In the aftermath of the shutdown of far right celebrity Milo Yiannapoulos at UC Berkeley, there’s been much debate among progressives and leftists about the use of militant tactics against the right. Some of the questions under contention are whether militant tactics bring down repression on the most vulnerable, and whether free speech—even for fascists—is sacrosanct. Undocumented UC Berkeley student Juan Prieto talks about why he supported the shutdown. And Kieran discusses the history of the group Anti-Racist Action and makes the case for mass militant organizing and action.
Against the Grain radio podcast: Militant Tactics Against the Right
In the wake of various attacks on antifascists, and the simultaneous rise of effective antifascist direct actions coming into the mainstream media discussions, Against The Grain Radio podcast dedicated an episode to the discussion of what they call ‘militant tactics.’
The context of the episode includes the stabbings of antifascists on two separate occasions in California, the shooting of an antifascist and GDC member in Seattle on January 20th, and the mainstream media brouhaha over the victorious shutdown of Milo Yiannopoulos’ UC-Berkeley event, at which he reported intended to name undocumented students and encourage people to target and harass or attack them.
These events have led to the rise of antifascism in the public consciousness, along with a distinctive, serious, and historically-grounded analysis of fascist movements and what it takes to combat them. Predictably, mainstream media discussion, including perhaps especially by the liberal left, has focused on the ‘free speech rights’ of right-wing trolls and fascists who make explicit threats to members of the student body. They have also spent a great deal of time criticizing the actions antifascists took to prevent Yiannopoulous’ threat, largely on the grounds of Yiannopoulos’ ‘free speech rights.’
In the first section of the podcast, host and interiewer Sasha Lilley interviews Juan Prieto, an undocumented student whose first-hand account and analysis of the shutdown of Milo Yiannopoulos is extremely valuable; we recommend taking the time to listen to that interview. Prieto presents a sober and convincing account of the threats Yiannopoulos presented, the actions taken to prevent that threat, and answers important questions about safety issues and blowback issues often associated with militant actions.
In the second section of the podcast, Lilley interviews Twin Cities GDC member Kieran regarding contemporary antifascist movements, the need for a number of different approaches to antifascism, and the mass orientation of the GDC’s approach to antifascism (there’s a nice shout out to Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin and the criticism of ‘vanguard versus vanguard’ styles of organizing). In the final section of the podcast, Kieran connects this to the history of anti-racist skinhead organizing, especially with the youth-focused group Anti-Racist Action.
Against the Grain also included links to GDC documents, and to a history of Anti-Racist Action: