Antifa and its Discontents

  • Posted on: 20 April 2019
  • By: anon (not verified)

A short letter about the big problems of the Antifa phenom in the contemporary U.S. to the publication "Commune." With its heavy focus on the fantasy projections of subjectively insurrectionary grad students and fealty to identity politics, the politics of "Commune" might be described as Miller Lite Maoism. In the same way that the sci-fi movie 'Planet of the Apes' generated a terrible sequel called 'Beneath the Planet of the Apes,' "Commune" is also being called by some wags "Beneath the Planet of the Jacobin Magazine."

Anti-Anti-Anti-Antifa...

Regarding A.M. Gittlitz's piece 'Anti-Anti-Antifa,' you should do better editing for accuracy. The 1930's journal 'Bilan' was produced by people in the same current as the Italian left communist Amadeo Bordiga, but this doesn't mean that 'Bilan' was 'Bordiga's journal', as said in the 'Anti-Anti-Antifa' piece. It's not likely that anyone in the early 21st century cares much about this small detail, but the Gittlitz piece exhibits a more glaring problem when it uncritically describes an Antifa perspective of "the economic and political institutions of white supremacy: police, courts, banks, employers and relators…"

It's bizarre to have to note to a supposedly anti-capitalist publication that banks, employers and realtors are expressions of capitalist social relations and not of "white supremacy." “White supremacy” is not a mode of production, or some kind of substitute mode of production. A world view that sees bosses and banks as functions of "white supremacy" is characteristic of an identity politics ideology that is not anti-capitalist in any meaningful way. It expresses the self-indulgent virtue signaling and conformist groupthink of a small shrill fringe of a larger irrelevant U.S. left-liberal protest ghetto. The protest ghetto that Antifa is a fringe expression of has had no credible impact on anything in this society since the evaporation of the anti-Vietnam war movement in the early 1970’s. The protest ghetto and its window-busting and anti-fascist annexes have consistently failed to find a receptive audience for their messages among a high ninety percent of ever more hard-pressed mainstream wage earners in a rapidly declining capitalist America -- people who may now be becoming receptive to an aggressive anti-statist and communist perspective of a new and extremely distinct type, one that emerges organically from our everyday life experiences. There are the makings of a sharp divergence of paths here. The larger society around us is changing rapidly. This offers new opportunities. It is time to retool.

This article refers to something its author calls "the revolutionary left" in today's United States. What is this? Where is it found? What public presence does it have? Does it include fans of Stalinism, the vanguard of the counter-revolution in the 20th century, like the publication Viewpoint? Does "revolutionary" include anyone who sits on their hands meekly whining that it would be nice if we could have a revolution -- there’s a veritable Red Army of them out there. Does this otherwise invisible "revolutionary left" include fans of Maoism and the Black Panthers? "Commune" appears to be saying exactly this.

Opposition to capitalism means collective class conflict -- Antifa is not a class against class phenomena. A perspective for the abolition of wage labor and market relations is not even remotely integral to Antifa, and this isn’t the kind of thing that can be spliced on as an afterthought. As an extreme left fringe culture fixated on equally marginal extreme right fringe cultures, Antifa cannot give rise to anything more substantive than an endless series of public brawls with extreme right-wing creeps; no new social movement confronting market society is going to grow out of this. As is so often the case, a significant unspoken motivation here is that these actions don’t tax short attention spans and allow a certain type of protest ghetto scenester to accrue gnarly street cred with their fellow scenesters. How many people who show up to duke it out with Nazis have put their tough guy chops to work in an ongoing protracted fight against more formidable opponents like employers or landlords? People who cop a buzz off streety-stuff aren’t likely to engage in long-term, commitment-intensive, non-buzz-inducing activity against bosses, landlords and realtors, where we can inflict real damage on the private sector elite. Brawls with racist and fascist scumbags are for the most part entertaining distractions and a poor substitute for better efforts that now go completely neglected. Antifa stuff feels good. This is its main appeal. The most that can result from Antifa actions is enthusiastic spectatorship or passive approval on the part of working and poor people who will themselves never get into public slug-fests with Nazis and College Republicans. There are no useful tools for combative wage earners here. Any sincere enemies of this social order involved in this would do well to begin retooling by reading -- for its emphasis on direct action among mainstream working people, and, very much in spite of its title -- 'Anarcho-Syndicalism' by Rudolf Rocker.

