These past few months in North America, we have witnessed the rise of far right gatherings, demonstrations, and street violence. We have also seen the rise of militant anti-fascist organizing to shut that shit down.
With the sudden pace of events, we as anti-fascists have been forced to rapidly expand our connections and infrastructure, reviving long dormant networks and even starting from scratch in many places. We have also had adapt to fighting in a new and chaotic terrain, similar to past struggles but with key differences as well.
We’ve scored some victories, of course: Richard Spencer getting clocked and subsequently memed, Milo getting run out of Seattle and Berkeley, Trumpets in Philly canceling their march and hiding behind their cop buddies while a massive bloc held the streets.
Still, far right street organizing shows no signs of slowing down. As things continue to escalate, we must reflect on what has worked so far, and how we can continue to defeat and humiliate these bootlickers in the future.
The current North American struggle against fascists and the alt-right does not necessarily mirror the fights of decades past or on different continents. For one, our enemies are rarely the obvious Nazis of yesterday. They have re-branded towards respectability, cloaked themselves in dog whistle rhetoric and appeals to “free speech.” They are a bizarre and contradictory amalgam of tendencies and beliefs: white nationalists, “anarcho” capitalists, 4chan basement dwellers, Fox News grandpas, Oathkeeper milita wingnuts, Christian Dominionists, right-libertarians; all united in their hatred of the left and increasing acceptance of militant street tactics.
How then, to best confront this rogues gallery of fascist dipshits, who are often not only armed to the teeth but supported, tacitly or actively, by the police and a large portion of the state? To answer this, we would like to bring up an example of a recent event that was, at best, a somewhat disappointing draw for our side, in order to articulate what a win might look like in the future.
On March 4th, a pro-Trump demonstration was held at a park in downtown Olympia, Washington. A counter-demo was also called for and loosely organized. On the day of the event, a surprisingly large contingent of about 150 Trumpists faced off with about 100 counter-demonstrators, separated by a line of police in riot gear. Perhaps many in lefty Oly didn’t expect so large of a pro-Trump presence to manifest, but this was part of a nationally coordinated wave of demonstrations, and the Trumpists and other assorted detritus had come from all across the state to our rainy, radical bubble.
People chanted and heckled the Trumpist speakers throughout the event, but we didn’t have nearly enough volume to truly drown them out. Someone on our side had claimed on Facebook that they’d be bringing a sound system, but they turned out to be some liberal rando who proceeded to set up a hundred yards from the action, in a police “permitted” zone, and blast fucking U2. Sandwiched thus, between pro-Trump speeches on one side and liberal shit-rock on the other, we began to realize our desperate need for an organized and autonomous noise brigade.
Eventually, the Trump demo wound down, without marching as they’d said they would, a small victory in an otherwise not great day. We marched away as a bloc in order to ensure a safe dispersal. Later, as we gathered to debrief, we discussed what we needed to make future counter-demos more effective. Namely, numbers and noise.
In order to bring more people out, we decided that future events should not be framed merely as a reactive counter-demonstration, but instead as our own event, a festival of resistance at the same time and place as those we must confront. We believe they have the right idea in Berkeley, where next Saturday they plan to counter yet another alt-right demo with a “Defend the Bay Bloc Party and Cookout”.
We must continue to expand our networks of solidarity and our ability to rapidly converge. Bootlickers came from all over the state to Olympia in March. We know that many of them our heading south for their “free speech” alt-reich rally in Berkeley on April 15th. Wherever these fascists converge, we must converge as well. Anti-fascists on the I-5 corridor have a long history of collaboration and support. We must reach out and show up for each other. An injury to one is an injury to all.
Other than the need for numbers, our other insight was the fundamental need for more noise. What might our counter-demo have looked like if we had been able to completely drown out the Trump demonstration? What if we’d had drums, vuvuzelas, pots and pans, all beating along to a portable soundsystem? Certainly we would have felt much more energized and cohesive as a bloc, even with our lesser numbers, and the Trump supporters would have been much more demoralized, their boring hate speeches drowned out by a joyful and rebellious cacophony.
Thus, we are putting out a call for an anti-fascist noise brigade at the upcoming Bloc Party in Berkeley, and at all future demonstrations across North America. We must be both joyful and militant, self organized and operating as a fundamental contingent of the bloc. We draw inspiration from the Infernal Noise Brigade of the WTO era as well as all of those who stand against fascism, however they can. Let the bootlickers cower beyond the cops as they face a barrage of noise, glitter, and paint. The streets belong to us! No Pasaran!