Anti-Trump demonstrations in the US - write a report if you're attending

Submitted by Craftwork on January 20, 2017

Some first-hand reports/pictures in the News section, or just general observations would be good.

Fleur

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This would be really good but can I just gently remind people not to post up pictures which can identify people. Ta :)

infektfm

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Don't know about posting photos but I'm gonna be attending a demo early this evening in Detroit

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Dockers in the ILWU are not dispatching to work the Port of Oakland today according to Twitter:

https://twitter.com/Indybay/status/822507310098497536

Unfortunately, facile declarations of victory (saying "The Port of Oakland is effectively shut down today") are misleading, as we saw during Occupy because one -- albeit crucial -- work sector doesn't shut down all work in the supply chain through the port. Troqueros don't stop going into and out of the terminals and rail yards picking up and dropping off containers, the workers at the latter continue to assemble/break down and send off/receive unit trains, maritime workers keep plying their trades, chandlers go in and out resupplying ships, and others, like "walking boss" foremen and management scabs, don't cease moving containers around the terminals and berths.

Despite all that, it's incredibly inspiring that this one work sector -- longshore workers in ILWU Local 10 -- with a militant heritage has done a de facto strike by refusing to be dispatched to work today. We can only hope that refusals of work like this can spread.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Although I didn't attend these events, in San Francisco today activismists held civil disobedience events purporting to "shut down" businesses by blocking their operations, but instead these set-pieces were really banal ritualized arrests scenarios at the following locations: across railroad tracks for the commuter Caltrain coming from Silicon Valley, in front of headquarters of Wells Fargo Bank, Uber headquarters, and the Israeli Consulate. Non-CD protests were also held at the new Zuckerberg wing of San Francisco General Hospital and at a high-rise in the Financial District that Trump has partial ownership of. Early in the morning, 3,000 demonstrators linked arms along the sidewalk of the entire Golden Gate Bridge. At least 300 kids walked out of San Francisco K-12 schools.

All this was billed as a "No Business As Usual" series of demonstrations. I must plead laziness, since I wasn't able to get up early enough -- in the rain -- to witness these acts of protest which self-congratulatorily and misleadingly labeled themselves as "direct action."

But hearing about them on a community radio station, I naively attempted to go downtown to see how long these blockades would endure. But by early afternoon, none had. They had finished their harmless spectacle for the consumption of the bourgeois news media, as that was the main objective anyway, and had gone elsewhere. By the end of Friday, a weekday, everything in the city was back to business as usual. The organizers violated the premise of truth in advertising.

I did attend the 5:00 p.m. rally and march organized by ANSWER in San Francisco's Civic Center, which began in the pouring rain. Yet as time wore on and more and more people arrived after work, it ended up being a spirited march of several thousand that was pretty fun -- and not unlike the march the day after the election, November 9, that I referred to before.

As far as these permitted marches go, they're pretty routine and predictable, yet it's always cool to go through working class neighborhoods -- like the heavily Latina/o Mission District -- and see families hanging from fire escapes cheering us on, with a few even coming off the sidewalk and joining in. It's also encouraging to hear militant slogans in Spanish. And these gatherings are always nice reunions to see old friends and comrades.

And since the rain let up for the march, it was also fun to go through the predominately gay Castro District and literally see people step off the curb and join us in response to the chant "Out of the bars and into the streets." The younger LGBTQ (sorry for missing the other initials) protestors bring a festive, vibrant energy to these otherwise ordinary processions.

Other, more militant events took place today in Oakland, right across the Bay. But I wasn't there, so I'll leave it to others to report back. They did involve some walkouts by elementary, middle, high school and college students, and wound down a short time ago (late in the evening) with the pigs kettling and arresting the last holdouts.

The most inspiring and only true form of direct action, albeit the passive act of withholding of their labor power, was the work stoppage by ILWU Local 10 mentioned in the previous post. Click for the Wall Street Journal article, where they detail how the PMA management requested 354 longshore workers, but only 35 dispatched out the hiring hall. Now that's impressive!

Here's the Journal of Commerce article (from behind a paywall) that explains how the dockers completely closed one out of four terminals:

[quote=JoC]ILWU's Trump protest shuts down Oakland terminal
Jan 20, 2017 2:57PM EST

Oakland International Container Terminal, the largest container facility at the Northern California port, was shut down Friday as longshoremen were protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Oakland’s three other container terminals maintained yard and gate operations, though they were not working the vessel operations while the matter was being handled through the arbitration process. Job actions by International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 in Oakland have occurred sporadically over the years involving geopolitical events as well as labor-management issues as the Northern California local has a history of militant unionism.

James McKenna, president of the Pacific Maritime Association, confirmed Friday that only 35 longshoremen accepted positions for the Friday shift. That is about 10 percent of the labor requirements. The employer group immediately requested arbitration, and a ruling is expected later on Friday, McKenna said.

Port of Oakland spokesman Mike Zampa said the port’s other container terminals — TraPac, Everport and Matson — were open for yard and gate operations, but they were not working vessels.

A spokeswoman for the ILWU said Friday the headquarters staff was looking into the matter. Reportedly the job actions were being taken to protest the Trump inauguration, but none of the organizations could confirm that point.

The fact that the other three terminals were working the yards and gates but not the vessels could indicate that the skilled-category ship-to-shore crane operators did not accept those positions on Friday, but that could not be confirmed.

[/quote]

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just got back home from the Oakland Women's March. Probably the biggest demonstration I've ever been to in my life. At least a couple hundred thousand -- maybe more.

Was also one of the most inspiring protests in my life.

Anyone else check these things out?

EDIT: thanks for the suggestion Craftwork. I'm so exhausted now, but will do it tomorrow.

I went to the San Francisco march this evening and it was even bigger than Oakland. Despite constant rain, it must've been several hundred thousand (some sports team victory parades claimed 1 million along the same route; this was clearly much larger). The march went along Market Street, from City Hall to Justin Herman Plaza, for 1.9 miles and the whole street, from building-to-building on either side, was packed full of people. By the mere fact that women, of all ages, were in the majority, but along with so many kids and families, gave these events a sense of joy, and although the only real bond was being opposed to Trump, the raw numbers gave off a sense of power and hope. Also, all but a few of the signs were self-made and so many were clever and creative, even with a sense of poetry. It's hard to give words to how uplifting the marches today were.

Craftwork

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous, I would encourage you to write-up your reflections in article form.

Here's a new News article from Portland - https://libcom.org/news/j20-portland-report-comrade-22012017

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I attended a demo organized by leftists yesterday. It was totally demoralizing. I remember the Occupy demonstrations and there was a clear sense of class identity&solidarity emerging inside the struggle. They were discussing politics and capitalism, struggle and revolution. On the other hand, yesterday there was nothing of that sort. Instead there was vague talks about emotions: sadness, despair and fear... and how to counter those emotions: joining a trotskyist or identity politics group, voting in the elections and forming united fronts and better parties than the democratic party. What is worse is that I was surprised by openly anti-Russian sentiments expressed even in such a leftist led demonstration. I even saw a Trump face pasted on a red flag with hammer&sickle which is insanely stupid.

In short; no lesson is drawn from the growing divergence between the white-rural/provincial-traditional workers and well educated/young//latino/black/women workers. On the contrary, the democratic party strategy to secure electoral successes imbuing the latter with a fear of the former and that way divide the proletarians further apart seems to be working spectacularly.

The strengthening ideological hegemony of democratic discourse is especially dangerous in terms of its international policy consequences. In the coming days this will strengthen the hand of the anti-Russian segments of the American state that will continue to pressure Trump to follow a more aggressive policy towards Russia. A left whose sole focus is on Trump's domestic politics can easily be made to accept a dangerous war mongering democratic militarist program combined with a superficially egalitarian discourse on gender&race equality.

I don't want to say that race & gender don't matter or that right wing racism/sexism is not dangerous. But I think democratic party solution on race&gender equality is just fake, because it is based on a contradictory emphasis on meritocratic competition. As far as I could observe, for the Democratic Party people equality is more about "equal chance" to compete for positions in the civil&military service or private sector. It is the ideology of those like Obama or Clinton who were from working class backgrounds, but who could get scholarships and go to prestigious colleges and then found good jobs. This is the ideology of those who could "get ahead" (as clinton like to say). These people can easily think that their successes in life are only natural consequences of their smartness or talents. This means automatically that if you fail, it is either because you are a privileged stupid white or an underprivileged minority of some sort...

This constant emphasis on "failure" as something caused by either being pitiful or stupid is and ultimately a personal matter is (in my view) even more dangerous than the alt-right or the KKK. You can beat the fascists, but you cannot force isolated individuals who who don't even trust themselves to trust others and to unite as a class in struggle.

adri

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail firtinaci

I attended a demo organized by leftists yesterday. It was totally demoralizing. I remember the Occupy demonstrations and there was a clear sense of class identity&solidarity emerging inside the struggle. They were discussing politics and capitalism, struggle and revolution. On the other hand, yesterday there was nothing of that sort. Instead there was vague talks about emotions: sadness, despair and fear... and how to counter those emotions: joining a trotskyist or identity politics group, voting in the elections and forming united fronts and better parties than the democratic party. What is worse is that I was surprised by openly anti-Russian sentiments expressed even in such a leftist led demonstration. I even saw a Trump face pasted on a red flag with hammer&sickle which is insanely stupid.

Occupy was more a response to the 2008 crisis, no? It was only natural left-leaning people were questioning capitalism then, what with the immense inequality, unemployment, and bailouts for the rich, etc. Can't expect much from some random, class ignorant anti-Trump protest.

jef costello

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There was a march here in Paris, called mostly by feminist groups, I think Osez feminisme and NPA were the biggest names attached.
Papers give 2000 and 7000 as figures, hard to tell from the pictures. Few banners in French, mostly English, one actually said "not my president" in French.
The photos are all close up so I'm guessing there weren't too many people.

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Went to the NYC demonstration, and I too think it was the largest demonstration I have witnessed in this century. The route was packed pretty solid from 56th and 5th all the way back to 42nd St and the East River.

I couldn't get anywhere near the UN Plaza, or Trump Tower, so I (fortunately) didn't hear any of the speeches.

There was little "ideology" expressed among the marchers-- everything to "protect civil rights" to "my uterus, my rules."

Look, if Hillary had won, clearly these marches might not have happened at all, and if they had, they would have been much smaller. That's not really an issue is it? That protest, discontent, emerges bearing all the signs, and scars, of a politic being made obsolete is more or less inherent in these movements, isn't it? Certainly, most of the marchers in yesterday's demonstrations had voted for, or who have been less unhappy with, Clinton, but so what?

I think Mikhail's remarks are interesting because I found OWS, at least here in NYC, pretty demoralizing-- and exhibiting all the "negatives" Mikhail found in yesterday's demonstrations.

Yesterday's march was anything but demoralizing. The spirit of the march and marchers was outstanding, public response was supportive, people looked great-- every color, every gender, every age-- some hilarious placards, and the fact that you could talk to people who really gave a rat's ass about what happens to others.

Take it for what it's worth, and don't make more of it than what it is. It was worth a lot, and it's no way near enough, or "developed" enough.

Better than sitting at home at telling people how the revolution needs to appeal to angry, disaffected Trump voters.

el psy congroo

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's interesting you all participated. The lower "quality" seems predictable. The anarchists in my area participated as well. Considering any serious critique of democracy and fascism/anti-fascism aren't these sorts of things a waste? I understand the anger but it all seems immature and cathartic. Their must be better ways for individuals and groups to spend their resources and time.

Khawaga

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Considering any serious critique of democracy and fascism/anti-fascism aren't these sorts of things a waste? I understand the anger but it all seems immature and cathartic. Their must be better ways for individuals and groups to spend their resources and time.

I get where you are coming from and I used to think the same. But surely, it is important for anarchist to participate in these things if not for other reasons than coming into contact with people that things are fucked up and need to change, but usually will think that getting the another party of capital elected is the solution. During times or events like that, people are simply more receptive to our critiques; the same thing happened during Occupy.

I mean, there is this tendency among anarchists to wait for the perfect time or perfect social movement. That will never happen. And yeah, we have to engage with annoying libruhls.

Their must be better ways for individuals and groups to spend their resources and time.

Sure, but what is that? It's not like what we're doing is always a better expenditure of resources and time, given that, you know, we often manage fuck all but some small victories in individual workplaces. Not saying that what we are doing shouldn't be done, but that we need to be receptive to both work with people not of "our kind" and be willing to try out other shit.

jesuithitsquad

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The rally in Indianapolis was one of the largest I've seen in my time here. I haven't read reports on crowd estimation but having been at both, it definitely compared favorably to the Right to Work protests a few years back. IIRC those were right around 10,000. There doesn't seem to be an inherently radical element at the moment, but it sure as hell is better to see people going out together rather than bitching about how terrible things are on social media.

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Why would you not go? A mass demonstration where there's every opportunity in the world to talk to people, to find out what is motivating them, to listen, and to explain what you think is going on?

I think an attitude that says, "oh this is "uninformed" "undeveloped" liberalism" cedes the entire field to the Gloria Steinem types.

I wouldn't recommend a Marxist (the"stream" I identify with) organization participating in a coalition to organize these demonstrations given the organizations' kowtowing to the Democratic Party, but to not even attend, and see if there is significant rejection of the current government?

What's next? We tell workers on strike: "Get back to us after you form soviets"???

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The problem here is not whether radicals should attend or not attend these anti-trump demonstrations. The problem is turning a blind eye to the emerging nationalist undertone in these anti-Trump actions.

The anti-communist, anti-russian placards (even though they were few) were present in almost all these actions. I find radical left's silent tolerance of openly expressed Russo-phobia more troubling than a women-hating American president. This anti-russian cold-war style militarism is not mere ignorance or stupidity. This is the official line that the CIA and mainstream American media is pushing consistently almost every day. In order to comprehend the severity of the situation, we must just remind ourselves that the US/NATO and Russia confronted each other dangerously twice in the last 10 years:

1- 2008 Russia occupied Georgia in reaction to the NATO expansion
2- 2014 Russia occupied Crimea in reaction to the NATO led coup d'etat which mobilized extreme right Bandera types as its foot soldiers.

Russian, Chinese and American imperialisms are clashing dangerously around Asia and Europe while hard line nationalist governments are forming almost everywhere in the world, signaling a move towards further conflicts. A war between these powers simply means a nuclear annihilation for humanity. That's why I find the political weakness and immaturity of these demonstrations extremely dangerous.

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I haven't been silent in the least about the nationalist crap used by the Democrats, and Republicans. While it is certainly the ploy of the Democrats, it is not the motivating force of these demonstrations.

Exactly what "nationalist tone" was emerging in the demonstrations held yesterday? None of the demonstrators I talked to thought "Russia stole the election." Nobody I spoke with brought up the "findings" of the "intelligence" agencies. Those I spoke with were concerned with the attack on healthcare; on the Trump's statement that women receiving an abortion should face prosecution; with the threats against immigrants. They were opposed to the voter suppression actions taken over the past 8-12 years.

Those are not bad places to start.

I don't doubt that the Democrats would love to channel the movement into a "safe" "national" path. The issue isn't turning a blind eye. The issue is how we oppose that attempt to channel the resistance.

No "movement" has even formed yet; there is no attempt to impose any list of demands at this point. You can bring any placard and be part of any group and march or not march as you desire.

I don't know how else to organize a movement against capitalism except by integrating into a systematic critique, the actions and views of those who are expressing an opposition to what they think are only episodic, "sectoral" inequities, as opposed to intrinsic structural mechanisms of exploitation and oppression.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail firtinaci

The problem here is not whether radicals should attend or not attend these anti-trump demonstrations. The problem is turning a blind eye to the emerging nationalist undertone in these anti-Trump actions.

My city has a significant Russian immigrant population and I saw some of these people at the marches with signs in Cyrillic. In previous conversations with my neighbors, they are terrified by Putin's ruthlessness and make it clear it's why they come to the U.S. This is widely know around these parts and most of the signs I saw equated Trump with Putin.

At the marches I went to there were also a couple signs with Trump being equated to a hammer and sickle symbol. When engaged, these people were simply foolish liberals who supported the PC laundry list of issues: immigrant rights, sanctuary cities, pro-choice, anti-war/anti-nuke, clean energy, etc. Hardly cold warriors.

mikail firtinaci could you please give more details and examples of this nationalism you've seen? And correct me if I'm wrong, but I always assumed you live in Turkey. Am I wrong? If so, where did you attend a Women's March?

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous

mikail firtinaci could you please give more details and examples of this nationalism you've seen?

I saw similar things that you wrote and honestly I did not want to start a conversation with the people I saw carrying Russophobe images or signs. I had some unpleasant discussions with democrats before the elections on American foreign policy. In the last talk I had with a democrat (a uni. prof. I know ) I told him that NATO expansion policy was aggressive and that it supports fascists in Ukraine. In response he scolded me saying that the US was supporting democracy and even suggested covertly that I must be ignorant on such topics since "my country" is such a backward shit hole of dictatorship - the last part is kind of true, but...

I am not saying that these people with stupid anti-Russia sentiments are determined fascists aiming to divert the movement towards militarism. I agree that they are most likely naive centrists/liberals/democrats. Isn't that worse though? Doesn't it mean that more and more people are buying into this shit? Because -as far as I could observe- these demonstrations express an ideological confusion, a dangerous misconception about the nature of the enemy. Just think about the months long propaganda by the media and a significant section of the American military-industrial complex against Trump's declared foreign policy agenda. It is clear as day that hard line anti-Russian factions of the state don't want to let Trump to step in and meddle with their affairs. They had a free reign under Obama and Clinton was their choice of hawk for sure. Without the recent & massive bourgeois media campaign to delegitimize Trump, I seriously doubt that such big demonstrations could take place.

Anyway, we will see in the coming few years if this anger is a genuine expression of working-class mobilization w/o clearly defined slogans, or... something else...

PS: American bourgeoisie has a general tendency to discuss politics in racial terms. Russophobia also has a long history in the US and cold-war militarist discourse was not only anti-communist but also anti-russian. Many official cold war ideologues claimed that there was something essential in Russia that produced authoritarian regimes there. Those that liked to pose as lefties argued that Russia's "asiatic roots", "crudeness", "lack of a freedom loving spirit" etc. made it naturally inclined towards expansionism, statism, "communism" and so on. That is why Putin and the contemporary Russian government is generally perceived in continuity with the Soviet regime. Such deep racist ignorance about the world is a genetic trait of the American ruling class.

adri

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail firtinaci

The anti-communist, anti-russian placards (even though they were few) were present in almost all these actions. I find radical left's silent tolerance of openly expressed Russo-phobia more troubling than a women-hating American president. This anti-russian cold-war style militarism is not mere ignorance or stupidity. This is the official line that the CIA and mainstream American media is pushing consistently almost every day.

This has been around since forever though, with the Red Scares and whatnot, hasn't it? An organized working class amid the 1930's depression was part of the reason FDR's New Deal got pushed, taking on a "trickle-up" approach (i.e. throwing money at the mass of people): creating federal jobs, social security, taxing the rich, etc. Socialist and communist parties as well as other anti-capitalist organizations/people were gradually chipped away at and demonized. I think this video speaks volumes about the kinds of attitudes people hold toward anything not embracing capitalism and bourgeois democracy. It's something that's deeply embedded in the American mind, as evidenced by the placards you mentioned. You can't even talk about non-capitalist politics in the US, where libertarian means laissez-faire capitalism, communism means authoritarianism, and socialism is a welfare state. This is something that needs to be overcome, as well as all the nationalist and patriotic crap, and especially this completely hypocritical Russian hacking thing.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail firtinaci

Hieronymous

mikail firtinaci could you please give more details and examples of this nationalism you've seen?

. . . I must be ignorant on such topics since "my country" is such a backward shit hole of dictatorship - the last part is kind of true, but...

[/quote]

I'm not asking what "your country" is, nor do I want to know exactly in which area your observations took place, but I sincerely want to know if this actually was in the U.S. -- and whether you are referring to the protests on inauguration day on Friday or the Women's Marches that happened yesterday.

Could you please clarify?

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I didn't go to the Women's March, because usually in Turkey if men go to feminist demonstrations they are kicked out - so I was hesitant. Otherwise, I would definitely go and yes, this was in the US.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail firtinaci

I didn't go to the Women's March, because usually in Turkey if men go to feminist demonstrations they are kicked out - so I was hesitant. Otherwise, I would definitely go and yes, this was in the US.

Thanks for clarifying.

That's too bad, as the women I encountered saw these events being inclusive as one of their strengths. And the marches I attended consciously tried to blur gender binaries, which I personally see as one of their strengths.

Steven.

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for the reports from people that went.

I was unable to attend any of these, however it was quite inspiring checking instagram on the day of the women's marches. My friends on instagram are pretty much all non-activists, yet so many women were on the marches, and they all looked huge. I saw friends on marches in Los Angeles (750,000), New York (200,000), Park City, Utah (thousands), London (100,000+), Vancouver, DC (500,000), Tucson, Toronto and some more I've forgotten.

I've never seen anything like it.

So I think it's very promising sign, however there is a big danger that many people may now feel they have done their bit, taken part in a big spectacle and now they can go home.

I think why it is worth us participating in events like this to a large extent is to talk to people and argue that just marching isn't enough: we need to go home and organise and prepare to use direct action over the coming months and years.

Entdinglichung

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

read somewhere on facebook about a turnout of 2000 in Fairbanks/Alaska despite -30 Celsius

Steven.

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymus wrote a great blog entry here: http://libcom.org/blog/bay-area-bigly-tells-trump-get-your-small-hands-my-pussy-22012017

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Without the recent & massive bourgeois media campaign to delegitimize Trump, I seriously doubt that such big demonstrations could take place.

Simply not true; and a real distortion of the process. First, demonstrations began before the election. Secondly there were widespread demonstrations immediately after the elections and before the "hack" issue received "official" government endorsement. Thirdly the issues that motivated people to attend had, and have, absolutely nothing to do with the "Russian connection." Those issues are women's access to abortion; protection of women from physical abuse; protection of immigrants; anti voter-suppression; opposition to a government of billionaires; opposition to the racism, xenophobia, and the general reaction embodied in the support for Trump; maintenance of some sort of social welfare programs.

