Filed under: Canada, Mexico, Roundup, US
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
Everyday seems to bring a new travesty. A new crisis. A new fear.
Every bit of news we get seems to herald the end times, while gleefully exalting the management of the apocalypse through products on twitter adds, tiny homes documentaries on Netflix, click-bait, hoverboards, Dr. OZ, and the crap on the nightly mainstream news. But these tidbits we hear for a few minutes in between going to and from work or in the split seconds we pause to look down at our phones on a break, always leave us feeling that we’re already two steps behind even last weeks disaster. In passing, we hear of a new fast spreading virus, a new weather disaster, another grizzly police shooting, and a new town facing ecological meltdown.
The totality of the world rests not only on our shoulders but all around us. It’s logic pervades the conversations of our friends and co-workers, family members, and even in our own heads. It contends that we are powerless, atomized, defenseless, and alone in a world spiraling out of our control. As things appear to be unraveling, the system itself offers an arena for indignation: the elections. Two candidates emerge on “the extremes,” which only helps to mask the extremes of those that seem to fall in between them. Pandering to the hopes of millions; for raises, for relief, for hope, for change, the elections are the same sham they’ve always been. An arena where two corporations attempt to sell the government to their subjects.
Within this facade, one candidate, a ‘socialist,’ Bernie Sanders, and the other a ‘fascist,’ Donald Trump, add flair and energy to the sorry spectacle, mobilizing the bases of an ever dividing America. But behind these “choices,” lies the trajectory of modern capitalism that is already set in motion by this civilization. From crowds chanting “USA! USA!” as Donald Trump’s security pushes a man wearing a turban out the door for holding a sign that reads, “Stop Hate,” to sea levels that raise upwards every hour along the gulf coast, from the latest police atrocity, to the news of the most recent global warming amplified pandemic of the Zika virus, the anxiety that is life in modern industrial societies only seems to beat faster as things get worse.
As the anxiety grows faster, not only does the pace of modern life seem to leave us all behind, it pushes us farther and farther away from the belief that we, ourselves, with others like us, could ever change anything.
In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky stated:
There’s an enormous sense of hopelessness and anger, and it shows up in pretty dramatic ways. You’ve probably seen the revelation a couple of months ago that among less educated, white, middle-aged males, mortality is actually increasing. That is unheard of in rich, developed societies outside of real catastrophes.
It’s a reflection of depression, anger and hopelessness. It shows up in the appeal of Donald Trump from one perspective and Bernie Sanders from another. In Europe, it shows up in Podemos in Spain as a left-wing populist party along with quite right wing ultra nationalists, sometimes neo-fascist on the other side.
Within the Left, there is growing support for Bernie Sanders, with websites such as Jacobin and In These Times throwing in their endorsements along with a variety of socialist groups and organizations. And beyond support from just middle-class progressives in large coastal cities and in college towns and blue-states, Sanders has also managed to attract a growing working-class base through his backing of the Fight for $15, support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and a host of other concerns that impact poor, working, and middle class Americans.
This weekend, hundreds marched across the US for Sanders, and in New York they marched into Zuccotti Park, birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement to declare their support. Elections: the dead end of social movements and struggles. Once, across the US, thousands of people occupied public squares to show we didn’t need politicians, now, some retrace those steps in the hopes of giving validity to them.
But unlike previous progressive Democratic hopefuls such as Dennis Kucinich, it appears that Sanders’ campaign is actually picking up steam despite attempts by the Democratic Party is stifle it along with attacks from neo-liberal forces such as the Wall Street Journal, which decries Sanders “radical” vision. But Sanders campaign is not radical at all. Its the same industrial capitalist package, just with more food-stamps and slightly less expensive health-care. Sanders, like all liberals, wants to save capitalism, not destroy it. As one report wrote:
The measures proposed by Sanders—the breakup of the biggest banks, free college tuition, universal health care, a $15 per hour minimum wage—are incompatible with the existing economic and political set-up, which Sanders accepts and defends. The editorial by the Wall Street Journal makes clear that the ruling class will never accept the enactment of such measures and will resort to the most ruthless methods to block them. The response of the ruling elite, and both of its parties, to the growth of social opposition is the militarization of the police and the establishment of a police state-in-waiting to violently crush any serious challenge to its profits and power.
