#60: 2017 in Review, Part I: Anti-Fascism in the Bay Area and Beyond

  • Posted on: 11 January 2018
  • By: thecollective

From CrimethInc.

How anti-fascists won the battles of Berkeley; some highlights from our coverage

Listen to the Episode



In the first of two episodes looking back over 2017, we present an audio version of the recently published CrimethInc. feature “How Anti-Fascists Won the Battles of Berkeley: 2017 in the Bay and Beyond: A Play-by-play Analysis.” The article charts the rise and fall of the alt-right through the lens of the conflicts that erupted in the San Francisco Bay Area, and how anarchists and anti-fascists successfully built coalitions to stop them. We also review the last year’s worth of articles, books, posters, and podcasts from the CrimethInc. Ex-Worker’s Collective.
{January 8, 2018}

Notes and Links



One more installment in the long running and all-too obvious tale of "Why Crimethinc. Can't Be Taken Seriously." The "Battle of Berkeley": (cue the grandiosity sound effects) one terminally marginal fringe phenomenon dukes it out with another never going anywhere fringe phenomenon. A glorious victory for This-Years-Model of our short attention-span suffering favorite fringe phenomenon.

This shit exists to keep the very young entertained. It is never going anywhere big and bad.

This late 30s anarchist likes it. sorry you dont like big street fights. guessing youre not much of a fan of basketball either.

No, I'm not a "fan" of any kind. I want to see large numbers of fucked over working people collectively fighting for what they need against capitalist social relations -- and against the ever more vulnerable, viscous and incompetent scum who own and rule this despicable and ever more vulnerable society. The United States has never been more vulnerable to some kind of large scale protracted revolt. Fringe group one vs. fringe group two contributes nothing to this.

Your sport spectator analogies are unintentionally accurate here. Crimethinc's depiction of this as The Battles of Berkeley (sic!) is self-indulgent fantasy projection stuff for a self-indulgent fantasy politics that is clearly based on an assumption that a large scale opposition to this social order is either never really going to happen or will somehow materialize by magic. What they come up with is always tailored to entertain and humor the delusions of grandeur of a tiny number of people in an aggressively insular fringe culture. That scene in the park in Berkeley could be a sports program watched by the passive atomized masses on an episode of 'Black Mirror.' I'm not saying anything against 'Black Mirror' with that, either

and your proposal for creating "a large scale opposition to this social order" is what exactly???

most people's consciousness changes in the moment of revolt, that's why they're called revolutions. Only in acting, do we learn to act. Only in moments of rupture with the status quo do people begin to understand their own potential and what is possible.

I liked this podcast for the most part, but their account of the coalition formed in the Bay Area between anarchists and the more mainstream/non-profity left left me feeling icky.
They described how the black bloc played the role of the defensive formation to protect the rest of the protestors from police and fascist violence. And how that led to a coalition in which mainstream lefties defended the black bloc from criticism by liberals. Somehow the obvious dynamic that this coalition is merely one of convenience for the privileged left, and that the second the black bloc goes on the offensive or does anything other than provide security for the tame lefties looking to restore the oppressive liberal status quo in Berkeley, the black bloc would've been thrown under the bus by those lefties, just as they were before the coalition formed.

they were an instrument of co-optation, and a more critical understanding of that broad left coalition that is not willing to upset the status quo and tamed the black bloc into doing security instead of attacking fascists and the society that creates them, would have been good to see. the funded, institutionalized left offers the anarchist movement nothing of value, and the sooner we start attacking their recuperative role instead of allying with them, the sooner more radical transformations can take place, and the more power our movement will gain.

The last paragraph of the crimethinc text:

At the same time, it must not be forgotten that fascists took advantage of the contradictions inherent in liberalism and the elitism of liberal enclaves to gain strength in 2016 and 2017. We must not water down anti-fascism via “popular front” politics until it becomes nothing more than a defense of liberal capitalism. We have to defend ourselves against co-optation as well as fascist agitation. The victories of 2017 have afforded us a brief opening to catch our breath and reaffirm the profoundly radical nature of our struggle for collective liberation. Imaginative revolutionaries must now lead new offensives on their own terms that bring us all closer to the world we wish to build.

fuck, you mean i have to read all the way to the end?

