts.

Part 1 argues that the transnational section of the capitalist ruling class is looking for a new basis of stability. Transnational capitalism is still recovering from the 2008 economic crisis and faces widespread populist oppositional movements (left-wing and right-wing), which are fueled by neoliberalism’s massive increases in inequality and other problems. In this context, restabilization requires transnational capitalists to seek a “renewed foundation of mass legitimacy and popular acquiescence.”

Part 2 critiques various leftist responses to the current situation. In particular, Hamerquist criticizes a widespread leftist tendency to see fascism, right-wing populist movements, and capitalist interests as all aligned together. Often this implies a division of capital into “good” and “bad” sectors (or “authoritarian” versus “democratic”). He argues instead that transnational capitalists are “strategically hostile” to both left-wing and right-wing populisms, that all of capitalism (including its more liberal elements) tends toward repression, and that fascism is best understood as “an array of emerging reactionary anti-capitalisms” – a right-wing revolutionary tendency that is real but distinct from “reformist” right-wing populisms.

Part 3 argues that transnational capitalists are manipulating anti-fascism to help them build a new mass legitimacy. Hamerquist posits a new popular front that conflates right-wing nationalist populist movements with fascism, and that corrals leftists into supporting capitalism in the name of defending “democracy.” If leftists go along with this and fail to offer a radical anti-capitalist response to the real grievances that are fueling populism, they will help restabilize transnational capitalism and may help push right-wing populist movements into genuinely fascist politics.

Three Way Fight hopes that the essay will contribute to constructive discussion and debate about these important issues. Part 1 of the essay is below. Parts 2 and 3 are forthcoming.


* * *

Part One

… Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek finance minister and co-founder of the DiEM25 democratic movement, laments the triumph of a Nationalist International – at least stressing that they “sprang out of the cesspool of financialized capitalism.”

-- Pepe Escobar, “The West Against The Rest or The West Against Itself?” 9/18/18

Two things appear to be certain. First, at least in the so-called “West” – North America, the European Union and Australia – there is an emerging conflict between emerging populist nationalisms and the economic processes and political institutions that comprise the transnational capitalist system. Second, this transnational system is limping towards another tipping point after an incomplete and distorted recovery from the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

The combination of these prospects leaves left/liberals and “progressives” stuck between nostalgic visions of a “New New Deal” and an implicit support for a tidied up global status quo. Radicals must do better.

I want to look a bit deeper into the contradictions between globalized capitalism and the populisms of the left and right that are both its effects and its flawed challenges. In the process I indicate a potential scenario for capitalist stabilization that, I’m afraid, is more probability than possibility. This will lead to criticisms of various “common sense” left strategic approaches and will include some aspects of an alternative approach.


Continues: http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/2018/ ... art-1.html
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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:22 pm

New Stuff from an Old Guy - Part 2

By ThreeWayFight | Sunday, October 28, 2018

By Don Hamerquist



Editor's note

This is the second part of a three-part essay by longtime Three Way Fight contributor Don Hamerquist. In Part 1, Hamerquist argued that transnational capital is seeking “renewed foundation of mass legitimacy and popular acquiescence,” and that this quest is shaped by its conflict with both left-wing and right-wing populist movements in many countries. In Part 2 (below), Hamerquist criticizes widespread leftist tendencies to see fascism, right-wing populist movements, and capitalist interests as all aligned together, and to divide capital into “good” and “bad” sectors. He argues instead that transnational capitalists are “strategically hostile” to both left-wing and right-wing populisms, that all of capitalism (including its more liberal elements) tends toward repression, and that fascism is best understood as “an array of emerging reactionary anti-capitalisms” – a right-wing revolutionary tendency that is real but distinct from “reformist” right-wing populisms. In Part 3, Hamerquist will address the danger of a new popular front that corrals leftists into supporting capitalism in the name of defending “democracy.”

Part Two

The anti-capitalist left must provide significantly better answers than a left-populist “New New Deal.” For the most part, I don’t think it does. Consider these examples of left responses to the current political circumstances. I think they illustrate a number of underlying problems and confusions and highlight some debatable conceptions of contemporary capitalism and fascism. (I realize these cites may not adequately reflect the politics of those who are cited. Any emphasis indicated is my responsibility.)

First, are two recent excerpts from Ajamu Baraka: I believe he is associated with Black Agenda Report and the Green Party (past vice presidential candidate).

The capitalist elite understand that they are facing new and dangerous conditions. That is why despite the intense struggle that is going on within their ranks, they will close ranks using Russia-gate to limit the range of information and analysis available to the public. It is why they will also close ranks on the left tendency in the democrat party and by extension against left electoral expressions and formations in general. The democrat party bosses already demonstrated that they would rather lose than concede any institutional power to their left pole.

-- Ajamu Baraka, CounterPunch, 7/13/18


Fascism represents a specific form of capitalist decay. That is why even though the proto-fascism of Trump represents a dangerous tendency, avoiding the political and ideological dead-end of anti-Trumpism demands that we keep the focus of our analysis and agitation on the ongoing structures of the white supremacist, colonial/capitalist patriarchy and not individuals and personalities if we want to avoid doing the ideological dirty work of the ruling class.

