Saturday, April 08, 2023

Main Blog Moved to Kersplebedeb.com!

Since March 2013, the main Kersplebedeb website has been migrated to a primarily wordpress format.

What this means in practical terms is that everything you are used to seeing on Sketchy Thoughts is now being posted straight to Kersplebedeb and simply being automatically mirrored here. So in general, you will probably have a better reading/viewing experience if you head over to Kersplebedeb.

For those who prefer the Sketchy Thoughts blogger layout for whatever reason, this page will continue to be automatically updated whenever something is posted to Kersplebedeb, for at least the short-term future. However, as additional functionality is added to the Kersplebedeb site via wordpress, the Sketchy Thoughts page will probably begin to show its age more and more.



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Secret plans to 'protect' France in the event of Le Pen victory emerge



Election win for far-right leader would have set off plans to ‘keep the peace’ official says as support for Macron’s party grows Election win for far-right leader would have set off plans to ‘keep the peace’ official says as support for Macron’s party grows It was never writ

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Secret plans to 'protect' France in the event of Le Pen victory emerge



Secret plans to ‘protect’ France in the event of Le Pen victory emerge (repost)

Election win for far-right leader would have set off plans to ‘keep the peace’ official says as support for Macron’s party grows Election win for far-right leader would have set off plans to ‘keep the peace’ official says as support for Macron’s party grows It was never writ

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Secret plans to ‘protect’ France in the event of Le Pen victory emerge



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2rq1jOv



Friday, May 19, 2017

Gavin McInnes’ ‘Alt-Right’ Fan Club Drifts Towards Neo-Nazi Violence



His people are getting arrested in Boston, and he lost a speaking gig in Chicago. Folks are becoming wise to this scumbag’s plans, and a guest contributor breaks him down.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Gavin McInnes’ ‘Alt-Right’ Fan Club Drifts Towards Neo-Nazi Violence



Trans cartoonist's website hacked and replaced by Nazi imagery by 'alt-right' trolls



Sophie LaBelle, who created the Assigned Male cartoon, was known for taking on transphobia and transmisogyny with her well known strip. But then an orchestrated attack deleted every comic, she was sent thousands of death threats, and her address was published on several forums.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Trans cartoonist's website hacked and replaced by Nazi imagery by 'alt-right' trolls



Gavin McInnes’ ‘Alt-Right’ Fan Club Drifts Towards Neo-Nazi Violence (repost)

His people are getting arrested in Boston, and he lost a speaking gig in Chicago. Folks are becoming wise to this scumbag’s plans, and a guest contributor breaks him down.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Gavin McInnes’ ‘Alt-Right’ Fan Club Drifts Towards Neo-Nazi Violence



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2qzUJUN



Trans cartoonist’s website hacked and replaced by Nazi imagery by ‘alt-right’ trolls (repost)

Sophie LaBelle, who created the Assigned Male cartoon, was known for taking on transphobia and transmisogyny with her well known strip. But then an orchestrated attack deleted every comic, she was sent thousands of death threats, and her address was published on several forums.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Trans cartoonist’s website hacked and replaced by Nazi imagery by ‘alt-right’ trolls



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2rxWhft



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Read J. Sakai’s Settlers for Free

2_settlersGiven the increased interest and chatter about J. Sakai’s Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat, Kersplebedeb is making this book available for free download from Amazon for the next five days, until May 21st.

FREE DOWNLOAD LINK: http://ift.tt/11w89tfB00N980EQK

Settlers is a uniquely important book in the canon of the North American revolutionary left and anticolonial movements. First published in the 1980s by activists with decades of experience organizing in grassroots anticapitalist struggles against white supremacy, the book soon established itself as an essential reference point for revolutionary nationalists and dissident currents within the predominantly colonialist Marxist-Leninist and anarchist movements at that time.

Always controversial within the establishment Left Settlers uncovers centuries of collaboration between capitalism and white workers and their organizations, as well as their neocolonial allies, showing how the United States was designed from the ground up as a parasitic and genocidal entity. Settlers exposes the fact that America’s white citizenry have never supported themselves but have always resorted to exploitation and theft, culminating in acts of genocide to maintain their culture and way of life. As recounted in painful detail by Sakai, the United States has been built on the theft of Indigenous lands and of Afrikan labor, on the robbery of the northern third of Mexico, the colonization of Puerto Rico, and the expropriation of the Asian working class, with each of these crimes being accompanied by violence.

This new edition includes “Cash & Genocide: The True Story of Japanese-American Reparations” and an interview with author J. Sakai by Ernesto Aguilar.

Please note that none of the illustrations from the paperback edition are included in the digital version.

RELATED WRITINGS

* J. Sakai interviewed following Trump’s election: “Entscheidend ist die Besatzungsmentalität: What’s crucial is the mentality of conquest and occupation”: http://ift.tt/1miuxsGposts/conquest-and-occupation/

* When Race Burns Class: Settlers Revisited: http://ift.tt/1miuxsGposts/raceburn/

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

“Settlers is a critical analysis of the colonization of the Americas that overturns the ‘official’ narrative of poor and dispossessed European settlers to reveal the true nature of genocidal invasion and land theft that has occurred for over five hundred years. If you want to understand the present, you must know the past, and this book is a vital contribution to that effort.”
—Gord Hill, author of 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance

“Great works measure up, inspire higher standards of intellectual and moral honesty, and, when appreciated for what they are, serve as a guide for those among us who intend a transformation of reality. Settlers should serve as a reminder (to anyone who needs one) of the genocidal tendencies of the empire, the traitorous interplay between settler-capitalist, settler-nondescript, and colonial flunkies.”
—Kuwasi Balagoon, Black Liberation Army

“When Settlers hit the tiers of San Quentin, back in 1986, it totally exploded our ideas about what we as a new class of revolutionaries thought we knew about a so-called ‘united working class’ in amerika. And what’s more, it brought the actual contradictions of national oppression and imperialism into sharp focus. It was my first, and as such my truest, study of the actual mechanics behind the expertly fabricated illusion of an amerikan proletariat.”
—Sanyika Shakur, author of Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2rsK37x



Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Perspectives on Anarchist Theory in Canada

Perspectives on Anarchist Theory is the annual publication of the Institute for Anarchist Studies; it includes recent essays by IAS-supported writers, feature articles with anarchist views on contemporary issues, book reviews, and updates about IAS activities. While people in the united states can order it directly from AK Press without much trouble, postage costs of doing so from canada have been exorbitant.

For that reason, we’re happy to say that Kersplebedeb LeftWingbooks.net has begun distributing the journal in canada: the Justice, Strategy, Care, Movements, Climate, and Anarcha-Feminisms issues are now all available in Canada, via the Kersplebedeb Leftwing Books website!

perspectivesanarchist_29 perspectivesanarchist_28 perspectivesanarchist_27 perspectivesanarchist_13_2 perspectivesanarchist_13_1perspectivesanarchist_12_2

 



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2pvGfli



Monday, May 08, 2017

Political Prisoner Jaan Laaman, Locked in Solitary Confinement and Facing Repression for Speaking Out for Human Rights

jaanlaamanTAKE ACTION for Anti-Imperialist Political Prisoner Jaan Laaman, Locked in Solitary Confinement and Facing Repression for Speaking Out for Human Rights

Jaan K. Laaman, long-time anti-imperialist political prisoner, is currently solitary confinement (“the hole”). Jaan has been in solitary confinement since his birthday on March 21, 2017 simply for issuing two political statements, a clear violation of free speech and human rights. [More details below.]

How you can support Jaan:

Write to Jaan and let him know he’s in our hearts and on our minds.

Jaan has no access to news and almost no access to phone calls. It’s important we send him some letters right now. Send him articles, so that he gets some world news.

Jaan Karl Laaman #10372-016
USP Tucson
P.O. Box 24550
Tucson, AZ 85734

Write and call the Warden and ask him to end the repression against Jaan.

Please write and call the Warden at USP Tucson and ask that Jaan be released from solitary confinement and that he not be punished for expressing his support for women’s rights and for writing a statement mourning the passing of his friend, Lynne Stewart. Remind the Warden that Jaan is an elder prisoner, and you’re concerned about his health in solitary confinement and you would be concerned about his safety if he is moved to another prison.

Warden
USP – Tucson
9300 South Wilmot Road
Tucson, AZ 85756
Email: TCP/ExecAssistant@bop.gov
Phone: 520-663-5000
Fax: 520-663-5024

You can also contact:
Mary M. Mitchell, Regional Director
BOP Regional Office
7338 Shoreline Drive
Stockton, CA 95219
Regional email: wxro/execassistant@bop.gov

Thomas R. Kane, Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Central Office HQ
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534

Background Information

Jaan is imprisoned at United States Penitentiary (USP) Tucson in Arizona, and is one of the last two remaining Ohio-7 political prisoners still locked up. The Ohio-7 were convicted in 1986 of direct actions to protest U.S. support for the white-supremacist apartheid regime in South Africa, illegal U.S. attacks on Nicaragua, and repression against advocates for Puerto Rican self-determination.

Jaan was placed into solitary confinement because of two short messages: one in support of the “Day Without a Woman Strike” (International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017) which was printed in the NYC Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) update, and his “Farewell Thoughts to My Friend, Lynne Stewart” which was broadcast on Prison Radio. Lynne Stewart, revolutionary peoples’ lawyer passed away on March 8, 2017. When the NYC ABC magazine arrived by mail to the prison, Jaan was promptly placed in solitary confinement. Prison officials charged Jaan with “threatening the security of the prison” because of these First Amendment protected statements.

No one should be punished for exercising their First Amendment Rights. The United States District Court in Pennsylvania recently ruled in a case involving efforts to censure Mumia Abu-Jamal: “A past criminal offense does not extinguish a person’s constitutional right to free expression. The First Amendment does not disappear at the prison gate.”

