TRANSCRIPT [audio ]
#11: Never Forgive
and Never Forget
An audio strike against a monotone world;
A twice-monthly podcast of anarchist ideas and action;
For everyone who dreams of a life off the clock.
Hello and welcome back to the Ex-Worker! We hope you’ve enjoyed your couple of weeks off, as we have, but now we’re excited to be back with all of you for our eleventh episode. This time we’re starting a two episode series exploring fascism and the struggle against it from an anarchist perspective.
We’ve got two interviews to complement the discussion, with folks from the New York City chapter of Anarchist Black Cross and the One People’s Project, an anti-fascist research group based out of Philadelphia. We’ll also have some questions and feedback from listeners, though we’re actually going to switch up the order of things and put that after the main feature on anti-fascism, since we had a question that follows it up.
I’m Clara, and I’m also Alanis, and I, uh, we will be your host. hosts. Such are the times we live in.
Remember that every episode has links, sources, reading recommendations, and tons of other stuff posted on our website, crimethinc.com/podcast, including a full transcript of the show with links built in. It takes a long time to pull it all together, so please make it worth our while by looking through it!
And we always want to hear from you. Send us email to podcast at crimethinc dot com, leave us a voice mail at 202–59-NOWORK, 202–596–6975, or rate us on iTunes.
Let’s get to it!
THE HOT WIRE
We’ll kick things off with the Hot Wire, news and updates from the global struggle against hierarchy.
First, 34-year old anti-fascist Pavlos Fyssas, a rapper who performed under the name Killah P, wasmurdered by members of the fascist Golden Dawn party in a suburb of Athens, Greece. The Greek government has responded by condemning the Golden Dawn and arresting some of its leaders. We recommend looking atthe Occupied London blog’s statement on the government response, which points out the complicity of the state in cultivating this fascist force and then discarding it when it’s no longer strategic. Meanwhile, the government continues to perpetuate violence against the Greek people for trying to resist it. In protests in Athens the day after Killah P’s murder, police and rock-throwing fascists injured at least 34 demonstrators, includingone who lost an eye to a tear gas canister.
Here’s an excerpt fromone of Killah P’s songs, an anthem of defiance titled, “I won’t cry, I won’t fear”. We’ve got links toa translation of the lyrics up on our website.
Elsewhere in the world, the Phoenix Project of the Informal Anarchist Federation continues to rage, as an Earth Liberation Front cell claimed credit for the ]arson of a sawmill by a hunting lodge near Bryansk in western Russia](http://325.nostate.net/?p=9038).
Anarchists in Argentina claimed credit foran arson attack against the Justice Academy in Buenos Aires, andan Indonesian ELF cell burned down a factory producing bulletproof vests for police and military in Bandung.
An international group of Greenpeace activists occupying a Russian oil platform were charged by the government with piracy and face years in prison, while a member of Russian radical feminist punk bandPussy Riot concluded a nine day hunger strike against oppressive conditions for women in Russian prisons.
Former Black Panther Herman Wallace ofthe Angola 3, who spent over forty years in solitary confinement on false murder charges in retaliation for his radical organizing,died of liver cancer at the age of 71. He had just been released from prison after a judge overturned his conviction. He lived in freedom for three days.
Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3 is still locked up. Let’s get him free while he can still live some of his life on the outside. Check outangola3.org for information on the case and how to support him.
In Mexico City,protestors clashed with riot police at a demonstration commemorating the 45th anniversary ofthe Mexican government’s massacre of student protestors in Tlatelolco Square in 1968.At least 80 people and 38 police were injured.
A couple of episodes ago we announced the birthday ofMarissa Alexander, a Florida woman sentenced to twenty years in prison for firing a warning shot that didn’t hurt anyone while threatened by her abusive ex-husband. We’re happy to report thatshe’s been granted a new trial. We are mortified to report, however, that we posted the incorrect mailing address for her previously on our website. Many thanks to Kieran for catching that and pointing it out to us. We’ve got the corrected one up on the website now; if you wrote her before using the other address, please consider sending a new letter and offering congratulations on her legal developments. Sorry about that!
There were several recent radical events that we totally missed in our last episode’s Next Week’s News calendar. On the last weekend in September,a nationwide Copwatch gathering took place in New York City; on the 28th, there wasa citywide anarchist assembly in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and on October 5th, there was an anniversary celebration atCasa Naranja, a squatted social center in Mexico City, titled Seven Years of Chaos.
If any of y’all listening attended one of these events and want to share your experience, we’d love to hear how they went! Send us your reportbacks or upcoming event announcements to podcast at crimethinc dot com.
And now itís time to share a piece of theCrimethInc Contradictionary. This episode is brought to you by: Popular and White.
Alanis: For more explorations of the war in every word, visit crimethinc.com/contradictionary
FEATURE: FASCISM AND ANTI-FASCISM, PART I
Fascism… why even talk about it? At the end of World War II, with the Axis powers defeated, fascism was over. Mussolini was gone, Nazism was discredited, and the world moved on into the Cold War era. There might be a few isolated wingnuts today who are keeping the dream alive, but they’re so marginal that nobody cares what they think. Right?
Wrong. Fascism remains a serious threat across the world to this day. Not convinced? Let’s start with the recent murder of antifascist rapper Killah P, which we reported in the Hot Wire. Is this an isolated incident? One of Killah P’s friends in the Greek hip hop scene [mentions in an interview that the fascist Golden Dawn party responsible for his death has been implicated in many violent attacks on immigrants across Greece in recent years. But it took the murder of a Greek person for the government and mass media to suddenly decide to take them seriously. After years on the extreme margins of Greek politics, in the last couple of years the Golden Dawn’s popularity has spiked amidst the economic crisis and anti-austerity upheavals, commanding the support of as much as 15% of the population in polls.
But certainly Greece is a special case, right?
Wrong again. Fascist violence has been escalating around the world.
