No More Pigs, Or Opportunists, In Our Community – Stay Away DeRay


“No More Pigs in Our Community! (Off the Pigs!) No More Pigs in Our Community! (Off the Pigs!)”

A coalition of non-profit social justice and liberal political organizations gathered at the Austin City Hall on December 13th with the aim of convincing the city to put a hold on renewing the police contract. The contract has not been rejected, but the negotiations were delayed until March 2018, which was seen as a victory by the coalition.

The groups attribute part of their results to an assist from DeRay Mckesson, often referred to simply as DeRay, a Baltimore native and self-proclaimed national leader of the Black Lives Matter movement. He flew in to testify on behalf of Campaign Zero police reform initiative. In fact he came and claimed another platform somewhere he doesn’t belong. DeRay didn’t come to help our community, he came to reinforce the prominence of liberal, non-profit led organizing which has deflated the local and national struggles against police brutality, moving them out of the hands of the masses and into the hands of the capitalist ruling class.

So, who is DeRay? He is often portrayed as one of the organizers of the Ferguson and Baltimore uprising and one of the most influential leaders of the “new civil rights movement.” Nothing could be further from the truth. While nameless, mostly young community members were putting their lives on the line, fighting day after day, night after night, against the Ferguson Police Department to demand justice for Mike Brown Jr., DeRay drove his car from Minneapolis parachuting himself (as he did in Austin) into a context that was brand new to him and immediately sought the spotlight. Despite his inexperience as an organizer and his lack of connections with the larger St. Louis community, he seized the momentum of the uprising and started collecting followers on Twitter by live streaming the uprising “from an activist perspective.” Soon after, neoliberal education group Teach for America started curating DeRay’s image thanks to his loyalty and support for the program, making DeRay a celebrity activist.

Despite having a very slim record as an organizer on-the-ground, but thanks to his corporate backing, DeRay managed to collect quite a few personal awards and TV appearances. He launched his creature in 2015: Campaign Zero, a campaign aimed at reforming the police with the incentive of usage of body cameras (which allow cops to justify police department budget increases), and which consciously stayed away from unequivocally demanding convictions for killer cops. He also ran in the mayoral race in Baltimore in 2016, collecting an embarrassingly low percentage of votes.

His connection to Austin comes through the Austin Justice Coalition, which is the local backer of Campaign Zero. This is unsurprising. We have written before about the state of the Black Lives Matter movement in Austin, with one pole of leadership under AJC, and particularly Chas Moore. The organizers in these spaces are not above accepting $250 from former police chief Art Acevedo as well as portraying any organizers who criticize their practices as do-nothings and provocateurs.

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Celebrity activist DeRay (blue vest) meets with imperialist in chief Obama

When DeRay came to Austin, the coalition and media moved quickly to center him in their reports and propaganda. In his testimony, DeRay made the following statements, which were the most prominently featured quotes in news coverage and social media:

“Mckesson stressed that reformers aren’t anti-cop, just as demanding high standards and accountability for educators doesn’t make you anti-teacher. ”

“It isn’t about being against teachers, it’s about saying that we think kids should have a great education,” Mckesson said. “This isn’t about anti-police, it’s about making sure that there are standards for the community to hold people accountable.”

There is so much to unpack with this quote. We specifically want to highlight how it embodies the reformist, neoliberal, and counter-revolutionary approach of non-profits and careerists like DeRay.

Let’s first point out how he made sure to sneak in his neoliberal school reform agenda into his testimony. He’s so used to teachers and public school advocates calling him out, like a slick politician, he’s incorporated his counter to their criticisms into his stump speech on police reform so he can kill two birds with one stone. Just as he believes he is advocating for “great education” when he shills for neoliberal education reform, we can assume that “great policing” is the goal of his police reform efforts.

We do not need “great policing” or “better-trained” officers. We need to overthrow this white supremacist, capitalist state. And the police are the state’s first line of defense any time we move towards this goal. There is no amount of reform or policy that can change this. We do not need cops who treat us nicer when they evict us or arrest us for petty crimes. There is no policy that will demand they stand down when the working class rises up in the streets, workplace, etc.

What drives DeRay’s reactionary position home is when he says “this isn’t about anti-police.” This is a favorite line of liberals and rightist activists, and we should take them at their word.

Any organizing in relation to the police that isn’t fully against them works in favor of the police and their bourgeois handlers and against the working class and oppressed. Any person who seeks liberation must be against the police, without question.

What is so damaging about DeRay’s presence and his dominance over the media coverage is that even if anyone involved in the contract negotiation coalition, whether organizer or community member, understands the need to oppose the police, they have ceded their leadership and message to someone who negates that very position. But outside from DeRay’s participation, the actions of Austin’s liberal left demonstrate their inconsistency as well.

In many circles, radical liberals eagerly adopt the language of police abolition, while continuing to wander again and again into the labyrinth of policy reforms and bourgeois government. This isn’t unforgivable at face value, but we will continue to resist them trying to drag the working class into their quixotic efforts and the fact that they seek to defame anyone who resists or criticizes this process.

It is ironic that in private, many of these organizers in Austin will express the sentiment of being ‘against the police.’ But that disappears when they get in front of a podium. They are allergic to using their platform to express the correct position of the working class. They dance around the fact that there is no good cop and that the police are an institution of class oppression when it comes time to confront them. It is because these mostly petty-bourgeois individuals, specifically professional organizers, are seeking careers and write-ups for their grant proposals, and are not interested in revolution. So they submit to the language and rules of engaging with the bourgeois ruling class and their government, and they police others who do not. This is the nature of opportunism – to consistently bend political positions if it means it will appease the audience they seek favor from, regardless if it’s a betrayal of the working-class line or even their own beliefs.

Meanwhile, those who maintain the stance that the police are not to be negotiated with or spoken to are painted as extremists. The vast majority of the working class are extremists by this measure, who would rather never see a cop again in their life than go into a room and try to figure out a way to make the pig contracts more “accountable.”

We see no need to spend seven hours at city hall observing three-minute speaking limits in order to make these points. Our absence from city hall is not the measure of our willingness to fight for the working class. The working class’s demand is for the pigs to unequivocally get out of our community, which as far as we know, was not expressed at city hall on this night.

