Statement on Mumia Abu-Jamal

from Philly IWW2

Mumia Abu-Jamal has always maintained his innocence in the 1981 fatal shooting of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. His prosecution was politically-motivated because of his Black Panther Party membership, his support of the MOVE organization and as a radical journalist. His 1982 trial and subsequent 1995 PCRA appeals were racially biased: the prosecution excluded African Americans from the jury; and PCRA trial Judge Albert Sabo, the same judge in Abu-Jamal’s initial trial, declared, “I’m gonna help them fry the n—-r.”  Abu-Jamal’s frame-up stands out as the city’s most notorious wrongful conviction.

On Dec. 27, Mumia Abu-Jamal won a significant case before Judge Leon Tucker in a decision granting him new rights of appeal.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner: The Philadelphia Chapter of the IWW  calls on you to do the right thing.  Do not stand in the way of justice.  Do not appeal Judge Tucker’s decision.

Cease defending former Philadelphia DA and later PA Supreme Court Judge Ron Castille’s now-discredited claim of impartiality.  Justice must extend to controversial cases your predecessors held untouchable.  Allow Abu-Jamal to go forward with re-arguing his appeals, which Judge Tucker states “would best serve the appearance of justice.

Philly Police Harass Jewish Cops: Lawsuit

from Unicorn Riot

Philadelphia, PA – A new federal lawsuit alleges that a culture of anti-Semitic and racist harassment has been allowed to thrive at the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD).

Court filings submitted on behalf of two Jewish officers claim that the police department and the City of Philadelphia tolerate supervisors who have “created a racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Jewish environment at their employment at the PPD.” Unknown PPD officers are also believed to be behind graffiti of Nazi symbols and slogans found on a Jewish cop’s locker and inscribed on his patrol car, incidents the lawsuit asserts were never looked into properly.

The primary complaint in the lawsuit was filed on November 19, 2018 on behalf of Stacey Gonzalez and Pavel Reznik, both Philadelphia Police officers and practicing Jews. The lawsuit primarily focuses on conduct by Corporal Karen Church of Philadelphia’s 9th district, who is “known for making racist remarks toward non-white and non-Christian officers” according to a sworn Internal Affairs statement by Officer Gonzalez.

The lawsuit also names the City of Philadelphia and the PPD as defendants, claiming that city administrators essentially signed off on anti-Semitic conduct inside PPD by failing to address the issue when officers brought it to their attention. 10 unknown officers, or John Does, are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Corporal Karen Church commented to Officer Gonzales, “Why doesn’t the United States just take a missile and blow up Israel?” Another officer, Sergeant Oneeka Noble, is accused of making anti-Semitic remarks towards Gonzalez during preparations for a Memorial Day barbecue, reportedly telling her “Stacey, don’t bring in no motherfucking Kosher shit“.

Other incidents mentioned in the complaint were events reported by Pavel Reznik, a Russian Jewish police officer who is also party to the lawsuit.  Included along with the complaint are photographs being used as evidence exhibits in the case. The photos show Reznik’s police locker with ‘SS’ bolts scratched into it along with the German word ‘Totenkopf’.

Nazi graffiti on the locker of Jewish Philadelphia Police Officer Pavel Reznik

The locker graffiti, which seems to clearly target Reznik as a Jew, is a clear reference to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. ‘SS’ stands for ‘Schutzstaffel’, the name of an elite Nazi German paramilitary unit created by Adolf Hitler. ‘Totenkopf’ is a German word for “skull” or the “death’s head” symbol which was used by SS units assigned to concentration camps. The ‘Totenkopf’ symbol is still popular today among neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Another photo included as evidence in the lawsuit shows Reznik’s PPD patrol vehicle with a Star of David and the phrase ‘Hebrew Hammer’ inscribed in the grime that had built up on the side of the car.

A Star of David and the words “Hebrew Hammer” drawn in dust on Philadelphia Police Officer Pavel Reznik’s patrol car

According to the lawsuit, neither of the incidents of clearly anti-Semitic vandalism targeting Officer Reznik were properly investigated by the department.