In June, 18 year old anarchist anti-fascistClement Meric was murdered by neo-Nazi skinheads in Paris. His death is linked to the rise of the well-funded neo-fascist youth movement in France that has dovetailed with broad conservative mobilization against gay marriage and immigration. The French radical left erupted in protest after his death; yetas a group of Clement’s friends pointed out afterwards, in the days leading up to and after his death, numerous other homophobic and anti-immigrant attacks were taking place, while the French state continued to round up immigrants and requested pardon for a cop who committed two racist murders in 2007. The group wrote, “ClÈment was not just murdered by a gang of fascists… ClÈment is, more broadly, the victim of the swift rise of the most pernicious ideas and their growing acceptability in France and elsewhere in Europe… The confidence shown by the extreme right is made possible by and feeds upon the racist, xenophobic, homophobic statements and actions coming from and authorized by the institutions of power.”
This summer in Germany,the trial began of a Neo-Nazi who participated in ten murders of immigrants over nearly a decade of racist terror, taking place with at least partial knowledge and complicity of state security forces.
In Serbia,the state again banned a gay pride march in Belgrade, claiming that it could not protect marchers from right-wing violence.
Over the past year,fascists in the Ukraine have made over twenty violent attacks on radical activists and journalists, including the near-fatal beating of an anarchist in Kiev in April by five Nazis. The attacks continue with virtual impunity from police.
And last year in Russia,an anarchist was brutally murdered by a gang of Nazis in Samara, while in 2009,another anti-fascist was shot to death in Moscow. And a Nazi sympathizer in the Spanish armymurdered a 16 year old anti-fascist at a racist demonstration in Madrid in 2007. We could go on and on.
OK, so this is clearly horrible, but it’s just a European phenomenon, right? Thank goodness we don’t have anything like this here in the US. Sure, the Ku Klux Klan used to be terrible, but the Civil Rights Movement took care of that, right?
Wrong again. For one example, thousands of migrants from Mexico and Latin America have died along the border in recent years,killed by Border Patrol agents orracist vigilantes, or from exposure or thirst while attempting to avoid these murderous forces.
[Thousands of homophobic, racist, and anti-immigrant attacks](http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/hate-incidents?page=1 S) have taken place over the past decades in the US, many by members of organized fascist groups. Some incidents of homophobic or racist violence, such as the 1998 killings of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., made national headlines. Yet extreme-right violence has largely flown under the radar; in that same year,Neo-Nazis murdered Spit and Dan, two members of Anti-Racist Action, in Nevada, while othersbeat Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Selaw to death in Oregon, yet these killings never catalyzed similar national outrage.
Occasionally when a white supremacist is arrested and found to have massive caches of weapons and ammunition, a brief shudder runs through the public consciousness, but then recedes. Yet fascist violence has flared up again and again over the past decades. Back through the 1970s and 80s, the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party were responsible for numerous instances of racist and homophobic violence, including the notorious 1979Greensboro Massacre, where racists murdered five radicals at an anti-Klan demonstration with the complicity of local police and were acquitted by an all-white jury.
What’s happening? What is this horrific movement that won’t seem to die? Why is the state often complicit in certain kinds of right-wing violence while the media ignores it? How can we stop it? Over the next two episodes we’re going to look at fascism and resistance to it. We’ll begin in this episode by attempting to clarify what it is we’re talking about when we speak of fascism, and we’ll look at anti-fascist action in recent years across the US. In the next episode, we’ll look in more depth into the international history of anarchist struggles against fascism since its first emerged, and the lessons we can learn for our struggles today.
First of all, what is “fascism”? The word gets thrown around quite widely, especially among radicals. The term has been applied to everyone from bigots of all sorts to cops and state agents that exert oppressive power to, at times, almost anyone who takes militant action outside of democratic process. Let’s see if we can rein it in a little bit.
Who are we talking about when we speak of fascists? There are neo-Nazis, immersed in anti-Semitic conspiracies and idolizing Hitler’s Germany. There’s the Ku Klux Klan and other white nationalist and neo-Confederate groups who want a return to a racially divided society and believe in myths of white supremacy. There are anti-immigrant zealots obsessed with national identity, and those whose apocalyptic religious fervor takes a racial dimension. Among all of these there are infinite variations, but what common links do they share?
One of the challenges in coherently defining fascism is that there’s never been a single platform or consistent ideology. In certain contexts it’s a definitively right-wing phenomenon, as in Hungary or Serbia today, while in others it doesn’t map neatly onto a left/right spectrum, as in Mussolini’s Italy. In France and Serbia, fascists use the social upheavals around gay rights to gain leverage by emphasizing homophobia; on the other hand, extreme right parties that focus more on Islamophobia and anti-immigrant populism may have active gay supporters, even leaders, such as the assassinated Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn. Many brands of fascism are anti-Semitic, while others focus on xenophobia or anti-black racism but have no particular qualm with Jews; for example, Mussolini only began repression against Italian Jews, many of whom had supported the early years of the fascist regime, when alliance with Hitler’s rabidly anti-Semitic Germany became centrally important.
In practice, fascism has been opportunistic, shifting according to different political circumstances. For instance, the focus on Islamophobia among European fascists today would have seemed irrelevant during the 1920s and 30s, but today offers a basis for right-wing populism among Europeans who feel threatened by the presence of large numbers of Islamic immigrants among them.
So one thing we can say about fascism is that it attempts to be a mass popular movement. It’s not an elite or highbrow movement, although it advocates for strong centralized power in the state. It plugs into broad currents of social discontent and offers an authoritarian vision of society as a solution.
Another core principle is nationalism: the mass politics of fascism rest on shared myths of racial or historical identity. Politics based on these identities operate through scapegoating, attributing social problems not to structural oppression or the actions of states but to the characteristics of people within social groups defined as outside the imagined community of the nation. The particular form of bigotry may vary, depending on what kinds of oppressive myths a particular nationalism dictates. Often times this hatred of the outsider forms the only basis of an increasingly flimsy sense of nationhood.The Coming Insurrection illustrates this in their discussion of the role of xenophobia in propping up French identity in an increasingly atomized society:
“We have arrived at a point of privation where the only way to feel French is to curse the immigrants and those who are more visibly foreign. In this country, the immigrants assume a curious position of sovereignty: if they werenít here, the French might stop existing.”
