Announcement of the Revolutionary Mental Health Program

“Our cadres must show concern for every soldier, and all people in the revolutionary ranks must care for each other, must love and help each other.”

– Mao Zedong, “Serve the People”

In an attempt to determine a starting point from which real revolutionary organizing could take place at UT Austin, we spent our first months as an organization investigating and analyzing many of the problems that students faced on our campus. After a number of interactions with fellow students, it became apparent to us that the university’s existing healthcare structures were failing to meet the mental health needs of our fellow students. The personal experiences of a number of our members further affirmed this fact.

As a revolutionary organization, RSF holds that our role is not to simply make demands from the University, an institution that we know cares only about profits and not its students. Rather, we must build alternative institutions that are run by and for students themselves.

As such, we are officially announcing the launch of our Revolutionary Mental Health Program. The RMHP’s aims are to lend emotional and social support to its participants and to offer a political understanding of mental health and its relationship to capitalism. Because the program is still in an embryonic stage, we are calling for the help of those with experience in the mental health industry to assist in its growth and development. In addition to describing the program itself and the process by which we deemed it necessary, this document outlines a preliminary theoretical understanding of the relationships between capitalism, alienation, and illness. These relationships are too complex to describe in a document as brief as this one, as they are also mediated by structures like heteropatriarchy and white supremacy. We hope to explore these more complicated interactions in depth in future documents.

The RMHP program

Though we are not ourselves licensed psychiatrists or therapists, we understand that capitalism has not, does not, and will never create whole and healthy people. Thus, lending social and emotional support to our comrades and to our fellow students is a central aspect of a successful fight against mental illness and against capitalism.

The RMHP hopes to provide a group environment in which participants feel validated, safe, and supported within a community of people that understands or is committed to understanding the problems that they face in their everyday lives. By providing participants with a consistent and supportive community of comrades who care deeply about one another, we hope to combat the alienation that we students face as a result of being at a university as enormous as UT.

Additionally, we aim to further the political understanding of the our fellow students by tackling the question of why there exists so little emotional connection in a society full of so much wealth. Exploring this question will necessary lead us to the conclusion that we must organize, and organize along explicitly anti-capitalist lines, to bring an end to this system.

Overall, RSF’s Revolutionary Mental Health Program hopes to serve as a base of student power that can address the immediate social and emotional needs of our fellow needs and offer a revolutionary understanding of society. In so doing, we hope to help create healthier individuals and stronger organizers who can continue to build bases of student power in other aspects of student life.

That said, this program is still in its very beginning stages, limited to small trial groups that we are administering and participating in with the aim of arriving at a better grasp of how to undertake this endeavor. We are currently working with several graduate students with experience in social work, therapy, and psychology, who are guiding our group sessions and ensuring that they work smoothly. However, while an overwhelming amount of people have expressed interest in participating and leading the program, we currently lack the resources with which to accommodate such a large demand.

This being the case, we are calling for all who know how to facilitate or are interested in learning to facilitate group therapy sessions to reach out to us in order to develop the program such that we’re able to serve an increasingly large section of our student body. Our Revolutionary Mental Health Program has a lot of room to grow, but we hope that it forms one of the many bases of student power necessary to make the University of Texas into a people’s university.

The mass line and conditions of UT

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At the heart of the way that the Revolutionary Student Front works is a method of organizing called the “mass line,” which may be summed up by the slogan of “from the people, to the people.” The mass line guides what kind of work a revolutionary group carries out and how they do it. It states that revolutionary organizers must develop solutions to the social problems that oppressed communities themselves express concerns about, and base these solutions on the ideas that these communities themselves devise. The mass line protects against missionary forms of organizing, in which organizers impose solutions to the problems that they subjectively deem most pressing.

However, because we are revolutionaries and our goal is to win people over to a revolutionary perspective, we must go beyond simple charity work. In addition to meeting people’s needs, our methods of addressing these social problems must do so in a way that offers a more clear political understanding of these needs and why they remain unmet within this system. Creating a program or campaign that can achieve both of these goals is necessary for advancing revolution, for working this way ensures that we are making revolutionary theory relevant to people’s everyday lives. Revolutionary organizers aim to develop programs that the community that they serve may take up as its own. If the proposed program fails to gain traction, organizers must go back to the drawing board and discard any unnecessary aspects as needed. Should the program truly meet the needs of the people and succeed, it will form a new basis of community power and autonomy, functioning as a spark for the development of other types of grassroots institutions.

Keeping the method of the mass line at the forefront of our practice, we began conducting our social investigation in the fall of 2016. We tabled, held town halls and conducted regular meetings in order to talk to fellow students about the problems that they faced in their daily lives. We saw many recurring themes in our conversations with fellow students, including the issues of tuition increases, the increasing cost of student housing, lack of transportation services for commuting students, and finally, a notable lack in the quality, availability, and depth of UT’s mental health and counseling services. Many of the folks that we spoke to said that they had experienced absurdly long wait times, dismissive therapists and counselors, and services that, at best, worked to solve problems only superficially. Furthermore, for students whose conditions necessitated extensive time in counseling, the cost of mental health care — beyond the handful of free sessions that the CMHC offers students — prevented them from continuing their treatment.