-- Baraka, Black Agenda Report, 8/1/18


I have some sympathy for Baraka’s position and his mistakes are less central to my argument, however, they are important. Baraka asserts that “the capitalist elite” will close ranks rather than conceding any institutional power to their left wing. This is a mistake – also probably a bit of wishful thinking. The differences of interest within the ruling class and the range of policy options that are available to them, makes it unlikely that they will “close ranks” around any particular tactical approach. Baraka seriously underestimates these ruling class differences and thus he underestimates their policy options. In fact, in response to any significant upsurge of popular struggle, we should expect increasing involvement of sectors of the transnational capitalist elites in all sorts of “left electoral expressions and formations…” For example, as long as the current “left” postures by Democrats are useful to segments of capital in this country, and they obviously are, the likelihood of the U.S. ruling class closing ranks around the repressive and authoritarian trajectory that Baraka suggests is minimal. Further, these co-opting initiatives won’t be limited to the Democratic Party “reformers” that Baraka and BAR quite rightly criticize. They will include third parties and other “left” radical parliamentary and non-parliamentary initiatives, including some social democratic, socialist, “anti-fascist” – or even “anti-imperialist” – ventures.


Continues: http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/2018/ ... art-2.html
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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:59 am

antifa notes (november 2, 2018) : milo & mcinnes; lads, proud boys & natzis

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Above : Tim Wilms of The Unhinged wearing his Proud Boys ‘Pinochet Did Nothing Wrong’ shirt. Note that the arm reads RWDS (‘Right Wing Death Squad’). Under the Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990), tens of thousands of Chileans were raped, tortured, murdered and forced into exile by his death squads. (Coincidentally, this weekend, LASNET has organised a gathering on Autonomy & Resistance at Trades Hall in Melbourne.)


More: http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=43721
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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:49 am

Hot off the presses:

Their midterm is over.
By Xtn | Friday, November 09, 2018


Their midterm is over.

But where’s our movement(s) at? What have the last two years looked like for us? What does going forward look like? What’s been done that’s worked and what have been the limits?

These are the questions for our side.

While it didn’t start on Election Day two years ago, there’s been a dramatic acceleration of radical anti-racist, anti-fascist organizing and action over this last period. From class struggle and community defense committees to anti-fascist initiatives. From mass actions to doxxing campaigns to articulating alternative politics and visions via social media and publishing. There’s been a full range of activity in an attempt to confront and push back against the emergence of a politics that ranged from street level fascism to what appears as a new rightwing capitalist reaction in power.

Image

Our side, the radical and revolutionary antifascists, have on a whole been the minority. That said there have been moments where our influence outweighed our actual numbers and capacity. Our side has been able, notably early on, to respond to developments because masses of people were in motion looking to be part of the “resistance”. Lots of people felt immediately politicized by the election and we had something to show – both some politics and some actual organizational models.

That all said, it’s has been a terrible last two years. Politics and projects on our side, while winning some key battles, have struggled to keep up with the constant shifting terrain. Stress, fatigue, strategic and organizational frameworks that as quickly as they’ve been developed and put into practice become inadequate, burnout on a personal and collective level, peoples and movements feeling overwhelmed all in the context of stabbings, shootings, murders and people facing lengthy prison time.

On the macro level there seems no cessation of the threat of attack. In the three weeks leading up to the midterm there’s been an unprecedented wave of white supremacist, far right and fascist agitation and violence. The MAGA mail bomb scare was just the start. From there we had horrific shooting sprees targeting Black and Jewish peoples. Meanwhile daily demonization of immigrants and refugees by 45 culminating in a troop buildup on the southern border and threats to have refugees either indeterminately detained or shot dead. No matter the results of the systems midterm we can only expect continued social tension and polarization.

So where are we at and where do we go? No easy answers.

Maybe answers can come by looking at what we’ve done so far, where we’ve been, starting with a collection of articles, interviews and news that have been part of our movements organizing and development. There is no aim here to be a complete outline, there are some glaring omissions (including so much of what has happened in the last several months). Nor is this intending to be a coherent analysis or narrative. Much, if not most, of what’s here has to be further debated out. If anything it is more cursory and open-ended and will be added to. It is a small sampling of what our side has experienced.


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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:40 pm

New Stuff from an Old Guy - Part 3

By Don Hamerquist

Following 9/11, the GWOT provided some legitimacy for the neocon agenda of interventionist ventures in the Middle East. In this country it provided a favorable climate for the disruption and dispersal of the anti-globalization movement and some related movement initiatives (ARA?) that had peaked around the change of century. However, the threats posed by “terrorism” and “radical Islam” had a more limited shelf life than the threat of communism. Over time, they proved to be too small, too sporadic, and too localized to retain their capacity for social control. This diminished effectiveness was compounded by the tendency of some factions of the ruling class to claim they were “winning” (or had won) the GWOT.

Most important, the GWOT was largely peripheral to the fractures that appeared with the economic crisis of 2008, and to the dilemmas that confronted a capitalist recovery. This crisis, and the protracted and the shaky recovery from it, clarified capital’s need for a more plausible and substantive basis for social cohesion and stability than the GWOT could provide. The GWOT was virtually irrelevant to the measures that could limit the dangers of a repeat of the financial collapse without bringing the essential dominance of capital into question. At some crucial junctures, e.g., during transnational capital’s efforts to manage and redirect the energies released by the massive disruptions of the Arab Spring, the GWOT actually appeared to be counterproductive.

Established power needed an updated version of the common threat/common fear scenario – a more inclusive approach that replaced the GWOT, or more accurately, reformulated, repositioned, and incorporated it. That need, I think, underlies a good deal of what we are dealing with here. The issues and players in the GWOT have changed somewhat, although there are still some similarities in the narrative. Now, however, Russia and China are increasingly regarded as significant economic and military threats, as “near-peer competitors,” and completely undependable allies in the fight against terrorism. In fact, ideologues like Linker put elements of Russian state policy at the center of the threat posed by the not quite, but almost, fascist, “nationalist international.”

