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.





Direct Action Gets the Baked Goods!

On Wednesday, October 26, the Young Conservatives of Texas hosted an “Affirmative Action Bake Sale”, where store-bought cookies were being sold at various prices in relation to the race and gender of the people who wished to buy them. Asian-American and white students were charged the highest prices, while black and Native people were given the lowest costs and women were charged slightly less across the board. The event is part of a history of racism from YCT. In 2013, they attempted to hold a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game where they would offer gift cards to students for catching individuals walking around campus with “illegal immigrant” signs, but were forced to cancel it after a massive outcry. In that same year, they hosted another “Affirmative Action Bake Sale” which was less eventful than this year’s.

This time, in less than two hours hundreds of students assembled in the West Mall area to express their indignation at the blatant bigotry of the event, while thousands watched the situation unfold by live stream. Though the YCT was confronted with mass opposition, they shakily stood their ground, unwilling to listen to or engage with the dissenting voices and concede that they were wrong in any way. This encounter, with the opposing sides arguing back and forth without any results, continued on for hours until they both eventually ran out of steam and the confrontation began to die down. No conclusion was reached, the reactionaries were not run off, and ultimately nothing happened as a result of the confrontation apart from students of color feeling more unsafe and unwelcome than ever around their fellow students.

Meanwhile, the University Democrats, who were tabling nearby, tried to co-opt the people’s anger into voting for their party. Racism is not a partisan issue that can be solved through the political system, but an issue of the masses of oppressed people versus the ruling class, which both parties are an integral part of. The Republicans make no attempt to hide their commitment to white supremacy, while the Democrats are just as racist but more skillful at hiding it under liberal rhetoric. Bill Clinton’s administration, after all the support black voters gave him, proceeded to devastate working-class families with welfare reform and other cuts to social services, condemn black children as “superpredators”, and amp up mass incarceration with tougher sentencing laws, while Barack Obama presided over militarized police repression of black protest as well as record numbers of deportations and drone strikes. The “progressive” Democratic government of Austin is complicit in the gentrification that is driving black and Chicanx people out of the city at unprecedented rates, the murders of David Joseph and Larry Jackson, and the many other crimes of the Austin Pig Department.

There was one positive takeaway from the event, however. About an hour into YCT’s event, a small group of masked students made their way through the crowd, swept YCT’s materials off the table, and made off with the cookies. The reaction from the crowd was one of elated shock. In a place where the private property and “free speech” rights of racists are more sacred principles than the safety and well being of students of color, this type of direct action was unexpected. This small group was effectively able to do more in shutting down the racist event than the hundreds of students who spoke, but did not act. By taking away YCT’s material that enabled them to spread their message and causing the YCT a financial loss, these people ensured that the ability for YCT to continue onward with their bigotry was significantly hindered.

To be clear, affirmative action has not made UT more equitable. Today, black students make up only 4% of the student body compared to 12% of Texas’s population and have their admissions applications rejected at a higher rate than white applicants. The main beneficiaries of affirmative action are more well-off members of oppressed groups, rather than the most oppressed among them; for most working-class black and brown Texans, a degree from UT is still out of reach. And increased representation will not lead to liberation; if anything, it can actually serve to reinforce white supremacy by giving it a multicultural sheen. The first black president did nothing to stop police murders of black people, ramped up US imperialist terrorism against the people of the Middle East and Africa, and presided over more deportations than any other president. Corporations and universities talk about diversity and enact affirmative action policies not because they want to dismantle oppressive systems and make reparations for centuries of exploitation, but because it’s good for their profits and makes them look progressive. But despite the flaws of affirmative action, we oppose all reactionary attacks on it such as Abigail Fisher’s lawsuit (#StayMadAbby) or YCT’s “Affirmative Action Bake Sale”. With explicit George Wallace-style calls for “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” out of fashion, opposition to affirmative action is the banner racists fly today to oppose education or employment opportunities for non-white people. Like “All Lives Matter”, they are not motivated by any true concern about inequality or discrimination, but by the reaction of whiteness under attack.

The Revolutionary Student Front applauds the action of the students who boldly stood up to racism by expropriating YCT’s baked goods and sweeping their racist propaganda off the table. Not only did these students directly prevent YCT from continuing their racist fundraiser, they showed that we don’t have to wait patiently for change to happen through the system – we can make change ourselves. We encourage all students who want to fight against racism to follow their example, and the example of the anti-fascists who took it upon themselves to clean up racist graffiti from the Blanton last week (see our statement on the UT Antifa 3 for more information). Enough with the petitions, the peaceful and non-disruptive protests, the electoral campaigns, and the Student Government votes! If these methods really threatened the system, they would be illegal. Working within the white supremacist, capitalist, imperialist institution of the university will never lead to real change; real change will only happen when the masses of oppressed people rise up and seize power. We have the power to fight back, and we ought to use it. As Mao Zedong told the students of revolutionary China: IT IS RIGHT TO REBEL!

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.