In many ways, Sanders’ campaign fits into a reoccurring cycle we are familiar with every four years: a “progressive” Democratic candidate mobilizes a growing segment of angry and younger voters, who then quickly drops out of the race, only to march their troops straight into the Democratic machinery come election time. We’ve seen it a million times before, from Nader to Dean. In some ways, the Obama campaign in 2008 defied this, as Obama was never a “progressive” but his campaign took on an increasingly ‘grassroots’ feel amidst the growing economic recession and the fall out from the 2nd Iraq war.
But as Obama came into office, what started off as mass appeal typified by Young Jeezy anthems, quickly turned to growing resentment against the current regime. African-Americans lost more wealth under Obama than they had in decades as the police went on a killing spree, wealth inequality grew, and the environment became more degraded. This reality lead to the eruption of rebellions and riots that shook the country. In the midst of this turmoil, the Obama administration mobilized to crush both the Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements through a barrage of riot police, surveillance, and new laws aimed at targeting “enemies of the state.”
As 2016 unfolds, the crisis that began in 2008 continues to worsen as another financial meltdown looms on the horizon, the shadow of war continues to darken, and the ecological catastrophe of modern civilization looks more grim by the day.
Bernie Sanders can’t fix the crisis of modern capitalist civilization. As Chomsky and other commentators have pointed out, the current political system is designed to block even minor changes, while the military, corporate, and financial elites are sure to push back against any attempts to drastically change the American system. What Sanders does offer however, just as Obama’s campaign offered years ago, in an extremely vague and undefined way, is simply the hope that things will change. Its this hope that has attracted millions of young people, often young workers with few prospects, largely just as disillusioned by the Obama administration as the Republicans, who are looking for a political solution to the problems that confronts us.
But a political solution isn’t to be found. Politics, or the system of power that operates and manages governments, is not designed to progress society towards an ultimate goal of freedom and equality. On the contrary, government is instead designed to manage the contradictions and tensions within society for the benefit of a wealthy and powerful elite. It’s this management of disaster that is the disaster of the modern world. It is the poisoned and irradiated waters of Japan and Flint, Michigan. It is the militarized streets of Ferguson, MO. It is the methane gas leak in Southern California. It is the rapidly gentrifying cities that become more expensive, more policed, and more polluted, as jobs pay less and less. Management to the disaster of civilization is exactly the only hope that modern politicians can offer: a system of governance for the end of the world. As Prole.info wrote:
We are encouraged to support the leaders we disagree with least, and we’re never really surprised when they screw us over. All a politician’s working class background or radical ideals are worthless once they begin to govern. No matter who is in government, government has its own logic. The fact that this society is divided into classes with opposing interests means that it is always at risk of tearing itself apart. The government is there to make sure that doesn’t happen. Whether the government is a dictatorship or a democracy, it holds all the guns and will use them against its own population to make sure that we keep going to work.
Despite the pitfalls of electoral politics, anarchists and autonomous anti-capitalists should take note of the growth and appeal of the Sanders campaign. Many young people and a growing amount of disaffected poor, working, and middle-class people are being pushed into a more “radical” direction due to their lived day to day experiences. Many of these people were more than likely touched by Occupy or Black Lives Matter movements, but lacking any real anti-capitalist force on the streets and in their communities, they are turning instead to a vehicle that they hope will lead to widespread change.
We have to find a way to connect with this push within American society. This feeling that things must change, everything must change, and change drastically. But instead of answering with a candidate within one of the most murderous and authoritarian political parities on earth, or any candidate at all, we instead have to answer with dynamic struggles, movements, spaces, actions, and ideas. We must answer with material forces that are not only vehicles in which we fight, but new worlds that we build from as we do so.
On the other end of the spectrum however, stands Donald Trump, who continues to push the dialog within American society further and further to the right. In many ways, this benefits those already in power. As Trump makes headlines for attacking immigrants and Latinos more broadly in his rhetoric, the Democrats have launched a series of sweeping raids. As Trump calls the rounding up of Muslims, the American political establishment gears up for continued war in the Middle East. With Trump so far out to the Right, the Democrats seem down right liberal again.
Trump himself fits into a long string of far-Right candidates which have pulled together a wide variety of reactionary, racist, and fascist actors. From Pat Buchanan, to David Duke, to George Wallace, to Sheriff Joe Arpio, to Barry Goldwater, like these previous candidates, Trump is receiving support from a wide range of white nationalist groupings. Just this week, Trump even shared on twitter a cartoon from @WhiteGenocide of himself dressed in a Nazi uniform, sending Bernie Sanders to the gas chamber. This is only the latest move by Trump to push his campaign into the furthest reaches of fascist and racist dogma.
