The Anti-Capitalist Politics Of Antifa

By Jeanne Menjoulet | CC BY 2.0

By Stephanie Basile for Counter Punch – As antifa has burst into the mainstream in recent weeks, suddenly the efficacy of confronting Nazis in the streets is being debated on the national stage. Antifa is not one particular group, but a term used to describe anti-fascists committed to stamping out fascism before it can rise to power. The debate around antifa tends to stay narrowly focused on the use of physical self-defense in public spaces. What’s received less attention is the anti-capitalist politics of antifa, and how some anti-fascists and are putting these politics into practice through workplace organizing. When workers at the New York City feminist sex toy shop Babeland participated in a workplace action this past spring, it was the first time that every single NYC Babeland worker unanimously agreed on something: the company needed more diversity in its hiring practices. The Babeland workers, who in 2016 unionized with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), had negotiated language into their contract requiring their employer to seek diverse candidates when filling positions. When it became clear the company was violating this, the workers at Babeland all signed onto a letter called on the company to hire more workers of color and more trans workers.

‘People’s Congress Of Resistance’ Draws Grassroots Activists

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By Sarah Jaffe for Truthout – We’ve both been partnering, along with a number of other co-conveners, for the past almost six months now. It was obvious, certainly at the moment that Donald Trump was elected, that a massive grassroots movement had come into being, resisting against Trump’s odious and reactionary and racist and misogynist policies. … People were in the streets instantly, they were in the airports, they were reacting en masse to Trump’s plans to “take this country back” many, many decades. The demonstrations were such in terms of magnitude that perhaps as many as one out of every three people [in Washington] had participated in a protest. But we saw that this protest movement was also … being co-opted by Democratic Party elites who saw in the movement a vessel for their own electoral goals in 2018 and 2020. They almost instantly turned the “resistance” against Trump, which was progressive and grassroots and made up of front line fighters, into something that was more or less reactionary by focusing on Russia — the narrative that the reason Trump won (he of course being the most unpopular candidate in US history) and the reason that Hillary Clinton lost was because of the collusion of foreign powers.

Liberalism, Ultraleftism Or Mass Action

Popular Resistance, Revolution, Rebellion, Capitalism

By Peter Camejo for The Militant – The purpose of this meeting is to have a discussion about the present political conjuncture in this country following the May events, how we have to relate to what is happening, and what we have to do to build the antiwar movement and the revolutionary movement. The main questions I want to deal with are some of the arguments being raised within the radical movement against the orientation projected by the Socialist Workers Party and the Young Socialist Alliance. I want to try to deal with these arguments in a theoretical way. That is, deal with what is basically behind the differences that now exist in the radical movement and what they represent in terms of the problems before the left in the United States. I want to start by talking about Cambodia. If you read the newspapers of the last few days you will notice that there’s a very interesting thing happening in Cambodia. The papers say that the guerrillas are winning ground. Now, you have to be very careful whenever the American papers say that the communists are winning, because sometimes that is done simply to justify sending more troops or more arms. But when the papers start saying it every day, over and over again, and then they start telling you what areas the communists have conquered, after a while you begin to suspect that it’s true.

In Europe, Hate Speech Laws Are Often Used To Suppress And Punish Left-Wing Viewpoints

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By Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept – TERRORIST ATTACKS, and the emotions they spawn, almost always prompt calls for fundamental legal rights to be curtailed in the name of preventing future attacks. The formula by now is routine: The victims of the horrific violence are held up as proof that there must be restrictions on advocating whatever ideology motivated the killer to act. In 2006, after a series of attacks carried out by Muslims, Republican Newt Gingrich called for “a serious debate about the First Amendment” so that “those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are, in fact, subject to a totally different set of rules.” Of Islamic radicals, the former U.S. speaker of the House argued that they do not believe in the Constitution or free speech, and the U.S. should thus “use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people.” In an essay defending his remarks, Gingrich argued that “free speech should not be an acceptable cover for people who are planning to kill other people who have inalienable rights of their own,” adding that “the fact is not all speech is permitted under the Constitution.”

