For an anti-fascist, revolutionary unionism

For an anti-fascist, revolutionary unionism.

A statement by the African Peoples Caucus of the Twin Cities Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) about revolutionary unionism's responsibility to be anti-fascist.

Fascism is a concept that has grown a lot of particular interest since the election of Donald Trump and the failure of neoliberalism. While we don’t consider Trump himself to be a fascist but a right wing populist, we do recognize that he has mobilized a broad coalition of the right, which includes some fascists. However, reactionary violence is nothing new to black and African people living in the United States. Our communities have seen first-hand the terror campaigns of proto-fascist groups such as the KKK, and other kinds of organized white supremacist violence. Our oppression and exploitation have been central to the establishment of modern capitalism in the Americas. This also means we have been fighting back since we were brought here. Our stake in anti-fascism is not an academic question.

Fascism needs to be defined for our context: right now this is a smaller element participating within a popular front of the right wing. Most notable of this multi-tendency white nationalist milieu is the alt-right, who believe in atrocities such as "white" ethnic cleansing, misogyny, violence against a perceived "other" (minorities, refugees, Muslims, women, lgbtqia, Jews), and overwhelming worship of authority and class-based hierarchies. What allows this to spread is that neoliberal economic policies under capitalism cause the working class to suffer, and they are given scapegoats and offered false and authoritarian solutions. The reactionaries’ influence within the State will be strengthened, which will increase the suffering of black and African people at the hands of the police, prison, and poverty.

While fascism sometimes spreads using political opportunists like the electoral right wing, it is also an independent movement of the insurgent right wing and has an agenda separate from and opposed to the current state. Fascists also recruit through entryism into popular cultures and subcultures (music, arts, internet groups, faith-based, etc). Today’s fascists have improved the ability to hide within “legitimate” conservative political and social groups. Its spread is international and evident in the western turn away from neoliberalism towards economic nationalism, Islamophobic motives surrounding Brexit, and the State literally assassinating drug users in the Philippines. Trump is a big piece of this, but definitely not the only one. In addition to being aware of fascists attempting to turn the repressive state apparatus against us, we also have
to prepare to defend ourselves against reactionaries like George Zimmerman and Dylann Roof, who have terrorized us with direct extralegal violence since we got here.

It's important that we not let our history of struggle be claimed by the liberal narrative that the civil rights era was built on a dogmatic commitment to "nonviolence". Black and African people have had to physically, mentally, and emotionally defend their communities from State and white supremacist terror, and it was organized. Groups like the Deacons for Defense, Black Liberation Army, and Black Panther Party understood why a self-defense approach in the face of police and reactionaries was necessary. If a person knows the bloodshed that occurred at the height of the labor movement, one must also acknowledge there has been consistent violence against black and African people for centuries. Labor organizers and specifically the IWW have long-opposed class traitors like the Ku Klux Klan. White supremacists despise the radical left because of their commitment to solidarity with all oppressed people. The IWW will remain a target of the State and the far right, especially as our activity gains momentum and size. The General Defense Committee has been and can continue to be an excellent vehicle to grow the anti-fascist movement. Anti-fascism needs to grow into an extremely popular movement in order to win. Communities that build their capacity for organized defense against the State and organized hate will be major contributors in the fight against capitalism.

We black and African workers face this threat in many places within and beyond our workplaces, and a fascist threat to any of the working class is a threat to the entire class. We have no choice but to confront organized white supremacists, just as we have no choice but to struggle against the bosses in our workplaces. We are calling on our comrades in the IWW and elsewhere, to join us in confronting white nationalists organizing to direct further violence against our people. We are calling on the General Administration to give our rank and file militants the support we need to organize in defense of ourselves and
our class on the ground. We believe that the slogan “an injury to one is an injury to all” should also be demonstrated by our white comrades who feel as though confronting fascism is optional or of little importance.

For an anti-fascist, revolutionary unionism!
Twin Cities IWW African Peoples Caucus

Originally posted: April 2, 2017 on Facebook

Comments

Soapy
Apr 26 2017 14:03

I saw the interview with General Defense Committee on It's Going Down, cool stuff I have to say. In terms of antifascism, I hold the view that through the rise of multiculturalism the nature of racism has changed , that it is enacted more structurally than through mob based violence making antifa actions in the U.S. somewhat out of date (although there is no denying that in the past it has been quite necessary to arm small groups against racist mob violence). There is also the issue that, based on some discussions I've had and it's general perception in the media, it is widely unpopular as people see it (probably correctly) as a violation of the constitution to deny people free access to speech and assembly.

