The Club of Patriarchy Begins Early

By Alexander Reid Ross (October 1, 2018)

Rebecca Solnit’s courageous piece is empowering and exciting. What turning over the rock from under which Kavanaugh crawled did was expose the horrible abuse pretty much all women are subjected to in the US from a very young age. It’s societal and systemic oppression in which specific, discrete acts of sexual misconduct and assault play an important, though not necessarily central, role.

Sexual assaults become mechanisms of policing women’s bodies and independence, and the threat of sexual assault is always a force beneath the surface of everyday life.

Yet men are inculcated into the club of patriarchy at a young age and begin to practice mistreating women with the help and support of elders. One is free to make revealing comments about women in private (a la Trump’s “locker room talk”) but to not participate in such behavior is to bring attention to your own vulnerabilities.

We are taught, as men, to be insensitive and unintelligent while priding ourselves on our smarts by putting down women who are disallowed from presenting the truths of the moment. Growing up, I think I knew some young men who attempted to negotiate between being devalued as a person and treating women (and non-straight white males in general) with respect. I don’t know if I ever knew any men who fully repudiated patriarchy and misogyny, though.

However, reducing everything to “bad things we did when we were in high school (and younger)” isn’t enough. We need to continue to recognize how we fail women, as men, in our daily lives, and work to make things better. One of these is recognizing, with the outpouring of revisited trauma, that we need to attune ourselves to how liminal this stuff is and be prepared to talk about things like “triggers” without smirking with contempt for people who suffer.


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.


The Santa Fe Shooting is a Result of the Cynicism Destroying US

By Alexander Reid Ross (May 21, 2018)

It’s just a nightmare. I’m from Houston. It’s a place near and dear to my heart. When this sort of thing becomes normal, we all become targets.

That this latest shooting was carried out by a gun obsessed white male is as unsurprising as his apparent fusion of authoritarian left-right politics. A hammer and sickle pin means rebellion, while an iron cross means authority.

It was already clear what kind of deranged products can come out of subcultural politics last year when Jeremy Christian murdered two people on the MAX in Portland. Christian had been a metal head with leftist, Cascadia leanings—I knew people in that scene who were friends with him before he swerved to the far right.

Today, we are seeing more than ever the joining together of far right and left both in conferences and the “alternative media” space. They claim to be anti-war but they are hawks who viciously attack their critics using legal threats and harassment tactics taken straight from the Gamergate playbook.

This shooting is about guns and what they mean to our culture, but more than that, it’s about the mainstream patriarchy underlying that culture and how various subcultures reproduce it with even more intensity…

The ability to clip on a hammer and sickle and an iron cross on the way to murdering high school students indicates the fullest absurdity of authoritarianism in general. This is America today: the snuffing out of sensibility, the urge for power, and the self-destructive drive toward catastrophe.

My heart goes out to the survivors and victims today. I sincerely hope that we will find a way to overcome the cynicism and cowardice that is destroying us. I wish we could reach out to people and reconnect with humanity, sensitivity, and love.


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.


The Alt Right is Not Just Nazis

By Alexander Reid Ross (February 15, 2018)

Here’s why I call them the “Alt Right” instead of just “Nazis.”

The Alt Right is a composite of a number of far-right tendencies including anarcho-capitalists, silicon valley neo-reactionaries, MRAs, Klansmen, and other forms of fascists.

Broadly, it’s a fascist movement, but it’s a fascist movement of a certain character.

Calling them the Alt Right makes a clear, descriptive identification specific, and shows that this is a discrete group, or rather group of groups, with a set of visible, self-proclaimed and established leaders.

The group itself must be destroyed and the individuals behind it brought to justice. The state won’t do anything about them, so we must.


Consorting With the Enemy Ain’t Gonna Work: Chelsea Manning and the Alt-Right

By Alexander Reid Ross (January 25, 2018)

If you want to know what I think of the Chelsea Manning debacle, the nicest way I could put this is that I suppose it was probably a well-intentioned twofer. Kind of like, “Hey, I’ll gather intelligence while trying to make a difference by being nice and therefore showing that gender diversity disproves their most toxic theories.”

