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Crossing Paths on a New Terrain: Militant Leftism, Antifascist Struggle, and Insurrection Under Trump

Submission
This text is in part a reply to the “Drinking From the Cup of Fascist Tears: Boston Report Back” but is generally meant to be respond to the shifting political terrain since Trump won the election in November of 2016. All unattributed quotes are from the Boston Report Back.

The social terrain been changing in Philadelphia. For the last half a year, since Trump’s election campaign through to his current presidency, I’ve seen more and different types of opposition to the political system. This opposition takes many forms; an increase in the popularity of anti-fascist organizing, a re-emergence of black blocs within larger demonstrations and as their own demonstrations, and a broadening of progressive ideology to include revolutionary perspectives in the face of the Trump administration. This change of terrain has me both excited and worried.

An influx of leftist organizations and groupings has me nervous. Since November, I’ve found myself in the street running alongside leftist militants more than I have since 2012. I’m not interested in changing minds or offering the “truth”, instead, I’m interested in clearing up some misconceptions and clarifying the positions of some anarchists in Philly. This way when tensions arise between insurrectionary and leftist perspectives, when we inevitably step on each other’s toes (as must happen when paths cross, as opposed to run parallel), they can be understood for what they are, differences in approach, perspective, and trajectory.

New Energy and Practices
With the arrival of militant leftists willing to take conflictual action, the space to act and experiment has expanded and changed. For some time insurrectionary anarchists have dismissed most marches and demonstrations, jaded and bitter, after too many bad experiences with activists (despite their often fiery rhetoric). Every now and then some of us would attend a march or rally, but for the most part those places felt unwelcoming. Seeing so many people taking to the street in black has been exciting. The spread of anonymous attendance, material preparedness, and uncompromising messaging is appealing to say the least, not to mention that many within these blocs are not showing up empty handed. Many of us are trickling back into the streets, once again donning our black masks, excited to see what new potential exists for us on this new terrain.

The spokes councils and other open ended forums that have sprung up mesh well with our informal and affinity based approach. They provide space to share information and coordinate action without taking away individual or group autonomy, or becoming decision-making bodies, that aim to steer the entirety of an action.

These changes are exciting, the space and energy have made more things feel possible. They have created more lines along which solidarity can be shown, and also more tensions between political tendencies that can hopefully complement each other rather than detract from the overall struggle against this miserable world.

Philly Before Trump
Anarchist and anti-fascist struggle here has not always looked like it does today. For a long time progressive and revolutionary forms of struggle took different and less militant forms, with Trump around this has changed, insurrectionary anarchists have and most likely will continue to share the streets and take similar action with progressive and revolutionary leftists. However things were happening before Trump. I’d like to clear up some generalizations that don’t take into account how things have been.

“In Philly, blocs work closely in a sphere of mutual respect with local Left organizations to make sure that everyone is on the same page when actions combine the interests of multiple groups.”
The statement that Philly black blocs work closely and in a sphere of mutual respect with left organizations erases years of activity in Philadelphia. Black bloc is a tactic, not a group. No political tendency has a monopoly on it, nor can it be spoken for as though it was a formal group. It might look like black blocs have mutual respect for the left if we only look at blocs that have taken place since Donald Trump’s election, but even then when we squint we see blocs that don’t fit that narrative. The recent past has seen more black blocs within larger demonstrations, or as demonstrations of their own, many of these have been organized in coordination with left groups, but again not all. When looking into the past one can see the use of black bloc being upsetting to leftists. Whether organizing autonomous blocs to clash with police and disrupt civil society in solidarity with rebels in Ferguson in 2014, or the various attempts to escalate conflict during more Black Lives Matter protests than we care to count, to organizing against prisons as part of the nation-wide prison strike, to attacking police and business from within recent anti-Trump and anti-fascist protests, use of black bloc has mostly received mixed reviews until recently. This may be because for many insurrectionary anarchists, the black bloc was never meant to be a symbolic or spectacular display. For most of us black bloc is a way to hide our identities while we engage in forms of struggle we expect will bring about repression from the state or other groups intent on protecting the social order. Black bloc is a tactic we use to further our goals, not a representation of struggle we sacrifice and delay our desires for.