Pattern of Increasing Repression

Being placed in solitary confinement is the latest act of repression by the prison administration, following increasing actions against Jaan. Over a year ago, the prison shut down Jaan’s access to email, and they have been censoring him in various ways since then, including withholding his mail and limiting access to his lawyer.

Jaan was placed in solitary confinement on his birthday and has been there ever since. There is a growing consensus as to the psychological harm caused by solitary confinement. In 2011 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture concluded that solitary confinement for more than 15 days constitutes torture and can cause irreversible harmful psychological effects.

Jaan previously wrote about the increasing censorship he has been facing, here. Jaan has been writing reflections about global events since he was first captured in 1984, so this level of censorship is certainly something new and different.

This update was written by friends of Jaan Laaman.
Email  jaanlaaman@gmail.com
Facebook: Free Jaan Laaman
Twitter: @4StruggleMag.



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2qUX5va



Certain Dais Call for Art and Article Submissions: Awakening Resistance

certaindays2016coverCall for Submissions

CALL FOR ART AND ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS: AWAKENING RESISTANCE

What: A call for art and article submissions on Awakening Resistance for the 2018 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar

Deadline: May 15, 2017

The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar collective (www.certaindays.org) is releasing its 17th calendar this coming fall. The theme for 2018 is ‘Awakening Resistance,’ reflecting on organizing in the current political climate.

We are looking for 12 works of art and 12 short articles to feature in the calendar, which hangs in more than 2,500 homes, workplaces, prison cells, and community spaces around the world.

We encourage contributors to submit both new and existing work. We also seek submissions from prisoners – please forward to any prison-based artists and writers.

THEME GUIDELINES

The current political moment changes the landscape for radical organizing. Beyond the White House, communities worldwide are facing a climate that is more openly white supremacist, misogynist, and Islamophobic. Trump’s election, specifically, has woken up many elements on the left as well as the right, both north and south of the U.S.-Canadian border.

Some questions to consider: What can other periods of history teach us about what brought us to this moment, and what we can anticipate in the next few years? How do we bring in/work with newly politicized people, or those who could become politicized? How do we openly and decisively oppose fascist organizing? What does this moment look like, uniquely, within the Canadian state and in other global contexts? What does resistance look like for radical movements of all kinds — ecological, anti-colonial, migrant justice. queer- and trans-liberation struggles?

We would like Certain Days 2018 to contribute to our collective answer to these and other questions that the current political moment presents for social justice movements.

For some more inspiration, we invite you to read “The Context for the Trump Phenomenon” by political prisoner and calendar co-editor David Gilbert.

“There’s been an outpouring of Left analysis on who voted for Trump and why. Some of it is very helpful about race, class, and the economy. From what I’ve seen there’s been very little that puts all that in the global context, with the U.S. as the premier imperial power but in decline. Nor has there been enough that has rooted Trump’s rise in the developments of the past 45 years. This is the challenge for our ongoing project of analysis and activism.” – David Gilbert

FORMAT GUIDELINES

ARTICLES:

• 500 words max. If you submit a longer piece, we will have to edit for length.

• Poetry is also welcome but needs to be significantly shorter than 500 words to accommodate layout.

• Please include a suggested title.

ART:

1. The calendar is 11″ tall by 8.5″ wide, so art with a ‘portrait’ orientation is preferred. Some pieces may be printed with a border, so it need not fit those dimensions exactly.

2. We are interested in a diversity of media (paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, computer-designed graphics, collage, etc).

3. The calendar is printed in colour and we prefer colour images.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

1. Send your submissions by May 15, 2017 to info@certaindays.org.

2. ARTISTS: Please send images smaller than 10 MB. You can send a low-res file as a submission, but if your piece is chosen, we will need a high-res version of it to print (600 dpi).

3. You may send as many submissions as you like. Chosen artists and authors will receive a free copy of the calendar and promotional postcards. Because the calendar is a fundraiser, we cannot offer money to contributors.

Prisoner submissions are due June 7, 2017 and can be mailed to:
Certain Days c/o QPIRG Concordia
1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. O.
Montreal, QC H3G 1M8
Canada

or

Certain Days
c/o NYC ABC
PO Box 110034
Brooklyn, NY 11211

ABOUT THE CALENDAR

The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between outside organizers in Montreal, Toronto, and New York, in partnership with three political prisoners being held in maximum-security prisons in New York State: David Gilbert, Robert Seth Hayes and Herman Bell. We are committed to doing work grounded in an anti-imperialist and anti-racist perspective. We work in solidarity with anti-colonial struggles, Political Prisoners and the rights of undocumented citizens and migrants. We are queer- and trans-liberationist. We raise awareness of Political Prisoners and Prisoners ofWar in the United States and abroad, many of whom are now in their fourth decade of imprisonment. People on the streets should understand the history of today’s social justice movements and how that history is linked to solidarity for PPs/POWs. In addition to building that historical awareness, we emphasize the ongoing involvement and continued commitment of PPs/POWs in these same movements.

Proceeds from the calendar will be used for direct support work for Political Prisoners and anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist struggles in the U.S. and Canada.



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2qjXdHy



Silvia Federici : Un salaire pour le travail gratuit (FR/EN)

federiciJeudi le 18 mai, à 19h / Thursday May 18 at 7pm
Collège de Maisonneuve, au Vivoir (local B-2210)
3800, rue Sherbrooke Est, Montreal
À proximité du métro Joliette et Pie-IX (entrée libre)
By Joliette and Pie-IX metros, free admission

*** FRANÇAIS SUIVRA ***

 

CONFERENCE – DISCUSSION
A SALARY FOR UNPAID WORK: A REVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE

With SILVIA FEDERICI, activist and author of “Wages Against Housework” and of “Caliban and the Witch”

Since the 1970s, Silvia Federici, a leading figure in the Wages for Housework campaign, has been advocating for the importance of fighting for wages for women’s work. This feminist strategy aims to end the association between women and unpaid work and, doing so, exacerbate the contradictions of capitalism. This international campaign has at the same time launched a general struggle for the recognition of unpaid work, in particular that of housewives, students, sex workers and migrant workers.

Today, these demands echo the international Ni una menos call for a women’s strike issued on March 8th. It explicitly denounced the various forms of violence experienced by women by highlighting the extent of women’s work. It is in this spirit that on May 18, Silvia Federici will discuss current feminist perspectives to counter exploitation and domination as well as the contribution of these to the revolutionary movement of our time.

This conference is organized by the activists of the Comités unitaires sur le travail étudiant (CUTE), who have set in motion a mobilization campaign for the recognition of student work as intellectual work that deserves wages and good conditions. The Comités call for an interns’ strike, a women’s strike, as the student component of the struggle for the recognition of unpaid work.

Thursday May 18 @ 7 PM
Collège de Maisonneuve, at the Vivoir (room B-2210)
Near Joliette and Pie-IX stations, Montreal (free admission)

Conference in French and in English (free live French-to-English translation service available on site)
Vegan snacks available on site
Babysitting available on request by Facebook CUTE Campagne sur le travail étudiant. Just request the day before the event.
Organized by CUTE Campagne sur le travail étudiant

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

CONFÉRENCE – DISCUSSION
UN SALAIRE POUR LE TRAVAIL GRATUIT: PERSPECTIVE RÉVOLUTIONNAIRE

Avec SILVIA FEDERICI, militante et auteure de “Salaire contre le travail ménager” et de “Caliban et la sorcière”

Par les CUTE Campagne sur le travail étudiant

Silvia Federici, figure de proue de la campagne Du salaire au travail ménager (Wages for Housework), défend depuis les années 1970 l’importance de lutter pour la rémunération du travail des femmes. Cette stratégie féministe vise à mettre fin à l’association entre femmes et travail gratuit et, par le fait même, exacerber les contradictions du capitalisme. Cette campagne internationale a lancé du même coup une lutte générale pour la reconnaissance du travail gratuit, notamment celui des ménagères, des étudiant.es, des travailleuses du sexe et des travailleurs.euses migrant.es.

Aujourd’hui, ces revendications font écho à l’appel international NiUnaMenos à la grève des femmes lancé le 8 mars dernier. Il dénonçait explicitement les diverses formes de violences vécues par les femmes en rendant visible l’étendue du travail des femmes. C’est dans cet esprit que Silvia Federici discutera le 18 mai des perspectives féministes actuelles pour contrer l’exploitation et la domination ainsi que la contribution de celles-ci au mouvement révolutionnaire de notre époque.

Cette conférence est organisée par les militant.es des Comités unitaires sur le travail étudiant (CUTE), qui ont mis en branle une campagne de mobilisation pour la reconnaissance du travail étudiant en tant que travail intellectuel qui mérite salaire et bonnes conditions. Les comités lancent un appel à une grève des stagiaires, une grève des femmes, qui constitue le volet étudiant de la lutte pour la reconnaissance du travail gratuit.

Jeudi le 18 mai, à 19h
Collège de Maisonneuve, au Vivoir (local B-2210)
À proximité du métro Joliette et Pie-IX, Montréal (entrée libre)

Présentations en français et en anglais
Collation végétalienne servie sur place
Service de garde disponible sur demande par message Facebook à CUTE Campagne sur le travail étudiant avant la veille de l’événement



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2pryE7o



ALBERT WOODFOX!!! @ Montréal – Causerie publique/Public Talk

WOODFOX_CAUSERIEQUAND/WHEN: 19 mai, 18H00 / May 19th, 6pm
OÙ/WHERE: Concordia, Édifice Hall, salle H-110 du 1455, de Maisonneuve Ouest
Facebook Event :
http://ift.tt/2qgSdmU

 

LE FRANÇAIS SUIVRA

PLEASE SHARE IN YOUR NETWORKS

After the unforgettable visit of Robert H. King in March, we are
extremely happy to welcome his comrade Albert Woodfox, the other
surviving member of the Angola 3, to Montreal on May 19th at 6:00 pm at
the Alumni Auditorium of the Concordia University (room H-110, 1455 de
Maisonneuve blvd W.) for the Month of Anarchy. The public talk will be
hosted by Robyn Maynard.