The real police contract is non-negotiable under a capitalist society. The ruling class enlists the cops to repress, control, and weaken the will of the working class to fight back against their exploitation. For this, the cops are given innumerable privileges and a status of impunity. This is the case regardless of if one cop out of one hundred faces jail time for murdering unarmed civilians or has “better training.”

While some postmodernists pay lip service to the idea of expelling the pigs, it is absurd to believe that this will be achieved through any sort of technocratic contract negotiation, or by hiding this perspective from the masses. As Marx said, “A communist disdains to hide their views,” and we disdain to hide our total opposition to the police. Additionally, to paraphrase Gonzalo, we only negotiate “what has already been established on the battlefield, because no one is going to give up what they have not obviously lost.” The police have lost nothing in our communities so far except their PR standing (and barely even that), yet the opportunists seek to negotiate while the battle is in its infancy.

Through the building of our forces, we will confirm our ability to defend our communities on our own terms through self-defense and building dual power. The working class has already shown as much organization and spirit to fight in Ferguson and Baltimore as any non-profit coalition and then some. They held down Ferguson for weeks. In Baltimore, high schoolers had cops on the run. Their actions are as valid as any petition or three-minute testimony, and are in fact more valid. They are not fleeting instances, but illustrate the power of the working class that must be harnessed, reproduced, and led by a communist party.

The message that Ferguson and Baltimore sent in those battles will reverberate longer than anything that happens with this police contract dispute. Our future is more street battles like Ferguson, Baltimore, and North Lamar’s resistance to ICE repression in our own city, not more meetings at city hall. The meetings we will be attending will be among the community members themselves, determining our own goals and solutions, not begging with the representatives of the ruling class.

Still, many non-profit activists and revisionists will tell you with a straight face that they are carrying on the legacy of revolutionary groups such as Panthers, ignoring that the organizational purpose of the Panthers was always against collaboration with the police state. The fact that some of the Black Panther Party’s leaders (the ones the state couldn’t kill or neutralize) were incorporated into non-profits and political careers following the party’s decimation cannot be seen as a validation of that path, but instead as evidence of how the state works to absorb and destroy revolutionary movements. The existing NGO hegemony over organizing is the legacy of the state’s smashing of revolutionary movements.

This is why we continue to call on Austinites, especially the working class, to stop participating in the charades at city hall and propping up leaders whose main interest is in preserving the foundation of this system. Reject the neoliberal charlatans like DeRay, who has never met a microphone or camera that he doesn’t like. The petty-bourgeois mentalities of opportunists, non-profits, and liberal organizations fear revolution, and belittle the uprisings of the people as mere catharsis. We have slid backwards since the height of revolutionary energy in this country, when groups such as the Black Panthers demanded the pigs get out of their communities, not requesting that they reform. We seek to honor the memory of the revolutionary leader, Fred Hampton, who the Chicago police assassinated in his own home, and will continue to demand the police leave our communities. This is demand is not up for negotiation.

So what is the vision?

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Bridge shut down in Austin, Texas, in honor of Freddie Gray, in solidarity with the Baltimore rebellion

We understand that among the people there is a contradiction; on one hand the people are well aware that the police are the enemy, that it is the police who shoot their kids and cart them off in the thousands to prison, yet on the other hand, many in our class have a valid concern that they face violent crime and the threat of becoming victims to it. We understand that at times the masses are in danger and they may have no one else to call upon but the very repressive force of the pigs. We find this reality abhorrent and seek to improve community work which can eliminate this problem.

By organizing the community for itself, and taking a hard line against the police, against their history their function and their purpose, we can make our neighborhoods safer and turn them into no-go zones for pigs of all types. The police are always going to be limited in their function of “crime prevention” because no one can trust them, no one should trust them. On the other hand, communities can trust their own members; we have thousands of eyes and ears, nothing slips by the hood. It is the presence of the police who rush in and prevent the masses from solving their own problems which allows anti-people crimes to flourish. By pushing the pigs out, we free up the creativity of the masses of working folks to fight crime in a sensible and human way. With the help of the people’s revolutionary organizations, there is no crime against the people which we could not respond to. We do not need a few men in badges to come in to a place they do not live or understand to enforce the capitalist laws—we need to organize the people to enforce the people’s codes. Unlike the pigs, our people could be elected by the community itself, and they could be subject to recall at any time and be true defenders of their community. With mass participation there is no job too big.

This is not simply a dream; it has been accomplished in history and in areas of the world where people’s revolutionary forces have fought for power. People’s militias double as a type of social workers who serve the masses. They are able to prevent violence peacefully in many cases and respond with defensive violence in other cases. To get to this we need power, and power is exactly what we organize for, because as Lenin said, “without power all is illusion.” We mean people power, which is always positioned against the phony solutions of the “non-profits” and liberals who insist we appease both the ruling class and those they brutalize, exploit, and dominate. Our solution is for our people, not the pigs.

No more pigs in our community!

Dare to struggle, dare to win!

—Red Guards Austin, December 2017

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Fascists—outnumbered and humiliated in Austin

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On December 9 in Austin, Texas, right-wing white nationalists and other fascists used the verdict in the Kate Steinle case as a call to “ban sanctuary cities,” latching on to a murder case only to whip up anti-immigrant and xenophobic hysteria in a Hitlerite fashion. They managed to gather 12 to 15 decrepit reactionaries, one self-hating black man, an InfoWars hack, and a dog. They came prepared for a fight, not a “vigil.” The very notion that this was a vigil was a thin lie that anyone could see through—sticks, shields, megaphones, and Confederate flags are not common items at a vigil.