As revolutionaries, we have to walk a hard path during election time, when many of peoples’ hopes and dreams are wrapped up in a candidate. We have to push and explain our position that we don’t vote and don’t encourage people to do so. That instead, we push to involve ourselves in social struggles and movements that fight the existing power structure. We have to present our critique of the modern political system and also our desire to see it overthrown. This isn’t easy. We live in a society that encourages us to have an opinion about everything and to always choose the lesser of two evils, yet we are discouraged from having an over arching critique of the existing totality; of having a position that leads us to action against this system of domination and exploitation. We are constantly reduced to individuals, at work, at school, in our communities, and in politics, and throttled into becoming voters and citizens, workers and cogs in a machine; into good white people or subservient colonial subjects.
While the Left hurries itself to “work within the system,’ while the Right beats the drums of white supremacy and reaction, we have to put in the work to link up with those that are ready to bring it all down.
In that spirit, let’s get to the news.
As the city of San Francisco gears up for Super Bowl 50, more and more homeless people are being pushed out of the Olympics like ‘Super Bowl City,’ which has been created to generate massive profits from drunken fans in the lead up to the big game in SF. Likewise, in nearby Oakland and Berkeley, city governments have also marshaled police forces to evict growing homeless camps as the Bay Area becomes more gentrified. As The Guardian reported:
“They chase us out like cattle,” the 62-year-old Stagg said, as his hangouts disappeared under metal bandstands and banners heralding Super Bowl 50. “We’re not allowed to be here when the rich people come around? I don’t believe in that.”
Super Bowl City – a free seven-day fete in the city’s central Market Street – is expected to attract as many as a million visitors with daily concerts – including a finale by Alicia Keys – interactive gaming and plenty of shopping opportunities.
At about 11 a.m. on Thursday, three Department of Public Works trucks pulled up to a row of tents pitched alongside the 101 freeway underpass. At the same time, a group of protesters gathered across the street at the corner of Division and Trainor to expose citywide sweeps of encampments they say are inhumane and have robbed the homeless of their property.
They had only come to pick up trash, the Public Works workers told protesters who darted across the street to confront them, yelling “Homelessness is not a crime.”
As the city gears for Super Bowl 50, a recent increase in tent settlements in certain neighborhoods is a growing point of contention for city leaders and residents alike. Thursday’s protesters called on the city to allocate abandoned property for the homeless to set up their tents and eventually build houses.
In response to Super Bowl City, this weekend vandalism and protests took place which also drew connection to the recent police execution style murder of Mario Woods. Here are some tweets:
— Shambu Shunya (@ShunyaShambu) January 30, 2016
— Hoodline (@Hoodline) January 31, 2016
— Brandon Jourdan (@brandonjourdan) February 1, 2016
In Pittsburgh, a 29 year-old woman, Janese Talton-Jackson, was shot and killed by a man in a bar who’s advances she rejected.
In Mexico City, women are responding to street harassment and rape culture by singing anti-sexist punk rock songs and shooting confetti from toy guns at male hecklers.
In Washington, DC, pro-choice activists gathered to blockade anti-abortion activists from taking to the streets. One report reads:
On the 22nd of January, pro-choice activsts gathered at noon at the US Supreme Court. They got there ahead of the incoming anti-choice march that harasses the Supreme Court every year on the anniversary of Roe Vs Wade. When they arrived at the Supreme Court, militant pro-choice activists got into the street and blocked the march
These blockades have happened before, notably last year and they were common in 1990’s when pitched confrontations and swirling fights at the Supreme Court were the order of the day. They don’t hold long but the message is loud and clear every time-anti women bigotry is not welcome in this town.
Earlier in the day, anti-choice extremists showed up in front of Planned Parenthood’s under construction new facility in DC. Their website claimed hundreds were present but their posted photographs showed only dozens.
In a truly ‘fuck-our-lives’ moment, some researchers have announced that the plankton population in the oceans has dropped a whopping 40% since 1950. The little creatures may not have any cute computer animated moves made in their likeness, but they actually produce a huge amount of the air that we and every living thing on earth breaths, everyday. As Scientific American wrote:
The tiny organisms, known as phytoplankton, also gobble up carbon dioxide to produce half the world’s oxygen output—equaling that of trees and plants on land. But their numbers have dwindled since the dawn of the 20th century, with unknown consequences for ocean ecosystems and the planet’s carbon cycle.