Facebook Event :
http://ift.tt/2qS5oYR

Albert Woodfox is a Black Panther activist who has been fighting for
prisoners’ rights and against political repression and systemic racism
since 1971, the year he was incarcerated. He co-founded a Black Panther
chapter in Angola penitentiary, in Louisiana, known to be the worst
prison in the United States, where he resisted 45 years of torture. A
free man since February 2016, he continues to fight and advocate
throughout the world for the liberation of political prisoners and the
end of solitary confinement.

To find out more about Albert Woodfox and the Angola 3: angola3.org

*Free entrance*
*Wheelchair accessible*

Thank you to our partners: COBP; Concordia Student Union; CLAC; les
comités de solidarité internationale et de l’immigration du Conseil
central du Montréal métropolitain-CSN; Projections Insurgées; Toute
détention est politique; GRIP-UQÀM; Union libre (journal étudiant de
l’UQAM); Ass. étudiante du Cégep du Vieux-Montréal; Ass. étudiante du
cégep Saint-Laurent; AFESH; QPIRG-Concordia; FRAPRU; Montréal-Nord
Républik; Tout le hood en parle; Commission populaire contre la
répression politique; PASC; CKUT, Kersplebedeb.


 

À DIFFUSER DANS VOS RÉSEAUX…
Après la visite inoubliable de Robert H. King en mars, c’est avec une
immense joie que nous accueillerons à Montréal son camarade Albert
Woodfox, l’autre membre vivant des Angola 3, le 19 mai prochain à 18h, à
l’auditorium Alumni de l’Université Concordia (salle H-110 du 1455, de
Maisonneuve Ouest) dans le cadre du mois de l’Anarchie. La causerie
publique sera animée par Robyn Maynard.

Événement Facebook :
http://ift.tt/2qS5oYR

Albert Woodfox est un militant Black Panther qui lutte pour les droits
des détenus, contre la répression politique et le racisme systémique
depuis 1971, année de son incarcération. Il a participé à la création
d’un chapitre des Black Panthers dans la prison d’Angola, en Louisiane,
réputée comme étant la pire prison des États-Unis, où il a résisté à 45
ans de torture. Libéré en février 2016, il poursuit la lutte en
parcourant le monde pour revendiquer la libération des prisonniers
politiques et la fin de la pratique de l’isolement carcéral.

Pour en savoir plus sur Albert Woodfox et les Trois d’Angola : angola3.org

*Traduction vers le français sur écran*
*Entrée gratuite*
*Accessible aux fauteuils roulants*

Merci à nos partenaires: COBP; Concordia Student Union; CLAC; les
comités de solidarité internationale et de l’immigration du Conseil
central du Montréal métropolitain-CSN; Projections Insurgées; Toute
détention est politique; GRIP-UQÀM; Union libre (journal étudiant de
l’UQAM); Ass. étudiante du Cégep du Vieux-Montréal; Ass. étudiante du
cégep Saint-Laurent; AFESH; QPIRG-Concordia; FRAPRU; Montréal-Nord
Républik; Tout le hood en parle; Commission populaire contre la
répression politique; PASC; CKUT, Kersplebedeb.



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2qS8FqM



Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Enlightenment values? No thanks (repost)

Immanuel Kant: “The blacks are very vain but in the Negro’s way, and so talkative that they must be driven apart from each other with thrashings.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Enlightenment values? No thanks



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2qGndJs



Enlightenment values? No thanks



Immanuel Kant: “The blacks are very vain but in the Negro’s way, and so talkative that they must be driven apart from each other with thrashings.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Enlightenment values? No thanks



Saturday, April 29, 2017

Garbage Floats in with the Tide: For Autonomous Antifascism

bw-sea-tide-shipwreck

In his “Notes on Trump,” Bromma posits that the election of Trump and the accompanying rise of the far right are not simple accidents of history, nor the result of some single failure on our side or success on theirs, but are conjoined expressions of a deep phase-shift within the global capitalist economy. Whereas the fact that a wacky reality tv star was the one who ushered this in, and that it happened in 2016 and not 2015 or 2017, might be a matter of contingency or chance, a lurch to the populist xenophobic right was predictable, perhaps unavoidable. This is an important claim, one which, if true, has strategic consequences for those of us who seek to resist what is coming.

While it is important to not fall into the trap of viewing political and cultural phenomena (“superstructure”) as being automatically set in place by economic considerations (“base”), we can nonetheless see that the latter often determines the possible ways the former might develop.

In this light, certain characteristics of the far right today gleam with particular intensity. For instance, while the far right always had important gender politics, in the current moment gender is explicitly centered in new and unstable ways, as different tendencies vacillate between wildly different positions. Whereas a perverse “femonationalism” has taken hold over large sections of organized racists, especially in Western Europe, positing Islamophobia and outright white supremacy as justified on “feminist” grounds, the alt-right in the United States swings the other way, embracing misogyny and a series of masculinist tropes.

Similarly, the “unipolar” post-Soviet world has been one of porous, unreliable state sovereignty, for a variety of reasons including but not limited to what some have termed the “hollowing out” of the state. In this context, far rightists have explored fantasies as to how to use zones of chaos, statelessness, and warlordism, as opportunities to bootstrap their own “tribal” minarchies. The welcome so-called “anarcho-pluralists” and “national anarchists” have received from larger far right forces, not to mention the authoritarian path of American “Libertarianism,” seem less anachronistic, and more significant, when this fractious global reality is taken into account.

Bromma’s text therefore points to Trumpism, and the current prominence of the far right, as being noteworthy for the way in which they signal that the worm has indeed turned; even though they themselves may only be precursor phenomena for what could be a cascading series of jumps to the right, to authoritarianism, ultimately towards a new cycle of genocide and war.[1]

If the motor force behind the night and fog descending is structural and present on a world scale – then ultimately, this points to global structural change as being the best bet to jam history’s gears and set ourselves upon a better path. That’s the “big picture” solution, one we must keep in mind – but looking at the far right surge as a corollary to this capitalist shift also demands more practical decisions for the immediate future.

RADICAL

The word “radical” comes from the Latin word Radix – itself ironically the title of an important alt-right publication – a word that means “root.” To go to the structural root of the historical dynamic we are enmeshed in, is therefore to be radical – and a radical vision, both going to the root of things and imagining ways of completely uprooting them, is made more urgent with every tremor that cracks the historical terrain.

Developing a radical stance means not only deepening our opposition to the far right, but also disconnecting our analysis and our positions from the system the far right so often claims to oppose. As troubling as it is, this sets a treacherous path before us, where we must resist automatic “left” or “antifascist” unity, while continuing to intervene against far right offensives. A task made all the more difficult by the fact that much that the far right sets itself against is itself a surface expression of the same deep structure that we ourselves oppose.

It is worth making sure this is not misunderstood, because it resembles a theory being muttered in some quarters, that leads nowhere good. Neocolonialism creates contradictory cultural and political phenomena – secondary effects of neocolonialism’s integration of oppressed and oppressor within structures that work to maintain these oppressive dynamics. Some of these secondary effects seem to promote the interests of historically oppressed groups, some seem to work against their interests, but all within this larger system that relies on massive and even genocidal oppression around the world. (And keeps its finger always on the trigger ready to kill to defend this order.) In this sense, the “whitelash” and the alt-right are themselves secondary effects of neocolonialism, just as are various new forms of middle-class etiquette and campaigns to “decolonize” aspects of capitalism without eradicating capitalism itself. Sensing this, some argue that the latter have caused the former – one common formulation being that white reaction is a “response to identity politics.” Whereas in fact, both what is often being referred to as “identity politics” and white reaction itself are secondary effects of the deeper neocolonial order – each may exacerbate the other, but neither one will go away just because the other does. They are generated by something deeper, the global economic and political structure itself.[2]

If opposing the far right everywhere, while not necessarily lining up behind everything the far right attacks, seems like a paradox, it is one that will only be solved to the extent that we develop positive reference points for ourselves and others. This means figuring out our social base, those who we will prioritize relating to, and whose interests we will take as our concern. This also means putting forth our own alternatives, ones based on our own values. Both tasks raise questions – what social base? what values? It is in how we answer these questions that we will finally learn who we really are. And it is here that communism, anarchism, and other “unrealistic” (and certainly unpopular) dreams, may prove themselves to be more realistic and practical than what the reformists and liberals have on offer.[3]

CULTURE

We are witnessing an entire constellation of ways of thinking and acting and being, all associated with a particular historical era (and with it, a particular configuration of capitalism), being pushed aside. Certainly, the charade of liberal multiculturalism and the pro-capitalist version of state-sanctioned “feminism” even, were as much products of the neoliberal moment, as were the invasion of Iraq and the proliferation of mass incarceration. Today, we see other forces pushing their way through, coming in with the tide, with giddy plans to change all this. Just not for the better.

In lockstep almost, Trump’s trajectory in 2016 grew alongside the enthusiasm of millions of alienated and angry privileged white men fed up with one facet of neocolonial culture. With every homophobic, ableist, racist, or sexist statement, those grounded in the neoliberal consensus felt more certain that The Donald “could not win” – and yet with every such pronouncement his support increased. On a cultural level, this was indeed a “whitelash” – one full of personal hatred against Barack, Michelle, and Hillary, to be sure … but not just against them, nor even just against the neoliberal clique that had won every election since Reagan … no, theirs was an anger against the entire neocolonial order and how it chafed. As the alt-right Traditionalist Youth Movement noted, “Even if Trump had never stated a single policy position, his alpha male frat boy bullying of the media and the left is a revolutionary thing in itself.”[4] They are correct.