The other main issue is it seems to signal that antifas would prefer a smooth talking neo-con to out and out white supremacist like Trump. That antifas are not opposed to the policies of Trump (which are just an escalation of what's been occurring for the past 30+ years) but rather the way he says things, which doesn't really resonate with me.

Juan Conatz
Apr 27 2017 01:24

Hmm, where to start? You express some really crude and strawman views on race in the U.S., fascism/antifascism and the far left in general.

Quote:
In terms of antifascism, I hold the view that through the rise of multiculturalism the nature of racism has changed , that it is enacted more structurally than through mob based violence making antifa actions in the U.S. somewhat out of date

I'm not sure who is saying that racism in the U.S. has gone unchanged in the forms which it is expressed. Also, besides during specific times and specific locations, I'm not sure there was ever a time where mob violence was the primary enforcer of racial hierarchy either. The state has almost always had that role, with mob violence residing in the background as a last resort for when the state failed to uphold white supremacy in "adequate" ways.

Regardless, just because white supremacy has changed...this isn't an argument against anti-fascism. If there is a nationwide mobilization between numerous fascist groups who have been networking (such as the recent situation in Berkeley), whether the forms in which white supremacy usually is expressed have changed is not an argument for not opposing this.

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(although there is no denying that in the past it has been quite necessary to arm small groups against racist mob violence).

This is something that you seem to be continuously stuck on. The question of arms and violent self-defense. I don't believe any group is prioritizing this as the primary thing, although some may believe this is important to incorporate into something broader.

During the occupation of the 4th Precinct by Black Lives Matter and Justice 4 Jamar activists, /pol/ organized a campaign of disinformation in the hashtags associated with the occupation. Out of this alt-right cesspool, a few people came to the occupation armed, with the intent to start trouble and then harm or kill occupiers. They did exactly that. 5 were shot.

The shooting at the 4th Precinct has two lessons. One, that it does make sense to think about self-defense from the far right and two, when spaces open up for the far right to congregate, network and organize, this means extra-state violence against the left and minorities. If this violence can come out of virtual, online worlds like 4chan, then it can only get worse as these far right groups and individuals establish themselves in the offline world.

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There is also the issue that, based on some discussions I've had and it's general perception in the media, it is widely unpopular as people see it (probably correctly) as a violation of the constitution to deny people free access to speech and assembly.

What "the public" thinks should not be a main consideration of the left's activities. I think the media and political class has made it seem as if there is consensus on this issue. I don't buy that. Ask the average working class black or Latino whether they think a neo-nazi group trying to organize in their neighborhood should have their meetings physically disrupted and I think you'll find a different narrative.

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The other main issue is it seems to signal that antifas would prefer a smooth talking neo-con to out and out white supremacist like Trump. That antifas are not opposed to the policies of Trump (which are just an escalation of what's been occurring for the past 30+ years) but rather the way he says things, which doesn't really resonate with me.

This is a completely invented opinion based on nothing. The statement this article is by is from a caucus within the IWW, an anti-capitalist union. Most people who would identify as antifa are going to be socialists or anarchists of some kind. Probably most non-new comers would have been involved in some leftist organization, Black Lives Matter or Occupy, so not exactly satisfied with the business as usual neoliberalism of the last 8 years.

bastarx
Apr 27 2017 01:47

Just stop Soapy, you're embarrassing yourself.

Hieronymous
Apr 27 2017 02:42

Yeah Soapy, take a break until you're able to make sense.

Soapy
Apr 27 2017 03:02

Out of curiosity, why is ann coulter targeted but not paul ryan? What is the difference other than one know how to couch their opinion in politically acceptable language and the other doesnt bother?

Hieronymous
Apr 27 2017 05:18
Soapy wrote:
Out of curiosity, why is ann coulter targeted but not paul ryan? What is the difference other than one know how to couch their opinion in politically acceptable language and the other doesnt bother?