Researchers at Canada’s Dalhousie University say the global population of phytoplankton has fallen about 40 percent since 1950. That translates to an annual drop of about 1 percent of the average plankton population between 1899 and 2008. The scientists believe that rising sea surface temperatures are to blame.
Another gift from global warming, the Zika Virus, which currently is spreading throughout Central and South America, is headed to North American soon many contend. Kate Randall wrote:
Declaring that the Zika virus is “spreading explosively,” the World Health Organization announced it will hold an emergency meeting of independent experts in Geneva on February 1 to decide if the outbreak should be declared an international health emergency.
At a meeting Thursday in Geneva, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said the Zika virus was becoming more of a threat. One WHO scientist estimates there could be up to 4 million cases of the virus in the Americas in the next year. Since Brazil reported its first case in May, the virus has now been detected in more than 23 countries and territories in the Americas.
Zika has been linked to birth defects in babies born to infected pregnant women. Chan said that although there was no definitive proof that the virus was responsible for a spike in the number of babies being born with abnormally small heads in Brazil, “The level of alarm is extremely high.” She also noted a possible association between Zika infection and Guillain-Barre syndrome, sometimes resulting in paralysis.
Anger continues to mount in Porter Ranch, where a huge methane leak is contributing massive amounts of methane gas into the environment, leading to locals getting rashes and bloody eyes, and massively boosting global warming. Along with the unfolding water crisis in Detroit and Flint, Michigan, revolutionaries need to think critically about what it would mean to respond to these crises.
Save porter ranch … shut it all down!
At the AQMD protest pic.twitter.com/Kjs7S7egjp
— Sci-Fi MonStar (@FantasySci) January 23, 2016
According to Censored News:
The Navajo Nation’s non-Indian water rights attorney is once again giving away Navajo water rights. Navajos are urging the Navajo President to veto a water rights settlement for Utah Navajo water rights, ramrodded through the Navajo Nation Council on Tuesday.
— Evan Kirstel (@EvanKirstel) January 31, 2016
The water contamination on the Navajo Nation is more horrific than in Flint, Michigan. However, the contamination continues because of the racism in the United States which disregards the contamination in Indian country. The collapsed media in Indian country, and the biased mainstream media, fail to expose it.
Today, an Indigenous delegation begins a series of protests and events in Washington D.C. to expose the radioactive pollution in Indian country. The Navajo Nation’s water has been poisoned since the 1950s by uranium mining, then by coal mining, and dirty coal-fired power plants.
Navajo water has long been contaminated by Peabody Coal mining on Black Mesa, uranium spills, strewn radioactive tailing from the Cold War uranium mining, and recently the EPA’s poisoning of the Animas and San Juan Rivers.
Further, the US government knew when it relocated Navajos to the Sanders, Arizona, area that radiation from the Church Rock, N.M., uranium spill would poison their water by way of the Rio Puerco wash. In the Four Corners region, three coal fired power plants poison the water in runoffs.
Dine’ (Navajo) Louise Benally, resisting relocation at Big Mountain for 40 years, said, “Our water has been impacted since the 1950’s on to today.” Read more at: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2016/01/navajo-water-contamination-more.html
A press release on Indigenous Action Media goes to to state:
South Dakota has 272 Abandoned Uranium Mines (AUMs) which are contaminating waterways such as the Cheyenne River, and desecrating sacred and ceremonial sites. An estimated 169 AUMs are located within 50 miles of Mt. Rushmore where millions of tourists risk exposure to radioactive pollution each year.
In San Francisco and LA, protests continued against the recent wave of ICE raids. Here are some tweets:
— Gigi Graciette (@GigiGraciette) January 26, 2016
ICE Protest Blocks San Francisco Intersections https://t.co/1Q0NoDLERx
— Indybay (@Indybay) January 30, 2016
As news of the Bundy militia standoff brought attention to ranchers who pushed to have public land turned over to private hands (to then be used for ranching and mining interests), the goddam’ federal gubment announced that they would kill 900 wild buffalo to protect the interest of cattle ranchers. Sarah Von Alt commented:
Each year, thousands of wild animals, including bears, coyotes, and foxes, are killed because they’re considered a threat to the livestock industry. In the United States alone, 2 million total wild animals are killed each year.A new Wall Street Journal article highlights the ill effects of cattle grazing on bison living in and around Yellowstone National Park:
“Government agencies aim to kill or remove up to 900 wild bison from Yellowstone National Park this winter as part of a continuing effort to reduce the animals’ annual migration into Montana by driving down their population.”