This turns on its head the typical fascist claim that immigrants threaten the racial existence of a nation, such as the frenzied fears of US racists about demographic shifts that may result in a white minority. In fact, without blacks to blame for crime, Mexicans to blame for job losses, Jews to blame for the banking crisis, gays to blame for undermining the traditional family, and so on and so on… we would actually have to look at capitalism, oppression, and state power to figure out why we have the problems we have today.
And that’s why another consistent feature of fascism is virulent opposition to communists, anarchists, and most other radicals. Many of the violent attacks by European fascists we mentioned earlier targeted political radicals. Fascist punk bands continue the Cold War with Rock Against Communism, linking opposition to radical politics with anti-Semitism and racism. Why such a focus on fighting radicals and leftists? Well, in large part because they’ve been the most prominent militant anti-fascists since the beginning. And allying with powerful conservative forces against radicals can bring leverage and legitimacy to the extreme right wing. But fundamentally the reason for this opposition is because radicals also mobilize around discontent in society, but rather than offering false racist explanations and oppressive solutions, look at the root causes and promote solidarity among all people towards a freer world. And this puts us in direct competition with fascists, who rely on duping people into channeling their legitimate rage into hatred for oppressed groups and support for hierarchical power.
If we close our eyes and imagine what fascism looks like today, we might envision imposing young white men with shaved heads and brass knuckles. This is certainly part of the face of contemporary fascism, but in the US today you’re more likely to see white supremacists in suits and ties or dresses than steel-toed boots and bomber jackets. A shift has taken place in fascist circles towards the appearance of respectability, in part due to the success of anti-fascists in physically confronting them at public rallies and in part due to the broader right-wing trend towards integration into universities, think tanks, and conferences. Beginning with holocaust denial among anti-Semitic historians,fascists have attempted to capitalize on liberal principles of free speech and the marketplace of ideas to demand that their oppressive views receive consideration. This manipulation of free speech rhetoric facilitated the emergence of student organizations such as Youth for Western Civilization.
This suit-and-tie approach is also used to infiltrate existing organizations on both the right and the left. The modern environmental movement in the US offers disturbing examples of this. Anti-immigrant and racist groups insinuated themselves into the national leadership of the Sierra Club across the 1990s and into the 2000s. They pushed ideas of eugenics, population control, and immigration restriction into the consciousness of green activists and attempted to sway the group’s board elections and public positions. In addition to the green movement, fascists of various stripes have attempted to make headway into the anti-globalization and anti-war movements, Palestinian solidarity, the Tea Party, the fringes of Occupy, libertarians… anywhere they sense discontent, they appear to offer false solutions to the crises we face.
So what have anti-fascists done to challenge these groups from leeching off of movements and spreading violent hate?
One of the major forms that anti-fascist organizing has taken in the US over the past decades has been Anti-Racist Action, or ARA, which has consistently confronted racist and neo-Nazi events and campaigns across North America. Founded in 1987 in Minneapolis/St. Paul among participants in the anti-racist skinhead punk subculture, ARA chapters soon spread around the US and Canada, affiliated in a loose network that held gatherings and published newsletters. ARA labeled their policy towards fascists as “expose, oppose, and confront.” Their actions ranged from publishing personal information of closet fascists to physically shutting down racist meetings and concerts to attending demonstrations in solidarity with a variety of other overlapping struggles. Influenced by European anti-fascist groups, the ARA network adopted the “no platform” approach of being open to a wide range of political perspectives under the antifascist banner. But from the beginning, the ARA network reflected a strong anarchist and feminist focus, and worked closely with the Love and Rage Anarchist Federation.
The four ARA points of unity read:
-We go where they go. Whenever fascists are organizing or active in public, we’re there. We don’t believe in ignoring them or staying away from them. Never let the Nazis have the street!
-We don’t rely on the cops or courts to do our work for us. This doesn’t mean we never go to court, but the cops uphold white supremacy and the status quo. They attack us and everyone who resists oppression. We must rely on ourselves to protect ourselves and stop the fascists.
-Non-sectarian defense of other anti-fascists. In ARA, we have a lot of different groups and individuals. We don’t agree about everything and we have a right to differ openly. But in this movement an attack on one is an attack on us all. We stand behind each other.
-We support abortion rights and reproductive freedom. ARA intends to do the hard work necessary to build a broad, strong movement against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination against the disabled, the oldest, the youngest, and the most oppressed people. We want a classless, free society. We intend to win!"
Through the 1990s into the 2000s over 100 chapters affiliated with the ARA network existed around the country, plus many in Canada. At large mobilizations such as the “Battle of York” in 2002, they consistently shut down fascist events in militant confrontations, while many others were pre-empted by community organizing. They mobilized against Nazi efforts infiltrate youth subcultures and music scenes, challenged street gangs, outed prominent white supremacists, and in many cases faced consequences ranging from liberal condemnation to physical threats to legal charges for their resistance. Today there are at least a dozen chapters still active, though many more folks come out of the woodwork to attend demonstrations.
Another major dimension of antifascist activity involves research on fascist groups, which is crucial to exposing and confronting them wherever they appear. Numerous groups exist to track fascist organizing in the US and beyond. Some, such as the One People’s Project, are directly affiliated with anti-fascist social movements. However, more mainstream and widely funded research groups often target anarchists and radical activists as well as fascists under a generic and depoliticized category of “extremism.” As early as 2000, the Anti-Defamation League identified the circled A as a racist symbol on their “Hate on Display” website, despite acknowledging that most if not all of those who sported it adhered to vehemently anti-racist beliefs. Likewise, the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report after the Seattle WTO protests implying that black bloc anarchists were in league with violent fascists. Today they toe the government line of identifying animal and earth liberation activists as moral equivalents to neo-Nazis who kill others in pursuit of a world based on racist oppression. Collaboration between law enforcement and supposedly anti-fascist researchers, including SPLC and the UK-based publication “Searchlight,”(http://www.libcom.org/history/1985–2001-anti-fascist-action-afa) has done serious damage to trust and organizing relationships among anti-fascists.
And how does the state respond? As we pointed out in our discussion of the recent history of fascist violence, often it takes place with the knowledge and tacit permission of state forces. While the FBI and other law enforcement agents have often infiltrated fascist groups, they have consistently allowed these groups to carry out violent acts, even going so far as to incite and provide weapons to them. White supremacists populate the ranks of police, prison guards, the military, and the border patrol, giving them the opportunity to enforce violent oppression with the backing of the state.