Who's targeting Ann Coulter? And answer your own question: why would Paul Ryan be targeted? And by whom? Soapy, sounds like you can't stop creating strawmen.

Juan Conatz
Apr 27 2017 04:28

The Milo speeches, the Tax Day fascist gathering at Berkely, the white nationalist meet-up in Minneapolis have been disrupted because these situations involved the periphery of the alt-right or fascistst and the events mobilized elements of this. When these elements are mobilized, when they network, etc., this means an increasing chance of extra-state violence targeting the left and minorities. This is Fascism 101.

You seem to be saying that people are against fascism, but not against the more normal neoliberal order that is more powerful and dangerous. If that is what you are saying, you would need to provide evidence that shows that virtually every leftist organization wasn't heavily involved in Black Lives Matter and Occupy, the two most significant social movements of our lifetimes, which occurred during the presidency of a cookie cutter neoliberal. Or that militant anti-fascism is the only thing the far left is doing. I also think whether a growing extreme right movement is more dangerous or if the status quo is may be a discussion worth having, but you've not offered that up as easily identifiable opinion. Nor have you provided any sort of thought out opinion on how we should be dealing with far right groups, when they are growing and networking.

RadBlackLove
Apr 27 2017 15:15

A few things about rhetoric and audience here:

I've heard this a few times this year- the idea that "things aren't so bad", "it used to be so much worse", "it's probably just some lone wolf", and even literally "it's not like neo-nazis have become some daily nuisance". It seems incredibly insensitive and dangerous that those sitting with you on the fence are comfortable waiting on the far-right AND the State to reach the lynch-mob proportions of those days. Those levels of terrorism reached so high because fascists had time to organize and convince the public that their views were normal- they used Universities, doctors, religion, entertainment, and certainly the State to legitimize their platform which enabled them to enact mob violence. Doesn't it make sense to hamper fascist organizing efforts BEFORE it comes down to creating defense militias? And if you can't even see the utility in that then please pony up the rifles to me and my crew.

The second extremely off base point you're trying to make is based off assumptions you've made about the writers and other antifascists (saying "antifas" makes you sound terribly disconnected with struggle....WHICH antifascists? Groups or individuals?). To claim that APC is only opposed to Trump's rhetoric is to be completely ignorant of who we are and the other mass work we're engaged in. One of our members has proudly preached the horrible celebration of "black representation" under the office of the US President/white house. 3 of us are members of First of May Anarchist alliance and I promise you we know full well how to oppose Paul Ryan Ann Coulter Barack Obama and the entire LOT of em.....
Secondly you're treating antifascists as some recent monolith. As Juan correctly pointed out, antifascists have long been involved in struggle, from civil rights to anti-globalization to and beyond black lives matter......you're seeing a swelling of activity not just based on Trump's rhetoric but because he's emboldening people who would enact racist and sexist mob violence. Where I'm at, groups like Identity Evropa, Vinlanders/Suidlanders, NSBM bands and the larger alt-right are networking with more latent 3pers and Oathkeepers and Aryan brotherhood and it's precisely this networking and their hiding behind/inside the State whom we have ALWAYS opposed that concerns us.

Finally your ideas about free speech are part of the liberal status quo that is damning us to extralegal violence.....

http://libcom.org/library/free-speech-its-limitations-response-dealing-far-right

RadBlackLove
Apr 27 2017 15:18

Also wanted to point out that we can disagree and talk about antifascist tactics and strategy all day, and SHOULD. We definitely have some critiques of the current prominent US antifascist tactics, but there's a completely better way to have that conversation

Ed
Apr 28 2017 21:20

Seems relevant to this discussion:
Berkeley, CA: Racist Attacks on Black Owned Cooperative Follow Alt-Right Trump Rally

Quote:
April 27th, 2017 – The windows of Alchemy Collective Cafe were shot out the night after white supremacists and pro-Trump supporters rallied in Berkeley, California.

Alchemy is a largely Black and People of Color owned worker cooperative with Black Lives Matter and indigenous solidarity posters in the glass. Community members suspect the attack is race related because this is the second time windows were broken here after a pro-Trump rally in Berkeley, them having been broken a few nights after the March 4 Trump rally.

eugene
May 1 2017 21:01
Quote:
besides during specific times and specific locations, I'm not sure there was ever a time where mob violence was the primary enforcer of racial hierarchy either. The state has almost always had that role, with mob violence residing in the background as a last resort for when the state failed to uphold white supremacy in "adequate" ways.

