Portland Police Attacks on Protestors Part of a Historical Legacy of Violence

(By Joseph Orosco, August 14, 2018)

Alexander Reid Ross and Shane Burley have really important new article detailing the latest developments on the police violence that followed the Proud Boys/Patriot Prayer rally in Portland on August 4th.  Multiple sources immediately came out and indicated that the Portland Police Bureau deployed flash bang grenades and shot pepper ball rounds at antifa protestors after the Proud Boy gathering was winding down. Morever, the Portland Police claim that they did so after officers were attacked with projectiles from the protestors did not appear to be true based on activist video clips.  Several human rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, have officially expressed concern and called for investigations.

Reid Ross and Burley write:

“Over the past two years, Patriot Prayer has led frequent demonstrations with the apparent support of white nationalist organizations and the Proud Boys, a radical-right fraternity. Often mixing in far-right talking points and alt-right agitation, the organization has become a thorn in Portland’s side, prompting mass-organized counter-protests that the Patriot Prayer attendees use as an invitation to attack demonstrators.

At another event on June 30, the Patriot Prayer crowd, led largely by the Proud Boys, initiated a series of attacks in clashes with anti-fascist protesters leading to a level of brutality unprecedented in Portland’s recent history. The violence had been escalating as the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer continued to stoke resentment against the relatively progressive city, and what they felt was unfair treatment at their rallies by both police and community members.

As the dust settled from the June 30 attack, which left several people arrested and in the hospital, Gibson announced the follow up for Aug. 4 while denouncing the police’s response. This surprised many counter-protesters, who insist that the Portland Police Bureau focused their crowd-dispersal methods — including chemical weapons and exploding “flash grenades” — almost exclusively on the left while actively protecting Patriot Prayer from advancing crowds.”

As I was reading this piece, I was also reading the graphic novel March, Book One, by Congressman John Lewis, which details his early activist days.  In particular it talks about his involvement in the Nashville student lunch counter sit-ins in 1960.  He points out that very often the white thugs would be allowed into the stores by store owners and they would proceed to beat up the students.  The police would be nearby but never intervene except when the white thugs had already gone.  Then they would come in and arrest the students for disorderly conduct.  You can watch a little of how that went down in this video from a documentary (CW: for white supremacist violence against young African American students):

I guess the lesson here is that when it comes to police action regarding protests, the more things change the more things stay the same.


Portland Fighting More Vicious than Charlottesville

By Jason Wilson (July 4, 2018)

I have seen a lot of street confrontations in Portland and elsewhere now. The beat downs I saw last Saturday were among the worst I have seen anywhere.

I don’t want to get into league tables of street violence but the street confrontations were more vicious and plentiful than what I saw in Charlottesville (even though they played out over a much shorter period).

What you see in the video is really alarming. (Those sensitive to violence should know that it’s disturbing content) Several people attacking someone prone on the ground, and refusing to stop when asked (and actually attacking the person intervening). Ask cops, paramedics, or prosecutors exactly how dangerous that is.


People traveled from other states to be part of the Patriot Prayer rally. I counted 60+ people in Proud Boys colours. So where does this situation we have ourselves in the PNW end? I hope it doesn’t end with someone dying. That video shows how close we came to that last Saturday.

I have heard (but can’t confirm) that someone was hospitalised with serious head injuries as a result of a beating on Saturday. We’re getting close to the edge.

People outside the region should pay attention to what is happening here. They should factor it in to any discussions they are having about what is going on in this country right now.


Jason Wilson is a journalist for the Guardian US and Australia, living in Portland.

It’s Too Early to Say We Won Against the Alt-Right

By Alexander Reid Ross (March 21, 2018)

While I’m happy that Richard Spencer is miserable and Heimbach may be going to jail, I think it’s too early to say “we won.” We succeeded—for now—in pushing the Alt Right and its bedfellows off the streets. That may mean our methods have been successful, among other things, but it doesn’t mean that fascists won’t adapt.