At the same time, the political climate prioritizes prosecuting so-called violence that destabilizes property relations rather than attacks that increase dependence on the state for security. That’s why the Earth Liberation Front remains the top domestic terrorism threat in the US, despite having never killed nor injured a single person, while abortion clinic bombers, anti-immigrant vigilantes, and armed white separatists receive little attention.
When it does become politically necessary to take action against hate groups and their violent members, the state uses the framework of the “hate crime,” which uses the ideology of an attacker as a basis for lengthening their prison sentence. Apart from the fact that incarceration is not solution to fascism and hate crime laws only strengthen the prison industrial complex, these laws use a vague category of “bias,” rather than socially oppressive action, as the punishable offense. This has lead to prosecution for supposedly anti-white or anti-heterosexual “hate crimes,” and even an effort to characterize anti-capitalism as a form of bias in cases of property destruction!
This context obscures the reality of racism and fascism today. Dominant media narratives reflect the illusion of a post-racial society, which obviously obscures the persistence of a massively racist social order secured through prisons, police, the military, and global capitalism. The myth that the election of Obama proves that we’ve transcended white supremacy as a society allows anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, and other fascist organizing trends to appear falsely race-neutral and gain legitimacy. At the same time, progressive anti-racist discourses focus on institutional oppression and privilege theory, reasonably enough, but claim that fascists are marginal and irrelevant. This is both offensive to their victims and dangerously out of touch with the history and current global reality of fascist organizing.
We will never forget Killah P, Clement, Spit and Dan, those who die in the deserts of Arizona whose names we’ll never know, and all the other victims of fascist violence. And the best way we can remember them is by staying committed to anti-fascist struggle everywhere.
We received this question from listener George:
"I don’t like how Crimethinc. has disparaged National Anarchism. You call these people ‘Fascists’, and ‘the foremost proponents of hierarchy’. But that simply isn’t true. You’re making a generalization that these people think identically with right-wing nationalists. And just as we want to break away from the left, similarly, these people wish to break away from the right.
They have many of the same goals and enemies as we do, but instead of seeing them as an ally they’re treated as another enemy to fight. Not only does this make us use more energy and resources fighting them, but it also denies us additional power. We cannot pick and choose our allies in this sensitive state. They oppose banks, hierarchy, capitalism, the exploitation and the domination of humans, animals, and the earth, police state, industrialization, globalization, and so many of the other things we do. But because they disagree with us on a few issues we reject them completely?… Isn’t it domination (and the opposite of anarchism) to say that they can’t live in a society that they want?"
I can hear some of you listeners out there groaning and rolling your eyes. Why should we waste time talking about these wingnuts? That was our first reaction, too. But unfortunately, if anyone out there could think that we have anything in common with National Anarchists, then we haven’t done our job as an anarchist podcast. And since this episode focuses on anti-fascism, it’s important to discuss them as one of the new obstacles anti-fascists have to face.
Hopefully you haven’t heard of the so-called National Anarchists. If not, we’ll start by quoting from the CrimethInc article “Fighting on the New Terrain,” which George referenced. It mentions them in the context of the broad shift in social and political organization towards decentralization, but not necessarily with the goal of liberation. It says:
“Even fascists are trying to get in on decentralization and autonomy. In Europe, so-called ’Autonomous Nationalists” have appropriated radical aesthetics and formats, utilizing anti-capitalist rhetoric and black bloc tactics. This is not simply a matter of our enemies attempting to disguise themselves as us, though it certainly muddies the waters: it also indicates an ideological split in fascist circles as the younger generation attempts to update its organizational models for the 21st century. Fascists in the US and elsewhere are engaged in the same project under the paradoxical banner of ’National Anarchism“; if they succeed in persuading the general public that anarchism is a form of fascism, our prospects will be bleak indeed.”
So who are the National Anarchists? They are a group of former extreme-right racists who began coming in on the fringes of anti-globalization, green anarchist, and black bloc spaces over the past decade. Green Anarchy magazine reported their emergence in the US as early as 2005. They’ve been visible in Australia, the US, and briefly the UK under that name, while their counterparts in Europe have mostly identified as Autonomous Nationalists.
Where did they come from? They emerged from a splinter faction of the British National Front, a racist and anti-immigrant extreme right party in the UK. They managed to hold one public event under the name National Anarchists in 2000, but after their subsequent efforts to assemble publicly were smashed by anti-fascists, they retreated to the internet. In the last ten years they have reappeared in the US and Australia, participating in May Day, anti-globalization, and animal rights demonstrations.
Are they fascists? Well, they advocate racial separatism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia, while idolizing pro-Confederate guerrillas. One of their leaders said in 2003, and I quote, “We just want to stress that National Anarchism is an essentially racialist phenomenon. Thatís what makes it different.” So we can drop the illusion that these people are not fascists or committed to hierarchy. We’re not assuming that they think identically to right-wing nationalists; as we’ve discussed, there’s quite a bit of variation among fascists in their precise ideology. But they are attempting to push a fundamentally racist project by appropriating the critiques and aesthetics of anarchist movements.
Are they anarchists? Well, they claim to oppose some of the systems we critique. But they see autonomy as a way to politically enact their white supremacist views; it’s a textbook case of the critique from “Fighting on the New Terrain” of using supposedly non-hierarchical means to produce hierarchical ends. And they also hilariously referred to the all-white fictional town of Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show as, quote, “a fully realized anarchist society.” Umm… sorry, y’all, but we are not talking about the same thing when we use the term “anarchist”.
In the US, there were probably never more than a handful of National Anarchists, mostly on the west coast and northwest, and they only took part in a handful of public actions, such as protesting the Folsom Street Fair, a gay leather and BDSM festival in San Francisco, participating in a coastal cleanup day, and trying to table at anarchist book fairs. As of summer 2011, the Bay Area group announced that it was ceasing all public action due to internal splits. So while there could be flare-ups in the future, the National Anarchists don’t exist in any meaningful way in the US today, as far as we can tell. So even if you were motivated by the crudest realpolitik desire to connect with anyone who shares some planks on your platform, we’re not talking about a potential ally with any actual power.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not a threat to us. Asan insightful article by an extreme right research organization points out:
“The danger National Anarchists represent is not in their marginal political strength, but in their potential to show an innovative way that fascist groups can rebrand themselves and reset their project on a new footing… Even if the results are modest, this can disrupt left-wing social movements and their focus on social justice and egalitarianism; and instead spread elitist ideas based on racism, homophobia, antisemitism and antifeminism amongst grassroots activists.”