At the same time, not having someone to come out and say, “Chelsea told me about the game nights and the escape room; it was totally a project and nothing to be suspicious about” makes it really hard to trust that this was, as she claims, a strictly information-gathering venture rather than a partially-friendly effort to bring left and right together.

I would favor a return to some form of social cohesion wherein the far right is not lashing out at leftists everywhere, using provocation as a first form of communication, and openly participating on an informal, though relatively organized, level with state-sanctioned terror against migrants, people of color, and other marginalized people.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t think putting stock in such an outcome of extending an olive branch is naiive—partly because the far-right’s response to Chelsea’s appearance at their event shows where their interests lie. They are more interested in making her appearance into a publicity stunt, using a person as a token and a one-up against the left, at that. It was a disrespectful and indiscrete exhibition of their own animus, and that’s what we should expect from people like Posobiec and Cernovich who cannot control themselves.

This is why, if antifascists are going to have any agency in how we handle the far right, instead of having our ideas, words, and actions twisted to cohere to their plans, we need to confront them together. Going off on rogue missions without a support group and a trusted community will just enable them to use us. It’s important to try and understand and empathize with people, but it’s equally important, if not more important, to watch our backs and be there for each other.

The outcomes here are mixed, and nobody should be devastated by what happened. The alt light was able to make themselves appear more legitimate in the eyes of some, because of Chelsea’s appearance. Including a trans person is nothing new or particularly exciting with regards to the alt light. It was a trans person who organized one of the Berkeley freeze peach events featuring Joey Gibson, if not his entire entourage of fascists, conspiricists, and wingnuts. It’s Chelsea’s celebrity that they wanted to exploit, not only the fact that she’s a trans person.

For this reason, the immediate response of many lefties was appropriate: this is precisely why we are a leaderless movement. Chelsea was always someone who was supported by social movements and who provided hope and inspiration. Tweets come cheap, though. The important thing is the work. And consorting with the enemy aint gonna work.


Against the Fascist Creep: Talk by Alexander Reid Ross

In March 2017, author Alexander Reid Ross visited the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures to describe the way in which fascism as intellectual movement draws on a variety of traditions, both from the right and left.  In that way, it can infiltrate many different social movements from within.  His latest book is Against the Fascist Creep from AK Press (2017)


So the Right Wing is Afraid of Everything

By Alexander Reid Ross (December 1, 2017)

So the right wing is afraid… constantly… about everything.

Take that away, and they feel way more open.

This is not a revelation so much as another explanation as to why the marketing of a “security state” in tandem with the hyping of “terrorism” has always been a vicious scheme. At the same time, it is why “terrorism” as a political strategy is ultimately reactionary regardless of ideological persuasion—the desire to shock and to instill fear in the public, a la ISIS, always serves the reactionary motive of dividing people and re-enforcing isolating tendencies.

Erich Fromm was correct—where fascist causes us to fear our own freedom, we must respond in solidarity by promoting love and mutual aid.


“Is your friend pretty?” #Metoo in the Context of Capitalism and Racism

By Alexander Reid Ross, Teka Lark, and Mark Naison (November 28, 2017)

Several Anarres Project regular contributors recently reflected on the uprising against sexual harassment/assault/abuse in the political and entertainment worlds.  Together, they tied the issue to broader concerns about socialization under patriarchy, the imperatives of capitalism, and white supremacy.


Alexander Reid Ross:

The more celebrities exposed as inveterate pervs, the more we recognize that all men have all been implicated in this patriarchal society. The choice is to learn and work to overturn it or to remain taciturn and complicit in constant oppression.


Teka Lark:

Sexism in the workplace I know by many is viewed as a little thing. It isn’t.

I have a friend who is a man. He is originally from France, moved to LA and is now in Iowa. He can live wherever he wants. He is a translator for corporations based in Europe. He speaks three languages fluently, in addition to English. Companies fly him to NY, pay for his hotel and his drinks when they need him in person.

I have another friend in NY area. Same credentials. She lives in a basement that she rents from an 80-year-old woman who needs the money. My friend needs cheap rent. She sometimes translates for the courts.

