We have all seen the horrifying and disgusting images coming out of Jerusalem. The atrocious acts committed by settlers and Israeli forces are despicable: tear gassing worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the forceful appropriation of homes, the use of rubber bullets and physical assault causing hundreds of casualties – among them children and journalists.
But these acts are not simply horrifying crimes committed in isolation. This project of ethnic cleansing and the brutalisation of the civilian Palestinian population has been going on for decades – and it draws much of its strength from the complicity of western governments.
The UK government is completely acquiescent to this ethnic cleansing – and indeed has given millions of pounds to one of the chief architects of this brutality: Elbit Systems.
Elbit manufacture the surveillance technologies and “intrusion detection systems” which fortify Jerusalem’s illegal border walls, dividing the Palestinian population of Jerusalem into walled-in ghettos. Their drones are used to spy on and monitor the civilian population, while also enabling the IDF to drop tear gas over vast numbers of people.
Many in the UK are watching in horror at the war crimes being committed in Jerusalem, unaware of what they can do about it.
Here is your opportunity to take a stand: We are calling on all conscientious people in the UK to turn up at Elbit’s HQ, at 77 Kingsway, Holborn, London on Tuesday 11th May at 1PM. We will be taking direct action in solidarity with the Palestinian people of Jerusalem, demanding the UK government to end their complicity in ethnic cleansing, and fighting to #ShutElbitDown!
“Kate Wilson was deceived into a long term intimate relationship by Mark Stone, who she now knows was undercover police officer Mark Kennedy.
A decade after Kate’s legal case against the police began, it concludes with a hearing at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal from 20th-28th April.
Among other issues, this case will examine sexist discrimination within the Metropolitan Police Service, and the systemic disregard for women’s fundamental human rights between 1998 and 2010.
Her case refers to the actions of at least 6 different undercover officers serving in the secret political spycops units, the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, during that time.
Kate has already received startling admissions that the police breached her human rights. Specifically, they are;
Article 3: Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment Article 8: Respect for your private and family life, home and correspondence Article 10: Freedom of expression
She is, through these proceedings, the only person to have received significant disclosure of police ‘intelligence’ files held about her.
Join us to stand in solidarity with Kate on Tuesday 20th April at 9.00am. We will be outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London. If you can’t be there, show your solidarity online using the hashtag #WeStandWithKate
We will be outside of the RCJ from 9.00am, for roughly an hour, before the proceedings begin. Please bring banners and placards if you have them. We will observe social distancing guidelines by keeping a two metre distance between us. Please wear a mask if you’re able to.
“Kirstie Paton is facing disciplinary proceedings by United Learning, following a post she published in December 2020 on her NEU Inner London Executive Facebook page. This post raised concerns about the use of “Lateral Flow Tests” to replace self-isolation of close contacts. As a trade union elected representative, she is legally entitled to express concerns and criticisms of employers on matters of interest to union members without fear of formal disciplinary procedures. Kirstie has been summoned to a hearing on the 29th April. This hearing could lead to Kirstie’s dismissal. Members at Kirstie’s school have voted to take strike action on that day to send a message to United Learning that they should stop this process. Please follow the below steps to show support for Kirstie: 1. Tweet/Facebook/Insta your support for Kirstie ahead of the strike using the hashtag #IAmKirstiePaton. Solidarity selfies welcome or just the #hashtag! 2. Please tweet the school (@TheJohnRoan) and send a letter to school managers Jon Coles, Cath Smith and Stephen Belk in support of Kirstie here, demanding that they drop all charges against her: https://actionnetwork.org/…/defend-neu-exec-member… 3. Invite your friends to this event and share the event! 4. Send messages of support for Kirstie and other members of staff at John Roan to Johnroannut@gmail.com”
In recent years, there have been a number of controversies on the left over the subject of “red-brown alliances”, those areas where some right-wingers attempt to recruit from, or actively cooperate with, sections of the left.