Trump is not unique in this regard. The demagogue who appears to the polite left as a buffoon but to the broader public as a “man of the people,” is a mainstay of the populist right, radical and not. Ask a Canadian about Rob Ford. Such figures are especially attractive in times of rapid change; they are easy for a certain demographic to project their own feelings onto, whatever those may be – and if such figures seem a bit “nuts,” or unpolished, doesn’t that make them all the more accessible, reassuring even? Along these lines, it is worth quoting at length from Franco “Bifo” Berardi, in his discussion of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (a Trump prototype if ever there was one):

“Silvio Berlusconi’s behaviour is incomprehensible to the conservative Right and Left, whose political reason follows traditional models. They see it as indispensable to respect official language and cannot imagine a context for political action outside of adherence to legality. But the strength of Berlusconi’s media-populism lies precisely in the systematic violation of the taboos linked to political officialdom and legality. […] What seems most unbearable and provocative to the custodians of severity is the ridiculing of political rhetoric and its stagnant rituals slyly and systematically operated by Berlusconi. But there are reasons to believe that the large majority of people who constitute the ‘public’ of politics (the electorate) were amused by this ridiculing and provocative gesture and in many cases conquered by it: they identified with the slightly crazy Premier, the rascal Prime Minister who resembles them, as at other times they had identified with Mussolini and Craxi.

“The majority of the Italian electorate grew up as TV audiences at a time when television became the primary vehicle for informality, vulgar and coarse allusiveness, the language of ambiguity and aggressiveness. Thus they spontaneously found themselves on the same cultural wavelength as Berlusconi, with his language, words, and gestures, but also with the deprecation of rules in the name of a spontaneous energy that rules can no longer bridle. […]

“To the plebeian coarseness of Berlusconi and his perky banqueters in government, the Left responded with prissiness and consternation in the face of the violation of the language of political correctness. But calling out ‘Scandal!’ proved to be a losing argument against the policies of the centre right government. In fact, part of the secret of Berlusconi’s success in politics lies precisely in the use of excess.”[5]

Like the Italian left criticized here, many today feel it enough to describe (accurately) the sexism and racism of Trump and his far right supporters, and cry out “Scandal!” And of course, it is scandalous, horrific. However, here too, just saying so is a losing gambit: those neocolonial and neoliberal rules and norms are not something we can rely on or properly defend any more, even when we want to. They’re a ship sinking in a shallow harbour – can’t be rescued, even though sections may stay above water, maybe even indefinitely – the important thing from our point of view, is that as a vehicle to go somewhere, or an alternative to appeal to people with, it’s not going to work very well. We need a break with all that, one that goes to the root. Easier said than done, of course.

AUTONOMOUS

To be radical for us therefore requires a break, a separation. It requires autonomy from the same system and culture the far right also claims to attack. Autonomous, radical, antifascism strives to not go down with the ship.

Beyond the culture war, nurturing autonomous radical opposition to the far right also makes good tactical sense. Not long after Trump’s victory, as thousands took to the streets night after night to express their outrage, Democrats were already sheepdogging for the new administration that days earlier they had dismissed as simultaneously fascistic and impossible. In her first statement after the election, Hillary Clinton announced that people had to “accept this result,” that they owed the new administration “an open mind” and a “chance to lead.” In a more concrete vein, Bernie Sanders would later explain that “It’s one thing to kill the TPP … it’s another thing to develop a trade policy that finally works for American workers and not the CEOs of large multinational corporations, and if Mr. Trump is serious about moving in that direction I’d be delighted to work with him.” The “responsible opposition” postured as the “resistance,” all the while condemning the black bloc and antifascists. As the 1st of May Anarchist Alliance noted at the time, “Perhaps the most revealing aspect of this moment is that after spending months describing Trump as a grave threat to the lives of women, people of color, queer and trans people and the disabled, the entire Democratic Party has immediately capitulated to him. They have made clear that they always held preserving their broken system to be far more important than our lives.”[6]

In such situations, there is a direct relationship between how quickly we can act, how clearly we can see, how easily we can relate to the people in the streets, and how well we have kept ourselves away from those forces intent upon capitulation/integration. Again, we strive to not go down with their ship.

On a very practical level, autonomy is a safety measure. Cooperation with state actors, or with organizations that seek ties to sections of the state, will always leave more radical forces vulnerable to manipulation and repression. Or to simply being used as a commodity up for trade, in one of the predictable deals that such groups must always make. Indeed, on more than one occasion state-allied organizations purportedly working against the far right have turned their fire against our side. While the most infamous examples are probably the 1993 revelations about the Anti-Defamation League’s collaboration with (apartheid) South African agents to assemble intelligence and smear progressive and anti-Zionist organizations, and the Southern Poverty Law Centre’s attacks against radical environmentalists in the 2000s, these are just the visible edge of a much wider phenomenon, one that plays out in small, trivial, and dangerous ways every day.[7]

Autonomy from the state does not guarantee our success (or survival), but it does give us a chance to set our own goals, and to fight for space in what is becoming an increasingly claustrophobic situation. Avoiding integration by the state and keeping our own priorities clear are more necessary now than ever. We may never be a majority here – that should not come as a surprise in a society based on theft and murder around the world – but that does not mean we can’t get stuff done, or that we’re not better off with a smaller but surer number of allies. As J. Sakai remarked years ago, an “obsession with needing a social majority has nothing to do with being ‘practical’. What it has to do with is bourgeois and defeatist thinking. This is like the left thinking that could not build a practical anti-fascist movement in Weimar Republic Germany during the 1920s and 1930s, although millions hated Nazism and wanted to do something, because that German left was too preoccupied with fantasies of either seizing or getting elected into state power for itself.” Prescient words indeed.

That said, autonomy in any complex multisided fight is an ideal which cannot always be put into practice. We must expect that we will be showing up at the same demonstrations, even sharing the same podium, with groups and individuals we do not entirely trust. (Not necessarily anything new there.) These situations have to be navigated on a case by case basis, real life not offering any guarantees.

“Autonomy” begs the question: Autonomous from who? From what? As our goals are social and political, our autonomy contains within itself its opposite, as we must be constantly reaching out beyond ourselves, putting our identities and our separateness on the line. On the level of offense, we need to win over the undecided, to be there at the moment where something makes them think twice – as such, we need to be where people are, even if this means not being comfortable or at ease ourselves (but to be effective, we had best not cling to our discomfort). On the level of defense, on a tactical level, we need to be able to work with larger numbers of people, without being burned by state-supportive elements but also without burning people who are not yet down with our complete programme. In other words, in terms of both defense and offense, we need people. So our autonomy is outward-looking, standing against the self-referentiality of the sections of the left. At the same time, it navigates away from state, systemic, and pro-capitalist forces that would trap us within their orbits and agendas.

Perhaps the best we can do at this point is to remember that there is no way to make ourselves (or our allies) bulletproof to the consequences of such unavoidable circumstances. Tread with care, and keep your cards close to your chest.

METAPOLITICS

After World War II, the imperialist west entered a long period of growth and relative stability. There was not a single successful revolution, either from the left or the right, in a “core” metropole from this point on. Major challenges to the world economic system, for instance the end of formal colonialism, did throw the system into crisis, but in the end were handled without the violent overthrow of the ruling class in any of their “home” countries.[8]

That said, the challenge thrown up by the anticolonial revolutions was massive. That this “should have” provided an opening for revolution in the core countries simply indicates how great the barriers (parasitism, chauvinism, racism) always were to such a possibility. Still, the imperialist countries could not neutralize anticolonialism without themselves being changed, and not just superficially. What we are witness to today is just one massive aftershock to this (and the way this aftershock plays out may throw a very different light on the past half century, showing that what we thought was up was really down, that what we thought was over had really just begun). Painful though it may have been, this change was something the ruling class could do, had to do, and once they did it, the stability of the postwar imperialist states and their new neocolonial consensus seemed practically unassailable. (Until, of course, it started to stumble.)

This had major consequences for the far right, which became increasingly hostile to the neocolonial solutions that the former colonial powers pursued, as most clearly evidenced in North America by phenomena such as the nazified “Fifth Era” Klan, the Posse Commitatus, etc. At the same time, this new situation led some of the more insightful far rightists to reject the quick march to power as simply impractical. It was in this context, in France, that a school of thought known as the European New Right first emerged, intent on rehabilitating fascism and racism and making them appealing to future generations. Focusing on the ideas, cultural forms, and assumptions that undergird formal politics, the approach adopted was termed “metapolitical” by its partisans. The goal being to shift the entire discussion in their favour, with a focus on the “elite.” Explicitly, this was a “war of position,” and Gramsci (and Mao) were discussed with interest in the ENR’s highbrow journals and symposia in this light.

It is thanks to their metapolitical strategy, borrowed directly from the ENR, that the U.S. alt-right has been most successful. A particular kind of success that has caused the “mainstream” to be enthralled by the spectacle they provide, as they contest areas where the (neo-)liberal consensus reigned, and where leftists grew complacent. We may not have expected to enjoy hegemony there, but we certainly did not expect the far right to be contending for it, either. Maybe we expected them to be the main radical force in the rural midwest, in the hillbilly churches, the army, or the prisons – but not on the nightly news, where depending on the venue they may be presented less as a freakshow for pundits to make fun of, than as the voice of a “forgotten America” said pundits wish to reconnect with.[9] This caught us off guard – but not nearly as off guard as it caught the liberals, which partly explains the media fascination with the alt-right, especially just after the election, trying to decode its appeal and debate its meaning. A fascination that does nothing so much as it provides an opportunity for their next major advance – because, despite the liberal hype, the smartest fascists are not into normalizing or mainstreaming, they’re into pulling the “mainstream” onto their terrain.