Reznik wrote in his sworn statement that since he first joined the police academy in 2006, he had become aware that PPD “discriminates heavily against Jews” and claims that officers often made anti-Semitic comments around him such as “We’re just getting ‘Jewed out’.” One exchange is alleged to have taken place in which an officer made a comment about Jewish food and another officer responded, in a joking tone, “Don’t be racist,” to which Officer Marcus O’Shannesy reportedly replied “It’s not racism, it is anti-Semitism.” According to the lawsuit, another police officer named Dougherty also chimed in, saying “Jews can’t cook for shit, their Chanukah food sucks“.

The lawsuit alleges that Reznik faced further retaliation related to his religion. He was reportedly told “That’s some bullshit, no need for you to go home early… what are you, special?” when he asked to be able to attend a Jewish police officer’s honor guard event. He was also denied time-off requests while his wife was pregnant, and made to work shifts while other other officers lower in rank than himself were getting their time-off requests granted.

According to the suit, Reznik has stopped requesting time off to celebrate Jewish holidays because he assumes his requests will be denied and he will face retaliation.

Reznik said he was also subject to harassment based on his Russian nationality and other officers seeing him as an immigrant. He claims that while enrolled at the police academy, a superior told him “I must break you; we must destroy your country” in a mock Russian accent. Reznik also maintains that another officer frequently made derogatory comments about “all the benefits immigrants get, without doing any work“.

In addition to specific anti-Semitic remarks and acts of harassment, Corporal Karen Church and other PPD officials are accused of retaliating against Jewish officers by subjecting them to “unwarranted and disproportionate warnings and punishments … wherein discrimination was exhibited“. Punishments against Jewish cops complaining about anti-Semitism reportedly included being made to stay late while non-Jews were allowed to leave, and being prevented from taking time off for Jewish holidays. “There are always courtesies given to Christians to worship their holidays and leave early, but the rest of us are nailed to the directive when it comes to our holidays,” Gonzalez said in a sworn statement.

After Gonzalez complained about Corporal Church’s “bomb Israel” comment, Church retaliated by making her stay late while other officers were allowed to go home, the suit claims. Church is further alleged to have taken disciplinary action against Gonzalez for leaving work to prepare for Yom Kippur, while non-Jewish officers were said to be running similar holiday errands around the same time and were not disciplined. Church is also said to have refused to let Gonzalez work any half-days during the Jewish holiday, despite allowing Christian cops to take half-days during Christmas and Thanksgiving.

“…PPD supervisors directed discriminatory and prejudicial acts towards Jewish police officers and would intimidate these police officers by insulting them, requiring them to perform additional work not asked of other officers, (mainly white Christian officers) and precluded them from taking adequate time off for religions holidays, gatherings, and other Jewish religions expressions.” – Gonzalez & Reznik’s complaint

According to Officer Stacey Gonzalez’s sworn statement to PPD internal affairs, she believes the racist and anti-Semitic conduct by Corporal Church was knowingly tolerated by police higher-ups, including former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey:

If you know this person has a history of making derogatory comments, you are protecting her if you don’t take any action against [her] She even stated out of her mouth she was protected by someone on the second or third floor …” – Officer Stacey Gonzalez Internal Affairs interview

In her statement to PPD Internal Affairs, Officer Gonzalez also claimed that the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which often negotiates on behalf of officers with grievances, discouraged her from speaking out about her allegations of anti-Jewish discrimination:

“…the FOP (Mike Trask and Roosevelt Poplar) said they weren’t going to have anything to do with it. They said to take it to your people … They stated they didn’t want anything to do with my complaints regarding the Christian holidays.” – Officer Stacey Gonzalez Internal Affairs interview

John McNesby of the Philly FOP, speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer, claimed that the police union was not involved in, or aware of, the lawsuit about anti-Semitism in the department:

This is the first I’m being made aware of this … To my knowledge they’ve never contacted [the union] or requested any assistance, which would be their first line of defense … but they took the path that they did, and it’s under litigation and I guess they’ll figure it out on that level.” – John McNesby, President, Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police

Corporal Karen Church, as well as several other PPD officers named in the new anti-Semitism lawsuit, have all been named in previous litigation over discrimination and workplace harassment in Philly’s police department.

Karen Church and Sergeant Robert Deblasis were both sued in 2011 by Robin Middleton, an African-American Philadelphia Police Officer and Christian Baptist, who said that she was harassed by Church and Deblasis on the basis of both her race and religion. Middleton’s lawsuit claimed that Church, with Deblasis’ knowledge and approval, prevented her from being able to attend religious services. Middleton also claimed that Deblasis routinely called her “the Blessed One” and would make the “sign of the cross” gestures towards her at work. Middleton also alleged that Deblasis and Church retaliated against her for her complaints about this harassment; when she became injured on the job, they refused to provide her with either an injury report or a hospital referral.