Setting out the supposed importance of Ross as a target, Wildermuth writes:
“Alexander Reid Ross is a very prolific writer. He has been a columnist or had articles published for Truthout, The Daily Beast, Vice, Haaretz, Alternet, EarthFirst (where he was previously also editor), TheEcologist, The Southern Poverty Law Center’s HateWatch blog (which retracted and apologized for his work), and has written and co-written articles and papers at Jacobin, In These Times, and many academic journals, as well as anonymously in many Antifa resource blogs.”
When touching on the Ross/Blumenthal/SPLC controversy, Wildermuth uses a form of “passive voice”, which could lead a reader to conclude that the SPLC just happened to read over Ross’ writings, decide that they weren’t up to scratch, and withdrew them on their own accord.
Later in the same article, Wildermuth does the same thing again, writing that:
“Most famously, the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of two primary clearinghouses for information about fascism and hate groups in the United States (the other being the ADL, who is an affiliate of the think tank where Ross now works, and his boss there is a former research fellow for the ADL), retracted all of Alexander Reid Ross’s essays they had published, with public apologies to the targets Ross had falsely accused.”
Anyway, the story doesn’t end there: after Blumenthal’s lawyers got the offending article censored, it was rehosted at several other sites, including this one, and Bob from Brockley published a two-part fact check, concluding “Alex Reid Ross’s SPLC report stands up to scrutiny. Any threats by Blumenthal that led to SPLC taking it down are empty. SPLC were wrong to cave in.” To date, I have yet to see anyone convincingly reply to or rebut Bob’s fact-check on this point.
Next, Wildermuth gives more claims about the importance of Ross’ work:
“Needless to say, Ross’s media presence is rather expansive, and he has become a kind of ideological pillar of American anti-fascist thought. Regardless whether or not an activist, journalist, or just an average person knew who he was, much of our understanding of what fascism is and how it works has been shaped by Ross’s works.”
…In addition, Kevin Coogan’s “Dreamer of the Day” (1998) and Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s “Black Sun” (2002) were some pivotal books in our understanding of the Third Positionist and other unorthodox fascist currents which sought unity with left-wing currents in various ways.”
Wildermuth sets out what he sees as three different frameworks for understanding fascism, liberal, Marxist, and Ross-ist:
“All three frameworks differ significantly in their answers to one historical question: how can we explain the powerful communist movements that preceded the birth of the three really-existing fascist states in human history (Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Spain under Franco)? In each of these fascisms, liberal-democratic politicians made choices to align with the fascists against the communists, often times specifically aiding the fascists in hunting down and killing communist organizers, intellectuals, and leaders…
In the Marxist framework, the answer lies in the strange fact that the state never sided with the leftists, but only ever with the fascists. At no point in the lead-up to Hitler’s rise to Chancellorship did the government stop their repression of communists or enlist their aid against this “other” existential threat. Likewise in Italy and Spain, the government—and especially the capitalist class—repeatedly sided with the fascists against the communists and anarchists and relied on fascists within their police and military forces to be particularly brutal in this repression. Such facts makes the conclusion of the Marxist framework seem self-evident: the fascists were a necessary weapon against left-wing revolution…
The conclusion of the Marxist framework is that the capitalist state and the fascists will inevitably side with each other, and thus both must be fought simultaneously. Thus, the way to fight fascism is to build an alternative political movement that opposes both the fascists and the state, and (as in Walter Benjamin’s conception) to recognize that the “emergency” of fascism is a feature of the capitalist state, not an exception. Therefore, the state and the capitalist class are never seen as a potential ally against fascism, but rather the actual cause of fascism itself.”
This is, I suppose, one version of a Marxist framework. Others are available. In order to insist that “the capitalist state and the fascists will inevitably side with each other” – a sort of crude reductionism where big business, the state, and the fascists can be treated as virtually interchangeable – a lot has to be left out.