We now find ourselves in circumstances more conducive to the rise of an anti-capitalist mass social movement than those found in any other period of American history. The fights that matter most take place in the undramatic settings where we work, where we live, where we shop, and how we get around. Having attacked Antifa I am obligated to suggest a clear alternative. Our potential power is greatest wherever we come together in overwhelming numbers, and excellent opportunities are found in the mundane everyday reality of big city bus, subway and light rail systems. Employees of public transit agencies have potential power against the owners of this society that office workers and service sector proles don’t have. The majority of public transit users are wage workers and poor people. Urban public transit systems bring together greater numbers and a wider variety of the modern slave class that any other capitalist enterprise. Borrowing from the actions of combative proletarians in Italy in the social upheavals of the 1970’s, a wildcat on-the-job mass action by ever more hard-pressed and pissed off transit system operators, outside of and against the control of capital’s union apparatus, where bus, streetcar and subway operators "look the other way when people don't pay" has the potential to give vast numbers of wage slaves a small but real shared experience of effective direct action against an ever-intensifying regime of poverty and austerity. There is already some small precedent for this in the efforts of the group ‘Midwest Unrest’ in Chicago in December 2004, on BART in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1990’s, as well as in an attempted transit system fare strike on San Francisco’s Muni transit system in 2005.

Even a small, limited success in an action linking public transit operators and riders could lead to bigger, better and badder efforts in the future. And actions where working people keep transit running while refusing to make other working people pay to ride have a small practical negation of market relations imbedded in the effort as well. On a very modest level this is “communism as a present social movement.” (Dauve and Martin, Eclipse and Reemergence of the Communist Movement.) Efforts like this have a vastly greater liberatory potential than dust-ups with national socialist internet dweebs and neo-Confederate mental illness sufferers.

We need a 21st century version of what the real IWW was at its best -- an anti-wage labor social movement of the wage earning class. Antifa offers us nothing here. It is not a step towards this. A long-term movement for revolutionary transformation can only emerge out of conflicts between exploited people and the larger commodity society that we reproduce and confront in our daily lives. A mass movement for social revolution in an ever-more potentially unstable and promising capitalist America will never grow out of a fixation on the most clownish fringe aspects of this social order. Collective direct action on an everyday life terrain lacks the high drama of violent protest ghetto events -- and this is how it should be. The terrain of the mundane is the only terrain that matters. Like the young Marx, the old IWW, and the Situationists, a 21st century opposition to the existing state of things must be so aggressive, inventive, daring and public that it becomes impossible to ignore.

M.G.

Comments

But....this started out so well with what seemed like critiques of identity politics and leftism and then...back to glorified collectivism? wtf happened?

Wow. Started strong but fell hard. He's really been on this train of thought for so long. Impressive. I remember him in the anti politics board going on about this.

Great rant anon! Also, "caviling" is my word of the day.

The personal noun is " malcontent" The noun to describe their condition is discontent. For example, ->> The anarchist malcontents vented their discontent upon the paperboxes and bank windows during the night, before scurrying back to their bourgeois homes.
This is just an example, and bears no actual real description of the anarchist milieu ;)

So you're saying the title should read
Antifa and its Malcontents?

American ultra-left communists -- and where, pray tell, might we find these rarer than Bigfoot Creatures? I do believe that Keating wrote somewhere that revolutionary extremism is what it does, and, if does nothing, it is nothing. So -- public action of these putative American ultra-left communists? If your talking about venerable fellows in New Balance sneakers who have to wear both a belt and suspenders because they can't trust their own pants, then I am afraid that doesn't count. More examples, please. And in the words of commissars Strunk and White, prefer the specific to the general.

Ask what they do in the real world and blissful silence ensues. Every time.

Antifa begins with fighting the fascist inside your own head.

What does antifa add up to for people who don't show up at antifa events?

MG? Cmon keating, we’d know you anywhere. You repeat the same phrases (let alone ideas) so obsessively.

What does antifa add up to or offer for people who don't go to antifa events?

OBVIOUSLY antifa is about saving the whole world and bringing bread and wine to YOUR neighborhood, wherever you are... How could you expect anything less? *rolling eyes while pouting* Duh!