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

absolutely nothing to do with the "Russian connection."

Once again; I am not arguing that people are motivated by that. I am saying that the bureaucracy, political elites and their class, the bourgeoisie is (partially) motivated by that. And the American media was totally anti-Trump from the beginning, I mean that is as far as I could observe.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail firtinaci

And the American media was totally anti-Trump from the beginning, I mean that is as far as I could observe.

Your observations could be qualified as "alternative facts." Fox News and nationally syndicated AM talk radio anti-Trump? This seems to conflict with what most of us observe.

My experience at the Women's Day marches was nearly identical to what Artesian describes above. I didn't see a single reference to Russia among hundreds of thousands of signs. In addition, there were many calls for defending ACA (Obamacare) and expanding health care to all.

While I saw a couple signs equating Trump with hammers and sickles at the inauguration day protests, these were vastly outnumbered by ones likening Trump to Putin. Since these demos were organized by sectarian leftists, who tactfully avoided geopolitics in their speeches, their politics largely support Syria's Assad regime against Yankee imperialism, which in turn means endorsing his Russian backers. At least this was the position of their party's papers that they were schlepping at the protests.

These events were obviously different across a country as vast as the U.S., but mikail your observations are in diametrical contradiction to what I saw and experienced. Which is fair enough, but it shows we can't make generalizations about the whole country.

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mikail,

You said that the demonstrations would not have taken place, or been of significant size without the "recent and massive media campaign to delegitimize Trump"-- that's just nonsense; complete and utter nonsense. That claim is straight out of the Kellyanne Conway playbook. Reporting on Trump's conflict of interests, his selection of billionaires, his past business failures, bankruptcies; the fraudulence of Trump university, etc. etc. ad infinitum is hardly recent.

Your concern seems to be, and be solely, the anti-Russian element that appears so important to the wing of the bourgeoisie that finds the "Atlantic Alliance" essential. And again, so what?

No one in these demonstrations is arguing "Support the CIA" "Support the NSA in its Attempt to Expose the Trump-Putin Axis."

That "element" was, and is, absolutely minimal in the formation, development, and expression of these protests.

Once again, you fail to deal with the substantive issues driving the protests, and seem to be hiding behind your notion that these protests are the creation of the Cold War section of the bourgeoisie.

I see an emerging class struggle which cannot help expressing the "liberal" elements that must be overcome and discarded to achieve real strength. I don't know how you overcome that limitation, except by engaging it with the people in the struggle.

If in Turkey, massive demonstrations develop against Erdogan's repressive policies and there's an element in that opposition that objects to Erdogan's rapprochement with Putin, do you "quarantine" yourself against the entire movement because of that element?

Good luck with that.

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I have seen previous anti-Trump demos (yes in the US), and anti-Russianism was something new that I have never seen in these demonstrations before. It struck my eye and I think it is serious.

Generally speaking I find anti-Trump demonstrations demoralizing and the last one I saw cemented this feeling. And I have to confess that this prevalent mood of demoralization seems bizarre and childish to me. An american president is typically responsible to direct and manage the most destructive machine of mass-annihilation in the world. Can and should one ever expect a gentle dictator? Obama was not and still leftists cried for him. Sorry, but this is so incomprehensible.

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

If in Turkey, massive demonstrations develop against Erdogan's repressive policies and there's an element in that opposition that objects to Erdogan's rapprochement with Putin, do you "quarantine" yourself against the entire movement because of that element?

Good luck with that.

If I see a pro-US pro-Chinese or pro whatever national interest spirit in those demonstrations, yes I will criticize them. And I never "quarantine" myself nor "hide behind" something. Finally my level of engagement is not a business of yours.

petey

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous

mikail firtinaci

And the American media was totally anti-Trump from the beginning, I mean that is as far as I could observe.

Your observations could be qualified as "alternative facts." Fox News and nationally syndicated AM talk radio anti-Trump?

was going to say. a few outlets like WaPo were clearly cheerleading for clinton but most "MSM" ate up what trump offered and at most mewled a little..

do cdes overseas know about AM radio rightwingers? they've been around for decades: the atrocious Bob Grant here in NYC was at it already in the 70s. it's where limbaugh and many like him ply their poison, to tens of millions every day.

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

petey

Hieronymous

mikail firtinaci

And the American media was totally anti-Trump from the beginning, I mean that is as far as I could observe.

Your observations could be qualified as "alternative facts." Fox News and nationally syndicated AM talk radio anti-Trump?

a few outlets like WaPo were clearly cheerleading for clinton

Really? So are you saying that the bulk of the mainstream media did not mock trump and did not support clinton?

And if they indeed supported Clinton, then my question is this: is the american media the strongest defender of anti-fascism or is it within the realm of possibilities to assume that they have other interests? And I don't mean the interests of the working class women or immigrants since no one can convince me that American state, media or bourgeoisie care even slightly about them.

petey

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail firtinaci

Really? So are you saying that the bulk of the mainstream media did not mock trump

yes

and did not support clinton?

there's a list somewhere of endorsements that in aggregate favored clinton.

And if they indeed supported Clinton, then my question is this: is the american media the strongest defender of anti-fascism or is it within the realm of possibilities to assume that they have other interests?

like selling content to stay in business? yet some media were ideologically motivated: the NYDN was furiously anti-trump, yet their readership is just the demographic that would vote for him, stereotypically speaking. but their owner has deep pockets.

you're thinking monolithically. from our point of view as libcoms, these organs are embedded in capital. from their point of view there are fundamental and irreconcilable differences. you can't talk about "the american media" as if they're part of a hive mind.

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

petey,

please help me understand: Who were those that supported Clinton/Trump and why did they supported her/him? I mean what are the factions you see, even broadly?

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Who on Libcom cried for Obama or Clinton?

"Generally speaking" isn't good enough, Mikail, you have to deal with the substantive issues driving the protests.

Trump's election was part of an international wave of reaction, triggered in large part by the defeat of the possibilities for proletarian class struggle at the hands of Syriza in Greece; Chavez-Maduro in Venezuela; Rousseff in Brazil. None of that, that collaboration with "kettling" the prospects for proletarian action changes the fact that the attack on Rousseff, the attack on Maduro, the triumph of Trump are expressions of reaction, right wing reaction.

Nobody, to put it in a historical context that might make it clear, is supporting a popular front; is endorsing the bourgeoisie. We are advocating that we prevent a "popular front" from assuming hegemony over the erupting struggles by working for a class based program of opposition.

The US government has staffed itself with those opposed to healthcare insurance for the poor and/or sick; it has filled its executive positions with a collection of hedge-fund rip-off artists who have been supported by previous governments; the "leader" of this amalgam of bullies, goons, bankers, and vultures thinks women who have a medical procedure should be punished; the same leader wants to legalize torture; practice collective punishment; summarily deport immigrants (at a rate far exceeding anything possible without suspending judicial process) and people shouldn't protest, because......

Because the other section of the bourgeoisie opposes Russia?

Don't know how you are going to be effective in Turkey if you shun any movement or demonstration that in its embyonic stages allows those individuals opposed to the Erdogan-Putin "understanding" to participate

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Artesian;

1- stop patronizing me and don't tell me how I may act in Turkey. You are not my teacher. I can do political activity wherever I want in the world. Being a turk is not in my genes, not my destiny, it is not what defines my political perspective. It is enforced on me by a counter-revolutionary nationalist republic.

2- I saw lots of leftists cry. Literally cry! That is enough for me to generalize. If you did not see those, well you go out and observe more.

3- Observe even more if you think torture started with Trump.
Read some American history if you think American government is independent of Bankers.
Go to some provincial rust belt town to see how actually working class women fared until now.
Do you think there was not any deportations until now? Look at Obama to learn how a state effectively deports millions - if you really care!
And stop lecturing me

Khawaga

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What's your point Mikhail? Please elaborate otherwise the point of your posts seems.like point scoring.

radicalgraffiti

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

based on the impression i get of the lefts in Turkey and the US, its not all that surprising that a Turkish communist would find protests in the US disappointing, while USian communists would be excited.

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail firtinaci

Artesian;

1- stop patronizing me and don't tell me how I may act in Turkey. You are not my teacher. I can do political activity wherever I want in the world. Being a turk is not in my genes, not my destiny, it is not what defines my political perspective. It is enforced on me by a counter-revolutionary nationalist republic.

2- I saw lots of leftists cry. Literally cry! That is enough for me to generalize. If you did not see those, well you go out and observe more.

3- Observe even more if you think torture started with Trump.
Read some American history if you think American government is independent of Bankers.
Go to some provincial rust belt town to see how actually working class women fared until now.
Do you think there was not any deportations until now? Look at Obama to learn how a state effectively deports millions - if you really care!
And stop lecturing me

Nobody's patronizing you. You're being challenged to address substantive issues of protests involving millions of people that you call "demoralizing."

You saw lots of "leftists" cry. Swell. Except I asked you, who on Libcom was crying for Obama or Clinton? Details, details. Pay attention to the details.

No I don't think torture started with Trump. No more than I think racism started with Trump. I think it is being "normalized" with Trump; justified, sanctioned as an official policy. Just because Trump didn't start it, doesn't mean it should not be opposed. Details, details...again.

Read some not American-- but US history? I've read quite a bit and I've lived through a lot, having been laid off in the railroad industry when the big downsizing started, so I know a bit more than you about "rust belt" conditions. Details, Details

And yes I know about deportations, I know that Obama deported about 2.5 million in 8 years, and that deporting that number has pretty much jammed the judicial process to the max. I also know Trump vows to deport that same number within 1 year. How do you think he's going to do that if not by suspending all judicial "guarantees" and "rights"? That's why those of us who have been working on behalf of protection for all immigrants, who argue that nobody is illegal, are eager to talk to greater numbers of people about the change in conditions that Trump represents. As I pointed out earlier, the difference is in the "pace"-- not the content. Read the post again. Details, details.

I said nothing about your genetic make-up and I couldn't care less. I care about your discounting of the importance of these protests because the protesters aren't fans of Putin, which seems to be the only issue of interest to you. That's the only detail you seem to recognize. .

I'm not lecturing you. I'm pointing out that you don't know what you pretend to talk about.

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

What's your point Mikhail? Please elaborate otherwise the point of your posts seems.like point scoring.

I made my point. Are you trying to score a point or do you have any specific questions?

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail, again you seem to be spewing "alternative facts."

Are you basing your observations on talking to one professor (and in which country?), surfing social -- or mainstream -- media (which sites?), or did you actually attend rallies in the U.S.? You've been pretty vague about all this.

The U.S. is a country of over 325,000,000 people, with vast regional differences. Your concerns about rising nationalism are valid, but as I expressed above where I live it's the sectorian left preaching support for Assad/Russia in the name of anti-imperialism that I find a greater threat.

Could you give more details and less ideology? Thanks.

It would help to know if you actually encountered these anti-Russians in the U.S. or elsewhere. And if not in the U.S., where? Turkey?

Cooked

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Complete bystander here who didn't even follow the US elections very closely at all but I certainly saw a wave of high profile us media and personalities going against Trump in the months before the election. Including republican or otherwise right leaning media and personalities. I remember it quite clearly because from that point I was convinced Trump was going to win.

el psy congroo

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

Why would you not go?...

Can't miss work or your only day off, there's lack of transportation, funding, time, social connections. The list goes on. Then there's getting shot with projectiles and maced.

Perhaps you didn't vote, like half the US voting population, it's unlikely you'd waste effort protesting the outcome. Both these candidates are historically corrupt and the social democrat clearly would have won in an open electoral situation. The US bourgeoisie veers hard-right, beelines at the slightest sight of the US proletariat awakening from a hundred year long slumber in response to the Great Recession. Is anyone shocked?

What's next? We tell workers..."Get back to us after you form soviets"???

I'm not sure who was on strike recently in America besides Portland wobblies. It's helpful to get to know people and debate the issues of the class with them, but usually this is most fruitful where you reside. In such a case you wouldn't have to take a road trip or day drive to attempt to network with strangers.

I don't think workers lack the intelligence to reach an anti-capitalist consciousness. A clear majority of unsophisticated people will concede that a classless society of "freely associated producers" (theManifesto) is a great idea, especially in the face of the modern problems of civilization. Even the polls done by the bourgeois media reflect this reality.

We need a social revolution to go with the political one. So long as we go along with production relations of the commodity economy, we'll get nowhere, stuck in an invent loops of trying to reproduce our means of subsistence on a near weekly basis because "that's how people live today". I don't see how we can overcome commodity relations while still participating in them and telling people, "steady now". Can't we just blow up the fucking system already?

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Can't miss work or your only day off, there's lack of transportation, funding, time, social connections. The list goes on. Then there's getting shot with projectiles and maced.

OK, but that has nothing to do with the content of the demonstration, which was Mikail's point. He thought it was "demoralizing" to attend; not that he had to work, lacked transportation, time, funding, or was worried about police repression. The issue wasn't ability, but willingness.

Perhaps you didn't vote, like half the US voting population, it's unlikely you'd waste effort protesting the outcome. Both these candidates are historically corrupt and the social democrat clearly would have won in an open electoral situation. The US bourgeoisie veers hard-right, beelines at the slightest sight of the US proletariat awakening from a hundred year long slumber in response to the Great Recession. Is anyone shocked?

Again not the issue. This candidate wants to jail women who have an abortion; this candidate welcomes physical assaults on women, immigrants, Muslims. (yes, such assaults have happened before, so what? No one said Trump "started it." You might as well be telling someone not to protest the KKK, because racism is and always has been integral to US capitalism).

Shock is not the issue. What this represents is the issue. Do you honestly think this election result is separate and apart from the general wave of reaction moving through Latin American, Europe, Asia?

I'm not sure who was on strike recently in America besides Portland wobblies. It's helpful to get to know people and debate the issues of the class with them, but usually this is most fruitful where you reside. In such a case you wouldn't have to take a road trip or day drive to attempt to network with strangers.

Don't understand your point. There was a big demonstration, and it was walking distance from where I live. I knew some people attending. I didn't know many more who were attending. What does that have to do with attending or not attending. Or.......refusing to attend as Mikail would have it because somebody or somebodies don't like Russia and/or Putin? Unless of course one is a part of the Global Research/RT consortium. Then I understand the objection.

We need a social revolution to go with the political one. So long as we go along with production relations of the commodity economy, we'll get nowhere, stuck in an invent loops of trying to reproduce our means of subsistence on a near weekly basis because "that's how people live today". I don't see how we can overcome commodity relations while still participating in them and telling people, "steady now". Can't we just blow up the fucking system already

"So long as we go along with production relations of the commodity economy, we'll get nowhere"?

Exactly what does that mean? If you work, sell your labor power, are you "going along" with production relations of the commodity economy, and therefore incapable of building the overthrow of those relations. And exactly how do you not "go along" with "production relations"? Move to a mountain shack and hunt? Communes?

Can't we just blow up the fucking system already?

You can do whatever you want, right? Let us know how that works out for you. My understanding of capitalism seems to indicate that your "method" can't, won't work.

We need to overthrow and abolish the system. That's just a bit different.

el psy congroo

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To be honest I've just been ignoring that, my comments were not aimed at the ongoing argument between you and mikail.

If you work, sell your labor power, are you "going along" with production relations of the commodity economy, and therefore incapable of building the overthrow of those relations. And exactly how do you not "go along" with "production relations"?

Thanks for writing that, it's exactly what I'm wondering. Is it possible? Or should I just not ask such pesky questions and get a job at McDonald's and join the IWW?

When we're young our parents and teachers say, "get a job". How can we survive without a job? But capitalist production relations don't come from simple "habits", they come from the internal structure of the commodity economy.

These marches and struggles concerned with issues partial to the greater problem, the lack of communism, and attempts to "raise consciousness", instead of defeat ideology, by participating in these actions aren't working. Can demands even be effective anymore? It's just one "demand": communism or death for, no exaggeration, most of the life on the planet (it's already happened/happening).

We need to overthrow and abolish the system.That's just a bit different.

Agreed.

And exactly how do you not "go along" with "production relations"? Move to a mountain shack and hunt? Communes?

Ask Camatte.

Just kidding, I'm not sure at all. But clearly that's what I'd like to discuss if anyone wants.

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, Marx's analysis is that capitalism is not overthrown by those outside the production relations of the "commodity economy," but by those exactly at the heart of those production relations, whose own labor-power is compelled to be expressed as a commodity for exchange.

That sounds about right to me.

Noa Rodman

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Precisely because there are so many real things to protest, each Russia-sign is all the more wrong. That Russia-angle even permeated into popular tv-shows like South Park. So it's necessary to speak out against this, just as when Greek protests rely on anti-German sentiment, or when Egypt protestors wrap themselves in Egyptian flag.

Khawaga

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I made my point. Are you trying to score a point or do you have any specific questions?

No, I am genuinely asking. I really don't understand what your critique is or what the point you are trying to make. Is it: don't bother with these folks? counter anti-Russian sentiments/warmongering? the crowd is not class conscious, so it's a waste of time? That because a few liberals cried over Obama leaving/Clinton loosing, there is no point? Or are you arguing that people going out to these protests should "engage" with protesters in a specific way?

el psy congroo

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Artesian and others, I would propose we continue on these points here, if that's ok?

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

Precisely because there are so many real things to protest, each Russia-sign is all the more wrong. That Russia-angle even permeated into popular tv-shows like South Park. So it's necessary to speak out against this, just as when Greek protests rely on anti-German sentiment, or when Egypt protestors wrap themselves in Egyptian flag.

And these protests were overwhelmingly about those real things. The "Russia-signs" were mostly jokes, at least the ones I saw in the sections I observed. The focus of the march was the protection of women and immigrants from repression and abuse.

I don't find that demoralizing in the least.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mikail firtinaci

And the American media was totally anti-Trump from the beginning, I mean that is as far as I could observe.

Revisiting this, it's a straight-up Kellyanne Conway "alternative fact."

Comrade, you either observed selectively or are just simply wrong. Probably both.

For most of the latter half of the 20th century the U.S. broadcast media was dominated by the big 3: ABC, CBS and NBC. Ted Turner brought in CNN in 1980, targeting cable and satellite TV; it was acquired by Times Warner in 1996. Rupert Murdoch hired Republican Party media consultant Roger Ailes to start Fox News in 1996. Comcast, current owner of NBC, is the world's biggest telecom conglomerate and has broadcast news outlets like CNBC, MSNBC, Telemundo (in Spanish), etc.

But an alternative to all this, that has been growing for decades and becoming mainstream, is the Christian right media that has had a increasing national influence. This goes back to the Reagan era (perhaps sooner, please correct me with more background details if I'm wrong), with syndicated programs like the 700 Club, created by Pat Robertson who had started broadcasting in 1961. Paleoconservative Pat Buchanan also started in 1961, but in print media, later being a commentator on various broadcast channels like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News today. Also in this milieu was Jerry Falwell, a televangelist who was a bridge between the Christian right and Republicans, as well as creating the Moral Majority in 1979 that effectively helped push Reagan into the presidency the next year.

The media in the U.S. is not monolithic, but is an global industry that reaps massive profits. The only real alternatives are the few, low wattage and local -- and disappearing -- community-based radio stations (often found in college towns). And with the rise of Fox News over the last 20 years, they have built a significant viewership in various categories. For the last 10 years, it has been the most watched cable news channel in the U.S. But even the mainstream media outlets have been used for subversive purposes.

For example, check out this article: "Adiós, El Cucuy: Immigration and laughter on the airwaves," by Dolores Inés Casillas (Boom: A Journal of California Vol. 1, No. 3, Fall 2011), about how Honduran radio personality Renán Almendárez Coello was able to use syndicated Spanish-language radio to rally for the May Day 2006 events across the U.S. El Cucuy broadcast, in Spanish, for a drive-time (5:00-11:00 a.m.) audience in Los Angeles, but was syndicated nationally. He had around 3,000,000 listeners, making him the most listened to radio DJ in L.A. in any language. On KLAX-FM (97.9) he reached Spanish-speaking working class commuters, driving on their way to their jobs, and help build for the unprecedented rally and march of 500,000 on March 25, 2006 against the anti-immigrant Sensenbrener Act (H.R. 4437), which in turn led to the nationwide May Day general strike where over 5 million Spanish-speaking worker did a stoppage for the day -- and forced congress to back down on the law.

I don't know the world of Spanish media very well, but I imagine there are right-leaning and left-leaning media networks and broadcasters. Their listenership in the U.S. is huge, so it would simply be disingenuous to assume that they were "all totally anti-Trump from the beginning." Given the number of Latina/o voters for Trump, we can be sure that a significant portion of the Spanish-speaking media was pro-Trump -- particularly evangelical Christian broadcasters.

Here's my challenge: as you're walking down the street and see a UPS driver get out the truck for a delivery, lean your ear in and see what radio station they're listening to. If they're white and male, I bet (with about 90% accuracy) that if they aren't listening to country music they're listening to Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Michael Savage. I'm not entirely certain about all those guys, but nearly all of their shock jock ilk were strident supporters of Donald Trump. And those AM (and sometimes FM) talkshows are among the most popular in the U.S., with a listenership in the tens of millions.

Which gives the lie to "the American media was totally anti-Trump from the beginning."

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And in the last post I strongly emphasized El Cucuy's pro-working class mainstream Spanish-language radio broadcasts because of the lasting legacy of May Day 2006 (ironically, his employer was Spanish Broadcasting System, one of the largest owners and operators of radio stations in the U.S.). I'll come back to the legacy of May Day 2006 later.

Back to today. When I returned to work this morning, after several weeks off, I was greeted by one of my co-workers who I've worked together with the longest. She was beaming with excitement, hugged me right after I walked in the door, and was overflowing with enthusiasm. I knew it wasn't me, so asked her what was up. And I should give some background: she's thirtysomething, mixed-race but the one she's clear about is being part Chicana, and grew up in one of the suburbs directly on the border with Los Angeles to the northeast. And she lives in Oakland.

