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The Socialist Horizon: Building a New Party

Truth Out - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 04:00

Young radicals have been skeptical of centralized, formal institutions, but after a generation of uprisings that have led nowhere, activists are realizing that the crises of capitalism cannot be solved within the same fragmented and mobile structures that produce them. Now they are building the largest socialist party since World War II.

mix of centralization and decentralization, its democratic ethos within a larger structure, its flexibility and yet its consistency speak to both the needs as well as the disaggregated shape and culture of today's millennial working class.The Democratic Socialists of America is a mix of centralization and decentralization, its democratic ethos within a larger structure, its flexibility and yet its consistency speak to both the needs as well as the disaggregated shape and culture of today's millennial working class. (Photo: Northside Chicago DSA)

As the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) convention wound to its close at the beginning of August, I was struck with the historical strangeness of what I witnessed. Decades after proclamations of the "end of history" and critiques of institutional hierarchies and vertical structures of power, here were nearly 1,000 mostly young activists gathered in a giant lecture hall doing the work of building a radical political party: taking votes, making motions, electing a national leadership, making speeches for and against, observing the strange Anglo-Saxon strictures of Robert's Rules of Order. 

The convention in Chicago has rightly garnered an enormous amount of attention, both for the unprecedented size of the organization, as well as for its increasingly red hue. The surge in membership makes DSA the largest socialist organization in the US since World War II, and its growth in strength and popularity is equally marked by its radical turn to the left: delegates voted to endorse the boycott, sanction and divest (BDS) movement against Israeli violations of human rights; they voted to embrace the creation of an Afro-Socialism Caucus that includes a platform for abolishing prisons and police; and they reaffirmed their distance from the Democratic Party and their role in creating an independent socialist movement. They did all this while strengthening the centralization and structure of the DSA by introducing monthly dues payments for members.

As Chilean activist and writer Marta Harnecker notes, the rise of globalization, neoliberalism and the end of the Cold War has also led to what she refers to as the "social disorientation" of both the working class and the left. The organization of workers into giant Fordist factories in urban centers, the growth of social and cultural institutions, such as massive schools and state colleges, also did the work of organizing the people into shared sites of social production and reproduction.

While on the one hand this modernist reorganization of life produced greater social alienation, it also produced the physical infrastructure for mass-based, centralized social movements. One can think of the rise of early-mid 20th century radical parties such as the Socialist and later Communist Party USA, which exercised wide influence through six-figure membership bases, affiliated labor and civil rights groups, and high-profile political campaigns as a kind of structural analogy to the mass production/mass consumption modernist society Fordism produced. Perhaps the largest mass-based working-class organization, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), was a direct outgrowth of the giant factories that comprised the major sites of its organization.

An increasingly shared mass culture also helped produce new political movements at mid-century. Small ethnic enclaves and segregated neighborhoods could join in a dominant, increasingly plebeian mass culture industry that featured, for the first time, ethnic accents and working-class, urban heroes, such as James Cagney, Duke Ellington and Barbara Stanwyck. During CIO drives, one organizer recounted white and Black members listening to a Joe Louis fight on the radio before going to recruit members for its integrated locals, and Richard Wright famously wrote of the Louis-Baer match as leading to a jubilant, spontaneous uprising among working class African Americans on Chicago's South Side.

Within the mid-century cultural and material matrix of Fordism, the Communist Party, unlike the Democrats or Republicans, built an entire way of life, vertically and horizontally integrated, with softball leagues, newspapers, dances and activity groups like the Friends of the Earth (camping) and the John Reed Clubs (writing) that provided not only for the political needs of its members, but also for their social and even romantic needs.  "You could live an entire life within that world," one former Communist related in Vivian Gornick's oral history of the movement. The Communist Party, like the centralized and Taylorized mass culture of the period, was constituted by a sense of totality and organization that marked both work and leisure. As capitalism's "other," Communism organized much like Fordist corporations it opposed.

Flash forward a half decade, and the landscape of both capitalism and left radically changed. Globalization and neoliberalism have not only widened the gap between the rich and the poor within and between nations, they have dramatically reorganized the economy away from large-scale urban manufacturing to decentralized and increasingly mobile just-in-time production. While this shattered what was left of the large AFL-CIO unions, it also disrupted the material basis for social, even socialist organizing. White flight, suburban sprawl, strip malls, the spread of automobile culture and online micro-communities have not only changed the way social life is organized, they have also disrupted the forms of organization on which the "old left" was built. If the culture of modernism was based on the chance encounter on the city street and collective anonymity of the factory and rail car, suburban sprawl and the post-modern cubicle entered a new form of fragmented alienation, one that is isolated as it is as often subcultural.