If you’re still not sure, listen to the National Anarchists themselves, arguing for a strategy of “entryism,” that is, infiltrating existing resistance projects to hijack them for their own racist ends. British National Anarchist Troy Southgate called for them to join political groups and then, quote,“misdirect or disrupt them for our own purposes or convert sections of their memberships to our cause.”
This could not be more explicit. If we tolerate even in the slightest degree the presence of these racist scumbags in anarchist spaces, we risk being infiltrated, disrupted, and divided, not to mention permanently alienated from any allies with enough good sense to avoid organizing with fascists. We should treat these people as we would treat any other infiltrators or fascists; shut down their organizing, keep them out of our spaces, and clearly show in word and in action that we have zero tolerance for them and their racist ideas.
Oh, and as for the idea that it’s against anarchist values to say that they can’t live in the kind of society they want: please, National Anarchists, go back to Europe and live in some all-white village by yourselves so we never have to deal with you again. But we will not allow you to undermine our struggles with your idiotic racist ideology. That’s just self-defense, plain and simple.
On this podcast, we’ve explored various topics and themes within anarchism, but we haven’t spent a lot of time really digging into what anarchism is, as we see it - and, perhaps just as importantly, what anarchism is not. We’re in a peculiar era now- rather than “anarchist” being nothing but an epithet used to smear one’s opponents, nowadays everyone wants to call themselves an anarchist, from neo-fascists like the National Anarchists to hyper-capitalist libertarians obsessed with the free market. Just having to clarify that we’re not fascists or capitalists wastes our time, weakens our legitimacy, and risks rupturing our affinity with others in struggle. So keep an ear out for future episodes where we’ll focus in more depth on just what we mean when we talk about anarchism.
On a lighter note, we had an interesting response to “The Issues Are not the Issue,” the text about eco-defense struggles and insurrection debated on our last episode. We’ve received a communique from Garth Algar of Negate City, a mysterious and very serious publishing outfit based out of everywhere and nowhere. They have published pioneering works on Ren and Stimpy and hollow earth theory, and I believe they are also the same thing as Semiotexte. They’ve produced a text called“That The Issues are not the Issue is not the Issue,” and have demanded that we read it in its entirety on our CrimethInc Fair and Balanced News Program.
Well, Garth, we’d love to, but unfortunately our computer has a really strong troll filter and we weren’t able to open the attachment. But if any of you listeners would like to read this satirical text in its entirety, which we do not recommend, we’ve got a link up at our website, crimethinc.com/podcast.
As always, if you’ve got feedback for us, critiques of an episode, or things you’d like to hear more about, drop us a line at podcast at crimethinc dot com.
Alanis: To continue our discussion of fascism and resistance to it, this week on the Mugshot we interview two anarchists involved in different aspects of the anti-fascist struggle today. First, we’ll speak to Daryle from the One People’s Project about the work his group does researching the extreme right in the US, particularly its attempts to appear respectable in order to achieve positions of power. Then we’ll hear from Andrew fromNew York City’s Anarchist Black Cross, reflecting on the lessons learned from militant confrontations with fascists and efforts to support anti-fascist prisoners.
Clara: Today we’re speaking with Daryle Lamont Jenkins from the One People’s Project, based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Daryle, thanks for being with us.
Daryle:Thanks for having me!
Clara: Could you tell us a little bit about One People’s Project, how y’all got started and the work you’re doing today?
Daryle:Well, One People’s Project started in July 4th, 2000 as a response to a white supremacist rally that was taking place at the time. And what we did was in the lead up to the event - that was in Morristown, New Jersey - in the lead up to that rally, we set up a website that basically gave the information about the rally and who would be involved and what kind of groups were expected to be there on both sides. And after everything was said and done, it turned into a website supporting those that were arrested that day, and then we decided it might be a good idea if we just turned this into an organization that monitors not just the racist right, but right-wingers in general.
So, One People’s Project is an organization that tries to get as much information as we can about right-wing groups and individuals, and especially those that are connected to the mainstream. And we use that information to encourage other groups, other organizations from any spectrum to basically to keep those kinds of organizations and those individuals from getting real power. Of course, obviously they have real power. But we want them to have that power diminished. So that’s what our efforts are basically geared towards.
Clara: One of the trends we see in fascist organizing in the US is this emphasis not just on street-level violent Nazi thugs, but the so-called “suit and tie Nazis”, the people who distance themselves from out-and-out fascism or violence but who use academic institutions as cover to gain legitimacy for their agenda. Can you speak a little bit about this trend and what we can do to call it out and oppose it?
Daryle:Yes I can, because it’s been pretty much the brand that’s been used these days. They’re called “paleoconservatives,” for the most part. They’ve always had them, they’ve always had these suit and tie types that try to angle themselves into the mainstream, into political circles or, like you said, academic circles. But in 2005 when the Minutemen came into being, and the immigration scene became front page news, and those in the anti-immigration campaigns were being respected and listened to by mainstream conservatives - that gave a lot of your neo-Nazis a taste of the good life. Because one of the things that people fail to realize, when you’re dealing with the anti-immigration movement - anti-immigrationcampaigns I should say, I don’t even know if I can call it so much a movement. But when you’re dealing with that crowd, you’ve basically dealing with neo-Nazis, dealing with white supremacists. So whenever these folks who are normally akin to swinging around swastikas and “sieg heil”-ing all the time, using racial slurs every other word, and what have youÖ When they all got a taste of that, when they all saw what was getting people to listen to them, they decided that this is the direction we have to go in. So you started seeing after 2005 a decline in the usual public rallies and you started seeing more conferences coming into play - conferences that would not immediately trigger that immediate response that white supremacists generally get when they try to assemble. Because they’re under those benign names; they’re not the Ku Klux Klan anymore, they’re not the American Nazi Party anymore (even though they all still exist). They come out with names like the council for conservative citizens, which has been around for years or the new group that came out, the American Freedom Party, which used to call itself American Third Position, and they came out of something called the Golden State Skinheads, I believe. This is their M.O. of today, because this is what’s getting results for them. Over the past few years, we have seen a lot more groups gravitating towards that.