I agree and disagree a bit with what you're saying Juan. One of the specific times and locations I imagine you would be referring too would be the Reconstruction Era, which saw white mob violence re-establishing an apartheid state in the south. Again I am reminded of the Tulsa Race Riots, that destroyed the Black Wall Street" in 1921.
In my view this raises the fact that capitalism, the state and fascism are not always in line nor one an auxiliary to the other. White terror has and always will be a constant in America and while it is protected/enabled by the state, it is still acted out with a fair bit of agency.

Contemporary examples would be the minutemen hunting down migrants along the mexico border, and the millita men (with open carry) co-policing demo's more frequently. Having been at these demo's I can say that they do have a very policing effect. While we might want to deny it, there still persist the sub-conscious comfort/idea that the police are (at least for now) not going to open fire indiscriminately into the crowd, where as the millita fucker can be the next dylan roof.

The lefts mimicking of the right militias (here in Phoenix where people are overly prioritizing the gun) and there specialization and armed parading, doesn't make it better. As now that potentially volatile dynamic is just magnified, leaving everyone else with a sense of having their conflict usurped by two opposing armed formations. At least this is my personal experience, and one I know I share with many others.

Again at another point, I got to both agree and disagree with the following.

Quote:
What "the public" thinks should not be a main consideration of the left's activities. I think the media and political class has made it seem as if there is consensus on this issue. I don't buy that. Ask the average working class black or Latino whether they think a neo-nazi group trying to organize in their neighborhood should have their meetings physically disrupted and I think you'll find a different narrative.

While I think the term "the public" is too generic, I think if we interchange it for class, we can then begin to discuss this differently. People in the class are watching this conflict unfold and while most of those I have spoken to identify much of the alt-right as fascist, they also see the left as "hypocritical" and "schizophrenic", which is a large narrative of the alt-right (complete with there cherry picking) and one that the left struggles or refuse to address, precisely because the left is prioritizing a populist approach, as opposed to a class base one. The only way I have been able to have these conversations with my family (white) and my co-workers (I'm the only white and anti-trump person), is by completely disowning the left, and speaking from a class position.

From my observations, Antifa has been popularized throughout the left and not the class. While certain demographics may be organically against racism, antifa still remain alien to them as a political concept and or movement.

The antifa populism we are seeing is a populism on the left only and that populist approach, includes those that drag our movement down. Not to mention that like much of the lefts praise for the growing resistance during the Iraq war, much of the antifa populism we see now will most likely dissipate with the next democrat in office. These are imaginative gains we have made, where as the gains of the right have been far more concrete.

Additionally, the alt-right has more to offer than just pro-whiteness and their strategy of focusing on anti-leftism is helping to obscure some of their more overt fascism. The composition of their movement needs to be better understood by our side including it's racial composition. Trump got 30% of the Hispanic vote, there appeared to be quit a number of people of color on there side in Berkeley, and other rallies of theirs. Speaking again from a experience point of view (be that what it may), I personally know black and latino "alt-liters" and this is not inconsequential, especially when considering antifa and the lefts demographic is in general, nothing to brag about.

White supremacy has been the corner stone of american nationalism, and has formed the lens in which we see it. But what if american nationalism is evolving and taking a more "inclusive" and liberal-esque dimension? Perhaps a more western European fascist approach? That is not as easily identifiable here in america where domestic fascism is most popularly associated with either the klan or American History X.

I honestly don't know. But it's a thought i Have been chewing on and one I feel is worth considering.

Iktomi
May 2 2017 23:06

As someone interested in rural white working class organizing what exactly is your criticism of the John Brown Gun Club and/or Redneck Revolt? I assume those are the groups you're talking about. "Doesn't make it better" seems a little vague.

I would argue that events like the Milo shooting and the Minneapolis BLM shooting shows the "alt-right" is already very willing to use lethal force against their enemies. And not in reaction to the "lefts mimicking of right militias" as you say.