She went on to explain that, like me, she went to both the Oakland and San Francisco Women's Marches last Saturday. Her politics are leftist, but she's not ideological, is anti-cop, anti-racist (she was passionate supporter of Black Lives Matter), and listened sincerely when I was critical of Bernie Sanders and explained why I don't advocate voting. She's one of the few at work who I know will have my back if something goes down. So she has latent class politics.

She was moved by the marches because, paraphrasing her words, women stood up in "sisterhood" and showed they had each others' backs and everyone showed they have immigrants' backs. Those are damn good reasons to go to marches like these. We discussed some of the best signs, and there were plenty, but it got us talking about Trump's "Make America great again" and what that means in 2017. For my co-worker, who's parents got harassed for being in a mixed-race marriage, it means going back to Jim Crow and a return to segregation of society. That's what inspired her to participate, which again is a pretty good reason. As a woman, Trump and future Supreme Court appointments means the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade and making abortion illegal and denying her reproductive freedom.

Three other co-workers went to the marches; one of those was in a small bedroom-community suburb that drew over 10,000 participants (in a city of 65,000), where normally they would have gone to the larger demo in San Francisco, making it the largest protest to ever have occurred in that town. Another co-worker said his parents, who live on the east coast, went to the massive march in New York City. So protests against Trumps inauguration gave rise to lively discussions in our staff lunchroom.

Over lunch, my Chicana co-worker got even more excited talking about her parents in southern California. They went to the Women's March in downtown L.A. They took the Metro, but had to wait 1 1/2 hours just to buy a ticket and get on a train for what normally is a 25-minute 20-mile ride. She said her parents were as excited about the L.A. march as she was about the Bay Area ones -- and for almost exactly the same reasons. Thinking about it myself, the slogans of women that I heard in those marches were demands for control over their bodies, against rape culture, and for better, more universal health care. Sure, some people had silly messages about saving Obamacare, but there were so many more that simply about the fight against the oppression of women. It's pretty easy to get behind those.

I got in touch with one of my L.A. comrades, who set the story straight and said that with all the massive transportation chaos throughout southern California because of the march -- especially on public transit -- the crowd was easily more than a million people. I was born and raised in L.A. and know very well that until 2006 there were rarely protests that attracted more than ten thousand participants. That was until the immigrant working class rose up and forced congress to back down on their racist law.

My co-workers' parents were there, in downtown L.A., for the May Day general strike in 2006 when the city for the first time ever had a demo with more than a million people. And this is in the city where the LAPD's "red squad" was once perhaps the most violent and brutal force of political repression in the U.S., where they routinely crushed any kind of public political expression. And her parents returned in 2017 for almost the exact same reasons. And how many of the Latina/os -- and others -- there last Saturday had also come out on Monday, May 1, 2006? And even if 2, or 5, or 15 of those 1,000,000+ demonstrators in L.A. had reactionary, anti-Russian signs, wouldn't being with that many working class women, immigrants, queers, people of all colors (in the 2010 census L.A. was 48.5% Latina/o), and everyone else thrown in make it all extremely worthwhile? And wouldn't it be an excellent opportunity to discuss class struggle, communism and the possibilities of building better world? And do that with a million people?

Steven.

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Short account posted on our Facebook page:

Rapid City, SD - NOW organizers set up the march, got a permit for a conservative estimate of 30 to 50 attendees and we ended up with over 1,000 people from the city and surrounding areas!

Chilli Sauce

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Entdinglichung

read somewhere on facebook about a turnout of 2000 in Fairbanks/Alaska despite -30 Celsius

And in Antarctica too, no less!

I saw lots of leftists cry. Literally cry! That is enough for me to generalize. If you did not see those, well you go out and observe more.

FWIW, I don't think there were many Leftists crying unless we consider Democrats or liberals to be Leftists.

Spikymike

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Engagement with the protest movements against the Trump election whether on a personal level or by way of collective interventions need to be very critical of it's weaker aspects and especially critical of the leftist and liberal influences on such movements. Whilst the more obvious retrograde social policies of Trump and European equivalents need generate less contention between anarchists/communists and others more work is needed to address common fallacies surrounding national identity and economic policies within such protest movements - bare in mind how rapidly the radical left/green/anarchist anti-globalisation (anti NAFTA/TTIP etc) movement of recent years has been seeded to right-wing nationalism in both the USA and Europe.

RadBlackLove

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm not sure lamenting on the protests is the most healthy thing to dwell on here.....the protests are a reflection of what type of organizing is going on, so since the Bernie Bros and Pantsuit nation are still riding their liberal high horse well then of course we can expect J20 and the women's march to have these primary elements. Similarly, (especially here in the Twin Cities) tankies/FRSO still has an obnoxious line on Assad and Russia, insurrecto/anti-organizational types are still glorifying goofy shit, and non-profits reign supreme. At the same time, our IWW and GDC are really picking up steam so I see these protests, as frustrating as they are, like a little road map of where/how to proceed. We just gotta find the places where to insert good politics but that's gonna happen on the day-to-day organizing not these big events.

RadBlackLove

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

P.S. nobody I knew even wanted to fuck with the women's march after it was rumored to be pro-cop and anti-trans and there was no militant queer bloc. Yet another road map of what is to be done for gender equity....

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

P.S. nobody I knew even wanted to fuck with the women's march after it was rumored to be pro-cop and anti-trans and there was no militant queer bloc. Yet another road map of what is to be done for gender equity.

Rumored? Did anyone bother to find out? Rumors determine whether or not individuals or groups participate in mass demonstrations? That's pretty lame.

Helluva road map for gender equity. Participation depends on the type of rumors circulating. In NYC there were signs and banners for LGBT (sorry if I'm not up to date on the latest labels).

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Maybe Kellyanne Conway or Sean Spicer floated the rumor. Or the cops. Or some Christian zealot homophobes/transphobes.

Where did you see the rumor? Facebook? Maybe Mark Zuckerberg floated it.

If you didn't go, how do you know that the march was pro-cop, anti-trans or devoid of a militant queer bloc? Rumors? (for the the possible origins of those rumors, read the lines above)

Like Artesian's experience, all the marches I went to were heavily pro-trans, with significantly massive militant queer blocs, and there were so few cops present to know exactly how other people felt about their absence (but with all the Black Lives Matter signs and slogans, it was crystal clear to me and my comrades how we all felt).

Craftwork

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

RadBlackLove

P.S. nobody I knew even wanted to fuck with the women's march after it was rumored to be pro-cop and anti-trans and there was no militant queer bloc. Yet another road map of what is to be done for gender equity....

The anti-trans-ness is almost certainly related to the prevalence of biological determinist views of gender at these marches ‒ centering being a woman/womanhood on the possession of certain sexual organs, etc.

As for the cop-friendlieness:

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

The anti-trans-ness is almost certainly related to the prevalence of biological determinist views of gender at these marches ‒ centering being a woman/womanhood on the possession of certain sexual organs, etc.

Sorry comrade, this is another Kellyanne Conway "alternative fact" moment. Craftwork, where did you see or experience this? Please give details.

And when you say "these marches, " are you referring to ones in the U.K.? The U.S.? Or elsewhere?

Generalizations like this can only come from a position of ignorance.

Case in point: San Francisco's first Gay Pride Celebration was in 1970 with attendance in the tens of thousands. Although it had only 30 participants, transsexual "hair fairies" preceded it with a march down Polk Street, which was the main gay district at the time. In 2004, on the Friday before the main Pride March (which is always held on a Sunday), the first Trans March was inaugurated, becoming the largest trans-specific event in the world. The first year had 2,000 marchers, it doubled the next, and has grown to about 20,000 in the last few years. The main Gay Pride Festival and Parade recently reached a peak, at around 1,800,000 attending.

So to say that events in other places, that you are completely ignorant about, have elements of "anti-trans-ness" is a straight up lie.

Not only that, in 1966 (3 years before Stonewall in New York) transgender insurgents sparked a multi-day riot in San Francisco's Tenderloin District, the first riot of its kind in the world. See the 2005 documentary Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria to inform yourself about this history.

And please don't generalize about things you know nothing about. At most political events in San Francisco -- and the Bay Area more generally -- not only are transgender comrades present, but at times they're front and center (not that transgender oppression has ended, but at least there are conscious attempts to fight against it).

teh

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous

mikail firtinaci

The problem here is not whether radicals should attend or not attend these anti-trump demonstrations. The problem is turning a blind eye to the emerging nationalist undertone in these anti-Trump actions.

My city has a significant Russian immigrant population and I saw some of these people at the marches with signs in Cyrillic. In previous conversations with my neighbors, they are terrified by Putin's ruthlessness and make it clear it's why they come to the U.S. This is widely know around these parts and most of the signs I saw equated Trump with Putin.

At the marches I went to there were also a couple signs with Trump being equated to a hammer and sickle symbol. When engaged, these people were simply foolish liberals who supported the PC laundry list of issues: immigrant rights, sanctuary cities, pro-choice, anti-war/anti-nuke, clean energy, etc. Hardly cold warriors.

Saying Russians "are terrified by Putin's ruthlessness and make it clear it's why they come to the U.S" is the equivalent of saying American blacks are "terrified of Obama's ruthlessness and his police death squads that terrify their neighborhoods" because you talked to some black nationalist. Its utter nutty. Like Kropotkin's support of World War 1 in the 16 Manifesto, only at least he want deluded enough to think that German workers were pro-Ally.

And I dont know what to tell you but these "foolish liberals" have been exporting fascism abroad since the late 1940's; began the land invasion of Indochina and Korea; set up the Latin American death sqauds in the early 60's that ended up committing several genocides in the next 30 years; & currently employ fascist death squads as shock troops in Ukraine to keep the social peace in the IMF's "last great investment opportunity" in the former socialist block. But I'm sure they make fun of Tom Clancy for being a stupid white so theyre not cold warriors.

Hieronymous

I didn't see a single reference to Russia among hundreds of thousands of signs. In addition, there were many calls for defending ACA (Obamacare) and expanding health care to all.....

While I saw a couple signs equating Trump with hammers and sickles at the inauguration day protests, these were vastly outnumbered by ones likening Trump to Putin.

Putin and hammer & sickles are not a reference to Russia? What is it referencing then?

Most Democrats, probably the majority by the end of this year, think Trump was installed by Russia

50% of Clinton voters now believe Russian hackers *tampered with vote tallies* to help Trump- Dem pundits encouraging this Fake News belief pic.twitter.com/AYX1QhCpkq— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 28, 2016

That said "bad signs" at shitty big tent protest shouldn't be reflective of the general participants. Cause you can see objectionable things at any protest of that nature.

teh

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous

mikail firtinaci

And the American media was totally anti-Trump from the beginning, I mean that is as far as I could observe.

Your observations could be qualified as "alternative facts." Fox News and nationally syndicated AM talk radio anti-Trump? This seems to conflict with what most of us observe.

The press was obviously vehemently anti-Trump - why is this an issue that has a political need to be debated? Fox News & Talk Radio is Barack Obama's refrain when he complains about not getting a fair chance in office. Nobody is denying that the Republican party has its own party press, they're talking about the general media. And the general media was open about its views- crap like this https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/08/business/balance-fairness-and-a-proudly-provocative-presidential-candidate.html "Trump Is Testing the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism" or this http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-note-about-our-coverage-of-donald-trumps-campaign_us_55a8fc9ce4b0896514d0fd66 "Trump in Entertainment Section". http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/304606-final-newspaper-endorsement-count-clinton-57-trump-2 "Final newspaper endorsement count: Clinton 57, Trump 2."

But even for Fox and Talk Radio isnt entirely true. When the Murdoch family purged Roger Ailes they had a series of hit pieces commissioned on him in New York Magazine about how bad at good capitalism he was. And there it said that Ailes was gave orders from on top to finish off Trump during the primary. That why the whole "Megan Kelly" circus happened as these attacks were deflected into a sideshow. News section didn't like Trump & for the shows only his irl friend Hannity and also Jeanine Pirro were rooting for him. Bush was supposed to win. I remember shortly before the election I turned on Fox News Sunday on my old Roku player and for some reason an episode from a month or two before played. And it was completely surreal because they were all sitting there discussing prospects of Trump immanently dropping out of the presidential race in all earnestness, as if that was a in any way a plausible possibility.

Their loyalty is to the company then party and its money, though now that Trump delivers the goods I expect them to get in line more or less.

Talk Radio hosts more so preferred "real conservatives" like Cruz or Rubio (sans Hannity & Savage) but they were less adversarial than the rest as they generally felt they could live with Trump. Even here though on the in-between-commercial news update they used hostile tone and framing that was pretty extreme & libelous by expected standards. At least it stuck out in my mind and I dont see why it should have. Once heard something along the lines of "Trump calls The Troops cowards" in a angry newsreader tone because some nonstory about him talking about PTSD. Story disappeared from the press the next day.

But Fox and Talk radio preach to the choir and dont penetrate broadly into the general population in any case.

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As for being friendly to cops-- of course that occurred-- as demonstrated by some individuals who wanted to demonstrate that. So what? What is driving the protests? Showing cops some love? Of course not. Trump as a "Manchurian candidate"? Not hardly, these protests were planned well before all the Putin junk was floated. How about the fact that Trump "normalizes" assaulting women? Violence against immigrants? attacks on Muslims? the continued and increased incarceration of African-Americans?

Perhaps I am completely mistaken regarding the general tone of the marches, but from the people I spoke with at the march, and those attending marches in other locations, the above four reasons seemed to dominate discussions. I think that's reason enough to participate.

Of course the Dems want to control, channel the movement into the "safe" harbor of Democrat politics. That's what they do, isn't it? Did it with civil rights struggles. Did it with the anti-Vietnam War movement; did that with Reagan, Bush, etc. etc. Before that they did it with organized labor.

So what?

The marches were not marches of "liberals." They were mass demonstrations with liberals attending. They were mass demonstrations that portend the possibility of a movement emerging; like the mass demonstrations at the onset of the Iraq war indicated that possibility. Didn't think abstention was a viable strategy then; don't think it's any more viable now.

As for the media:

Two newspapers in the USA endorsed Trump; one owned by Adelson, the other owned by Trump's son-in-law.

Again, so what?

At one and the same time, apparently, the media is massively anti-Trump, and can generate massive demonstrations, but wasn't powerful enough to prevent Trump's election.

CNN made Trump. They broadcast Trump 24 hours a day during the campaign. The hired his former campaign manager as a "commentator," while the guy was still on Trump's payroll. He doesn't "like" CNN? BFD. They give him air time. CNN doesn't "like" Trump? They don't care. He gives them ratings, and the ability to charge higher advert rates. That's entertainment!

And Fox News and talk radio and religious radio in rural areas have penetrated broadly and deeply and extensively added by Murdoch's press, and by the RNC, and the Koch Bros and the hedge fund scumbags.

.

gram negative

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

um fox news and talk radio are wildly popular

teh

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

gram negative

um fox news and talk radio are wildly popular

Among Republicans...who are 20-25% of the population. Which is a lot for the US but not the general population, which tends to be hostile towards the party.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

teh

But Fox and Talk radio preach to the choir and dont penetrate broadly into the general population in any case.

This is patently false. I've encountered many white working class people who only watch and listen to these outlets.

[quote=Adweek]Fox News Channel ranked No. 1 across all of cable for the week of Jan.16, both in total day and in total prime time viewership. Fox News also posted its highest-rated and most-watched week since the 2016 election[/quote]

Fox News had 3,918,000 viewers, while #2 CNN had only 1,771,000. This is "the general population."

And I agree with Artesian: the 24/7 coverage from all media got Trump elected. That amount of exposure is priceless.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

teh

Saying Russians "are terrified by Putin's ruthlessness and make it clear it's why they come to the U.S" is the equivalent of saying American blacks are "terrified of Obama's ruthlessness and his police death squads that terrify their neighborhoods" because you talked to some black nationalist. Its utter nutty. Like Kropotkin's support of World War 1 in the 16 Manifesto, only at least he want deluded enough to think that German workers were pro-Ally.

I live in a neighborhood in which Russian were one of the major ethnic groups for the first half of the 20th century. Some stayed, others suburbanized, but they made the place a welcome destination for a new wave of Russian Jews who started immigrating in the late 1960s, when it became one of the main locations in North America for escapees from antisemitism. They came in two great waves, the first from 1970 until 1981 when the USSR prevented them from leaving, then again during Perestroika from 1987 to 1991. There are Russian immigrants and U.S.-born children of immigrants in my apartment building and throughout my district. One of my good comrades was born here to immigrant parents. Although they seem pretty evenly divided between Jews and Orthodox Christians, they often unite for cultural celebrations.

But the example I used about someone being "terrified by Putin" was a guy who first arrived in 2014. He was trying to enter a university in the U.S. We started talking about living conditions in Russian and I flippantly mentioned the repression of Pussy Riot. He scoffed and said "That's the least of it." He went on to say that he came first, as part of a chain migration based on his connections in San Francisco, and wanted to get his parents and siblings out soon too. When I asked why, he sternly told me that saying anything critical of Putin could get you locked up or disappeared. He went on to say that anyone LBGT is "unsafe" in Russia. It was pretty chilling, and I understood his desire to find a safer place to live (the U.S. wasn't his first choice as he preferred Switzerland, but since he wasn't actually a refugee it was near impossible to become a resident there). Other recent immigrants have confirmed that this is their experience as well.

Teh, if you have counter-examples, please post them here before misrepresenting what I'm saying.

teh

And I dont know what to tell you but these "foolish liberals" have been exporting fascism abroad since the late 1940's; began the land invasion of Indochina and Korea; set up the Latin American death sqauds in the early 60's that ended up committing several genocides in the next 30 years; & currently employ fascist death squads as shock troops in Ukraine to keep the social peace in the IMF's "last great investment opportunity" in the former socialist block. But I'm sure they make fun of Tom Clancy for being a stupid white so theyre not cold warriors.

Here you're playing a little too fast and loose with historical facts. Korea was occupied by Japan, starting in 1910 and ending at the conclusion of World War II in 1945. The Japanese were the fascists here, so I don't understand why you mention them "exporting" it. Japan built their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere in that period too, which colonized and occupied "Indochina." Again, what's your point?

And these "foolish liberals" are people who read Arundoti Roy, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Noam Chomsky, and Naomi Klein, so I don't think they'd even have an opinion of Tom Clancy. So again, what's your point? (by the way, I don't have an opinion of Clancy as I've never read him nor wanted to read him) These are the types of liberals who sing hymns with the choir at their Unitarian Church or Quaker Friendship Hall and who are inspired by the example of Óscar Romero and go to the gates of the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia to get arrested doing non-violent civil disobedience. Or do plowshares actions and smash the nosecones of ICBMs and do serious time for their deeds. These are the kind of liberals who have framed posters of the Berrigan Brothers mounted on the walls of their apartments. I'm not one of these liberals, but what's so wrong about them? I respect many of them.

teh

Hieronymous

I didn't see a single reference to Russia among hundreds of thousands of signs. In addition, there were many calls for defending ACA (Obamacare) and expanding health care to all.....

While I saw a couple signs equating Trump with hammers and sickles at the inauguration day protests, these were vastly outnumbered by ones likening Trump to Putin.

Putin and hammer & sickles are not a reference to Russia? What is it referencing then?

Comrade, you need to read more carefully. The quotes you use above are about the inauguration day protest and the 2 Women's Marches I attended the next day. These were 3 different events.

And I have to correct myself. At the inauguration day protest, I saw dozens and dozens of hammers and sickles if you count all the posters, stickers and newspaper of all the alphabet soup Stalinist, Maoist, and Trotskyist groups in the rally and march organized by ANSWER (who have nutty pro-North Korea politics themselves).

Today at my workplace, we once again talked a lot again about the Women's March on Saturday. We also shared cellphone photos of the best signs. Call me a sissy or wimp if you will (since the photo is the anti-thesis of riot porn), but I received this by text and it's now my favorite (and was taken in Charlotte, North Carolina):

Juan Conatz

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sort of lost here in what people are talking about, but it seems like this discussion is now about whether the mainstream media (MSM) was biased against and/or anti-Trump.

Seems an established fact that most of the MSM was against Trump. I'm not sure, but I don't think he received many endorsements from the media during the primaries. During the election, only 2 out of the 100 major newspapers in the country endorsed him. Some right-leaning publications went for Hillary, or in the case of the Chicago Tribune, Gary Johnson. I think editorial decisions, which includes endorsements, determines coverage. I know people from these publications and outlets would try to refute that, but nobody besides them actually believes that.

On the TV side, almost no outlets took him seriously, and for a period during the primaries, Fox News was pretty obviously slanted against him and for Cruz. I'm assuming that has changed, although I haven't watched Fox News in a while.

The MSM both gave Trump free coverage due to their ratings concerns and went hard at him. He has broken quite a few unwritten rules when it comes to the relationship between the press and a Presidential candidate. That is probably the primary reason. The press seemed exasperated that it couldn't get a "gotcha" moment that ruined him. While previous politicians have had their careers ended by far tamer things, Trump still barrelled through, even as the MSM desperately tried to get a scandal that would stick to him and result in political costs. It never really happened.

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The issue is the demonstrations, what's driving them. Is it "weeping liberals" or something else. I'm going with the something else.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

The issue is the demonstrations, what's driving them. Is it "weeping liberals" or something else. I'm going with the something else.

Agreed.

If others want to talk about the media's role in the election or what they saw on social media about these protests, perhaps they should split off and start a new thread.

I'd rather we follow the opening post to the letter, which suggested this thread for "first-hand reports/pictures" and "general observations" of what people experienced. It's kinda hard to have a discussion based on rumors, speculation, or unsubstantiated assertions.

Rachel

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I went to the London Women’s March but also heard a lot from family and friends in the states. Here are my comments on some of the things people have said here and some of my impressions of the day.

These were absolutely enormous demos so would have contained sorts of elements and politics - this is unsurprising, isn’t it? I can't remember when I was last on something so big in London.

