Left Coast Media

North Bae 005 - A Discourse on Antifascism and Violence

December 06, 2017 Left Coast Media
Left Coast Media
North Bae 005 - A Discourse on Antifascism and Violence
Show Notes Transcript
The lovely Tina Philips joins comrades Tiberius and Sauce to discuss a left critique of antifa and the role violence plays in self-defense. Read her article about it on medium https://medium.com/@tinaphillips_57522/a-socialist-critique-of-the-antifa-in-post-trump-america-688c6583920b, and definitely check out the ContraPoints' video Tiberius mentions here https://youtu.be/lmsoVFCUN3Q

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Speaker 1:

I've also been doing, uh, uh, work here for a community garden for next year. I arrived and it was dark, so I haven't actually seen it in person since the last time when I helped beginning, but I saw the pictures but pretty impressive. It looks like we buried a bunch of bodies.

Speaker 2:

All right, welcome comrades. This is the North Bay today we have a

Speaker 1:

returning guest actually from the previously named show, but it's a continuation. So what are you going to do? We have the amazing Tina Phillips here today with us to talk about anti fascist organizing. Before we actually jump into that though, uh, it reminds you guys I am type areas caucus and I am communal sauce. And just for the listeners who missed the first episode, Tina, why don't you go ahead and, um, uh, let us know who you are and what you're doing.

Speaker 3:

Okay, well my, my name is Tina Phillips and I live in Berkeley, California. I am 36 years old. Um, and I am a former member of the Socialist Party USA. It was a member of that political party for about 18 years and I recently left about four or five months ago. No regrets on that. Um, that particular political party has changed a lot in the past year or so, particularly since Trump became elected and drifted in a direction that I'm not so happy with. But that's not exactly the conversation we're supposed to have today, but it is related. So I would say that I am a, I'm a socialist. I identify as a socialist and, um, lately I've been sticking on the Labor, love the label, Libertarian Socialist, but I would say I'm also a, a democratic socialist and a socialist feminist. Um, and I've been doing a political organizing for a while. Um, I joined the Socialist Party USA when I was 18 and I basically voted for, I've never voted for a Democrat for president. I've always ordered for Socialists. So something I am proud of. But I, a lot of my perspective is from a humanist perspective, a socialist feminist perspective. And I'm also a social worker, so we have a master's degree in social work and a lot of my work is in medical social work, including hospice and home health. Um, so I work a lot with the geriatric and older adult population. They also have experience working with youth and LGBT populations. So I have a lot of thoughts about what's been going on lately. So I recently wrote an article called the socialist critique of Antifa in post Trump America and it is on mike.com or excuse me, medium.com. So as the first article I ever did on medium. So just a new platform for me to get my rating out. Um, so it's, we're talking today I guess about this particular article that I wrote.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Um, I think that's probably going to be our jumping off point. I do want to echo what you said about how a lot of organizations that perhaps really grew shortly after this time last year, um, have dramatically changed. And the various feelings of burnout, disagreements, frustrations, kind of awakening to how things have changed. Is is something I think many activists in the left space are wrestling with. Um, so you are, you are not alone there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And there's, you know, just not only just that we've grown so much as, uh, movements and as organizations, but there is a kind of neuroses that has infected the left over what Trump is, what Trump represents and this, this sense of incredible urgency and that everything is falling apart immediately and we have to do things immediately and now and we can't wait and things have to keep going. Going, going. Which I think you actually touched on a little bit sort of tangentially in your article.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I mean, as a social worker that is something that we talk about a lot is like burnout in self care. And so what is, what is it to be sustainable as an activist and also like human needs? Like the core of socialism is about human needs and I think that that can be lost sometimes. And I think that the human element is the most important part. And a lot of what ends up by the, the tendency I see lately is the blame blaming individuals and looking for retribution punishment, people to have these horrible, draconian consequences such as being imprisoned or even murdered. Um, and I, I've, I've seen the rise of that rhetoric and it's been very concerning to me. Um, and disturbing because division that I have for socialism, which I, I said before, is a socialist feminist society is one of human beings being redeemable, um, human beings being cared for. And so in a society in which people, people, individuals are blamed and set of systems, I think that we have to be very careful about that because the reality is blaming individuals, looking for punishment and retaliation doesn't actually bring the type of society that we're looking for. It's not a transformative process to lock people up. I always want to take a systematic approach and look at what systems in which we are, you know, in that the material conditions of our lives is, has a huge influence on our behavior. And I think a lot of people don't have that fundamental understanding. Um, it's easier to blame people and to, to look towards punishment than it is because that, I mean, that kind of comes out of our anger, right? And it's easier to do that than to say there's this system, these are systems that we have to tackle and we have to transform. And it, that's a much harder and it's a longer term process.