Interior Ministry Shuts Down, Raids Left-Wing German Indymedia Site

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By Staff of Deutsche Welle – Germany’s Interior Ministry on Friday banned and ordered raids on a portal popular with leftist readers and activists. Possibly the last posts from linksunten.indymedia.org – commemorations of a 1992 far-right mob attack on apartments where foreigners lived in Rostock-Lichtenberg and reports of racist graffiti on a memorial to a young woman killed by neo-Nazis in the United States – went live the previous night. The site was closed for “sowing hate against different opinions and representatives of the country,” said Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, adding that the operation of the site was now “a criminal offence.” He said authorities were treating linksunten.indymedia.org as an “association” rather than a news outlet, which would help officials get around constitutional protections on freedom of expression. De Maizière said at least two people constituted an association – the site has up to seven administrators – and the ban would not affect the international award-winning Indymedia network. “We are currently searching multiple facilities,” said Baden-Württemberg state Interior Minister Thomas Strobl, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, which is also de Maizière’s party.

Dilemmas Of The Radical Left In A Dying Capitalist System

Protesters march at the G20 Summit in London, 2009.

By Immanuel Wallerstein for Toward Freedom – In what I call the pan-European world (North America; western, northern, and southern Europe; and Australasia), the basic electoral choice for the last century or so has been between two centrist parties, center-right versus center-left. There have been other parties further left and further right but they were essentially marginal. In the last decade however, these so-called extreme parties have been gaining in strength. Both the radical left and the radical right have emerged as a strong force in a large number of countries. They have needed either to replace the centrist party or to take it over. The first spectacular achievement of the radical left was the ability of the Greek radical left, Syriza, to replace the center-left party, Pasok, which actually disappeared entirely. Syriza came to power in Greece. Commentators talk these days of “pasoksation” to describe this. Syriza came to power but was incapable of carrying out its promised program. For many, Syriza was therefore a great disappointment. The most unhappy faction argued that the error had been to seek electoral power. They said that power had to be achieved in the streets and then it would be meaningful.

Why Can’t The Left Get Venezuela Right?

From links.org.au

By Shamus Cooke for LINKS – July 14, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis — As Venezuela’s fascist-minded oligarchy conspires with U.S. imperialism to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro, few in the U.S. seem to care. Instead of denouncing rightwing violence that aims at regime change, many on the U.S. left have stayed silent, or opted to give an evenhanded analysis that supports neither the Maduro government nor the oligarchy trying to violently overthrow it. Rather, the left prioritizes its energy on lecturing on Maduro’s “authoritarianism” and the failures of “Chavismo.” This approach allows leftists a cool emotional detachment to the fate of the poor in Venezuela, and clean hands that would otherwise be soiled by engaging with the messy, real life class struggle that is the Venezuelan revolution. A “pox on both houses” analysis omits the U.S. government’s role in collaborating with Venezuela’s oligarchs. The decades-long crimes of imperialism against Venezuela is aided and abetted by the silence of the left, or by its murky analysis that minimizes the perpetrator’s actions, focusing negative attention on the victim precisely at the moment of attack.

The Last Liberal

Popular Resistance, Revolution, Rebellion, Capitalism

By Zoltan Zigedy for ZZ’s Blog – The year 1989 marked the death of the independent journalist, Isidor Feinstein (I.F.) Stone, the last twentieth century US liberal. Liberalism in the last century combined the liberties of the original Bill of Rights with Roosevelt’s proposed Second Bill of Rights. By mid-century, US liberalism reached its greatest heights, supplementing the historic bourgeois rights that dismantled feudalism and enshrined the right to property with the promise of an entirely new set of economic rights– rights to employment, housing, medical care, social security, education, among others. The economic rights sought to codify the social democratic gains made in the New Deal era. By the time of I.F. Stone’s death in 1989, liberalism had nearly shed all of its commitment to the Rooseveltian social justice rights. The bearer of the liberal legacy, the Democratic Party, swiftly retreated from New Deal values in the face of the Reagan attack on social welfare programs. Consequently, the Democratic Party of Bill Clinton, the “third way,” market-obsessed Democrats, eschewed the term “liberal” and appropriated the once-meaningful term “progressive” in its place. Stone would have been appalled.