Theorists of left-wing social organization, such as Michael Hardt and Toni Negri, as well as journalists, such as Naomi Klein, celebrated these forms of disaggregation heterogeneity. Hardt and Negri described the "multitude" as the shape of the new working class. Decentralized and unorganized, this new class of knowledge and service workers would meet together in loose networks and horizontal associations, giving up neither their autonomy as subjects nor their heterotopian forms of difference. Klein described in The New Left Review the revival of "the commons," both a public and social space held by all, as well as a vision of radical democracy without ideological or political center. Narrating the first uprising against neoliberalism after the end of the Cold War, Klein remarked that the affinity groups and spokescouncils of the "Battle of Seattle" resembled nothing more than the internet, as well as the new forms of capitalist organization in Silicon Valley. Flexible and just-in-time production had met its match with flexible and just-in-time organizing.

We are a class society, riven by fault lines of race, colonial status and gender. Capitalism is no longer hidden from view, and neither is its opposition.

Yet Klein made another comment after the exuberant fin-de-siecle explosion against the World Trade Organization and an increasingly bleak millennium. Speaking in 2001 in front of a roomful of activists at UCLA, she asked if the uprising in Seattle was a "movement" or a "collective hallucination." This question is perhaps more telling than its answer. In the years following Seattle, the left witnessed uprising after uprising, the massive shutdown of the International Monetary Fund in 2001, the half-million protesters in New York City against the invasion of Iraq, the many millions that hit the streets in the immigrant rights movement, the protest camps of the Occupy movement, and most recently, the rebellions against racist state violence in Ferguson and Baltimore. These movements, much like contingent, unstable, rapid flows of financial capital around the globe, surge and then diminish, explode into the streets and then go quiet. Our movements are our collective hallucinations, in a global system that seems to be spinning from crisis to crisis.

So, what does it mean that young people, the children of neoliberalism, seem to be abandoning the horizontalism, disavowal and decentralization of my own generation X? As Jodi Dean suggests in her manifesto, The Communist Horizon, radicals have never taken the claims of horizontal democracy as seriously as they proclaim. All movements, she argues, are vanguard acts; they make claims of representation: "We are the 99%." "The Movement for Black Lives." They claim to represent "the people," however they are defined, against an elite or a class or an institution. Yet the question Dean poses is not so much whether we will commit acts of representation, but rather whether we will build organizations that can contain difference and the multiple gaps, omissions and divisions within capitalism. Shall we have the vanguardism of the subculture, or the organization of the Party?

Young radicals are voting with their feet. After a generation of uprisings that have left us hanging in the air, it is safe to say activists are tired of phantasmagorical movements, of collective hallucinations. The crises of capitalism, from racialized state violence, to the "gig economy," to environmental catastrophe, to rape culture, to privatization of our public schools and our privatized imaginaries cannot be solved within the same affective structures that produce them. Richard Wright wrote after witnessing that spontaneous uprising on Chicago's South Side, "say comrade here's the wild river that's got to be harnessed and directed." When I read that 20 years ago, I winced at what I thought was Wright's incipient Stalinism. Two decades later, it now reads like common sense.

Or perhaps rather, we are returning merely to certain 19th-century verities -- that we are a class society, riven by fault lines of race, colonial status and gender. Capitalism is no longer hidden from view, and neither is its opposition. Which is not to say DSA is a Stalinist or even Communist "cadre" organization. Its mix of centralization and decentralization, its democratic ethos within a larger structure, its flexibility and yet its consistency speak to both the needs as well as the disaggregated shape and culture of today's millennial working class.

A party is more than just a collection of individuals; it is a claim on the future, a vision of another horizon.

As the convention wound down last week, one of the older comrades, someone I know from an earlier socialist formation, slowly led the delegates through the tune and phrases of "The Internationale," before and after the crowd spontaneously erupted into the White-Stripes-turned-political-football-chant, "Oh Jeremy Corbyn" and then "Viva el Day-Ess-Eh" ("DSA, DSA, DSA" it was decided, sounded too much like "USA, USA, USA"). This mixing of political cultures -- of spontaneity and tradition, of a polyglot US with a long tradition of democratic organizing -- marks an epochal shift, away from spokescouncils and affinity groups, and toward the political party. We should not be shy about what a change this is. A party is more than just a collection of individuals; it is a claim on the future, a vision of another horizon. And it is one that we cannot wait another generation to witness.

Categories: News

Trump signs Texas hurricane disaster declaration

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 03:30

Trump signs Texas hurricane disaster declaration | 25 Aug 2017 | President Donald Trump on Friday signed a presidential disaster declaration to make federal funds available to Texas as Hurricane Harvey bears down on the coast. The president issued the declaration in response to a request by Texas Gov.

Categories: News

Jena, Germany: Never Forgive — Never Forget: Solidarity with Charlottesville

It's Goin Down - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 01:47

The post Jena, Germany: Never Forgive — Never Forget: Solidarity with Charlottesville appeared first on It's Going Down.

