Striking While the Iron Is Hot: Trump and the Antifa Resistance

  • Posted on: 12 March 2017
  • By: thecollective

From The Hampton Institute

Brenan Daniels I Social Movement Studies I Interview I March 9th, 2017

This is a transcript of a recent email interview I had with JA, an administrator of the Facebook page Anarchist Memes where we discuss Trump's rise to the presidency and how people can more actively resist the fascist-esque politics that are currently being put in the mainstream.

[HI] Regarding Trump's ascendance to the Presidency, many argued that he would never make it. Seeing his rhetoric and proposed policies at the very beginning, what were your initial thoughts? Do you think that his tapping into social and economic unrest was purposeful on some level?

[AM] I thought that Trump was too unpolished and goofy to beat a career politician of Clinton's caliber. It seemed to me at the time that his ascendency to RNC nominee was the result of in-fighting and disarray within the GOP. I never imagined he'd win the presidential election.

I don't think that anything Trump does is particularly strategic on his part. Even when it is apparent he's trying to stick to a narrative, he still seems to go off-script, and delve in to bizarre and perverse tangents. I think the man is totally untethered to objective reality.

[HI] There are those who would argue that in some ways a Trump win is impressive seeing as how the media and a large amount of The Establishment was against him. What are your thoughts on this?

[AM] I think he is popular for the same reasons right-wing, racist, proto-fascist demagogues are ever popular. Namely, the combination of socio-economic despair and a chauvinistic dominant culture. My intuition is that, those who are deeply invested in the narratives and affirmations of the dominant culture, resolve the emotional and cognitive dissonance of their socioeconomic predicament within the culture as well as dissent against it...by going deeper in to their nationalist fairytales and faulting scapegoats and/or lack-of-purity/faith as to explain the present conditions.

Trump's utter stupidity, incredulity and narcissism allowed him to say and declare things that a more strategic and refined politician would-not. I think this allowed him to out-flank his opponents in the GOP and DNC alike. Likewise, the media seemed either unaware or unconcerned that its tittering responses to Trump, amplified his popularity.

[HI] Currently it seems that Trump is hitting the ground running by doing a number of things such as the recent Muslim ban, proposing that the US leave the United Nations, and reinstating a ban on US funding overseas, to the glee of many of his supporters. However, there are those who are expressing dismay over other policies such as a freeze on government employee hiring and salaries. What do you think will happen if/when people realize that many of Trump's policies are going to hurt them? Will we see an increase in violence against marginalized communities?

[AM] I think it's decidedly possible that the white-reactionary milieu will react violently if/when their economic conditions are negatively impacted by Trumps policies. Some certainly will. But the flip-side of that, the only possible silver-lining to any of this depravity and cruelty, is that the shock of trumps failures on the reactionary white working class, may bump them out of their racist, right-wing stupor. I think it's incumbent on radicals to strike while things are amorphous and strange, and try to capitalize on the shocks that do come.

[HI] What would you make of the liberal's reaction to Trump? There are some who argue that this is an opportunity to push them further to the left, but on a personal level, I have some doubts about that seeing as how they supported Clinton, who seemingly wanted to push us into a war with Russia.

[AM] I think it's a mixed-bag. I think some liberals have been bumped ever-so-slightly to the left, become disillusioned with the DNC, with their patriotism, with capitalism etc. I think there are also liberals who are looking for an excuse, a scapegoat, someone or something to blame for the ascension of Trump. I've interacted with both types. Some who have shown an interest in radical philosophy and explanations where before there was a lack of interest...and I've also met some who have tried to blame Sanders or everyone to the left of Clinton for the outcome of the election.

[HI] Seeing the rise of the far right in Europe and finally it coming to the US, how would you say that Trump fits into a larger global context of elements of the Western world embracing far right fascistic (and actual fascist) politics?

[AM] I think what is happening in the US is a similar phenomenon to what we've seen and is happening in Europe. Where economic stagnation or depression generate a resultant lashing out by those enamored with the dominant culture's narratives and mythology...as well as anyone else critical of that mythology.

[HI] Given the recent J20 protests and the black bloc actions, what should anarchists do now that we are in a Trump presidency, someone who many would argue is close to, if not entirely, a fascist?

[AM] I think the most useful and necessary and impactful thing radicals can do is join an organization - and start organizing. As well, I think radicals needs to make a concerted effort to try and organize, radicalize, and bring-in working class and rural white people - as tempting as it is to just write-off anyone who is even the slightest bit reactionary (and I wouldn't blame anyone who does), I think work needs to be done to change these people's minds - to help them find another path materially and ideologically.

[HI] Seeing as how I have used the term fascism and fascist in the last two questions, where can people go to get a solid understanding of fascism, both historically and modern day as it seems that it is a word that can be misapplied.

[AM] There's a ton of literature out there, people just need to reach out and grab it. They can go to the source, like Mussolini or Jose Antonio to even out their understanding of Nazism - or to any number of books comparing and contrasting the various strains in fascism. As well, there is anti-fascist literature which also gives great insight in to what fascism is and how fascists behave (AK press just released Confronting Fascism for free in ebook form, and I know M. Testa's Militant Fascism is available in pdf form for free on the internet).

That said, I think people's impulse to use the label is usually generally correct - in that the people they're assigning the label to exhibit (generally) the basic features of fascism...even if not in an explicitly ideological or intentional way.

