There has been a major shakeup at local cop-watching organization, Peaceful Streets Project, as the group kicked out one of their most dedicated cop-watchers in favor of Lynn Foster, an avid Trump supporter who also has an account on GAB, an Austin-based alt-right social network.
The ousted cop-watcher tried to oppose the entry of this fascist-sympathizer into the Peaceful Streets Project, but under the leadership of Antonio Buehler, the comrade’s position was considered incompatible with Peaceful Streets stated ‘non-political’ mission, and the comrade was kicked out instead of the Trump-supporting racist. Buehler’s position is clear: he would rather keep on a fascist-sympathizers with material ties to the alt-right than a veteran antifascist who helped build the organization.
Peaceful Streets Project has chosen a path that discredits them in the eyes of all those fighting the growing fascism spurred on by the Trump administration. Whether you seek to stop the rampant deportations and the dismantling of DACA, challenge the brutality of trump-loving police forces, or resist the proto-fascism that Trump’s alt-right, neo-Nazi, white supremacist help grow, in his posts on GAB, Lynn Foster has mocked the all of these battles. Peaceful Streets Project has chosen him as valid representative of their cop-watching efforts, sending a message that their conception of ”Non-political” means harboring reactionary trash that actually pose a danger to activists and at-risk community members.
While here in Austin and around the world, pro-people and anti-fascist organizing is making sacrifices to fight the rise of fascism, Peaceful Streets Project has made a mockery of that in their claims of being ‘apolitical’ to welcome a white racist over someone who has sacrificed so much, including their own blood, in the name of documenting the abuses of local law enforcement.
Peaceful Streets Project was formed after Antonio Buehler began a crusade after trying to intervene in a brutal APD arrest. Since then, as they have grown in membership and presence in Austin’s political scene, their members have taken risks to carry out valuable work to document the brutality of the Austin Police Department, primarily through video recording, in ways that have brought justice to average Austinites, as well as activists when their independent footage is used to dispel the lies of APD.
And in more recent times, they have documented marches, rallies, and anti-fascist actions, where at times, the footage they have captured has exonerated activists accused of outlandish and severe charges by APD. Most of this work fell under the leadership of the now expelled comrade.
According to the Peaceful Streets Project mission statement;
“Through community organizing, engaging in non-political and non-violent direct action tactics, and utilizing new technologies, the Peaceful Streets Project seeks to bring about a cultural shift where individuals understand their rights and hold law enforcement officials accountable, and communities protect and serve each other.”
We are in a time where the “we are not political” mantra is exposed for the lie that it is. In reality, this lie serves as an enabler of right-wing and fascist ideology, allowing them to feel safe and flourish. This claim of non-politics comes from many people, but it’s patently absurd for a group that seeks to hold the police accountable to claim this can be done without politics. Police violence and in fact the very reason the police exist is political. What is more, it is in service of a distinct class against a distinct class—in service of the oppressor class vs. the oppressed class.
All Austin organizations that consider themselves against Trump, the police, police brutality, and against fascism must cease all working relationships with Peaceful Streets Project. They now include a member who wouldn’t hesitate to deliver the identities of activists to his white supremacist friends on GAB or elsewhere. It’s a joke that Peaceful Streets believes we should feel safe in Lynn’s hands, or theirs as long as they protect him over dedicated antifascists and anti-racist organizers.
Peaceful Streets Project is harboring a white racist and fascist-sympathizer who has on more than one occasion via his social media made racist posts and even explicitly shared “anti-antifa” material. The fact that Antonio Buehler would lack the principles to confront this matter or even take it seriously makes him untrustworthy. The fact that he would use bureaucracy to expel a long time member for the sake of Lynn Foster makes him a collaborator.
We issue this as a direct open letter to organizations like Oh Shit What Now? and Black Sovereign Nation, who claim to be either antifascist, anti-racist, and have a recent working relationship with Buehler and his organization. To be antifascist is to have principles as well as politics that demand accountability and refusing to work with orgs who harbor racists in any capacity. Traditional Austin liberalism, which encourages whole organizations to look the other way, is at its end. If you claim to be against fascists and work with any active member of Peaceful Streets Project, you are putting your own people at risk.
And to Antonio Buehler, Lynn Foster, and anyone else currently affiliated with Peaceful Streets Project, you are all banned from any event, rally or action which we are in control of or present at. We will see that this ban is carried out with force if need be and we will put your “non-violence” to the test. Lynn will be treated exactly the way we treat fascists, and Peaceful Streets Project will be treated exactly the way we treat InfoWars, as long as they harbor him. If you are a member of the organization who is not a fascist sympathizer please quit now to avoid potential confrontation.
We ask that all of our supporters tear down all Peaceful Streets Project stickers, flyers, and propaganda on sight from around town and replace them with antifascist stickers, flyers or propaganda. Any organization still covering for Peaceful Streets should expect to be challenged on this point. There is fascism and there is antifascism. The two cannot coexist and there is no grey area. We have to choose a side consistently. Peaceful Streets Project, sadly, has chosen the wrong side. No platform and no space for those who collaborate with the enemy!
-Red Guards Austin, 2018