Police - there was certainly pro police elements in some places in the US - in Portland some police wore the pink pussy hats in solidarity - ew. Portland also that had anti-cop black black action - see other post (I don’t find black block very exciting but I know others do). What else would you expect with something big and broad? The women’s movement / feminist movement has always been broad and made up of different elements expressing different class and other positions. I don’t see that changing any time soon - you find your space and try to influence others if it seems possible.

Trans/Queer - the demos were filled with people who don't usually demonstrate and maybe were on a march for the first time. Many are not involved in radical or student circles and had touchingly old fashioned signs about women and uteruses. It was noticeable to me, felt a bit 80s in places. You can decide these people are scum or unevolved, or maybe think that they might be open to learning and changing, especially if someone explains things rather than berating them.

‘Russia-phobia’ - there were some signs about the Trump/Putin links but from my perspective many lefties esp. in America have the opposite problem which is a lack of awareness of Russian imperialism i.e. the destruction of Syria. Some people I had respect for turned into raving Assad supporters over the past few years, partly because of the media they consume (left/right crossover stuff like wikileaks and RT, American Green Party) and partly because of their belief that there’s only one baddie in the world - the west. Stop the War Coalition (in the UK) are on the record saying it’s wrong to protest Russian bombing of Syria because we can only influence our own government, but they were there in London with their anti Trump signs of course.

Refreshingly, there wasn’t much anti-Americanism to be seen in the (mostly homemade) signs. People perceive that across the world we are facing the same struggles with rising far right nationalist movements and resurgent religious fundamentalism.

Composition - the London demo seemed mostly white, liberal and middle class or studenty, but in something so huge there will be tens of thousands people who don’t fit that description. I have read three articles by women of colour in US describing their frustration at the whiteness and lack of solidarity with Black Lives Matter, indigenous struggles and so forth.

EDIT - I took out sentences which would I want to unpack in more detail which will take me time - as it stood it wasn't what I want to say.

On the extreme polarisation in the US - my niece posted pictures of her march on social media and tagged in her grandparents who are Trump supporters. This was the only way they heard about the demos, since they were hardly reported on Fox or other other pro Trump media. People are inhabiting different worlds.

Overall, my daughter and I had a wonderful time on the demo and felt hopeful for a couple of days, which in these times is no small thing.

Steven.

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for that report, Rachel.

In terms of the white women voting for Trump, I've seen that figure, the lot in social media posts during the demos. However I think it's worth mentioning that it wasn't 53% of white women who voted for Trump, because turnout was so low. If white women turned out at the same rate as average, then probably only around 22% of white females in the US voted for Trump.

This doesn't mean of course that it is not true that a significant number of white women put white supremacy before their gender (not to mention their class). But worth putting into context I feel.

I must admit I was also a bit bemused by the touting of that figure, as while it is true of Trump voters, I think it's also pretty certainly true that none of the white women on any of the demonstrations voted for Trump, so it seems strange for them to be attacked for it (n.b. not saying this is what you are doing, Rachel, but this is what some social media posts have done). As a man who has been lots of demos in my life I have never been slagged off for what other white men have done.

Spikymike

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I thought this was of some interest in relation to my previous post No57 - a UK liberal journalism's support for Trump on one narrow issue. Not part of the main argument so far on this thread but since I've already raised it ...... Could make a separate discussion on global capitalism and the turn to
right-wing (as opposed to left-wing) nationalism/protectionism maybe?
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/24/the-guardian-view-on-the-trans-pacific-partnership-not-a-good-deal/

Nymphalis Antiopa

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Do people here think quantity equals quality? In 2003 millions in the UK alone demonstrated against the imminent war on Iraq and we all know where that got us. Far more interesting would be to consider what new connections are being made, what new innovations and tactics and whether people recognize how much is at stake and what they are prepared to risk in the face of the increasing terrorism of the state. Is a more intelligent form of Van de Lubbe tactics on the cards? Or what?
Likewise, what tactics Trump and co are likely to use in pursuit of their agenda, crushing resistance, etcetera. As far as I can see, only Artesian has significantly addressed the latter - eg by suggesting that Trump might permit a coup attempt against him in order to consolidate his power, like Erdogan did.

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think it plays out like this--

a) the economy is still in the grips of such overproduction that trade agreements, alliances, are just not able to provide the returns necessary to keep protectionism at bay, so...
(b) trade wars ensue; exports tumble (as do imports obviously, on the global platform
(c) profits decline (after 2-3 quarters of increases following the 5 straight quarters of decline0
(d) Trump, worried about nothing so much as his ratings, pulls out the old stand-bys-- and starts targeting immigrants for summary, extra-judicial deportation
(e) "sanctuary cities" attempt some sort of legal opposition; but the Republicans know how to handle that-- cut aid to, not social welfare programs in those cities, but to law enforcement, making it clear to all the cop organizations why they are suddenly losing funds-- let the cops take care of the "sanctuarists"

(f)in the ensuing chaos and confusion (every hedge fund manager's delight), rule by Emergency Orders and decrees-- probably after Congress has awarded him that authority, but if not, so what?

And we're almost there Donald J. Trumpaparte's Empire/Magic Kingdom.

Euro-Disney, anyone?

Reddebrek

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Unicorn Riot has updates on the ongoing protest at Boulder University.

https://twitter.com/UR_Ninja

"We're here, we're gay, we're gonna fight the kkk" pic.twitter.com/4mHBGs3YC3— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) January 26, 2017

teh

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous

teh

But Fox and Talk radio preach to the choir and dont penetrate broadly into the general population in any case.

This is patently false. I've encountered many white working class people who only watch and listen to these outlets.

This doesn't contradict what I said, just repeats it. Most non-partisan media leans Democratic and casual consumers of news will get their information there. That theres also party publications like Vox or Drudge is complementary and is for party partisans.

[quote=Adweek]Fox News Channel ranked No. 1 across all of cable for the week of Jan.16, both in total day and in total prime time viewership. Fox News also posted its highest-rated and most-watched week since the 2016 election

Fox News had 3,918,000 viewers, while #2 CNN had only 1,771,000. This is "the general population."
[/quote]
[/quote]
4 million (primetime) viewers out of a population of 320 million is 1% percent. Out of a country where 20-25% of the population identify as Republicans. And this is during a presidential campaign/transition of power too. Also apart from a more concentrated viewer base Fox provides much better and professional infotainment than CNN & the other one.

And I agree with Artesian: the 24/7 coverage from all media got Trump elected. That amount of exposure is priceless.

Media started by saying Trump was the leader of the KKK (even digging up David Duke from somewhere in the 90's), went on to say he raped a child, and ended with saying he committed treason (which means he should face the death penalty). They also concluded he lost the election and couldnt win before it even took place even though switcharoos between the two parties are normal after 8 years & there was no reason to think otherwise this time either. All of this media stuff certainly helped get him elected but I think main reasons were rather more mundane.

EDIT: Didnt see the follow up posts in the thread that mentioned this more/less. Whatevs, leaving this anyway.

teh

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous

teh

Saying Russians "are terrified by Putin's ruthlessness and make it clear it's why they come to the U.S" is the equivalent of saying American blacks are "terrified of Obama's ruthlessness and his police death squads that terrify their neighborhoods" because you talked to some black nationalist. Its utter nutty. Like Kropotkin's support of World War 1 in the 16 Manifesto, only at least he want deluded enough to think that German workers were pro-Ally.

I live in a neighborhood in which Russian were one of the major ethnic groups for the first half of the 20th century. Some stayed, others suburbanized, but they made the place a welcome destination for a new wave of Russian Jews who started immigrating in the late 1960s, when it became one of the main locations in North America for escapees from antisemitism. They came in two great waves, the first from 1970 until 1981 when the USSR prevented them from leaving, then again during Perestroika from 1987 to 1991. There are Russian immigrants and U.S.-born children of immigrants in my apartment building and throughout my district. One of my good comrades was born here to immigrant parents. Although they seem pretty evenly divided between Jews and Orthodox Christians, they often unite for cultural celebrations.

I dont see how this is related to "In previous conversations with my neighbors, they are terrified by Putin's ruthlessness" unless they are all racialists who equate specific administrations of the USSR with the USSR state and then equate that with the virulently anti-Soviet state that the Gaidar gang set up and then that with the Putin/Medvedev administration. It doesnt sound like they have any current connection with country beyond a shared communal past.

But the example I used about someone being "terrified by Putin" was a guy who first arrived in 2014. He was trying to enter a university in the U.S. We started talking about living conditions in Russian and I flippantly mentioned the repression of Pussy Riot. He scoffed and said "That's the least of it." He went on to say that he came first, as part of a chain migration based on his connections in San Francisco, and wanted to get his parents and siblings out soon too. When I asked why, he sternly told me that saying anything critical of Putin could get you locked up or disappeared. He went on to say that anyone LBGT is "unsafe" in Russia. It was pretty chilling, and I understood his desire to find a safer place to live (the U.S. wasn't his first choice as he preferred Switzerland, but since he wasn't actually a refugee it was near impossible to become a resident there). Other recent immigrants have confirmed that this is their experience as well.

Teh, if you have counter-examples, please post them here before misrepresenting what I'm saying.

Sounds like the rhetoric and political opinions of a voter for Yabloko, Parnas, Progress party,etc or from adjacent social circles. They usually get the cumulative vote of ~3 percent in elections. Represent the material needs of the professional and other high income classes in two or three of the top cities in the country. Their status is usually tied somehow to economic relations with the EU/US. Since the opening of the Russian market to the outside this is the urban layer that benefits from such relations, as is true in metropolises in most semi-colonial third world countries. But most industrial and agricultural production in Russia is done for the internal market. US and Russian economic relations is small and mostly oil/gas and the space program. For EU its export of Russian raw resources. Crucially EU is the most important investor in Russia, with that comes cultural, social, and political ties. But again given the structure of the economy its on a very limited social basis. Furthermore unlike, say Yugoslavia, Russia has WMDs and lots of them so Russian capital has no material need and interest to become a satrap. Theres no mass basis for a cross-class politics of this kind as there is an unbridgeable ocean between this layer and a general population that doesn't want even more stolen from them.

2014 would be a year of war mobilization vis a vis a much stronger opponent. Such sentiments would be unusual even for this politics.
Counter-examples I would look at public opinion polls: approval ratings, country going in right/wrong direction, voting intentions, etc.

teh

And I dont know what to tell you but these "foolish liberals" have been exporting fascism abroad since the late 1940's; began the land invasion of Indochina and Korea; set up the Latin American death sqauds in the early 60's that ended up committing several genocides in the next 30 years; & currently employ fascist death squads as shock troops in Ukraine to keep the social peace in the IMF's "last great investment opportunity" in the former socialist block. But I'm sure they make fun of Tom Clancy for being a stupid white so theyre not cold warriors.

Here you're playing a little too fast and loose with historical facts. Korea was occupied by Japan, starting in 1910 and ending at the conclusion of World War II in 1945. The Japanese were the fascists here, so I don't understand why you mention them "exporting" it. Japan built their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere in that period too, which colonized and occupied "Indochina."

[/quote]

I'm talking about the Korean War of Truman.

And these "foolish liberals" are people who read Arundoti Roy, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Noam Chomsky, and Naomi Klein, so I don't think they'd even have an opinion of Tom Clancy. So again, what's your point? (by the way, I don't have an opinion of Clancy as I've never read him nor wanted to read him) These are the types of liberals who sing hymns with the choir at their Unitarian Church or Quaker Friendship Hall and who are inspired by the example of Óscar Romero and go to the gates of the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia to get arrested doing non-violent civil disobedience. Or do plowshares actions and smash the nosecones of ICBMs and do serious time for their deeds. These are the kind of liberals who have framed posters of the Berrigan Brothers mounted on the walls of their apartments. I'm not one of these liberals, but what's so wrong about them? I respect many of them.

I think most protesters were the Democrats liberals not the left-wing of Democrats. Protest was started by one Teresa Shook who was upset that Clinton lost. But I think even the left-wing anti-war/nukes satellites of the the Democrats are part of it because their political platform is to form a popular front with it or more it to the "left" (even when they rhetorically distance themselves from this) and not destroy it. They dont treat the party as the toxic entity that it is as they would some self-styled "far-right" group.

teh

Hieronymous

I didn't see a single reference to Russia among hundreds of thousands of signs. In addition, there were many calls for defending ACA (Obamacare) and expanding health care to all.....

While I saw a couple signs equating Trump with hammers and sickles at the inauguration day protests, these were vastly outnumbered by ones likening Trump to Putin.

Putin and hammer & sickles are not a reference to Russia? What is it referencing then?

Comrade, you need to read more carefully. The quotes you use above are about the inauguration day protest and the 2 Women's Marches I attended the next day. These were 3 different events.

I see. My bad.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Comrades around the U.S. sent the following brief first-hand accounts of the Women's March on Saturday, January 21, 2016:

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA: transportation worker

[T]he women's march was the biggest protest in Lincoln's history. Haven't heard any firm numbers but it was at least 5,000. Usually the only big demos are the fucking right to life Catholics from the ultra conservative diocese here, yet there's usually 100,000 people in the downtown on Husker game days in a city of 270,000, but people aren't used to demonstrating here. It was exciting and I think the best part was that everyone was just in awe of the turnout and I think it made a lot of non-political people feel like opposition to Trump has legitimacy.

BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON: education worker

. . . so many people showed up that the front of the march got to the end of the route loop (back at the start) before everyone [else] had started. . . estimate [of] crowd size was 5,000. Population of Bellingham is listed at 85,0000

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA: education worker

While waiting in line to take the Gold Line Metro to the downtown Los Angeles march, which took around 90 minutes, people treated it like a celebration, and many commented that rather than the stress of commuting to work, it was more like waiting to go on a ride at Disneyland. The wait and the train ride were like a mobile street party.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: public sector worker

The lines to buy Metro tickets [since hardly any Angelenos are regular commuters] and get on the train were so long and chaotic that some stations shut down. Some had been waiting as long as 2 hours and instead of giving up, protestors spontaneously started demonstrations right there, next to the stations.

Below is a map of locations of Women's Marches in California and a list of the numbers (from the Sacramento Bee). The column with the "High" numbers are probably low-ball estimates. Los Angeles had over 1 million and San Francisco's numbers were probably triple the amount given. Many were not only the largest protests ever in these locales, but some were the first time there's ever been a political demonstration of any significance.

The low-ball estimate puts the participation statewide at "1 in 45 California Residents" (which would be 2.2% of the population, but in reality was probably double or triple that -- which is pretty amazing!).

Rachel

Overall, my daughter and I had a wonderful time on the demo and felt hopeful for a couple of days, which in these times is no small thing.

Nearly everyone I've talked to who went to one of these protests felt the same way as Rachel. Like her, I still do; it was euphoric to be in solidarity with millions worldwide who collectively, in a single voice, sent a giant "FUCK YOU!" to Donald Trump.

It was very visceral and if you weren't there, it's hard to put words to the experience. But to give a flavor of it, Democracy Now! does a decent job of depicting the Women's March in San Francisco:

[youtube]lGkSfF54FMQ[/youtube]

Rather that debating the what ifs?, it would be more fruitful to critique the strengths and weaknesses of what actually happened on these marches -- and compare their regional differences -- and strategize ways to go beyond their limitations.

A DAPL demo at San Francisco's Federal Building last night had thousands of protestors and blocked surrounding streets, which showed that numbers in these actions are increasing and Trump's election seems to be having a multiplier effect. But radical change won't come from protests alone. How can we intervene to root this opposition in class struggle and resistance to capital, rather than just to Trump?

Trump's attack on sanctuary cities, like Artesian points out, might starve cops of funds and push a division where people are pushed to decide if they're on the side of the state and its armed monopoly of violence or on the side of insurgents fighting to overthrow the social relations of capital, where we need to have the backs of all our working class sisters and brothers (especially immigrants, who are the first targets of Trump's attacks).

FACT CHECK EDIT:

To refute the rumor that Women's March events everywhere were "anti-trans and there was no militant queer bloc," it should be pointed out that the main Washington DC rally had transgender activist Raquel Willis as one the key speakers, one of the eight speakers at the San Francisco pre-march rally was transgender activist Julia Serano, and there were at least half a dozen radical blocs of queers here too. It's unfortunate that this didn't happen in the Twin Cities, but you can't generalize that to everywhere else.

Nymphalis Antiopa

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Numbers numbers numbers. If I copied that out "numbers numbers numbers" a million times would that contribute to confronting Trump and the new forms of capitalist misery he is inflicting? As I said above:

"Do people here think quantity equals quality? In 2003 millions in the UK alone demonstrated against the imminent war on Iraq and we all know where that got us."

But there have been no answers to that: instead Hieronymous endlessly showing numbers numbers numbers.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nymphalis Antiopa

"Do people here think quantity equals quality?"

No.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nymphalis Antiopa

"In 2003 millions in the UK alone demonstrated against the imminent war on Iraq and we all know where that got us."

I think we share the same criticism of those toothless actions back then, devoid of agency and mostly staged for TV cameras.

Yet there were some inspiring moments of opposition to both the First Gulf War and the current one that began in 2003, that if generalized would have been more powerful. Sadly, even the ones with potential were short-lived.

These are some that inspired me:

● Prior to the First Gulf War, in August 1990, 4000 maintenance workers on U.S. bases in Turkey went on strike for higher pay, hampering the war effort.

● In 2003 protestors in Italy blockaded the Malpanese airport, near Milan, to try to prevent it from being used to refuel B-52s en route to bombing raids in Iraq.

● In 2003 disruption of military transportation and supply chains was used in France, the Netherlands and Germany—trains carrying troops were repeatedly sabotaged and derailed; military depots and barracks were blockaded to prevent mobilizations for the war.

● During the war on Afghanistan, 200 dock workers in Nagasaki, Japan refused to load military supplies onto naval vessels headed to assist the U.S.-led war, disrupting the entire Japanese state’s contribution to the war effort.

● On January 9, 2003, British train drivers refused to move a freight train carrying ammunition for the British forces being deployed in the Gulf.

Today, January 28, 2017, taxi drivers in New York organized a work stoppage at JFK Airport to protest detentions under Trump's new executive order on immigration. It was just an hour, but set an example of what other workers could do.

On Inauguration day, dockers at the Port of Oakland refused work, and shut down one of four terminals, at the 5th busiest container port in the U.S., for a day.

The examples from 1990 and 2003 are types of actions that have resonance with the transportation and supply chain disruptions against Trump. They could be emulated and extended.

Nymphalis Antiopa

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It was not a yes/no question, as you almost certainly know. The question implied a desire to know what was interesting in the various demonstrations. Apart from some high school walk-outs, the brief "strike" in the Oakland docks, and the black bloc in Washington DC, there seemed to be nothing but a celebration of quantity over quality. It would be nice to hear more about qualitative opposition, but maybe there is little to hear about.

Nymphalis Antiopa

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Your second reply (post 85) crossed with my post 86, which I would not have sent if I had first seen this second reply.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nymphalis Antiopa

It would be nice to hear more about qualitative opposition, but maybe there is little to hear about.

Perhaps you're answering your own question.

Did you see the posts by S. Artesian, jesuithitsquad, and Rachel? What do you think? (not a trick question either, because you were asking a loaded question since no one had the pretense to attribute "qualitative opposition," when these are such inchoate forms of resistance -- at best).

Nymphalis Antiopa

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous: I will probably regret trying to debate on this site as I will probably get a lot of shit coming my way since this site is so utterly compromised and - or so I have been told - you specifically have trivialised taking any stance over important contradictions on this site and have even, apparently, defended the Black Panther Party and its Stalinist politics. But that is probably besides the point on this particular thread. So...

Hieronymous:

Did you see the posts by S. Artesian, jesuithitsquad, and Rachel? What do you think? (not a trick question either, because you were asking a loaded question since no one had the pretense to attribute "qualitative opposition," when these are such inchoate forms of resistance -- at best).

My question was not "loaded" since there does seem to be a tendency to grasp at straws, counting the numbers of straws being grasped and saying "look at how many straws there are!" For example, your long lists of numbers, jesuithitsquads:

it sure as hell is better to see people going out together rather than bitching about how terrible things are on social media.

and Rachels

my daughter and I had a wonderful time on the demo and felt hopeful for a couple of days, which in these times is no small thing.

Bitching about how terrible things are on a demo is not much better than bitching about how terrible things are on social media. Likewise, one might as well say "my daughter and I had a wonderful time on holiday and felt refreshed for a couple of days, which in these times is no small thing". I would say that this is some form of

pretense to attribute "qualitative opposition"

Someone said "hope is the leash of submission". Fuck hope - desperate times call for desperate acts, which is why I asked

"Is a more intelligent form of Van de Lubbe tactics on the cards?"

Action combined with the ideas that reinforce it is the only way forward and the reality is we are seriously facing as great a horror as Van der Lubbe desperately tried to challenge.

As for S.Artesian, he is generally the most interesting poster on this site, and I would guess that this is by him: http://anti-capital21stcentury.blogspot.com.es/p/his-is-how-it-starts.html

Rachel

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks H for your posts esp no. 85 with the list of direct actions against the war that I didn’t know or forgot about about. There was more than marching going on, though nowhere near enough of course.

NA, I assumed most people would easily understand that our posts were giving impressions, not making claims that big numbers indicate the beginning of a revolutionary movement. On the day, the 2003 antiwar march in London was on my mind as well, that’s exactly why I didn’t make any claims for potential of this march. It is what it is, in the first week of the new administration. For me it’s too early to start making predictions.

potrokin

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As an anarchist what is disappointing to me about these anti-Trump protests ( and, at the same time I think they are good and am glad they are happening) is that they are just that- protests. I'd like to see more action being taken. That however, then makes me consider wether any actions would get support from the wider population and wether they could go beyond just having a different president or government. Interestingly though, I noticed that the black bloc did get some support on a certain left/liberal youtube channel that I watch which I won't name, which was nice to see. I do think it's nice to see people coming together though and objecting to what Trump is doing, which is fucking hideous.