Russia, and an assortment of right wing populist ideologies, groups, parties – electoral and not; and some regional state formations…maybe including Trump, but certainly involving the Bannon ventures, are the new threat. It is an amalgam of mass nativist movements and right-wing electoral ventures with a significant salting of authoritarian state formations. It is Trump, Orbin and Putin in alliance with the AfD and LePen, Spencer and Milo, and a scattering of leftist opportunists with propensities towards the authoritarian; presented as an international movement and a resurgent fascist danger by a significant sector of the transnational capitalist ruling class, with the help of a wide array of liberal and leftist ideologues.

Since we are dealing with a newly posited global enemy – an enemy that is heavily, although not completely, external, I’d like to make a brief diversion to deal with the notion of a “fabricated external enemy.” A range of leftists have argued that capitalist ruling classes routinely fabricate hollow dangers and threats to divert and undermine “genuine,” foreign and domestic movements for social justice, national liberation, and ultimately anti-capitalist revolution. Perhaps unfairly, I associate this concept with Chomsky and actually wrote a criticism of it a while ago. At the time I was concerned that the emphasis on the “fabricated” aspect of the issue minimized both the reality of some threats to capitalism, first from “communism” and later from salafi jihadism - and the extent to which ruling class segments actually felt threatened. However, most of those issues are a matter of history, not current politics.

Salafi jihadism has always been susceptible to manipulation by various capitalist state formations, while it continues to be a significant harbinger of potentials for reactionary “barbaric” warlord forms of anti-capitalism. In contrast with Soviet Communism, the issues of “radical Islamic terrorism” are still relevant and, in my opinion, still present an existential danger to the global order of transnational capitalism – not to mention a danger to what there is of a global left. However, whether or not it continues to be a substantial danger for transnational capital, it’s clear that the ruling class perceptions of these dangers have been substantially reduced compared to the relatively recent past.

Salafi jihadism has experienced a prolonged period of retreat and defeat while other potential risks have become more pressing for transnational capital, particularly since its 2008 crisis. Further, the “terrorist” threat always lacked the universality and the ideological dimensions of the “communist threat” in its day; and, in my opinion, it is scheduled for the back burner to the extent it can’t be incorporated into the new “Russian” or “Eurasian” “global fascism” threat.

Behind this new emergent fascist narrative lurks the ruling class recognition that both the communist threat and the GWOT have lost much of their social control value. In these circumstances, the reshaped conception of a global fascist threat serves a number of different purposes for transnational capital. It promotes an oppositional quasi-nationalist populist dynamic that turns populism back inwards, towards the more manageable narrow nationalist terrain (immigration and protectionism) and away from the “nationalist international” that Linker worries about. At the same time, the narrative can confuse and disorient – possibly even pre-empt – the development of an internationalist anti-capitalist opposition through exaggerating the “red/brown” elements of the fascist threat. But most important, this largely constructed “fascist threat” stimulates the organization of a broad, reformist although essentially conservative, populist response that is against “fascism” and for “democracy.”


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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:25 am

http://www.hamptoninstitution.org/the-r ... rror.html#

The Rising Wave of Fascist Terror: Notes on Its Organization and Disruption

Josh Sturman | Social Movement Studies | Analysis | November 15th, 2018

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The week of October 21st saw three high profile, fascist terrorist attacks. The first of these was an unsuccessful attack on (purportedly) liberal political leaders: pipe bombs were sent to several prominent Democratic Party politicians , including former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The next two were more successful and explicitly racist in nature. On October 24, a terrorist failed to gain access to a Black church near Louisville, KY, then crossed the street to a grocery store and murdered two Black shoppers . The following Saturday, October 27, a terrorist entered a synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA and opened fire, killing eleven Jewish worshipers . This week of terror was followed by a high-profile attack the following week in Tallahassee, FL, when a misogynistic attacker murdered two women in a yoga studio on November 3.

We must not doubt that all of these attacks were fascist in nature. Each attack targeted a type of person on which fascist, extralegal violence is traditionally inflicted: the perceived left, subordinated races, and women. At least one of the terrorists, the Pittsburgh shooter, was tied to the fascistic social media site Gab , a refuge for right-wing extremists banned from Twitter and Facebook.

These four attacks, like all acts of terrorism, served a double function. On the one hand, they serve to inflict immediate harm on the "enemies" of fascism, whether these enemies be political opponents, such as "left-wing" politicians, or people whose free existence is a fundamental threat to the fascist project, such as Black people, Jews, and women. On the other hand, the attacks serve to create a climate of fear, a climate eventually intended to scare opponents of fascism out of exercising their freedom.

Students of the American fascist movement will recognize that all four of these attacks fit into the long-time white supremacist strategy of "leaderless resistance." First proposed by Louis Beam in 1983 , the strategy marked a departure from the attempt to build popular institutions such as the Ku Klux Klan towards the reconstitution of the movement into one in which "all individuals and groups operate independently of each other, and never report to a central headquarters or single leader for direction or instruction." The adoption of leaderless resistance as a key organizing principle encouraged fascist activists to act without directly consulting one another, instead interpreting the public proclamations of fascist leaders by themselves and acting as they see fit. It took and continues to take advantage of the widespread authoritarianism, racism, and misogyny embedded in American culture, gambling that these ideas can be activated in independent activists through the piecemeal diffusion of fascist propaganda, thereby creating a general social attitude of support for and fear of fascists without relying on the establishment of a major institutional presence dedicated to supporting the fascist cause.