Yes, the liberal-democratic states aligned with fascism at certain points. It’s also the case that the Weimar Republic jailed Hitler for treason in 1924, that much of the ruling class supported the Popular Front in France against the far-right, that the British state brought in the Public Order Act to use against the BUF, and that much of the Republican state in Spain chose to fight against Franco rather than just accepting his takeover as necessary and inevitable. In short, the capitalist state and the fascists will side with each other under certain conditions, but both exist as separate actors with distinct interests, and will frequently clash with each other under other conditions. This isn’t my original analysis, of course, it’s the basis of what’s often called “the three-way fight”, a framework developed by various thinkers but particularly Matthew Lyons.
Wildermuth’s Italy-Germany-Spain framework also fails to deal with conditions post-1945. If fascism is seen simply as a necessary weapon against revolution, then how do we explain the situation which we find ourselves in today, when we don’t have a Spartacist uprising, a Biennio Rosso or a CNT, and yet we still find ourselves dealing with ultranationalist political movements?
Any attempt to analyse fascism that goes beyond “you had Mussolini, Hitler and Franco, that’s it, that’s all you need to know about fascism” should probably engage with the continuing influence of Evola, and the turn to “metapolitics” among the post-1945 far right. Thinking about the “cultural turn” in fascist strategies, an explanation along the lines of “fascism is when King Victor Emmanuel III appoints Mussolini as Prime Minister” would struggle to cope with the ongoing battles over fascist influence in subcultural scenes such as punk, skinhead, black metal and industrial. I suspect that these conflicts probably did far more to contribute to the emergence of a “fascist creep” framework than the work of a relative johnny-come-lately like Alexander Reid Ross.
Then there’s another attempt at puffing up Ross’ importance:
“Here we can start to note the immense influence that Alexander Reid Ross and his “fascist creep” framework has had on anti-fascist organizing in the United States. Besides the previously-cited article denouncing the post-left, Ross warned in the last few years against eco-extremism, anarcho-primitivism, esoteric leftism, anti-modernism, and many other “fringe” leftist positions, and cast repeated aspersions on one anarchist publisher, Little Black Cart. Writers published by that press often found themselves black-listed elsewhere, or becoming the subject of anonymous tracts and denouncements, and the now-deceased publisher, Aragorn!, had his tires slashed and books he published destroyed at anarchist book fairs.”
Who are the eco-extremists that Little Black Cart were so unfairly maligned for publishing? Another article by Wildermuth, linked to in that paragraph, gives us an answer:
“Atassa was a journal collecting some of the most problematic ideas around violence as a response to environmental collapse, inspired by the Mexican illegalist post-anarchist group ITS (Individuals Tending Towards the Savage [Wild]). ITS has claimed to kill scientists, industrialists, and even fellow anarchists in the name of the Wild, not to save the planet for anyone but really just to embody its profound vengeance.”
“The attack made by tarrant marked contemporary history, it will motivate future attacks in Europe and USA, there will be consequences. ISIS (now reduced to a guerrilla) and Al Qaeda of Islamic Magreb promised revenge and are encouraging their lone wolves to attack white supremacists, obviusly ITS celebrate all this, we do not care about the tears of the massacred muslims, neither the tears of the future victims of the islamic extremists, the attack of Tarrant will bring Chaos and destabilization and if it comes, we warmly welcome it.”
And so on and so on. To put it mildly, if you choose to publish a fanzine wanking over this kind of misanthropic reactionary shit, then having someone embody profound vengeance on your car tires in the name of the Wild is the very least you should expect.
As it happens, I’m not convinced that ITS are coherent enough to really count as fascist, I think their brand of murderous reaction is probably a distinct entity, in the same way that you could make a case that “fascist” isn’t the most accurate label for ISIS. But it’s obvious that none of these reactionary murderers have any relevance to any sort of liberation.
And again, it’s a complete distortion to pretend that opposition to the ITS/Atassa/LBC axis came just from Ross, as if he was some kind of puppetmaster and no-one would be able to recognise this shit as objectionable without his influence. Perhaps the earliest and most widely circulated condemnation of ITS came from Scott Campbell, and it was Campbell, not Ross, who got a death threat in response.
As if anarchists need Alexander Reid Ross to explain to us that people who boast about killing anarchists, bombing anarchist squats and so on are not our friends!