While recognizing the strength of a metapolitical approach, and how strongly it can boost a group’s importance on the level of ideas, it is worth noting that it does not a complete fascist movement make. Specifically, metapolitics aim to eventually win by shifting the parameters of debate everywhere, but do not immediately translate into any capacity to make their supremacist dreams reality right now. This points to an important initial weakness of the alt-right, namely its lack of any effective street presence. Until well into 2017 it remained a conglomeration of elitists who meet at private conferences, and populist keyboard warriors who rarely leave their basements, all of whom seem to have experienced their lives before Trump as some kind of inner emigration from the hostile – supposedly anti-male and anti-white – world around them. While they punched above their weight in the realm of public opinion, as we saw, this didn’t protect them from real punches in real life. This lack of a street presence proved a crucial factor in how things played out in the first months of the year. Our opponents were clearly aware of this, and there were a number of attempts to overcome this limitation, for instance in the calls for an anti-Jewish march on Whitefish, Montana, and in Gavin McInnes’s Proud Boys Network.

Finalizing this paper in April, the events in Berkeley – in which members of the alt-right came together with Patriots, neonazis, Republicans, and independent Trump supporters – seem to indicate that our opponents have overcome this weakness, and that basing our long-term strategies on an assumption that they will always be the ones we send running is a dangerous mistake. It is unclear how easily they will replicate this success – as has been noted by others, Berkeley was the result of a national far right mobilization against a local antifascist countermobilization – however we can’t afford to assume this was just some freak event.

Again: It is important to appreciate that what has changed is just the latest big lurch, in what we can predict will be an ongoing cascade of jumps to the right, and away from the neoliberal consensus that too many of us had grown comfortable with.

SPECULATIONS #1: SPLITS

It did not take long for observers from all sides to start noting the likely splits to occur between the insurgent far right and the Trump administration. What is perhaps less easy to recognize, is that such splits, when they happen – and indeed, some of them have already happened – also present our side with a challenge.

The alt-right and Trump each benefited from throwing their hats in history’s ring at just the right time. While the lurch to the right may have been structurally determined, their particular good fortune was not: despite the obvious talents of all involved, there was more than a little (bad) luck at play, too.

As the paths that together make up their awkward dance fall in and out of sync, this latest far right iteration finds itself occasionally at odds with the “new” political establishment, and its ongoing need to mediate and manage ruling class interests. Whether as an authoritarian racist regime, or as a simple demagogic kleptocracy, whichever way Trump heads, it’s unlikely to satisfy all the forces now in motion. (While discussions such as this can seem whimsical in that they are almost guaranteed to fail at guessing the future, we benefit from thinking these possibilities through in this abstract way, if only so that we can later see where we went wrong.)

Let us assume – for no good reason, really – that the more “responsible” ruling class approach is adopted. At first some hopefully claimed that Trumpism in such a scenario might involve a strategic withdrawal from the Middle East; more recent events seem to indicate that it is more likely to involve a dramatic escalation there. Either way, though, the kinds of increased social bribery Trump promised his supporters can only be paid for by increased imperial plunder, which eventually brings with it all the same problems that bedeviled the globalizers. The hopeful claim made by some on the left, that Trump would be worse for people inside the United States, but Clinton worse for people around the world, was a lot more convincing when everybody knew Clinton would win.

In the months since i first started writing this text, cracks have already appeared. Much of this speculative section is now outdated. And more will be before it goes to print, or ends up in a reader’s hands. Suffice to say, that being aware of the differences between different players and factions, not just using the same most-inflammatory or polemical terms for them all, is necessary in order to understand what is going down, and how we orient ourselves.

Splits between the non-systemic far right and a far right administration will be irresistible for some on the left, who may feel compelled to seize the opportunity and enter the fray, on one side or another. Needless to say, past experience shows that doing so often ends badly. The ability of the state – even a Trumpist state – to integrate left-wing movements, stands in parallel with the ability of sections of the far right to forge “red-brown” alliances of their own. Without our holding the center of gravity, with the tide against us, such dalliances will always leave us weaker, less steady, less what we need to be.

Which seems obvious beforehand, but may be less so when we notice who else is protesting the first Trump war, or when we are faced with Breitbart calling for a crackdown on their erstwhile friends, or perhaps themselves are the target of said crackdown.

There will be no “easy bits” on the road we must walk.

SPECULATIONS #2: CRISIS OF THE STATE – POSSIBILITIES OF A COUP

There was for a while much chatter about coups. Such talk might be done with, or might come again. The possibility of some kind of disruptive course correction from the neoliberals within the u.s. state was certainly there at least in the first days of the administration, as was the possibility of preventive countermeasures, but even then it must be said it was always highly unlikely. Which is not to say that nothing can be gained by thinking about it, of course, or that such a possibility had no impact on moves our opponents made.

There are abstract realities that we can map out, however doing so has only a distant connection to what would be necessary were such an eventuality to come to pass. The relationship between the two is similar to that between knowing the rules and the betting odds of a sports championship, and knowing as a competent player on the field where and how to kick the ball (not to mention being able to do so).

What we do know, is that under such conditions – whether a coup for or against Trump – sections of both the far right and the far left would be repressed, while sections of the far right and of the “left” would be used by the state to help with the repressing. To the extent that we have failed to retain our autonomy, and that we have failed to develop a sympathetic social base, we will be mopped up before we can figure out how to respond.

Given that the spectre of such a clampdown appears on both sides of the ruling class mudwrestling match, broad unity or affiliation against one side (in the name of democracy or antifascism or whatever), will conversely make us vulnerable to instrumentalization/integration by the other (and quick neutralization if we balk too much).

Even in these surprising times, this a highly improbable scenario; there is so much to lose for the ruling class (and not only the u.s. ruling class) if the regular state system breaks down in the united states, that all factions have a strong incentive to swallow all kinds of bitter pills rather than allow that to happen. However, this is not to say that the possibility, even if never realized, is without consequence.

More than anything, the talk of a coup was itself a sign, a shrill echo, of the crisis of the state under Trump. This is a characteristic of imperialism in decline, and one that is unlikely to lessen without a new equilibrium being forged between increasingly fractious capitalist elements – not a probable scenario.[10]

THE YEARS AHEAD

2016 represented a lurch to the right, both within and opposed to the u.s. state. History, experienced “live,” can be dizzying, and even before his election, friends and comrades were claiming that Trump was a fascist. Certainly, there was smoke, and there are live embers, but the overall situation remains more complicated than those initial claims. It is through that complexity that we must now fight.

What is to come will require political principles, to distinguish us from our far right and state-allied rivals, and also to allow us to develop and deepen our own political and social bases, and put forth our own alternatives. Anti-racism and anti-sexism are vital, but these terms must be given real content; they become ghosts of themselves when confined to the symbolic field and without an orientation towards those suffering economic marginalization, intensified exploitation, ever-harsher poverty, i.e. the proletariat. Liberation from structures of domination, an embrace of people as they choose to be – and with the power to make that choice in a meaningful way – without exploiting or oppressing others. Perhaps the biggest challenge to those of us in the metropole, especially in the oppressor nations, is finding what our base can even be, in societies founded on and maintained by white supremacist parasitism. In this regard, neat and tidy formulas represent a bad habit we need to get over, fast.

While Trump and the alt-right benefited from an extraordinary confluence of factors – not least for each being the other – there were deep structural factors at play that made such a lurch inevitable, if not now then soon enough. This is not “fascism,” and the alt-right are different from the mass reactionary movements the United States and Europe have seen in the past. But the night is still young.

One thing is clear, revolutionary left politics in North America are more relevant today than they have been for decades.

 

ENDNOTES

[1] Before continuing, a note on tides, cycles, history: Bromma’s text, like this one, uses the metaphor of the tide, that global phenomenon of the oceans being pulled back and forth roughly twice  a day, something that has been going on ever since the moon was split from the earth. As regular and predictable as clockwork. Metaphors, however, should not be taken literally. Bromma also, more than myself, takes the old-school setup that ruled prior to the mid-20th century global shakeup as a reference to where things are heading in the current era of the right ascendant. This can give the impression that what we are experiencing is a return to the past, that globalization is over and will be replaced by the same kind of setup that existed beforehand. Some readers may even think it means that neocolonialism will revert to old-style colonialism – not a claim that Bromma makes, it should be noted.

History after all is not like a tide. While it goes through repeated cycles where new phenomena carry with them what superficially may look like returns to the past (“history repeats itself”), in actual fact it is more like a spiral moving both circularly and in a particular direction at the same time. Not only does a full cycle not bring one back to the same point as before, but there are also chokepoints, qualitative boundaries, which once surpassed cannot be undone or reversed.

I am unsure, simply because I don’t feel I have a proper grasp of the macro-economic mechanics, as to whether or not Bromma’s view is correct, that the wave of globalization has crested, and that that is the economic sea-change being expressed in the rise of the right. However, I do proceed with the firm sense that whether globalization has crested or not, that neocolonialism in the context of the decline of imperialism is itself sufficient to establish structural parameters that will foster far right racist politics on a mass popular level, often with anti-elitist and even anti-systemic characteristics, as nations built around privilege sense that this core aspect of their identity now needs to be aggressively reasserted and defended.

Furthermore, it should not be assumed that even if Bromma’s formulation is correct, if globalization has crested, that this means a return to the status quo ante. The exact lines of division and forms of oppression that were challenged and to some extent displaced in the 20th century may reassert themselves – or they may not. Structurally, what is important is stratification, exploitation, hierarchical division – these are the sources of social power and overall cohesion for capitalism – the precise lines and forms these take are to a real if limited extent up for grabs. (It is very much this “up for grabs” that motivates all kinds of political actors, including those organizing and leading the right-wing surge, but also many who may appear to be on our side.)

As indicated above, my gloomy thoughts are not contingent on even that much being true. What they do assume is that the neoliberal and globalized form of capitalism is in crisis and is shifting to something new (whether this superficially resembles the past or not), and that this coming world will be a more hostile terrain for us, one that in numerous ways will make things worse for oppressed people, encouraging even greater racism, sexism, and violence both towards and between oppressed groups.