To date, the largest successful act of terrorism carried out on the basis of leaderless resistance was Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols' bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 , which killed 168 people, including many children. Other high profile terrorist attacks carried out on the basis of this strategy other than those mentioned above include Frazier Glenn Miller's attack on a Kansas Jewish Community Center in April, 2014 , Elliot Rodger's rampage through Isla Vista, CA the following month , and Dylann Roof's massacre of Black churchgoers in July, 2015 .

One major advantage of this strategy for fascist organizing (which is emphasized by Beam) is that the decentralization of activism keeps movement leaders safe from activist criminality. Popular institutions are easy targets of government suppression because such institutions link everyone from foot soldiers to the institutions' upper echelons through the institutional hierarchy. As a result, taking down someone at any level of the hierarchy can lead to the imprisonment of all members on conspiracy and collaboration charges and a resultant disorganization. By keeping white-supremacist cells as small as possible, the leaderless resistance is able to avoid large-scale suppression by either the government or anti-racist and anti-fascist movements through a separation of propagandists and theorists from terrorist activists. Strategies developed publicly by fascist ideologues can be taken up by individuals or small cadres who serve as martyrs without the ideologues facing repercussions greater than public censure.

Another advantage of leaderless resistance (which goes unmentioned by Beam) is that very few of those engaged in the strategy need to be cognizant of their participation. Only a handful of ideologues need to be intentionally focused on shifting the Overton window - the limits of acceptable discourse - for efforts to be successful. A small but dedicated group of theorists and propagandists making a concerted effort can move fascist concepts into the mainstream. Once this is accomplished, mainstream politiciansand media outlets are able to whip up racist, misogynistic, anti-leftist, and anti-liberal hysteria to the point where lone-wolf terrorists are bound to emerge. Knowledge of this phenomenon helps explain why aforementioned terrorist Frazier Glenn Miller , who previously maintained ties to the white supremacist terrorist cell The Order , spent the first several decades of his life propagandizing through the KKK before picking up guns, as well as why former terrorist Don Black has abandoned his paramilitary activities in favor of running the influential white-supremacist website, Stormfront. When fascist ideologies penetrate mainstream society, some number of people will be brought to the point of "leaderless" violence regardless of their familiarity with white-supremacist tactics.

In light of the above, it is clear that fascist media platforms like Gab and Stormfront, as well as "fellow-traveler" forums like 4chan and 8chan and offline institutions like Stormfront book clubs, are crucial aspects of the success of leaderless resistance. These platforms and others like them play several roles. First, they serve as spaces for the development of fascist theory, locations where committed activists can further fascist doctrines and where inductees can receive indoctrination. Second, they serve as repositories for mainstream figures to draw ideas from, either directly or through layers of distillation as concepts are taken up and filtered through mainstream platforms like Twitter, once the Overton window has moved. Third, they serve as vehicles for the highest levels of agitation, pushing those on the edge of terrorism to engaging in leaderless resistance.

Despite the importance of these right-wing spaces, explicitly and implicitly fascist forums are not a sufficient environment for the production of lone-wolf fascist terrorists in and of themselves. As indicated above, they remain reliant on fascist ideology mainstreaming itself through public figures for the strategy to be fully successful. Wittingly or not, these public figures make their own contribution to acts of terror carried out in the name of leaderless resistance. Most obviously and as previously noted, anti-democratic, racist, and misogynistic statements from prominent politicians and media personalities contribute to fascist agitation. They also both create and reflect public support for terrorist activities. Racist statements from Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson therefore contribute to the spread of racist propaganda and indicate to fascist theorists that large segments of the public are supportive of (aspects of) the fascist cause. Even more crucial than statements are actions of material support. Presidential pardons like those given to prominent racists Dinesh D'Souza and Joe Arpaio demonstrate that elites and the public are willing to support them (to a degree) not only rhetorically, but concretely. Media narratives downplaying or dismissing the threat of fascism, such as the widespread claim that the bombs sent to Democrats were an elaborate hoax designed to discredit the Republican Party , provide space for fascists to move in public without fear of social exclusion, let alone retribution.

What is most important to note throughout in an examination of leaderless resistance is that while the strategy has led to a relatively non-institutional fascist movement, it has not led to an unorganized one. Fascist leaders, theorists, and propagandists are linked to fascist activists, including terrorist activists, through formal, predictably operating channels. Fascist ideology, tactics, strategies, and "commands" are declared in explicitly fascist venues such as Stormfront, Radix Journal, or the National Policy Institute Forum. They are then conveyed to larger, "fellow-traveler" locations like 4chan, where they are picked up and placed on larger, politically neutral sites like Facebook and Twitter, and then heard from the mouths of politicians like Donald Trump, media figures like Tucker Carlson, and celebrities like Kanye West. At each stage of transmission, the ideology and commands are available to be heard by activists, at louder and louder volumes at each stage, some of whom inevitably begin leaderless resistance, thereby reliably producing the results sought by those who initiate the process. Additionally, each stage provides the initiators of the process with feedback on methods of refining the content and distribution techniques of their propaganda as they can see which ideas are and are not transferred and the degree to which ideas are distorted as they pass from one place to another. What ultimately links all the locations is the shared epistemological framework the concepts produce and maintain as they are transmitted, a fascist framework initiated by a small cadre of fascist activists for the purpose of agitating leaderless acts of reactionary violence.