S. Artesian
May 3 2017 21:32

My criticism is that it's tactically stupid of working class organizations to go make a fetish, fetish defined as a thing with magical powers beyond the social relations of human beings, of firearms. Don't know if Redneck Revolt goes completely down that road, but just by way of example, I'd say the League of Revolutionary Black Workers with its legacy of class struggle on and off the shop floor has a bit more to offer historically than those groups that advocated "armed struggle" as the equivalent of class struggle.

It's one thing to prepare for self-defense. It's quite another thing to parade it about as the means and methods of struggle. Train for it, etc. but shut up about it. Armed defense has always been part of the struggle,going way back, even before the West Virginia mine battles. But the significance of these workers' militias was in the confrontations with the mine owners, and the government forces, over the class issues..

We're supposed to be about the self-organizations of the workers to overthrow the relations of production and establish themselves as a new ruling class, with new institutions of class rule-- of which a militia is a portion, but only has meaning, significance, function in very specific circumstances.

No doubt the force of reaction, legal and extra-legal, are more than prepared to use lethal force. They are eager to use lethal force. So it comes down to being better organized, with the ability of apply a more massive counter-force to those clots of reaction. That counter-force is not solely measured in calibers, rounds per minute, or marksmanship.

Iktomi
May 4 2017 16:22

Those seem like perfectly valid criticisms to make but when has either JBGC or RR equated armed struggle with class struggle? It is A means of struggle not THE means of struggle.

Please correct if I am wrong but it seems to me you're beating up a strawman.

Paramount to organizing rural whites is distancing ourselves from efete, gun-phobic, racist liberals that most view as out of touch elitist snobs. Especially in the boondocks of my home state California.

"Train for it, etc. but shut up about it." Are the right wing extremists that show up to demos open carry shutting up about it? If I were an unarmed protestor I would feel a little better if a contingent of armed and trained leftists had my back. Force must be met with force.

"it's tactically stupid of working class organizations to go make a fetish" The gun has already been fetishised. Many believe it to be as American as apple pie. Pardon the cliché. Many of the people I know vote exclusively for candidates that they perceive as being "pro-gun".

"But the significance of these workers' militias was in the confrontations with the mine owners, and the government forces, over the class issues." Please tell me more about what militias are significant and which aren't. We're going to cede even more territory to the fascists if we keep up that attitude.

Certainly gun ownership is intertwined with class/race. Some of the first US gun laws were written specifically to keep POC from arming themselves.

recuperation
May 5 2017 13:11

From what's been posted in the RR thread on the forums here it doesn't sound as if they have that much theory behind their actions to begin with. Whether they equate armed struggle with class struggle seems irrelevant when the only exposure the general public will get to them are the images of them walking around in their larping outfits. They should have put more time and effort into making inroads with the communities they want to be active in, then when necessary brought out the guns. Instead they jumped immediately to armed agitation, because that is the upper limit of their plans, the creation of an image wholly without substance.

What to make of an anti-fascism that so far has only bolstered the fascist forces? Surely a baseline for anti-fascist activity is that it at the very least has to disrupt their project right? Not simply marginalize us further?

As for the disdain for the public shown in this thread, have you people read up on the weathermen? Does repeating their history sound like a good plan to anyone?

Khawaga
May 5 2017 15:55
Quote:
What to make of an anti-fascism that so far has only bolstered the fascist forces? Surely a baseline for anti-fascist activity is that it at the very least has to disrupt their project right? Not simply marginalize us further?

Well, how do you know that it is anti-fascist activity that has bolstered fascist forces? Such an assumption subscribed to the "Facebook revolution" type interpretation of events. As if some social media posts is enough for people to come out on the streets and willingly risk serious injury (even death). Sure, maybe some may, but for the most part it is a bs argument. Those that come out for these things are already organized. Sure, online the loudest voices is the alt-right, but that doesn't mean that anti-fascist has "bolstered" the fascist forces.

Now, having said that, I think it is important to entertain that some of what we do may have its opposite effect. But taking the right-wing's statement and claims as fact (and antifa bolstering fascism is one of their narratives) is not something we should do.

Iktomi
May 5 2017 16:07

"From what's been posted in the RR thread on the forums here it doesn't sound as if they have that much theory behind their actions to begin with."
(https://libcom.org/forums/organise/new-blog-post-redneck-revolt-post-proletariat-08032017) If this is the thread you mean, color me unimpressed. A smorgasbord of logical fallacies.

