If our blog has looked a little slow recently, it might be because the work of an antifascist is overwhelming in 2016. We’ve also taken to updating our twitter account more frequently, as we are moving towards the blog being mostly for original content.
After the repression against Occupy and Arab Spring movements in 2010, global political trends have backslid into deeply regressive populism. The ascendance of Trumpism and the Alt-Right in the US are a result of the same fascist impulses that have solidified the power of Viktor Orban in Hungary, Putin in Russia, and Erdogan in Turkey — and convinced thousands to join the cause of ISIS.
As most realize that our only electoral alternative to neo-Nationalists and alt-right creeps is the continuation of the State’s atrocities at current levels with Clinton, we urge our readers to get organized now. Create or join an antifascist group to monitor your local Trumpists. Link up with immigration advocacy groups and start considering how to block ICE raids. Link up with prisoners who are struggling for their lives. Attend Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Use the fear and outrage of the election season to keep you going, and remind yourself, whatever you do, that voting (and mouthing-off on social media) is never enough!
Here’s what’s been happening in the New York area:
Brooklyn Commons triples down on support of anti-Semitism
Far Right conspiracy hack Christopher Bollyn had a lot of trouble with his September tour of the United States. Due to his obvious anti-Semitic agenda, venues in Connecticut, New York, and Washington, DC cancelled his bookings once they were made aware of Bollyn’s history of writing for White Nationalist papers, and working with David Duke and other holocaust deniers.
Nonetheless, one venue owner doubled down: Melissa Ennen of the Brooklyn Commons, a space better known for hosting radical and progressive projects such as Jacobin magazine and the Marxist Education Project. She defended her decision on the basis of free speech; in a statement now removed, Ennen said, “I agree that all forms of racism should have no place in leftist spaces, but in my opinion, to get to the root of racist thinking, confrontation works better than censorship.”
Local antifascists and other activists decided to take Ennen’s advice, and on September 7th, when Bollyn was escorted into the venue with hired security, a group of mostly anti-Zionist jewish protesters was waiting. Employees of the Commons called the police when one of them was spit upon for calling a protesters a “fat bitch.” Attendees interrupted Bollyn’s talk with questions, but were thrown out security. During the short Q&A, an attendee asked Bollyn about his blatant anti-Semitism; his response was to point to the exit, and say “There’s the door.” The crowd included
Gabriel Brown of NATA and Cathleen McGuire, who loves to book holocaust deniers in left-wing spaces.
In the coming days, many projects pulled from the Commons or cancelled events, allegedly to a loss of $50,000. The Commons tripled down by pulling the “progressive” label from their description page, and organizing a class called “No Free Speech for Fascists?” in a pathetic attempt to reframe their promotion of anti-Semitism as some sort of constitutional necessity.
In fact, Ennen is a 9/11 truther who is sympathetic to Bollyn’s nonsense. In the Brooklyn Paper, she claimed “Bollyn didn’t say anything derogatory about Jews,” and she, “doesn’t believe the government’s version of what brought the towers down.” (When Bollyn was asked during the brief Q&A if the Holocaust happened, he replied that it was “not his area of expertise.”)
Bollyn’s defenders are convinced that outrage at holocaust denial — and conspiracy-peddling in general which is designed to incite hatred against Jews — is a Zionist plot. On September 26, a new group calling itself Jewish Antifascist Action, which clearly denounces Zionism, went to an open mic event at the Commons. They were physically attacked with a mic stand, among other objects, for reading their position on the event. Clearly untrammeled “free speech” is not Ennen’s main concern. So why is she so ardent in creating a “safe space” for antisemites?
For those still confused about anti-Semitism and the Left we recommend checking the zine “The Past Never Went Anywhere”
August Invictus speaks at “Liberty Fest”
Earlier this year failed Florida Senate candidate, self-proclaimed fascist, and True Blood cosplayer August Invictus had his event shut down in Portland, was kicked out of Canada, was banned from a Left Hand Path conference, got dumped twice in one week, and likely spoke at a National Socialist Movement conference. Nonetheless, Ian Cioffi, who previously booked NATA’s Craig Fitzgerald to speak at anarcho-capitalist event called “Anarchy in the NYC” — before Cioffi was forced to drop him from the list of speakers after management caught wise — thought Invictus seemed like a fine speaker for his “Liberty Fest” event at the Cutting Room in Manhattan. (The venue did not returned our email when alerted of the event.) Invictus spoke to a small crowd from the balcony with alongside the aforementioned Gabriel Brown, who seems like some kind of neo-Nazi Zelig.