The threat of fascist insurgency must be taken seriously. The recent attacks prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that fascist violence is both immanent and rising. Moreover, the above analysis demonstrates it is a highly organized movement. It must be challenged. There are several areas of social existence in which this can be done.

First, fascist space in the range of acceptable discourse must be eliminated. Allowing any space for fascist propaganda is, as discussed above, a key hinge of the fascist leaderless resistance strategy, without which the production of fascist terrorists and activists cannot operate. Actions taken by major corporations and private citizens alike to remove fascist media platforms from the web, as well as successful struggles to prevent fascists from propagandizing on college campuses , mark the most significant contributions of recent vintage to this effort. Unfortunately, it is likely that such actions are too little, too late. Now that mainstream, widely-followed political figures and media outlets have adopted fascistic rhetoric, fascist discourse has probably saturated mainstream culture to a point where simple "no-platforming" is no longer a viable strategy. At present it seems the far-right has opened the Overton window for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, such actions demonstrate widespread disapproval of fascism, racism, and misogyny that may serve to demoralize and demobilize fascist activists in the long term. Such actions may also serve to disrupt fascist organization in ways that cannot be accurately valued at the present moment.

More important than closing the discursive space in which fascists operate is taking away the material base of fascist activists. Since the base of dedicated fascist activists is relatively small, crippling that base is both simpler than closing the Overton window and an effective way to smash the beating heart of fascism. Several strategies have been successfully employed to this end. Once again, major corporations have reluctantly, and perhaps ironically, played a part in the fight, with prominent payment processing and fundraising companies taking adverse actions against major fascist organizations , though they have often not gone far enough. Other effective actions have seen fascists lose their jobsand face difficulty at their universities . Attacking the material base of fascist operations disrupts fascists' ability to participate in activism by increasing the cost of such participation or simply overwhelming them with the difficulty of maintaining their everyday existence. Additionally, it can serve to prevent the process of fascist organization from beginning when it is the originators of fascist theory who are attacked. This said, assaults on the material base have limited effectiveness in combating fascist terror carried out by already radicalized activists. The leaderless resistance strategy intentionally relies on terrorists to commit to, plan, and carry out attacks over relatively brief time periods, thereby avoiding detection (and consequently resistance) until the time of the attack. Furthermore, because most terrorists die or go to jail in the course of their action, attacking their economic base is of limited effectiveness even if their motives are suspected ahead of time. It takes few resources to stage a terror attack when the attacker does not intend to live after the fact. For these reasons, depriving key fascists of a material base does more to stunt the movement over a longer period of time than to prevent bloodshed in the near future.

Another, and possibly the most, effective means of fighting fascism is to socially isolate fascists. Isolation destroys fascists ability to evangelize. It prevents the transmission of fascist ideology from one part of the leaderless organization to another, thereby limiting fascists' numbers and preventing the spread of radicalization. Moreover, disrupting social ties among fascist activists using methods like infiltration creates paranoia and lack of trust in the fascist community, effectively preventing inter-fascist solidarity. These strategies can even disrupt leaderless resistance, since confidence in community support and the agitation of friends can lead to individuals undertaking terrorist actions. Yet even attacks on the social lives of fascists face obstacles. The biggest of these challenges is the internet, which serves as a space for geographically and physically isolated and communally shunned fascists to come together. Moreover, fascist internet spaces are easily reconstituted after disruptions . Even more importantly, anti-fascist organizers must be cognizant their efforts serve to isolate only the most committed fascists. Isolating members of the general public with some authoritarian, racist, or misogynistic tendencies is both impracticable given the reach of these tendencies in American culture and risks stigmatizing the naive who would, if treated with care, abandon fascist leanings in favor of liberal and leftist positions.

Fascism must also be fought through a transformation of left and liberal institutions. Activist organizations must add a function of machine politics to themselves at the same time that the machine political operations in existence must begin to organize direct actions. The fascist right has already perfected this strategy through organizations such as Focus on the Family and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). These organizations keep activists mobilized and furthering the fascist agenda in periods between election cycles, while ensuring a base for right-wing politicians in election periods. The role of far-right mainstream politicians in promoting fascist terrorism and agitating the fascist base, and the government's ability to suppress both fascist and left-wing movements as it likes, is too important to cede in the anti-fascist struggle. However, mobilizing simply for elections requires enormous effort and resources to reestablish electoral organizations every two to four years. By adding machine aspects to anti-fascist organizations and activist aspects to machine organizations, the most important work, that is, direct action, can be accomplished while a grip on the formal levers of political power is maintained.

A broad-based coalition of leftists and liberals must agree on common terms for fighting the fascist threat. Fascism is able to gain power quickly in a fractured political environment, where factionalism and infighting keep anti-fascists of all varieties fighting with each other and away from anti-fascist organizing. While a revolutionary left consensus may be the ideal tool for mobilizing against fascism, it is not a necessary one. Common terms enable different tendencies in the anti-fascist struggle to fight a common enemy how they see fit while remaining in solidarity with those with whom they are not in total agreement. "We must," above all and in the words of Assata Shakur, "love each other and support each other." We must help each other grow and stand in solidarity, instead of indulging in petty personal disputes in the face of growing fascism. We must resolve differences with respect for one another and without forcing our comrades to abandon deeply held beliefs that, while contrary to ours, do not harm the anti-fascist struggle. The fascists are well organized and "we have nothing to lose but our chains."