What’s at stake in the red-brownism debate is not just a matter of different opinions on fascism/antifascism, but also differing understandings of imperialism. There’s the perspective, which I tend to call “internationalist”, that understands imperialism as a global system, with the US being one imperialist actor among many others, with the EU, Russia, China, and smaller would-be imperialist powers like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and so on, all struggling to assert their influence. Then there’s the crude campist/anti-American position, which understands imperialism as basically something the US does, meaning that anyone else, even if they may not be that virtuous in their own right, automatically counts as “resisting imperialism” if their interests happen to come into conflict with US foreign policy. These two perspectives have quite different implications when it comes to working out who our friends and enemies are. Let’s see where Wildermuth stands:
“Red-brown alliances, “third positionism” or “National Bolshevism,” refers specifically to historical attempts to reconcile leftist critiques of capitalism and far-right opposition to foreign state involvement, but is also often confused with the non-aggression pact between Stalin and Hitler (which, for all its faults, gave the USSR enough time to become militarily strong enough to fight the Nazis). The particular foreign state seen as the common enemy within third-positionist politics in the last few decades has been the United States, its imperialist policies, and its unquestioned political power throughout the world.
As not only the most powerful military and economic nation-state in the world, but also a hegemonic cultural and ideological force (consider how difficult it is to find a large non-US city without a Starbucks, McDonald’s, or citizens who haven’t seen Titanic or heard a Madonna song…), the United States is often seen as a symbol of Empire, much like Rome functioned during that empire. Likewise, the US dominates all international trade and governing bodies, and often wields this dominance to ensure American capitalists are able to have access to exploit local economies.
This view of the United States (also a common Marxist and anarchist critique) certainly will make anyone who believes in the goodness of American Liberal Democracy—and also the average “fascist” Trump supporter—bristle a bit. In this way, the far-right of the United States and the liberal “center” have much more in common than they do with the far-left there (or elsewhere), as well as with any opposition (left or right) to American foreign policy throughout the world.”
In passing, I want to take a moment to reflect on how all over the shop Wildermuth’s ideological commitments seem to be – there can’t be many people, or at least I hope there can’t be many, who go from defending nihilist post-left trash like LBC in one breath, to urging us to consider the Hitler-Stalin pact from Stalin’s point of view in the next.
As with his understanding of fascism, Wildermuth seems to be relying on a crudely simplified model that can’t survive contact with reality. To say “left says America bad, center and right say America good” might seem plausible, but it means ignoring the vast fissures within the US establishment and right-wing between neo-con interventionists and isolationists – let’s not forget, after all, that “America First” was the slogan of those who opposed US entry into WWII. A left-winger who thinks the US is the root of all evil and a right-winger who thinks that the national interest is best served by avoiding foreign entanglements may not agree on much in terms of their basic worldviews, but, crucially, they may well agree on some specific questions, like “should the US invade this country?”
Continuing his case against Ross, Wildermuth writes that “In his Haaretz columns, Ross has also named leftist politician George Galloway, founder of The Intercept Glenn Greenwald, and even the anti-war collective Code Pink as part of this large-scale Russian conspiracy.”
This is apparently supposed to be so ludicrous as to be damning in itself, as if there was no legitimate grounds for critiquing these people. Unhelpfully, Wildermuth just provides a link to the entirety of Ross’ Haaretz columns, rather than linking to where each individual claim can be found, making it hard to assess either the accuracy of Wildermuth’s description of Ross’ claims, or the truth of those claims themselves.
Similarly, I can’t comment on the accuracy of whatever Ross said about Greenwald without actually seeing it, but the idea that criticism of Glenn “Tucker Carlson and Steve Bannon are socialists” Greenwald is automatically wrong seems a bit odd.
Surveying the reign of terror that’s apparently been brought about by the brainwashed followers of Reid Ross Thought, Wildermuth says that:
“…any leftist who dare suggest that right-leaning people might be brought into a leftist movement by addressing their material conditions—rather than lecturing them on non-binary pronouns—is of course definitely a “crypto.””