[2] How many things in life are complicated! Deeper, or more central, phenomena, seem to always throw up these contradictory surface-level expressions of themselves, sometimes separate but more often than not still tied to each other, spinning around each other’s center of gravity like some wobbly unstable binary star. Or maybe electrons around a nucleus would be a better analogy – and think of the energy that is released when an atom gets split. But how to do it is the trick. We need to learn to see how phenomena contain contradictory characteristics, and we need to be patient with the fact that what helps us and what hurts us can’t always be separated just by announcing that that’s our intention. Whether we’re talking about antifascism, “identity politics,” decolonization, Marxism or feminism or anarchism – the expectation that these things will be simple, take it all or leave it all, the final word …  are likely to disappoint.

[3] In this regard, the recent interview with Kieran on KPFA Radio is highly recommended. It has been transcribed and is also available on the Three Way Fight blog.

[4] http://ift.tt/2qgnS7K

[5] After the Future, Franco Berardi Bifo, pp. 116-7. I am grateful to AK Press for publishing this book, and also for individuals from around AK for highlighting these specific passages for me.

[6] “No One is Coming to Save Us: An Anarchist Response to the Election of Donald Trump” First of May Anarchist Alliance, November 11, 2016. http://m1aa.org/?p=1268

[7] Those in canada may also be interested in the pathetic history of the Ligue Antifasciste Mondiale (World Antifascist League) in this regard: http://ift.tt/2l0oxEN

[8] While Turkey, Greece, Portugal, and Spain all experienced what might be termed “revolutions” during this period, these countries existed in a condition somewhere between the imperialist core and the colonized periphery. Furthermore, when abrupt “illegal” changes of government did occur, they came from within the state, shepherded by NATO and other bodies of international capitalist order.

[9] Not to mention direct impact. The “alt-lite” Breitbart website, for instance, somewhat predictably improved its Alexa ranking from 1000 in the summer of 2016 to the 600s just before the election, to the mid-200s immediately after the election, and has continued to improve more slowly since then. (By comparison, flagship media sites like cnn.com and nytimes.com maintain ratings in the 100s.) More hardcore racist websites associated with the alt-right – the Traditional Workers Party, National Policy Institute, The Right Stuff, etc. – all saw similar predictably dramatic improvement in their ratings in 2016, with major jumps in November, though most lost some of these gains in the early months of 2017 (and all of these sites remained in the 1,000s or 10,000s).

[10] In this regard, recent articles in The New Yorker and The Washington Post about the Mercer family and the impact of the Citizens United decision on the U.S. State are worth reading and thinking about seriously.



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2pgsWrs



Militant Tactics in Anti-Fascist Organizing–Interview Transcript (repost)

“I think some folks, many folks… try to divide the concept of a mass response with a militant response. That it’s only possible to do one or the other. I think we really want to challenge that. We think that what’s needed is both. And that’s not easy…but that’s our goal.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Militant Tactics in Anti-Fascist Organizing–Interview Transcript



on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2pgol8w



Militant Tactics in Anti-Fascist Organizing--Interview Transcript



“I think some folks, many folks… try to divide the concept of a mass response with a militant response. That it’s only possible to do one or the other. I think we really want to challenge that. We think that what’s needed is both. And that’s not easy…but that’s our goal.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Militant Tactics in Anti-Fascist Organizing--Interview Transcript



Friday, April 28, 2017

Quick analysis of the anti-fascist counter demo Montreal April 23

23avril_2017_mtlFollowing the explicitly anti-Muslim demonstration held on March 4, on April 23 some of the same far right forces tried a different approach, calling for a demonstration against the governing provincial Liberal Party, taking care to not include anything about race or Islam in any of their materials, and telling people not to bring any racist signs or wear anything identifying them as members of their orgs (Soldiers of Odin, La Meute, etc.). On the 23rd between 200 and 300 people attended this demonstration that had been called for and organized by the far right. There was a smaller counter-demonstration, which quickly became fragmented. Below is a contribution from two people who attended, and some suggestions for what needs to be done as we move forward.

Quick analysis of the anti-fascist counter demo Montreal April 23

There were not many anti-fascists this time. Maybe 75, despite it being (or because it was) a beautiful, warm, sunny day. (It was hard to tell exactly how many were there, because most of them dispersed in an attempt to get around the police blockades, but were unsuccessful.)

There were about 300 right-wingers and fascists. They were told not to and did not bring any racist or Islamophobic signs. They had no signs, shirts, or obvious identification that any of them were members La Muete or Soldiers of Odin, for example. The speakers/organizers were not those who addressed the previous demo. There were a lot of Quebec fleurs des lys flags.

The initial fascist ‘security’ group, which showed up an hour early, were mostly masked, helmeted, and carrying clubs to hold their flags. They were respectful to the police, and the police were in turn friendly to them. At one point, a number of cops huddled for about five to ten minutes with the putative leadership of their group. None of them were disarmed by the police, who usually take sticks away from anti-capitalist demonstrators. Several police told us, when asked, that their clubs were not illegal “as long as they didn’t hit people with them.”

Several times throughout the demo, the fascists chanted “Merci à a police!” However, at the end, outside of the Premier’s Montreal office on McGill College, the police quickly and firmly surrounded them on three sides, effectively bringing their demo to an end—possibly not taking any chances with these guys.

For a couple of years, we anti-fascist counter-demonstrators won by vastly outnumbering the fascists, and so we didn’t have to plan to do anything at the counter-demo, other than show up.

But March 4th in front of City Hall, our weakness in not planning was evident, as the larger number of rightists and fascists, with their police escort, simply marched east, while almost all of the anti-fascists present gathered behind a police line west of them. And they were blocked at that point.

Sunday, most of the anti-fascists again!, gathered behind a police line on Ste-Catherine and were blocked, while the fascists who first assembled in the Place de Spectacles, marched freely south in front of them, and made a semi-circle to the Premier’s Montreal office on rue McGill College. A few of us stayed with the fascists to the end of their 45-minute march. Only then did we see twenty or so anti-fascists who briefly showed up again (and were then blocked and run off by the riot police).

At this point, it is clear that simply asking people to show up to counter-demonstrate the fascists is inadequate.

It is time for the anti-fascists to practice more effective street tactics, for instance:

– arriving with clear shared objectives and a good understanding of the geographical terrain the face-off will occur on;

– making plans to evade police blockades;

– forming small mobile groups;

– better internal communication: e.g., having scouts who roam around and can report what is going on out of sight to provide said small mobile groups with some guidance;

– not everyone can or should engage directly with the fascists and the police in the street—well-organized non-violent direct action, blockades, disruptions, or street propaganda, and other ways to counter/embarrass the fascists are also vital—a coordinated combination of tactics will facilitate both the growth of a movement and its effectiveness;

– providing medical and legal support, and making sure that the anti-fascists know how to access either a medic or legal support, if worse comes to worse;

– providing jail support for those who get arrested (when any of us are arrested, some people should mobilize to maintain a presence wherever they are being held; this should be part of the preplanning), and emotional support for those who could use some care;

– providing a debrief session to analyze what happened, what did and didn’t go well, how people feel about it, how were decisions made, and what could be done better the next time.

–Two People Who Attended the March 4 and April 23 Anti-Fascist Counterprotests



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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Marine Le Pen’s hopes of winning the presidency may rest on her appeal among the young (repost)

Songbirds flitted among the redbud trees. The wind tickled yellow flowers in fields of rapeseed. The medieval church clock clanged on the hour.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Marine Le Pen’s hopes of winning the presidency may rest on her appeal among the young



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‘Racialized international students’ targeted by Quebec government language probe, group says (repost)

Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness faced allegations Tuesday of possible racial profiling and violating the constitutional rights of more than 500 international students whose French skills are the subject of an ongoing probe.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at ‘Racialized international students’ targeted by Quebec government language probe, group says



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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Marine Le Pen’s hopes of winning the presidency may rest on her appeal among the young



Songbirds flitted among the redbud trees. The wind tickled yellow flowers in fields of rapeseed. The medieval church clock clanged on the hour.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Marine Le Pen’s hopes of winning the presidency may rest on her appeal among the young



'Racialized international students' targeted by Quebec government language probe, group says



Quebec's Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness faced allegations Tuesday of possible racial profiling and violating the constitutional rights of more than 500 international students whose French skills are the subject of an ongoing probe.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at 'Racialized international students' targeted by Quebec government language probe, group says



The Work of Settler Colonialism II: Emergent Solidarities

workofsettlercolonialismThe Work of Settler Colonialism Symposium was launched in April 2016 at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (see page of 2016 event: https://tinyurl.com/wosc2016). This event brought together conversations between the emerging field of settler colonial studies and scholars engaging in the continual crises of neoliberal capitalism with new approaches to labour, capitalism, and resistance against the contemporary issues of late capitalism. This convergence of fields brought to light the interrelations of settler colonialism, anti-Blackness, and neoliberal capitalism as they operate through and within each other. The symposium offered scholars across interdisciplinary fields the opportunity to and generate unique lines of inquiry and envision new alliances for resistance and movement building.

We are very excited to present the second Work of Settler Colonialism Symposium, with a focus on Emergent Solidarities. This conference includes writers, activists, and scholars who expand on the collaborations, contradictions, and possibilities that arise when we organize within and against settler colonialism. This is especially pertinent when situated alongside processes of the exploitation of migrant labour, racial slavery and its afterlife, imprisonment, the expansion of extractive industries, and the corresponding struggles that have emerged out of these conditions.

The future of the settler state will be brought about through the work of reproducing social, economic, and political life in its many spaces and forms. Therefore, a central question of this symposium is: how might we interrupt this labour, and instead work towards anti-colonial and decolonial futures?

==============================

The conference will take place at the U of T OISE Library. The venue is wheelchair accessible. Please contact us for other acccessibility needs or if you have any further questions.

Lunch will be provided to those attending the conference.