"What to make of an anti-fascism that so far has only bolstered the fascist forces?" That's a tall claim. Can you provide evidence?

Khawaga
May 5 2017 16:13
Quote:
From what's been posted in the RR thread on the forums here it doesn't sound as if they have that much theory behind their actions to begin with.

I don't think you should take that tread as the definitive on RR. I posted on that thread, but I know very little about them. And if you read the thread closely, you should be able to see that on that thread there are maybe two people who actually know the group. Now, RR may not have theory behind their actions, but you should actually look into the group rather than trusting that thread.

Khawaga
May 5 2017 16:38

I recommend everyone to read Tigertown Beats Nazis Down: Reflections on Auburn and Mass Anti-fascism as it is very pertinent to this discussion.

Recuperation, the piece in some ways (at least partly) "answers" your question about anti-fascism bolstering fascism. More importantly, the piece raises several interesting questions.

recuperation
May 5 2017 16:56

Yes and one of those people had a convincing amount of evidence to show a total lack of theory on the part of RR. This is kind of a silly inversion taking place where I and others should seek out RR to gain access to their theory rather than them seeking us out by putting their theory front and center, instead of their childish gun play antics.

The onus is on them not me.

Khawaga
May 5 2017 17:04
Quote:
The onus is on them not me.

Well, are you one of the people they are seeking to organize? If not, the onus is on you. We can't expect all groupsicles to have impressive websites where they have posted up their entire worldview (in my experience, a lot of groups put more effort into that than anything else and that's even more problematic.

You know that you could try to contact them if you're interested.

recuperation
May 5 2017 17:18

Yes I would assume that I am. It hardly takes an impressive website to put forth outlines of an organizations theory, this feels like stretching.

As for joining, I don't appreciate gun toting teenagers being on my streets any more than I appreciate the cops being there.

Khawaga
May 5 2017 17:35
Quote:
Yes I would assume that I am. It hardly takes an impressive website to put forth outlines of an organizations theory, this feels like stretching.

Yes and no. Sure, they should be reaching out, but doing that through the internet is rather passive.Maybe they do their out reach IRL? Sure putting up a website is easy, but not all organizations are that good at writing up their politics.

So a thing that's happened to me after I quit social media: I hardly ever hear about anything because "everyone else" is on social media. Sure, people should reach out to me because they know I may be interested, but when it comes to completely new groups it is partly on me to reach out to them. I presume that you, as me, is not just some "normal citizen", but someone who theoretically is already mobilized. On the basis of that, you could take some initiative.

But in general, I think that "we" (i.e. the left in general) has become piss poor at reaching out to people outside our bubble.

Quote:
As for joining, I don't appreciate gun toting teenagers being on my streets any more than I appreciate the cops being there.

While I am not so sure they are teenagers, I don't appreciate gun toting people on my streets irrespective of who or what they are. That shit just makes me feel unsafe.

recuperation
May 5 2017 18:12

I just cannot see any circumstances where any organization could possibly grow in a significant fashion without outreach, be it a political organization or a fanclub of some sort for that matter. But if you're talking about a popular anti-fascist mobilization in a place like the US there is just no way you're going to do that on the basis of people searching you out rather than the other way around.

More than that you have the media and the fascists themselves looking to ensure that the only coverage you're going to get with those people is totally negative. This is an incredibly weak position to be in. Why in the world you would then want to compound that position by adding the layer of guns and masks to the equation is just beyond my comprehension. I can only assume that such a thing could result from A.) sheer incompetence (which if that is the case, no big deal but learn to take some criticism) or B.) These folks are pretending to be something that they have no intention of actually following through with.

I guess I'm interested in the lengths you seem to be willing to go to to give these people the benefit of a doubt? I mean if this was the first time in history that 100 odd people had gotten together with guns thinking they were going to change the world it would be one thing to keep an open mind. But at this point these people are the ones with something to prove to the rest of us, not the other way around. That goes for every organization not just RR.

Khawaga
May 5 2017 18:24
Quote:
I just cannot see any circumstances where any organization could possibly grow in a significant fashion without outreach, be it a political organization or a fanclub of some sort for that matter.