Nine hundred represents more than 18 percent of the total population of bison. The justifiable reason for this mass slaughter? According to the article, it’s the bison’s potential “to compete with cattle for grazing space on public lands outside the park.”
Its important to remember that in the US, the federal government sought to manage “public lands” as a means to secure access to them for private interests, as well as keep strikers from using wild nature as a means of sustaining themselves during strikes. On the west coast, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), has a long history of selling off old-growth forest for money to private companies. We should reject a false dichotomy of “federal” vs “private” ownership of wild-lands. The living earth cannot be owned by anyone; it belongs to itself and needs us to fight to remove the institutions of domination and control which seek to manage and profit from it.
Speaking of profiting from the earth, OG earth warrior and curmudgeon supreme Capn’ Paul Watson of Sea Sheppard recently penned a damning indictment of Greenpeace. He writes:
Greenpeace has now crossed the line with their endorsement of seal fur as “sustainable.”
I initiated and led the first Greenpeace campaigns against sealing from 1975 until 1977. I really never thought I would see the day when Greenpeace would sell out to the sealing industry. Jon Burgwald speaking for Greenpeace has announced that Greenpeace supports “sustainable” sealing. There is no such thing. Seals are threatened by rapidly diminishing fish populations and pollution. Our Ocean is dying and Greenpeace seems to be in abject denial of this reality. We need seals to help maintain a healthy marine eco-system.
Greenpeace is now playing into the hands of the fur industry and the Canadian interest in marketing seal fur to China. The organization is now giving comfort to the seal butchers in supporting one of the most brutal and bloody mass massacres of wildlife on the planet. As a co-founder of Greenpeace I feel sick and betrayed by this new policy flip-flop by Greenpeace. How can any compassionate and caring person continue to support Greenpeace after this? What the hell are they thinking?
Greenpeace does not oppose the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroes or the brutal massacre of dolphins in Taiji, Japan and now this. How long before Greenpeace endorses the illegal whaling operations by Japan which they still raise funds for campaigns that they never actually do? The last time a Greenpeace ship sailed to the Southern Ocean to defend whales was 2007 yet the money begging mail-outs continue to be churned out asking for donations to save the whales.
I have tried to hold my tongue over the last few years with regard to Greenpeace but this, this is a deceitful betrayal of what we created in the Seventies. They have simply spat in the face of their founders like myself, David Garrick and the late Robert Hunter with this shocking revelation that the Greenpeace Foundation is a pro-sealing organization.
— No New Animal Lab (@NoNewAnimalLab) February 1, 2016
Also, No New Animal Labs is being hit with a SLAPP suit. Help them out! Check out their website for more info.
In Michigan, courts have ruled that the State has no legal right to provide quality education for school children in a poor district, further opening up the door for charter schools and deepening racial re-segregation.
Students of the normalista rural school, Ricardo Flores Magon, located in the state of Chihuahhua, took to the streets to demand better conditions. Read more here.
High school kids in Oakland walked out of class and attacked police cars after a security guard roughed up on of their own. According to one report:
Students walked off campus in protest Wednesday upset over a confrontation earlier this month involving a student and school officials. One school district police car was heavily damaged as an estimated 150 demonstrators left the East Oakland campus on Foothill Boulevard, authorities said.The protest began around 9 a.m. with about 50 students gathered in the school quad holding signs and calling on district leaders to discipline a security guard and vice principal involved in a scuffle with a 16-year-old boy on Jan. 8. Classes continued during the protest, district spokesman Isaac Kos-Read said. The school has an estimated population of 800 students.Students have called for the firing of the guard and vice principal involved in the incident in the school’s main office, after footage of the confrontation was broadcast on KPIX 5. The footage, later released by the district, shows the student conversing with a school employee, then walking toward the office’s exit before he is stopped by two people identified by district police Chief Jeff Godown as a vice principal and a school security guard. A scuffle ensues as the guard tries to handcuff the student. There is no known footage of the next moments because the scuffle moves down a hallway without surveillance cameras.