Rachel

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

a word on feeling hopeful - I used that word on purpose. At the march I didn’t really feel the strength or power of the class. That would have been different. Hey I’ve read Vaneigem too and I know the limits of Hope. But too many people I know are trying to live with the type of despair that can end in suicide. In the face of that, the sort of politics that’s all about thinking that only you know what’s really going on, that all the silly sheeple with their big marches aren’t really getting what you get - I don’t want only that in my life or my kids’ lives. Allowing ourselves to feel strengthened by what little collectivity we find probably does not weaken the prospects for more radical transformation.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk. We're light-years away from anything that could even vaguely be called anti-capitalist, so you have to make an honest assessment of the forces in action, critique them, and begin from there. Asking for soviets or communes on Day #2 of the Trump regime is like waving a magic wand and asking for all your wishes to be granted. Since you seem to fetishize Marinus van der Lubbe, it seems to imply doing some lone wolf action and getting yourself executed. No?

As for the Black Panthers, you'll have to go beyond what I "apparently" wrote; I didn't defend any of their "Stalinist politics," since what I commented on from the museum exhibit were their programs, which at worst were radical charity. If you have a critique of the Panthers, go to that thread and make your case.

By the way, I was responding to NA above. Rachel, your posts have been insightful and are very much appreciated. NA, this might be semantic, but to me without hope you have despair. That leads to despondency and, when internalized over time, an apolitical resignation and acceptance of one's "fate." Sure all you Nietzscheans are gonna tell us to toughen up, but I personally need a collective sense of solidarity. I'm not a lone wolf.

In moments of radical rupture, to borrow from the S. I., we transcend the permitted and begin to reach for the possible. And this involves our affective realm, where the absence of fear leads to confidence. Your can't wave that magic wand or will this into existence.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nymphalis Antiopa

Hieronymous: I will probably regret trying to debate on this site as I will probably get a lot of shit coming my way since this site is so utterly compromised and - or so I have been told - you specifically have trivialised taking any stance over important contradictions on this site and have even, apparently, defended the Black Panther Party and its Stalinist politics. But that is probably besides the point on this particular thread.

Why don't you just post your stuff at Dialectical Delinquents if we're so compromised here?

Nymphalis Antiopa

So - rather typical for this site to publish it, since the admin are basically modern Leninists hiding under a libertarian label.

el psy congroo

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous

...Without hope you have despair. That leads to despondency and, when internalized over time, suicidal thoughts.

This has a name. The high-highs and the low-lows. This isn't dialectics. It's called bipolar disorder (formerly manic depressive disorder). Might want to look into mood stabilizers, something as basic as 5-HTP. I'm not even trying to be funny. The disorder can be only temporary, doesn't mean you're "permanently sick", in fact it's induced by exactly the type of stress and cognitive dissonance revolutionaries rack up. Over in the US, roughly 3% of people experience a bi-polar episode at least one time in their lives. If there is a history of anxiety or substance abuse your risk jumps greatly. Furthermore, there's strong evidence frequent use of marijuana cause it. This is because it depletes your brain of serotonin and throws your brain chemistry off for days after each big dose. No matter the cause, I can not stress this enough: Keep your neurotransmitters balanced.

Anyway. Something something the optimist looks up, the pessimist down, while the realist looks straight ahead...

el psy congroo

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous

Nymphalis Antiopa

Hieronymous: I will probably regret trying to debate on this site as I will probably get a lot of shit coming my way since this site is so utterly compromised and - or so I have been told - you specifically have trivialised taking any stance over important contradictions on this site and have even, apparently, defended the Black Panther Party and its Stalinist politics. But that is probably besides the point on this particular thread.

Why don't you just post your stuff at Dialectical Delinquents if we're so compromised here?

Nymphalis Antiopa

So - rather typical for this site to publish it, since the admin are basically modern Leninists hiding under a libertarian label.

Anyone else lost? The website is compromised??

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

el psy congroo

Hieronymous

...Without hope you have despair. That leads to despondency and, when internalized over time, suicidal thoughts.

This has a name. The high-highs and the low-lows. This isn't dialectics. It's called bipolar disorder (formerly manic depressive disorder). Might want to look into mood stabilizers, something as basic as 5-HTP. I'm not even trying to be funny. The disorder can be only temporary, doesn't mean you're "permanently sick", in fact it's induced by exactly the type of stress and cognitive dissonance revolutionaries rack up. Over in the US, roughly 3% of people experience a bi-polar episode at least one time in their lives. If there is a history of anxiety or substance abuse your risk jumps greatly. Furthermore, there's strong evidence frequent use of marijuana cause it. This is because it depletes your brain of serotonin and throws your brain chemistry off for days after each big dose. No matter the cause, I can not stress this enough: Keep your neurotransmitters balanced.

Anyway. Something something the optimist looks up, the pessimist down, while the realist looks straight ahead...

I thought I was being slammed for being too hopeful, now I'm bi-polar. Are you trying to tell me "Something something"?

EDIT: I have never had overt suicidal thoughts, so I changed the refences to it in above post.

Khawaga

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

NA keeps looking for the perfect and fully former workers' movement. That is just an excuse for not having to do shit, not having to engage with people that are not commies, and for being an armchair general/analyst.

Your "critique" is just a semblance of one. A short quantity/quality comment is just lazy; you don't or can't even write anything that actually tries to make sense of what is going on.

You seem to be devoid of any notion that in this day and age, the "best" that can happen may be toothless protests precisely because we are so utterly decomposed as a class and that therefore we simply do not know how to effectively go on the offensive or even have the ability and force of ideas to make other people remotely interested in what we are seeking. That we only have protests with all this shit happening is a sign of weakness. But as H or SA said above: we need to start somewhere and that somewhere start with people, and there are a lot of people at the protests that most likely will be more receptive than in any other context.

But please, just go on acting smug and engaging in the silly DD vs libcom war that is really only waged by you lot.

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

^^^Word.

I really don't understand what NA and others are driving at. It's not as if H or myself or anyone else is praising the protests as a fully formed revolutionary or proto revolutionary movement. But... the protests bring up the critical issues-- particularly regarding women and immigrants whose labor force participation rates, and presence in the working class makes these issues so critical for the working class organizing itself as a unified self.

I mean, really, why do you think LA had the largest demonstrations perhaps equal in size to the national demonstration in DC? You think maybe the numbers of immigrants, the numbers of immigrants workers (who also made Mayday 2006 somewhat special in LA, remember?) has something to do with it?

And lest we forget, "foreign-born" immigrants make up 1/6 of the US labor force, concentrated in the lower-paying service, transportation, production sectors. So if they are showing up, and indeed they are, cutting yourself off from this movement by a sector of the class is the epitome of sectarianism-- putting your own ideological concerns ahead of the real actions of the class itself.

Fleur

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't want to get into a fight but I just want to say that I've been feeling completely filled with despair over the last few weeks. I didn't go on any of the local protests, I can't march anyway because I have a lingering injury, I haven't been able to think about anything positive and then last night I watched on social media all the protests happening at US airports and I felt just a tiny glimmering of hope. Hope's not a bad thing. You can't do much with hope alone but you can't do anything without it.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Airports are full of protestors again today.

But beware of recuperateurs: Airbnb is offering released detainees free accommodations and Lyft will donate $1 million to the ACLU.

Anyone go to their nearest international airport?

petey

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

spoke to a bud in phila who said that the crowd formed fast again today. 1000 as of 10 minutes ago, according to the inqy:

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/real-time/Large-protest-of-Trumps-immigration-order-planned-Sunday-at-Philadelphia-International-Airport.html

e2a: inqy twittter says 5000.

https://twitter.com/phillydotcom?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Some radicals, who post here on occasion, are at SFO and say there's 1,000 in a spirited and militant demo.

Nymphalis Antiopa

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous says:

Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:

"So - rather typical for this site to publish it, since the admin are basically modern Leninists hiding under a libertarian label."

I have not said that anywhere. Please indicate your source.

As for the rest of the attacks - eg the deliberate misreading of my mention of Van Der Lubbe, when I said "Is a more intelligent form of Van de Lubbe tactics on the cards?"; the Dialectical Delinquents stuff - wtf???- they have nothing much to do with me. It merely confirms what I said:

I will probably regret trying to debate on this site as I will probably get a lot of shit coming my way since this site is so utterly compromised

A bunch of distortionists, most of you. I guess you lying shitheads should all just continue going round in narrow circles talking in your sleep about things I never said just to avoid anything mildly critical. I will tiptoe quietly off into the distance so as not to disturb you.

RadBlackLove

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, I wasn't meaning to spread any sort of false information or slander the organizers of any of the marches. I specifically was referring to the United States actions, and what I meant by the thing about trans folks feeling iffy was with regards to the overt focus on genitalia as *the* basis of women's oppression. The vagina hats have been key discussion and has provided cover for feminists with "gender critical" politics....there are a number of pieces about this so far but I'm really glad to hear that maybe I'm blowing this out of proportion and that trans solidarity was very visible. The other post about being pro-police is what we get with the elements of people who made up the action, again not too surprising. I also wasn't saying those things to say that people shouldn't participate, just offering up an explanation as to why some folks opted out and how we need to tighten up, politically

https://www.good.is/articles/seeking-solidarity-at-the-womens-march-in-washington

Entdinglichung

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/native-american-tribe-stop-donald-trump-us-mexican-border-wall-arizona-reservation-land-tohono-o-a7549841.html

In a statement it criticised the White House for signing an executive order without consulting the tribe, and hinted at Standing Rock-style mass resistance if necessary. The tribal vice-chairman has previously said the government could build the wall “over my dead body”.

...

The tribe, which has about 28,000 members, said it has suffered for decades from the "militarisation" of the international border, which cuts across its ancestral lands. Members have said they are frequently assaulted or threatened by border guards and impeded in visiting relatives south of the border.

The reserve is meant to operate as an autonomous territory, but in practice people living there say they are afraid to hunt on their own land or even let their children ride the bus to school because of harassment by security agents. They said in the statement that they are routinely stopped from “simply travelling through their own traditional lands, practicing migratory traditions essential to their religion, economy and culture”.

The Tohono O'odham Nation occupies the second largest Native American base in the country and has so far spoken out the loudest in opposition to the wall, but it is possible other tribes which span the border will also refuse to let Mr Trump build on their territory.

The Kumeyaay in California and the Kickapoo in Texas, as well as the Cocopah, also in Arizona, all occupy land spanning the US and Mexico. Representatives of all these tribe have gathered together in the past to discuss tactics to oppose border security, with several indigenous leaders saying the militarisation and occupation of indigenous lands is in direct violation of their right to economic, political, social, and cultural control of their lands.

...

However the legal challenge Mr Trump could face if he attempted to build a wall on Tohono O’odham land without the tribe's permission could pose an even larger problem than finding the money.

“He is going to have a very serious and prolonged battle with the O’odham people,” said Raul Grijalva, a Democratic congressman from Arizona, speaking to the Guardian. “They know what’s at stake is their sovereignty.”

Even if Mr Trump won a legal battle, he would face a fight on the ground. Mr Moreno said people were already discussing strategies for “direct action”.

Rachel

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To RedBlackLove - Thanks, good points and I agree with some of the things said about the discourse eg the slogans, hats and the limitations of the demos. I don't think anybody should have to go to things if they find them oppressive, and it's important that people are able to make their criticism of events like this and not be overruled or downvoted or whatever.

Many people may be getting involved in mass mobilisations for the first time - we will have to learn how to listen and speak to each other. All the best and solidarity.

Red Marriott

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

NA

Hieronymous says:

Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:

"So - rather typical for this site to publish it, since the admin are basically modern Leninists hiding under a libertarian label."

I have not said that anywhere. Please indicate your source.

See comments here; http://libcom.org/library/mandate-heaven-nigel-harris

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers . . . . . . . .

sheeple or potential class warriors? were the streets half full or half empty?

fingers malone

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Regarding people saying "where were you till now?" or similar, I think there's a difference between people being 'n00bs are stupid' which I agree is crap and destructive, and black people who went out and protested police brutality and got met with severe violence and then had to put up with sanctimonious condemnation 'thugs' 'hooligans' 'why don't you just march peacefully'.

Sneering at people because they are not as with it as you is bad. Being angry at people who don't show you basic human solidarity is reasonable.

Rachel

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes, you're right.

Chilli Sauce

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous

numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers . . . . . . . .

sheeple or potential class warriors? were the streets half full or half empty?

That's like 1% of the US population, which is, for all the undoubted shortcomings of the protests, fucking incredible.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not directly anti-Trump, but tonight at UC Berkeley a massive crowd shut down a speaking event by Milos Yiannopoulos at the MLK Student Union on campus. He was invited by the Berkeley Republican Club and clearly the rioting was as much against the Trump administration as the scheduled speaker.

It made great riot porn and it was fun.

The black bloc arrived and without hesitation pulled down the pig's metal barricades, and soon fireworks were being shot at the few cops on the outside of the building, before most of them retreated inside. Eventually, around the time they announced Yiannopoulos' talk was canceled, the cops along the balcony of the student union started firing down rubber bullets and pepperball rounds (with tiny poofs of harmless tear gas) at the crowd below in response to windows on the ground floor of the student union getting busted out. Along the periphery of the student union, the cops had turned on two portable light towers with diesel generations at nightfall. The one nearest the venue entrance was toppled by demonstrators and was eventually torched, sending flames and black smoke high into the sky.

From the balcony, cops regularly declared an "unlawful assembly" and ordered us off campus, with threats of violence and arrest. Hardly anyone budged. A protestor sound system played classics, like NWA's "Fuck tha Police!"

Right now (10:30 p.m.) a crowd is still marching around the area south of the campus, lighting small fires, smashing corporate businesses, and were even reported to have looted a Starbucks. But it seems to be winding down.

EDIT: The highlight of the night for me was when one of the pig brass, from the MLK Student Union balcony, read us the order to disperse over a megaphone, citing California Penal Code 409 and saying we would be subject to force "including but not limited to chemical agents, batons and less lethal munitions," and we drowned him out by chanting repeatedly, in unison, "JUMP!" It was hilarious.

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It is now circulating on social media (and the person who posted it can't reveal their confidential source) that Milo Yiannopoulos had been planning to read a list of undocumented students on the UC Berkeley campus during his scheduled talk.

His mere presence is reason enough to shut down all of his public appearances, but the security of vulnerable students made it all the more urgent.

And since the crowd swelled as it got dark, I have no idea of the size of the protest. Yiannopoulos' event was set for 8:00 p.m., but the protest was called for 6:00. I got there before sunset at 5:00, when there was already a sizeable mass of people and two news helicopters circling overhead. I haven't seen a crowd that large on Sproul Plaza since midday on April 30, 1991, Day 2 of the Rodney King Rebellion, where the number of protestors was several thousand -- including students from both UC Berkeley and nearby Berkeley High, which essentially shut down as everyone marched to the UC campus -- and last night was as big.

meerov21

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://libcom.org/forums/theory/main-intrigue-trumps-era-04022017

Hieronymous

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

More reflections on the Women's March and the anti-Milo Yiannopoulos demo at UC Berkeley:

After a crew of us reached the terminus of the San Francisco's Women's March on the night of Saturday, January 21, 2017, we tried to get of out the rain to get something to eat. Some of us ended up at a lousy touristy restaurant in Chinatown, mostly because it didn't have a line out front in the cold wet night. Once inside, half the other patrons had been at the march too. Right next to us was a table with half a dozen young people who clearly were at their first-ever demonstration. We were feeling pretty euphoric about the 2 mile march in a driving rain ourselves, but their enthusiasm was contagious. They were giddy with delight reliving the day's events, which to us was pretty routine. But that's the point: Trump's election has mobilized millions of people who are now looking for ways of making sense of this crazy world. Hence us anarchos and commies can help them to not only politicize themselves but to develop a radical anti-capitalist critique. So many of these young idealists are blank slates who are desperate to be actively doing something to change their lives and the world.

Some of the same crew from the Women's March were standing around the middle of anti-Yiannopoulos demo (four of us have at various times been active contributors to libcom). After one of the pathetically unenforceable dispersal orders from the pigs, two young women students deferentially and politely asked us by what legal reason the UC cops were ordering us to disperse. We carefully explained that they'd declared us an "unlawful assembly" and again they sincerely asked us "why?" And again we explained that is was to suppress our ability to protest. One of the students got indignant and said "I pay $36,000 a year to go to this school and how can my presence be illegal?" We said "exactly," as it's a public school and how can any of us be illegal. It was clear that they'd never been at a demo before in their lives. And with us giving a verbal reinforcement to their righteous instincts to come to demonstrate against a reactionary pig like Yiannopoulos, it was clear that they were getting politicized and emboldened right there before our eyes. It's a beautiful process -- and that night there were many of thousands of kids there on Sproul Plaza just like them. And Trump has only been president for less than two weeks!

And there's a whole generation like them across the U.S. -- and around the world!

[message to my comrades who were there at these events: please post your own reflections here]

huli

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Milo has announced his intention to reschedule the cancelled speaking engagement at UC Berkeley: http://www.dailycal.org/2017/02/04/milo-yiannopoulos-announces-intention-reschedule-campus-talk/

huli

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As of now, local FB chatter about the February 1 protest in Berkeley has focused on scornful critiques of the tactics used in the protest (in particular, the window-smashing and the physical confrontations with fascists.) The critiques range from "this makes us look bad and alienates the masses who would otherwise be surging forward were it not for these undisciplined fools," to a perhaps more rational argument about the tactics having introduced a level of physical danger to fellow protesters without their own consent. In either case, I'm unconvinced of the utility of these routine criticisms for anything other than providing an opportunity for "virtue signaling" from various corners of the Left. I'm waiting to see if better ideas emerge about how to shut down Milo when he returns to Berkeley.

I don't think the talk would have been cancelled without a certain level of mayhem on Sproul Plaza. Contrary to another account I read elsewhere, I did not hear anyone in the crowd near me express any disapproval of the property destruction - except for a widespread worry that one of the trees near the burning light tower might burn (which it did not, thankfully) and some amount of fear, which I very much shared, that the fuel tank of the light tower would explode (which it didn't, much to my relief.) But I think it's important to note that this very large and disparate crowd of protesters did not choose to leave the protest when the fire started and windows were smashed. I'm sure some stayed in spite of it, and some stayed because of it, but what matters is that people stayed and held their ground. The initial dispersal orders by the pigs caused some less-experienced protesters to retreat out of fear of arrest or attacks, but the majority of the crowd very soon learned that the dispersal orders were empty threats, since the pigs gave us "ten more minutes" to disperse several times, and didn't escalate their efforts beyond that.

I want to add that at this point, nobody attends an East Bay protest without some expectation that there will be property damage and/or some other rationale (like freeway shutdowns) for the pigs to declare an "unlawful assembly."
(The exception would be rallies or marches organized by the alphabet-soup crowd that intentionally broadcast the "family-friendly" nature of their actions.) So it's a bit rich for anyone to claim that the black bloc is leading innocent lambs to the slaughter.

My general visceral sense was that this very large crowd was elated by a sense of power and purpose, and was vindicated by its success in chasing this odious fascist off of our turf.

wojtek

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bastarx

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The World Socialist Website thinks the Black Bloc is a police/New York Times operation.

Anarchist groups such as ANTIFA are politically reactionary. They represent demoralized sections of the middle class that are hostile to any struggle to politically educate and mobilize the working class and youth against the capitalist system. Their tactics, gratuitous violence and destruction of property, flow from and reflect their bankrupt politics.

Undercover police and paid provocateurs would act no differently at a mass demonstration than ANTIFA did Wednesday evening in Berkeley. In fact, such organizations are, by dint of their politics and the social forces they attract, magnets for police infiltration. There can be little doubt that significant numbers of the hooded anarchists who rioted in Berkeley were police agents or informants.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/02/03/berk-f03.html

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/02/04/anar-f04.html

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sure thing, and Kerensky and his ministers said the same thing about the soviets--German gold!

mikail firtinaci

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

Sure thing, and Kerensky and his ministers said the same thing about the soviets--German gold!

correction: it should be "Bolsheviks and the German gold". The soviets themselves were not considered as a conspiratorial organization (by the moderate/right wing socialists among whom we can count Kerensky) but the Bolsheviks were.

S. Artesian

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That's correct

ajjohnstone

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In regards to the RT reporting, the Women's March was financed by George Soros gold !!!

S. Artesian

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Perfecto, the circle is complete: Trump, RT, Kadets, Right Social Revolutionaries-- a regular daisy chain of reactionaries.

petey

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ajjohnstone

In regards to the RT reporting, the Women's March was financed by George Soros gold !!!

i've looked for but can't find now the screencap of hannity asking his viewers "do you believe george soros paid the women's day marchers?"

Hieronymous

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Kinda against my better judgement, I went with some of my comrades to the counter-demonstration to the Trump rally called by the Proud Boys on Saturday, March 4 at Provo Park in Berkeley. It was such a shitshow that it wouldn't really be worth reporting on except for a few poignant moments.

The pro-Trump camp were a little more wingnutty and were clearly from out of town (with a few exceptions). The anti-Trump side wasn't as large as it might have been because 1,500 activismists were across the Bay at the Bay Resistance training as part of a popular front of unions, non-profits, social-democrats, and sectarian leftists and their attempt to oppose the Trump regime.

There are better accounts of the alt-right factions organizing the pro-Trump rally elsewhere, but it was comedic seeing the moronic crypto-fascist superheros first-hand.

By my own estimate, there were 250 counter-protesters about about 150 Trump supporters at the rally. Many of the latter got righteous comeuppance (antifa were much better fighters and came out less scathed).