Deblasis had also been named in a previous lawsuit that claimed he harassed PPD officers for their involvement in interracial relationships. The new lawsuit contains a statement from Officer Gonzalez to PPD Internal Affairs in which Gonzales claims another officer overheard Deblasis using the phrase “the ‘N’ word” to refer to a black person.

This fresh scandal tying Philadelphia’s police to anti-Semitism and Nazi imagery comes just two years after an uproar involving an officer sporting a Nazi tattoo while on the job. During the 2016 Democratic National Convention, which was hosted in Philadelphia, pictures emerged of Officer Ian Hans Lichterman sporting a forearm tattoo with a Nazi German eagle design under the word “fatherland“.

McNesby & the Philly FOP defended the Nazi tattoo as “not a big deal” at the time, while the police department declined to discipline Lichterman, saying no policies had been violated. The department has since instituted a new tattoo policy and Lichterman was never fired, but ended up leaving PPD to take a new job as a federal police officer guarding the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Former Ian Hans Lichterman sports a Nazi tattoo while assigned to protests outside the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo Source: Evan Parish Matthews/Facebook

Read the full text of the complaint in Officers Gonzalez & Reznik’s lawsuit (with Internal Affairs interview transcripts) below or click here to download the PDF.


Anti-Racist Crowd Overwhelms Small Far-Right Rally in Philly

from Unicorn Riot

Philadelphia, PA – Over a thousand anti-racist protesters gathered on Independence Mall on Saturday to oppose a “We The People” rally organized by right-wing groups tied to groups like the Proud Boys and the Three Percenter militia network.

The rally was organized by a Facebook page called ‘Sports Beer and Politics’, associated with Philly-area far-right organizers Zachary Rehl and Holly Delcampo. Social media postings leading up to the event showed organizers coordinating with members of the violent “western chauvinist” Proud Boys, a group which has been called a “gang” by its founder Gavin McInnes. Members of the neo-Nazi group, Keystone United (formerly called Keystone State Skinheads), had also indicated that they would be attending.

Around 10:30 AM, as both the far-right rally and the counter-protest began, Philadelphia police made their first arrest as officers with bikes pushed anti-racists and journalists across the street to create a wider perimeter. After police forcibly created a control zone, the event largely consisted of two opposing rallies on either side of the street. The far-right group had between 12-50 attendees throughout the day, with the anti-racist counter-protest opposing them made up of roughly 1,000 people.

See our livestream coverage from the event below:

(Correction: At times in our livestream Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Melvin Singleton is misidentified as Police Commissioner Richard Ross. Any reference to Ross in our stream narration actually refers to Singleton. Unicorn Riot regrets the error.)

Many different Philadelphia groups came out for the event, including several unions, the Philly Coalition for Real Justice, and a coven of witches.

Witches hex Proud Boys in Philadelphia. Photo by Unicorn Riot.

The Philadelphia Flyers’ new mascot, ‘Gritty’, who has become an international antifascist symbol, made several appearances, along with internet sensation ‘Grumpy Cat’:

‘Grumpy Cat’ puppet operated by two people at the anti-racist counter-protest. Photo by Unicorn Riot.

After about an hour of speakers with a sound system and a marching band drowning out the right-wing rally from across the street, two Proud Boys were spotted in the counter-protest crowd. The two men, David Kuriakose and Simon Greenwood, had previously been identified as present at the Proud Boys’ gang beating attacks in New York City outside the Metropolitan Republican Club last month. Kuriakose was charged and arrested for his alleged role in the Proud Boys attack, according to the New York Post. The two men were escorted across the street, after some counter-protesters pushed them and threw items like water bottles.

Proud Boys David Kuriakose and Simon Greenwood ushered out of the counter-protest in Philadelphia by police, as hundreds of people chanted “assholes” at them. Photo at left by Unicorn Riot; New York photos by Shay Horse in upper right & Sandi Bachom in lower right.

Another altercation occurred down the street a few minutes later, in which a man seen hiding his face from cameras appeared to have been headbutted. Police who were already present at the scene quickly made two arrests. An unconfirmed report claims this scuffle was the result of a case of a man being mistakenly identified as part of the far-right rally.