“Philly anti-fascist groups have moderated our own political urgencies to smash fascists and the state for the sake of building these relationships due to the advantages that strategic alliances with sympathetic noncombatants can provide.”
The above statement (like the one about black blocs in Philly) skips over the anti-fascist and anti-state activity here that has, and continues to take, an uncompromising position. The injured fascists, the damaged cars, the doxxing, and the hours of research were not the results of moderation. Before Trump won the election, a lot of anti-fascist activity here took place in a less spectacular context. White supremacists were confronted by occasional demonstrations, like Lief Erikson day for example, but mostly a less visible opposition did the job. Efforts to expose, sabotage, or otherwise disrupt fascist organizing were uncompromising whenever they could be. Potential alliances were not dismissed completely, but the times when they were prioritized over directly striking at white supremacy left us feeling disappointed.

Watering Down Of Struggle
It’s not hard to find someone opposed to neo-nazis; only the most conflict avoidant liberals wring their hands when a self-described white supremacist gets punched in the face. It’s harder to come across people who are in opposition to society and all the racist trappings that hold it together: work, police, gender, colonialism, government, prisons, etc. While not so distant memory reminds me that whole cities burned in response to unexceptional policing, and that prisoners across the country attempted to destroy the prisoner labor economy, it leaves me concerned to see the so much of the struggle against white supremacy retreat into a defensive one focused on a specific administration and a specific brand of overt racism. For me it’s not enough to want to defend myself and my friends from Trump and the white supremacists he has emboldened, I need to struggle against the society, the civilization, that created them. To sound cliche, radical for me means grabbing a hold of problems by the root.

I’m worried that the new wave of antifa oriented struggle will leave behind the wider fight against white supremacy, and the state (which necessarily includes anti-fascism anyway). While as an anarchist I am against the existence of fascism and fascists, I am also convinced that white supremacy and authoritarianism are much more powerful and popular in the form of the state and society. Police and snitches are a much bigger threat to my existence than self-described white supremacists or nationalists. I’m not going to dismiss them as non-enemies (I’ve connected a pole to a skull, a rock to a racist, surely not for the last time). The rioting across the U$A against police and race (aka anti-blackness, aka white supremacy aka…) was more interesting to me than the more narrow, “most common denominator” focus on overt and/or self-described white supremacists. Additionally, these riots confronted many of the same white supremacists, while continuing to fight forward on their own terms. Angry crowds confronted Oath Keepers, right-wing militias, and other organized racists bent on policing the joyful chaos, without having to seek them out or deviate too far from their attack on society at large. The antifa struggle seems to be an entirely defensive one, focusing only on the most socially unpopular forms of white supremacy while leaving the rest of society mostly unchallenged. As a defensive struggle it doesn’t push toward an anarchic unknown, but toward a moment that many can agree was better, the moment before Trump’s election, or the moment before he ran for office, as though he didn’t emerge from a racist society that will continue to exist for as long as we do not to destroy it, whether he remains in office or not.

Hierarchy Rears Its Head
“Would-be bloc participants need organizers to let them know how they’re going to win the day rather than resigning themselves to a loss.”
“Boston bloc leaders…”
“…our troops…”
“Being a militant vanguard against the fascist tide means simultaneously moderating two fronts – the enemy front, against which we must stand strong and push hard – and the allied front, to which we must stay close enough to encourage support for our militancy.”

I am against hierarchy. I don’t want to lead or be led. I want to organize with friends, not organize “the struggle”. It’s up to each individual to make their own path, without coercion or outside authority. Being against hierarchy means being against any sort of vanguard, bloc leaders, or acquiescence to being someone’s troop. Everyone who attends an action or demonstration has their own idea of what winning the day is (let’s not even get into a critique of the idea of winning). No one needs an organizer to tell them how to win, since there are at as least many ways to win as there are people present. The notion that someone needs an organizer to let them know how to win, is paternalistic at best and authoritarian at worst, it assumes that individuals can’t make their own agenda of how they want to struggle, that it’s possible for an action feel like a victory to everyone.