Hieronymus Bosch had it all worked out 500 yrs ago, 1617 2017, not much has changed.,.

Regarding the pretensions and larger uselessness of the Black Bloc, see this:


Obviously our long time friend Kevin Keating.

I think Max Crosby is the name of the narrator of Keating's first novel 'Hit the Walls,' based on the Yuppie Eradication Project in San Francisco 20 years ago.

You are correct, sir! And . . . your correct answer allows you to advance to the next level of "The Kevin Keating Trivia show."

And I hear its a rockin' novel!

I think it might be useful for some older folks to talk about the skinhead wars of the 80s and what it was like before there was an organized model of resistance and a balance of terror in the US. Before ARA the Nazi skinheads had hegemony in some places and terrorized and brutalized people at will. In Austin before I left the WP skins were just as likely to get their ass kicked as anyone else at punk shows and the scene was still mixed. This was in 86' but by 88' the year of hate and the year the ARA model of resistance started to spread across the US my friend said they were running Nazis out of shows after some heavy hitters and ex cons came into it and started tipping the scales in their favor. When I moved to this gulf coast town there was a skinhead war going here as well. Which was fought by a cross class collaboration of various actors (skaters, surfers, black mma fighters etc.) and the skinhead crew was suppressed. I realize that these situations can become pathological and codependent if your identity is defined by the existence of the enemy but I think a lot of the work being done right now by antifascists is admirable and necessary. I can only imagine how emboldened the alt-right would be if there was no resistance to their activity. I don't want to see that and the black bloc is our shadow that we cast across the social field that keeps these forces in check.

Here's a good article about the origins of ARA:

Skinheads at Forty

The politics of the mosh pit from 30-plus years ago isn't terribly relevant to the accelerating major society-wide possibilities we see around us now.

Agreed and I think a more important point here is that anarchy is not a punk rock scene/subculture. No talking shit to the people involved in those punk vs racist wars in the 80's 90's either which I think is a really cool part of that history that needs some actual serious documenting sometime. I'd love to read that and have encouraged people from the generation before me to get on something like it. You had basically a nation wide battle in every major metropolitan area going on with anti racists coming out on top. Cool shit, imagine any of other mostly white subculture pulling that shit off today. I mean maybe the juggalos could do it but thats about it.

A better analogy would be us finally booting these fucking liberals out of anarchy. Just saying.

Bed time story by gel-oberon 3 called 'Romantic Violence' for nihilist kiddies who are sick of Disney Princess.

" The victories of 2017 have afforded us a brief opening to catch our breath and reaffirm the profoundly radical nature of our struggle for collective liberation. Imaginative revolutionaries must now lead new offensives on their own terms that bring us all closer to the world we wish to build."

This is fantasy projection stuff. If 99% of everybody who has to work for a wage is not going to make any use of this, it isn't going to bring about the world we wish to build.

Not really … not unless we accept your ridiculously high standard for non-fantasy. Historically, only a few percentile points of a population have to be involved in movements for them to make significant changes in the society around them.

As someone who has been making this point for a decade now I am insulted that it is used in such a half assed way. If we had the percentage of American society behind anti authoritarian revolt that would be needed to put forth success we certainly wouldn't need to focus on pepe the fucking frog.

I'm not american and the person I'm responding to was making a pretty underwhelming attempt at an argument so they reap what they sew. Are you the same person?

I built a mighty war machine out of Leggo and charged bravely into the fray, scattering the Global Behemoth and the Hegemonic Temple of Ressentiment forever,.,..

starring Rydra and Bellamy! I'd watch it. I may have nightmares afterwards...anything once.

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