Josh is a bike messenger living in Appalachia. He received his MA in philosophy from Duquesne University and is a member of the IWW and DSA. He has been active in the labor, anti-racist, and anti-fascist movements since he was 18.
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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:51 am

Against the fascist creep, against left nationalism

The fascist creep: Tommy Robinson and the Brexiteers

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One of the defining features of our current political moment is what Alex Reid Ross calls "the fascist creep" - how fascist ideas "migrate from left to right and right to left and how they surreptitiously slip into the heart of the body politic", as Tamir Bar-On puts it. This has two main dynamics. The first is what Dave Renton calls "the convergence", as far right ideas become increasingly acceptable in mainstream politics. (See also Aurelien Mondon and Aaron Winter on the mainstreaming of the far right).

This week has seen a grim example of this convergence, as UKIP's leader Gerard Batten announced he had hired "Tommy Robinson" - real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - as an "advisor" on so-called "rape gangs" and prison reform. Yaxley-Lennon is formally ineligible to join the party, as he is a former member of both the fascist British National Party and his own English Defence League. And should be considered toxic for his constant incitement to hatred and violence. He is particularly ill-suited to advising on child sexual exploitation and criminal justice, given his own record of violent criminality, contempt of legal due process, lack of respect for women, and online sexual harassment of teenage girls.

Over the next few days, he was busy spreading fake news about the shocking Syrian refugee schoolboy bullying incident Huddersfield - fake news that will have had the effect of amplifying xenophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry, and probably contribute to future attacks. This was all the more grim because it was his ideas that appear to have influenced the bully.


Continues: http://brockley.blogspot.com/2018/12/ag ... left.html#







American Dream » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:54 am wrote:Image

As the title suggests, Reid Ross is concerned here with the “fascist creep,” which is related to the idea of the “fascist drift,” or the disturbing attraction many 20th-century leftists felt for this new reactionary ideology. Fascists reject mainstream conservatism as decrepit and corrupt (see the contemporary alt-right’s repudiation of the GOP), and while they violently oppose liberalism, socialism and anarchism, they paradoxically wield left-wing notions, such as solidarity and liberation as part of their ultranationalist schemes for a falsely classless society, which is to be characterized by “natural hierarchy.” Fascism also relies heavily on myth, in the sense that its proponents seek to restore a “golden age” that supposedly existed in the putatively heroic past by means of “national revolution” against the existing liberal-parliamentarian order. This romantic-revolutionary element represents another commonality in the creep between fascism and leftism, considering the nostalgia for the precapitalist “lost paradise” that sometimes drives left-wing passions. In fact, Reid Ross writes that fascists gain ground precisely by deploying “some variant of racial, national, or ethnocentric socialism,” opportunistically inverting the internationalist goals of socialism. Clearly, fascists and leftists differ principally on the question of egalitarianism, with the latter defending equality by organizing against capitalism, the state, borders, patriarchy and racism, while the former use these oppressive systems to reproduce inequality, domination and genocide.​​

Exposing and Defeating the Fascist Creep, by Javier Sethness
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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:36 pm

How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain

George Monbiot

That Spiked magazine’s US funding arm received $300,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation suggests a hidden agenda

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‘To call them under the radar is an understatement. They are underground.’ David Koch speaks at an Americans for Prosperity summit in 2015.

Until now, there has been no evidence that Charles and David Koch have funded organisations based in the UK. But a few weeks ago, a reader pointed me to one line he found in a form submitted to the US government by the Charles Koch Foundation, which showed money transferred to a company that appears to be the US funding arm of a UK organisation. Once I had grasped its significance, I set up a collaboration with the investigative group DeSmog UK. We could scarcely believe what we were seeing.

The organisation the Charles Koch Foundation has chosen to fund is at first sight astounding: a US organisation established by an obscure UK-based magazine run by former members of a tiny Trotskyite splinter group. Some of its core contributors still describe themselves as Marxists or Bolsheviks. But the harder you look at it, the more sense the Koch donations appear to make. The name of the magazine is Spiked. It emerged from a group with a comical history of left factionalism. In 1974, the International Socialists split after a dispute over arithmetic in Volume 3 of Das Kapital. One of the new factions formed the Revolutionary Communist Group. In 1976 it split again, and one of the splinters formed the Revolutionary Communist Tendency. It was led by a sociologist at the University of Kent called Frank Furedi. In 1981 it changed its name to the Revolutionary Communist party.

In 1988, the party launched a magazine called Living Marxism (later LM). By then, it had abandoned many of its former convictions. Among the few discernible traces of its revolutionary past was an enthusiasm for former communists in the Balkans, such as Slobodan Milošević. In 2000, it closed after losing a libel case: it falsely claimed that ITN had fabricated evidence of Serb atrocities against Bosnian Muslims. But as soon as the magazine folded, a network of new groups, with the same cast of characters – Furedi, Claire Fox, Mick Hume, Brendan O’Neill, James Heartfield, Michael Fitzpatrick, James Woudhuysen – sprang up to replace it. Among these organisations were the Institute of Ideas, the Academy of Ideas, the Manifesto Club and a new magazine, Spiked. It had the same editor as LM (Hume) and most of the same contributors.