You forgot the honey and milk, or is that too,,,,,*pouts* non-vegan hetero-diet?

What does anarchy add up to or offer people who don't smash windows or attend anarchist book fairs?

To antifa: Thank you for your service. I salute you. You're doing work that no one else is willing to do by taking out the ideological garbage and making neighborhoods safer.

Commies can only write essays. You roll up your sleeves and actually do the heavy lifting.

It's ok to punch a Nazi.

You are joking right? Elective antifa is one of those things that needs cold water poured on it. There are no neighborhoods that are being terrorized by fascism. Neighbors are bad enough.

Fuck you fascist creep. How about Muslim communities being targeted with assaults and vandalism by fascists, how about Mosques being shot up by fascists, how about Synagogues being shot up by fascists how about, how about immigrants being rounded up by fascists, how about protesters being shot by Trump supporter fascists in Seattle, how about people being stabbed in Portland by fascists, how about schools in Florida being shot up by fascists, etc...I suppose you think there are fine people on both sides?

Get off this fucking site.

HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC CHANT ALL TOGETHER NOW RAISE THOSE SMUG YUPPIE BANNERS HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC CHANT ALL TOGETHER NOW RAISE THOSE SMUG YUPPIE BANNERS
HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC CHANT ALL TOGETHER NOW RAISE THOSE SMUG YUPPIE BANNERS HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC CHANT ALL TOGETHER NOW RAISE THOSE SMUG YUPPIE BANNERS
HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC CHANT ALL TOGETHER NOW RAISE THOSE SMUG YUPPIE BANNERS HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC HOW ABOUT WHINING RHETORIC CHANT ALL TOGETHER NOW RAISE THOSE SMUG YUPPIE BANNERS

LMAO! All-caps warrior! Tries and fails to make a point...

OOOOH NOOOO I MADE A POINT. ITS LIKE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST VS DON'T SHIT IN YOUR OWN NEST FACTIONS WHEN WE ALL KNOW THAT UP TO 400 YEARS AGO EVERYONE ON THIS PLANET THOUGHT THE WORLD WAS FLAT. SO DIE EVERYONE WHO MAKES ANY REGULATIONS ABOUT BORDERS OR RIGHTS THERE ARE NONE AND ALL POLITICIAN CLASS WAR FANATICS AND RELIGIOUS MORAL HIERARCHICAL PATRIARCHS CAN DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!!

Your all-caps have convinced me ROTFLMAO!

Are unspecific to fascism as many who carry out those attacks are ideologically unaffiliated. Once again, why is there a need for elective anti-fascism when there is already an anti-authoritarian position that takes care of all of this?

Maybe you should get off that leftism.

do you have a corporeal form? just curious

It certainly feels like I do.

You lie. Totally don't even exist and you know it.

WTF THEN BINARY OPPOSITION ITS OK TO PUNCH YUPPIES LOL STREET THEATRE RETURNS OR PUNCH AND JUDY SHOWS BETWEEN REAL GROWN UPS BRING THE KIDS AND POPCORN FOR SOME HYSTERICALLY FUNNY SPECTATOR WARS, SHREIKING, NAME CALLING [ COUNT THE NUMBER OF TIMES THE WORDS
"NAZI FASCIST SCUM" OR
"RICH YUPPY FAGGOT"
ARE SCREAMED OUT] VIOLENCE OOOOOO HAIR PULLING, SLAPPING, SCRATCHING, ROUND HOUSE FLAILING FISTS RESULTING IN BROKEN PINKY FINGERS, SPITTING,
"SNARLING, "
EXPOSING GENITILIA ACCOMPANIED BY THE REQUEST
" SUCK ON THIS DOG" , WAILING AND MOANING,
CHANTING INAUDIBLE
" AN NIGH HILL ARK"
OR OBSCURE NAMES OR REFERENCES, OCCASIONAL BELLY-LAUGHS,
"MWUHAHAHAAAA"
FOOD THROWING, MORE CUSSING
,"YOU CUUUUUUUUUUUNTS"
POLICE SIRENS, AUDIENCE IMPATIENCE AND YELLING FOR MORE VIOLENCE
"THIS IS SOOOO BORING ",
ESCALATING PROTESTOR AND SPECTATOR HAGGLING, FORMATION OF TWO SIDES THE SMALLER FRIENDLY ANTIFA NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH FACTION VS THE VERY LARGE ACTUALLY FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURHOOD MEMBERS SURROUNDING THEIR OWN VIGILANTE GROUP AND ABUSING AND HECKLING THEM AND FORCING THEM TO DISBAND AND
"GO HOME AND SLEEP, THERE'S WORK TOMORROW, "
PETS RUNNING ALL OVER BARKING YUPPIE POODLES VS FASCIST PITBULLS, DEAD LITTLE DOGS, MORE SCREAMING, POLICE SHOOTING PITBULL, LOUD SARCASTIC YUPPIE YELLS OUT
" WAS THAT A BLACK GUY JUST GOT SHOT, "
LAUGHTER FROM YUPPIES, THEN LOUD GUNSHOT AND SCREAMING !!!!