There was one poetic moment worth mentioning. On the Trump side, I only noticed a couple people of color. One was a tall, heavyset guy dressed in black with a black Oakland A's baseball cap who appeared to be Latino. At times both sides met face-to-face with the most agitated screaming at each other, ringed by photographers and mainstream media holding cameras overhead. When pushing and shoving happened, it was a like a giant rugby scrum and then flying fists scattered everyone but the combatants. One time the Latino dude overran his cover while brawling and when it finished, he ran back to the Trump camp only to be met by a US flag-draped Trumpite who started hitting him with a large wood post -- obviously reading his brown skin and black clothes as symbolizing the enemy -- and he continued to whack him, with the Latino guy trying to block the blows with his arms. Eventually, one of the other Trump supporters persuaded the guy draped in the flag to stop, but not before the everyone nearby witnessed this beating. A black guy standing next to me broke down in a laughing fit, repeatedly yelling "the fascists are attacking each other!" I almost couldn't stand up I was laughing so hard myself. It was that kind of shitshow, much more entertaining than sitting at home reading rants about Trump on social media.

petey

5 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous

There was one poetic moment worth mentioning. On the Trump side, I only noticed a couple people of color. One was a tall, heavyset guy dressed in black with a black Oakland A's baseball cap who appeared to be Latino. At times both sides met face-to-face with the most agitated screaming at each other, ringed by photographers and mainstream media holding cameras overhead. When pushing and shoving happened, it was a like a giant rugby scrum and then flying fists scattered everyone but the combatants. One time the Latino dude overran his cover while brawling and when it finished, he ran back to the Trump camp only to be met by a US flag-draped Trumpite who started hitting him with a large wood post -- obviously reading his brown skin and black clothes as symbolizing the enemy -- and he continued to whack him, with the Latino guy trying to block the blows with his arms. Eventually, one of the other Trump supporters persuaded the guy draped in the flag to stop, but not before the everyone nearby witnessed this beating. A black guy standing next to me broke down in a laughing fit, repeatedly yelling "the fascists are attacking each other!" I almost couldn't stand up I was laughing so hard myself. It was that kind of shitshow, much more entertaining than sitting at home reading rants about Trump on social media.

brilliant.
has that bloke changed his thinking, i wonder.

Hieronymous

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is from a really interesting warts-and-all account, called "The March on Everywhere: The ragged glory of female activism," from the April edition of Harper's:

Leslie Jamison

[T]hat Saturday, before the march-too-crowded-to-become-a-march became a march, when the multitudes were already tired of standing — hungry, shoulder to shoulder, antsy — the singer Janelle Monáe took the stage. She said her mother had been a janitor, her grandmother a sharecropper. “We birthed this nation,” she said. “It was a woman gave you Martin Luther King. It was a woman gave you Malcolm X.”

She introduced five mothers who had lost their sons to police violence. Each woman said the name of her son, and we called back, “Say his name.”

We heard “Jordan Davis,” and we said, “Say his name.”

We heard “Eric Garner,” and we said, “Say his name.”

We heard “Trayvon Martin,” and we said, “Say his name.”

We heard “Mohamed Bah,” and we said, “Say his name.”

We heard “Dontre Hamilton,” and we said, “Say his name.”

When you are talking about half a million people, saying something is more like a roar. You feel it in your body, in your bones. It vibrates the air. This wasn’t intersectionality as the heading on a college syllabus, it was the sound of primal, indisputable truth.

Each time Monáe passed the microphone to one of these mothers, she said: “This isn’t about me.” We heard the name of Sandra Bland. We heard the names of Mya Hall and Deonna Mason, two trans women of color killed by the police. Many of the mothers’ voices cracked as they said the names of their sons. To hear and feel the crowd around me saying “Say his name” and to feel my own voice as one small fraction of that crowd: it filled my whole body. It made me feel large and small at once.

This was one of the most important things a crowd of half a million people could do: stand in the capital of our country and listen to these mothers say the names of their sons. It wasn’t about me. I mattered only insofar as the we would be impossible without 500,000 individual voices. The we: pink-hatted and extending beyond our range of vision. Our mouths were parched and our voices hoarse. We were fidgeting. We were loud.

What mattered? The surge and force of us: half a million strong, nameless, calling for their names.

bastarx

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That Harper's article is behind a pay wall. Any chance of cutting and pasting it all here?

Hieronymous

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The March on Everywhere: The ragged glory of female activism

[I] was at a Maryland travel plaza just off I-95 when I finally saw them, en masse and outfitted: the women. They were emerging from the fog like visions, their bodies spectral and streetlamp-lit, walking alone and with friends, with canes, with glowing cigarettes between their fingers; with boots over their jeans, with their daughters and mothers, with paper cups of coffee in their hands. They were headed into the rest stop, its vertical windows rising from the mist like church spires. They were holding doors for one another, asking, “Did I just cut you in line?” They were buying sodas and bananas. They were going to the bathroom. They were letting pregnant women go first. They were in utero, they were in wheelchairs, and they were all headed where I was headed: to the corner of 3rd Street and Independence Avenue.

When I arrived at that travel plaza — with my friends Rachel and Joe and their eleven-week-old baby, Luke — it felt like a mythical village of Amazon women had been transplanted from the jungle to the harsh fluorescent lighting of a highway rest stop. That night on I-95, arms full of licorice and chips, we didn’t yet know the statistics of our surge. There would be half a million people in Washington, three times the size of Donald Trump’s inaugural crowd, and more than 800 demonstrations on seven continents, with an estimated 4.2 million people marching in this country alone: probably the largest protest in American history. But already, we were made of nerves and excitement. We were buzzed on coffee. We were breastfeeding babies. We were part of a creature with 4 million faces. We were a bunch of strangers intoxicated by our shared purpose, which is to say: we were a we.

The D.C. Metro was jam-packed at eight the next morning. People were practically embracing strangers to make room for other strangers. Trump and Putin were French-kissing on five different pins. One hat said make racists afraid again. One pair of sneakers showed a uterus painted in pink glitter glue. The left foot said pussy. The right foot said power. A voice over the loudspeaker said: “Women’s-rights fighters from all over the world, welcome to your Red Line!”

We marched past the Capitol — which I barely recognized at first, because we were marching past the back — and then down to Independence. We did not need directions. We just followed the human stream. Our friend Erin, five months pregnant, put a sign around her neck that said feminist future, with an arrow pointing down at her belly. I saw a sign that said viva vulva. I saw a sign that said fight like a girl. I saw a sign that said i’m with her. It had arrows pointing everywhere.

A woman my age wore a sign that said fourth-generation feminist. It made me wonder who counted, whether feminists existed before the phrase itself was invented. My grandmother was raised on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, bathing once a week in kettle-heated water, and grew up to work in a university laboratory. She was one of the founding members of the Shattuck Neighborhood Action Coalition, in Oakland, California, a community where she put down roots decades before it started to gentrify. She led cleanup missions around Bushrod Park, collecting piles of garbage for trucks to haul away, and had everyone over afterward for soup and homemade bread. Until her diabetes made it impossible, she delivered voters-alliance newsletters to eighty homes in her neighborhood. She wore bright flowing skirts and we took walks together pretending to be aliens from the planet Algernon, trying to figure out the purposes of all these mysterious objects: garden hose, fire hydrant, wind chime. She believed in the latent magic of the proximate, and in community as something actively built, not passively inherited. She put her body and her time — her self — into work she felt was important.

As for my own mom, I have always understood her commitment to social justice in worshipful, often cinematic terms. She fell in love with her first husband while they were protesting the Vietnam War in Portland, Oregon, at a liberal-arts college where the students figured out ways to make their sex lives count toward the P.E. requirement. At one demonstration in San Francisco, where federal agents started photographing the crowd from nearby buildings, she and everyone held up their driver’s licenses.

I grew up hearing stories about the season she spent picking crops in the south of France, with the woman I eventually realized had been her lover — which only made these tales more intoxicating, their days spent harvesting olives and Roma tomatoes, staying in a small cottage in the woods, getting paid in jugs of wine, stacking the fireplace with roots at night and watching their knotted, whirling patterns burn. My mom told me about a strike she had led among the olive pickers, who were forced to work long hours in the brutal cold wearing only cotton socks as gloves.

As I saw it, my mother had repeatedly shown up for something larger than her own life. She’d been desperate to join the Peace Corps. She worked as a precinct leader for the McGovern campaign, in 1972, while she was pregnant with my oldest brother. (She called him George while he was still in the womb.) She brought my brothers, just five and six years old, to rural Brazil when she was doing her doctoral research on infant malnutrition. She spent decades working on maternal-health research and advocacy in West Africa, and I carried in my mind’s eye a vivid memory that wasn’t mine: the night in Togo when she accompanied a woman in obstructed labor to the hospital in Sokodé, driving along muddy, rutted roads while the rain pelted down.

It wasn’t just the things she had done that I admired but the spirit in which I imagined her doing them: selflessly, putting her own comfort aside, choosing the path of most resistance. Her life in social justice was always intertwined with her life as a primary parent. She was committed to her children — and to children who weren’t her children.

In her early seventies now, she is still at it. As a deacon in the Episcopal Church, she recently protested unjust immigration policies by giving communion through the mesh of the border fence in Tijuana. She was also arrested with unionized hotel workers in downtown Los Angeles, wearing her clerical collar as she was handcuffed. As I construct the story of her life, it shimmers with valor, with purity of motivation, and with endless, altruistic work.

I have always found a kind of mission statement in the story of her very first protest, a march around Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square against the House Un-American Activities Committee. My mom was handing out flyers, and one woman handed hers back, looked my mom straight in the eye, and said, “I hope your children grow up to hate you.” It was a female curse, a way of saying: I hope the gods of motherhood punish you. But ever since my mother told me that story, I have believed that loving her as much as I do is a political act.

I have also seen myself as a disappointing inheritor of her legacy. My own commitment to social action — while durable — has felt more like a series of do-gooder missteps and awkward incursions into activism: mixing concrete (badly) in a small Costa Rican village to build a footpath to the local church, as a naïvely well-intentioned fifteen-year-old whose parents could afford to fund her exercises in conscience; or tutoring mothers in a minimum-security prison to help them pass their G.E.D. exams, feeling so shy — so convinced I was doing a terrible job — that my stomach knotted up with anxiety.

My attempts at direct political action have been shot through with apathy and bumbling. When I canvass, there is the perpetual nervousness before each buzzer-ring, and an ongoing record of startling ineloquence. (“I’m not voting.” “But you should!”) My days organizing with my graduate-student union always felt grudging and full of discomfort: town hall meetings I didn’t want to attend, follow-up emails I didn’t want to type.

Whenever I compared my history of social engagement with my mother’s, it felt meager and disheveled. I was a lurker, always ducking around the edges of the crowd, hovering near the snack table, drinking too much coffee. I was both too insecure and too egotistical to fully join group efforts, convinced I had better ways to spend my time than being one body among many. I was too obsessed with singular expression, with my own voice, to lend myself to the humbler chorus of collective action. This was the ego investment — the stubborn sense of my own identity — that kept me from being useful, from being subsumed into the whole.

When we got close to Independence and 3rd Street, and found no stage in sight, we wondered: Are we in the right place? We were definitely someplace, with more people than I’d ever seen in my life. Every time we looked down a street, we saw endless bodies. We were looking for the core of it: the epicenter of the gathering, the departure point. Eventually we realized we were marching toward the wrong side of the stage, along with probably 20,000 other people. I hadn’t imagined the rally like this, with this abiding uncertainty about where the thing itself was.

We inched up C Street to see if we could hit Independence further back. We walked over hay and flattened horseshit, perhaps left over from the inaugural parade, though we weren’t directly on its route. We passed circular black tanks labeled horse control. A woman stood in the back of a pickup truck hawking get your hands off my vajayjay pins at the top of her lungs. A few blocks away, bras dangled from the trees. A woman dressed in bright orange was looking for a group of other women dressed in bright orange.

At the Women’s March, I saw people perched in the trees all around me, straining to hear. I thought of their aching legs and wondered how long they would last up there. I wondered if they had remembered to bring snacks.

Activism isn’t an oil painting. It’s real life: a box of tampons, a forgotten cell-phone charger, a late-night car ride. It’s many hours standing on concrete. It’s not just the glorious surge, or the giddy feeling in your stomach when you’re on the move, tucked into the thick of the crowd, voice hoarse from shouting. It’s also everything it takes to get there. It’s dealing with the low-tire-pressure indicator light, flat on your stomach in a Bed-Stuy parking lot, losing the little metal cap somewhere on the oil-pocked asphalt. It’s getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper on the Verrazano, with barges chugging through the gloom below. It’s a post-quesadilla stomachache in Jersey. It’s changing the baby in the back seat because the changing table in the restaurant bathroom is covered in mouse shit.

There is no activism that isn’t full of logistics and resentments and boring details. Commitment to anything larger than your own life often looks mythic in retrospect. But on the ground, it’s all inbox pileup and childcare guilt; it’s a lot of wondering if you’re having the right feelings or the wrong ones, or confusion about which is which. It’s messy and chaotic and imperfect — which isn’t the flaw of it but the glory of it. It trades the perfect for the necessary, for the something, for the beginning and the spark.

My mother may have led olive pickers on a strike in France, or been cursed out by an angry housewife in Pioneer Square, but her life isn’t myth. It’s a life. Over the years, I’ve learned the counter-history of whatever glorious legend I wrote for her — not its cancellation, but its supplement: the fuller version. Her life in activism was fraught with apathy, despair, an urgent sense of inadequacy.

In other words, it was full of humanity. There were other truths, other parts of the story. She couldn’t fulfill her Peace Corps assignment because her marriage fell apart and she wasn’t allowed to report to Botswana without her husband. After the first flush of her antiwar activism, she fell away from the movement and into depression. She was working as a telephone operator in Oakland, trying to connect calls across the Pacific, hearing wives and mothers crying as they failed to reach soldiers they hadn’t heard from in months.

The whole arc of her story was punctuated by moments of doubt and disillusionment. When McGovern was crushed in a landslide, losing every state but Massachusetts, she felt as though she had been personally rejected by her country. Her career in public health didn’t grow seamlessly or instantaneously from her days of early motherhood; it took her years to figure out that she didn’t want to spend two decades at home caring for her children. She almost dropped out of grad school on her first day because she was afraid it would take her too fully away from her sons. In retrospect, she felt guilty about bringing them to Brazil, especially my middle brother, who didn’t like his preschool and had trouble learning the language.

Not long ago, she met a Vietnam vet who had also become an Episcopal deacon, and she told him about heckling a train of returning soldiers, how much she’d always regretted doing it. She told him that she was sorry. He said she was the first person who had ever apologized to him for doing that.

My mother recently confessed to me that she had never liked canvassing. This was years after I’d written an internal script that imagined her knocking on doors with full-throated eloquence and confidence, the way I never could. She didn’t knock on doors because she enjoyed it, she told me, or even because she felt she was good at it. She did it because it was the work that needed to be done.

The point of participating in large-scale collective action isn’t glory. It’s something close to the opposite: being a body among bodies. It’s about submerging yourself, becoming part of something too large to see the edges of. Over chiles rellenos in South Jersey, at a strip-mall Mexican restaurant on our drive down, Rachel told me: “My goal is just to be a body in Washington.”

We were bodies among bodies. We were with an old man with a silver beard and a green vest and a sign around his neck that said this is what a feminist looks like. Feminists looked like many things. A woman in a coat covered with tissue-paper flowers had a sign that said frida choose. Another woman was dressed up like a giant vagina, with plumes of purple and beige felt. We had our tampons and our cigarettes and our breast pumps. We were ready to rewrite Mailer’s Armies of the Night. We wore American flags as miniskirts, as bandannas, as hijabs. The transparent backpacks mandated by the organizers showed Luna bars and sunflower seeds: the comet trails of preparation behind everybody’s presence. You saw the internal organs of cell phones and city maps, little confessions strapped to everyone’s backs. A first-time protester told me she brought home-made cookies, but noticed that the veterans brought throat lozenges.

I felt awkward chanting — I often do — but chanted anyway. If everyone felt too self-conscious to chant, then we would make no noise at all. I wanted to reframe my own awkwardness as part of the process going right, or getting started, rather than a sign that it had always been going wrong. I wanted to believe that submission to awkwardness is one of the ways you can show up for a cause. Awkwardness can be part of authentic presence, the same way doubt is part of faith. One guy’s sign said i hate crowds, but i hate trump more. Another said so bad even introverts are out.

We passed a cluster of pro-life women standing on a traffic island. One held up a rosary and a poster of a dead baby. The baby in the photograph — the idea of the dead baby, the visual rhetoric of shame-mongering — was less real to me than the baby my friend was pushing in his stroller: the child of a pro-choice mother, surrounded by the children of pro-choice mothers. The women on the island held posters that said women do regret abortions.

Did we? Speaking for myself, I knew I was grateful that I’d been able to make a choice, that I hadn’t had to drive thirty-six hours across state lines or feel a wire inside my body. I couldn’t speak for the thousands of women around me who had also gotten abortions. Perhaps some regretted them. They still had the right to get them. I could see one poster showing a crude clothes hanger drawn next to the scrawled words never again.

I saw more uteruses that Saturday than I had ever seen before, more than I’ll ever see again. I saw them painted on cardboard and scribbled on paper. I saw them in handcuffs. I saw them made of snakes. I realized I had never known whether the plural of uterus was uteruses or uteri — and the question had never felt more urgent. One sign said there’s an elephant in the womb and featured a little G.O.P. mascot lurking at the top of a fallopian tube. Our mascots were the ovaries, the Statue of Liberty, and the pussy cat.

I’d always thought signs were for external eyes: for the media, or for the president I imagined peering down at us from the Truman Balcony. During the march, I realized that the posters were also for us, a way to keep from getting bored. When you’re standing on concrete with no cell reception and thousands of bodies packed all around you, and the crowd hasn’t moved for hours and you’re not sure if it’s ever going to move again, the signs are a saving grace: a live-action Twitter feed with its own endless taxonomy.

There were the anatomy signs, internal organs made external and external organs on parade. pussy grabs back was its own genre, its own little zoo: vagina dentata, fluffy kitten, big cat baring its teeth. There were the grandma signs, like ninety, nasty, and not giving up. Or the elderly Japanese woman with a sign sticking up from the back of her wheelchair: locked up by us prez 1942–1946 never again. One woman’s cross-stitch read i’m so angry i stitched this just so i could stab something 3,000 times. The Trump signs were endless. One showed the president grabbing the Statue of Liberty between her legs, creasing the folds of her robe. Another told the straight truth: you ruined home alone 2. I thought of the public service performed by that sign, how many people it must have made smile over the course of an hour, a morning, a day.

Our signs were joyous. We were united. We were glorious. We were uteri. We were a crowd-sourced poem! A scrolling song!

A group of men standing outside the National Museum of African American History and Culture held up a sign that asked who else will you march for?

At the Women’s March, our “we” was not uncomplicated. I never wanted to pretend it was. “Community must not mean a shedding of our differences,” said the writer and activist Audre Lorde in 1984, “nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.” Her belief in difference as a creative force felt like the right kind of optimism for this moment, full of faith that did not depend on naïveté.

Feminism, after all, had evolved by way of self-critique. There were the first-wave suffragists, who abandoned the prospect of cross-racial solidarity when it threatened their campaign, followed by the second-wave feminists of the 1960s and 1970s, who fought internalized patriarchy in consciousness-raising groups and crusaded for reproductive rights and economic equality. They were followed in turn by the third wave, who criticized the second as myopically attuned to the struggles of privileged white women. From its inception, the Women’s March offered itself as a vexed and imperfect manifestation of the third wave — not its resolution or consummation, but a continuation of its necessary reckonings.

By now its creation myth has become familiar: two women posting on Facebook just after Trump’s election. In New York City, Bob Bland proposed a Million Pussy March. In Hawaii, Teresa Shook put out a call to organize a women’s march just after the inauguration. She went to bed with forty replies, and woke up to 10,000.

By the end of that week, Bland had responded to the criticism leveled at the prospect of a Women’s March led by two white women. She invited three women of color to take the helm, all prominent organizers: Tamika Mallory, a civil-rights gun-violence activist; Carmen Perez, a prison-reform advocate focused on incarcerated youth; and Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American racial-justice advocate and mother of three, who had successfully campaigned for New York City’s public schools to designate two of Islam’s holy days as holidays. In their official platform, released a week before the march, these organizers purposefully highlighted certain issues — racial injustice, mass incarceration, police accountability, the persecution of undocumented migrants — that moved pointedly beyond the standard second-wave fare of reproductive rights and equal pay.

Nearly two weeks before the march, the New York Times ran a front-page story quoting a white woman from South Carolina who had decided to cancel her trip to D.C. because she had been offended by a Facebook post from a black volunteer advising “white allies” to listen more and talk less. She said it made her feel unwelcome. “This is a women’s march,” she said. “We’re supposed to be allies in equal pay, marriage, adoption. Why is it now about, ‘White women don’t understand black women’?”

Feminism has always been about white women not understanding black women. But at its best, it has also been about women recognizing the shifting contours of their own ignorance, and trying to listen harder. That awareness of limited knowledge and past mistakes can be a source of strength, rather than the movement’s shameful underbelly.

Decades ago, Audre Lorde told white feminists who were offended by her outrage: “I cannot hide my anger to spare you guilt, nor hurt feelings.” She wanted shared oppression to enable vision rather than obstruct it. She wanted women to recognize what wasn’t shared, to fight the perils of conflation, to acknowledge their own complicity. “What woman here is so enamored of her own oppression,” she wondered, “that she cannot see her heel print upon another woman’s face?” This felt just as relevant three decades later. The trick was seeing the patriarchal footprints everywhere, even under our own feet. Intersectional feminism wasn’t just an abstraction, and it wasn’t about getting paralyzed by the shame of privilege. It was about owning it. When my mom led the olive pickers on strike, she was aware that she could afford to lose her job more easily than most of them, that she could afford the risk.

I wanted to send every white woman offended by the Women’s March a copy of Sister Outsider, with a bookmark tucked into Lorde’s observations about the role of guilt in the feminist community. “All too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness,” she wrote. But this guilt, if it led to change, could become useful as the “beginning of knowledge.”

At the Women’s March, a black woman carried a sign that said white women voted for trump. A white woman carried a sign that said white women voted for trump. When Jasiri X, a rapper I’d never heard of, came onstage, he said, “My mother raised me all by herself. . . . As a man, I can never understand how she felt.” He said: “Fuck white supremacy, white privilege, and white wealth.” I could not see the woman in the pussy hat beside him, translating his message into sign language, but I could hear his words through the speakers. I felt implicated. I was implicated. My discomfort was the point: my discomfort and everyone’s. There was something useful in gathering to feel powerfully uncomfortable together, rather than simply celebrating our numbers. Humility was as important as solidarity. Jasiri X admitted that too: “I can never understand how she felt.”

