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.

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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

Legal support for Philly May Day arrestees

from Fundrazr

Yesterday, a dedicated organizer, activist, and anti-fascist in Philadelphia was arrested, accused of connection with May Day anti-gentrification protests. They are currently in jail and media reports indicate they will be receiving completely inappropriate charges, including multiple felonies. We should take accounts by the mainstream media and police forces very cautiously. We are greatly in need of funds for bail and legal support, to reunite this person with their family and friends as soon as possible, and keep them that way. Any and all support you are able to give so that we can ensure a timely release and a strong defense are greatly appreciated. This person has put so much work into their community, and it is time for us to rally together and support them.

You can follow our Twitter for live updates on the case -Philly Anti-Repression Fund

[Donate Here]

Post-May Day Social Media Round-Up

from Twitter

Philly Jail Support 24th/25th District 3901 Whitaker Ave Shifts are from 3-6pm, 6-9pm, 9-12am.

from Instagram

If you want to help and keep track of last night’s May Day arrestees check out Philly Anti-Repression Fund’s twitter (@phlbailfund) and fundraiser (fnd.us/b1Eata?ref=sh_d6cb9d). Let’s support our comrades facing repression.

from Instagram

Lots of different anarchic feelings this May Day in Philly. Some comrades are still in custody let’s be ready to support them.

from Instagram


$100k in damage estimated, 2 in custody facing charges #mayday2017

BLOC OUT the SUN

from Facebook

The demo starts at 6th and Market outside the liberty bell and ends at city hall. Stand together against Fascism, Imperialism. State Violence and the “Alt-Right”. SOLIDARITY FOREVER!

MASK UP!

[May 1 at 10am]

Melt ICE: Solidarity With Detainees

from Facebook

Join the Industrial Workers of the World In Philadelphia on International Workers Day, as we will be demonstrating at the Philadelphia Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE office in solidarity with immigrant detainees. Immigrant detainees live and work in poor conditions in some cases making only $1 a day. In April 2017 Tacoma Washington Immigrant detainees went on a labor and hunger strike over bad food and low pay. Read more here: http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/04/24/25103735/women-detainees-at-tacoma-immigrant-prison-end-hunger-strike-but-vow-to-keep-fighting

After this we will join the March for a day without immigrants at City Hall at noon

[May 1 from 10am to 12pm at 1600 Callowhill St]

Harrisburg, PA: Antifascist Night March Against Trump

from Facebook

In response to Donald Trump invading our beloved city after insulting us by calling it a warzone, we of the East Shore Antifa are issuing a call for a militant antifascist night march.

At 7:30 pm, Donald Trump is Scheduled to speak. At 8:00 pm on April 29th, we will begin assembling our forces on the intersection of Peffer St and Wallace St, behind the park. We will gather in strength and in number until 8:30 pm, at which point we will begin to march.

Due to threats of violence from Trump supporters, we encourage people to show up prepared to physically defend the march, wear black and cover your faces.

We ask for street medics to show up prepared to provide medical treatment, as well as war drummers, street performers, and musicians.

SHUT IT DOWN.

#NoTrump #WarZone #Harrisburg

Yes, the neo-Fash attended the Philly MAGA March

from Idavox

They chanted things like, “Who’s streets? Kek’s streets!” But because Kek doesn’t exist, Antifa took them instead. Meet the neo-Fash!

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Organizers of Saturday’s Pro-Trump Rally in front of Independence Hall originally planned to be out for five hours with almost 500 people who would march from the Hall to the Rocky Statue at the Philadelphia Art Museum, a roughly three mile walk.

Instead, only 70 persons showed up to show their support for Donald Trump, they cut the rally down to three hours, and they only managed to march five blocks because antifascist protesters that included not only the Black Bloc but hundreds of teens on bicycles had overtaken their planned routes. In the end, the Trump supporters were left complaining online about how their event was successfully disrupted.

The faceoff between antifa and Trump supporters is a scenario that played itself out all over the country last weekend as several pro-Trump rallies were held in various cities on both coast. Many, such as Philadelphia’s rally, remained peaceful, but others, most notably the rally in Huntingdon Beach, CA erupted into violent clashes. Seaside Heights, NJ also had a brief flareup but was otherwise calm.