According the Center for Disease Control, in 2014, suicide was the second leading cause of death among people in the 10-14, 15-24, and 25-34 age groups. Lack of public resources, social stability, and funding drives thousands of youths to suicide each year, and afflicts millions more. According to UT’s Center for Mental Health and Counseling, 18 percent of undergraduate students have seriously considered suicide during their time at college, and 8 percent of undergraduate students have attempted suicide. The fact that nearly one in every ten students at UT has attempted suicide speaks volumes about the dismal state of our mental health resources here on campus. The rising rate of people of all age groups suffering from mental illnesses also sheds light on an uncomfortable truth about life under capitalism. In order to build a world free from mental illness and social isolation, we must understand how capitalism produces these disconcerting ways of life.

Capitalism, alienation, and illness

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As humans, we are social beings that live in a social world that is produced by our labor in relationships with other people. It follows that the nature of these relationships are conditioned by a dominant social structure and the social relations that this structure necessitates. In order to understand the conditions from which mental illness arises, we must examine the way that capitalism as a political, economic, and social system structures our interactions with one another. To do so, we must take a look into the way that we create the goods that fulfill human needs in a capitalist system.

Capitalist society is divided into two primary classes: the worker, who has nothing to sell but their ability to work, and the capitalist, who owns the tools or instruments necessary for the production of a good. While the worker relies on their ability to work for survival, the capitalist depends on the worker’s labor for the production of goods, the profit of which allows the capitalist to expand their enterprise. The market, which requires competition between capitalists, forces individual capitalists to engage in a constant process of expansion and accumulation.

Despite the fact that the worker performs the labor necessary to produce goods, the capitalist’s ownership over the instruments necessary to make those goods allows the capitalist to claim legal ownership over them at the end of the production process. The worker is then given a wage in exchange for their labor. This wage, however, is not representative of the value of the product that the worker creates with their labor; rather, it is constricted such that it covers only the monetary value necessary for workers to keep coming back to work. That is, the capitalist pays the worker only enough money to cover food, housing, a limited amount of education, etc. This is how the capitalist makes a profit.

As such, while the relationship between the worker and the capitalist appears on the surface as a voluntary exchange, the relationship between capitalists and workers is fundamentally exploitative. The worker is forced to participate as a merely mechanical cog in a production process that is not of their choosing, in order to produce a commodity that they don’t own, for profit that they do not have access to. The entire process of production takes the appearance of decisions made by a force entirely foreign and alien to the workers, disconnecting them from their own essence as creative and free human beings. Additionally, since workers are not producing for the real needs of other human beings, but for the need of the capitalist to accumulate profits, they are alienated from realizing themselves as part of a complex, cooperative social system where their work provides for others and the work of others provide for them.This set of conditions is what Marx calls alienation.

The relationships between capitalist and worker, and between worker the production process, lead to a generalized condition in which workers produce only to survive, and survive only to produce. These relationships, which we are forced to participate in in order to survive, structures our relationships with other people, be it with the capitalist that forces us into this relationship, or with our fellow workers, with whom we must compete with in our struggle for survival. Capitalism, then, necessitates a culture of hyper-individualism and an atomistic relationship to the world around us. Its requirement for the profit that we create negates our needs for a whole and healthy life, for meaningful and productive relationships with the people around us.

It’s no wonder, then, that our society is rife with depression, anxiety, and various other mental health disorders.

Mental illness, deprivation, and categorization

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In addition to this basis of alienation, capitalism leaves workers with the bare minimum, if even that, to survive on. Marx notes in “Wage Labor and Capital” that “the price paid for labor is equal to the amount of labor needed to (1) keep the laborer alive, (2) train the laborer, and (3) create new laborers, that is, support the worker’s family so more workers can be created.” Nothing more. So contrary to what people will say, capitalism is not a meritocracy where people are paid according to their contribution, but are paid only enough to keep themselves barely alive and functioning. But as we know, capitalism is often unable to provide us with a “livable wage”, leaving nearly 20 million people to die from hunger and preventable illness every year. For those who do manage to survive, life is a constant economic conflict. The meager wages that we are forced accept in exchange for our labor is rarely enough to pay for housing, to pay for the enormous cost of healthcare, and to keep up with student loan payments. Simply living our day-to-day lives is a heavy economic burden that our wages are only seldom able to pay for.

Consequently, working-class students and working-class people live in a constant state of economic precarity, often fueling feelings of hopelessness and despair. In addition to these conditions, the narrative of the “American dream” fuels the idea of a non-existent “meritocracy” — that if you work hard enough, you can become rich beyond your wildest dreams. As a result, those that struggle to make ends meet on a regular basis are encouraged to think of themselves as failures and of their problems as a result of their own faults. This ideology prompts working-class people to look inwardly for a cause of their suffering, instead of looking outwardly at the society that not only allows for their misery, but depends on it.

The only cure for abjection in a capitalist system is to sell one’s labor to whomever will buy it. Capitalism has never, does not, and will never view the workers upon which it depends as anything but sources of potential profit.