When I attended my first Black Lives Matter march, in Portland, I felt uncomfortable. Was I wanted? Was I intruding? I stayed quiet and followed in the footsteps of others. But I’m glad I was there. My discomfort wasn’t particularly profound. It was just a small down payment against the kind of collectivity I believed in — a collectivity in which we weren’t cloistered by the silos of our backgrounds, but still didn’t assume that solidarity would be easy, that its declaration would mean it had been fully realized.

At the Women’s March, the leadership was largely women of color, but the attendance wasn’t diverse. I could see this for myself, and during the weeks that followed, other women testified to it as well. “Simply put,” a woman named Brittany Martinez told me, “the march was very white.” Brittany explicitly identifies herself as a queer feminist of color, to distinguish herself from the “pervasive and popular brand of default white feminism.” At the Women’s March, certain celebratory totems — like the vaginas everywhere — made her uneasy. “First,” she told me, “all the ‘pussies’ were pink, which doesn’t reflect what many vaginas look like for women of color.” Because “women of color are hypersexualized by popular culture in ways that white women are not,” she found that “putting so much emphasis on ‘pussies’ felt uncomfortable.” Her observations made me aware of my own blind spots, which felt less like an argument against the possibility of solidarity and more like another argument for trying to understand how much I didn’t understand.

When we chanted “Black Lives Matter!” on Constitution Avenue, I could feel our whiteness so acutely, the pale average of our collected bodies. I thought of the Suffrage Parade of 1913, our inspiring but deeply tainted lineage: a march led by a white woman on a white horse, with columns of black women in the back. white silence is violence, said one sign, twenty signs, a thousand signs. But a thousand white people holding signs saying white silence is violence didn’t mean the violence was over.

We hit the central vein, the jugular of the rally, at 7th Street. Catching sight of a Jumbotron felt like arrival. The National Mall was a sea of bodies with the Smithsonian Castle rising behind them, all red brick and turrets, iconic and occupied. Our crowd was articulated by dabs of pink, not homogeneous but shaded into hues — rose, salmon, watermelon, lemonade, bubblegum, fuchsia — and broken by rainbows and parkas.

We found a spot where we could see the screen but couldn’t hear anything. Then we found a spot where we could hear the speeches but couldn’t see anything. It felt so right to have the event blocked by the other bodies watching the event: they were the event. Somewhere out there, on a stage I’d never see, Gloria Steinem uttered the words I would read online the next day: “I wish you could see yourselves. It’s like an ocean.”

From the middle of the ocean, we couldn’t see the ocean. But we could see one another’s faces, squinting and hungry. My friend Heather had written to me beforehand, “I’ll be somewhere in that sea of women, looking for a bathroom.” I thought of her frequently, and it became a kind of mantra: Heather was out there somewhere, looking for a bathroom. It was a reminder that our collectivity was powerfully visceral: we were bodies that needed to eat and pee.

A union leader stood in front of our endless columns and addressed Trump directly. “I don’t know what kind of president you’ll be,” he said, “but you’re a hell of an organizer.”

As I looked over that sea of bodies, I kept feeling the urge to specify them. I wanted them not in their plenitude but in their particularity, their fine-grained humanity. So I spent the weeks following the march talking to other women who had been there. Almost every woman described the sheer mass of the crowds as the defining part of her experience. Monica Melton found herself moved by the blunt force of accumulated body heat. “In the thickest part of the crowd,” she said, “it was literally hot.”

Anika Rahman, who had fled the Bangladeshi War of Independence and was marching with Amani, her thirteen-year-old daughter, realized at a certain point that there was “no correct route.” Which meant that every route was the correct route. She told me she was marching to resist an administration that threatened every part of her identity, every part of her life’s work: “I’m brown, I’m an immigrant, I’m a woman, I’m a Muslim.” After coming to the United States at the age of eighteen, she obtained a law degree, devoted herself to fighting for human rights and social justice, and watched the rising tide of anti-Islamic sentiment in her adopted country. She also raised Amani, who wanted to be president and was carrying a banner that said rise against the predator in chief, her arms aching from its weight.

Nadia Hussain was also deeply moved by all those bodies in the streets. She was brought to tears when Michael Moore called on the crowds to fill the George Washington Bridge if that was what it took to stop the deportations. Nadia had grown up the daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants, spending much of her childhood in public housing, one of the only kids of color in her high school. She married a Salvadoran man whose mother had brought him across the border at the age of five; he became a U.S. Marine, and they were raising a twenty-two-month-old Muslim Latino son. Nadia knew it was important not just to show up for the march but also for the work that would need to be done every day after it. She wanted to keep putting her body on the line. “That’s why we remember the civil-rights movement,” she told me. “They put their bodies on the line.”

Amy Lewis, a mother of two and therapist from Pittsburgh, wanted to put her body on the line as well. “I wanted to break through the paralysis of racial shame I’ve grown up with,” she told me, which came from “the privilege of our white skin.” She still remembers the thrill of her first protest, taking the bus with her mother to a feminist rally in downtown Pittsburgh. “I was small and exhilarated,” she recalled, “looking up past the faces of the adults surrounding me, to the tops of the office buildings I thought of as skyscrapers, and beyond to the night sky, feeling strangely safe in the loud crowd.”

When Amy brought her own twelve-year-old daughter to D.C., she felt protective. The most extreme bodily sensations she remembered were sensations of vigilance: “The strain of constantly watching for exit points, assessing the danger when we were on a bridge or in a contained space, amplified enormously by my concern for my kid.” She described her initial response to the sheer volume of the crowd as one of panic: thoughts sluggish, limbs heavy, words slow and disorganized. She was supposed to meet her mother but started to panic when she realized that it might not be possible. Cell phones weren’t working. The route on the map was jammed with thousands of strangers. When Amy finally made her way to their meeting point, via side streets and force of will, and found her mother waiting there, she felt “strong” and “complete.” She said, “The sludge in my veins turned liquid, I felt cheerful, and we looked around with excitement and wonder as we walked into the thick of the crowd.”

The physical act of marching wasn’t simple. The plain truth was this: the Mall was packed all the way back to the Washington Monument. The march couldn’t happen because the route was already occupied by half a million bodies. “When the word moved through the crowd that we had filled the entire route, we roared,” Amy told me. “The irony of such numbers equaling physical paralysis struck us. We were many, we were powerful, we were unable to move.” At one point, a rumor spread that the march was being canceled, a victim of its own success, but Tamika Mallory came over the speakers to assure us that it wasn’t so. We were going to take Constitution Avenue all the way to the Ellipse.

Of course I didn’t end up on the correct route. As Anika pointed out, there was no correct route. I ended up somewhere else — on Independence, I think, up to 14th Street, then left on Constitution up to 17th. The truth is, I can only tell you where I marched because I looked it up afterward. While I was marching, it was more like a dream, with no street signs or Google Maps. I was just following the flow of bodies. I was noticing how little trash there was on the streets, and how much glitter. I was listening to an old black man shout, “Mike Pence has got to go!” as he sold photographs of the Obama family to weeping white people.

Each time the march was stopped, which was often, I imagined the traffic had gotten clogged because of courteous marchers ceding the intersection to one another, manners manifest as gridlock: “You first!” “No, you!”

In the shadow of the Washington Monument, my friend Joe said that for the first time since the election, he was excited to read the news. We were helping to write the story we wanted to live. But we would need to read about it afterward, to understand what we had been part of.

Leaving the march, we passed hundreds of signs piled against a fence on Pennsylvania Avenue. They didn’t look discarded. They looked defiant. Joe and Rachel changed Luke’s diaper on a cold marble bench at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion. We passed weary protesters resting on the bleachers that had been empty for Trump’s inauguration parade. It felt good to think of them serving this purpose. We needed to rest, because we weren’t done. It wasn’t just Washington, and it wasn’t over. It was everywhere. It was ongoing. It was people singing with candles in the Budapest night, spilling through the streets of Atlanta, Oakland, Jackson, and Macau. It was people in Calcutta wearing sandals in the sunlight and holding a banner that said resistance is fertile. It was people in Fairbanks marching in full winter parkas under tree branches covered in snow, with the temperature nearly twenty degrees below zero, a girl in red ski pants, maybe eleven or twelve, holding up her own sign: i survived cancer. trump made me uninsurable.

My husband spent two and a half years fighting insurance companies while his first wife battled a complicated form of leukemia — the disease she died of. When she was diagnosed, their baby was six months old. Eight years later, that baby held a love trumps hate sign on a cold afternoon in Prospect Park. Which is all to say that this election is personal for everyone. Day One of the new administration was personal for everyone. Also true: It’s been personal for years. It’s been personal for centuries.

A woman named Aditi Khorana later told me about crying jags after the election, feeling her lifelong sense of marginalization — as a woman of color, as the daughter of Indian immigrants — sharpening into almost unbearable acuity. Why did this country hate her so much?

Aditi loved watching the march flood her city: the Los Angeles subways were packed instead of empty, Pershing Square turned into an ocean. She lives just a few blocks from the knitting shop where the pussy hat was first conceived. When the conductor announced that they were rerouting her train that morning, because everyone on it was headed to the same place downtown, all the passengers started cheering. “It felt like a tiny victory,” Aditi said. “Like you’ve got to accommodate the will of the masses.”

She had begun her adult life in the aftermath of George W. Bush’s election, and under the shadow of his wars. She protested the invasion of Iraq as often as she could, with “this sense that the world we were inheriting was being created by old, rich, white men for themselves and their kids.” After Obama was elected, she felt safer, which enabled her to turn inward, toward her own life and career.

Trump’s election brought Aditi back to the streets. She felt proud to share the Women’s March with her parents, who had told her stories about living under Indira Gandhi’s autocratic regime, and had committed their lives to fighting for the oppressed: her mother as a sociologist, her father at UNICEF. Trump’s victory hit them “on all levels,” she said — as immigrants, people of color, parents who had raised two daughters.

She was struck by the kindness people showed them that day: giving up subway seats, catching her mother’s arm when the train lurched. Her mother said the march felt like a collective exhalation. Sikhs passed out bowls of chana and reminded Aditi of her grandmother, a Sikh, who had passed away years before. Afterward, she and her parents went to one of their favorite spots in the city — a hole-in-the-wall run by a Mexican couple — and had Cokes and ceviche. It felt good to support an immigrant business, Aditi said, and it felt good to see her elderly parents “light up with excitement as they spoke about the resistance.”

What does feminist inheritance mean? For Amy, it meant going to a Chicago Seven protest in utero, and then finding her mother, decades later, amid thousands-strong throngs of women in D.C. For Vaeme Tambour, a former Hillary campaign staffer, it meant going to the march with the women in her family — ages sixteen to ninety-three — and walking in a tight circle around her great aunt, who marched with a walker, to protect her. For Laurie Logan, a family physician and lesbian mother from La Crosse, Wisconsin, it meant marching on Washington with her teenage daughter, Annie — full of maternal guilt because she hadn’t brought enough water or snacks — as the continuation of a lineage that began when she was young. She’d grown up with little sense of separation between politics and the rhythms of daily life. “I have clear memories of conversations about political issues being mixed with ordinary life,” she told me, “my mother ironing and talking about the Prague Spring and our right to free speech and a free press, drying dishes while talking about the importance of legal abortion.” Laurie learned her first chant at the age of four: Humphrey, Humphrey, he’s our man! Nixon belongs in the garbage can! As for Annie, she had grown up looking at pictures of her mother marching at rallies — and in D.C., she finally got to march beside her.

But feminist lineage isn’t always a simple inheritance. Brittany, who marched in New York, told me that the second time she ever protested — at a demonstration supporting H.I.V. education, when she was in high school — she was arrested in front of the White House for civil disobedience. Her father, who had been the president of his local NAACP youth chapter and a 1960s civil-rights activist, was proud. He said activism ran in her blood. But her mother was furious.

Andrea Chen, a second-generation Chinese-American raised in Queens, told me her mother disapproved when she found out she was marching. Andrea grew up in a “noisy, mercurial, dramatic matriarchy” of a family, with a single mom who worked full-time while raising her kids. She feels strongly that her liberal-arts education — an education her mother and female relatives never got to have — was both their gift to her and a force that threatened to distance her from them. The women in her family didn’t grow up thinking about identity politics, eventually preferring to define themselves as “taxpayers and as people who made it.” Many of them voted for Trump, and see Andrea as “this somewhat radical naïve bleeding heart.” But as Andrea told me, “Everything I am has been a straight line from these women.”

Andrea loves the urgency of marches, their powerful alchemy of compassion and righteous anger. But she found the Women’s March more mixed, clearly full of first-time marchers — many nervous, hesitant to chant anything besides the most familiar anthems — and driven by diffuse objectives. It also felt disorganized. “I don’t think you necessarily felt the history of the moment,” she said, “while standing there silently in ten-minute stretches, waiting for the march to move along.” But she also felt the joy of spending the night before Inauguration Day with friends, “making posters and thinking of slogans while eating takeout and watching Star Wars.” At the march, she felt she was witnessing the “birth of something massive and collective that didn’t quite know how to articulate itself yet.”

We know that we gather this afternoon on indigenous land,” Angela Davis told us as we stood in the shadow of the Smithsonian. “This is a country anchored in slavery and colonialism.”

A middle-aged black woman standing beside me said, “Yes, yes, yes!” She said, “This is awesome. I haven’t seen this lady since 1986.”

Angela Davis said, “The next one thousand four hundred and fifty-nine days of the Trump Administration will be one thousand four hundred and fifty-nine days of resistance.”

The seven days that followed the march were a nightmare of presidential orders. Trump reinstated the oil pipeline that would run near sacred Sioux land in North Dakota. He mandated a gag on federal funding to global health providers that offered abortion counseling, and issued orders to start building a wall along the Mexican border. He announced his plans to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by undocumented migrants. On January 27, just a week after the march, he issued a ban on refugees coming into the country, and on all citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations, which meant that passengers in the air when he signed the order were detained in airports upon arrival. These executive orders are offensive to reproduce in summary. Every part of me fights the possibility of their normalcy, fights the neutral tone of reportorial prose, fears what will happen between the writing of these words and their publication.

The morning after the Muslim ban (a term the president and his advisers have vehemently resisted), protesters started gathering at JFK’s Terminal 4, where two Iraqi men were being detained. One had worked as a translator for the U.S. Army for more than a decade. Word went out over social media, and hundreds, then thousands, of people began flooding JFK and other airports throughout the country: LAX, Dulles, Houston, Sea-Tac.

My husband and I took the A train to JFK from Manhattan after we bought posters and markers from a downtown drugstore and scribbled phrases from Emma Lazarus’s Statue of Liberty poem: give me your tired, your poor.

The protest began before we got to the protest, at the Howard Beach AirTrain station. As we were waiting to buy our tickets, we saw a line of cops forming on the other side of the turnstiles. “Only ticketed air travelers and airport employees allowed to board!” they said. There were so many of them, so quickly.

My husband asked one of them, “Is there a regulation allowing you to do this?”

He asked my husband, “Are you a ticketed traveler?”

“I don’t know,” my husband said. “Am I?”

I could feel the molecules of the room vibrating and rearranging. The cops were multiplying. The protesters — mostly strangers, all of them intent on boarding the same train — were gathering into a sudden, spontaneous collective.

“What you are doing is wrong!” a woman said. And then the chants began: “If we don’t get it? Shut it down!” I’d been in this station countless times — running late for a flight, checking email on my phone — and it was strange to see it as the site of such fervent desire, such heated conflict. The turnstiles were the obstacles keeping us from the protest, which meant they had become the protest.

I wish I could say I stormed the barricades, or cajoled the conscience of a Metro Transit Authority employee. The truth is, I just started thinking of another way to get to Terminal 4. We ended up catching an unmarked cab from a pizza place across the street, sharing a ride with an immigration lawyer who was trying to link up with a group of immigration lawyers already there. “They say they’re in the diner,” she said. “Where’s the diner?” We saw more cops approaching the AirTrain station, putting on their N.Y.P.D. vests, heading upstairs to the showdown at the turnstiles. Were we making our way to the protest, or were we fleeing it? How could we tell?

When we finally got to Terminal 4, the crowds went all the way back to the parking lots. It was cold. Someone had projected the word resist on the concrete wall of the parking structure, and then the words let them in. People had filled the structure, were standing at the edges — in rows, dangling their banners — looking out.

This was protest. Not just the perilous electricity of the AirTrain station, bodies blocking other bodies by force, voices crying out in response; and not just the stark beauty of those luminous words across concrete; but also the tedium of an hour-long subway ride, the uncertainty of what to do or where to go when the protest did not go as planned. It was the immigration lawyer wondering, “Where’s the diner?”

“Mic check!” someone called, and then proceeded to warn anyone undocumented that they should leave, in brief parcels of language that turned into communal chants: “The police may be coming! If you think you are in danger! Protect yourself!” Then another call-and-response began, its force only deepened by its familiarity. “Show me what democracy looks like!” And the response: “This is what democracy looks like!”

That answer gave me chills, in total earnest, every time.

Like my mother, the old mythic marches weren’t myth; they were life. They were full of flawed people and bored bodies. But it matters that they happened. What would our collective story look like if they hadn’t? What would our collective story look like if it didn’t include a massive gathering after Trump’s inauguration, if it held instead a vacancy — thousands of people in despairing, isolated, private disbelief? What if the ban on refugees came down and no one marched at all?

A few days after the election, Greenpeace hijacked a construction crane near the White House and hung a rainbow banner that said resist. The banner thrilled me, but I also knew that thrilling work wasn’t the only kind that mattered. When Alice Walker said that the “real revolution is always concerned with the least glamorous stuff,” she wasn’t talking about flying giant flags from giant cranes. She wasn’t even talking about the logistics of 500,000 people marching, bringing enough trail mix and backup onesies. She was talking about ongoingness: showing up past the first flush of indignation and sticking with it. She was talking about the daily tedium of tutoring, voter registration, helping people fill out food-stamp applications. She said that one of the great achievements of her life was taking a bag of oranges to Langston Hughes when he had the flu.

“Militancy no longer means guns at high noon, if it ever did,” Audre Lorde wrote in the 1980s. “It means doing the unromantic and tedious work.” This will never be the stuff of cinematic grandeur. It’s never satisfying, in part because it’s not enough. It should never feel like enough. But invoking insufficiency as an alibi is just as dangerous as self-righteous satisfaction or comfortable despair — the very things Lorde warned us against.

A week after that chilly day in D.C., I sat with my friends Greg and Ginger in their Bed-Stuy kitchen, along with their daughters — Sara, twelve, and Fita, nine, who had marched with them — and their pet rabbit, Oliver, who had not. Ginger had never marched before. When I asked her about her activist history, her first instinct was to say she had none. Zero. But then she started recalling things that might have counted as activism all along: tutoring students in her class who were falling behind, back when she was a student herself, or working with kids in her local community garden. Ginger called this “lowercase a activism.” Alice Walker would have called it revolutionary work.

Ginger said that for her, the march itself hadn’t been about sacrifice or service, it had been about sustenance. “It’s going to be a long four years,” she said. Her family was from El Salvador, and she felt the potential breakdown of civil liberties as a real peril.

As for Greg, his earliest memories of collective action involved marching on the picket lines outside Newark International Airport when his dad was part of an air-traffic-controller strike. Greg was twelve. He and his father marched along the highway, and Greg remembered the chants, the union-hall meetings, the thrill of fighting Ronald Reagan as their personal enemy. Years later, he went to the Million Man March with his father and grandfather, and it made him feel connected to the black community in a more tangible way than he ever had before. This was part of what communal action could do: it could introduce you to collective identity in a way that didn’t feel forced or conceptual, that felt bodily, emotional, palpable.

Greg described a moment during the Women’s March when he started chanting because he heard Sara chanting beside him. This captured something true about chanting, and about inheritance: Both work like contagion. Both work in multiple directions. You never knew who might start chanting simply because your voice gives them prompt or permission. Ginger wasn’t a chanter — she was firm on that point — but she described one part of the Women’s March when she found herself chanting. It had been outside the Trump Hotel, the historic post office that Trump had converted and bragged about — ceaselessly, it seemed, in lieu of policy arguments — during the presidential debates.

As they marched past the hotel, Ginger told me, police cars drove through the crowds with their sirens blaring. “If they wanted to make us disperse,” she said, “they had just the opposite effect.” The sirens got her riled up, made her want to resist, to keep moving, to raise her voice. This was activism as generative friction, activism as diversion from plan, off-roading away from script: a protest at the turnstiles, AirTrain as flash point, sirens as tuning fork. This was guilt — or awkwardness, or showing up for uncertainty — as the beginning of knowledge.

My mom texted me photos from her march at LAX while I texted her photos from my march at JFK. She shared the news of her resistance, as she had always shared the news of her resistance, which wasn’t the ticker tape of myth but the stumbling notation of the actual. She recounted the pain of McGovern’s loss, the weeping voices on the other end of telephone calls, the protests she felt proud of, and the one she apologized for — decades later — to a veteran who hadn’t been there. She told me about the olive pickers, their hands covered in socks, and how good it had felt to stand with them by a blazing fire, when they got inside, after they finally said: Enough.

That Saturday, before the march-too-crowded-to-become-a-march became a march, when the multitudes were already tired of standing — hungry, shoulder to shoulder, antsy — the singer Janelle Monáe took the stage. She said her mother had been a janitor, her grandmother a sharecropper. “We birthed this nation,” she said. “It was a woman gave you Martin Luther King. It was a woman gave you Malcolm X.”

She introduced five mothers who had lost their sons to police violence. Each woman said the name of her son, and we called back, “Say his name.”

We heard “Jordan Davis,” and we said, “Say his name.”

We heard “Eric Garner,” and we said, “Say his name.”

We heard “Trayvon Martin,” and we said, “Say his name.”

We heard “Mohamed Bah,” and we said, “Say his name.”

We heard “Dontre Hamilton,” and we said, “Say his name.”

When you are talking about half a million people, saying something is more like a roar. You feel it in your body, in your bones. It vibrates the air. This wasn’t intersectionality as the heading on a college syllabus, it was the sound of primal, indisputable truth.