******PLEASE REGISTER HERE: https://tinyurl.com/wosc2017registration

==============================
Our program is as follows and can also be found at our website: https://wosc2017.wordpress.com/

9:00 – 9:30 Registration

9:30 – 10:00 Opening Ceremony and Welcome

10:00 – 11:05 Panel #1: “From Turtle Island to Palestine, Occupation is a Crime”

– Claire Stewart-Kanigan (University of Victoria), “(En)countering Colonial Violence: Challenges in Community-based Sex Work Advocacy on Lekwungen and WSANEC Territory”
– Rana Sukarieh (York University), “Your Cause is Mine: The Strategy of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement in Building Solidarity Alliances”
– Yara Hawari and Francesco Amaruso (University of Exeter), “Including Palestine in Indigenous Studies: Challenges and Opportunities”

11:15 – 12:45 Panel #2: Against Extraction

– Shiri Pasternak (Trent University), “Lawyers, Consultants, Accountants, Insurers: The Shadow Economy of Colonization”
– Jen Preston (York University), “Dismantling ‘White Possession’: White Settler Colonialism and ‘Racial Extractivism’ in Canada”
– Derek Kornelson (University of Manitoba), “Deconstructing Settler Colonial Domination: Implications for land-protectors and Indigenous-Settler alliances”
– Eva Portillo (York University), “Decolonizing Settler Colonialism”

12:45 – 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 3:00 Panel #3: Unsettling Subjectivities

– Ben Kapron (York University), “Settler Grounded Normativity: Learning Settler Decolonization through Engagement with Land”
– Jamey Jesperson (New School), “Queer Resistance on Stolen Land: Trans* Settler Accountabilities in EnGendering Decolonization & the Collateral Queer Damage of Settler Colonialism”
– Dolores Calderon (Western Washington), “Mestizo Longing as a Settler Futurity along the U.S./Mexico Borderlands”
– Adam Lewis (York University), “Social Movements, Prefiguration and Settler Colonialism: From Radical Imagination to Decolonial Futures?”

3:15 – 5:15 Keynote Roundtable

Moderated by:

Dr. Eve Tuck (Unangax), Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto

Featuring:

– Bonita Lawrence (Mi’kmaw), York University

– Vanessa Gray (Anishinaabe), Aamjiwinaang & Sarnia Against Pipelines

– Kyle Mays Wabinaw (Black/Saginaw Chippewa), University of North Carolina

– Anne Spice (Tlingit), CUNY Graduate Center

– Matt Chrisler, CUNY Graduate Center

5:15 – 5:30 Closing Ceremony

We look forward to seeing everyone there!



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Fachos et libéraux hors de nos vies !

antifascismefacebook: http://ift.tt/2pDQqVB

Face aux abus des dirigeants qui s’en mettent plein les poches en pillant les fonds publics, l’extrême droite tente de récupérer la colère du peuple pour faire passer son discours de haine.

Dans ce contexte, un groupe nébuleux appelle à manifester le 23 avril (à partir de la (Place des arts) contre le PLQ sous prétexte de dénoncer notre gouvernement corrompu.

Nous savons cependant que plusieurs membres de divers groupes d’extrême droite sont derrière l’organisation de cette manifestation et vont y participer. Après avoir frappé un mur deux fois en mars (4 et 25), les fachos tentent de polir leur discours et s’essaient une fois de plus dans une maladroite tentative de camouflage de leur discours réactionnaire et raciste.

Nous appelons à une mobilisation populaire afin de manifester contre la réappropriation des luttes ouvrières par des groupuscules tels que La Meute.

Notre lutte est celle de toutes les personnes opprimées. Ensemble bloquons leur discours de haine !

Le 23 avril, rassemblons nous à midi pile au coin de Sherbrooke et de Jeanne-Mance. Nettoyons les rues et sortons les vidanges !



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Ontario and Quebec speaking tour: “Anti/Fascism in the USA,” April 19-24, 2017

antifascisminusaAnti/Fascism in the USA

We are living in troubling times. The election of Donald Trump not only speaks to the current state of US politics, but to an ongoing shift across the Western world. In Europe far-right and nationalist parties are making electoral gains not seen since the Second World War, while their street level movements are growing in size and influence by the day. While Canada has it’s own unique history of reactionary movements, the far-right here has been emboldened by the events south of the border; racists are increasing their public activities, and attempts are being made to grow white nationalist movements and far-right groups at a grassroots level. Anti-immigrant and anti-refugee propaganda on the streets is becoming more common, and everyday instances of Islamophobic violence are intensifying – most notably the January shooting at a Quebec City mosque.

In the United States, the election of Donald Trump has been huge catalyst for the far-right. His campaign found supporters in everyone from the KKK, armed militia movements, to neo-Nazi street gangs. White Nationalism has seen its biggest growth in decades, and now includes a slew of new faces, including hipsters, ‘Men’s Rights’ activists, campus groups, and internet trolls. Most notable of this cesspit has been the fascists of so-called ‘Alt-Right’, whose influence now goes directly to the White House, via Trump’s closest adviser, Steve Bannon. Trump’s campaign and its aftermath has seen an explosion of activity from these groups – hate crimes have skyrocketed and confrontations with antifascists have become increasingly violent.

How did we get here? Why has the far-right broken through at this time? How can we understand the history, politics, and practices of the far-right, and what does it look like in the US from the Presidency to the streets? And what are people doing to resist?

As part of a multi-city speaking tour in the Ontario and Quebec, US anti-fascist researcher Spencer Sunshine (http://ift.tt/2pDymO9), PhD, will speak to these questions and more. Sunshine is the lead author of the report “Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement”, and his articles on the far-right organizing, from militias to unorthodox fascists, have appeared in Truthout, Colorlines, The Progressive, and Public Eye.

“Anti/Fascism in the USA: Ontario and Quebec speaking tour”
http://ift.tt/2pDTZes

Toronto: Wednesday, April 19
7 PM, University of Toronto, OISE, 252 Bloor St W
http://ift.tt/2pDvhgY

Kitchener/Waterloo: Thursday, April 20
6PM, University of Waterloo, EV3-4412
http://ift.tt/2pDBSFg

Hamilton: Friday, April 21
7PM, The Tower, 281 Cannon St E
http://ift.tt/2pDGka8

Brantford: Saturday, April 22
1-4 PM, Laurier Brantford Campus, Room TBA
http://ift.tt/2pDSUDw

Ottawa: Sunday, April 23
6:30PM, University of Ottawa, Royal Oak, Laurier East,
161 Laurier Ave. East
http://ift.tt/2pDNxHg

Montreal: Monday, April 24 (whisper translation into French provided)
7PM, Station Ho st, 1494 Ontario
http://ift.tt/2pDSVHA


 

Anti/Fascisme aux États-Unis

Nous vivons dans une époque troublante. L’élection de Donald Trump démontre non seulement l’état présent de la politique américaine, mais aussi un changement plus général en cours en Occident. En Europe, des partis nationalistes et d’extrême droite obtiennent des gains électoraux jamais vus depuis la deuxième guerre mondiale, pendant que leurs équivalents plus populaires prennent de l’ampleur tant au niveau de leurs rangs que de leur influence. Alors que le Canada a sa propre histoire de mouvements réactionnaires, l’extrême droite s’est vue encouragée par les événements se déroulant au sud de la frontière; les racistes multiplient leurs activités publiques, et les mouvements nationalistes blancs ainsi que les groupes d’extrême droite tentent de s’agrandir au niveau populaire. La propagande anti-immigration et anti-réfugiéEs devient chose commune dans les rues, et les exemples de violence islamophobe se multiplient – pensons notamment à la fusillade du mois de Janvier dans une mosquée de la ville de Québec.

Aux États-Unis, l’élection de Donald Trump a eu un effet catalyseur sur l’extrême-droite. Sa campagne a trouvé des supporteurs chez toutes sortes de gens, de la KKK, aux milices armées, aux gangs de rue néo-Nazi. Le nationalisme blanc a connu sa plus grande croissance depuis des décennies, et se dévoile sous des nouveaux visages: hipsters, masculinistes, groupes étudiants, trolls internet…les plus connus étant les fascistes s’identifiant comme «Alt-Right», dont l’influence s’étend maintenant jusqu’à la Maison Blanche, par le biais du conseiller de Trump, Steve Bannon. La campagne de Trump a eu pour conséquence une explosion de l’activité de ces groupes – les crimes haineux ont augmenté exponentiellement et les confrontations avec la résistance antifasciste deviennent de plus en plus violentes.

Comment en sommes-nous arrivés ici? Pourquoi l’extrême-droite a-t-elle su reprendre de l’essor? Comment pouvons-nous comprendre l’histoire, la politique, et les pratiques de l’extrême-droite, et à quoi ressemble-t-elle, de la présidence à la rue? Que font les gens pour résister? Dans le cadre d’une tournée de conférences en Ontario et au Québec, le chercheur et auteur antifasciste américain Spencer Sunshine tentera de répondre à ces questions et plus. Sunshine (http://ift.tt/2pDymO9), PhD, a fait de la recherche sur les mouvements d’extrême droite, des milices de droites aux fascistes non-orthodoxes. Il est l’auteur principal du rapport «Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement» et d’une variété d’autres articles en ligne.