Antifascists in Austin, however, drastically outnumbered the fascists and their supporters. Whenever this is the case, due to fear of the reactionaries getting hurt, the police come out in full force. There were as many or more police than there were antifascists, all to protect a small handful of belligerent racists. The reactionaries were seen trembling with fear in Wooldridge Park for about an hour and a half before they attempted their “march,” a “march” that was stopped every 50 feet and blockaded by Austin’s committed antifascist fighters. The police used bicycles, sticks, and tasers to form a protective pig wall around the scared fascist scum. The city of Austin felt it necessary to spend thousands of dollars to protect the hate speech of a few hardcore racists: this is your tax money at work. In spite of the heavy presence of pigs scrambling to protect the fascists, they could not prevent stiff resistance and ensure the march continued without confrontation. Fascists were pepper-sprayed, and any attempt at attack on or intimidation of the people of our city was met with a swift response. The very fascists who claim to have been only peace-loving vigil-goers were heard (and recorded) yelling, “Charlottesville 2,” celebrating the death of Heather Heyer and encouraging white-supremacist terror attacks like those committed by James Alex Fields.

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Racists (the “Highwaymen”) holding up white-power symbol and confederate flags.

The threat of white-supremacist terror was almost made good as the police were forced to arrest one of the fascists for drawing a handgun on counter-demonstrators, Robert Patrick Hewitt, 29, one of the men who was heard chanting “Charlottesville 2,” which in the context should be understood as a death threat. Our partisans were ready and focused on the handful of fascists. As the police instigated a small riot, the nearest pig had no choice but to cuff Hewitt and remove him from the crowd. Some news reports claim Hewitt pointed his handgun at the police, but the truth is that the police simply crossed his line of fire, and Hewitt was taking aim at a protester who had fallen to the ground. Since the riot was in fact a police riot, we hold them accountable for anything that might happen should fascists continue escalation. In the state of Texas, drawing on a gun on someone or on a crowd of people is legal grounds to use lethal force in self-defense; this is a reality that partisans remain ready to face.

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Fascist Robert Patrick Hewitt
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Hewitt being arrested

We have zero doubts that had Hewitt been one of the antifascists that the police themselves would have used lethal force, as the Austin Police Department is known for gunning down unarmed black people. If you wonder how a fascist can get off with $40,000 bail and taken in without incident while black Austin residents Byron Carter, Larry Jackson Jr., and David Joseph were all murdered by the same police department despite the fact that they had no guns and committed no crimes, look no further than the same white supremacy that has fascists coming to Austin to oppose sanctuary cities.

The police will only protect and serve white supremacy. It is up to all of us to get involved any way we can in opposition to them and what they represent.

Humiliating and stopping fascists from marching in our city never comes without a price. After the police started a riot by assaulting counter-protesters, the pigs reportedly received injuries and charged 4 people at random with assault and interference. Two of the four comrades now in the clutches of the pig system are facing trumped-up first-degree felony charges. We will help fight these charges, and we will win, but we need your help. The first line of defense against fascists is people taking the streets, resisting them, and using self-defense. The second line of defense is in the courts, and for that we need lawyers and donations. The state consistently protects white supremacists that are unstable and dangerous, like James Alex Fields and Robert Patrick Hewitt, while it simultaneously trumps up charges against antifascists. Unlike the right-wing with its deep pockets and support from the bourgeoisie, the antifascist movement only has working-class folks to support it. Please dig deep, support our antifascist troops, and share the link to the online fundraiser or organize a fundraiser locally.

Link to online fundraiser here: Defend comrades fighting anti-immigrant fascism

Free our comrades now!

¡No pasarán!

-Red Guards Austin, December 2017

Call to ban the abuser Carlos Salamanca from all revolutionary spaces (RSF-ATX)

We wholeheartedly endorse the following call, written by Revolutionary Student Front – Austin. We are sharing it here in order to ensure that the broadest possible audience sees this statement and helps protect the masses and revolutionary organizations.

Note: Pictures of Carlos are at the bottom of this post.

Following a thorough investigation, the Revolutionary Student Front has found ex-member and former UT student Carlos Salamanca guilty of abuse and manipulation of multiple women over a period of multiple years, including while he was organizing with RSF. We have determined it is necessary to ban him from participating to any degree within the revolutionary left in Austin. Though he had gained a negative reputation among some groups at the University of Texas throughout his years there, we were not made aware of specific accusations against him nor the severity of his actions until the last few months. During the past three months, he was removed from the organization as he was investigated for multiple transgressions, including physical and sexual assault, emotional abuse and manipulation, serial cheating, and more patriarchal behaviors. We found all of these to be true even at Carlos’s own admission when confronted with the facts.

Soon after the investigation began, Carlos relocated to his hometown. Since then, he has decided to relocate to Chicago within the next few months. Because we believe that even some of the worst types can be transformed into true revolutionaries through hard-fought struggle and rectification, the Steering Committee of RSF initially offered Carlos a chance at political transformation. This process would have included being under very specific and strict guidelines designed to keep both organizers and the masses safe from his abusive behavior. Ultimately, he rejected this offer so that he could continue on his plans to move to Chicago. We see this as a rejection of any and all accountability for his actions, a rejection of the necessity for him to change, and thus a desire to continue forward with his self-serving, manipulative behavior.

In his time at UT, Carlos repeatedly jumped from organization to organization and from one social group to the next, leaving each as he lost the ability to manipulate the people in those groups to his social, sexual, and emotional benefit. He ultimately burned bridges entirely with each organization, and hopped to the next group, taking up the cloak of whatever political tendency suited the space (in RSF as a “Maoist”). By leaving Austin entirely, he expects to turn to a blank page in his book where he can continue his exploits without having to deal with the bridges he burned in Austin.

Carlos utilizes identity-reductionist politics in order to gain access to emotional and sexual intimacy. He is thoroughly liberal despite being a self-proclaimed communist. He has been involved with national liberation movements, anti-gentrification activism, and student organizing. He often rejects, underhandedly, the leadership of women or feminine-presenting people. Carlos is an alcoholic, and though he claims to have been sober for a while, he is very likely to begin drinking again, which nearly always exacerbates his misogynistic behaviors. The physical and sexual assaults that we investigated occurred while he was drunk, though he should be considered a threat both while sober and intoxicated. He has repeatedly engaged in gaslighting and lying both to romantic interests and comrades he organized with. He consistently acts in service of himself with no care for the emotional or physical repercussions suffered by others.