NSM to rally in Harrisburg
On November 5th the National Socialist Movement is planning to hold a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Local antifascists have called for a militant counter-demonstration, and are encouraging comrades from out of state to come through. See IGD’s post for more information.
KSS to Attempt Leif Erickson Day Rally Again
Philly Antifa are calling for antifascists to come to Philadelphia to oppose the annual neo-Nazi rally at the Thorfinn Karlsefni statue on Boathouse Row on Sunday, October 9 at 11 AM.
They write: “For the past 10 years, the city of Philadelphia has played host to a gathering of Neo-Nazis right under the noses of it’s residents. This gathering, known as ‘The Leif Erikson Day Celebration’ is organized, promoted, and attended exclusively by members of Neo-Nazi organizations. In past years the gathering has drawn upwards of 50 hardcore racists and fascists to Philly and served as an recruiting and organizing tool for the main organization involved, the Keystone State Skinheads (KSS).
In addition to KSS, past Leif Erikson day celebrations have been attended by members of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), The American 3rd Position Party/American Freedom Party (A3P/AFP), Volksfront (VF), The Vinlanders Social Club (VSC) and the Hated Skins. … Furthermore, individuals who have attended past Leif Ericson day celebrations have been tied to racist terror organizations such as Blood and Honour and the KKK.
After a massive turnout in 2013 to oppose that year’s event, KSS has worked to keep their plans very quiet to avoid having to face opposition whenever they come out. In 2014, they were successful in keeping those plans secret enough to hold the event without any opposition. In 2015 antifascists painted over the statue and a counter demo was organized.”
NYCFC supporters form Anti-fascist group
New York’s newest Major League Soccer club, NYCFC, has been marred by the support of neo-Nazis, starting from their earliest games. Anti-racist fans have worked to identify and remove most of these types from the stadium, but the fash still congregate at bars and events outside the gates. Joining other antifascist fan clubs Cosmopolitan AFA and Garden State Ultras, NYCFC Antifa aims to nip fascist soccer culture in the bud.
Our favorite local horizontalist-fascist clowns the National Anarchists Tribal Alliance (NATA) are having some problems. As reasonable as it may sound for a Holocaust-denying, neo-Nazi loving anarchist group to endorse Donald Trump, the founder of the National-Anarchist Movement (N-AM) thinks differently. In a statement posted to N-AM’s Facebook, Troy Southgate cited NATA’s embrace of mixed racial organizing, Islamophobia, support for the Alt-Right and Trump — and even punctuation choices — as a reason for cutting ties with his international. In response, NATA commandant Craig Fitzgerald called Southgate an “esoteric Hitlerist hipster,” vowed to “cleanse” any dissidents in the group, and start a new American National-Anarchist network — despite not having the capacity to successfully organize a public event in years.
Here’s Southgate’s rollercoaster-ride of a purge speech in full:
Comrades at IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) have been following and supporting a September 9th national strike against slavery which affected over 40 prisons nationwide. At the Holman facility in Alabama, corrections officers have joined the strike as well. Follow developments at Mask Magazine and check in with IWOC on how to support the prisoners in winning their demands and avoiding retribution.
With Turkey’s invasion of Northern Syria, the non-State of Rojava is now fighting a war on four fronts. Despite being the most effective fighting force against ISIS, Turkey has ordered their withdrawal and skirmishes have occurred between the alliance Rojava is part of (the SDF), the anti-Assad Free Syrian Aryan (which includes “moderate Islamists), and the Syrian Army.
Activists in New York are showing their solidarity with Rojava at demonstrations at the Turkish consulate and a banner drop. At the last consulate demonstration, ultra-nationalist thugs attacked the first pro-Rojava activists who arrived; when NYPD came, they threatened to arrest both sides, and then illegally tried to force the demonstration across the street. Rojava Solidarity NYC will return on October 9 for a rematch.
Keep up to date by following us on Twitter: @NYCAntifa