“Anti/Fascism in the USA: Ontario and Quebec speaking tour”
http://ift.tt/2pDTZes

Toronto: mercredi, 19 avril
7 PM, University of Toronto, OISE, 252 Bloor St W
http://ift.tt/2pDvhgY

Kitchener/Waterloo: jeudi, 20 avril
6PM, University of Waterloo, EV3-4412
http://ift.tt/2pDBSFg

Hamilton: vendredi, 21 avril
7PM, The Tower, 281 Cannon St E
http://ift.tt/2pDGka8

Brantford: samedi, 22 avril
1-4 PM, Laurier Brantford Campus, Room TBA
http://ift.tt/2pDSUDw

Ottawa: dimanche, 23 avril
6:30PM, University of Ottawa, Royal Oak, Laurier East,
161 Laurier Ave. East
http://ift.tt/2pDNxHg

Montreal: lundi, 24 avril (avec traduction chuchotée vers le français)
7PM, Station Ho st, 1494 Ontario E.
http://ift.tt/2pDSVHA



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Friday, March 31, 2017

Meet Silicon Valley’s Secretive Alt-Right Followers (repost)

Readers of The Right Stuff long knew that founder “Mike Enoch” had two main interests: technology and white supremacy. Posts on the neo-Nazi site have included discussion of “a new blogging platform built on node.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Meet Silicon Valley’s Secretive Alt-Right Followers



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Understanding Alt-Right Antisemitism (repost)

UNDERSTANDING ALT-RIGHT ANTISEMITISM: what the new white supremacy means for American Jews, and why it matters (Note- This article references many alt-right/white supremacist websites. All hyperlinks to these web pages go to ‘cached’ replicas of the pages, not the website itself.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Understanding Alt-Right Antisemitism



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Friday, March 24, 2017

On the Milo Bus With the Lost Boys of America’s New Right (repost)

Have you heard the one about the boy who cried Fake News? This is a story about truth and consequences. It’s a story about who gets to be young and dumb, and who gets held accountable.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at On the Milo Bus With the Lost Boys of America’s New Right



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On the Milo Bus With the Lost Boys of America’s New Right



Have you heard the one about the boy who cried Fake News? This is a story about truth and consequences. It’s a story about who gets to be young and dumb, and who gets held accountable.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at On the Milo Bus With the Lost Boys of America’s New Right



Saturday, March 11, 2017

Regrouping: White workers, “identity politics” and multiculturalism (Bromma, March 17, 2017)

photo by Jessica Lee O

photo by Jessica Lee O

Racist act

Since the November election, many liberals—and a fair number of leftists—are beating their breasts about the overlooked white working class that was “lost” to Trump and has to be brought back into the fold. This new solicitude for white workers usually comes bundled with an attack on “identity politics,” which, we are warned, splinters and weakens the resistance. These two fraudulent arguments pander to white supremacy. They should be rooted out of our struggle against Trump.

The tens of millions of white workers who voted for Trump committed a racist act. They didn’t do it because they’re stupid, but because they like what Trump stands for. They pledged their fealty to an aspiring white nationalist strongman who promised impunity to gangster cops and torturers; who welcomed open white supremacists into his movement; who swore he’d deport millions of Muslim and Latin American immigrants, all in an effort to Make America White Again.

White people without college degrees (a category including most white workers) chose Trump over Clinton by 39 percentage points. Those voters don’t really believe that he’s going to magically transform the Rust Belt into a workers’ paradise. It’s enough that he dog-whistles his intent to reestablish a clear-cut racial hierarchy.

Many white workers confront deteriorating economic conditions. But that’s no excuse for racism. White workers are, by any statistic, much better off than non-white workers. And as we know, workers of color face additional burdens of discrimination, police violence, mass incarceration and dehumanization in US culture. Nevertheless, when white workers have grievances, they normally scapegoat and attack oppressed nationalities. This is a recurrent feature of US history.

I’m not arguing that white workers can’t be part of the resistance, or that they should be written off. White workers didn’t all vote for Trump. Some are staunch anti-racists. But relying on white workers as a class to start acting like a reliable bulwark of progressive change is delusional at best, utterly reactionary at worst.

White working class

This is a perennial issue for US Left. A widespread, false narrative holds that white workers—because they are workers—must be inherently progressive. Whenever white workers commit racist acts, it’s claimed that they do so out of ignorance, acting against their own best interests. J. Sakai’s classic book, Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat, demolished this opportunist narrative decades ago. But it keeps spontaneously regenerating within the US Left, like a vampire rising from the crypt.

The white working class isn’t part of the world proletariat. It’s a systematically privileged worker elite. It was created and cultivated by the US ruling class to serve as a population of overseers, wardens, shock troops and labor fakers. Originally deployed to contain and control rebellious workers of color, the white working class later became a willing social base for the US’s rise as a predatory world empire. Like the white working class in apartheid South Africa, or the Zionist working class in Israel today, the white working class in the US is essentially parasitic. In return for its special privileged status, which is enshrined in a system of institutional racism, this class consistently opposes and undermines the struggles of oppressed peoples both in the US and around the world. Over the course of generation after generation, the white working class has embraced the atrocities of US capitalism: land theft, genocide, slavery, imperialist war, segregation, mass incarceration. And now, Trump.

Fighting racism among white workers is possible and necessary. But catering to the politics of the white working class is poison to the struggle against racism and capitalism. It’s disloyal to the freedom struggles of oppressed nationalities and nations, which have always spearheaded meaningful social change in the U.S., often while being forced to battle white workers. Out of pure necessity, those national movements are autonomous struggles, struggles for survival, self-defense and self-determination.

“Identity politics”

That’s one reason it’s so damaging when activists attack “identity politics.” Oppressed peoples have national cultures, institutions and histories: nationalities. These nationalities aren’t just a matter of individual choice or personal style; they’re social collectivities, communities. National identities are inherently political for those subjected to colonialism, and they’re absolutely integral to oppressed peoples’ resistance and survival. Trivializing or subordinating them merely reinforces whiteness—the “default” identity.

Bernie Sanders recently trumpeted that “we have to get beyond identity politics.” He later tried to walk that statement back a bit, but everybody knew what he meant. Oppressed people shouldn’t be so “divisive” with their demands. What Sanders wants us to concentrate on are “universal” needs, like single payer health care and free college tuition. He argues that this will unite progressives, appeal to white workers, and gain votes. Isn’t that classic white settler “leftism”? The oppressed get to compromise on their life-or-death issues; Bernie gets…elected.

Sanders’ view is standard liberal fare these days. The New York Times recently published an opinion piece by Columbia professor Mark Lilla. His take: “Amerian liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.” Well, that puts it right out there.

But isn’t it true that radicals have their own versions of this discourse? Some activists use “identity politics” as an epithet because they dislike any form of nationalism, including revolutionary nationalism. They imagine that it’s a diversion from class struggle, or think it constitutes an unacceptable form of “essentialism.” Others accuse activists of color of engaging in “identity politics” if they act pushy or egotistical. The internet is full of radicals, belonging to a variety of political trends, bemoaning the damage “identity politics” is doing to their organizing efforts; complaining that “identity” divisiveness or “identity” bullying are hurting the cause of socialism or anarchism. Are we supposed to believe that they mean something completely different from what Sanders and Lilla mean?

Let’s not forget that it was sellout ex-radicals who helped create the “identity politics” trope, back in the 1990s. Marxist-turned-conservative David Horowitz was a key figure in getting the ball rolling. He started out by arguing that “identity politics” was terrible for the Left, but he soon stopped pretending he cared about that. Now he just says flat out that “identity politics are anti-American.” (One elaboration of this is that “Black Lives Matter is a racist group.”) Todd Gitlin, a former leader of SDS, became another anti-“identity politics” warrior. He’s been blaming the Left’s problems on “divisive” Black people and women for 25 years. That isn’t a trajectory any radical should want to emulate, although it’s been good for his academic career.

Unfortunately, a lot of Left activists, along with their liberal counterparts, assume that the fundmental goal of people of color should be to assimilate into white-led movements and integrate into some version—liberal or “radical”—of white society. People of color who reject that option, deciding instead to rely on strengthening their own peoples and on finding solutions independent of white people, are often viewed as selfish and unrealistic—hung up on “identity.”

Yet if there’s anything that the last few decades demonstrate with utter clarity, it’s that when oppressed nationalities do try to assimilate in the US, they’re usually rewarded with violent white backlash, without achieving much (if any) justice or equality. Meanwhile, under the rubric of integration and assimilation, oppressed peoples’ communities and institutions are hollowed out, gentrified, privatized and bulldozed over.

Multicultural dream

During the last few decades, a seductive dream of multiculturalism arose in the US. It advocated peaceful respect among nationalities and genders—and who could argue with that? But from the start it was a shallow and compromised mix; a combination of honest idealism and corrupt neoliberalism that, among other things, sought to paper over deep and intractable national fault lines.

It must be said quite plainly that this surge of multiculturalism—which was protected and even sponsored by the biggest globalist capitalists—was fully compatible with continuous genocide against Black, Native, Puerto Rican and other oppressed peoples. And, more to our specific point, multiculturalism in the US relied for its viability on the good intentions of white people, many of whom actually hated it with a deep passion. Today the multicultural dream has turned into a nightmare: another sudden reawakening of violent populist white supremacy. So much for good intentions.

Regrouping

Radicals need to regroup around some basic truths about US society and “identity.” We live in a deeply reactionary settler state that relies on white nationalism for its survival. It’s a prison-house of colonized nations and oppressed nationalities. Its white population is completely unreliable as a force for justice or freedom. Based on its long and ugly history, most of that population will cling to white supremacy until the settler state is finally uprooted. The liberation struggles of Black/New Afrikan, Mexican, Native, Puerto Rican and other oppressed peoples are central to overthrowing US imperialism. These are struggles for self-determination; they’re not subordinate to white definition, priorities or leadership.

White activists should support and defend the freedom struggles of oppressed nations and nationalities politically and culturally. We should engage in a deeper and more principled practice of internationalism that’s firmly anchored in that support. We should also attack white supremacy in all its forms where we work and live, including inside the white working class. In that specific regard, our task isn’t to unite white workers but to divide them: to split as many white workers as possible away from the deep-seated racist, anti-proletarian politics of the majority.

In the 1960’s and 70’s, the most advanced parts of the Left recognized these truths. That Left—repressed by the state and undermined by white and male opportunism—is mostly gone now. It’s up to new activists to lead. But a new Left shouldn’t have to re-invent the wheel. Catering to the white working class while denigrating “identity politics” will do nothing whatsoever to stop Trump, defeat white supremacy, or overthrow capitalism. Instead, it will strengthen all three.



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