Furthermore, the degree to which society categorizes, stigmatizes, and deems mental health disorders “illnesses” to begin with depends on the degree to which the individuals who live with these disorders are capable of generating profit. The more a given mental health disorder prevents a person from engaging in production for profit, the more seriously the disorder is stigmatized and treated as a serious affliction. For example, Narcissistic Personality Disorder — a serious condition that often causes serious harm to those afflicted with it and their loved ones — runs rampant among corporate CEOs, who habitually disregard the needs of their workers in the name of personal gain and profit. In fact, it has been proven that corporate CEOs with narcissistic personalities actually make higher profits than their non-narcissistic counterparts. As a result, despite the detrimental effects that NPD wreaks upon one’s interpersonal relationships, its ability to encourage competitive and profitable activity renders it a disorder unworthy of research funding. Finding a solution to NPD is deemed unimportant and not a priority.

By contrast, because depression often leads to high employee turnover and poor performance in the workplace, depression is stigmatized as a condition that requires an immediate solution. Hence physicians’ willingness to prescribe pharmaceuticals for the sake of resolving these issues as soon as possible, providing a superficial and individualized solution to a problem that is structured and determined by society writ large. If a disorder renders workers unable to make it to the workplace to make profit for the capitalists that buy and depend on their labor, its treatment is considered an immediate priority.

Capitalism forces workers into conditions that render mental illness almost inevitable ,while also creating the paradigm through which mental illnesses are perceived, treated, and accepted as illnesses at all.

We do not, of course, attribute every form of mental illness to capitalism or to capitalist socialist relations. While several forms of mental illness stem from actual physiological imbalances, the capitalist social relations that structure our lives force those who deal with such imbalances into impossible conditions. In addition to the alienation, the depravity, and the stigma that capitalism wreaks upon the lives of those with genuine physiological imbalances, those who suffer from such disorders must also deal with an economic system that refuses to offer them treatment unless they are capable of paying enormous medical fees. If a pill can’t fix it, then only outrageous amounts of money will.

Breaking the chains and turning illness into a weapon

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Of course, it’s not enough to accept these conditions as a matter of fact. It’s not enough to come to the conclusion that capitalism creates emotional and social deprivation. It is the responsibility of those that are oppressed by this system and understand its conditions to use revolutionary theory and to engage in revolutionary organizing in order to change these conditions. In order to destroy this deceased system, those who realize that another world is possible and necessary must act to make that world a reality.

This situation, however, presents its own particular contradiction: How can organizers go out create institutions of people power if they themselves are downtrodden by these alienating and oppressive conditions? In order to solve this contradiction as part of the broader political struggle against capitalism, it’s necessary to fight against the oppressive conditions of mental health under capitalism. We can only build a world without social alienation by propagating revolution, and we cannot propagate revolution without actively overcoming the oppressive mental health conditions that we are faced with.

Our use of the mass line and our understanding of mental health struggles under capitalism lead us to the conclusion that we must form our own solution to this problem. Though we clearly think that UT’s Center for Mental Health Services ought to have more counselors, more therapists, shorter wait times, and a wider range of programs at its disposal, we also know that we cannot depend on these structures of power to meet our needs. As part of the capitalist system, UT’s administration will always place the prospect of profit before the needs of its students and its workers no matter how much we petition or plead.

While we hope to pressure the University to provide more resources for students struggling with their mental health, the primary aspect of the RMHP lies in building an institution that works on a basis that is fundamentally different from that of the University – on that of the needs of people and not of profit. RSF is looking forward to what the RMHP can bring for our fellow students and for the revolutionary movement at UT, and hopes that, with the participation of our fellow students, we may advance our understanding of how to create a better campus and a better world.

Build the RMHP, build student power, build revolution!

Revolutionary Student Front – Austin

May Day 2017 – Fight ICE with FIRE!

image1On May 1, International Worker’s Day, we ask our fellow students to gather in downtown Austin at the intersection of 4th and Guadalupe Street at 6:00 PM as we protest the exploitative conditions enforced by this country, the city of Austin and the University of Texas against workers, undocumented people, and the people of oppressed nations at home and abroad, as in Syria. Building a better world for the people means nothing short of revolutionary action in organizing both on and off the streets. People power finds its most clear expression through the militant anger that people bring to these actions and can serve to embolden future organizing as well as demonstrate to the powers that be what the consequences of their failure to act will result in. This May Day, we hope to boldly show the city of Austin and our university that we demand protection for undocumented people and action against white supremacist organizing in addition to highlighting the role that UT plays in pushing forward the interests of US imperialism.

President Fenves said previously that UT has no legal authority to become a sanctuary campus, and cited his support of DACA as proof that he has the interests of undocumented students in mind. But we know from the example of our city government that UT does not lack the authority – they’re just scared of losing state funding like Austin did after becoming a sanctuary city. UT continues to prioritize growth and profits over its students that are in actual danger. Any student can see that these priorities are fucked up as, most recently, more of our parking is slated for removal so that a new arena can be built. As a result more students have to park further away from campus for the sake of UT’s profits. Regularly across campus essential resources are taken from us to make the campus shiny, enticing, and profitable. UT is terrified to lose funding that students rarely, if ever, benefit from in the first place.

Fenves’s fake ass solidarity through bare minimum support of DACA is already insulting, to say the least, but he does not stop there. At the infamous February town hall hosted by Fenves and three other UT administrators, he was directly asked why Confederate monuments remain on campus. In an effort to score brownie points with those who had asked for its removal, he made sure to remind us that he aided in the taking down of a single statue before saying all the other racist statues were, for some reason, “part of the fabric of our campus.” This was met with shouts of anger from students, but he still has not taken back his statement. Later on, he was given the name of a confirmed white supremacist student and still failed to investigate the evidence. He is unapologetic for the ways he upholds the legacy of white supremacy that saturates campus and permits the racism of the students that attend UT.