Shortly after that incident, 48-year-old Proud Boy Alan Swinney, wearing body armor and holding a large flagpole, left the right-wing rally area in an apparent attempt to provoke a confrontation with counter-protesters. Quickly surrounded by anti-racists and reporters, Swinney was quickly escorted back into the fenced-off “We The People” rally area by Philadelphia Police as well as federal park rangers (the Independence Visitor Center where the rally took place is under federal jurisdiction).

48-year-old “Proud Boy” Alan Swinney in Philadelphia. Photo by Unicorn Riot.

A few minutes later, a group of the “We The People” rally attendees walked away from their rally location on Independence Mall. The group then walked a few blocks, escorted by dozens of police and about as many counter-protesters, to the old Philadelphia police headquarters. After presenting an award to police inside the building, the group waited around behind their police escort waiting to get picked up. However, the group had a hard time getting a ride, as an Uber driver, and later a taxi driver, both declined to pick up the passengers once counter-protesters told them they were affiliated with the Proud Boys.

Around this same time, Philadelphia police made a major show of force by Independence Mall in order to prevent counter-protesters from approaching far-right rally attendees who were leaving. Video by local reporter Joshua Scott Albert shows officers pushing a man into a tree before hitting him on the head with overhand baton strikes. At around the same time, officers were ushering Alan Swinney, the Proud Boy who had shown up wearing riot armor, into his Uber.

Red liquid that seemed to be blood was seen on the ground shortly after the police beatings. Philadelphia Police did not directly respond to an inquiry about whether overhand baton strikes to the head are consistent with policy, instead directing us to visit a webpage that includes PPD use-of-force directives.

According to Philadelphia Police Public Affairs, a total of four people were detained or arrested on Saturday, November 17: two for failure to disperse, one for disorderly conduct, and another for allegedly assaulting a police captain. No attendees from the far-right rally were cited, detained, or arrested.

The day after the rally, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story incorrectly claiming there was “no indication” that Proud Boys or Three Percenters were present at the rally. The story was eventually corrected two days later, but not before a headline on the front page told readers there had been “no sign of hate groups“.

The Inquirer’s curious claim was easily disproven by the documented presence of Proud Boys Alan Swinney, David Kuriakose, and Simon Greenwood. Numerous rally attendees were also photographed with clothes bearing the insignia of the Three Percenter militia movement, which provided security for neo-Nazis at Unite The Right in Charlottesville.

The event’s official organizers, Zachary Rehl and Holly Delcampo, also have their own unique and checkered backgrounds. Zach Rehl is the son and grandson of Philadelphia police officers, a fact he often uses when explaining the pro-police messaging of his events. However, Rehl himself has a criminal record, including a 2015 incident that resulted in him facing charges of aggravated assault, criminal mischief, terroristic threats, assault, reckless endangerment, and drunk driving.

Comments made by Holly Delcampo on Facebook have claimed that anti-racist protester Heather Heyer died in Charlottesville from a “heart attack” and “was not hit by a car“, echoing debunked conspiracy theories spread by the alt-right about the car attack at Unite The Right.

Notably, events organized in 2017 by ‘Sports Beer and Politics’ under a pro-Trump, pro-police banner, were attended by white supremacist extremists who were seen at Unite The Right in Charlottesville.

Unicorn Riot has previously reported on the involvement of “Three Percenters” in attacks and right-wing activity at demonstrations: Three Percenters attacked a Democratic Socialists of America gathering in Kentucky in September 2018; Three Percenter social media amplified false stories that Georgia police used to craft crowd management in April 2018; Three Percenters participated in an August 2018 rally in Portland; and through data requests Unicorn Riot recently determined that in St. Paul, armed Three Percenters were improperly released from police custody after detainment in the summer of 2016.

Live reporting, photo editing and research contributed by Dan Feidt, Unicorn Riot. 

Editors note: An earlier version of this story had mistaken Holly Delcampo for another person. Unicorn Riot regrets the error. 


Hate Group Organizers In Philadelphia

from Instagram

from Instagram

Call to Action to Oppose Proud Boys, Militias, and Neo-Nazi Skinhead Gang Holding Nationalist Rally

from It’s Going Down

Call for a mass mobilization against far-Right groups rallying in Philadelphia on November 17th.