And those who are in the street Nazi scene are even trying to adopt that ideal. And it must be working, because now we have a number of folks out of the street Nazi scene who are either running for political office, have attained political office… we even have somebody in Pennsylvania who’s a Republican committeeman. And he was in the Klan, in Aryan Nations, one of David Duke’s organizations. And he is right now on a four year term, starting last year, serving as a Republican committeeman. So this is what we have to concern ourselves with now. And I will tell you, that means we have to step up our game as well. and it has to be really immediate, because they see the handwriting’s on the wall. They see that society has been fighting them harder and does not want that kind of influence in today’s society or tomorrow’s society, for that matter. And they’re gonna hurt someone. So it’s important for all of us to pay attention to what they’re doing.
Clara: Can you give some examples of successful resistance, the kinds of tactics that have worked to help confront and shut down these people?
Daryle:Well, the education for the public about who these people are has helped a lot. We’ve seen how some of these individuals. will get fired from their jobs once they’re exposed. I mentioned American Renaissance. That’s one idea of a success story, incidentally. American Renaissance is a white supremacist publication that stages its own conferences every now and again in the DC area. Back in 2010, we started to really make some noise about it, and it caused the hotels that they were holding them in to basically shut their doors to them. So they tried to move it to Charlotte, North Carolina. And this time, when we sounded the alarm, the acting mayor at the time even got involved and all the hotels there closed their doors to them as well. So now they have moved their conferences to just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. The reason why they were able to have this conference is they say they found a place that was basically publicly funded, they cannot be turned away the same way that a private hotel can tell them, “no, we will not service you” or anything like that. So they went down to a place called - it’s in Dixon Tennessee, it’s a state park - Montgomery Bell State Park. And there is a conference center there where they held their conference. And there were protests, there was an alternative conference that was held there this April. They’re going to keep on putting the screws to them so long as they keep holding their conferences at this place. But the fact that we was able to chase them out of DC is a success story.
And here’s the thing, too. Wherever they do hold their conferences, if we can’t shut them down, we end up, as I said before, getting them fired from their jobs. In 2008, they held their conference in DC; we found out that a prosecutor, a county prosecutor I believe, was fired from his job when he went back home to upstate New York for attending that conference. We found out that after last year’s American Renaissance conference, one person was fired from the National Review - a conservative magazine, of all places - for his attendance there, and I believe a speaking engagement there. And this year we was able to expose a person who attended the American Renaissance conference who was an engineer, an army contractor with the US army, that basically helps them make bombs. He’s involved in the department of the army that deals with chemical warfare.
I mean, we always here about this particular crowd blowing up something, whether it’s Oklahoma City, whether it’s an attempt on the Martin Luther King day parade route in Washington state… the fact of the matter is, these are dangerous people. And when you have people that are in influential positions like that, that has to be dealt with. So yeah, there are success stories, there could be more success stories. It’s just a matter of what it is we do.
Clara: Do you have any other advice or practical tips for anti-racist solidarity today?
Daryle:I think it’s just a case of being more vigilant. I mean, I think we’ve become a little too comfortable. And we have a tendency of being concerned with rocking the boat too much. When you’re dealing with the racist politics, you are going to be rocking some boats that you didn’t expect to rock. And you can’t be afraid of that. It’s one of the reasons we have the problem in the first place. You have to stop telling people to ignore Nazis.
It’s interesting because in a couple of weeks on the 19th here in Philadelphia , we’re going to be dealing with a white supremacist rally at what we call Boathouse Row. Now, in years past they tried to keep it secret - obviously it’s not a secret to us - but they’ve been holding it for seven years, and the reason why they’ve been able to hold it for seven years is because people simply didn’t pay attention to them except for a select few. Now they want to ratchet it up, and they’re calling every white supremacist they know from around the country to be in Philadelphia on October 19th to deal with us, the antifa that comes out. So we’re calling in all our people to come out as well on that day. So if you know anybody that is interested, the information is one onepeopleproject.com.
But we do have to be a little bit more vigilant than we have been. There’s a lot of positive groups out there that are willing to help people understand what’s going on. There is One People’s Project there’s Anti-Racist Action that’s out there. There’s the Center for New Community. And even though I know there may be a lot of people listening to this podcast who may have some concerns with the Southern Poverty Law Center, they still have good information that we can take from them and advance our own activism.
Clara: Daryle, thank you very much for speaking with us.
Daryle:You’re very welcome, you’re very welcome.
INTERVIEW: NYC ANARCHIST BLACK CROSS
Clara: We’re here with Andrew from the New York City Anarchist Black Cross, who’s going to talk to us a little bit about anarchist anti-fascist actions in recent years and prisoner support. Andrew, thank you for being with us.
Andrew: Thank you for having me.
Clara: Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about the work that Anarchist Black Cross does in New York?
Andrew: Sure. My name is Andrew, and what New York ABC does is we organize around political prison support, primarily for political prisoners and prisoners of war who are held in the United States.
Clara: Could you tell us a little bit about some of the anarchist anti-fascist actions that anarchist anti-fascists have participated over recent years, and what lessons we’ve learned from them?
Andrew: I can try. Having lived in the Northeast for the last 15 or so years, there’s been a very vibrant, active and militant anarchist anti-fascist presence, in actions ranging from the Battle of York, which happened in Pennsylvania, and some folks in Philadelphia who were known as the Love Park anti-fascists, and I myself was involved in a case which became known as the Morristown Three. And even more recently there have been actions in Tinley Park, Illinois just outside of Chicago, and Toledo, Ohio, to name a couple.