In consequence of the killing of Heather Heyer during an anti-fascist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12th, 2017, we decided to gather for a solidarity message to all the anti-fascists in the US and other parts of the world. In memory of Ivan Khutorskoy, Clément Méric, Pavlos Fyssas and Heather Heyer, who were all killed by fascists because of their anti-fascist conviction, we clearly state: We will never forget you and never forgive!

At the same time, we surely don’t forget about all the people who are murdered by police, who passed away while crossing borders, who’re shot by military or exploited to death by bosses or corporations. Standing in the town, where the racist murdering squad, self-proclaimed “NSU” came from, that was supported by the German secret service, as shown by many investigations and parliamentarian hearings, we will never rely on the state when it comes to fighting fascists.

Not too far away from here, in Dessau, racist policemen burned Oury Jalloh to death, handcuffed in a prison cell. Since his death on january 7th 2005, the state attorneys and courts have succeeded to protect their own staff from being persecuted and have sabotaged investigations continuously.

We call for self-organization, organized self-defence against fascists and sustainable structures, that will help overtrowing states and any authority!

Anti-fascists from Jena, Germany, August 23rd 2017

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Sebastian Gorka resigns from White House

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 00:54

Sebastian Gorka resigns from White House | 25 Aug 2017 | Sebastian Gorka has resigned from his position as a top counterterrorism adviser to President Donald Trump, a White House official tells CNN.

Categories: News

Trump Signs Sanctions Aimed Squarely at Venezuelan Government

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 00:47

Trump Signs Sanctions Aimed Squarely at Venezuelan Government | 25 Aug 2017 | President Trump is imposing a new round of economic sanctions that are aimed squarely at choking off money to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government but "carefully calibrated" to preserve U.S. oil imports from the South American country, according to the White House.

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Trump pardons ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio - White House

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 00:25

Breaking: Trump pardons ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio - White House | 25 Aug 2017 | U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday granted a pardon to former Arizona lawman and political ally Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America," less than a month after he was convicted of criminal contempt in a case involving his department's racial profiling policy.

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Harvey becomes a category FOUR: Strengthening hurricane now has winds of 130mph

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 00:22

Harvey becomes a category FOUR: Strengthening hurricane now has winds of 130mph as residents in its path are told to write their social security number on their arm before it hits in case they die | 25 Aug 2017 | Hurricane Harvey has now been upgraded to a Category 4, exceeding forecasts of how strong the storm would be when it slams into Texas, as residents in the storm's path are being told to label themselves in case they die.

Categories: News

Hurricane Harvey is now a catastrophic Category 4 storm

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 00:16

Hurricane Harvey is now a catastrophic Category 4 storm | 25 Aug 2017 | Hurricane Harvey became a Category 4 storm Friday afternoon with winds of 130 mph. The latest forecast track has Harvey making landfall near Corpus Christi very early Saturday morning.

Categories: News

North Korea fires 'several projectiles', says South

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 23:59

North Korea fires 'several projectiles', says South | 25 Aug 2017 | North Korea has fired "several projectiles" into sea off its eastern coast, the South Korean military says. The missile was launched from a site in the North Korean province of Gangwon and flew for about 250km (150 miles), officials in the South said. The projectiles were first launched at 06:49 on Saturday (21:49 GMT Friday), South Korea's Defence Ministry said.

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Canada Introduces 'X' as a Third Sex Category for Passport Holders

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 23:42

Canada Introduces 'X' as a Third Sex Category for Passport Holders | 25 Aug 2017 | Starting Thursday, Canadians will have a new way to identify their sex on passports and other government documents: "X" will join the options of male and female.

Categories: News

Trump signs directive banning transgender military recruits

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 23:37

Trump signs directive banning transgender military recruits | 25 Aug 2017 | President Donald Trump on Friday directed the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan that would have allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, following through on his intentions announced a month earlier to ban transgender people from serving.

Categories: News

US navy to relieve 7th Fleet commander of duty after series of collisions

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 23:31

US navy to relieve 7th Fleet commander of duty after series of collisions | 22 Aug 2017 | The US navy is to relieve the commander of the 7th Fleet of duty following a series of collisions in Asia according to multiple reports. Three star admiral Joseph Aucoin will be removed from his role, an official told Reuters.

Categories: News

Hurricane Harvey likely to be 'catastrophic,' 'life-threatening,' forecasters warn

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 23:23

Hurricane Harvey likely to be 'catastrophic,' 'life-threatening,' forecasters warn | 25 Aug 2017 | As "catastrophic" Hurricane Harvey churns toward Texas, bringing with it a "life-threatening storm surge," major cities have devolved into ghost towns while authorities use their last hours before landfall to warn of the chaos to come. A tornado warning was issued for Galveston on Friday.