Each time Monáe passed the microphone to one of these mothers, she said: “This isn’t about me.” We heard the name of Sandra Bland. We heard the names of Mya Hall and Deonna Mason, two trans women of color killed by the police. Many of the mothers’ voices cracked as they said the names of their sons. To hear and feel the crowd around me saying “Say his name” and to feel my own voice as one small fraction of that crowd: it filled my whole body. It made me feel large and small at once.

This was one of the most important things a crowd of half a million people could do: stand in the capital of our country and listen to these mothers say the names of their sons. It wasn’t about me. I mattered only insofar as the we would be impossible without 500,000 individual voices. The we: pink-hatted and extending beyond our range of vision. Our mouths were parched and our voices hoarse. We were fidgeting. We were loud.

What mattered? The surge and force of us: half a million strong, nameless, calling for their names.

Hieronymous

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

White Nationalists vs. Anti-Fascists: Round #3

Venue: Provo Park, Berkeley, California

This wasn't actually a pro/anti-Trump protest, as his election has emboldened resurgent white supremicist and Neo-Nazi organizing and recruiting. Strangely, a mainstream magazine framed the battle best:

[quote=Esquire]It's Going Down, a relied-upon source for anti-fascists around the country, warned that the event—which was not the first and will not be the last iteration of such tensions—would be a "crucible for a new fascist movement" hidden in the "smokescreen" of a diverse Trump support base. The issue is not whether the rally crowd also drew Trump supporters of color, or many Trump fans who claim to despise white nationalism. A media narrative that overlooks significant white supremacist presence de facto demonizes the counter-protesters who came to confront it.[/quote]

Some on both sides declared facile victories (neo-Nazi Richard Spencer tweeted "Hail Victory!"). There were at least 21 arrests, with 11 serious injuries and 7 of them sent to the hospital. I can't claim any expertise on the alt-right, but having been to all of these conflicts in Berkeley, I'm on a steep learning curve.

The alt-right forces drew from the Oath Keepers, some coming from as far away at Montana and Missouri, Identity Evropa, Liberty Revival Alliance and Proud Boys. Featured speakers, in a highly secured ritual in a remote corner of the park, were Lauren Southern, Brittany Pettibone, and others. Some groups have pretty nutty politics:

The Proud Boys are a fraternal organization founded on a system of beliefs and values of minimal government, maximum freedom, anti-political correctness, anti-racial guilt, pro-gun rights, anti-Drug War, closed borders, anti-masturbation, venerating entrepreneurs, venerating housewives, and reinstating a spirit of Western chauvinism during an age of globalism and multiculturalism.

And they came armed to the teeth:

Unidentified faction of neo-Nazis in skull masks:

While neither side was entirely dominant (requiring a sports metaphor, as the last two battles in Berkeley have been like giant rugby scrimmages), the fascists were clearly more the aggressors and were better able to charge and hold turf. It was obvious that many had military training and were experienced fighters. And should anyone cast doubt that they weren't just dopey Trump supporters, many of them made overt Nazi references (note people of color among them):

Our best fighters were high school-aged, several of whom were youth-of-color wielding skateboards and tenaciously holding their ground and having their comrades' backs.

The highpoint of humor for the day was towards the end when two young alt-rights came in from the side of the protest in shiny full-armor, including shields (all real metal), like cosplay Knights of the Round Table. We started heckling, saying things like "Look, the village idiots have finally arrived," accompanied by our uncontrollable laughter. They were quickly stripped of their American flags, which were subsequently burned, before someone sprayed their faces with mace (since the stupid helmets blocked their peripheral vision and they didn't see it coming), sending them away almost as quickly as they arrived. Another comrade missed their exit, and asked if they'd been "sent home," which we confirmed and added that we disarmed them of their wooden fighting staffs before waving them goodbye. That part was truly fun!

Nathan Domigo punching a woman at the Berkeley demo (note clown next to him with the "Jesus will judge you" jacket): [youtube]IeAL5Kqs_4w[/youtube]

A final note: as things wound down my comrades and I accosted Indentiy Evropa founder Nathan Domigo (below; note the guy on the right, wearing boxing headgear and a mouthguard, which many of the alt-right had): We were further emboldened to continue to confront -- and attempt to expose him to unknowing anti-fascists -- when he told us, verbatim, "black people are genetically inferior to whites." If we weren't outnumbered by Domigo's goons, we would've fucked him up. By the way, when we accused one of those goons of being a Nazi, he verbally affirmed it, said "Sieg Heil" and gave us a straight-arm salute (this photo taken a short time before he made the same gesture to us).

All of us should come out to these events and shut these fuckers down.

Ogion

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Great report, Hieronymous.

There was a recent event on April 8th in Washington DC that I didn't make it to, but there's an article here for those who don’t know what happened: https://itsgoingdown.org/washington-dc-richard-spencer-flees-antifa-shuts-down-fascist-ally/.

A highlight was that Richard Spencer got glitter bombed in the face.

[youtube]Fe-BJPpxZeQ[/youtube]

bastarx

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for that Hieronymous, glad you're safe.

I'm laughing at the dumbarse in the boxing headgear. Those things don't even protect much from punches so I can't imagine that they'd be any good against sticks or stones. Still it's not the dumb Nazis we need to worry about...

Reddebrek

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://itsgoingdown.org/igdcast-louise-on-berkeley-and-its-implications/

An interview with the female anarchist attacked by the head of Identity Evropa.

timthelion

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@Hieronymous

You wrote in reply to the article here https://tshirtslayer.com/tshirt-or-longsleeve/aryan-blood-black-sun-rising that you didn't notice any Nazi symbols. So just FYI, that guys shield is painted with the black sun. Used by Central and Northern European Nazis (in central Europe the swastika is illegal).

https://tshirtslayer.com/tshirt-or-longsleeve/aryan-blood-black-sun-rising (note the circle under the eagle in the second picture.

http://www.northwestfront.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1090&p=4994&hilit=sweden#p4796 (note the user's icon)

Hieronymous

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

timthelion

@Hieronymous
You wrote in reply to the article here that you didn't notice any Nazi symbols.

I said "nazi swastikas," but have to honestly say I'm not familiar with all the various fascist symbols.

Here's what I actually wrote:

Hieronymous

Neither myself, nor anyone who I talked with who was there saw any "nazi swastikas." The white nationalists were extremely careful to not have symbols with any semblance of their true bigoted ideology nor which could be construed as nazi, racist or in any way fascist

I don't doubt that many of the fascists present Saturday in Berkeley were Nazis or pro-Nazis, but without a deep knowledge of their iconography I personally didn't recognize more than a few of those symbols.

All of you more familiar could really help us by looking at the overabundance of photos from the Berkeley event and identify not only those symbols, but also the groups and individuals associated with them. Some know this well; I don't. It would greatly aid our intelligence gathering.

S. Artesian

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

All of you more familiar could really help us by looking at the overabundance of photos from the Berkeley event and identify not only those symbols, but also the groups and individuals associated with them. Some know this well; I don't. It would greatly aid our intelligence gathering.

Exactly: Identify and publish, so everyone can download, in case DOS attack on the site.

petey

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Assault charges filed Monday against a Ravenna couple in connection with the shooting of a protester outside a speech by former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos on Jan. 20 allege they went to the University of Washington campus that night looking for trouble.

Marc and Elizabeth Hokoana had armed themselves — him with pepper-spray and her with a Glock semi-automatic handgun in a holster under her coat — and went to the protest intending to goad demonstrators they knew would be there, King County prosecutors allege. Some witnesses said Marc Hokoana appeared to be intoxicated.

According to the charges, the day before Yiannopoulos was scheduled to talk at Kane Hall, Marc Hokoana had messaged a friend on Facebook, stating, “I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’m going to the milo event and if the snowflakes get out off hand I’m going to wade through their ranks and start cracking skulls.”

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/couple-charged-with-assault-in-shooting-melee-during-uw-speech-by-milo-yiannopoulos/

el psy congroo

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

District attorneys only stepped in after the once-victim and his IWW comrades began calling for a truth and reconcilation committee to be formed. He doesn't want his shooter to face incarceration.

S. Artesian

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

He doesn't want his shooter to face incarceration? WTF? So what, the guy can shoot another person? I mean I understand this if the IWW person was going to handle this himself, but a "truth and reconciliation committee"?? Are you kidding me?

Doesn't he get it? These nazis want him and his comrades dead.

He wants to reconcile with this motherfucker?

el psy congroo

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The shooter was a woman.

"Anti-fascism operates as the exceptional framing through which we are asked to suspend our social explanation of dysfunction, and the manufacture of criminality; we are asked to abandon our comprehension of the processes by which irredeemable bastards, life's embodiment of unremitting failings, are formed. Instead, it is required that we adopt the state's gaze and judge this particular end-result as the cause of itself. Of all the socially conditioned ideological formations in the world, the fascist is the only one held responsible for its own existence. The figure of the fascist becomes the pretext for the left's suspension of its account of deprivation and the exertion of its right to expropriate punitive power. From the anti-fascist standpoint, there is is nothing to be said of 'fascists', the only available response is to drop bombs on them. In other contexts, type-profiling is repudiated as 'body shaming' and 'normalisation' but anti-fascism is an assumption of extraordinary powers... over the bad other, it awards itself the right to use all available fascistic measures. Where fascists are registered as a 'type', a set of fixed and identifiable, categorised traits, then it seems only logical within the frame of its policing discourse that they should be liquidated as a type. All means of dehumanisation are legitimate under the exigent pressure of the state of exception."

This phenomena is on brilliant display in Artesian's comment above. Quote from here.

S. Artesian

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

el psy congroo

The shooter was a woman.

"Anti-fascism operates as the exceptional framing through which we are asked to suspend our social explanation of dysfunction, and the manufacture of criminality; we are asked to abandon our comprehension of the processes by which irredeemable bastards, life's embodiment of unremitting failings, are formed. Instead, it is required that we adopt the state's gaze and judge this particular end-result as the cause of itself. Of all the socially conditioned ideological formations in the world, the fascist is the only one held responsible for its own existence. The figure of the fascist becomes the pretext for the left's suspension of its account of deprivation and the exertion of its right to expropriate punitive power. From the anti-fascist standpoint, there is is nothing to be said of 'fascists', the only available response is to drop bombs on them. In other contexts, type-profiling is repudiated as 'body shaming' and 'normalisation' but anti-fascism is an assumption of extraordinary powers... over the bad other, it awards itself the right to use all available fascistic measures. Where fascists are registered as a 'type', a set of fixed and identifiable, categorised traits, then it seems only logical within the frame of its policing discourse that they should be liquidated as a type. All means of dehumanisation are legitimate under the exigent pressure of the state of exception."

This phenomena is on brilliant display in Artesian's comment above. Quote from here.

I'm not an "anti-fascist." I'm a communist.

Truth and reconciliation? Exactly where has that ever produced anything of value to emancipation? Argentina? South Africa? Angola? Spare us your meta-theoretical abstractions-- look at the real history-- the only time the fascists, whether state sanctioned or "private" want reconciliation is when they've been (temporarily) defeated, and want to avoid retribution and retaliation for their murderous actions, and they do that so they can reconstruct their networks for a second bite at the fruit.

If our IWW comrade shot the nazi because he didn't want to see the nazi have to suffer incarceration, I'd be fine with that-- but "reconciling"? Yeah right, like the South reconciled with the North after the US Civil War-- at the expense of the African-Americans.

Fucking bullshit. I don't care what anybody says about the injustice of thinking the poor little fascists cannot be redeemed. The only reconciliation worth pursuing is one that destroys the fascists as an organization, as a social force, not as misguided, mistaken, deformed, suffering individual. That's the issue. That's why we don't give a fuck if the state prosecutes a fascist and sends him, or her, to prison. We're about eliminating them socially, not reconciling with them individually.

What's next, a TED talk from TED Bundy, on secrets to success with women?

wojtek

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Article on the antifa presence in American football:
https://sports.yahoo.com/news/trump-presidency-created-quiet-anti-fascist-movement-americas-soccer-stadiums-225443656.html

Hieronymous

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I attended, although only briefly after I finished work, the protests in Berkeley on April 27th. It was largely a non-event, as not only had UC Berkeley administrators canceled an Ann Coulter speaking event for that date due to "safety concerns," but the Berkeley College Republicans also backed down on their plans to have her speak regardless. If anyone wants to find more details about this shitshow, I'm sure they're easily found on social media.

Through messages from comrades working in the area I heard that white nationalists had been assembling as early as 8:45 a.m. at Provo Park, the site of the skirmishes on March 4th and April 15th. Riot cops had secured the main area on the UC Berkeley campus, Sproul Plaza (the site of the anti-Milo Yiannopoulos demo on February 1st), all day and anyone wanting to access had to subject themselves to a search. Using the ideology of free speech as a cover, the alt-right and their allies had planned to march the 0.8 miles from the park to the campus, but decided not to with the cop presence.

When I arrived in the late afternoon, people were already filtering away towards the BART subway stations I'd just arrived at. What struck me was the bizarre forms of body protection I saw people wearing. Several people of color had police-type riot helmets (but not of the sort used in Berkeley) and some young guys even had a large transparent plexiglass riot shield with "POLICE" written across it. The park was the turf of the white nationalists and their crew, while the BAMN and RCP protestors were along the sidewalk across the street, next to Berkeley High. And it was obvious that many high school students were protesting with them.

I ran into comrades who said that there had been a smattering of white nationalists, far-right militias, pro-Trump bikers, members of the alt-right, and neo-Nazis present all day, with some of their heavy hitters making public speeches, like Gavin McInnes, Laura Southern, Brittany Pettibone, and Nathan Domigo. From what I witnessed, they were a collection of clowns, with their barely-disguised fascist symbols, American flags, comic book superhero shields, and military and camouflage attire. But they had one thing their opponents lacked: unity. They all stuck together around their pseudo-support of free speech, patriotism, and -- with a few dissenters -- Trump. The latter were disappointed with Trumps military attacks on Syria.

Lastly, the black bloc wisely stayed away. This caused their opponents in the alt-right to declare victory for having taken the park, but this was pretty empty. I imagine Berkeley will give them declining returns should they try another provocation and they'll probably take their fascism on the road. Those of us who oppose them need to strategize ways to effectively shut them down wherever they show up. This transcribed interview, Militant Tactics in Anti-Fascist Organizing, with IWW General Defense Committee member and co-founder of Anti-Racist Action would be a good place to start.

Comrade Motopu

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've been interested in some of what the Jacobin, DSA, ISO left in the US (and these are among the most popular socialist organizations now) have had to say on the recent protests against Milo and the fascist invaders in Berkeley. These leftists are often very decent people, with some sharp critiques of (the worst aspects of) identity and retreat from class politics that can lead to liberal delusion, essentialist or nationalist positions.

At the same time, I've noticed they tend to lump into their conception of "ultra-Left" (which they use always in the pejorative) everything from identity politics, ahistoricism, to left communism libcom type positions. I get the sense that many of the hot new academic marxians don't have a deep knowledge of the varied sorts of radicals that have made contributions to American class struggle politics. Stemming from a cartoonish version of an ultra-Left, they've been mocking all antifa and community members (seriously, they don't seem to nuance those challenging the fascists in the street beyond their allegedly all being theoretically stupid adventurists). I don't think they have a nuanced view of Bay Area class struggles.

Partial list of general positions mainstream socialists take (with some differences among them):

1. Those who want to shut down Right wing extremists' and fascists and their allies' events are engaging in censorship. That is not power. Power is convincing large enough groups of people it is in their best interest to do x, y, or z in their own interest.

2. The April 15th attack on Berkeley was not made up of "real fascists" and it is delusional thinking to worry about challenging them in the street. These were "Toy Nazis" and 4chan nerds for the most part. They are not a threat and not representative of a substantial force in the US.

3. Antifa in the US is unread, and doesn't understand there is no enemy here to fight, because there are no "uniformed" and authentic fascist parties with power, as there were in Europe which antifa formed against. Therefore the antifa have no reason to exist in the US. The question of the rest of the members of the community who show up against fascists is not really dealt with.

4. Street fighting against fascists in Berkeley creates more fascists willing to attack the left everywhere.

5. Physical confrontations are not where the Left or radical lefties can win, and we should stick to organizing for strikes and also taking power in the electoral and state realm.

Over the last few days I've listened to some of this podcast, "The Dead Pundits Society," which I think is a good source if you want to hear these interviews with Christian Parenti, Freddie deBoer, and Angela Nagle (a writer who has analyzed the alt-Right). All three do provide some worthwhile insights, but really tend to toe the cadre line on things happening outside the standard socialist Left (maybe Parenti the least). In the process, the show a blind spot and tend to lump in libcom/wobblie/left communist comrades, with the worst PC know nothing postmodern activism and the kind of retreat from class racialist and nationalist essentializing that truly is popular on campuses and social media (on that the socialists are right). So what you end up with is sectarianism, basically "we're the vanguard and have the answers that 'ultralefts' [everyone they don't like] lacks."

Here is a link to this free podcast and I recommend listening to it for a representative cross section of what many socialist outfits put out to discredit sections of the left they neither know much about nor show much solidarity toward. Some are long and you kind of have to find the spots where they go off on antifa and anyone wanting to shut down facists in the street.

Freddie deBoer interview" https://www.patreon.com/posts/8938650

Angela Nagle interview: https://www.patreon.com/posts/ep-9-exiting-ck-9319528

Christian Parenti interview: https://www.patreon.com/posts/episode-7-free-w-8867041

You can comment on the shows at their facebook page if you want. The reason that might not be a waste of time is because this is currently a show many in the DSA and socialist left are listening to and they could see different view points, or even partial agreements, whatever.

https://www.facebook.com/DeadPunditsSociety/

The host mentions DSA, Jacobin, and the Bernie Sanders campaign as his current stuff to be excited about, and unlike many here, I don't find those things to be inherently negative given that they represent political views far to the Left of what has been considered possible in the US for a long time. If anyone wants to critique me for that, it's fine, but I'm posting this as a critique of some of the sectarian blind spots in these tendencies.

Juan Conatz

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Regarding the Seattle shooting at the Milo event, I noticed Fifth Estate had a piece in it questioning whether 'restorative justice' for our far right enemies is something that should be pursued.

https://www.fifthestate.org/archive/398-summer-2017/an-anarchist-is-shot-in-seattle/

Hieronymous

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

Regarding the Seattle shooting at the Milo event, I noticed Fifth Estate had a piece in it questioning whether 'restorative justice' for our far right enemies is something that should be pursued.

https://www.fifthestate.org/archive/398-summer-2017/an-anarchist-is-shot-in-seattle/

The end of that piece shows how restorative justice doesn't really apply here:

[quote=Fifth Estate]We also need to ask if restorative justice can be effective with people who commit transgressions but don’t share the community’s values. Restorative justice is about returning a community to a state of harmony that has been broken by an offense that violates agreed upon values and in cases where the perpetrator as well as the victim realize an injustice was done.

A fascist itching to shoot someone falls outside of that equation. In such a case, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for restorative justice as a solution.[/quote]

el psy congroo

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, H. I think the points been made. For the record I agree with the last few posts/Fifth Estate.

S. Artesian

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How exactly can there be such a thing as "restorative justice," when there is no change whatsoever to the underlying mechanisms of oppression, exploitation, racism, etc? Those mechanisms are institutional, social, and personal actions are the expression of those institutions.

The notion of reconciliation between oppressor and oppressed, exploiter and exploited, without overthrowing the basis for oppression, exploitation, racism is but another method for facilitating, and enabling, further oppression, exploitation.

A careful reader will not that none of the "ultra-radical" "anarchists" or whatever advocating this nonsense of reconciliation are willing to engage with the actual history of these attempts at "truth or reconciliation."

We're not dealing with "community values," or even a case where some outliers disregard, place themselves outside "community values." In the 50s and 60s in the South, white citizens' councils were the community values.

Positing the very notion of community values propose a false unity, a false community; as if somehow there were autonomous zones where "communities" existed separate and apart from the dominant mode of production, the dominant class relations.

There are those who think that somehow selling labor power for wages constitutes "participating in market relations" and thus compromises the ability to oppose capitalism, while at the same time they swallow this worm of truth and reconciliation, only shows how self-deluding the human being can be.

petey

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/29/neo-nazi-rally-pikeville-kentucky-anti-fascist

"In an email, one of the anonymous organizers of the “anti-fascist” protest wrote: “We have made sure to clearly communicate with folks from outside the region that this is not Berkley or a major city and tactics that are used there are not appropriate in eastern KY.”

The organizer wrote that the “antifas” were aware that clashing with neo-Nazis gave such groups more media attention. A town official said more than a dozen media outlets had come to Pikeville in advance of the protest.

“There is no denying they relish the attention,” the organizer wrote. “We also have to weigh the risks of not confronting them. We believe that, in the longer term, allowing neo-Nazis to organize openly and treating them like any other group gives them more legitimacy.

“History teaches us that ignoring Nazis will not make them go away and creates the risk they will begin to build real power.”

The standoff has attracted other heavily armed groups, including members of a militia group called the “III percenters”, classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as anti-government extremists."

in the event ...

"Despite fears of violence, white nationalists and opponents exchanged only words at a rally in downtown Pikeville on Saturday as a heavy police presence and metal barricades kept the two sides separated.

At the height of the rally, there were about 125 white nationalists on one side of Main Street in an enclosure beside the historic Pike County courthouse and about 200 opponents on the opposite side of the street behind barriers set up along the sidewalk."

http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article147594424.html#storylink=cpy

Ed

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Off-topic insults deleted. Play the ball not the poster, please.

S. Artesian

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh, thank you Ed, without your mature, wise, intervention, who knows what might happen?

Ed

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Meh, S, them's the rules. A few weeks ago you posted on another thread about wanting to close your account coz of all the abuse.. wasn't even you I particularly had in mind in this instance, either.. no pleasing some people.. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hieronymous

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In tonight’s U.S. presidential debate, when asked about white supremacists — particularly the Proud Boys — Trump said (verbatim) “stand back and stand by.” On social media, this is the new white nationalist rallying cry.