Carlos was in Mexican-American Studies at UT. Currently, we do not believe he intends to return to UT, but we believe he will attempt to continue his studies elsewhere, online or at another university. He has claimed that he will stay away from all radical spaces from now on. We do not believe this in the least bit given his long history of political organizing and the political nature of his studies.

Before he rejected the opportunity to attempt rectification, we notified organizations in Austin whom we are friendly with of the results of the investigation and included a request to bar him from organizing with them or attending their events. We now believe that, in order to protect others and to prevent him from organizing in Chicago or any other city, we must notify our supporters, the broader Austin activist community, and any organizers and students in Chicago that he may try to cozy up to. In order to protect the safety of the women in activist organizations, on campuses, and all around, we ask that anyone who reads this chooses to bar him from their organizing and social spaces by any means necessary. If he is seen in Austin, please inform us immediately. If he begins to organize in Chicago we will do everything in our power to notify those he organizes with of our investigation and conclusion.

Revolutionary Student Front – Austin
December 5, 2017

Pictures of Carlos:

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Solidarity to Maoist Communist Party of France on the passing of Comrade Pierre

Our collective, since its early start has been inspired by the Maoists in France who have since then founded their party—the PCM. We are saddened by news of the loss of Comrade Pierre. We extend our condolences, love and respect to his Party, a party which has motivated us and taught us many things.  Pierre as a senior leader of the PCM has touched many lives all over the world, their loss is our own.  Last month one of our members was able to meet Comrade Pierre and we have included a short statement from this comrade.  To the PCM, your loss is felt across oceans!

– Red Guards Austin, Dec 5, 2017

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Ofrendas for Pierre

Some thoughts for a veteran comrade

When you are a member of an organization which is repressed, harassed, and surveilled, going as far as the corner store can be a troublesome experience, and going across the world is considerably more difficult. Delays, extra precautions, bureaucratic paperwork, and jet lag are just the most minor of considerations. My journey to France however, was made worthwhile by getting to meet a veteran leader of the Maoist movement of that country. Comrade Pierre was in his eighties, he was still fit and mobile, and he spoke fast and sharp. Even with a considerable language barrier, we immediately bonded over the concept of urban PPW: “Like a steel belt around the city,” we both said at the same time in different languages.

I have been many places and met many comrades, but none so far have left the kind of impression on me as Comrade Pierre did. His mastery of MLM, his way of expressing himself, his lifetime of militant experience—all were above and beyond expectation. I am honored to have sat with a giant.

We spoke of many, many things over the span of a few days, days now laced with a tinge of loss. Most teachers if they are worth anything can impart a great deal of knowledge given enough time. Truly great teachers will impart this knowledge much more quickly. Pierre stated that we are not eternal, and in the biological sense he was of course correct, a thesis he would prove less than one month later. In the other sense, Pierre, you are indeed eternal. Your experience has trained a movement, built a party, a great party—the PCM. There are many comrades who will not hesitate to continue fighting on in your stead, and you live now in each of our struggles.

A fighter in May ’68, a tireless supporter of the people’s war in Peru, and a student of Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Gonzalo—you are a part of a whole. Many people in their eighties remark of the rashness of their youth, show concern that they were too extreme, and the excesses (when they admit them) light a small glimmer in their otherwise dull eyes. This glimmer, however, never left Pierre’s eyes for a moment. We spoke well into late nights, and on early mornings his stamina was greater than comrades’ a quarter of his age. Not for a moment did he lament militancy. He would wield it like the sword of truth: “This time we will go further!” Many men were militant; Pierre was a militant who never stopped.

His inspiration and his remarkable revolutionary life will be carried with me for the rest of mine. I hope to develop half the commitment and knowledge that he showed. Upon parting for what would be the final time, he grasped my arms with a firm grip, looked directly at me, and told me, in English, “Remember—and do not forget—build the party!” I gave him my word that I would give my whole life to this, and I aim to make good on my word.

We may have been locked in struggles half a world apart, but we are all in the same class, children of the proletariat, who must build our parties and wage our wars. The whole of the PCM has lost a great fighter, teacher, and revolutionary, but we too in the international communist movement have lost a rare and dedicated comrade, a comrade who cared deeply for the trajectory of world revolution and never took his glimmering eyes off of the final goal of communism.

Red salute to the very best among us! The only way to properly honor our dead is to continue the fight! Comrade Pierre is eternal! Long live PCM, long live MLM, long live Pierre!

………

Statment from PCM in English: Comrade Pierre is immortal

Statement of Solidarity with Front Revolutionnaire Antifasciste de Provence (Revolutionary Antifascist Front of Provence-F.R.A.P.)

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Solidarity from the US to France, long live F.R.A.P

Antifascism is first and foremost internationalism. In the face of the narrow reactionary nationalism of the fascist enemy, antifascists the world over find common unity. In France F.R.A.P. stands as a great example of revolutionary antifascism which inspires us with their work. Not only do they stand against fascism in the streets but they have also embarked upon providing needed food service programs to the working class. Antifascism means self-defense and proactively serving the people!

F.R.A.P began as a revolutionary project the past year in the southeastern region of France which is called Provence and has seen steady momentum since then. F.R.A.P takes into account this region, its identity, language and its history of struggles when carrying out its antifascist work. Unlike many antifascist organizations F.R.A.P. does not see antifascism as merely a subculture but as service to the people. As a revolutionary front they link antifascism to the struggles of the masses which include housing struggles, workplace struggles, culture, education and health. Seeing antifascism as only a critical response to fascism is insufficient, so F.R.A.P. conducts work which can mobilize the masses against fascism. Members of Red Guards Austin and Three River Reds had the opportunity to meet with and learn from these comrades, our collectives hope to bring these lessons home and to implement them in our own antifascist struggles.

We express the deepest solidarity to the comrades of F.R.A.P. from the frontlines of the antifascist struggles in the United States.

Below is the English translation of the statement issued by F.R.A.P. which details the presentation which included members of Red Guards Austin and Three River Reds.