UT has always been a safe space for racist white students, where they’re allowed to develop fascist ideologies with no pushback. Professors encourage abhorrent ideas to flow freely for the sake of debate, while racist, imperialist, and Confederate legacies are upheld and praised constantly. With the election and inauguration of Trump, campus racists have been emboldened, posting up propaganda from white nationalist groups like Identity Evropa and American Vanguard. They have explicitly encouraged reporting undocumented students and praised the Muslim ban. They recognize that UT is a ripe breeding ground for their fascist ideology, despite their overall pathetic attempts to organize sympathetic students.

We must also keep in mind that not only does UT not object to the open support of these awful ideologies, but is substantially and materially invested in imperialism and the class conditions that allow these ideas to flourish. Across campus the US military is uncritically praised and its acceptance is pushed onto students. In fact, UT is the second most militarized in the nation, and the consequences permeate every aspect of campus life, from our war criminal Chancellor to flashy, expensive advertising for every military speaker that comes to campus. Many schools are explicitly or implicitly invested in teaching students to become new pawns of the US war machine. Multiple Arab students report being told or suggested that their language programs weren’t really for them, and that they should prioritize teaching other students Arabic so they can become translators for the military or CIA. Further examples of the US military’s handle on UT can be found at utwatch.org. UT’s motivation, again, is money – in 2000 alone the Department of Defense gave over $73 million to fund pro military programs at UT. Despite administrators’ mild disapproval of Trump, the support for the military he now commands has sustained.

Meanwhile, Trump has continued bombing Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and has begun bombing Syria under the guise of “humanitarian aid.” We aren’t fooled by this, just as we weren’t fooled by his claims of focusing on America first and keeping out of other countries. International students, at risk due to the Muslim ban and these bombings, are being encouraged to remain in the US over breaks, to not risk refusal to re-enter. UT has no better response but to insist students should sacrifice home and family for their education in the US.

These are unacceptable conditions for students to live in. Undocumented, international, and immigrant students, along with all students of color, have been put in danger and often severely harmed by UT’s vested interest in imperialism, defense of its racist past, and refusal to investigate and punish racist students. Additionally, working class students continue to face the rising pressures of tuition, rent, campus accessibility, and the abysmal conditions of basic resources that universities should provide. RSF has, from its inception, set out to confront these conditions and to create real student power that can put lasting change into effect. We seek to stand in solidarity with each other as students and the working class on May Day. These issues cannot be solved with petitions, demands, or appeals to the humanity of our oppressors and their institutions – instead we must organize ourselves into a force to be reckoned with. Let’s show Austin our dedication and militancy this May Day by taking to the streets and spreading a message of solidarity with the working class and against all forces that seek to harm them!

https://www.facebook.com/events/177523636094994/?ti=icl

Rise Up Against Fascism on Inauguration Day!

UT students and workers, let’s stand up against fascism on Inauguration Day! On January 20th at noon, we’re going to skip classes and work, demonstrate in front of the UT Tower, and march around Austin. We don’t love Trump’s hate, we want to smash it! Come angry, and cover your face in case any fascists try to photograph you.

If you want to help with preparations, come to our J20 Sign & Banner-Making Party on the 18th from 5-8pm at 1905 Nueces St, or print up a few of these flyers and put them up around campus. The high resolution version is available here.

After the walkout on the 20th, there’s going to be an anti-fascist bloc meeting in front of the Long Center (701 Riverside Dr) at 5:30. We encourage everyone who can make it to come to both events.

DEATH TO FASCISM!
IF WE DON’T HIT IT, IT WON’T FALL!

Self-Criticism on the RSF Statement Regarding Freedom Road Socialist Organization [Fight Back!] (FRSO-FB)

In our December 8 summation of the anti-fascist action at A&M, we included some statements about FRSO-FB that were incorrect, reckless, and opportunistic. In the final paragraph of the statement, we erroneously claimed that a FRSO-FB member was a known rapist and the organization was silencing survivors, without investigating these very serious allegations sufficiently. In making this accusation, we went directly against a principle that every revolutionary should take to heart: if you don’t fully investigate a subject, you don’t have the right to speak on it. We made assumptions instead of seriously investigating the facts of the case and whether the member in question is guilty. Though FRSO-FB’s lack of transparency has severely clouded the matter, without knowing the facts for sure it was extremely reckless to call him a known rapist.

This recklessness doesn’t just hurt our credibility as an organization and that of other organizations close to us within the Austin left. It could also jeopardize the fight against predators on the left as a whole – which is crucial for revolution – by making other statements outing predators less credible. When we offer such claims without evidence and expect people to believe them anyway, we suggest that such an unscientific method, “just trust me,” is suitable instead of, or in addition to, a scientific approach. This approach of offering claims without evidence sets an example for a counterproductive and counterrevolutionary way of engaging with other organizations and attempting to understand the world. It is ultra-leftism, leftist in form and rightist in essence: while it may sound revolutionary, in fact it sets back the revolutionary struggle.