G20 Violence Prompts Calls For New Curbs On Anti-Capitalist Militants

Residents in the Schanzenviertel district of Hamburg pass by a pile of burned debris following looting and rioting by G20 protesters. Photograph: Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

By Kate Connolly for The Guardian – Allies of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, have called for new curbs on leftwing extremists, including a Europe-wide register, after her decision to hold the G20 world leaders’ summit in Hamburg ended in violent clashes and injuries to nearly 500 police officers. The cost of the damage has not yet been established but is expected to run into millions of euros. Merkel, who faces a parliamentary election on 24 September, has said that Hamburg residents who suffered damage will be properly compensated. Olaf Scholz, the mayor of Hamburg, meanwhile faced calls for his resignation over accusations he had mismanaged the summit. Hundreds of anti-capitalist militants descended on the city torching cars, looting shops and throwing molotov cocktails. The violence dominated German media coverage of the event, which also featured the first meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. The German justice minister, Heiko Maas, of Merkel’s SPD coalition partners, said the federal government would put more money into preventing leftwing extremism as he pledged that no German city would ever have to host a world leaders’ summit again. He told the tabloid Bild that the G20 had shown the reality of experts’ assessments that “Germany has reached a historic high point in terms of politically-motivated violence”.

Reading “Politics In A Time Of Crisis” – A View From The Left

Popular Resistance, Revolution, Rebellion, Capitalism

By Duane Campbell for DSA – Spanish political leader Pablo Iglesias Turrión has written Politics in a Time of Crisis: Podemos and the Future of European Democracy, published in an English translation by Verso Books. Iglesias provides a critical summary of the crisis that began in the U.S. and spread to much of the world, causing political upheavals and leaving misery, starvation, and massive migration in its wake. As we know, the economic crisis of 2008-2012 disrupted the U.S. economy. The crisis was much worse in some of the peripheral countries of Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Italy among others), and even more destructive in under-developed regions of African and Asia. We can learn much from reading Iglesias about this crisis in Spain and other countries and economies, including how the crisis led several social democratic political parties in Spain, Greece, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe to collaborate with right-wing movements to impose austerity on the people. This collaboration led to the collapse of many social democratic political parties, the rise of authoritarian right-wing parties, and now the rise of a new left. A similar process led to the collapse of social democratic parties in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

S Korean Activists Discuss Left Priorities In The Moon Jae-in Era, Part 3

KCTU

By Staff of Zoom In Korea – In response to his election, KCTU said in its statement, “While we will support the administration when it moves in the right direction, we will not hesitate to criticize it and make it the target of our struggle should it fail to do so.” Moon promised that he would build a country where the dignity and rights of workers are respected. It is our assessment that while his labor policy is focused on creating new jobs in the public sector, it is weak in the area of promoting fundamental labor rights. The key question is how much will Moon be able to control the chaebols, which dominate the country’s economy, and change the existing laws and labor relation practices to ensure the guarantee of fundamental rights for all workers. The Korean economy is deeply enmeshed in the global recession and relies too heavily on the chaebols. Many of the economic problems the country faces—from low growth to inequality and youth unemployment—can be solved under a system where the working class plays a leading role. In this sense, strengthen unity and solidarity among workers is more important than ever.