Categories: News

Soldiers attacked by knife-wielding man in Brussels, incident treated as 'terrorist act'

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 23:21

Soldiers attacked by knife-wielding man in Brussels, incident treated as 'terrorist act' | 25 Aug 2017 | A knife wielding man has been shot dead in the center of the Belgian capital of Brussels after attacking a group of soldiers in what the federal prosecutor are treating as a terrorist attack. The prosecutor's office confrimed that Belgian soldiers shot and killed the man in downtown Brussels after he attacked the troops with a knife.

Categories: News

Buckingham Palace on lockdown as police arrest man after two officers are 'attacked with a sword'

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 21:58

Buckingham Palace on lockdown as police arrest man after two officers are 'attacked with a sword' in front of terrified tourists | 25 Aug 2017 | Buckingham Palace is tonight on lockdown after police arrested a man who allegedly attacked two officers while armed with a sword in front of frightened tourists.

Categories: News

Saudi-led airstrikes kill up to 14 civilians, including children - witnesses

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 21:26

Saudi-led airstrikes kill up to 14 civilians, including children - witnesses | 25 Aug 2017 | Airstrikes, apparently conducted by the Saudi-led coalition [of sociopaths] in Yemen, have killed up to 14 civilians, including six children, witnesses on the ground report. The attack targeted the Faj Attan area on the southern outskirts of Sanaa and also reduced two buildings to rubble, Reuters cites local sources as saying.

Categories: News

New Orleans, LA: March to Honor Fallen Comrades

It's Goin Down - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 20:38

The post New Orleans, LA: March to Honor Fallen Comrades appeared first on It's Going Down.

Marchers took to the streets of the Faubourg Marigny last Friday to remember the lives of two fellow anticapitalists. We marched to honor Heather Heyer, killed fighting white supremacists in Charlottesville, and for the memory of Nathan Hose, a New Orleans J20 defendant who took his own life August 16th.

Heather and Nathan were honest rebels who stood against the regime and its world. We carried their fighting spirit Friday, banging pots and pans, lighting flares, shooting fireworks and ignoring the admonitions of police.

To all those feeling moved by recent events to join the fight: Making revolution means struggling against American empire in all its forms. Nothing will be gained from replacing the current fascists with socialist opportunists, techie scum, or some even newer monster. As long as the roles of the state and capital exist, so will their tasks: colonialism, imperialism, ecocide.

Parts of the American plantation burn already. Soon all of it will be engulfed in flames. We could try to salvage this colossal shit-hole with more statist solutions, but what would be the point? Instead, let’s spend the days ahead working towards an autonomy freed from politics and economy. Let’s create joyous realities that will do justice to the friends we’ve lost along the way. Let’s build ungovernable worlds.

Rest in power Heather and Nathan!

Honor the dead! Fight like hell for the living!

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Categories: News

The Liberal Myth of Free Speech

It's Goin Down - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 20:07

The post The Liberal Myth of Free Speech appeared first on It's Going Down.

Being unabashedly opposed to fascism has become, strangely, a position that requires increasing amounts of justification in modern America. Mainstream voices have used the growth of unapologetic hate movements with codified genocidal platforms to lump groups like antifa and Black Lives Matter in with an ideology whose explicit aims entail mass murder. To assert that the ‘moral weight’ of either side in such clashes is a question of the tactics they employ is to say that White Nationalism is merely another morally subjective political ideology to be given a platform in the marketplace of ideas. Fascism, with all of the violence it necessitates, has emerged from the darkness of intolerable evil into the realm of legitimate discourse. In opposing swift and decisive actions against a growing fascist wing in America, liberals and centrists have granted Nazis and other fascist groups legitimacy as a political movement.

Liberal arguments for fascist sympathy blend together seamlessly with those of the far right. The suggestion that fascists should not be allowed a platform is always met with the same indignant rebuttal.

“But don’t you believe in free speech?”

Such a question always forces me to assess whether standing by my own beliefs is more important than continuing to be heard in a conversation. Of all of the values pounded into our heads by liberal hegemony, the notion of ‘free speech’ simultaneously inspires unprecedented levels of impassioned defense and cognitive dissonance on the part of its supporters.

My disconnect from those who believe in free speech largely stems from the word “believe.” Most of those ravenously asserting a personal belief in free speech feel as though they adhere to free speech as a value. They assert a belief in free speech just as they would their belief in a candidate, a country, or a friend in need of a pep talk.

Before addressing questions of belief in terms of convictions I find it imperative to address the question of belief in a more objective sense. Belief, or disbelief, can be used to denote whether or not I think something exists at all. When someone asks if you believe in chemtrails, the ‘deep state’, or unicorns, these questions are not meant to ascertain where your allegiances lie, but rather, your basis in facts, evidence, and reality.