On Saturday, November 17, a coalition of far-Right groups spearheaded by The Proud Boys and various militia groups, along with Keystone United/Keystone State Skinheads, one of the most violent white supremacist gangs in Pennsylvania, will be gathering in Philadelphia for a “We the People Rally.”

We’ve seen nationwide the violence and bigoted terror that happens when the far-Right organizes under the guise of “Patriotism” or “Nationalism,” and we’ve seen the deadly consequences of an emboldened insurgent fascist movement that’s been allowed a platform upon which to fester and spread their toxic and evil ideology.

We urge all people who can make it to show up and oppose them, to not concede a single inch and to not allow them any chance to recruit or grow in power. There will be a mass action coordinated by the Pushback Campaign to oppose them at the Independence Hall Visitor Center at 10:00 AM.

We also strongly encourage people to autonomously organize themselves and trusted friends into action and to be creative with how to oppose these fascists and ensure that they do not feel welcome in our city. We must ensure that Philadelphia does not become a hub of their organizing and that they are impeded every step of the way, and we must inspire a broader base of support for opposing them in the future!

In solidarity with the Pushback Campaign and all Autonomous groups and collectives involved in organizing this stalwart opposition, and those doing similar around the world! More info can be found here as well.

¡No pasarán!

-Some folks in Philly who are against Fascism

The Philadelphia Fash Rally – a Primer

from Idavox

About two weeks ago a Philly.com article gave a little #pushback to the so-called “We the People” rally happening Nov. 17 in Philadelphia being organized by representatives of the milita movement and Proud Boys, but the treatment didn’t go far enough in uncovering the ugly realities of their organizers.  Here are some important parts of the organizers’ actual backgrounds, the rally supporters and extreme statements.
PHILADELPHIA, PA – When the so-called “We the People” rally takes place next Saturday, opposition will be coming from well beyond the city limits because many are concerned about the element that is coming to Independence Hall is one that has been connected to the string of right wing violence seen in the country over the past few weeks and months.

Zach Rehl, left wearing Marines shirt poses with Ellsworth George Lewis III of the Pennsylvania Alt-Knights.

Zach Rehl, an insurance agent for Winchester Financial Services in Philadelphia, is noted in the article as the person who runs the Sports Beer and Politics blog and Facebook page, which he is using to organize the rally. While he tells the Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the publications covered by Philly.com, that his rally is about supporting conservative causes, the issue has been what kind of conservative causes might he mean. The Southern Poverty Law Center has noted his work as that of a “local right-wing organizer” known for organizing rallies that has attracted alt-right figures who sport imagery such as Kekistan flags which while is supposed to be part of a running joke among neo-Fascists today used to promote not-so-funny political positions, perfectly mimics Nazi World War II battle flags. Rehl like others, have been observed and photographed in a “seemingly…cozy relationship” with the Philadelphia chapter of the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (FOAK), the self-styled “tactical defense arm” of the Proud Boys, according to the article.

The organizers’ networking demonstrate more problems. They recently worked with the Anti-Muslim ACT for America (ACT) which had nationwide “March Against Sharia” events in 2017, many of them attracting representatives of not only the Proud Boys but the White supremacist Identity Evropa. One person who spoke at a recent ACT event was Sonny Sullivan, a former Marine employed as a real estate agent for Keller-Williams in neighboring Bensalem, PA.

The organizers are seeking to connect with the “Three Percenters” paramilitary organization, along with others, for “security” and more. Planned participant and announced speaker statements are also unsurprising. Social media comments call for a “strong showing”; bringing knives, guns, and “whip[ping] some ass”; “NO MORE STANDING DOWN” (a military inactivity reference); and, that attendees “come… to crush.”

This mindset must not be dismissed since Holly Delcampo, another lead rally organizer has indicated that she is not above the irrational thinkings of this element. She is one who has attempted to absolve James Fields, the alleged driver of the car that drove into Heather Heyer at 2017’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA of her death by furthering the long dismissed idea that she died of a heart attack and similarly dismisses the political inclinations of Robert Gregory Bowers, the accused shooter at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, because he was an “anti-Trumper.”