While we know that the other statements we made — regarding the importance of combating predators in the left and FRSO-FB’s unprincipled behavior in dealing with very serious accusations of sexual assault by their members, as well as their unprincipled responses to other sorts of criticism — are true, the inclusion of the paragraph about FRSO-FB in the statement was opportunistic. It had no relationship to the action at A&M and served no purpose other than posturing. Though they were present at the action, we didn’t have any struggle or interaction with them beyond merely occupying the same space, and it was not our intention to imply otherwise. However, our stance on FRSO-FB remains the same – we aren’t going to work with an organization that has continued to maintain a complete lack of transparency around rape allegations for several years, that promotes opportunism and reformism rather than revolution (as we’ve seen in their stance towards the anti-gentrification movement in Los Angeles), and that responds to criticisms by calling critics cops, wreckers, and liars – but as revolutionaries we need to deal with all situations and organizations in a principled and thorough way instead of an opportunistic and liberal one.

As we work towards revolution, it’s inevitable that we will make mistakes. The conscientious practice of self-criticism is important for our organization’s leadership. Just like a car must be continually maintained to remain a working car, revolutionaries must continually practice self-criticism to remain effective revolutionaries. The purpose of self-criticism is to identify the weaknesses and faults that an organization has succumbed to, and then address and correct them in a timely manner, so we can learn from past mistakes, recover, and avoid future ones. All revolutionary organizations that wish to overcome obstacles they face on the road to victory while maintaining unity and fighting capability must take self-criticism seriously in their practice. We’re making this self-criticism openly because we’re committed to being transparent and dealing with our mistakes openly rather than covering them up. We hope that in making this self-criticism, we will provide a means for not only our organization, but all groups that operate in the same way, to rectify or avoid making these same mistakes in the future.

Statement on the Anti-Fascist Action at A&M

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DPS pigs attacking anti-fascist students

When the Revolutionary Student Front heard that neo-Nazi Richard Spencer would be speaking at Texas A&M University on December 6, we immediately began planning to shut him down, reaching out to anti-fascists and organizing a carpool to College Station. Widely known for his “Heil Trump!” salute, Richard Spencer is trying to make fascism mainstream as the “respectable” face of the “alt-right.” Trump’s election has emboldened and legitimized fascists like Spencer and led to a surge of racist attacks, making the fight against fascism more important now than ever. We are completely committed to denying fascists any platform by any means necessary. Fascism cannot be stopped through debate or the ballot, only with the bullet. Hitler became Führer despite a majority of Germans voting for his liberal opponent Hindenburg. Nonviolent resistance didn’t stop the Nazis; what stopped the Nazis was the military victory of the Red Army. Never in history has fascism been defeated with love.

Taking part in the demonstration against Spencer were Austin anti-fascists from Revolutionary Student Front, Serve the People, Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism, Defend Our Hoodz, and Red Guards Austin, unaffiliated anarchists, and comrades from other cities including Dallas, San Marcos, and Houston, as well as unaffiliated A&M students and faculty. Members of Peaceful Streets Project were also present to film the police. We covered our faces in order to protect ourselves from police surveillance and fascist retaliation; fascists have often exposed anti-fascists to harassment and violence by publishing their names, pictures, addresses, jobs, and other personal information online. Even one unmasked person in a group can compromise others’ identities, which is why we encourage everyone to mask up.

Originally, we planned to attend the event and shut it down from the inside, chanting over Spencer to prevent him from being heard. But by the time we arrived, the event was full and security wasn’t letting anyone in without a wristband, something we didn’t anticipate. This was partially our fault; we needed to arrive early but failed to properly plan our action in advance and thus spent the time prior to the event planning. Additionally, all our contingency plans assumed that we could gain entry. While no plan can cover every possibility, this was a major oversight that had serious consequences.

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Who protects the Nazis? Pigs do, pigs do!

Unable to enter, we joined the demonstration that was moving inside the Memorial Student Center (MSC) where Spencer’s speech was being held. We led chants to push the demonstration in a more militant direction, like “No love for Nazis,” “Nazi Nazi Nazi! Out Out Out!” and “What’s better than one dead Nazi? Two dead Nazis! [repeat, counting up]” This demonstration gave many students an education they’ll never get in any classroom, showing the people who are their friends and who are their enemies. The Texas Department of Public Safety deployed lines of state troopers in riot gear, with helmets, shields, batons, and shotguns, in order to keep the Nazis safe from the public. Campus police, Bryan and College Station police, Brazos County sheriffs, and even the FBI were also present. We saw similar behavior from the pigs at the attempted Nazi-organized “White Lives Matter” rally in Austin last month, when the state and city deployed hundreds of riot cops, as well as helicopters, snipers, and mounted pigs, to protect only a dozen fascists. When fascists don’t feel safe from the wrath of the people without an army of pigs watching their back, and the state knows it, that’s a victory for us. To be attacked by the enemy is a good thing, not a bad thing, because it proves we’ve achieved a great deal in our work and drawn a line in the sand between us and the enemy.