-Red Guards Austin and Three River Reds, 2017

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F.R.A.P. serving the people
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F.R.A.P. preparing food for the masses 

Success of our meeting on the antifascist struggle in the US

The meeting was organized with comrades from US-based organizations Red Guards Austin (RGA) and Three River Reds (3RR), and was about the antifascist struggles in the US.

We started the meeting with a talk by the comrades from the Committee for the Liberation of Musa Aşoğlu, Turkish political prisoner from Netherlands, accused in the past (once in Belgium from 2005 to 2009, the acquitted) to be a leading member of the DHKP-C. For several years, the US, presented him as a DHKP-C leader, put a bounty for up to 3 millions dollars on his head – the DHKP-C being a revolutionary organization that targeted US presence in Turkey several times, as well as Turkish oligarchy.

Having to live underground, Musa Aşoğlu, now 55 years old, was arrested on December 2 by German police in Hamburg. Musa Aşoğlu has been jailed in Karlsruhe, even though he didn’t commit any crime in Germany, he was arrested only because of Turkish antiterrorist services files – Services infamous for their use of blatantly fake proofs and “confessions” obtained with the use of torture.

The meeting went on with an intervention from a FRAP comrade, that gave examples of reactionary politics implemented by conservative, socialist and liberal governments, that reinforce fascism. National Front was shown as the main fascist threat in the French state.

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Talk given by F.R.A.P., RGA and Three River Reds
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Discussion on the antifascist struggles in the USA, Marseille France

US comrades then described the antifascist struggle in their country:

“We in Red Guard Austin and Three River Reds were honored to participate in internationalist solidarity with our comrades in FRAP. We are inspired by work of F.R.A.P we presented on conditions of fascism in the USA. Where the crisis of imperialism has cursed a growing fascist populist movement. It is this movement that has put a proto fascist president Donald Trump into office.

We spoke of our experience fighting fascists in Austin and Pittsburgh, the need for Discipline and armed self-defense. Fascists bring rifles in intimidate and attack the people. Self – defense alone is not enough to fight fascism, we must also serve the people we spoke about free food programs, our housing network and about how fascism supports the gentrification of our neighborhoods, we presented on the state repression of our movement, speaking about how the state has tried to frame and even kill our members.

Comrades from Pittsburgh spoke of how centrist and liberal forces attack the antifascists from the inside. How these groups will oppose direct action in favor of bourgeois legalism with the wish to separate the militants from the masses.

We would like to extend warm solidarity to FRAP as well as our Turkish and Filipino comrades who were present at the talk, comrades in the audience presented us with great questions regarding the oppressed nations held captive in the USA. We spoke about how liberation of these nations is necessary to defeat white supremacy and capitalism. Fascism is a problem internationally, in France, Turkey, Philippines and the USA. International resistance and solidarity is how we will defeat the enemies of the people, we are glad to meet such comrades in this fight. Across oceans and borders we all speak the international language of proletarian revolution”

 

We concluded the meeting by reaffirming the necessity for developing broadly our antifascist and revolutionary front.

We must serve the people, contributing to rise his level of life to make the revolutionary voice be heard.

We announced the launch of our Serve the People program. From next week-end we’ll start food services and distributions, that will be the first step of this program.

We also expressed that serving the people also means attacking those who oppress us, those that the people considers bastards, bosses that fuck with us at work, those in charge of temporary work companies, bosses that are sexists or harass women… The list goes on!

To make them pay is serving the people, it is people’s justice. We’ve to make them learn that they can’t exploit and humiliate us without a price.

We thank all the persons and organizations that came!

From the United States to Marseille, the antifascist struggle is international!

-F.R.A.P

Imaginary Civil Wars

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proud boys get handled in local bar

Right wing and fascist groups converged once again on Austin on November 4th. Five months ago we released an article which explained an ongoing desperation from the right:

“The far right relies on having a common enemy to unite around since there can be no unity among their varying programs and agendas. Every public action they take demonstrates this fact and shows off their own instability. They hoped to find this common enemy in the form of ‘antifa’… Fascist organizers are so desperate to conjure this enemy that they resort in many instances to false flag events and phony “antifa” pages that promise the bullheaded participants an enemy to confront. This tactic seldom pays off.”

This time however their fabrication relied on sensationalized and totally made up threats of a “civil war”. The right completely made up a civil war/insurrection, then had the nerve to taunt antifascists for not showing up to the civil war that they made up.  In many ways this is nonsensical and would seem counterproductive—the only utility being a flagrant act of desperation to unite their disparate forces. To this end they had some minor success. How many times though can the same snake oil salesmen hock the promised show down with “antifa”, having people drive out only to find a small group of liberals? No red flags, no communists, no masks, and no street fights with the right—all dressed up with nowhere to go…

It is no secret that the fascists and their collaborators who were behind propagating a phony threat of civil war were well aware of the lies they were telling to their sympathizers and supporters. Fascist rag InfoWars follows our blog, they even made an entire video news report covering one of its posts. They would no doubt have noticed that we made no mention of November 4th, that we had no plans for that day, and that there would be no massive antifascist action in Austin that day without us at least promoting it. So what were these vultures on about? Well a small group of mostly out-of-towners by the name of Refuse Fascism had a planned march—billed clearly around a platform of non-violence. If you came out to confront “antifa” you should really get it through your head, you were lied to. The truth is not in stock over at InfoWars and similar outlets. They lied about this, you were tricked. What else have they lied to you about? Perhaps the truth is they have lied to you on the basic question of who your friends and enemies are. Your enemies (unless you are a fascist) are not antifa, your enemies are not communists or anarchists, but the very system of corporate capitalist leeches that these right wing pundits have a financial and social interest in defending. If this is not enough to wake you up then ask yourself who is really the rube, who got played?

This non-event in Austin was not worth our attendance, not worth even tacit endorsement. We had better things to do. Not going to events your enemies have fabricated is not a sign of weakness it’s simply not taking the bait.  We have no interest in marching around the capitol along a controlled route with a pack of out-of-towners committed to non-violence and we certainly have no interest in a showdown with some people who were so gullible they could be tricked into thinking a civil war was imminent on November 4th 2017. We hope this experience has been educational for all and intend to lay out what we have learned.