— Randee Deason (@2hip4tv) January 27, 2016
On Resistance LA, an anti-authoritarian radio show in Los Angeles recently posted a segment that discusses political management and co-optation from organizations during uprisings. In particular the hosts draw from their experience with protests against the acquittal of George Zimmerman in 2013 and non-indictment of Darren Wilson in 2014. The situations they describe will surely sound familiar to many listeners involved in anti-police and anti-white supremacy struggles in the United States. Check it out:
Across the US, protests, demonstrations, mobilizations, as well as scandals related to police abuse and terror continued to occur. Here are some collected tweets:
— lllloyd carr (@joe_stapes) January 30, 2016
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) January 29, 2016
— robert perry (@tpartythis) January 31, 2016
— YMCA Texas Y&G (@texasyg) January 30, 2016
In New Jersey, over 1,000 Longshore workers walked off their jobs in a wildcat strike. The strike didn’t last long and was quickly ended by union bosses, but showed the power of port workers to disrupt the economy in a large way. According to one report:
More than 1,000 longshoremen walked off the job at area ports Friday afternoon.
During the walkout, which lasted several hours, overseas shipments stuck at ports in New York City, Elizabeth, Newark and Jersey City. The ports handle a total of 3.3 million containers a year, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported. The Port Authority closed the terminals to incoming trucks, causing heavy traffic backups.
Wildcat strike at New Jersey/New York ports https://t.co/DQAnmreJp8
— Global Uprisings (@GlobalUprisings) January 29, 2016
Members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) held a tour honoring the memory of Joe Hill through song and story in various US cities. Hill was a IWW organizer, militant revolutionary, and song-writer who was murdered for his activities in 1915.
In Boston, IWW members have been showing solidarity with museum security workers and have help to get a fired worker’s job back. According to one report:
IWW members returned to aid our friends and fellow workers in the Museum Independent Security Union on 1/23/16. Despite freezing temperatures, our hearts were warmed by a message from John M of MISU, who conveyed his belief that IWW support was “instrumental” in getting unfairly-fired MISU member John P re-hired with no discipline and with back pay. John P was fired by Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts merely for fulfilling his responsibilities as a parent. The outcry that followed (which Boston wobs are proud have helped with) compelled the museum to take John back.
In Ottawa, IWW members have started to picket a wine store in order to defend a member that was unjustly fired last year. Read more about the campaign here.
And finally, in news that will make you feel good for a change:
Due to the inaction of state and federal officials, thousands of people in Flint have been exposed to unsafe levels of lead in their water. Now a group of union plumbers are taking matters into their own hands.
On Saturday, 300 plumbers from unions across the country descended on Flint to install new faucets and water filters for free.
For some in Flint, however, even new faucets with modern water filters won’t be enough to fully abate the lead contamination. New tests released recently revealed that, in some Flint homes, the levels of lead “exceed the ability of filtration systems handed.” The filters can safely remove up to 150 parts per billion of lead. Some Flint homes were found to have lead levels of more than 4,000 parts per billion.
Residents of Flint, however, are still encouraged to use the filters. For most homes, they will work.
Class war takes place outside of the unions and workplaces too. Several expensive cars in a wealthy section of Los Angeles were trashed this week.
The Trump campaign continues to bring together the reactionary and racist elements from a wide variety of fringes into the mainstream of the Right as the Iowa Caucus looms. As Anti-Fascist News wrote:
So, what would happen if Donald Trump does win in Iowa? Putting politics aside, what you will see is the continued mainstreaming of nationalism in America. The Alt Right has ridden the Trump wave into the semi-mainstream, with a break happening in the GOP between those who want to stick with party orthodoxy and those who are going to give in fully to reactionary impulses. We are certainly seeing this with conservative loudspeakers like Rush Libaugh and Anne Coulter, who has been contributing to VDare recently and has been both quoting and following American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor on Twitter. Week by week, publications like The Right Stuff, The Daily Stormer, and Radix Journal chock up all of their references in the mainstream media as memes like Cuckservative head from the margins into the mainstream.
Over the last five years, those on the Alt Right have been pushing white nationalism away from the party politics that it consorted with through Libertarianism and Paleoconservatism. With Donald Trump, they have rushed back to the center, attempting to mainstream their movement in ways that havn’t been possible since David Duke. The only difference here is that they are bringing their racist vulgarities with them, and the reactionary impulse that Trump has cultivated has been accepting of this. At a time when racial tensions have hit even harder during the refugee immigration and recent attempts to confront police racism, those on the edge are being given permission to jump into their racial resentments full force by Trump’s rhetoric. Their white nationalist movement has a chance not to go mainstream as they would have liked, but for their bigotries to hit the tip of everyone’s tongue.