My Idea Of Freedom
“Anarchy cannot exist when individuals or social groups are dominated — whether that domination is facilitated and enforced by outside forces or by their own organization.”
Post-Left Anarchy: Leaving the Left Behind

As insurrectionary anarchists our goal is insurrection, this much should be obvious. What that means is less simple and will differ from person to person. Broadly it can mean we are interested in moments of rising up against authority and social relations of domination. Some of us include revolution in this trajectory, many of us do not. Revolt is its own reward. Each of our experimentations with insurrection look different, for some it tends toward the personal, individual pursuit of fulfilling anti-authoritarian desire, for others it tends to be a social and even communal path, shared with others in revolt against this world.

I organize with others informally, along lines of affinity. This means I don’t try to build mass organizations tasked with taking on every aspect of struggle, instead I act with others to accomplish specific tasks without forming a permanent organization. This informal organizations are made up of people who feel drawn to both each other and the group’s intended project.

I’m not against working with leftists when our paths run parallel, I don’t expect a pure struggle of only isolated anarchists. I decide who I act with based on the affinity I feel toward someone. As any two people get to know each other, the appeal of doing certain things together goes up or down. The deepening of affinity — through conversations, shared experiences — can lead to taking action together. I’m open to working with anyone whose long, medium, or short term goals line up with mine, whether leftist, anarchist, or otherwise.

“What organization are you in?” “What group is doing this?” These questions and others like them point toward the sometimes confusing nature of an informal approach. Informal means not building membership organizations, instead coming together around specific projects (writing a text, planning a demonstration, carrying out an attack, etc) then disbanding. An informal organization exists for only as long as it takes to complete a project or until it is abandoned. There’s no membership lists, whoever takes part is in. Permanent organizations get bogged down by the task of maintaining themselves, are more susceptible to repression, and tend toward bureaucracy.

I am for the attack. I don’t believe the powers that be will step down, and I can’t just walk away from society. As anarchists there are so many aspects of this world that we are against, what better way to get rid of them than to strike at them? Besides the material damages, attacking heals the attacker, reminds them that they’re not completely domesticated, allows them to leave behind the obedience and compromise of daily life, and sharpens their daggers for when they find ourselves in larger revolts.

I am for revolt pointing toward rupture with society, not revolt as a means of social progression. I don’t believe that progress is good, or that things are getting better over time. Rupture means as complete a break with the existing order as possible, whether for a minute or a month, alone or across the whole city. There’s no clear path toward it, only constantly experimentation with what might bring it about. Some believe that when ruptures are taking place closer and closer to each other in both time and space, this can lead to revolution. Others feel that rupture is a good time in itself and needs no justification.

Philly, Spring 2017

Anathema Volume 3 Issue 4

from Anathema

Volume 3 Issue 4 (PDF for printing 11 x 17)

Volume 3 Issue 4 (PDF for reading 8.5 x 11)

In this issue:

  • An Anarchist Response to Anti-Gentrification Attacks in Philly on May Day
  • Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners
  • Krasner Wins Primary
  • What Went Down
  • March for Immigrants
  • Philly Anarchists Fuck Up Gentrification on May Day
  • Why Did Anarchists Destroy Downtown Olympia?
  • Violence Exposed at Local Fraternity
  • In Reply to the Science March
  • Delaware May Murder Again
  • We Will Not Win
  • Health is in You
  • Pure Black: an Emerging Consensus Among Comrades?

New Anti-Gentrification Posters

Submission

These posters are meant to be printed on 11 by 17 inch paper.

Drinking From the Cup of Fascist Tears: Boston Report Back

from It’s Going Down

A crew from Philadelphia made the long drive north on Friday night to support the efforts of Boston anti-fascists to disrupt the “Free Speech Rally” held by a coalition of fascists including Gavin McInnes’ Proud Boys on Saturday, May 13. The disruptive counter-protest held a solid defensive bloc on the ridge above the fascists, maintained strong unified energy among all participants, protected against attempts by fash to infiltrate and instigate, and ultimately won the day by being stronger, louder and better-organized. In order to bolster the strategic and tactical efforts of anti-fascists everywhere to fight against the growing tide of ethno-nationalism, Philly offers this analysis of what went right in Boston and how groups around the country can learn from what went down.