When I said "take your pills" I meant it. Tooo much blood has been spilled in the name of the Wall Street robber barons and their global megabanks shit's gotta stop don't be part of the problem and join Antifa.

To Antifa: I am a passive type, and you are my hero. I need other people to do stuff for me.

Also, I think banks, employers and realtors are expressions of "white supremacy" and I don't know what capitalist social relations are.

Lots of people think that banks, realtors, etc are great ways to manifest institutional white supremacy. The smart ones think this because of considerable data that correlates quite strongly.

One of the classic examples: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redlining

Are you saying they're all wrong and this wikipedia page is a lie or … what? Are we "reifying" white supremacy by pointing out the mechanisms? Are you just an old school marxist who doesn't DO nuance?

To anon shit head. I am a passive type, all I can do is get into internet debates with other anons. I don't actually do anything except criticize other people who actually do things, and criticize people who support others who actually do things. My life is pathetic and I depend on my mom's iPad to post my pathetic comments.

Commies can only write essays. You roll up your sleeves and actually do the heavy lifting.

Hint, hint: read the last three paragraphs of the initial post above.

"We need a 21st century version of what the real IWW was at its best -- an anti-wage labor social movement of the wage earning class"

Omigod... classist democratic bullshit right there. It's like... Viva la yuppie revolucion all the way to your next gentrified neighborhood.

So basically the lumpen are not needed, as they're probably class enemies or something.

The OG wobblies were pretty lumpen, from what I've read.

jobless and street people aren't part of that category. I get that this anti-work (i.e. general strike) movement used to be dangerous for the State, but that was more than 100 years ago, in a very different America. The past, especially such distant past, is just imagined by now. All of you should read Camatte and think for a moment.

Read Camatte, then chuck him, and read the Situationists and Dauve instead -- and then act on what you've read, in a variety of credible, real world, sustained social contexts. The decline and fall of the United States is actually fairly advanced at this point. It is time to retool in a big way.

read uh DAB

read this, from page 115 onwards
http://sfbay-anarchists.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/bastardchronicles...

then fall asleep on your chair and drool a bit

then wonder why you live like this

Social war?? Seriously??

Hahahaahahahahahahahahah hahahahaahah Hahahahahahaa "social war" Hahaha Bahahahahahaahahahaaaa!!!

that's their point

Sure, its dumb, don't gloat ;)

Bastard stuff: I do so love gaseous philosophizing by terminally disengaged duds inside a hermetically sealed subcultural echo chamber.

as opposed to what or who?

"as opposed to" anarcho discussions or theory that got a feedback with real-world praxis and events. For instance: French anarchos.

See last three paragraphs of the original post above. Is that clear enough? Need more help here?

Calling for mass strikes? ROTFLMAO! Good luck with that.

Fuck off

STRIKING SO FUCKING 20TH CENTURY AWKWARD LOW IQ ANALYSIS STUFF In the context of Western cognitive abilities ;)

For the lawman, at the basic libidinal and visceral level, alt/right are about helping poor people, speeding up the social mechanisms to JUST GET THINGS DONE !!! and AntiFa are about serving the interests of upper mobile self-righteous smug demographic populations and SLOWING DOWN THESE SAME MECHANISMS WHICH PROVIDE SERVICES BY SQUEEZING CAPITALIST ACCOUNTABILITIES.!!!