Of course, no doubt about that.

Quote:
I guess I'm interested in the lengths you seem to be willing to go to to give these people the benefit of a doubt?

It's not benefit of doubt, but more of a cynical interpretation of the capacities of tiny groups based on my experiences of being part of several tiny groups. One group I was in almost only did theoretical stuff, writing pieces, publishing a decent newspaper/journal and a website. Not much actual outreach going on. Another group I was in was great at reaching out IRL, but had a shitty webpage that was hardly ever updated (because we weren't concerned with writing shit). Yet other groups I was apart of never really got anywhere but being a talking/historical re-enactment club. Or initiatives I've been part of where we were great at reaching out, but forgot basic shit like getting the contact details of the people we did talk to.

So, no I am not giving them the benefit of a doubt on their lack of outreach or missing internet presence. It's more of a recognition that groupsicles like this are comprised by few members and withing that membership usually only a small portion actually have the time and/or capacity to do certain things (for better or for worse reasons).

From what I've read about RR after that other thread... well, let's say I am more skeptical of them now than I was prior to that thread. That's neither here nor there, but based on what I've now read about RR, they seem to fit the bill of a normally dysfunctional organization.

Edit: Just wanted to add that such dysfunction even occurs in, at least from what I can tell, pretty well-run organizations. Relatively often someone will post on libcom saying that they email AF or SolFed on the address listed on their webpage, but nobody has answered. This sort of organizational mess is sadly endemic.

recuperation
May 5 2017 18:59
Khawaga wrote:
It's not benefit of doubt, but more of a cynical interpretation of the capacities of tiny groups based on my experiences of being part of several tiny groups.

This is precisely where my own hostility to this continued kind of non-sense is coming from. 10 years ago it was easy to dismiss the antics of the left given the circumstances it was in. A relatively strong economy with a de-politicized population which wasn't going to respond positively to us no matter what we did left us a lot of space to do stupid shit in. And we certainly relished in it.

That is not where we are today and yet we continue to behave as if we were. As I've said, this group and any other anti-fascist organization is in the position of needing to prove themselves to the rest of us, not the other way around. They need to prove that they can do what they're talking about, otherwise they need to get out of the way and create space for others without poisoning the well in the process.

recuperation
May 5 2017 20:53
Iktomi wrote:
"From what's been posted in the RR thread on the forums here it doesn't sound as if they have that much theory behind their actions to begin with."
(https://libcom.org/forums/organise/new-blog-post-redneck-revolt-post-proletariat-08032017) If this is the thread you mean, color me unimpressed. A smorgasbord of logical fallacies.

"What to make of an anti-fascism that so far has only bolstered the fascist forces?" That's a tall claim. Can you provide evidence?

Shouldn't you be the one to show evidence of the effect this anti-fascism has had? You're the one with faith in them it seems. That said I've yet to hear a single positive comment from anyone in real life about these activities outside the activist ghetto. When pressed specifically on the topic I've in fact only received negative responses.

Now to be fair I've heard nothing positive about the nazis actions either, but they've got the home court advantage so that is hardly something to take solace in. So we have the net effect of the 'organized' left embarrassing themselves repeatedly in the eyes of the public (if they chose to notice at all), while the organized right capitalizes on this failure if in no other way than by using it to mobilize their own troops. And we're only at the beginning, just imagine what the next couple of years have in store for us.

They've laid a trap for you, stop walking into it.

eugene
May 7 2017 19:05

I absolutely agree with S. Artesian on their criticisms and the alternative example they gave about the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. I also agree with recuperation, in that the onus is on them, especially as they pointed out, the lefts long love affair with armed vanguard groups and how well that has historically turned out for us. Also, even if you think the onus is not on them, I would be hesitant to endorse or support an organization whose political workings remain ambiguous.

On the tactical and theoretical side, the most obvious question is:

who gives them the right to assume the position as my or our "protectorate"? Outside of the left echo chamber and social media, where do they derive their legitimacy from, who as an armed formation are they accountable to? A workplace or neighborhood committee? No. Rather they are parading around in revolutionary cos-play as the pinnacle of militancy, yet doing so without actually having put the leg work in. They are claiming to be a defensive formation for communities in the abstract, rather than people they have an actual material relation with. When a fear barrier is broken and the class adopts a new militant tactic that is one thing, but when a small group adopt a new tactic to distinguish themselves (from lesser militants and liberals), then that is in my opinion vanguardism.