When we arrived, settled in and got to planning, it became clear that the bloc would be outnumbered by a factor of at least four or five to one. Fascists were expected to draw about 100 people from paramilitary Oath Keepers groups, Proud Boys, and whatever white nationalist filth answered the call. A Daily Stormer post confirmed their intention to have “a popular front to drive the communists out of the public space…for actual free political discourse to take place,” indicating attempts at aggression. Hopeful estimates of 30 and realistic estimates of 20 total were expected to show up in bloc against this incursion.

Self-crit is important if we want to do better, and if more people aren’t showing up to bloc when a 100-strong fascist group shows up to rally in public, then we need to ask ourselves as Left organizers on how we might be able to improve. Things like flyering beforehand could have improved our numbers. Also, developing realistic win conditions by planning to use appropriate tactics based on our numbers and capacity is vital if we want to keep the morale of our troops high going into a fight.

“This is the lesson we learned from Berkeley: We must be organized and maintain tight, tactical blocs if we’re outnumbered either by cops or fash, and we must control the terms of engagement so we don’t have to needlessly sacrifice ourselves in order to win.”

Would-be bloc participants need organizers to let them know how they’re going to win the day rather than resigning themselves to a loss. If one tactic will lose in its sphere of impact, choose different tactics to win within different spheres of impact. If we don’t find ways to control the narrative and win on our own terms, the fash will become emboldened to hold “free speech rallies” elsewhere in the country to spew their far-Right, white nationalist hate-mongering. This is the lesson we learned from Berkeley: We must be organized and maintain tight, tactical blocs if we’re outnumbered either by cops or fash, and we must control the terms of engagement so we don’t have to needlessly sacrifice ourselves in order to win.

Philly had come well-prepared to throw down against a large group of fascists. We had 16 shields and multiple other items – flags, poles and flares – ready to be deployed as force multipliers in a defensive line and provide impressive optics to steal their thunder. Several suggestions to turn our reduced numbers into a win for the broader antifascist narrative were offered, including deployment of shields and poles and other suggestions of potentially dubious legality. However, we understood that we were guests on Boston’s turf and that they should guide the overall look and feel of the action. So, after deliberation about potential strategic collaboration and gathering information on Boston’s plans, Philly decided to hold off on joining their bloc based on our own situational analysis, instead promising to contribute in our own way.

Our affinity group showed up unbloced at Boston Common at about 9:30am and did recon posing as normies to get a sense for terrain, numbers, and political affinities and relationships. We saw about eight people in bloc stationed at the bottom of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument hill, while 20 or so Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and Socialist Alternative (SAlt) were at the top of the hill and growing. We interviewed a member of Socialist Alternative and asked about the bloc, getting the sense that it was not welcome by the folks at the top of the hill. Meanwhile, about 30 or 40 fash were at the Bandstand about 300 feet to the east, also growing. Those in bloc began yelling at the fash, calling them racists etc. This drew them into a battle line, mostly comprised of “Based stickmen,” American and Kekistan flags, and shield bearers – and they started shouting back.

At this point, we became concerned for our comrades’ safety. The most pressing tactical consideration we determined at that moment was that the bloc needed to use the cover of the liberal socialists to protect themselves and bolster their numbers, but they weren’t standing in solidarity together. Being a militant vanguard against the fascist tide means simultaneously moderating two fronts – the enemy front, against which we must stand strong and push hard – and the allied front, to which we must stay close enough to encourage support for our militancy.

We monitored the shouting match for signs of escalation and soon determined that the fash were a low-energy group with multiple internal fractures despite their numbers. Police presence was minimal and non-threatening, so we decided to bloc up and join our comrades despite being outnumbered.

First, we gathered about 15 flags in a trash bag – simple blackout cloth stapled to 2-foot 2” by 2”s – and approached the monument in our normie clothes to drop them off. However, we were told by liberal organizers that we had to leave. We explained that we weren’t interested in messing with them or endangering their people and were only interested in doing our own thing. We stressed that we were committed to using our flags to support a defensive formation and making sure things didn’t get out of hand. This was apparently the first that these organizers had heard of the bloc plans, and basic outreach proactively addressing their safety concerns had a positive impact on their attitude and willingness to go along with us.

“This fosters trust that while we may be militant ourselves as a bloc, we will not put comrades unwilling to throw down at needless risk.”