If they can’t spread propaganda with Brooks Brothers suits, they’ll spread it with bombs—and they’ve always asserted this. There are bomb blasts in Austin targeting prominent black folks, and the White House response is to deny any “nexus” with terrorism, whatever that means. How do we recalibrate our methods to confront these kinds of militant forces that have always been in the DNA of US settler colonialism?

Perhaps we can look to the South African resistance to the forces of Apartheid—especially the AWB during the early transition to self-rule. We might also look at the Civil Rights movement in the US amid the terror of “Bombingham.” Perhaps that means maintaining an open discussion on opposition to anti-equalitarian forces and the methods of using intimidation attacks to oppress society. Perhaps it means coming together to advance freedom in everyday practice, and refusing to be cowed or manipulated by the futile rage of a dying movement.

This isn’t necessarily a question for Facebook (nervously lolz) but it’s really something we need to think through if we are going to radically assess and overcome white supremacism in the US today, tomorrow and forever.


Why Can’t We Punch Death Eaters?

By Phoenix Calida (January 5, 2018)

Things I don’t understand-

#TheResistance on twitter.

I just watched a member of the “resistance” with 20k followers and a Princess Leia avatar say that we can’t condone violence or property damage.

Like did you even watch the movies??

I’ve seen various Harry Potter nerds call themselves Dumbledore’s army and compare the mangerine to Voldemort. But then also say punching nazis is bad.

Do you understand the role Voldemort played in the series?? Why can’t we punch death eaters?

I’ve seen “resistance” members using names & Walking dead background images… but be mad that antifa exists and Redneck Revolt has guns.

They have groups dedicated to the Hunger games, Star Trek, Star Wars, Divergent; all kinds of movies, books, comics where the good character literally has to fight the bad character to stop a war, save the world, save their family…

And so many of these folks insist we need to do everything without any violence or property damage. We can’t punch nazis. We can’t break windows. We can’t physically fight.

So, 1. That’s not how it works. You can’t debate genocide over a cup of tea and unradicalize the alt Reich.

2. It’s weird af y’all pick these characters who literally fought against evil and sometimes died in the process. Why pick a character who is willing to be in the streets fighting if you aren’t?

3. If your movement is too shook to punch nazis or the alt Reich, tf are you actually resisting? It’s not fascism, cult45, or the haircrow.


Antifa Can Nurture the Dreams for a Better World

By Paul Messersmith-Glavin (August 31, 2017)

The antifascist movement has matured into a broad based popular movement, with 40,000 marching in Boston against 100 Nazis and, this past Sunday, a reported 8,000 turning out against a fascist organized anti-Marxist event in a park. In Boston, Black Lives Matter organizers played a leading role. The establishment and fascists both fear this movement, but for different reasons.

In Berkeley, there were thousands of people in the streets with several hundred blocked up. All the reports from comrades I’ve seen say everyone was working together through a diversity of tactics. The police in fact retreated and ceded the park to the antifascists because there was so many. All this comes after the widespread love expressed for antifa block tactics since Charlottesville, with clergy, pacifists, and others praising antifa and the role they played.

This type of popular, widespread movement that embraces a diversity of approaches to fighting fascism is exactly what we need. In Europe, it is very common for thousands of people to show up for a demonstration with a sizable percentage organized as a black bloc. That block can then defend against fascist or police attack, and drive Nazis away.

Establishment figures and institutions are trying to crush this new movement ideologically. They are telling lies and distorting reality. Listen to people that are actually in the streets standing up for all of us, not the people who want you to stay at home and let them continue to run the world.

Come out and see what’s actually happening for yourselves. Understand who shares your interests, and will nurture your dreams of a different, better world. We can resign ourselves to the inevitability of all the shit in the world. Or we can fight, and create something different.

Multiple Strategies Needed to Defeat the Racist Right

By Chris Lowe (August 22, 2017)

Which would do more to impede the growth of the racist right, and the attacks on people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and other targets: 1) Mobilizing against “Trump free speech” rallies that the white nationalist right is using to insert themselves into the Tea Party base and spread their rhetoric there, or 2) mobilizing against the policies of Jeff Sessions at DOJ?

This is a false opposition, of course. Both are possible simultaneously, of course, and might indeed be able to support one another.