Ironically, the Pennsylvania-based militia groups that were actually in Charlottesville that day are warning others to stay away from this rally, saying on a Three Percenter-friendly podcast that having such a rally “in a leftist part of the state” is problematic. “I was one of the first people contacted by the event organizer when the rally was starting to be planned, and I told her at that time this is a bad idea,” Christian Yingling of the Latrobe, PA-based Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia Laurel Highlands Ghost Company, said on the Big Sarge program last week. “I said, ‘You guys have tried to do this before,’ I said, ‘You got run out of there.’ I said…’When you’re in a war, you don’t attack your enemy when he’s the strongest, you attack him where he is the weakest.’”

While some militia groups might be keeping their distance, neo-Nazis have been promoting the rally on their social networks. A post on the Neo-Nazi website Stormfront announces the event, with at least two persons expressing interest. In a post on the Facebook page for the rally, Delcampo posted that any violence, racism, or display of hate by any group or individual is prohibited and any group or party violating those conditions will be removed. The involvement of the Proud Boys alone had been enough for those opposing the rally to be cynical at such a declaration, but Bob Gaus of the neo-Nazi Keystone United, which itself has militia ties in the state, posted on the page asking for information. It is not known if Delcampo addressed him and his intentions specifically.

The “We the People” rally will be held Saturday at the Independence Mall Visitor’s Center.

Keystone State Skinheads Plan to Attend “We The People” Rally

from Facebook

ALERT: Keystone State Skinheads co-founder and de-facto leader Bob Gaus plans to bring a crew of KSS boneheads to the “We The People” rally being organized in Philly on Nov 17th by the Proud Boys and Three Percenter militia members. Fellow KSS member Bryan Vanagaitis has also been on the event page “liking” various comments.

The rally organizers have refused to bar them from attending, instead making vague statements about “displays of hate” not being allowed. What does that mean? It means nazis welcome, as long as you act in a media-friendly way.

Several KSS members are currently under indictment for a bias attack in Avalon, PA in which they attacked a black man at a bar. The last time an organized group of KSS came to Philly, they brutally attacked 2 Anti-Racists who were on the way to protest them.

We need EVERYONE in the streets to #pushback against this alliance of Nazis, Proud Boys and Threepers on the 17th! The rally organizers have their plausible deniability and that’s all that matters to them. KSS has a group of nazi-sympathizing rubes to use as cover and to swell their numbers. Stay safe, bring lots of friends, and don’t be intimidated by these bigots!

https://www.facebook.com/events/171281213803986/

UPDATE: A few of the organizers of “We The People” are claiming that they’ve told KSS they “are not wanted.” We are skeptical considering it took them hours to acknowledge that KSS intended to attend (while posting other updates on the event page) despite it being brought to their attention almost immediately by some of their own supporters. They then made the statement we refer to above about “displays of hate” not being allowed but made no comment about nazis THEMSELVES attending until, again, people called them on it. It seems at least possible, if not likely, that WTP organizers are being dishonest. Sports Beer and Politics, in particular, has a history of denying nazis will attend their rallies, rallying and marching with nazis, and then denying it after the fact or claiming ignorance. It is also very possible that KSS will show up regardless knowing that WTP organizers won’t do anything and that the cops will protect them, and then try and target Anti-Racists out to protest. For the sake of safety, we are assuming KSS will be out and about in Philly on November 17th and others should plan accordingly.

Stand Against the Proud Boys on November 17th

from Philly IWW

The Philadelphia General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World voted unanimously at our October meeting to endorse Operation Pushback’s protest against the “We The People” rally hosted and endorsed by regional members of the Proud Boys and their paramilitary wing, the Alt Knights.

The Proud Boys seek to reinforce gendered, racial, and national divides among the working class, terminate financial aid for the poor, eliminate workers’ right to move to other countries, and deprive working-class women of employment and income so as to force them to become housewives. They openly glorify bosses and the rich (“entrepreneurs”) while misleading male workers into thinking they have common interests with wealthy men. They encourage chauvinist attitudes towards workers in other countries, inhibiting our ability to unify against multi-national corporations across borders by pitting workers in different countries against each other. For too long reactionaries have hidden behind “Free Speech” and “preserving the constitution,” but they do not sincerely want these freedoms and protections for the entirety of the population; they simply want to return to the days of white male supremacy and to maintain the rule of the wealthy.