In Philly, blocs work closely in a sphere of mutual respect with local Left organizations to make sure that everyone is on the same page when actions combine the interests of multiple groups. This fosters trust that while we may be militant ourselves as a bloc, we will not put comrades unwilling to throw down at needless risk. Philly anti-fascist groups have moderated our own political urgencies to smash fascists and the state for the sake of building these relationships due to the advantages that strategic alliances with sympathetic noncombatants can provide. We encourage this attitude among antifa-affiliated mass orgs around the country. Also, within even the most liberal Left-leaning groups, there are always folks willing to be in bloc. Maybe they joined SAlt or whatever else because they wanted to make a real difference, and didn’t know how to get in touch with other people doing more direct actions. Unless we maintain good relationships with other organizations, these comrades will never find their way to join us and will never have the chance to develop their own politics of Left militancy, and our ranks will never grow.

At this point, socialists on top of the hill had swelled to 50 or so, and more radical Leftists seemed to be showing up to join them. The bloc was about 10 strong at the bottom of the hill, stationed at the footpath splitting the Bandstand and the Monument. Philly showed up in full bloc, and we brought the party and the noise.

We stationed ourselves at the middle of the hill to gain the higher ground as well as try to close the gap between the liberals and the bloc. We joined in with chants led by the socialists, getting hype, dancing and going hoarse, emphasizing with our raised voices and body language that in this instance, we were in full solidarity. This visceral show of support across common ideological barriers reduced tensions and made it clear that even though antifa often acts like we’re cool as shit (and let’s be honest, we are), we are not too cool to party with SAlt or DSA when the situation warrants it. Because our victory conditions did not require militantly approaching and confronting the fash, nothing we were prepared to do would rub these liberal socialist groups the wrong way, and our defensive stance was appreciated. This drew the rest of the bloc toward us, and things progressed from there.

At about 10:30am, Boston bloc leaders made the strong and ideologically effective decision to elevate non-men voices by going into the socialists’ ranks to find some who wanted to stand with the bloc. It can’t be emphasized enough: this was some good-ass praxis, and every organizer should learn from it. This tactic helped folks build a space where everyone felt comfortable to take defensive militant action. It doubled our numbers and formed a link between the bloc and the socialists. We then had enough people to hand out fliers to interested passersby and explain what we were doing, while still maintaining an impressive presence. Philly then got our bag of flags and distributed them to the newcomers. Popularizing revolt can be as simple as bringing someone to the front and handing them a flag (aka whacking stick) and a mask.

The Proud Boys began sending instigators into our ranks to try to provoke fights, but we were ready for them. Police presence began to ramp up with about 4 bike cops on either side, mounted cops patrolling with the fash, and motorcycle cops with zip ties at the far end of the Common. Philly took the lead and organized block participants into a defensive line further up the hill to prevent any attempts at kettling. We worked with Boston to station lookouts on either side for fash/cops trying to flank our position. Meanwhile, the bloc had reached a critical mass point whereby it continued to slowly swell. While taking advantage of the relentless chanting tactics that the DSA/SAlt employed to keep our morale boosted, we charged in small swarms to repel the instigators as they approached, making it clear that we would stomp their fucking faces if they tried anything – or allowing our numbers, organization and body language to nonverbally convey that message.

“The character of the so-called free speech ralliers thus showed itself for any onlookers to be hypocritical trash. They’re bullies who cry about free speech until the conversation doesn’t go their way, then they seek out the most vulnerable dissenters to physically intimidate and assault.”

By and large, instigators were 4chan/Reddit keyboard warriors – cowards unsuited for actual confrontation. They soon retreated, and folks in bloc returned to holding the line. Oath Keepers and overt white nationalists seemed bored by the keyboard warriors’ antics and remained deployed around the bandstand, not offering them any assistance. Police presence was such that we didn’t have the numbers to approach them and test those waters. It was clear from their body language that the cops were protecting the fascists, and chants to that effect – “Cops Protect Nazis!” – started up. At one point, after one Proud Boy took his aggression out on a random 13-year-old child and was subsequently detained, a larger group of fash seemed like they were going to charge the hill. Our bloc made an impressive line, holding flagpoles horizontally to repel as a unit, and they decided to back off. Another Proud Boy later punched a teen-aged femme within the bloc, and when our bloc member tried to defend themselves, both were arrested. The character of the so-called free speech ralliers thus showed itself for any onlookers to be hypocritical trash. They’re bullies who cry about free speech until the conversation doesn’t go their way, then they seek out the most vulnerable dissenters to physically intimidate and assault.