Some people might suggest that the decision to use non-binary pronouns as a punchline there says rather more about Wildermuth than it does about the supposed hordes of Ross-worshipping antifascists who are apparently going around calling everyone cryptofascists for talking about material conditions, apparently.
This kind of “you can’t alienate people by talking about weirdo offputting shit like non-binary pronouns” stuff is never a particularly good look, but it is quite entertaining when coming from someone like Wildermuth, who moonlights as a druid when he’s not defending the working class from the menace of non-binary pronouns. To be clear, I don’t have anything against people exploring alternative spiritualities or the occult or whatever if that’s what they’re into, but it would seem to put people in something of a glass house when it comes to throwing the “you’re putting normal people off with your weird cultural stuff” stone.
Wildermuth concludes by suggesting that “We can start questioning this idea that fascism is a kind of slippage, a path you find yourself on because you wandered too far out into the wild forests of radical politics, drank too deeply at fountains that only increased your thirst for liberation.”
But I don’t think that’s really what anyone argues about the likes of George Galloway or Glenn Greenwald, or why Mexican insurrectionists hate ITS so much. Instead, I’d suggest that what we need to bear in mind is the importance of understanding and opposing systems like capitalism and imperialism in all their complexity. Populist shortcuts, identifying specific baddies rather than engaging with the system as a whole, may seem appealing, but they can swiftly move on to the terrain of “this system would work fine if only we got rid of the bad people”. These simplified critiques don’t always lead to fascism, they can just as easily get stuck as some kind of social democracy, but they don’t deal with the real problem, and they tend to lead to confusion about who our friends and enemies are.
In so far as Wildermuth makes an original contribution, by swapping out the “three-way fight” model for a “two-way fight” where the state and fascists are seen as virtually interchangeable, he only adds to this confusion. After all, if “the capitalist state and the fascists will inevitably side with each other”, then anyone who claims to be against that state must be not a fascist and on our side, right?
“The case of those two in question (please note–several people suspect ARR actually wrote that article or had a significant hand in it) is an interesting matter. I still know many anarchists who know those two who do not believe they are actually fascists, but rather just played with the aesthetic (the Black Sun, in particular, is used by many, many non-fascists). They’re interesting specifically because it’s the most common example I ever hear quoted in defense of ARR’s theory, and has become a kind of mythic event upon which the “creep” theory relies.”
The “loyalty is mightier than fire” blog is clearly not some innocent playing around with pretty shapes that just so unfortunately happen to have some right-wing connotations, as if the reason he posted all those swastikas was that he just couldn’t get enough of 90° angles. The most cursory engagement with the evidence shows that it featured a deep engagement with and appreciation of fascist ideas.
As to whether their case has become “a kind of mythic event upon which the “creep” theory relies”, anyone who follows these issues will know that Sadie and Exile aren’t even the only former ELF/ALF prisoners who’ve embraced eco-fascism in recent years – see “Goodbye Walter Bond” and “Walter Bond and his eco-fascist trajectory”. It’s good to see that there are so many people within that milieu who are willing to challenge those who people move right; I don’t think that denying the problem exists helps at all.
In more contemporary news, the spirit of rank-and-file militancy that the state tried to crush in the Shrewsbury case is still alive in the construction industry today, as is shown by the continuing resistance over the de-skilling ESO grade for electricians.
Reel News continue to provide great weekly summaries of the action:
“Management at NG Baileys head offices in London and the North East failed to turn up to work today … rather than face protests outside from sparks protesting over deskilling, they bottled it.
At least EDF, the client on the Hinkley Point C job at the centre of this dispute, were prepared to meet with UNITE reps this week and agree to drop the controversial ESO grade … but still no word from the contractors NG Baileys and Balfour Beatty, who are clearly too scared to talk to the skilled tradespeople whose livelihoods they are threatening.
Now they face pickets at Hinkley Point C itself from next week. Maybe it’s time they dropped this outrageous – and highly dangerous – attempt to get unskilled labourers to do electrical installation on the cheap.”