What The Resistance To Trump Can Learn From Latin America

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By Jeff Abbott for Waging Nonviolence – It is hard to deny the authoritarian tendencies that Donald Trump has shown in his first 100 days as president of the United States. These tendencies have drawn comparisons to the classic image of a Latin American dictator, and more specifically the caudillo — or strongman leader — by commentators from across Latin American. From his taste in decor and his adversarial relationship with the media, to his fundamental assault on human rights, the similarities are hard to contest. Our neighbors to the south have a long history of resisting authoritarian and fascist regimes, which often were supported by the U.S. governments. They were able to survive under difficult situations and — thanks to social movements — move the region in a more progressive direction. After decades of struggle, here are four lessons that movements in Latin America can teach those in the United States organizing against their own authoritarian leader. 1. Defend public services. Today, as Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos move to further dismantle the public education system and impose a neoliberal model of education…

Interview With Max Blumenthal: The Left’s Failure To Confront Root Of Syrian Conflict

A pro-Syrian regime protester waves a Syrian flag as he stands in front of portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad, during a protest against sanctions in Damascus, Syria on Dec. 2, 2011. Muzaffar Salman/AP

By Kevin Gosztola for Shadow Proof – Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola welcomed Max Blumenthal, journalist, senior editor of AlterNet’s Grayzone Project, and author of The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. Blumenthal has appeared on the show before, but this time he was our guest because multiple listeners requested an episode featuring him. His interview is more than one hour. During the show, Blumenthal addresses the root causes of the Syrian conflict as well as the failure of the left, particularly in the United States, to oppose U.S. military intervention and confront what is destroying a country. “You might not be a leftist if you defend Wahhabism while constantly attacking the left,” Blumenthal states. “You might not be a leftist if you are an apologist for any of these rebel groups or if you are edging toward calling for the replacement of a post-colonial state with a Sunni Islamist theocracy that requires NATO or U.S. military intervention. There’s just nothing leftist about that, and none of this is possible without U.S. intervention.” He confronts the position of much of the International Socialist Organization and journalist Anand Gopal’s recent comments on “Democracy Now!” arguing Syrian President Bashar al Assad created ISIS.

Radical Art, Sweet Potatoes & Mainstream Parades

Art Killing Apathy/ Eleanor Goldfield

By Eleanor Goldfied for Occupy – The People’s Climate March was this past weekend and roughly 200,000 people descended on Washington, DC to walk along Pennsylvania Ave, past the White House and up to the Washington Monument where speakers and musicians worked the crowd in a festival like setting. And while the energy brought in particular by indigenous and frontline communities was powerful, the march felt very much like a parade and as Dissentralized Organizer Jimmy Betts put it exemplified the “messterpiece of NGO-dom.” While the Climate March garnered most if not all the media attention, the day before, activists picketed and protested outside of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – calling for an end to the blanket rubber stamping of dirty energy projects including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Even further outside the media gaze was the Uptown Art House, a flat structure community art space where indigenous, borderlands undocumented, black, white and everyone beyond and in between gathered together to create art and share ideas and inspiration. This compilation serves as a platform for the people involved in the building of movements, in fighting the frontline battles and in walking the walk.

Purity Over Principle: The Left’s State Of Purgatory

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By Danny Haiphong for Black Agenda Report – The first 100 days of Donald Trump’s Presidency has revealed much about the state of political thought and action in the United States. Mainly, Trump’s ascendancy thus far has been a hard lesson on the still ambiguous and disorganized condition of the left. But what, or who, is the Left? This broad but critical question still warrants an answer. However, the question cannot be answered unless the left’s state of purgatory in the US is fully understood. Purgatory is often referenced in Christianity as the space between the divine light of heaven and the profound darkness of hell. Purgatory has another definition rooted in mental anguish. For the left, purgatory can be better described as ideological anguish. Little clarity exists among left organizations and groups on the most pertinent questions of the historical moment, leaving the left in an ineffectual “no man’s land.” One consequence of the left’s purgatory has been the complete entrapment of politics inside of a US-Eurocentric quest for purity at the expense of political principles. The Trump Administration verified the left’s entrapment with its recent war maneuvers against Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).