The type of organizing that’s happened in terms of anti-fascist organizing that is explicitly anarchist, has ranged from information gathering and surveillance, where folks will monitor popular neo-Nazi websites and online forums, to going so far as to find out personal information, out these folks so that they will be publicly shamed, leading all the way up to physical confrontation. I think the difference between some other types of antiracist and antifascist organizing is that anarchists, especially militant anti-fascist anarchists, are more willing physically confront Nazis and other white supremacists.
Clara: And what are some of the lessons you’ve learned from the cases you’ve been involved in?
Andrew: What I can speak to directly in my own experience is that it is possible to not only physically confront Nazis, but also even in the case, in the unfortunate even that you find yourself arrested, you can still get through that and come out fine on the other side ready to fight Nazis another day, as it were.
In my case we were able to not only physically confront someone who is very well known on one of the better known white supremacist online forums… he ended up trying to press charges against us, and it ended up backfiring horribly, to the point that he was outed for trying to fundraise for plastic surgery for his wife. And so he ended up losing a lot of credibility in his own community as a result of the fundraising he was trying to do playing victim, as a result of just being a filthy fucking Nazi.
It’s important for anarchists to focus on anti-fascist organizing because fascism takes so many forms. There are structural forms and systemic forms that we see, but that manifest itself in very real ways, not only members of our communities but also other historically oppressed communities. It is one very good way to build alliances with other communities we may not already have strong connections with. It is a good way for us to build affinity in a really practical, on-the-street way. It’s a good way to let neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other would-be fascists know that where they go, they will be followed, they will be confronted, and at best shamed, if not physically put down.
Clara: Tell us about the Tinley Park case and what we can do to support the folks who’ve been arrested.
Andrew: TheTinley Park case revolves around now technically six people. There was a confrontation in a suburb of Chicago known as Tinley Park. The confrontation happened in May of 2012. There was an organized gathering of white supremacists under the guise of a European economic forum. So they presented themselves to this local restauranteur as a group of folks who were coming together to discuss the economic plight of white folks. In reality, they were folks who came from organizations such as the National Socialist Movement, the Council of Conservative Citizens, and the Ku Klux Klan. Earlier I talked about one of the tactics that anti-fascists use is surveillance and making known the identities of white supremacists. So anti-fascists knew that this was happening, and they knew that this was going to be a significant meeting, because you’ve got at least three prominent white supremacist groups coming together. So about eighteen folks, militant anti-fascists, got together, entered this restaurant, and beat the shit out of these white supremacists. And then they left. Unfortunately, within a very short amount of time, a car was pulled over, and the five people in that car were arrested. They eventually plead in a non-cooperating plea deal and accepted sentences ranging from three to six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. They’re in five different prisons now.
Just recently a sixth person named Jason Hammond was arrested in this same case. If the name Hammond sounds familiar, it’s because his brother is Jeremy Hammond, who is currently in federal prison in New York City and facing sentencing soon on actions taken as part of LulzSec and Anonymous. Jason is currently out on bail.
So in terms of how to help the Tinley Park Five, there’s a website which has far more information than I can in this short amount of time. And it’s tinleyparkfive.wordpress.com. It has more information about the five folks; it has information on how you can write letters to them, how you can donate to their commissary funds and support them financially in other ways. And also it just gives very solid background on the case. The five are Jason Sutherland, Cody Sutherland, Dylan Sutherland, John Tucker, and Alex Stuck. Jason, Cody, and Dylan don’t just happen to share a last name; they’re brothers. And the five of them are all from Indiana. The last thing that I would suggest in terms of how to support is a campaign that’s just now underway, and it’s a campaign to raise funds specifically for Alex Stuck who is scheduled to be released from prison some time either late October or early November. And so there’s currently a fundraising campaign to help support Alex when he gets out. There’s a website; the easiest way to get to it is to go to j.mp/alexstuck. It’s a post-release fund. I think that it’s very important to address the issue of supporting prisoners after they’re released from prison. I think there’s a common misconception that once the website comes down and once they’ve been released from prison then these folks are somehow now not traumatized from what they’ve been through, not facing any economic hardship as a result of being labeled a felon whose name has been very publicÖ and all of that couldn’t be further from the truth. So folks like Alex are going to come out, and thankfully he’s coming out to an apartment and a job, but he’s still going to need a lot of support. So we’d like to be able to welcome him home with a little bit of walking around money.
Clara: Some people might think that by physically confronting or attacking fascists it makes you just as bad as them, or that it brings attention to their cause, when the best thing to do would be ignore them, because they’re irrelevant. How would you counter those sorts of accusations?
Andrew: The ignoring them question is one that’s popularly championed by local police departments whenever Nazis and the Klan are coming to town. The reality is, you can’t ignore them. If you ignore them, they expand and they grow. Neo-Nazis and other white supremacists really prey upon young folks. They try to find disaffected white youth and exploit their feelings of alienation. They prey upon subcultures and music scenes and really try to turn these folks into young soldiers. The Klan has historically been known to see especially young neo-Nazi skinheads as their brownshirts and their foot soldiers. So by ignoring them, all you’re doing is giving them ground to grow.
In terms of why they should be confronted physically, as opposed to, I guess, holding a placard: I don’t think a strategy of nonviolence has ever succeeded, especially when you’re dealing with organizations comprised solely of people operating under the idea of violence, of might making right. The only way to deal with these folks is typically physically. And we’ve seen time and time again that when their organizing is physically disrupted, it stops, it recedes and it shrinks. So all I can really use is personal experience, anecdotes, and the history of militant anti-fascists who I’ve been fortunate to associate with; and from those experiences, we’ve seen that white supremacists and other neo-Nazis and other forms of fascists really do understand the language of violence. And when it’s meted out to them, they scurry.
Barney Fife: Like you say, a little spank here and there ain’t gonna hurt ’em.
Andy Griffith: No, it won’t.
Andrew: If folks have any questions in terms of doing prisoner support, whether it’s for anti-fascist prisoners or otherwise, they can visit us at nycabc.wordpress.com. Unfortunately, modern media invades all aspects of our lives, so we’ve obliged: we are at nycabc on Twitter, Instagram, all of the other things, FacebookÖ We really do encourage folks to organize locally to do prisoner support. And we’re really happy to provide any sort resources we have, make those available, and to work with other groups to strengthen the work that they’re doing, and in turn strengthen our own work.