We found three payments over the past two years from the Charles Koch Foundation. They amount to $170,000 (£130,000), earmarked for “general operating support”. The payments were made to Spiked US Inc. On Spiked’s donations page is a button that says “In the US? Donate here”. It takes you to the PayPal link for “Spiked US, Inc”. Spiked US, in other words, appears to be its US funding arm. Beyond a postal address in Hoboken, New Jersey, it is hard to see what presence Spiked has in the US. It appears to have been established in 2016, the year in which the Koch donations began.

When I asked Spiked what the money was for and whether there had been any other payments, its managing editor, Viv Regan, told me that the Charles Koch Foundation has now given Spiked US Inc a total of $300,000, “to produce public debates in the US about free speech, as part of its charitable activities”. She claims Spiked US supports projects “on both the left and the right”. The Koch Foundation has funded “a free speech-oriented programme of public debates on campus titled the Unsafe Space Tour” and four live events, the first of which is titled “Should we be free to hate?” She told me: “We’re very proud of our work on free speech and tolerance, and we are proud to be part of the programme.”

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The magazine appears to hate leftwing politics.’ Spiked writer Frank Furedi.

But I have been unable to find any public acknowledgement of this funding. Neither on the videos of the debates, in the posters advertising them nor in reports of the events in Spiked magazine is there any mention of the Charles Koch Foundation. From what I could see of the title slides in the videos, they acknowledged an organisation called the Institute For Humane Studies, but not the foundation. Spiked has yet to reply to my questions on this matter.

The Koch brothers are famously careful with their money. According to Mayer, they exert “unusually tight personal control over their philanthropic endeavours”. David Koch told a sympathetic journalist: “If we’re going to give a lot of money, we’ll make darn sure they spend it in a way that goes along with our intent. And if they make a wrong turn and start doing things we don’t agree with, we withdraw funding.” So what might have attracted them to this obscure organisation?

Spiked magazine, edited by O’Neill, appears to hate leftwing politics. It inveighs against the welfare state, against regulation, the Occupy movement, anti-capitalists, Jeremy Corbyn, George Soros, #MeToo, “black privilege” and Black Lives Matter. It does so in the name of the “ordinary people”, whom, it claims, are oppressed by the “anti-Trump and anti-Brexit cultural elites”, “feministic elites”, “green elites” and “cosmopolitan politicians”.

When I sent my questions to Spiked, I was denounced on the front page of the magazine as a “McCarthyite”


Its articles repeatedly defend figures on the hard right or far right: Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Alex Jones, the Democratic Football Lads’ Alliance, Tommy Robinson, Toby Young, Arron Banks, Viktor Orbán. They are portrayed as victims of “McCarthyites” trying to suppress free speech. It demands the hardest of possible Brexits, insisting that “No deal is nothing to fear”, as it would allow the UK to scrap EU regulations. But what it appears to hate most is environmentalism. It rails against “climate scaremongering”, and has called for fracking and coal production to be ramped up. It blamed the Grenfell Tower disaster on “the moral fervour of the climate change campaign”. It mocks the idea that air pollution is dangerous and has proposed abolishing the planning system. “We need to conquer nature, not bow to it,” it contends. “Let’s make the ‘human footprint’ even bigger.”

Spiked’s writers rage against exposures of dark money. It calls the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr, who has won a string of prizes for exposing the opaque spending surrounding the Brexit vote, “the closest thing the mainstream British media has to an out-and-out conspiracy theorist”. It carries numerous articles by people from the obscurely funded Institute of Economic Affairs and from the Cato Institute. Its editor also writes for Reason magazine, owned by the Reason Foundation, which has received $1m from the Charles Koch Foundation over the past two years. Bizarrely, Spiked still uses Leon Trotsky to justify its positions. It claims to have built its philosophy on his objective of “increasing the power of man over nature and … the abolition of the power of man over man”. This means, it says, that “we should fight for greater human dominion over the natural world”, and that regulatory power should not be used to prevent anyone from exercising their agency. The result appears to turn Trotsky’s objective on its head: without constraint, those with the greatest agency can exercise uninhibited power over others.

Its enthusiasm for Trotsky is highly selective. As one of Spiked’s writers noted in 2002, his central message was that “the retreat behind national boundaries is a recipe for reaction”. Yet the magazine’s defence of both Brexit and Orbán, Hungary’s rightwing prime minister, is founded on the notion of national sovereignty. Spiked seems to have remembered everything Trotsky wrote that could be recruited to the cause of corporate capital and the hard right, and forgotten all his, shall we say, less enthusiastic musings about those forces.

Above all, its positions are justified with the claim to support free speech. But the freedom all seems to tend in one direction: freedom to lambast vulnerable people. The Unsafe Space tour that the Charles Koch Foundation financed was heavily slanted towards this line. Yet, when I exercised my freedom of speech in sending my questions to Spiked, I was denounced on the front page of the magazine as a “McCarthyite”. This is its favourite insult, which it uses prolifically to dismiss legitimate inquiries and critiques. The usual term for asking awkward questions about powerful interests is journalism. Isn’t open information and transparency a crucial component of free speech? Spiked has also called for schools, universities and governments to be “cleansed” of “the malign influence” of green NGOs, which it denounces as “the environmentalist enemy within”. Some friends of free speech, these.


More: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... foundation









American Dream » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:31 am wrote:
The unsurprising reason Jonathan Pie rants sound straight out of Spiked

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If you've ever thought that Jonathan Pie's contrived rants sounded like they could've been written by someone from a left-liberal rag obsessed with getting speaking gigs for fascists, you were right.