Chants of “Who protects the fascists? PIGS DO, PIGS DO,” “Cops and Klan go hand in hand,” “The hate, the hate, the hate inside of me / All cops are bastards, ACAB,” and “OINK OINK, BANG BANG” echoed through the halls as the pigs pushed the people back with riot shields and nightsticks. Pigs gave one comrade a concussion and arrested two others (they have now been released). But it was not only the police that proved themselves to be enemies of the people. Liberals—those who believe capitalism should be reformed and not smashed—reacted with chants like “love not hate”. But we have absolutely no love for fascists, who want us dead and who see non-white people as subhuman and women as objects. We responded with chants like “no love for Nazis”; one liberal apparently didn’t love that, because she yelled “fuck you, bitch” at a comrade. Other liberals told us to take off our hats, as is the custom in MSC, though they didn’t seem to care about the helmets the riot squad was wearing. While the liberals showed themselves unwilling to take any action against fascism, they were eager to use force to help the pigs do their job of protecting white supremacy: some put their backs to the police line and helped them push us back, showing us which side they’re really on. This is not the first time we’ve seen behavior like this from “peaceful” liberals: at anti-Trump protests in Austin, while police were beating and arresting anti-fascists (breaking a comrade’s neck in two places), liberals cheered on the police and pointed out comrades to them for arrest.

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Anyone who is serious about fighting fascism needs to understand the threat posed by liberalism and how to combat it. There are politically advanced, intermediate, and backwards sections of the masses. Hardcore liberals, like the ones who helped the pigs push us back, are part of the backwards, and must be isolated. Any liberals who try bullshit like that should expect to be held accountable. However, the majority of the masses are intermediate; they know something’s wrong with the world but don’t know what to do about it. Our task is to show them that the solution is revolution. It’s important for revolutionaries to go to demonstrations, even liberal ones, and set an example for the masses with our militancy, organization, and courage. Liberals try to make a division between “respectable” protesters like them and “unrespectable” protesters like us, so that the “respectable” ones can get jobs and grants and the “unrespectable” ones can get concussions and jail time. Don’t allow liberals to form a separate bloc from militants or hold space uncontested, but join their bloc to move the action in a more radical direction. Bring a megaphone and/or get ahold of theirs. Chants like “FTP, fuck the police!” and “What’s better than six dead Nazis? Seven dead Nazis!” serve to draw a line in the sand between liberals and revolutionaries, causing some backwards liberals to leave while rallying the intermediate and advanced masses. Make sure to watch your back around liberals, because you can’t trust anyone who works with the cops.

Many errors stemmed from our failure to communicate effectively prior to and during the action. Though we were in touch with comrades from other cities before the action, we weren’t in communication with all of them, and we also failed to properly coordinate with them on the ground, making us less effective than we could have been. During the action, we had difficulty organizing a unified front, which resulted in us missing a critical opportunity to potentially press through near the ballroom door prior to the arrival of riot cops. We also didn’t designate a comrade to make on-the-spot decisions, which led to our bloc splitting up at some points instead of staying together. For future actions, we want to have a point person who can make such decisions for the group, as well as a designated communications person who is responsible for staying in touch with other comrades. When the riot cops (aided by the liberals) tried to box us in, we panicked and made a disorderly retreat down the stairs and outside the building, hindered by our lack of a command structure. After we realized that we left a comrade behind in the confusion, some of us split up and went back upstairs to make sure they were safe, which they were. After that, we erroneously decided to leave campus and head home, partially out of fatigue (some of us were tired and thirsty, something we should have prepared for better) and partially out of panic and fear, when we should have re-joined the demonstration, which was still going on. We hope to learn from these errors and improve, and we are discussing them publicly so that other comrades can also learn and avoid making the same errors themselves.

[This last paragraph was removed for reasons which will be make clear in a forthcoming statement by RSF]

March to Defend the UT Antifa 3

On Thursday, November 17, the Revolutionary Student Front organized a march around the University of Texas campus to demand that the University of Texas Police Department drop all the unjust charges against the UT Antifa 3. The UT Antifa 3 are community members who were wrongfully arrested and charged with felony vandalism for allegedly painting over Celtic crosses outside the Blanton Museum of Art, located on campus. The administration had allowed these neo-Nazi symbols to stay up outside the Blanton since February, despite knowing about it soon after it went up, while they were able to remove “Black LIves Matter” graffiti from Confederate monuments within hours. Their willful inaction in addressing the threat of white supremacist hate is unacceptable, but unsurprising given the racist history of the institution and the way in which hate crimes continue to be handled at the university.

Dozens of students and workers, from groups including RSF, Students For a Stateless Society, Palestine Solidarity Committee, Serve the People, Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism, and International Socialist Organization, as well as some students unaffiliated with any group, demonstrated their anger at the UT administration’s continued accommodation of racism. The march started off campus near Dobie Mall and continued around campus and nearby streets for more than an hour, stopping at vital intersections and delaying traffic on major roads such as Guadalupe Street and MLK as large crowds watched. The pigs showed up in force, from campus, city, and state police departments; officers were watching the site even before any demonstrators arrived. Demonstrators passed out hundreds of informational leaflets on the UT Antifa 3 and why the march was being held to onlookers. Those who were initially confused at the sight of the protest quickly became indignant when they learned about UT’s actions in repressing those who dared to struggle against fascism. Though the crowd was relatively small, they had a large impact in terms of causing disruption and spreading the word about the case. This action reflects the growing wave of radical student activity appearing at UT, and we hope it will inspire students who want to take action against a university bureaucracy that doesn’t care about their needs or their safety.

