Anti-Fascism and Protest Culture

Anti-Fascism and Protest Culture

By Paul Dutton (tamus4ss)

I’ve been quite involved with radical politics for about 4+ years now, fighting for the causes I love – namely against racism, authoritarianism, and collectivism. After I had gathered enough confidence in my own convictions regarding the importance of radical and un-terrified liberalism, I began to heavily involve myself in local organization around those causes. Eventually, much of this activism would culminate in one grand event, the December 6th protests at Texas A&M University of “suit and tie neo-Nazi” Richard Spencer, of which I was a main organizer.

There were a few different main approaches to the December 6th protests: an official TAMU “Aggies United” event, a Silent Protest (which was the main one I publicly organized and supported, for reasons I’ll simply link to here), general areas for people to loudly protest, and finally pre-organized Anti-Fascist (antifa) action. The only thing that I can praise universally for all these approaches was that people showed up, at least. Beyond that, I have some pretty severe reservations on conduct with regards to direct action.

The “Aggies United” event ultimately told me the following – that the university was more interested in protecting their reputation than the students who are the target of Spencer’s rhetoric. Outside of that event, most people who showed up brought signs, their voices, and lots of emotion. This is a totally understandable response, but one that really causes me anxiety. Without a well distributed localized knowledge base regarding the particulars of what exactly is happening, spontaneous events are prone to ordering themselves quite randomly, and in an unfocused manner. As counter-protestors arrived (pro-Spencer), students would flock over like moths to a flame to release their anger . At every moment that emotions could be “cathartically” expelled, the opportunity was grasped. When police arrived, students would flock to their presence out of curiosity or leave in fright – escalating the risk of violent outbreaks.

From what I observed, students were soaking in their new surroundings in which the more radical groups flying black and red and everything in between were a strong sight, and they felt obligated to idolize them for their organized and incredible display against Spencer and his supporters. They then regurgitated those ideas, chants, and general aesthetic as a learning mechanism or to simply virtue signal to others new radical commitments, without serious consideration of those ideas.

If we want people to continue to show up and fight the good fight, we need to understand how we attain and shape mass appeal and discourse. I don’t feel comfortable with the modern antifa movement becoming a seemingly reactionary movement (as they’re already fighting neo-reactionaries). I want individuals to thoroughly investigate what’s happening, and apply that against a firmly grounded system of ethics in order to make decisions.

It seems to me that the best option alongside continuing education efforts en masse is to look at the people who are figureheads in the fight against fascism, and to hold them accountable for bad ideas and practices. By holding antifa responsible for shaping mass discourse we can shape the future and further dialogue on the proper role of force in society both by the State and with regards to antifa action on the ground.

As a final note, anti-communism is as important to me as antifa. The Hammer & Sickle and subsequent “gulag” jokes are deathly, and any anti-individualism is a vast cruelty against autonomy and voluntarily based institutions. The proliferation of such ideology is incredibly dangerous, and its promotion to the casual protest attendee is something that is incredibly troubling. I do not want one State to replace another: a cycle of infinitely reforming bodies that are never radically addressed and hopefully abolished. For these reasons, I must be highly suspicious of antifa.

I encourage the reader to look into prefigurative politics such as agorism and other ways to illuminate a healthier path to victory. Punching random MAGA hat wearers, or causing mass property damage as was done in DC and recently at UC Berkeley is not something that I think is justified, nor useful, though fighting fascism needs to be done. There is a pressing need to look at violence in our society; at the very least, I hope that this piece opens some questions for people who are new and old to protesting, and that it calls to those who feel left out of this war to organize around the things they care about in the name of justice.

Gun Control: Race, Gender, Class, and Liberty

Gun Control: Race, Gender, Class, and Liberty


Following the tragic event at Umpqua Community College, where a 26-year-old gunman opened fire in a classroom leaving 10 people killed and another 7 injured, it is understandable that U.S. gun culture and state gun control are fresh on people’s minds.

When moving forward after events like this, I believe it’s important to avoid reactive measures that could potentially have even greater consequences than the tragedies themselves (e.g. War on Drugs, PATRIOT Act, etc.). What follows is a selection of articles over the years from across the political spectrum that touch on the usually ignored topic of gun control and discrimination in its many forms.*

gun2

The Secret History of Guns by Adam Winker

Gun Rights Benefited Black Americans During the Civil Rights Movement and Still Do by Sheldon Richman

A Socialist Take on Gun Violence, State Violence, and Workers’ Right to Self-Defense by Monica Hill

Yes, Please by Charles W. Johnson

Gun Control, Surveillance and Trans Resistance by Dean Spade

Seen and Unseen by Rodrick Long

Gun Control: A Left Libertarian Critique by Nathan Goodman

Is There a Right to Own a Gun? by Michael Huemer

The Panthers Were Right and Reagan Was Wrong on Gun Control by Anthony Gregory

An Anarchist Case Against Gun Control by Chris Cararra

Shaneen Allen, Race and Gun Control by Radley Balko

Gun Control, Mental Illness, and Black Trans and Lesbian Survival by Gabriel Arkles