But the rallies are the easier target, and that’s where the focus is. Yet, the threats from the DOJ are larger and more systematic.

In Portland, there is organizing against the City’s efforts to revise its agreement with the DOJ that requires some elements of police reform, though not nearly enough. We need to connect that organizing to Jeff Sessions, need to put pressure on the City Council not to collaborate in Sessions’ roll-back of the DOJ’s historical role as sometimes a force against local abuses of power, even if that role has never been consistent and has included its own abuses when the FBI takes on the role of national political police. IMO.

The City says it does not want to collaborate with racist and abusive federal immigration policies that break up families, says we are a Sanctuary City. We should hold ourselves as a community to the same standard in not collaborating with Jeff Sessions’ and Donald Trump’s policies of rewidening the scope for police impunity for acts of racialized violence and discriminatory policing.


Antifa are a Critical Component of the Struggle Against White Supremacy

By Chris Crass (August 16, 2017)

Any minute you spend debating that the antifa, that the right wing created term,”alt-left”, is violent too, is a minute spent supporting Trump and the ultra-right. The world is uniting against Trump and the ultra-right’s racism. Do not give Trump life support by giving any space, any room to “well the antifa…” unless it is “well the antifa are a critical component of an overall uniting of humanity against white supremacy, against the white supremacy of Trump and the neo-nazis, of the entire Trump agenda.”

Now is the time to focus all of our energies on uniting our people, our families, our communities to a rejection of white supremacy from the nazi-in-chief to the nazis in the streets, and to unite for racial justice, multiracial democracy, and the Black Lives Matter movement as the leading force for human rights and human dignity of our times.

We can debate tactics and strategy along the way, but let’s not miss the historic responsibility and opportunity of these times, which is winning over as many people as we can, especially for those of us who are white, to win over as many white people as we can to an overall racial justice agenda and to reject white supremacy in all of its forms.

The Fascists Were Run Out of Charlottesville by Direct Action

By Alexander Reid Ross (August 12, 2017)

Make no mistake, The fascists were run out of Charlottesville today. They planned a violent and hateful rally and brought people from all over the US to this one corner of the South. The community rose up and defended itself, sending them packing. These fascists had no intention of a “peaceful assembly,” calling for war and violence and attacking peaceful counter-demonstrators. On their way out, one of them decided to smash into a contingent of IWW demonstrators, killing at least one (I’m hearing reports of three dead now).

Despite the facts in evidence—a grey sports car plunging into the crowd, smashing into two other cars, then reversing at full speed—the Washington Post reports that the driver’s intentionality is unclear. At the same time, an elected Democratic official says the violence is the result of the alt-right and “outside agitators.” Here, the presumption that the alt-right are the locals is thick with falsity, particularly given the fact that last month’s Klan rally brought out all of 40 people—and not all of them locals.

The narrative that passes as liberal has failed us and continues to fail us. The ACLU, asserting that fascists had the right to assemble in any old park they wanted to, fought tooth and nail in the courts to place counter-demonstrators in great danger. The resulting fights started by fascists throwing smoke bombs and tear gas led to the evacuation of the park and police pushing the protesters into the streets. When at least 10 antifascists were injured by a maniac, the press said, “not sure if it was intentional or if the dude’s foot fell asleep.” After the fact, Democratic politicians scrambled to blame local antifascists as “outsiders,” because force of habit?

No. Fascist assembly is the violent organization of genocidal forces deployed for the specific purposes of attacking scapegoats and worship leaders. They are crystal clear about this. When Kyle Chapman says “open season on antifa,” this is precisely what he means. Enough is enough!


The Fight for the Soul of White America is Raging in the Streets of Charlottesville

By Chris Crass (August 12, 2017)

Republicans falling over themselves to denounce the views of white nationalists in Charlottesville, while promoting legislation and implementing policy that enacts those views on society.

White people denouncing the Klan, Alt-Right, GOP shock troopers marching in Charlottesville, while giving these racist Force the political space to grow, by arguing “All Lives Matter” against Black Lives Matter, by staying silent as immigrant and Muslim communities are terrorized by state violence and vigilante violence.