 

As the action wound down, comrades thanked the Philly contingent and expressed interest in our organization as well as working with us again. Militancy means energy, and as long as they feel protected rather than threatened by our presence, people will feed off our militancy rather than tell us to go away. The difference between a feeling of protection and a feeling of threat is communication – fostering the sense that we are on the same page. While ideological disagreements are important to hash out at times, we must also be a unified Left Front when it comes to fighting against large numbers of fash taking to the commons. Coalition-building beats out adventurism every time, especially in cases of uneven numbers.

“Militancy means energy, and as long as they feel protected rather than threatened by our presence, people will feed off our militancy rather than tell us to go away.”

We won the day this weekend – but it won’t always be this easy. We ended on a high note and then dispersed. The fash milled about the hill and the rest of the Common after, unsure of what to do beyond taking selfies and posting on social media. They were aiming for another Berkeley – an opportunity and excuse to catch us out, beat us up, instigate a brawl, and lead to our mass arrest, unmasking and doxing – and we denied them that opportunity. They looked like a bunch of strange, sad folks all day. Philly’s organization on the fly as well as Boston’s follow-through, combined with disarray among the Right, gave them the loss instead. We got videos of them attacking children, and we disrupted their event. The Alt-Right bemoaned on /pol/ being “humiliated”.

We drink deeply of fascist tears.

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But our enemies are getting more organized all the time. The fact that they were able to have this event at all should be considered a partial failure among Left organizers. While Boston didn’t give them much of a platform, they were able to take the streets at the end of their disrupted rally, which must be prevented in the future. We must aim to be able to shut this shit down before it starts. But we didn’t have the numbers to actively confront a mass of trained right-wing militia at this time, so we had to frame our victory to be achievable and based on conditions on the ground. And we did. We accomplished what we sought out to achieve.

Our ultimate goal is building blocs strong enough to smash the State, and achieve liberation for a unified, multi-racial, multi-gendered, militant working-class. But first, we have to grow and build unity. As hip-hop artist Ab Soul said in the song, Terrorist Threats, “If all the gangs in the world unified, we’d stand a chance against the military tonight.”

“ours will be a five, ten year struggle at least, and we must think long-term, stay strong, be smart, build coalitions and alternative economic models to support our work, expand political education and class consciousness…”

That work is ongoing and must be pursued on multiple fronts. Ethno-nationalist fascists will only get more organized as the Right consolidates its power in government and rolls out an increasingly draconian police state that preys upon the most vulnerable populations – disabled, immigrants, women, people of color, trans folks and other LGBT people, etc.

All indications are that it will get worse before it gets better. Realistically, ours will be a five, ten year struggle at least, and we must think long-term, stay strong, be smart, build coalitions and alternative economic models to support our work, expand political education and class consciousness, keep training, grow our forces, and continue thinking up new tactics to take the fight to the Right. We can’t tunnel vision on “being in bloc” – there are so many other historically effective anti-fascist tactics that can and should be used. The Black Panthers gave out free breakfasts and became local heroes, for instance. But they were militant as fuck.

We don’t have the luxury of allowing our egos to be stroked by LARPer adventurist tendencies or suicidal, disorganized impulses. But we must remain prepared for the worst. We must make use of all available options to challenge the corporate state. We must take care of ourselves and our comrades while we fight the fash on all fronts. We must be able to sustain our revolt by thinking strategically toward a narrative win every time, finding situational allies wherever we can, because we’re in this for the long haul, and we are all needed. As freedom fighter Assata Shakur famously said, it is our duty to fight for our freedom, and it is our duty to win. The Rev is a life-long and long-life commitment.