The university has now covered the Celtic crosses and hired a contractor to remove them completely, but they only did this after anti-fascists took the initiative to paint over it themselves. A spokesperson for the administration tried to excuse their inaction, saying they tried to remove the graffiti the day it was noticed, but failed to remove it completely. This begs the question: after their first attempt to remove the graffiti failed, why did they just leave it at that? Why were they content with Nazi graffiti staying on campus in any form? The answer is that the UT administration doesn’t give a fuck about the oppressed students and workers who are threatened by Nazis. This was the same UT administration that didn’t punish organizations like Young Conservatives of Texas or the Fiji fraternity for holding racist events, that didn’t arrest anyone for attacking black and brown students with bleach bombs, and that let racists who threw bottles at a black student while shouting the N-word get off with just misdemeanor charges and a one-semester suspension.

The Revolutionary Student Front is uncompromising on our principle: NO PLATFORM FOR FASCISTS! We do not believe that anyone who spreads rhetoric that attacks and dehumanizes and terrorizes oppressed people should have any right to free speech. We are committed to preventing fascists from organizing and spreading their hateful ideology on campus by any means necessary. But it is impossible for a capitalist institution rooted in white supremacy like UT to say the same. A legacy of racism adorns the halls of the entire university, from Confederate monuments to buildings named after notorious racists like Robert Lee Moore, who once told a black student seeking to take his class, “You start with a C and can only go down from there.” The university depends on donations from rich bigots; this was why they dragged their feet as long as they could before removing the statute of Confederate president and slaveowner Jefferson Davis. And they are too committed to ruling-class ideas of “free speech” to crack down on hate speech. White supremacy has been part of UT’s institutional character since its founding, and it cannot be reformed out of existence. It must be destroyed, and we encourage all students and community members to be militant and persistent in this endeavor.

The UT Pig Department has not yet produced any evidence that the UT Antifa 3 are guilty of anything. This is because the three are completely innocent of every charge against them. Removing racist graffiti is an act of service to the people, not a crime. The 3 should not be facing prison time! There is only one right thing for UT to do: DROP ALL THE CHARGES!

DEFEND THE UT ANTIFA 3!
DEATH TO FASCISM!
IT IS RIGHT TO REBEL!

Donate to defend the UT Antifa 3 and other victims of state repression: https://www.youcaring.com/austinantifa-679908

11/9 Anti-Trump Protest

As you are all aware, on November 8th, 2016, Donald Trump, the far-right’s ideal candidate, was elected President of the United States of AmeriKKKa. For four years, this bumbling right-wing populist will have the ability to empower a fascist movement that is gaining momentum at an alarming rate. The power of the far-right, both in our political institutions and in the streets, is growing. We cannot deny this fact.

Make no mistake: Trump’s nomination did not take place in a vacuum, and his fascist ideology did not fall from the sky. His campaign did not spontaneously cause today’s surge in white nationalist and white supremacist movements. Instead, it represented the manifestation of these reactionary ideologies that are rooted in the foundations of this country. Despite his ability to encourage these groups to feel emboldened in actively publicizing their toxic ideas, Donald Trump must be viewed as a symptom and not a primary cause. The global rise in right-wing and fascist populism that was already underway before his election, both inside and outside the realms of the State, would have undoubtedly marched forward under a Clinton presidency. Without a question, it is the neoliberal policies that every Democrat will always put into place that have bred deep bitterness among working class, many of whose white sections have now turned to Trump. Fascism cannot be and has never been defeated by a vote, and any belief that a vote for Clinton would have stopped their movement is a false hope. Though Trump is but one person within the enormous system of the capitalist State, events that have occurred in the wake of his election have given a glimpse of what is to come.

In order to defeat fascism, we must understand its fundamental aspects and its origins. Though fascism comes in various forms and varies according to the conditions of countries it takes root in, there are some parts of it which are universal. Simply, the appearance of fascism represents a capitalist-imperialist country in crisis. Though it finds support in a mass base of the working class, it springs from one section of the ruling class which is in conflict with another section. Clinton represents one part of this ruling class who wishes to maintain the consistency of liberal democracy and is a reliable choice for the continuation of capitalism-imperialism on the exact same trajectory. Trump represents the opposing faction, who scares large parts of the ruling class far more due to the volatility and instability that it presents for the ruling class as a whole. With the victory of fascism over typical capitalist democracy, the hidden dictatorship of the ruling class becomes an open, terroristic one that reveals the true nature of the State in relation to maintaining capitalism.

The only way fascism, like every political movement, comes to power is by finding a supporting base within the masses of a country. Fascism, in complete opposition to how the Revolutionary Student Front operates with the practice of the mass line, seeks to consolidate the backwards masses, win over the intermediate, and isolate or exterminate the advanced, i.e. the revolutionaries. In contrast to the prevailing liberal narratives of Trump’s support coming from poor, uneducated people, the truth is that his support comes in large part from the white middle class and not the working class. From data obtained by the Census Bureau during the primaries, it was determined that the typical Trump supporter has a median household income of $72,000. Fascist movements have always loved mythology and the creation of stories surrounding “native” historical traditions. The story at the center of the Trump presidency has been one where whites have been portrayed as the truly suffering class of people in the US. There is, of course, a kernel of truth to this – white working-class people do in fact suffer from the processes that capitalism imposes upon the people. In addressing the real grievances of these groups, fascism offers a short-sighted solution to their problems, promoting violence and hatred against oppressed people so that whites can regain their lost valor. Fascism confuses the white working class and leads them away from the realization that working class unity between all people of the world is actually in their long-term interest.