When you ask if I ‘believe’ in free speech, I view the question with the same regard that you would if I inquired as to your belief in unicorns. You do not stop and consider the question of whether unicorns would hypothetically be a force for good in the world. You don’t ponder the potential morality of a world in which unicorns exist. You would scoff, and say no, because in all of your life experiences, you have encountered no evidence to support their existence.

My own personal feelings about a society in which free, open, unobstructed discourse exists are irrelevant. I do not believe in free speech in that I find it ridiculous to think we currently live or for that matter ever have lived in such a society. Free speech as it pertains to the US should be viewed in the same light as any other national myth which abstractly conveys a hypothetical value system. Nice enough on paper, utterly non-existent in practice.

Yes, I do, as an American, have the ‘right’ to spew vile hatred for any demographic I so choose. After all, those who believe in the lie of free speech will religiously maintain that the most vile of speech is the most in need of protection. Any society which disallows the open advocation of genocide is on the slippery slope to fascism, so they say.

It is true that short of sending out actual death threats, there is very little which I can say as an individual that would put me at risk of being harmed or jailed by the state. In this sense I have the full freedom to speak as I so choose, with the caveat that I will no doubt find myself on a watchlist or two. For most liberals, this is enough proof that the state allows for all forms of expression. I will concede that in this regard, the vast majority of us are allowed the right to say whatever we please.

But the free speech fantasy crumbles time and time again once said speech becomes a credible threat to state power. Although impassioned and subversive, the rhetoric of Martin Luther King alone would not have been enough for the FBI to attempt blackmailing King into killing himself. Many a speaker before and after MLK have spouted much more incendiary rhetoric, but they did so before smaller crowds. The state fought MLK because he was influential. Though King advocated for nonviolence, his rhetoric against racism, war, and poverty undermined the neoliberal capitalist state’s legitimacy and posed a credible threat to its continued existence. The Black Panther Party, anti-war activists, and the Communist Party faced similar attacks in the era of COINTELPRO.

The state and its apologists point adamantly toward every madman going blue in the face, screaming about revolution on a street corner, as testament to the freedom allowed in our society. The state will always nobly tout the madman’s first amendment rights as inviolable right up to the when the madman strikes a chord and people start listening. Then the state will destroy him and whatever movement he helps to build. Infiltration, sabotage, blackmail, arrest, demonization through the media; all of these tools are still employed by the state against rhetorically subversive movements.

It should come as no surprise that the current administration is flirting with fascist rhetoric and tendencies. Donald Trump slashed funding for government commissions against right wing terror as one of his first actions in office. Still, all bureaucracies have internal tensions. Fascism will inevitably come when the majority of neoliberal elites can no longer rationalize the hegemony of such a violent, unscientific, illogical system as capitalism via democratic means. Trump and his cabinet of sycophants face so much backlash from within their own government because the majority of the state’s servants still cling to the notion that capitalist hegemony can be fixed or sustained. While the presence of a handful of fascist apologists and sympathizers within the ranks of the government is a disturbing sign of things to come when capitalism inevitably decays, it is not enough in and of itself to declare that we live under a fascist state which serves explicitly fascist interests. The state in its current form still exists to serve the interests of neoliberal capitalism, in spite of its utter and apparent failure.

The state combats and opposes overt White supremacy only because it undermines and brings to light its own system of covert White supremacy, one in which neoliberal capitalism is given false legitimacy through psuedo-democracy. They find it disastrous for the state’s agenda to have groups openly calling minorities subhuman only because it calls into question the guise of equality and legitimacy worn by our capitalist, White supremacist system. Neoliberal politicians will go blue in the face reminding their constituents that markets are blind, and I must say that I am inclined to agree. Markets are indeed so conveniently blind to the centuries of oppression which undermine any real chance for disadvantaged groups to gain ground in a fake meritocracy, enforced by a state which violently suppresses dissent.

There is no free speech in practice for those who live hand to mouth. There is no free speech in practice for those whose educational systems are funded by paltry tithes from their own already destitute communities. There is no free speech when police have been given free reign to publicly execute minorities on the grounds that they are perceived as dangerous. Smoking a joint, playing with a toy gun, selling loose cigarettes, and owning a legal firearm have been upheld by our so-called justice system as grounds for murder. Police now operate with the understanding that merely perceiving a minority as dangerous will allow them to play the role of judge, jury, and executioner with impunity. The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that the same system which views ‘smelling marijuana’ as grounds to view a black or brown person as a credible threat would no doubt give the same pass for inflammatory ‘anti-police’ rhetoric. The precedent has been set that the rights of people of color end where the feelings of police begin.