Philly out.

doing being out of control.jpg

An Anarchist Response to the Anti-Gentrification Attacks in Philly on May Day

from It’s Going Down

What do vandals get out of destroying a neighborhood? Why do people resort to violence to send a message? Are those who allegedly participated in such an action our comrades? Won’t this kind of action alienate people at a time when we finally have the opportunity to build a broad movement against fascism? Since all these questions surfaced in public forums following the May Day demonstration in Philly, in which expensive condos and cars in a gentrifying area of Northern Liberties/Kensington were smashed, maybe the answers are still not so obvious.

The black bloc is not symbolic. Unlike symbolic actions, which intend to convey a message, its reason for being is practical – wearing similar styles of all-black outfits allows people to stay anonymous while taking action. One of the more compelling aspects of anarchist tradition is its belief in direct action – we try not to accept other peoples’ control over our lives, and we don’t expect authorities to act in our best interests, so we try to accomplish what we want ourselves instead of asking permission from politicians or anyone else who seeks to protect the social order. Unfortunately, for many anarchists today, direct action remains more of an abstract belief than a way of life. In Philadelphia, we’re more used to seeing anarchists doing support work or lobbying for reforms than attacking institutions or businesses they believe shouldn’t exist. But some anarchists still respond to the violence of everyday life in the U.S. by directly fighting it.

Though invisible to most people, the U.S. has been waging a war since its inception on indigenous peoples, black folks, the poor, and all the other populations that it’s dispossessed and marginalized. As a settler colonial nation-state, it cannot exist without exploitation, slavery and genocide, and it continues to try to crush and control those populations that it’s oppressed and those who resist, while proceeding with its ongoing project of capitalist and colonial development.

This war between the social order and those it seeks to contain is called the social war, and one of its major fronts in Philly for years now has been gentrification. While the city was originally developed by displacing and devastating Lenape peoples and land and accumulating capital through the slave trade, for the past two decades Philadelphia’s economy has grown through displacing black and brown people and rebuilding their neighborhoods for wealthier people to move into. This process of gentrification, which is happening at the most rapidly accelerating rate in the country, has been so obvious that it’s produced widespread public outcry and relative sympathy for those using “violent” means to attack agents of gentrification. While attending community meetings with developers and politicians has accomplished nothing, and forming nonviolent community organizations against gentrification has done very little to stop it, vandalism has successfully demoralized and deterred development in many areas of the city.

History, and personal experience, have shown that nonviolent social movements and activist campaigns for reform can’t fix or win against a fundamentally violent state – this is why some engage in “violent” tactics that more directly move towards accomplishing their objectives. Concerns within radical circles about how such actions will alienate the public seem unfounded so far, since the mainstream media has been unusually understanding of the May 1st demo. Because the demo exclusively targeted expensive cars and new condo developments, it’s hard to mistake its intentions. Such actions will attract some and alienate others, and this is not a bad thing – it’s good to know what side people are on. Unlike symbolic marches and peaceful protests, actions like the May Day demo offer people the opportunity to deepen their capacity for anti-capitalist, anti-social offensives and open up space for new people to get involved who aren’t interested in more symbolic forms of action.

At a time when global capitalism and the society it’s created are more and more obviously disastrous, it seems important to push these initiatives and build our capacity to fight, rather than watering down our goals.

As to the question of whether those who participated in the May Day demo are our “comrades,” or deserve our support – those are some of the people in Philly going the hardest against the forces of domination and exploitation, and risking state violence and social marginalization in order to do so. Such actions are not above critique, but to condemn them and those involved wholesale in the name of hypothetical concerns about public opinion puts you on the side of defending and replicating a violent social order, rather than amongst those trying to get free from it.

SAVE LAVA FROM WATER DEPT CHUMPS

from Go Fund Me

[Video]

HELP!!

LAVA Space is a grassroots organizing and media center located in the Belmont neighborhood of Philadelphia. For over two decades the space has served as a place for activist groups and communities to meet, eat and share art and music.

The water department recently cut our water supply off until we jumped through numerous hoops to get a water meter installed. After this was done, we went to pay the bill and found that we were being charged $3571.82 for 10 years of not paying for water. Apparently, in 2008 someone cut the meter out of the water main so that we wouldn’t get billed. We were able to put the debt on a payment plan so that we can pay $450 upfront and then $108 per month for the next 30 months. We’re asking for help as we already have trouble keeping up with other monthly bills and it will be extremely difficult to pay this one on top of the rest.