Yesterday, over 400 LGBTQ activists, Palestinian activists, undocumented activists, communists, anarchists, and students without any formal political affiliation gathered in the Main Mall of UT to express their outrage at the prospect of a fascist head of state. From 11 AM to 5 PM, huge numbers of students skipped their classes to unite in chants that rung throughout the 40 Acres. Students, faculty, and community members took turns speaking before the crowd, and Trump-supporting passers-by were promptly silenced by the power of the crowd.

After spending a good amount of time on campus, the protesters elected to make their voices heard where it counts: in the streets. They marched south down Guadalupe, snaking their way through the streets, confounding the ability of cops to coordinate their route for them. Eventually, they made their way to the First Street Bridge, which was briefly occupied before moving to occupy the Congress Bridge. Afterwards, the group returned to the University, pointing out the various buildings and monuments which uphold The University of Texas as an institution of white supremacy.

At various points throughout the march, which was heavily policed as usual, small groups of protesters spewed pig-sympathizing chants in support of the Austin Police Department. Individuals thanked them for “protecting us”, while it’s actually the case that it would have been safer without their presence. When revolutionary comrades chanted “F.T.P., Fuck the Police,” they responded with booing and insisting, “That’s not what we’re about!” We must be absolutely clear on this fact: pigs form an institution borne from white supremacy and capitalist coercive force at the countrywide level, a function that they still serve today and is displayed in a stark and tragic light on a daily basis with the normalized extra-judicial murders of black and brown people throughout the country. Recall that the Fraternal Order of Police, the pigs’ largest union, endorsed Donald Trump. The repression of the police will only increase under fascist rule; revolutionaries must always struggle against liberalism in highlighting the true nature of the police. On the local level, recall the photo that APD Police Chief Art Acevedo took with our fascist president-elect, both all smiles and with thumbs up. Recall the hordes of pigs that protected said fascist from militant protesters on the day that he visited Austin. The truth is clear: cops and Klan go hand in hand.

When reactionary Trump supporters wanted to confront protestors face to face and undaunted protestors responded in kind, liberals pulled away the protestors, moving forward with chants like “We are peaceful!” As Malcolm X said, “It is criminal to teach a [person] not to defend [themselves], when [they] are the constant victims of brutal attack.” Though liberals are correct about the violent, repressive nature of Trump and the coming of fascism, they hold to their sacred ideas of non-violence as a method of confronting a movement of violence. They have yet to come to grips with the fact that when against an enemy who is unafraid to use violence, all of that non-violence shit will get you killed. The liberal is quicker to hug a cop than they are to deny the fascist their platform, which they desperately desire to spread their ideology. Our comrades in Red Guards Austin are correct to point out that liberalism is the left wing of fascism, and is not to be trusted. As revolutionaries who fight to defend oppressed people from the brutal attacks that will happen under a fascist US, we encourage all leftists to organize on the basis of both armed and unarmed self-defense to prepare for violence when we are inevitably confronted with it. Living under fascism, the “We are peaceful!” garbage has got to go. We will put our fists up and we will fight back. We will not exclaim, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” We will instead proclaim, “Arms up, shoot back!”

We must be clear on what exactly liberalism is – a leftist and a liberal are not the same. Liberalism serves to fulfill the futile task of reforming capitalism, an inherently violent system. Liberals are not revolutionary and revolutionaries are not liberals. Liberalism has no place in the anti-fascist movement at home or abroad if we are to capably fight a fascist movement. By its nature, liberalism is an ideology that not only leaves the fundamental contradictions that enable fascist movements to arise, but also allows for and in fact lends a platform to fascist ideology. Only truly revolutionary methods of struggle can defend the people from the onslaught of violence that fascism brings. Only revolutionary organization and propaganda is capable of answering the questions of the misguided masses that have been fooled into supporting fascism. And only revolutionary methods of work will ensure that we are able to secure an anti-fascist base among the masses to fight against the rise of the reactionaries in our country. Only revolutionaries can win the fight against fascism!

On a local level, dedicated revolutionaries were already struggling against fascism and white supremacy on campus, in the neighborhoods, and in the courts. The local manifestation of this dangerous ideology currently has taken the form of white supremacist graffiti on campus, where the struggle to remove this symbol resulted in false and hypocritical charges being raised against three anti-fascists. It has taken the form of gentrification and urban displacement happening in the historically Chicanx community of East Austin, where the struggles against the scabs of the Blue Cat Café resulted in the support of Alex Jones and his virulently racist following. The struggle between the rising fascist forces and the anti-fascists will become sharper and more widespread both in Austin and on a national level. It is our duty to organize and prepare adequately to fight this fascist threat for the sake of all oppressed people. We must be daring in our struggles, and we must be committed to victory. Anything less is unacceptable.

ALL REACTIONARIES ARE PAPER TIGERS!

DEATH TO FASCISM!

IF WE DO NOT HIT IT, IT WILL NOT FALL!