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]

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!

Official Statement on the UT Antifa 3

On Wednesday, October 26, 2016, the University of Texas Police Department arrested three Austin anti-fascists after a group of anti-fascist students cleaned up racist graffiti outside of the Blanton Museum of Art. The Celtic cross, a widely known white supremacist symbol, had been painted on a column outside the museum in early February, and was previously accompanied by a white supremacist slogan on the building. After eight months of inaction by UT’s administration, students decided they’d had enough and took matters into their own hands by removing the hate symbol themselves.

When someone spray-painted “Black Lives Matter” on Confederate monuments in the South Mall of campus on February 10 of this year, the university washed it off within hours. Every movement for black liberation is accompanied by an opposing white reaction, and only 12 days later, UTPD discovered white supremacist slogans and Celtic crosses spray-painted outside of the Blanton. The Celtic cross, originally an ancient Irish symbol, was taken up by Norwegian Nazis during World War II and is now popular worldwide among neo-Nazis, racist skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members, and many other white supremacist movements. The university removed the slogans, but over eight months later, the white power symbols were still there.

After seeing the symbol on campus just over a month ago, the Revolutionary Student Front spread the word about this egregious symbol of racist violence at UT as part of our ongoing anti-fascist campaign. For the safety of our fellow students, we immediately created anti-fascist and anti-racist propaganda to alert the student body about the appalling displays of white supremacy that we found on and around campus. Many students responded with a mix of disgust, confusion, and embarrassment: How could the university let this happen? Why have they taken so long to take any action? I thought UT was supposed to be a progressive place, how could this happen here?

In response to the anger and frustration of the student body, RSF moved quickly to organize an Anti-Racist & Anti-Fascist Town Hall meeting. Over 40 students attended to share their ideas on how we as students could organize to fight white supremacy, since the administration clearly wasn’t doing it. By the end of the meeting, one of the clearest goals of the students in attendance was for the Blanton graffiti to be removed immediately. Long before the meeting was held, one person stated that they’d contacted UT’s Campus Climate Response Team, which is in charge of handling any incidents of bigotry on campus, and by this point had yet to see any action taken. In the face of such contemptible inaction, students began formulating plans for solving the problem themselves.

On Wednesday, October 26, 2016, a group of anti-fascists took up RSF’s call for action and organized to do what the administration wouldn’t. Over 15 anti-fascists, including students and community members, gathered outside the Blanton Museum. The Celtic crosses were painted over while a speech was given explaining the necessity and urgency of the action. Afterward, a large poster was taped over the paint, which read: “Anti-racist students posted this here to cover white supremacist graffiti which the university has ignored for eight months.”

Shortly after, UTPD arrested three community members who played no role in any of the painting for allegedly vandalizing UT property. Without any evidence, the pigs charged the UT Antifa 3 with felony vandalism and set their bail at $20,000 each. But earlier this year, when five students in Arlington faced felony vandalism charges for spray-painting “whites only” at their high school, their bail was set to only $2,500 each. This disproportionate treatment illustrates, plain as day, the white supremacist character of our so-called justice system.

Immediately after the arrests were made, fellow anti-fascist organizers started a fundraiser to provide financial support for the imprisoned comrades. They were able to raise over $3,500 in just one day. They secured legal representation, the bail requirement was waived, and the UT Antifa 3 were all released by mid-afternoon on October 27. But their bogus charges have not been dropped. With the cost of legal representation as high as it is, these three working-class comrades need all the support that they can get. If you can afford to help, please donate to their legal fund: https://www.youcaring.com/austinantifa-679908

The Revolutionary Student Front fully endorses and supports any direct actions taken to confront the violent white supremacist ideology that has recently reared its ugly head in Austin. It is an absolute disgrace that the university administration doesn’t care about the problem of white supremacy on campus. But it is not surprising at all, because the University of Texas is an institution that is, at its root, designed to reproduce an irrevocably imperialist, white supremacist society. Hate crimes against black students often go unsolved, while students engaging in racist attacks get away with a slap on the wrist, and the violently patriarchal and white supremacist culture of Greek life is empowered rather than attacked.

The anti-fascists recognized the administration’s complete indifference towards keeping oppressed people safe from the growth of the hate groups rising all across the country. Their actions show that it is not necessary to wait around for an apathetic bureaucracy to address the people’s pressing issues. The people themselves are capable of organizing to solve their own problems in a far more effective and timely manner.

Although the UT Antifa 3 have been released from jail, it is imperative to gather student, faculty, and community support in fighting and denouncing these false charges so they may be dropped. We must muster support from all directions to force UTPD and the university administration to confront their racist hypocrisy as well as the desperate, pathetic, and recklessly speculative nature of the charges against the UT Antifa 3, for which there exists no evidence whatsoever.

We encourage everyone to spread the word about this incident and the irresponsibility and hypocrisy with which UT has handled it, as well as the efforts to support the defense of those bearing the brunt of it. The fact that three people were held in jail for a day and are now being charged with felonies for covering up fascist graffiti that UT was perfectly content with leaving on display is outrageous and infuriating. There is no doubt that the evidence in court will prove that the UT Antifa 3 are completely innocent of the charges that have been falsely raised against them.

Now is the time to act and spread the word about this injustice. Talk to fellow students, get in touch with sympathetic faculty, and call UTPD to demand that all charges against the UT Antifa 3 be dropped. Bold anti-fascist actions such as these should be upheld and encouraged—we must ensure that this racist university is held accountable for repressing those who do right. We must ensure that justice is carried out.

FREE THE UT ANTIFA 3! DROP THE CHARGES!
IT IS RIGHT TO REBEL!
DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!
DEATH TO FASCISM!