Layman NOT lawman, although the layman is the lawman by proxy.

Agreed, also, their leftist masters became serious and violent, they took all the fun and laughs out of anarchy, they made it a boring ideological code of conduct. Curse the leftist antifa extremists!!
Its a no brainer!!

As a real world alternative to irrelevant stuff...

Since the early 1990's, actions in the San Francisco Bay Area around mass transit, described here,

https://libcom.org/library/anti-capitalist-actions-around-mass-transit-s...

the initial impetus behind this,

http://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=MUNI_Wildcat_Fare_Strike_of_2005

http://lust-for-life.org/Lust-For-Life/_Textual/KevinKeating_LoveAndTrea...

Efforts to disseminate this among US military personnel,

https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/10/g-i-resistance-to-the-vietnam-war/

and the anti-gentrification Mission Yuppie Eradication Project,

https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/the-artist-formerly-known-as-nes...

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/justinesharrock/san-franciscos-last...

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Battle-Over-Gentrification-Gets-Ugly...

have been part of an ongoing effort to establish a new kind of anti-state/anti-market, autonomous class struggle praxis among mainstream working people in the contemporary United States.

1. These efforts take place "on the terrain of everyday life" of the wage-earning class, where we confront what market relations do to our lives, and where the market system's antagonism to human needs gives rise to the possibility of an organized, conscious, mass collective response. These efforts have not been directed towards the left-liberal protest ghetto, or toward academic, anarchist or self-styled Marxist subcultures.

2. Mass collective class struggle includes the fight against the boss in the workplace, but is not limited to the workplace.

3. The methods used to help create a new politics of working class resistance to capital and it's political apparatus have to be qualitatively different from the politics of the left. In all its statist, populist and directly democratic flavors the left is simply the left-wing of capital.

4. Authentic enemies of capitalism in the 21st century cannot use strategies, tactics or communication methods used by pro-wage labor leftists in the 20th century.

5. The armed forces are themselves vulnerable to social forces at work in the larger society that spawns them. Revolt in civilian society bleeds through the apparent hermetic separation of the military from mainstream civilian life into the ranks of enlisted people. The relationship between officers and enlisted people mirrors the relationship between bosses and employees, and similar dynamics of class conflict emerge in the military and civilian versions of the workplace.

6. With the virtual disappearance of the conventional left, and the accelerating decline of the United States as a world power, the way is now open for the creation of a new type of autonomous working class oppositional praxis. We can borrow from the best insights of authentic revolutionary working class tendencies in the past. We can use these insights as a point of departure, but not as an end-point. Anarcho-syndicalism and council communism were both useful in their day. That day has passed. Everything has to be recreated from scratch.

Efforts like the ones around mass transit described in the articles above have a much greater future subversive potential than the Mission District anti-gentrification efforts of the late 1990's. They have the potential to directly involve a larger number of working people over an entire urban area, and under the right circumstances these actions can also have a "bleed-through" effect, spreading resistance in other areas of contemporary life.

What's being examined here is mostly a method of communication. These methods can be a template for similar anti-state/anti-capitalist proletarian actions elsewhere, including but not limited to fights around housing, social space and against austerity measures targeting employees and passengers of mass transit systems.

Good comment a few of the links didn't work but ok, try all-caps.

Sorry about some of those links not working.

Try these:

Anti-Capitalist Actions Around Mass Transit:

https://libcom.org/library/anti-capitalist-actions-around-mass-transit-s...

FARE STRIKE! San Francisco 2005: First-Hand Accounts
The leftist recuperators version of events

http://lust-for-life.org/Lust-For-Life/_Textual/KevinKeating_LoveAndTrea...

A Critique of San Francisco's Mission Yuppie Eradication Project

http://www.metamute.org/community/your-posts/san-franciscos-mission-yupp...

You're like the retarded version of Bob Black at best who's a Marxoid Commie instead.

There is something to bringing back pre-ww1 radical modes but not the way you suggest. You need new radicalism that rejects the materialist conception of history and gets to deeper psychological motivations. Here's a hint, if you really want to get to the heart of what makes this power mode run focus on the knowledge discoursive bloc NOT the economic production one. Things like undermining college and university as well as(and this is tricky) affecting the 11-17 group of humanity so that they avoid droning into civilized psychological adulthood.

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