Similarly it is no wonder that freedom of expression is given on paper so liberally to those denied the means to effectively express themselves. Heinously underfunded schools provide poor, disproportionately nonwhite children a quantifiably subpar education. This two fold attack on freedom of expression not only creates an uphill battle for those who are denied the rhetorical tools to most effectively articulate themselves; it also creates a rigid underclass with little options beyond wage slavery. Being forced into perpetual impoverishment denies the poor the luxury of abstract intellectual and ideological pursuits. In theory these impoverished individuals have the right to self advocate and peacefully demonstrate against the system, but most choose to prioritize not starving. All of these factors allow for the state to grant unprecedented levels of freedom on paper while effectively stifling free speech and expression. The gaping chasm between the supposed ideals of the state and the reality of their system’s consequences can only be reconciled by understanding that free speech in a capitalist society is a privilege reserved for the few. As it applies to the rest of us, it serves as a tool to insinuate that those who oppose the state are opposed to a free society. Those unheard masses are ridiculed for not using the plethora of rights they’ve been granted, in name and in name alone, in order to further themselves and their movements via legal and peaceful means. The state crafted the rules such that it can’t lose, and those who refuse to play a rigged game are locked in cages for it.

The neoliberal capitalist state cares little for principles, and as such it will not hesitate to break its own rules when threatened. Any credible threat to the state will find itself infiltrated and demonized. Its leaders will be vilified, blackmailed, and even killed. Since COINTELPRO, the state has only expanded the arsenal of tools it employs against genuine workers’ movements on the behalf of capital. Having access to the phone calls, emails, and texts of every American citizen makes it possible for the state to merely rifle through our communications for anything that could be used to incriminate, embarrass, or blackmail potential subversives. The existence of these databases would have remained a secret forever if not for Edward Snowden, and it was only when this information was dragged forcibly into the light that the state began insisting that all of our data was used for strictly ‘legal’ means. The notion that the NSA and those state agents that use NSA surveillance data do so with a respect to our privacy is a lie on its face. The tactics and methodology of the state have consistently shown disregard for our supposed rights at best, and contempt at worst.

Free speech is not under attack in America because free speech has never existed in America. To disbelieve in free speech is not to declare war on self expression; it is an acknowledgement of reality. Neoliberal capitalism backed by a police state will always be antithetical to free speech in practice; a system so easily discredited by honest scrutiny can only continue to exist through the threat of force. To say communities have no right to fight back against fascists who seek to rot said communities to their core only serves to force dependence upon the state, which asserts that no violence is morally justified, save for its own.

The fact that fascists feel emboldened enough to directly threaten and at times outright attack people of color, LGBTQ people, and all who dare to oppose them is nothing but a failure on the part of all of us who could have been doing more to protect our own. The present situation would not be so dire had this new, fascist resurgence been stamped out in its earliest stages, before it had the chance to grow and take root.

It is implicitly built into the fascist platform that might makes right. The fascists that liberals protect will take power by any means necessary, and enact their genocidal platform in any capacity which they are able. The National Socialists in Germany did not wait for a mandate from the people; when they took power by force it was with a mere 30% support, and there is no doubt that America’s own growing demographic of racist thugs would kill and maim even more people on the path to even a fraction of such a figure. To assert that Fascists could never have the numbers to gain power through electoral means is to miss the point entirely. Fascists will never seek democratic legitimacy, because legitimacy is not needed to further a fascist platform and cause real destruction in the immediate. The spreading of fascist thought in and of itself will lead to more hate crimes, more dog whistle politics, and more fear within minority communities regardless of some perceived ceiling on its appeal.

Defending the free speech of fascists is an action which prioritizes the mythology of a state with no regard for such rights in practice over the very real and tangible suffering of those whom fascists seek to destroy. Fascists who kill are violent, as are fascists who celebrate violence committed by their kind, as is a fascist holding a sign minding their own business. Those who quietly advocate ethnic cleansing are admitting outright that the only thing preventing their direct involvement and endorsement of mass murder in the present moment is an insufficient power base. Every single fascist will become a violent fascist when given the numbers and strength to act with impunity. Liberals who ‘play by the rules’ are directly complicit in allowing these devastating consequences to come to fruition. Obsessing over the legality of your own activism is setting yourself up for defeat when facing opponents with no regard for such constructs. We will only win this fight if we are willing to take a page from the playbook of our enemies. Fascists and the state alike are never shy about doing what is necessary to propagate themselves. They will ignore the rule of law, the value of human life, and the cognitive dissonance of their own actions at the drop of a hat so long as doing so allows for their continued existence.

I would argue that our fight is much more important. We are not fighting for the continued existence of a self-serving power structure, but rather for the continued existence of our friends and neighbors. Their lives, and our lives, are at stake, as is the dream of a world in which all people can feel accepted.