LAVA was established to provide a meeting space and resources to a neighborhood with serious needs. The downstairs of the building houses a library, weekly produce distribution and an event space that gives a platform to artists and organizations from a wide range of backgrounds. The upstairs is used as affordable office space for groups fighting for social justice (Human Rights Coalition and Radio Prometheus) and the Shark Tank recording studio, which has become an important resource for young musicians in the community.

Please help keep LAVA afloat by donating what you can and sharing this page with your networks.

Thanks!!!

J20: Everymen (FL) // Complex // Cape of Bats //Humo

from Facebook

Everymen (FL) – On the road from Florida
https://soundcloud.com/everymen-1

Complex – Mutant pogo freaks
https://complex.bandcamp.com/releases

Cape of Bats – metallic blackened punk
https://capeofbats.bandcamp.com/

Humo

*****J20 BENEFIT BAR*****
Think twice or 3 times before you byob

$7-$10
No bullshit OR ELSE

Proceeds from this show will go to the Philly J20 Support fund to help ease the financial burden of traveling back and forth to DC for court appearances, lawyer fees, etc. If you can’t make it to the show but would like to donate please do so using the link below:
https://www.everribbon.com/ribbon/view/62860
For a look at the current legal situation for J20 defendants you can give this article a read (i know its buzzfeed but its fair and accurate):
https://www.buzzfeed.com/zoetillman/inauguration-day-arrestees-make-early-moves-to-challenge-fel?utm_term=.yt317jn2w#.nbOp0jK8L

SOLIDARITY FOREVER

[May 13 from 7pm to 11pm]

PRFC summer free movie meetup: Surf Nazis Must Die [1987]

from Facebook

An earthquake leaves the California coastline in ruins and reduces the beaches to a state of chaos. A group of Neo-Nazis led by Adolf, the self-proclaimed “Führer of the new beach”, takes advantage of the resulting chaos by fighting off several rival surfer gangs to seize control of the beaches. Meanwhile, an African American oil well worker named Leroy is killed by the surf Nazis while jogging on the beach. Leroy’s mother, “Mama” Washington, devastated by the loss of her son, vows revenge…
[May 12 from 7 to 10pm at A-Space 4722 Baltimore Ave]

Philadelphia, PA: “Solidarity From Philly to France!”

from It’s Going Down

Philly anarchists fuck up gentrification on may day

Submission

Lots of people said they went harder than they ever had, and learned and experimented at this demo. At least four large condos both finished  and unfinished were smashed up so bad that it felt like a competition to get a swing in. People described feeling terrified and thrilled participating. Compared to the J20 march on South St, this demo is an escalation and a step up. The successes of this demo feel like they’re a result of the lessons learned on J20. Shout out to everyone who came prepared, brought things to share, and showed up on time. Cars, condos and cameras were hit with everything: bricks, porcelain, hammers, slingshot marbles, spray paint, and paint bombs!

All the above is a testament to the demo’s ferocity, since the neighborhood was challenging to say the least. There weren’t many little dip spots to duck into, there were many cameras around (fewer now). Neighbors were quick to snitch and formed ad-hoc vigilante groups that pursued participants. At one point someone was tackled by a good citizen; a comrade with a hammer intimidated them, allowing the demo-goer to escape. Let’s remember to look out for each other, even when the cops aren’t around, especially in white, yuppie, or  right-leaning areas.

The meet-up chosen by the organizers felt ideal; it was dark, wooded, and off the street. Organizers regret not having distributed a legal support number that had been set up in advance of the demo. Due to technological and communication failures, as well as unforeseen circumstances, two intended targets were not hit. Towards the end of the route, an unintended split between a smaller group with a banner and a larger group further back took place, causing the march to end early.

It feels like in recent months we’ve all been learning a lot, and it shows — things are happening harder and more often! There are a few things we can do better next time. To lessen confusion and worry, let’s choose crew names that keep us anonymous, let us find each other in hectic situations, and also don’t sound like or rhyme with words for police. Let’s be careful with each other while we get dangerous, let’s throw from the front of crowds, making sure we don’t accidentally splash paint or rain glass on comrades in front of us using hammers.

See you in the streets

<3 bitches with hammers <3