[Marxism] Fwd: Trump’s Antifa Moment: Police Repression, Nonviolence, and Movement Building on the Left

Mark Lause markalause at gmail.com
Mon Aug 28 10:34:38 MDT 2017

There's a lot conflated here, Jeffrey.

Saying that nobody should trust people who show up with masks at
demonstrations to encourage violence isn't the same as saying that people
should not engage in self-defense.

You say that you're "not supporting any confrontations with the right or
the State, but certainly it's fair for citizens to protect themselves." I
have no problem with that at all.

The violence or lack of violence isn't really the question.

At this point, what encourages the most people to turn out is essential.
Sometimes, assuring people that they will not be subject to right-wing
attacks does that.  Sometimes, showing up carry the fight over into the
offensive minimizes the number of people who will involve themselves in a
street fight.

A lot of contemporary demonstrations are fundamentally more problematic
than they were decades ago, because the organizers just don't take on the
responsibility of marshaling them sufficiently to keep the focus on what
the people turning out want focus to be--as is their democratic right.
Occupy here essentially let itself be taken over by a bunch of crazies
changing all sorts of silly shit right-wring slogans.

I suspect that if the same people showed up today, there's be nothing to
keep them from mischaracterizing the nature of the march.

Frankly, if people show up in masks trying to change the character of the
demonstration, they should be invited to cross the street and have a
demonstration of their own.


On Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 12:19 PM, Jeffrey Masko <j.alan.masko at gmail.com>

> Hi Mark,
> I sent this to you alone, because I cannot deal with any mass of responses
> right now and I respect your opinion and work as a scholar and I am asking
> these questions sincerely.
> I think we all get why antifa members who black bloc may not be utilzing
> the best tactics for the moment and that the motivations behind many
> members vandalizing property and fighting with the right is suspect and
> counterproductive. Yes, I think many, if not most are really kind of acting
> out in a juvenile manner and that talks more to the individuality mentioned
> in the article. So I don't support the kind of actions we normally see in
> demo's, although vandalizing property isn't a big issue for me.
> But I wonder why any type of physical reaction from the left is
> disregarded as ineffective in the U.S.? How can a so-called "muscular left"
> be built? And if it cannot be built, how can a truly revolutionary moment
> arrive? Finally, why is it that commentators can never envision a leftist
> group engaging in militant and sometimes "violent" tactics in the U.S., but
> can support it when it's not on U.S. soil?
> I am not supporting any confrontations with the right or the State, but
> certainly it's fair for citizens to protect themselves? Especially in rural
> areas where radical leftists are being targeted by Neo-nazi's, KKK members
> and others by physical attacks and doxing? Is armed revolutionary tactics
> and strategies only available to those in the global south or in places far
> from western industrial nations? If not, how do we begin with being labeled
> useful idiots (as the antifa people are commonly called by those with far
> more cultural capital).
> I think the tactics of the IWW and other militant unions was successful in
> part (so much that they needed to be routed by the government and big
> business), so where do we look now to work outside of established protest
> repertoire and party rituals? Some activists, especially working class
> people not drawn into middle class socialist parties, are not going to
> follow middle class leaders and pundits like Chris Hedges and never will.
> What do we tell those not resigned to anti-violence and pacifist tactics? I
> think of folks I know who have served time in prison and sons and daughters
> of Black Panthers who are still involved in the struggle, not white middle
> class kids radicalized at Cal Berkeley.
> ​I may post this when I have more time to respond to others, but I don't
> want to post and "ghost" now. I have a lot of class prep and two article
> deadlines to deal with this week. But I'm still not sure I want to get
> anything going as the list is obviously very against antifa types and I
> think generalize about them a bit too much, but I do agree that they are
> usually pretty young, either in age or political sophistication. ​
> ​soli-
> jeffrey​
> --
> J.A. Masko
> College of Communications
> Penn State University
> State College, Pa 16801
>   "The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without
> becoming disillusioned."
>            Antonio Gramsci.

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