A polite, peaceful fascist is a snake waiting to bite the hand that coddles it. Any liberals who champion the rights of Nazis should enjoy the high of perceived moral superiority while it lasts. When it’s you that the snake bites, you’ll probably just be left wishing you crushed its head when you had the chance.

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Gresham, OR: Solidarity March with Charlottesville Harassed by Proud Boys

It's Goin Down - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 19:56

The post Gresham, OR: Solidarity March with Charlottesville Harassed by Proud Boys appeared first on It's Going Down.

We stand in solidarity today with Charlottesville, VA from Gresham, OR! After we heard about the events that took place in Charlottesville two weeks ago we wanted to show our support for the victims and Heather Heyer. What made us organize this solidarity event also had to do with small similarities that crossed paths, because our community had been affected by a terrible incident last year.

We wanted to send a message to any fascists living in our community to get out and say they’re not welcome here. Last year on this same month outside a 7-Eleven store an African-American youth by the name of Larnell Bruce was confronted by a white supremacist couple from the European Kindred prison-gang outside the store parking lot. That white supremacist’s name is Russell Courtier who confronted Larnell Bruce and his girlfriend Colleen Hunt who was also involved with encouraging Courtier to attack Larnell Bruce.

The 19-year old Larnell Bruce pulled out a knife in self-defense after he got his head smashed into the window of the 7-Eleven store at Burnside Road and 188th Ave. Courtier and Hunt both fled to get into their 1991 Jeep Wrangler after the knife was pulled. After the two were retreating to their vehicle Larnell Bruce took the opportunity to start running back towards his home.

He was zigzagging in different directions in hopes to avoid being run down as Courtier was in pursuit of Bruce in their Jeep. Eventually he was mowed down quickly by the white supremacist. It was a hit and run tactic leaving Bruce in critical condition with serious injuries. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance and 3 days later after that horrific incident and attack on our community Larnell Bruce died. Heather Heyer and Larnell Bruce were both mowed down by white supremacists and died as the result of such an fatal and fucked up incident. Earlier today we held a rally and march in solidarity with Heather Heyer, the 19 Anti-racists who were injured, and Larnell Bruce. Members of Powell Valley Green Collective and Rose City Redneck Revolt took a photo-op together before we decided to march. Our first destination was to hit the 7-Eleven across from Plaza Del Sol one block over from us.

We rallied at Plaza Del Sol first which is right on 187th Ave and Stark St and the 7-Eleven store Larnell Bruce was murdered is at Burnside Road and 188th Ave. We marched our way to the convenient store to give a speech about Larnell Bruce. Our guest speaker was Gregory McKelvey from Portlands Resistance he gave a speech about the life of Larnell Bruce and the incident that occurred. We mourned his death while never forgetting about Larnell Bruce. We mourned for Heather Heyer who died when a Dodge charger mowed down a few dozen counter-protesters opposing the Alt-Right Rally “Unite The Right” in Charlottesville, VA two weeks ago.  After we finished with the speech we resumed marching around the old Rockwood area which is now Gresham incorporated. We marched along Burnside on the sidewalk up until 190th Ave then we crossed the street safely to march going down Stark towards 181st Ave.

While we were marching some folks in the small group of 12 people; we noticed a few vehicles constantly circling us. It was obvious intimidation while we were holding up a banner that said: “Fascists Out of Gresham, Solidarity With Cville.” The vehicles who were stalking/circling us was a white Dodge Charger with a cat graphic, white full-sized Ford truck, white wide tire Harley motorcycle, silver Nissan pickup truck, and a silver Lincoln. We were noticing some quite suspicious characters as we marched around in a full loop. We also had a lot of support from the Gresham community! Many were honking in support, giving thumbs up, waving, some cheering loudly, and had a few folks come up to talk to us. By the time we got to 181st and Burnside crossing the street in the crosswalk that’s when this same Silver Nissan pickup rolled down his window shouting loudly before making his right-turn: “Fuck Y’all!! Woooo Proud Boys!!” I also believe he shouted something about Based Stickman but I couldn’t make out anything else. The driver was an obvious Proud Boy which is considered a White Nationalist group. Our presence definitely made the Gresham PD and the fash that were circling us very uncomfortable. The Gresham Police were patrolling our group the entire time including several unmarked cars and one which was by Multnomah County Sheriff.

After that yelling incident we were marching back down Burnside again back to Plaza Del Sol getting more support from drivers as we walked by. When we finally arrived to our destination we concluded the march and used chalk to write messages on the sidewalk and inside the plaza for about 20 minutes. After that we departed without incident or problems. We were glad nobody got fucked with or confronted by any fascists today. But it was definitely a very successful event to show Charlottesville some love and solidarity from Gresham, OR. We had only about 12 people show and even though it wasn’t much we did what needed to be done. We accomplished our message even with small numbers and it was amazing!