I asked my male friend why my woman friend can’t get hired. He looked at me and said, “She is a woman.”

He said in Europe they don’t like hiring women, they are a distraction. They want to drink, cheat on their wives, and they don’t want to hear about rights. They deal in millions of dollars a day and they want to do what they want and they are going to do what they want. They want to hire WHITE men. He then said, but it isn’t so bad. If you are pretty, you can marry a rich man. Is your friend pretty?

Sexism relegates women to the “choices” of low wage jobs and/or entertainment.

Ending sexism matters.
Ending racism matters.
Ending capitalism matters.


Mark Naison:

Most men, and that includes me, were socialized from an early age to view the pursuit of fame, power and wealth as a way of eroticizing themselves, of making them more attractive to women. It is shockingly easy to go from that position to viewing sexual access to women as a perk, as a reward for professional achievement. Most men don’t act on that impulse, but virtually all have heard other men talk that way. And to be honest, when men talk that way, I have rarely heard other men say “don’t talk that shit around me. Women aren’t an extension of male power.” Maybe they will now. Time will tell. This isn’t only about men and women. It is about how men communicate with and explain themselves to other men.

Universities Should Not be Trojan Horses for Alt Right

By Alexander Reid Ross (October 23, 2017)

When it comes to shutting down minority protections in the interests of the 37 percent of the country that supports Trump, Republicans seem eager to support a “democratic mandate.” However, when the masses openly repudiate such a loathsome would-be cardboard tyrant as this, the fear of a “tyranny of the majority” is invoked by our benevolent rulers. Hypocrisy is the downfall of education.

The assumption that universities are forced by law to allow anybody who has the support of a small student group to speak under their auspices is both foul and false. Universities regularly reject speakers and have the right to do so based on any number of objections, whether right or wrong. There are engines driving the alt right—for instance, those that surfaced out of the quagmire of Breitbart and neo-reaction in the recent Buzzfeed article. Universities that allow Richard Spencer and his misogynist, racist, odious gang to step foot on their grounds is not only violating the very premises on which they were founded (eg, University of Florida’s mission statement “for economic, cultural and societal benefit”), they are putting their own students at risk of the extreme violence that their followers have carried out.

A state that would call a state of emergency to defend this obnoxious little spectacle only plays into the circus. Intentionality is of less concern in this case than the kind of unprincipled idiocy that it takes to make universities into trojan horses for fascist brutes rather than places of reason and learning. Whoever permits this “speaking tour” charade cosigns the murder of vulnerable people throughout the country.


We Know the Truth: Milo and Breitbart are Platforms for Fascism

By Alexander Reid Ross (October 9, 2017)

A journalist who interviewed me recently asked if the recent revelations regarding Milo and Breitbart angered me. I find it difficult to imagine how I could be further angered by the present situation. Of course it’s maddening, but anyone who spent more than 60 seconds clicking into Breitbart for the past five years has taken a crash course in cold, hard rage. To be honest, I feel more vindicated than anything else.

I’ve been arguing for a while now that the supposed clear division between “Alt Light” and “Alt Right” is more of a porous membrane that provides political credibility to the former while bringing the latter access to power in a “creeping” process. Most anarchists have been arguing this, which is why we’ve seen so many out in the streets protesting the so-called “Alt Light” as hard as the “Alt Right.” Those people have been mercilessly ridiculed and wrung out through the press, as a number of scholars and reporters cultivated direct relationships with the Alt Right.

The BuzzFeed report is stunning but doesn’t show the extent of the phenomenon, just its most intense and obvious iterations. One might say, “we now understand that Bannon declared Breitbart ‘the platform for the alt-right,’ which was only true insofar as Breitbart became a nexus through which members of the alt-right could interface with the radical right and conservative movement on common ground…. [Milo asserted] a pro-alt-right position… Breitbart established not so much ‘the platform’ as a kind of porous populist membrane known as the ‘alt-lite’ through which fascism could creep in and out of mainstream discourse. In a sense, the white nationalist movement had been given a perfect medium.”

That’s actually what I wrote… in my book… last year. We had the facts, folks. We know the truth. What are we going to do about it?