Trump winning in Iowa will open up that platform further, but, unfortunately, the gates have already been opened. Right now it is up to antifascists not to just confront Trump, or to simply catalog and oppose this insurrectionary nationalist movement, but to continue to undermine white supremacy and racism in all ways possible. This means continuing to mobilize with Black Lives Matter, to go after anti-immigrant extremism in our communities, and to defend against Islamophobia. The fascist reaction is not just one type of politic, but instead intersectional in its fear and bigotry. If Trump wins then that is a sign of where we are at, and it means that there will be continued polarization between those that want to restore white privilege and those that seek to undermine oppression.
In a certain sense, Monday is not as important as what comes next for the anti-racist movement. Trump’s turn was shocking, as was the ability for white nationalists to mobilize around it, but their narrative still has yet to break through entirely. An intersectional Antifa project, one that is able to confront them rhetorically, shut down their communication, expose who they are, and block them in the streets is what is going to shut it down before it starts. Donald Trump represents a window for them, not their movement in its entirety. If his numbers spike in the next few weeks it may inform the tactics and strategies of the anti-fascist left, but it will not change our underlying project.
MAKE AMERICA HATE AGAIN Hats off to the Tulsa high schoolers who went to a Trump rally & unfurled this banner! pic.twitter.com/0oIub350aT
— David McGuire 🗽 (@DavidMcGuireEsq) January 25, 2016
Anger continued to build against Trump. Several days ago, a man was arrested for throwing a tomato at Trump during a rally. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, school kids left school to sneak into a Trump rally to hold a sign that read: “Trump Makes America Hate Again.” In another instance, a Sikh man holding a sign that read “Stop Hate” at a Trump rally and was ejected while Trump made disparaging comments against him. As security pushed him to the door, people chanted, “USA! USA!”
In other news, the Bundy standoff in Burns, Oregon appears to be on its last legs, after FBI and other law enforcement arrested key leadership outside of the occupation and killed one of the spokespeople, Lavoy Finicum, an Oregon rancher. Several militia members remain and appear to be in a standoff in the hopes of leaving the compound without being arrested. We hope that others who are in the area or who have been to the Malheur militia occupation can say more in the coming days, but whatever the outcome, it can be sure that Finicum will go down in Right history as another rancher martyred by the federal government. Rest assured, this incident will inspire more groups and actions, and anti-fascists and anarchists need to think long and hard about how to maneuver in this coming terrain.
In other anti-fascist news that will cause you to grab a pen and mark your calendars, both American Renaissance and the National Policy Institute (NCI) will be holding conferences in the coming months. In March, the NCI, an “Alternative Right” configuration of neo-fascist and racist internet fan-boys will hold another conference in Washington DC. According to Anti-Fascist News:
In an effort to double up their popular conferences, The National Policy Institute is going to be having a conference only a few short months after their Halloween event. Set to coincide with the Conservative Political Action Conference, which makes sense with their use of the Alt Right branding, the event will bring together “shitlords” and white nationalists from the growing recesses of the internet-focused racialist movement. The evening event, on March 5th, is going to be smaller than NPI’s regular conference event, which usually spans an entire day. This conference, called Identity Politics, will bring together Richard Spencer, the NPI president, Kevin McDonald and RamZPaul.
Confrontation at the NPI conference is often difficult since it is usually held in The Ronald Reagan Building in The Rotunda of Washington D.C. They have been resistant to organizers asking them to cancel the event, and strict security keeps protesters relatively far from the entrance. What has been seen recently is that the swell of young people has come primarily from people who do not want their identity’s released, so photos and videos of conference attendees is an important operation. Pressure can be put on the operations of the Ronald Reagan building year round so that when it comes time for NPI to sign its contract, there is already a show that the community will not accept that. This could be a long-term organizing project for those in the area, but really any organization nationally could take up this campaign to show national discontent for what is happening there.
[Here is] contact information for the Reagan Building if you want to make your voice heard about their hosting, but it may make sense to use this information to develop a long-term escalation campaign where community phone blasts, emails, and general mobilization can be done on a multi-month calendar.
In other suit and tie fascist news, the American Renaissance conference will take place in the third week of May in Tennessee. Anti-Fascist News reports:
The coming 2016 conference, which will be held on May 20-22 (which is actually longer than most AmRen conferences), replicates this new trend in their programming, as well as returning to attempts at respectability. Similar to what you see in white nationalist conferences and organizations like the H.L. Mencken Club and the Council of Conservative Citizens, they always try to host speakers who are just on the edge of respectability. This was the case with people like the late Sam Francis and Joe Sobran, who were both on the edges of the beltway Conservative Movement.
