|Proud Boy attacks man in Portland, Aug 22, 2001. Photo Getty Images|
On August 22nd (A22), Portland, Oregon, played host to another of the demonstration/counter-demonstrations/streetfights that have defined much of the political terrain over the past several years.
Simultaneous with the growth of a mass far-rightism attached to Trump’s rise, antifascism has evolved from a minority current to something much broader. But the events of A22 have highlighted some crucial general issues for the militant antifascist movement.
A22 raises many questions that our movements have thus far failed to properly grapple with: What are our goals and strategies? What is the relationship between organizing in affinity groups and building a popular resistance? How do we organize broadly democratic movements while respecting the autonomy of smaller groups and dissident tendencies? How do we develop principled stances and methods of action even in the face of serious disagreements, the outcome of which create risks for all participants and our movements as a whole? It is time to rethink orthodox positions relating to “no platform”,”diversity of tactics”, and “we go where they go”?
Three Way Fight is hosting a series of replies to A22 and the questions it raises. We are seeking principled responses, not personal attacks or sectarian squabbles (or, for that matter, uncritical boosterism). We also ask that submissions take into consideration issues of movement security, remembering that both the fascists and the state will be searching for faultiness to divide our movements. That said, healthy movements need critical and sharp analysis, honest discussion, and vigorous debate.
We will be publishing several articles over the next few weeks and are starting by reposting two that have already been published and made public on A22.
“[Today] was 100% a victory. The community came together and showed up for each other and their neighbors. The far right did their math, saw the widespread opposition in Portland, and decided they would rather go stand in an abandoned K-mart parking lot, miles away,” Larry told Truthout. “Portland kept them out of downtown and kept each other safe.”
While we understand that people wanted to “defend” downtown Portland, which has been the primary battleground over the last few years, allowing the Proud Boys to go uncountered in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in all of Portland would have had disastorous consequences. We do not regret our decision to stand up to the fascists and let them know they are not welcome in our city…
Yes, confronting the fascists where they rallied was dangerous, and that should be expected. We cannot push fascism off of our streets without taking risks, and we all knew the risks we took. When fascists rally, we do not have the luxury of hanging back and avoiding all danger. Some crews we talked to on the waterfront told us that they “didn’t want to fight”, and so we did not ask them to. As anarchists, we center our our decision-making around freedom of association. We do not need to have every single person agree on what to do, we seek agreement only within the group taking action together. We reject majority rule and democracy,we embrace autonomy. No individual, crew, or formation of crews is bound by the abstract will of the entire collective. We seek consensus between the individuals in crews, and between crews that are working together, but this consensus need not ever extend any further.
If you would like to join the discussion, send submissions to: email@example.com