The IWW, a pioneer of free speech advocacy, has long stood firmly against far-right hate groups, from the second Klu Klux Klan and the American Legion in the early twentieth-century to Vanguard America and the Proud Boys today. We call on all of our fellow union workers to join us on November 17th to let the Proud Boys know their semi-fascist rhetoric of hatred and militant sexism is not welcome in Philadelphia. If allowed to rampage around Philadelphia unchallenged the Proud Boys will commit hate crimes again. Please read the call from Operation Pushback, inform yourselves about the open hatred that the Proud Boys / Alt Knights espouse, and join us in the streets to celebrate a free and united Philadelphia.

Gab Woes Continue: Subpoena from Pennsylvania Attorney General

from Unicorn Riot

Harrisburg, PA – The controversial social network Gab, closely linked with white supremacist and fascist organizers since its launch, has drawn public scrutiny and had hosting difficulties since Robert Bowers, a prolific Gab user, shot and killed 11 people worshipping at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA on October 27. Before the shooting, Bowers also used his account to interact with many prominent figures in the neo-Nazi and “alt-right” hate movements that gravitate to Gab.

Since then, Gab shifted to the domain registrar Epik, LLC, based in Bellevue, Washington, after its previous registrar cancelled services. Gab and its CEO, Andrew Torba, seem to still be dealing with legal troubles regarding the hate speech social media site, which could have implications for the company’s crowdfunding efforts.

Early in the afternoon of Wednesday November 7, Gab’s flagship account inside the service, and @getongab on Twitter, posted a subpoena from Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office. The subpoena, dated Wednesday, was signed by Timothy R. Murphy, Deputy Attorney General at the Bureau of Consumer Protection. It was sent to Epik, which recently announced its relationship with Gab in a November 3 blog post claiming to “Let Freedom Ring,” while claiming “there is a duty to monitor and lightly curate, keeping content within the bounds of the law.” (Internet domain registrars publish records linking IP addresses with domain names. Epik’s CEO, Rob Monster, confirmed in comments below the post his company is only the registrar, and not hosting the site itself, contrary to some media reports.)

The Gab accounts, thought to be managed by proprietor Andrew Torba, boasted that they would defeat the subpoena, an order to collect and preserve all documents and material Epik might have about their Gab account. Torba previously claimed that he was cooperating with federal and state authorities in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh shooting, but a vow to beat the state authorities in court does not portend close cooperation.

Within a few hours both social media accounts quietly deleted the posts, after tagging various right-leaning media like Fox News and the Drudge Report to try to get their attention.

Observers such as Jay McKenzie and Michael E. Hayden archived the social media postings and pointed out that the subpoena directed to Epik, LLC had a “NON-DISCLOSURE STATEMENT“. Epik was “requested to refrain from notifying any person or entity, other than said Respondent, that a subpoena has been issued.”

While this isn’t legally binding, Torba’s choice to post the subpoena likely won’t endear him to the new domain registrar company, which now will have to incur legal expenses to either fight the subpoena or comply with it. Notably, the subpoena also specifies that Pennsylvania should get copies of “all productions already made to other state or federal government bodies concerning Gab.”

Before he deleted his comments, Torba falsely tried to frame the subpoena as a matter pertaining to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which create a “safe harbor” of immunity for Internet publishers. Already well-tested in US courts, Section 230 would likely help Torba defend against possible lawsuits for some types of content posted by Gab users, but this is totally irrelevant to the subpoena itself. The subpoena does not claim any facts about civil liability relevant to Section 230.

By flippantly rejecting the subpoena, Torba may also have damaged his situation with crowdfunding investors, to whom he recently promised he would cooperate with authorities in solicitation materials noted below.

Full text of the Gab subpoena:

The upcoming “We the People” Rally is organized by anti-semites

from Friendly Fire Collective

web_extremist-profile_proud-boys-2

cw: anti-Semitic imagery, violence, fascism

The far-right Proud Boys have proven time after time that they are a violent organization. Their front group in PA, Sports Beer & Politics II, is no different. Despite denying being racists, their page is a cesspool of fascism. Only a month ago, they shamelessly posted an anti-Semitic meme.

45013097_347620209333431_9148387611583184896_n.jpg

Again, we need to take the upcoming rally seriously and make it known that all forms of fascism will be opposed in Philly. The Right is escalating in their tactics, feeling bolder and more passionate about their genocidal cause. This rally cannot and will not go smoothly, especially after the recent string of terrorist attacks in the so-called U.S. from white nationalists, including a blatantly anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue this past week.

For more information, check out the counter-protest facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/171281213803986/