Refuse Fascism does not speak for the revolutionary or antifascist left in Austin. They do not claim to, they only claim to oppose fascism in what we discern to be the tritest and most limited fashion. While we applaud them for going on with their march in the face of being outnumbered by many armed reactionaries, we are concerned with both their objectives as well as their methods. Going through with the march showed some courage and we welcome courage into our city and even consider it to a positive thing. This is all compromised  beyond repair however by the leisurely way they approach the question of fascism.

It is no secret that Refuse Fascism is an initiative of the revisionist organization which uses the name Revolutionary Communist Party USA. While the level of condemnation and enmity we feel towards this party of traitors and rats could take up an entire book we must not concern ourselves with this right here and instead focus mainly on the errors Refuse Fascism has inherited from its poisonous parent.  So let’s look at the dual aspect. Refuse Fascism has earned the attention of the right due largely to their sustained propaganda campaign which has been going on since at least December in response to the current presidential administration. Like the revisionist party which initiated it, Refuse Fascism sits squarely and ideologically in the legalist reformist camp, like every other revisionist organization in the US today. The revisionist RCP fames itself for having produced a coherent critique of all communist struggles hitherto, their conclusion being to rupture from those fine traditions and accepting a corny “New Synthesis of Communism” which was innate in the mind of their leader. This idea just like many other revisionist ideas relies on waiting, waiting, and waiting without any preparation for war. It’s ironic that such a group could propel the insecurities of the right into such a state of panic and goes to show how little they investigate these matters and how fragile their fears are. The right really are paper tigers if an outfit like Refuse Fascism could provoke such a frenzied response.

Refuse Fascism has shown a consistent propaganda effort, some clever stunts, and fair amount of guts in carrying through with their limited and uninspired plans. On the other hand and what we consider to the main aspect, their emphasis on waiting and engaging by strictly legal means has them disarmed in the political sense as well as the practical sense. They have not got the sense to take fascism seriously. They have forgotten history. They have no sense of the danger posed by fascism in the here and now, so they do not seriously try to protect themselves from it. They have in the past been reckless enough with their membership lists and petitions that many innocent people have been doxxed on Neo-Nazi websites. In an age where a common fascist tactic is to report people to ICE for deportation we find this error to be worthy of condemning the whole project as worse than a liability. Politically, Refuse Fascism offers no real break from old worn out liberalism, their demands are the most meaningless gestures. Demands and actions that include going to bat for former FBI director James Comey. A supposedly communist initiative trying to reinstate any pig should be enough to give one pause if not cause serious revulsion. Their other pathetic and conservative demands don’t put them too far to the left of the Democratic Party with the call to “impeach Trump”, as if Trump were the cause of modern fascism and not the result of its growth in mainstream society.  This limited bourgeois worldview that equates Trump entirely with fascism misses the point of how and why fascism emerges in declining imperialist centers. Their grand vision for antifascism begins and ends with presidential impeachment. This has left them with a combined lack of vision as well as a delusion of grandeur. They have no accurate assessment of the objective concrete conditions of increasing fascist populism springing from a deindustrialized and declining USA, nor do they have an accurate read on their own subjective capacity to confront these conditions. They are lost. This is what inevitably results from the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.  In short we do not trust them with even the knowledge of our faces let alone leading any kind of antifascist struggles.  They might draw in and burn out a few new people with their plans to throw Trump out, which equate to nothing more than regurgitated Occupy Wall Street tactics, tactics which should be cast aside by all.

We must reiterate the line we put forward five months ago once more:

“We call on all those who struggle in the state of Texas to get organized, to cast aside illusions of a leaderless resistance—a pipe dream of an Occupy Wall Street type of antifascism—in favor of a genuine, mass-based antifascist resistance organized along militant lines.”

bringitdownnawputasheetonit
bring it down? aw heck just put a sheet on it

What we have referred to as “Occupy Wall Street type of antifascism” was even more evident in other minute fractions of the so-called left this November 4th. Local anarchists operating under the redundant title of “Independent Antifa” (redundant because worldwide “antifa” is already decentralized) managed to accomplish even less that the liberal moderates at Refuse Fascism. No they did not join in the yelling match downtown or even claim they are going to get the president impeached, their “resistance” amounted to nothing more than going to a fairly sleepy spot on the edge of town and draping a bed sheet over a small confederate monument. They did this “symbolic action” to “spread fear and confusion” among the right… Such ineffectual activity is not just sad and pathetic, it is absolutely useless and detrimental in the way that it uses “diversity of tactics” to do absolutely nothing and claim you are doing something to confront fascism. We are in support of the many actions across the US which have attacked, vandalized or destroyed confederate monuments. We have seen this effectively remove these racist symbols and win many over to causes of antifascism. What we have never seen accomplish anything is draping bedsheets over them.  This only bears mention because those behind this posturing have made self-righteous statements about what amounts to nothing. These types of inaction need to be critically assessed and moved away from.  Five months ago, similar liberal anarchists chose to have an unmasked and unarmed picnic in the same space where fascists gathered to march, with security practice even more shameful than Refuse Fascism who at least had the nerve to stand up. There is no excuse for such needless exposure to fascists and in no way are they confronted by bedsheets, picnics, or other “symbolic resistance”. Liberalism is nothing but left cover for fascism as it offers up phony ways to get involved which will never decrease the fascist ability to organize. Fascism grows up all around it then confronts it and kills it. This type of liberalism is already rotting in the grave and you should abandon it if you have been introduced to its watered down excuse for antifascism. While there is a need to support efforts which may fall short, in the context of each contributing what they are able we cannot sit and pat ourselves on the back or posture behind toothless “symbolic resistance”.

kcpaintit
Communists improve racist monument in Kansas City
kcboxitup
racist monument goes away in a box

 

So what were we doing November 4th? We adhere to our line of community self-defense. This means we stood with a diverse group of antifascists who were committed to defending at risk communities most threatened by the fascists who shuttled in from the surrounding areas. We do this modest work in private and do not feel the need to give exact details here. All over Austin there are people and spaces which these scum would love to target. We listen to the masses of people and go where we are most needed. If these fascists plan to make their genocidal dreams a reality by taking out their frustration from finding no “antifa” on innocent community members they can expect to find real anti-fascists there who are not interested in non-violence, bedsheets or token “symbolic resistance”. They can expect and count on us defending these communities with our very lives and providing the best defense we are capable of. We do not let the enemy choose the battle ground and we do not confront the enemy when they have a greater force. By sticking to these basic principles we can and will win. We continue to accumulate forces, serve the working class of Austin and sharpen our line.  When we fight, we fight to win, to crush the enemy and humiliate them. This is how we conduct the mass line and this is how we root ourselves among the very people who are the makers of history.