The 2016 conference’s “headliner,” so to speak, is Peter Brimelow, who is exactly the kind of crossover point that AmRen uses to make itself relevant. Brimelow was a former writer for Forbes and a number of conservative publications, really known for writing about education and the “problem” of the teacher’s unions up through the 1990s. He then founded the web publication VDare, which has become a meeting point for the far right who want to focus on immigration as their primary issue. He has slowly shifted out of the broad GOP crowd and into a racially focused community, speaking at other racist conferences like the H.L. Mencken Club and the National Policy Institute. His talk brings the conference back to one of their real forces of excitement: Donald Trump. Titled “The Trump Tsunami and the Future of the Historic American Nation,” Brimelow will continue the fawning appreciation for the billionaire just as most in the AmRen scene have. Jared Taylor recently voiced a robocall for Trump support in Iowa, funded by the neo-fascist American Freedom Party.
For 2016, research is being done about the attendees and location, and you can expect that the opposition to this festival of white self-congratulation will not be able to continue unchallenged. If you are in the area, this is going to be one of the prime places to confront the dangerous white nationalist movement.
— metalhammer (@MetalHammer) January 29, 2016
At a recent concert honoring a deceased member of the popular metal band, Pantera, former front man Phil Anselmo, (seen above, ironically wearing a t-shirt of anarchist punk band Discharge), ended the night by giving several Nazi salutes and screaming “White Power!” toward the crowd. This follows several decades of Anselmo’s flirtations with the far-Right. We wanna give big props however to Rob Flynn of the politically charged metal band, Machine Head, who also performed at the concert, and denounced this bullshit in a recent video.
Mexico on Fire
In Mexico City, officials report trouble finding enough water for the residents there and expect massive shortages in the next several decades.
A caravan made up of the parents of the missing 43 normalista students recently wrapped up their tour of several Mexican states which linked a variety of struggles together. In other normalista news, several normalista political prisoners have been released after months in prison.
In a recent article written by Flor Goche on the state of conditions within Chiapas, Mexico:
Over the Chiapas landscape an increasing number of mega-projects that involve dispossession are currently being planned. Mining, infrastructure, tourism, highways and renewable energy, these projects are reinforced by the new structural reforms.
Referring to mining concessions, it is well known that already 200 concessions have been given, mainly in the region of the frontier with Guatemala and the northern part of the state. According to Arturo Lomeli, mining itself is not the main issue, but the way they exploit the landscape. It is “extractive capitalism that destroys the territory.”
Pedro Faro says that mega-projects violate the communities which defend their autonomy. They also violate the rights of the indigenous communities, such as the right to consultation, which have been granted by national and international laws. “Indigenous communities are clear that they don’t want these projects because they mean that their sacred territories, their ancestral lands and their forests will be taken away.”
Even though, as Arturo Lomeli says, “in political terms there is a respectful discourse towards Zapatismo, the reality is different.”
Frayba affirms that incursions by the Mexican Army, particularly in Zapatista territory, continue, along with the monitoring and military harassment towards the Zapatista Junta de Buen Gobierno in la Realidad.
To date, Pedro Faro confirms, Chiapas is the state which has the largest number of military camps. Just in the grey area or conflict zone there are around 72 camps. The military occupation is like the “war strategy of the hammer and the anvil, whose main objective is to fence in the Zapatista movement.”
Paramilitarism and new forms of counter-insurgency
At least six paramilitary groups have been acknowledged in Chiapas since the emergence of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Their worst actions date from the 1990s, a period in which they were strongly supported by the State, when paramilitary groups were responsible for the displacement, execution and disappearance of people, but they were never fully dismantled.
We also encourage people to check out a newly translated article from Chiapas Support Committee which details the ongoing struggle of the Tzeltal Indigenous municipio (county) of Oxchuc who have risen up against the government, as well as another translation from Scott Campbell, about the setting up of radio stations in Oaxaca.
— dorsetchiapassol (@dorsetchiapasol) January 29, 2016
It’s Going Down!
That’s gonna do it for us this week. Thanks again to everyone who has donated to our crowd-funding campaign. So far we’ve raised over $800 and we are very excited. We hoping that we can hit upwards of $1,200. If we can make this number, we will easily be able to print 1,000 magazines and ship them across the US. If you haven’t donated, please do so, and share our campaign on social media. This week, we hope to be publishing some big news, interviews, and the regular engaging columns, reports, and stories. Stay up with us here.