[Hi] In what way(s) can people be organized today to support antifascism and push for change beyond the ballot box, including those who lack time/funds due to personal situations?

[AM] Join an organization(s) and just do something - anything one can - for that organization(s)...and try not to fall in to complacency after an absence from involvement. Being broke, having kids, work, social life, health issues etc all invariably inhibit our ability to maintain commitments to organizations we'd like to be involved in and the tendency to stay-away after an absence is common. Try to remember, that our participation is needed, and wanted, and beneficial.

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Comments

Lol - Anarchist Memes. The home for anarcho-liberals on Facebook. "Join an organization" as revolutionary strategy sounds like some commie shit. Left unity ftw!

I would have hoped that this gang of Portland platformists who're fixing holes in the streets would be a joke, but sadly...

Resisters in the ZAD used to be destroying pavement on purpose. I wonder where would these Portland liberals have fitted in over there. Probably the commies.

Fuck man... anarcho-liberals safekeeping suburbs and especially their cars! I'm never going anywhere close to Portland.

Yea dog, if something is a good tactic in a specific context with a specific goal it's a good tactic in all contexts regardless of the goal. That's why I keep getting locked out of my own apartment. I'm the kind of down comrade who glues every fucking lock I see. Insurrection!

Is there any place where smashing the road can be an misplaced tactic, or how are roads as crucial as being able to enter your house in the winter, dawg?

Yeah I don't know maybe a place where a community needs to travel to function because the work of dismantling the system of violence that compels them to think things like get groceries and keep their job forces them to drive cars down the road? But oops guess some people never grew out insurrectionary infancy and still think attacking wherever whenever however is all the same. That's why I just slashed my own tires, take that economy!

I'm gonna smash my own windscreen. Yay the revolution!!!!!!!

wtf is a windscreen, this is america

So its HUD then in Muhrica?

Defense of consumerism... check.

Defense of labor... check.

Defense of forced relations in an industrial social context... check

"insurrectionary infancy"... check.

The typical social anarchist is baaack, with a vengeance.

But at that point there's absolute nothing left to distinguish him from the reactionary conservative.

Lol this kind of turd thinks anarchism is like some kind of uber-ethical activity of just refusing to participate in everything you think is bad, and since everything is produced/reproduced in the image of capital, that's everything. and everyone who disagrees with him is a "social anarchist" and/or "reactionary conservative." You truly are an intellectual infant. See ya when you burn out, bro. PS if digging up the concrete is a universally applicable tactic wtf are you doing? there's lots of unguarded roadway out there! Hurry!

You're being the only immature bigot here... nobody above has called for a devastation of the roads as some new anarchist praxis. But there's on the other hand a buncha social anarchists in Portland who've really been working to improve the quality of the pavement in some suburban place. Nice civic valor... for SOCIETY!

You called destroying roads a universally applicable tactic, irrelevant of context, you dork. Meanwhile, you're calling people immature...so people should grow up, eh? Nice defense of society you FUCKING NORM. I'd piss on you but aiming is bourgeois manners so I'm just gonna piss in my own pants. Take that, society! And the commodity-form of my pants, too!

Muhrican Apparel should be pissed in as a protest. Dumping is hardcore strugglismo.

"You called destroying roads a universally applicable tactic"

Where was that? You're a trollcop who keeps fueling rage on this site. Like the pseudonymous trolls, anything you'll say will lack consistency, and be irrational.

Just review our interaction, I'm not going to copy-paste it for you. Also can you tell me any time that trolling is NOT an appropriate tactic? Go ahead, reveal your support for society, you social anarchist conservative cop!

So I've been looking back at our tumultuous relationship filled with butthurt and passion and here's what I found: I asked you where, on the planet, is smashing the roads a misplaced tactic. So in default of not being provided with reasons why it's a bad idea at any given place (I dunno... like a big surprise sinkhole 500 feet deep in the middle of an expressway... but even that would be quite funny to watch, with popcorn and Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" playing in the background), we'll have to settle with the assumption that there's morally and tactically nothing that makes smashing holes through the asphalt of roads or streets is a misplaced tactic. So anyone who feels or believes it the right thing to do can go ahead with that, and maybe even post a communique here about it.

It's also very useful when rioting since it gives nonlethal ammo to throw.

Today I saw someone walking with a bag of groceries and I was like CONSUMERIST! Then I went to drag a bunch of newspaper boxes into their way but I was like, oh fuck no. I'm not utilizing something made out of some metal, that's supporting the motherfucking industrial megamachine. Then I got drunk and went to Taco Bell, because that's really fucked up and that's what I'm into: fucked up shit. Meanwhile you're busy humping the road apart.

Someone's gotta work on something, you know... And who's going to feed the kids with stuff to throw at windows and pigs?

Also good to see your butthurt about the very idea of people smashing the pavement of roads. Is it a living being to you?

wtf are you talking about? I never said anything of the sort and you're literally upset about people filling potholes in a context where digging up the concrete would be entirely ineffective at best. you're not even a hammer that sees the whole world as nails; you're a fanboy of hammers who see the whole world as nails.

"social movement studies" is that a department of the CIA or what?

In the city where I've been attempting some organizing, a lot of us who do anything are angry hicks originally from rural communities. These city folk are just soft, we scare'em and that's the way I likes it! Mmhmm!

the streets are paved with gold

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