We see little cause to continuously rally around the reactionary capitol of the reactionary state of Texas. We hold firm to the fact that antifascists need to place themselves in working class neighborhoods of Austin, to do protracted mass work among the people of these neighborhoods. Antifascism is not spectacle, it’s not performance art for middle class anarchists nor is it just an opportunity for dead revisionists to continue hocking their reformist nonsense in order to repopulate their shrinking ranks. Antifascism must become operable in the daily lives of the working class masses and especially in the oppressed nations held captive by the prison house of the USA.

While we are harsh and critical with these revisionists and idealists, we understand that we do share a common enemy at times and we hope that as things develop we find ourselves side by side in the struggle on the streets against fascism.  This potential and circumstantial tactical unity is temporary too and we issue this statement as a plea to those who wish to fight fascism to avoid their dead end trajectory and do the hard work that victory demands.

After the downtown protests around 3pm, fascists of Patriot Front (a rebranding of the group Vanguard America who was responsible for the murder of Heather Heyer as well as the attempted murders carried out by Texas members after a Florida Richard Spencer Speech) decided to go hold a protest outside of MonkeyWrench Books where they were reported to have chanted the Nazi slogan “blood and soil” in the affluent Hyde Park neighborhood. No confrontation or defense of the space was made by the anarchists who run the bookstore and the fascists eventually left on their own accord. We are saddened that anarchists have failed to defend this space on the grounds that it emboldens the fascists to keep trying this type of confrontation.

In Austin some real resistance did take place, and it was not the initiative of any left-wing group but that of organic mass action. We celebrate this. Late last night after not finding much action in the streets a group of fascists decided to attend a local bar—as usual they were obnoxious, offensive and riding a false high. They wore their colors brazenly and walked into the wrong bar in the wrong town and 8 of them were physically confronted and ejected by patrons with no help from the staff or hired security who refused to take any action. The masses once again mustered more guts and resistance than the activist-left.  We should always make every door closed to them and encourage this type of mass action.

There is nothing as gruesome as what the fascists have planned for you, organized serious resistance to them is past due. If you are an antifascist of any wide variety then make it your purpose to amass greater forces so that these days of fascist road trips into Austin become just a memory. Real antifascism means revolution, it means going beyond reactive confrontation into pro-active removal of fascists from all places and all walks of life. We must end fascism because it has every intention of ending us.

There was no civil war but lets make the fascists worst nightmares a reality by continuing to build the antifascist movement along revolutionary lines!

-Red Guards Austin, November 5th 2017

The Many Political Hats of Andrew Dobbs

dobbs1
one-time liberal, one-time warmonger… always opportunist

Many know Dobbs as a “left wing” activist. Many more know him as a prominent NGO person in the Austin scene. While we could write an entire article about the backwardness of professional NGO “activists” this article will focus on Dobbs’ perceived status as a “leftist” and his lesser known past as a shill for US imperialism and a warmonger during the early part of the US Iraq war.

Dobbs’ father is a wealthy US military contractor (employed by DynCorp, which receives 96% of its 3 billion dollar annual revenues from the US government) who has a vested material interest in “spreading US democracy” in the Arab world. While we have no interest in passing the sins of the father onto the son, it interests us greatly that in both left wing as well as right wing journals, newspapers, and blogs the younger Dobbs came rushing to the defense of the senior. Like his father, Dobbs is a crafty and astute businessman—only his business is politics. This should be understood clearly as opportunism.

Charting Dobbs’ political trajectory over the last decade or so would take up more pages than this brief article can contain. However, let’s start with student activism at the University of Texas which Dobbs still brags about to this day. What he omits consistently is his work for the right wing. Staring to build his brand as a “progressive” Democrat, he campaigned for Howard Dean’s presidential bid in 2004. He is fairly open about this fact but forgets to mention that during this time be became an ardent supporter of the Iraq War and even penned articles against the left.

Supporters brought it to our attention that Dobbs worked on a conservative paper called Contumacy (inside the liberal classroom). The title, like the paper itself , could be considered a far right libertarian slanted propaganda work.  It amounted to a precursor of staple alt-right ideology—stringently anti-abortion, pro-war, sexist, and jingoist (anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia). Dobbs’ role in the paper was not “a voice of reason” as some optimists might hope, on the contrary he wrote articles in which he compared anti-war left wing activists to al-Qaida, anti-Zionist activists to Hitler. He even declared his “love and support” for the Iraq War in no uncertain terms with headlines such as “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the War”. In what most resembled the commonality with the alt-right Dobbs declared “claiming that the US somehow brought 9/11 on itself is the academic equivalent of saying a girl deserved to be raped.” This kind of demented false equivalence is the fuel in the engine of the alt-right, which to this day still compares the people of the third world to rapists and invokes  the specter of rape when convenient to make a political point.