Clara: Great! Thank you very much.
Andrew: Of course.
NEXT WEEK’S NEWS
Clara: And finally, let’s wrap up this episode with Next Week’s News, ways that you can plug into resistance struggles around the world in the coming weeks. Alanis, what’s on the calendar?
Indigenous liberation groupIdle No More has called for a mass day of action on October 7th, the 250th anniversary of the British government proclamation that created Canada on indigenous lands. There are actions scheduled all over the US and Canada, as well as the UK, Italy, and India. You can find one near you at http://www.idlenomore.ca/events.
October 11th is another day ofmass marches against biotech giant Monsanto, at their corporate headquarters in St Louis, Missouri as well as hundreds of other cities on six continents. Get plugged in at www.march-against-monsanto.com
On the 11th and 12th of October,the Zrenjanin antifascist festival takes place in Serbia! This is a city of about 75,000 in the midst of a country with an extreme fascist problem that still manages to host a huge radical gathering drawing attendees from all over Eastern Europe and beyond, for workshops, talks, bands, exchanging literature, and connecting struggles. We want to send our love and solidarity to the Serbian anarchists who are doing such inspiring organizing in incredibly difficult circumstances. Thanks, y’all!
In the spirit of this episode, there are two upcoming fascist events that need to be confronted, so if you can make it out to either of them, take a stand against hate. On October 12th in Tennessee, the neo-Confederate“League of the South” will be rallying in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville, whileneo-Nazis in Philadelphia will try to celebrate “Leif Erickson Day” on the 19th. You can get details on both counter-demonstrations at onepeoplesproject.com.
Clara: And if book fairs aren’t your thing, there are radical eco gatherings happening at the same time: theTrans and Women’s Action Camp Maine will be the 19th through 21st, while theFierce Dreams Australian Green anarchist gathering takes place on the 18th through 20th.
So get involved! Step up wherever you are and take part in the resistance that’s popping off around the world.
Several political prisoners have birthdays coming up, too:
Today on October 6th we wish a very happy birthday toDavid Gilbert, revolutionary from the Weather Underground and Black Liberation Army. Hiscollection of writings “Love and Struggle” was released on PM Press last year, and is well worth a look.
Also today we send birthday wishes toMichael Davis Africa, one of the MOVE 9, members of a Philadelphia-based eco-revolutionary group each serving 100 years after being framed for the murder of a cop in 1979.
On the 7th,Eric McDavid, imprisoned for conspiracy due to a government informant who fabricated a crime that never happened and implicated Eric in it.
On the 8th,Lynne Stewart, a radical lawyer sentenced to 10 years in prison for providing material support to a terrorist group, simply for defending her client. She is dying of cancer while imprisoned. There is a campaign to get her released to get the treatment she needs. Plug in at lynnestewart.org.
Finally, we also wanted to give you a heads up about a new website that has been launched to provide resources for anarchists facing federal repression in the United States. It’s called Stop the Anarchist Witch-Hunt - SAW for short - and the address is http://anarchistwitchhunt.org/. Check it out.
And that’s that for this episode of the Ex-Worker! This podcast is a project of CrimethInc Ex-Worker’s Collective. Thanks so much to Daryle and Andrew for speaking with us, and to Underground Reverie for the music, and to all of you for sending your feedback and listening in. You can always get in touch with us by sending an email to podcast at crimethinc dot com.
We want to dedicate this episode to the memory of Killah P and Herman Wallace, with gratitude for your struggle against the forces of fascism and state power that claimed your lives. Gentlemen, you are gone, but not forgotten.
Until next time: never forgive, and never forget.
Links and references from this episode of The Ex-Worker:
We also recommend looking through the online archive ofTurning the Tide, an ARA-affiliated newsletter based out of Los Angeles.
There’s alsoa benefit CD for sale to benefit legal funds for anti-fascists now available.
On the “National Anarchists”: the Political Research Associates article“Rebranding Fascism” provides an excellent analysis. And while we don’t endorse the Southern Poverty Law Center ñ nor would they endorse us ñ their article“California Racists Claim They’re Anarchists” offers some useful information. The original CrimethInc text cited in the listener’s question was“Fighting On the New Terrain”, in the section “Decentralizing Hierarchy: Participation as Subjugation”.
Anaudio piece about Killah P’s life and music, including an interview with one of his close friends. It explains the Greek state and mass media’s willful ignorance of the Golden Dawn’s fascist violence until it claimed the life of a native Greek person.
Beating Fascism is an excellent collection of history and interviews and about anti-fascism from an anarchist perspective.
An analysis of a struggle against the neo-fascist student organization Youth For Western Civilization appears inRolling Thunder #9 along with a critique of the liberal “free speech” defenses of fascist organizing. The texts are available in zine form from the NC Piece Corps under the title“The Divorce of Thought From Deed”.
Stop the Anarchist Witch-Hunt, a new website to provide resources for anarchists facing federal repression in the United States.
For all youtrollophiles out there,“That The Issues are not the Issue is not the Issue”, Negate City’s satire of“The Issues Are Not the Issue”
Corrected mailing address forMarissa Alexander:
Marissa Alexander #J46944
11120 NW Gainesville Rd
Ocala, FL 34482
Prisoners with upcoming birthdays:
DAVID GILBERT (OCTOBER 6, 1944)
AUBURN CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
PO BOX 618
AUBURN NY 13021
MICHAEL DAVIS AFRICA (OCTOBER 6, 1955)
GRATERFORD, PA 19426
ERIC MCDAVID (OCTOBER 7TH)
FCI TERMINAL ISLAND
PO BOX 3007
SAN PEDRO, CA 90731
LYNNE STEWART (OCTOBER 8TH)
FEDERAL MEDICAL CENTER
PO BOX 27137
FORT WORTH, TX 76127
ROBERT SETH HAYES (OCTOBER 15, 1948)
SULLIVAN CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
325 RIVERSIDE DRIVE
P.O. BOX 116
FALLSBERG, NY 12733–0116
JALIL MUNTAQIM (OCTOBER 18, 1951)
ATTICA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
PO BOX 149
ATTICA NY 14011–0149
Note: Please address envelope to Anthony Bottom, card to Jalil Muntaqim