And among the crowd of those self-styled “patriots” that said they were standing up for their President, there was that ever-present group of neo-Fascists that have been a part of Trump’s ascension from the very beginning. Often called the “alt-right”, they even led the Philadelphia march and one even took to their Facebook event page to berate the organizers. “Your cancellation of the march was an embarrassment,” Penn State grad student Daniel Marulanda wrote. “(G)ood thing there was enough militant right-wing youth to reorganize it on the fly.”

Daniel Marulanda

Marulanda, who according to his Linked In page is an Army veteran who once interned at the United Nations, was there with the neo-Fascists, sporting a black hoodie with the words “Anti-Antifa” on it and occasionally a bandanna to prevent being identified. Other associates of his wore matching bandannas with a skull motif emblazoned on them. There was some information that they could have been a part of a neo-Fascist group called American Vanguard, but when asked they denied it, with one even saying that the group hardly existed anymore.

Many of the neo-Fascists that attended were young, mostly of college age. However, Dave Reilly, a radio personality at WHLM, a small radio station from Bloomsburg, PA, covered the pro-Trump march and in particular the neo-Fascists via video, and White Nationalist Jeff McGeary of Newtown, PA was also in attendance.

No other pro-Trump marches have been announced for the near future in Philadelphia, but many who attended this weekend’s outing felt defeated and want to schedule another one soon, many expressing if for no other reason to show up antifa who embarrassed them by shutting down their march. “(Next) time we won’t be so nice. Best believe that,” Louis Jordan posted on the MAGA March Facebook event page.

[Video]

IGD Philly: Black Bloc Shuts Down Trump Rally Being Led by Neo-Nazis

from It’s Going Down

 

A hundreds strong black bloc shut down a planned #MAGAMARCH Trump rally today, as neo-Nazis attempted to led the pro-Trump crowd in a march. According to DC Direct Action News:

On the 25th of march, a MAGA (pro-Trump) march and rally drew a tiny turnout including known neo-Nazis. It was quickly confronted by masked-up antifascist activists who police allege set off smoke bombs. The outnumbered and outmatched Trumpers and fascists reportedly cancelled their rally “in fear of violence,” as this is written it is uncertain if they are marching somewhere or have quit the city entirely. A “blue lives matter” racist, pro-police website reported the rally cancelled but twitter reports show opposing marchers in the streets, not sure which was last report.

The black bloc was also joined by hundreds of youth on bikes as neo-Nazis led the Trump marchers back to Independence Hall. Here’s a recap from social media:

Philadelphia, 3/25: #DisruptMAGA

from It’s Going Down

March 25, 2017, Independence Hall, Philadelphia (5th and Market)

On March 25th, a group of Trump-worshiping right-wing scum will be in Philadelphia to hold a “Make America Great” rally and march near independence hall. The rally will be to show support for Donald Trump and his racist, sexist and transphobic policies. They will cheer for the loss of life-saving medical coverage for so many who need it. They will celebrate the continuation and acceleration of policies of mass incarceration, unrestricted police murder/brutality/harassment, and deportations. They will cheer as trans women are murdered almost daily and then have the gall to turn around and claim those women are predators to be kept from children. They will then attempt to march through the streets of Philly, a city that overwhelmingly does not support Trump, as a show of strength.

We say fuck that.

Let’s show them that Philly knows the truth. That America was founded on Colonialism, Genocide, Slavery and Sexism. Those traditions continue today, though sometimes in varied forms. America was never great. But Philly can be great on March 25th. Let our rage send a message to all those who think the election of Trump means that we will lie down and die, and all those unsure how to best stand against Trump and his minions.

#DisruptMAGA welcomes and encourages a diversity of tactics. However, “peace police,” people who collaborate with law enforcement, and people who seek to restrict the actions of other demonstrators are not welcome. Be smart; this is not a civil disobedience where everyone tries to get arrested or injured. Come with a buddy, protect your identity and watch your back.

So let’s make a little noise for ourselves and everyone else who had to suffer to “Make America Great.”

Connect:

Social Media Event
Twitter (Use hashtag #DisruptMAGA)

Fliers:

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