Dobbs’ work was not purely think-pieces either—he took the time to slander and denounce organized efforts led by Palestinian students of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee to educate the student body on their national liberation struggles. He criminalized these student activists by calling them anti-Semitic and comparing them to terrorists, an old tool in the Zionist grab bag of tricks. He would warn that the left was just “too slow to notice the evil of the terrorist menace when it is bearing down upon them” in his efforts to whip up war hysteria, presumably to increase public opinion for his father’s business (war) which he still stands to inherit profits from. These profits should be understood as derived from the mass murder of innocent people whom Dobbs casually labeled “terrorists”.  He even insisted that a defeat of US imperialist at the hands of the Jihadists would spell the “end of our republic.” An unsurprising position for a white guy who is desperately trying to make his writing career take off by switching from center left to right wing war monger.  He summarized the ideals of the United States as “a commitment to liberty, an unflinching willingness to fight for what we believe in, courage in the face of great evil and hope instead of the nihilism of the left”

While Dobbs did manage to offer up a halfhearted apology for his work in right wing organs and even claimed to have changed his stance on the war, this was framed in a way that indicates Dobbs’ belief that war itself, or the Iraq War in particular, is unable to accomplish the lofty ends he desired. In his phony apology he conceived of the war as bad but the ideas behind it as good when stating “I have come to oppose war in general, to see it for the sham that it is.  No matter how holy the cause, how decent the aims, you simply cannot achieve a moral end with immoral means.”

In regard to seeing the stated purpose of the war as “holy” with “decent aims” we seriously disagree and want to highlight the fact that this apology appears totally performative—a political move to further his career. It even includes a statement of purpose to get active again in his old leftist circles. Moralizing aside it is evident that even in apology Dobbs was a supporter of US imperialism, even if  a bit skeptical of its means. With this apology we are supposed to sweep it all under the rug—forget and forgive. There is no holy cause or decent aims behind US foreign policy, yet this is what he passed off as an apology!

We do not speculate whether or not Dobbs actually believed anything he said during this period. We do however doubt that he believes much of anything he says now. While he takes no issue with deeming those in our movement “ultra-leftist”, we can only take this as a compliment coming from someone who spent so much time producing right wing trash in service of racism and US imperialism. His about-face on the matter did not come with any kind of accountability (we do not count that bullshit apology as accountability).

We see no real effort to change his actual approaches to organizing either, as he attempts to bully and boss his way into leftist circles like those that mobilized against the Islamophobic rally in Austin on June 10th organized by ACT for America. Dobbs was not invited to take part yet he took it upon himself to goad others into distrusting their fellow organizers using an old FBI tactic called red baiting by insinuating that fellow organizers were dangerous members of Red Guards Austin—which is only a danger to fascists and the ruling class but nonetheless a group which said organizers are not members of.  Once again, old habits die hard and he just couldn’t help himself from comparing leftists to terrorists, invoking the specter of communism in what amounted to a failed attempt to scare others into accepting his domineering presence and influence.

While we do believe that individuals can change their views and develop politically, we feel that these changes, if genuine, should also include accountability in the movement. These matters and positions, especially regarding Dobbs’ attempt to insert himself in every left wing space he can, should be regarded cautiously. Dobbs no longer claims to be a liberal or a democrat and now takes to calling himself a socialist. He has gone so far as to become a public face of the Austin Social(fasc)ist Collective, talking on their behalf and ironically leading “anti-war” demonstrations, though there is no evidence  that this is not just another jacket he wears to make himself seem more interesting to his readers, friends, and employers.

Early this year on January 20th (in response to the inauguration) our collective refused to work with a coalition called “One Resistance ATX” due in no small part to their collaboration with the police. The coalition included Andrew Dobbs as one of its most vocal advocates and organizers. Dobbs wasted no time proclaiming the event a great victory even though it completely collaborated with the police from start to finish (with or without a permit). We instead formed our own Antifascist bloc as we deemed being anti-Trump was not enough and our politics should be made clear. Our action and involvement was rebuked by Dobbs on several occasions from his social media accounts. While Dobbs and his supporters circled the wagons to do damage control when people got upset that he was on a police collaborationist coalition we would do well to revisit his attempts at whitewashing and hiding his shilling for US Imperialism. Dobbs stated in his “apology” that “I think that my father’s work—as a trainer of Iraqi police officers—was a noble one.” This is telling and helps us grasp why he stuck around in the coalition which decided officially beforehand  to work with the police—is the work of Austin police department also noble? Move over Danny Fetonte you’ve got competition here!

It is to be expected that a long time political opportunist who has made a lot of money from jumping from cause to cause and who has family money tied to the US imperialist project  would lack principles and provoke panic at the thought of encountering actual revolutionary organizers. Dobbs has even made requests that RGA and our supporters promise not to “wig out”—meaning that we promise to stay within the bounds of bourgeois law and order, and that it is wrong to rebel. We have no interest in taking the advice of someone so shady, who went from being a vague leftist to being a shill for the far right to claiming to be a socialist with no real accountability.  Relationships between our collective and ASC have steadily worsened with the increase in Dobbs’ participation in ASC. While we have always had major disagreements with ASC, relations had remained cordial up until the point of May 1st when members used the fact that fascists attacked a communist led rally as political ammunition against the Maoist movement. Not surprisingly Dobbs was one of the main antagonists. On May 1st Dobbs safely waited at the Capitol, refused to confront the fascists he knew were on the march, and then jumped on the chance to celebrate what he understood as a victory for fascists against Austin’s non-liberal antifascist movement.

We would like to take this opportunity to call ASC to task in addressing why they would work so closely with someone who has in recent memory been a right wing propagandist. What political epiphany or world event or collective rectification effort took place to truly transform Dobbs? Is he even transformed? Our position is that Dobbs, like many others in the Austin left, is a careerist and opportunist trying to make a buck and a name for himself through phony half-hearted activism, and that he and others like him will go to whatever length to carry on their role. Their role is clear: they are the trusted and reliable servants of the ruling class, and their task is to manage the affairs of the workers in such a way as to be amicable to the status quo.  To us this seems to be a fitting partnership between Dobbs and ASC, as both share this attitude toward the cause of the working class. We insist that these charlatans are not worth being even temporarily confused with socialists, let alone communists or revolutionaries.  People who take on such titles should expect to be held accountable for their actions and their words. It is not as if Dobbs’ love affair with the right came before his political activism;  one of his main bragging points was how he changed from a leftist to a supporter of the imperialist war against the Iraqi people, only to make an apology which was in essence still shilling for imperialism from a chauvinist and jingoist perspective.  We need leaders from among the people who serve the people themselves if revolutionary and progressive movements are to grow and spread. What we do not need is more opportunists and swindlers like war-brat Andrew Dobbs.