Arm the Mentally Ill by Kelly Vee

The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights by The Polemicist

How Gun Control Hurts Minorities by Nathan Goodman & Meg Arnold

The Social Justice Case for Preserving the Second Amendment by Liz Wolfe

A (Brief) People’s History of Gun Control by Kevin Carson

In The Wake of Orlando, Gays Should Arm Themselves: Otherwise…We’re Sitting Ducks by Tom Palmer

Gun Control’s Racist Reality: The Liberal Argument Against Giving Police More Power by Alex Gourevitch

The History of LGBT Gun-Rights Litigation by David Kopel

Gun Control’s Racist Past and Present by Creede Newton

Why Some Members of the Far Left Advocate Against Gun Control by Elizabeth King

The L.G.B.T. Case for Guns by Nicki Stallard

Why Black People Own Guns by Julia Craven

Gun Control and Class Struggle by Socialist Appeal

The Trans Women Turning to Firearms for Survival by S.E. Smith

Obama’s Gun Control Ableism by T. J. Scholl

The (Really, Really) Racist History of Gun Control in America by Jane Coaston

This Queer Gun Club Is Standing Up to Violence Against the LGBTQ Community by Zachary Zane

Who Goes to Prison Due to Gun Control? by Anthony Gregory

Why the Left-wing Needs a Gun Culture by Lorenzo Raymond

This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible by Charles E. Cobb Jr.

Gun Control, Structural Racism, and the Prison State by Nathan Goodman

Liberatory Community Armed Self-Defense: Approaches Toward a Theory by scott crow

In Response to Far Right, LGBTQ Gun Group Hits Firing Line by Michael Hill

Black Gun Owners Speak Out About Facing a Racist Double Standard by Tessa Stuart

The Liberal Desire for Gun Control is Going to Get Us Killed by Dr. Bones

Feel free to comment with additional material I may have missed relating to these topics.

*Note: This is NOT meant to be a case for or against certain measures of gun control. This is meant to shed light on specific factors that are usually absent from this discussion. 

What are the top 5 most important issues for libertarians?

I have a strong affinity for lists and ranking things so lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what the most important problems are from a libertarian perspective. Libertarians have a whole ton of problems with modern institutions and society but just which are the most pertinent? My friend, Thomas Michie posed a similar question on Facebook, so I decided to write up my top 5.

1. War

I tend to be a bit harder on war than the average libertarian as both an anarchist and a pacifist. I’ve long been against pre-emptive war, interventionist foreign policy, and standing armies. I’ve also recently started to identify as a pacifist, in the sense of being against war, not any individual instance of self-defense, as I found Bryan Caplan’s “Common-Sense Case for Pacifism” strikingly compelling and…well, implied by basic common sense.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise I think war is the most important issue for libertarians. In fact I think it should be the most important political issue for anyone with a conscious and I don’t think it’s particularly close. It’s obvious that war is the biggest threat to humanity. It causes the most destruction, damage, chaos, and death than any other institution we have. This is even more apparent after the 20th century; the era, as Jeffrey Tucker calls it, of the “total state.” The century where totalitarianism was widespread and mass murder was common. The time period with more war than peace. The amount of pure awfulness caused by war was, and will continue to be, unmatched. The problem of war and foreign entanglement is further complicated by technological advancements such as nuclear weapons and biological warfare. These issues, to me, only give us further reason to be adamant that war is not, and never will be, on the table.

My preference for peace underlines all my political thought. My support for strong private property rights, markets, and the division of labor are all strongly based on my belief that these institutions are favorable towards peaceful resolution and social cooperation. My disgust for states, monopoly, and centralization are all rooted in my belief that those institutions are more conducive to war-making and make peace less likely and/or more difficult to maintain. A large reason I’m an anarchist is that I think markets are a levelling force; that competitive forces create accountability and checks and balances. That is, that markets, especially in the legal and defense industries, would promote non-violent conflict resolution by forcing firms to internalize all their costs. The state socializes the costs of war and intervention through taxation and inflation, making war much easier to pursue. If there were, instead, competitive forces governing the defense sector, the costs to violence would be obvious and apparent, and therefore serve to make war less appealing.

But even if you aren’t an anarchist, war is still the most awful thing ever. Even if you don’t think that abolishing the state is the best answer, common decency says that war is just the plum worst and should be avoided. This is something all libertarians ought to agree on, even if we all have slightly different conclusions about what really prevents war most effectively. Is it a market in defense? Is it a minimal state with no standing army? Is it a non-interventionist foreign policy? These questions are vital as they address the biggest threat to human life and flourishing on the planet, but regardless of how we all answer those questions I hope we all have the same end or intent in mind: peace.

I think there is a bonus reason why this issue should be especially important for libertarians: we have been historically too soft on this issue. Many historical libertarians and a few big modern libertarian organizations have been entirely too easy on mass murder. They have either said things friendly to certain instances of war making or outright advocated for war. To further drive the point home and to make up for our predecessors past mistakes, libertarians today ought to make war our biggest concern, bar-none. We need to be unwavering and principled in our opposition to war lest we go down in history as another hypocritical, failed social movement. The libertarian movement needs to be synonymous with the peace movement.

2. Foreign Policy

See 1.

3. Non-interventionism. 

See 2.

4. Mass Murder. 

See 3.

5. Peace. 

See 4.