Additionally, the whole idea of centralizing the organizational efforts around the gun (and that's what they do and in there presentations have theoretically argued for), is not only dangerous, but absurd. It is entirely dependent upon this limited worldview militants in the left have of their extended circles (liberals, often in liberal cities). The reality is however that the working-class in america (including run of the mill liberals) are already armed. Lefty Uni kids, maybe not so much. Honestly, I don't think being like "hey, we like guns too" is the best recruitment tool.

On top of that, RR just reproduces this liberal caricature of the white working class, albeit with a hopeful narrative. One where white workers are essentially nothing more than concrete cowboys, when in fact the urban white-working class is far more diverse, as well connected with people of color than the left is generally, via the workplace, or the neighborhood they share. If the effort is to organize rural whites in exclusive white communities, then it is at least my opinion, that you should be a part of a rural white community. I have yet to see any material attempt to bridge this urban/rurual divide.

Nearly all their actual outreach is via social media, and targeted to "confused" reactionaries in organizations like the 3%, oath-keepers...ect. While, one can argue that this type of counter-recruitment is necessary, how effective can it really be under a populist umbrella and with no emphasis on theoretical development?

Case in point:

Quote:
“We have folks that are Libertarian, Republican, communists, anarchists,” she claimed. “It’s a melting pot of ideologies ... I would say the people we have the least of are liberals.”

Basically, their cool organizing with anyone but liberals, including people who value property more than life, which is cool, but hardly a revolutionary platform.

Khawaga
May 7 2017 18:20

Thanks for that Eugene. It corroborates some other accounts of RR I've read recently.

Quote:
Also, even if you think the onus is not on them, I would be hesitant to endorse or support an organization whose political workings remain ambiguous.

I should clarify what I meant with my comment on the onus being on you. If you are already mobilized (i.e. you are an anarchist or commie already), then the onus is on you to seek out the groups (say, if you're moving into a new city or country, starting university or something like that). But, obviously, when it comes to everyone else, the onus is on the organization.

And to further clarify, those comments were also general (i.e. not RR specific).

Quote:
No. Rather they are parading around in revolutionary cos-play as the pinnacle of militancy, yet doing so without actually having put the leg work in. They are claiming to be a defensive formation for communities in the abstract, rather than people they have an actual material relation with.

I get your vanguardism comment, but what you write seem to reveal that RR has essentially spectacularized (for lack of better word) both the vanguard and the resistance. It's all about the image, quite literally (?) since you say they do all their outreach on social media (which to me is really a non-starter; we should take the fucking time to meet people IRL).

Your social media comment was interesting for other reasons as well. I've seen small groups increasingly doing all their outreach and even organizing on Facebook. Meetings, discussions, everything. It's as if Facebook has replaced having an actual organization.

eugene
May 7 2017 19:29

On second thought Khawaga, you're actually quit right. If you are already radicalized, then you do have a responsibility to figure out if other organizers share your goals and your values. Looking back on past organizations where my politics clashed and I burnt out on trying to fight it, I only have myself to blame for the waste of energy.

also I thing

Quote:
spectacularized

is an appropriate word. I fear that militants have fallen into a go big or go home representative form of struggle. I don't think this only of groups like RR but also in regards to all these "big" national mobilizations and general strikes that have been called. Seemingly zero work is begin put in to engaging with our class and instead the focus is building the image of struggle in the media and trying to mobilize people already on the left. Where every action has to speak to a movement moving forward.

Again, like you siad,

Quote:
I've seen small groups increasingly doing all their outreach and even organizing on Facebook. Meetings, discussions, everything. It's as if Facebook has replaced having an actual organization.

I agree completely. I've even seen event pages promising hundreds or even a thousand people at a demo, an only a dozen or so coming through. To be frank, I see the shifting emphasis to social media for outreach is lazy and furthers our alienation. We know facebook has changed it's algorithms so as to give users a fraction of their former "viewership", so now it's even more of alienated effort than it was before. Yet the left doubles down. It's insane.