We want to give a special shout out to Rose City Redneck Revolt for coordinating efforts with Powell Valley Green Collective making sure that everybody was unharmed and safe. They were very stoked to march along side us and appreciated the invitation.  We were appreciative for Rose City Redneck Revolt to participate in our Charlottesville solidarity event. We were thanked and in return thanking Rose City Redneck Revolt for coming out!

Rest in Power Heather Heyer and Larnell Bruce you’ll never be forgotten..
-PVGC

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German Government Shuts Down Indymedia: What It Means

It's Goin Down - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 19:19

The post German Government Shuts Down Indymedia: What It Means appeared first on It's Going Down.

The German government has shut down the German Indymedia site, the most widely used German-language platform for radical politics and organizing. They have also conducted raids in Freiburg to seize computers and harass those they accuse of maintaining the site, absurdly justifying this on the grounds that the alleged administrators constitute an illegal organization for the sake of destroying the German Constitution. This represents a massive escalation in state repression against what the authorities call “left-wing extremism,” disingenuously suggesting an equivalence between those who seek to build communities beyond the reach of state violence and Neo-Nazis organizing to carry out attacks and murders like the ones in Charlottesville last week.

Indymedia was founded in Germany in 2001 as de.indymedia.org; a second version appeared in 2008 as linksunten.indymedia.org. The latter was founded to focus on radical politics in southern Germany, but it soon became the most widely used webpage for German-speaking activists. As the original German Indymedia page became technically outdated and swamped by trolling, more and more people switched to linksunten.indymedia.org. In 2013, de.indymedia.org was almost shut down because there weren’t enough people involved.

In the last couple of years, more and more attention has accumulated around linksunten, which offers a space for people to post anonymously. For example, in 2011, a communiqué appearedon the platform claiming responsibility for politically motivated sabotage on the subway infrastructure in Berlin. The site was also used to release information about fascists and Neo-Nazis. In 2016, an article on linksunten presented the complete data of every participant at the convention of the far-right nationalist party Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, or AfD), a total of 3000 names. This further attracted hostile attention from far-right advocates of state repression.

Before the 2017 G20 summit took place in Hamburg, the corporate media was already focusing on linksunten, declaring it to be the coordination page of militant anti-G20 protestors. The AfD started a campaign against the platform, pushing inquiries about Indymedia in Federal parliament and trying to force local governments to ban the platform and other forms of radical infrastructure.

All this built up to the current situation in which the Minister of Internal Affairs Thomas de Maizière banned the site on August 25, immediately before the election. The state raided three places, including a social center, in Freiburg, making the whole city into a police state for this day. During the raids, they allegedly found some slingshots and sticks, which they are now using as further justification for their propaganda about terrorism.

In fact, Thomas de Maizière is carrying out the agenda of the German far right and fascists, as well as the repressive goals of AfD.

Of course, those who maintain the website have not themselves written anything that could offer legal grounds for this attack. Even corporate media platforms offer space for people to speak anonymously—for example, when members of the State Department speak to the press on the condition of anonymity. The excuse that the state is using to justify this attack is to declare that those who maintain linksunten comprise an official organization aimed at destroying the German Constitution. This is a legal trick. If it succeeds, it could easily be used against other platforms, magazines, and projects, so that everyone spreading radical literature and ideas and documenting activism and social movements will become targets for this kind of repression and state violence. That is the message they want to send, in order to bully the entire population into accepting that the current political order in Germany will persist until the end of time.

This heavy-handed approach shows how afraid the authorities are that radical ideas are spreading and becoming contagious following the successful demonstrations against the G20 summit in July. Thomas de Maizière made it clear enough in his press conference that this assault on Indymedia is a form of revenge for the embarrassment the state suffered during the summit. This also shows how dishonest far-right and statist rhetoric is about free speech—in fact, these hypocrites only use that discourse to position themselves to suppress others’ speech. The solution to fascist organizing is not to empower the state to control speech, but to mobilize the general population both against fascists and against the state infrastructure that the far right intends to take over.

In Germany and all around the world, we need radical theory and practice; we need spaces where people can communicate anonymously, so as not to be intimidated by the twin threats of state repression and grassroots fascist violence. In order to understand social movements and struggles, so our sense of history is not swept away in a torrent of ephemera, we need databases that preserve accounts and communiqués. As an author once put it, the struggle of humanity against authoritarian power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. To fight back against this authoritarian crackdown, it is now more important than ever to spread revolutionary material and ideas everywhere and to brainstorm alternative ways to communicate with each other and the general public in times of intensifying state censorship and control.

If they come for us tonight, you can be sure they will come for you in the morning.

The attack on Indymedia is part of a much larger offensive against radical infrastructures. In Hamburg, over 30 people have been in prison since the G20 in July—go here to support them. As for Indymedia, there will soon be support pages for it as well. We will post them here when they appear.

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