Jonathan Pie emerged in 2015 as a fictional news reporter who lets his own 'left wing' views spill out into his reporting amongst a barrage of swearing. It turns out the people behind him have some interesting real-life connections.

On 2nd February 2018, in response to Bristol Antifa's heckling a speech given by ultra-conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg, Jonathan Pie tweeted 'Antifascists acting like fucking fascists. Grow the fuck up you stupid cunts'.

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Neither the sweary tone nor the boilerplate liberal catchphrases are out of character for Jonathan Pie: in another video he blames Brexit and Trump's election on left-wing censorship (rather than, you know, years of the majority of print and television media fomenting racism against migrants and Muslims, which interestingly doesn't get a mention) saying that "It's time to stop banning people from speaking at universities" and that if people are 'triggered' by his comments, they can "fuck off to [their] safe space."

That these preoccupations (supposed left-wing censoriousness, especially at universities) dovetail those of the notoriously awful Spiked Online is no coincidence. Andrew Doyle, co-writer of Pie alongside Tom Walker, has written over 20 articles for Spiked Online between August 2015 and January 2018.

This obviously isn't the result high-end detective work on our part; the Jonathan Pie website mentions Andrew Doyle as a co-writer and it was easy to figure out from there. We're just not in the habit of googling shit 'comedy' acts, so hadn't realised the connection. But, then again, neither have most people.

Spiked is perhaps best known for its university 'free speech' rankings, published annually and reported both gleefully and uncritically by Britain's broadsheets. Yet, for anyone who spends five minutes examining them, one of the factors they count against institutions is simply having a 'bullying and harassment' policy. Worth panicking about censorship over?

Doyle's own articles on Spiked contain lines such as:


It’s a sobering reminder that bad ideas are only defeated through language and debate. Political violence is an oxymoron. The hostile modus operandi of groups such as Antifa has alienated those who might otherwise be sympathetic, as well as enabling white supremacists to portray themselves as martyrs.

We've covered why this is a hopelessly bad take before, but suffice to say that Jonathan Pie's tweet precisely reflects Andrew Doyle's views rather than simply being 'comedy'.

The conflation of any attempt to protest a serving politician with 'fascism' ignores what the politics and methods of fascism actually are. For example, the Traditional Britain Group, whose dinner Rees-Mogg attended in 2013 and later apologised for (even though he had been informed by anti-fascists beforehand), would like to repatriate all black Britons to Africa and the Caribbean and halt immigration. It does so by lobbying Tory politicians like Jacob Rees-Mogg at expensive dinners.

So who here is acting 'like a fascist'? People taking part in a protest against a politician or the far-right lobbyists wining and dining the hard-right of the Tory Party? More than anything, Jonathan Pie's writers show a lack of understanding about what fascism actually is.

What's more, there seems to be a complete double-standard as to what counts as an attack on free speech and who deserves to be defended.

In 2011 Rees-Mogg called for public sector strikers to be summarily sacked. More recently Rees-Mogg met with Steve Bannon, until recently editor of Breitbart and former chief strategist to Donald Trump. While editor of Breitbart, Bannon described that he wanted the news site to be "the platform for the alt-right". Bannon was also in post at the White House when Trump issued an executive order immediately banning citizens of seven-Muslim majority countries from entering the US, resulting in even long-term US residents with Green cards being detained and deported on arrival, and protests at airports from New York to Birmingham, Alabama.

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For Doyle and his alter-ego Pie, political violence is an anathema, showing they have no critique of state violence at all. In this formulation, heckling someone is bad but calling for strikers to be sacked in parliament is fine - despite mass sackings of strikers having considerably more implications for free speech. Heckling is like fascism but the poster boy of the Tory hard right meeting a man who ran a multi-million dollar far-right news website and was part of a government which detained and deported people based on the country they were arriving from doesn't merit a mention.

Of course, if you reduce 'acting like fascists' to 'doing banal things that fascists also do' then it seems unfair not to mention that Jonathan Pie himself had a show on the British arm of Russian state television network Russia Today from 2015 to 2016. RT is known for regularly interviewing fascists and white supremacists, such as Richard Spencer 1, 2. 3 4, 5 6, Matthew Heimbach 1 and 'third-positionist' Alexander Dugin 1. An alternative explanation for the rising public profile of Spencer et al would need to take into account their promotion by RT and liberal-left publications such as Mother Jones in the US, something which has been happening since 2012, long before Spencer got punched.


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Continues at: https://libcom.org/blog/unsurprising-re ... d-06022018
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Re: Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Postby American Dream » Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:56 pm

French Yellow Vests, the Far Right, and the “Russian connection”

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Fabrice Sorlin (left) and Xavier Moreau (right) holding a flag of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic”

Xavier Moreau is a former paratrooper officer who holds dual French-Russian citizenship and owns the Moscow-based Sokol Holding that provides consultancy and security to French companies. According to Bruno Gollnisch, a prominent member of the far-right National Front (renamed into the National Rally in 2018), Moreau contributed to establishing the relations between the National Front and Russian actors. In November 2018, Moreau “observed” the illegitimate “parliamentary elections” in Russia-occupied Eastern Ukraine.

Fabrice Sorlin is the leader of the French Catholic ultranationalist organisation “Day of Wrath” and former candidate for the National Front. In 2009, he formed a small pro-Kremlin organisation, the Europe-Russia Alliance that was later renamed into the Association France-Europe-Russia Alliance.


Read more: http://www.tango-noir.com/2018/12/12/fr ... onnection/
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