But, for those of us working in white communities, let’s also use this moment when white people who have been silent, speak out, as an opening to support them to become outspoken and involved.

Progressive people talking about both sides in Charlottesville being wrong, which actually gives cover to the violence of hate groups, while demoralizing and dividing the Left, turning the Left inward into irrelevant debates, while the Right institutionalizes violence, and tears apart all that we love. I know in times of feeling horrified and powerless turning against each other feels momentarily important, resist this urge, and turn outward and fight to save our people and our world.

Folks talking about these racists as ignorant poor, rural, working class white people, which further alienates poor, rural; and working class white people from the Left, undermines the Left leadership and organizing in poor, rural and working class white communities, adds to the enormous confusion on the Left of how racism shapes class, of why we need class conscious anti-racist politics and approaches, adds to the divisions the ruling class wants, and leaves the real villains invisible and untouched – namely the wealthy, formally educated, elite that are the architects historically and today of these movements.

White anti-racists of all class backgrounds, we must confront and eliminate anti-poor people, anti-poor white people narratives that are intended to keep the Left divided. We must love ourselves and love our people so hard, we will fight for our/their lives. And no I ain’t talking about hugging alt-right fascists, I’m talking the communities we come from and the large number of white people who have not been exposed to, let alone invited to join the anti-racist Left fighting for a better world for everyone. Hating other white people doesn’t make you anti-racist, it makes you less effective, abandons white communities to the Right, and let’s supremacy systems narrow our imaginations and hearts.

The fight for the soul of white America is raging in the streets of Charlottesville and in every legislative chamber in the country.

White anti-racists, we must fight for the hearts, souls, and minds of white people, to win as many as possible to the multiracial movements for racial, economic and gender justice, to unite white people to multiracial democratic values and destroy the hold of white supremacy in white communities.

Charlottesville makes clear: white people, we are either actively working against racism and for racial justice, or we are aiding and abetting the rising racist movement taking their violence into the streets, while also aiding and abetting the embolden leadership of the GOP who are furthering an agenda of racist violence at every level of government.

Let us destroy white supremacy in the hearts and minds of white people, build the multiracial Left, and eradicate white supremacy at every level of society!

Love to all fighting for justice and collective liberation in Charlottesville!

To help out with the struggle in Charlottesville, consider giving here:

Solidarity Cville Anti-Racist Legal Fund

Defend Cvill Medical Fund



Antifa, Not the Patriot Movement, Stand for Freedom and Liberty

By Alexander Reid Ross (June 10, 2017)

I’ve seen a lot of snark from the Patriot movement saying that antifascists are demonstrating today in defense of Sharia law. The problem is that the Patriot movement has no idea what either Islam or Sharia law actually are, let alone why antifascists have taken to the streets today.

Joey Gibson came close when he said that 1/3 of Muslims believe in Sharia law. The number, according to a Pew poll, is closer to 50 percent. However, there is a broad divergence of opinion on what that means. A vast majority of Muslims surveyed believe in religious freedom—likely a larger percentage than the Patriot movement’s constituents.

Sharia law, in general, connotes an attempted formalization of the spiritual law. Since spiritual law changes, Sharia is always imperfect. However, it is the closest that many Muslims believe people can come to obeying their religious faith through practice.

People who believe in Sharia law are not necessarily pro-life, like the Patriot movement is. They are not necessarily patriarchal, like the Patriot movement is. They don’t believe in racialized hierarchies like the Patriot movement does.

When people come out into the streets to oppose the Patriot movement, they are not making of confession of the faith; they are standing up for the rights of people everywhere to practice their own faiths without hurting others. The Patriot movement has shown that it does not share this sincere believe, which incidentally is right there in their constitution.

Antifascists stand on the side of freedom and liberty. The Patriot movement gets Islam wrong and perpetuates the racist misogyny they claim to fight in the name of the civil liberties they attempt to destroy. The Patriot movement would do better to single out and alienate the Nazis in their own midst, rather than pointing the finger at everyone but themselves.

Solidarity with antifa!