Speaker 4:

I, I believe people are innately good, but being in the systems of impression of oppression and these material circumstances that we're in, damages is every single one of us. And then we, as we just exist in the world with each other inevitably are going to hurt one another. And it's how we react to that, which hopefully would not include bullying people or locking people up or murdering people. It's how we, how we find ways to deal with, with transgressions and how we, we deal with people who violate our norms is going to be a thorny problem. You've even written about this in the article about how we react to fascists and how Antifa as a movement is reacting to that.

Speaker 3:

Right. I mean the concern that I have, um, in witnessing and doing a lot of reading but also being around Antifa myself physically is that the idea of Oh, of what is self defense, what is violence? You know, as Socialists are anarchist, what are we about? And you know, I, I explained for me I am about amps and you know, I am against hierarchy. So that means I'm anti authoritarian, I'm also against violence. So I am trying to work towards a society that is not violent. And so the idea that you use violence to stop violence is not really one that I buy into. I believe in self defense and I think that what self, the definition of assault offense is very actually very important. Basically. I don't run into a lot of people who agree on this with me. Can I ask, are actually a little bit of a clarifying question here. When you say that you can't stop violence with violence, do you mean preemptive violence? Correct. I am talking about preemptive violence and I'm also talking about initiating valence. So the definition of self defense is when someone strikes you and you strike back or you push them off in order to stop them from hurting you. And some of what I've been seeing is not in all cases, is that say I'm somebody who you consider to be a fascist or a white supremacy. There's a supremacist or whatever is at a protest, someone from the Antifa or who I would say ideologically is closer to what I believe would strike first. And it goes to that protest with the intent of beating them up, driving them away. Um, it's kind of like the no platforming thing, which is like, okay, in order for them not to have a platform or not to have a platform for violence, for hate speech, we're going to have to beat them up. And some people are embraced that actually some people are gleeful about it and they kind of see this blood lust endless. Even laughter at like, Oh, we're going to go beat these guys up and it's going to be great. And it's kind of like this adventurism kind of attitude of, it's a lot of like machismo male attitude, toxic masculinity that I am seeing kind of work its way to the surface. And I noted as motivated by what I would call trauma, you know, there's a lot of trauma right now. There's a lot of people who are scared, who have anxiety, who are depressed, you know, who are, you know, legitimately those are legitimate feelings, but it's kind of like their feelings have kind of run, run over. It's kind of like out of control. I see there's a lot of out of control this and not just in you know, person to person in the streets, but a lot of it online as well where people are basically hurting other people in and they, they call it self defense. And, and kind of my, my article is calling that out and saying, you know, that's not really self defense. That's perpetuating harm. And our goal is to arrest harm. Our goal is to stem arm, um, and our, our goal is to repair, you know, how do we heal, how do we heal trauma? I just don't see it coming from a fist coming from a gun coming from locking someone up. Those those things don't bring the transformant, the Trans formation that we need to see. Um, and you know, I always think what is true socialism and it, to me it, it doesn't look like killing a bunch of people are killing a bunch of people are beating people up. Obviously self defense is always a factor when you are a targeted population and there's violence against you. I think that those people have the right to defend themselves in the way that they see fit in the moment. But going to a protest in order to beat people up and not being your main objective, I think is a problem. Tina, I know that you, you call it a, you say your article is in, in part of a call out, but I, I think it's, it's more of an alert or a call in call out, kind of has that connotations of naming specific people and shaming visits specific people. Do you mind if I rephrase it that way? Sure. I mean, I just said it, it's kind of a call because that's like a popular kind of term right now for I'm, I'm kind of holding people accountable, um, and saying, hey look, you know, you're not looking at this, you know, this is a, this is a problem and some of the behaviors and we've got to kind of have some self reflection upon that and like what our actions really mean and do they line up with our principals. And that's something that I am super stickler about and, and I find that I am kind of rare in that way, is that I try to align my actions with my values and my principles. And a lot of people kind of just a skew their principals when they, um, you know, it's convenient for them or they, they get angry and then it's kind of like all the principals go out the window. But of course, part of what I'm saying in the article is that shaming is not a way to hold people accountable. So my article is extremely long. It is, it takes about 30 minutes to read according to medium. So it's very in depth in terms of it. It goes through a lot of different factors that I'm seeing. And it kind of comes from my training as a social worker, my education as a socialist feminist. And a lot of my experience, so many people think that what I'm saying is that we have to be pacifists. And I as much as I respect pacifists and think that things like civil disobedience are so important in certain situations, I think that self defense is also important. And I would say that we do need to confront fascism and we need to confront white supremacy. Um, and we can't just, the liberal attitude is just ignore it. And I don't take that, I don't think we should ignore it. I actually believe in community self defense. The thing that I'm seeing is actually going beyond that. And you, you see people that support Antifa fuck coming out and saying it's legitimate. And I don't think that the preemptive violence is actually legitimate.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Do you know, you and I I think agree on a lot of points in here, but I think where the fundamental difference where we sort of disagree on this point has to do it really has to come down with definitions of violence and acceptable self defense because I definitely do agree with you on, on, you know, the adventurism of some of the people who are out there looking for the thrill of the fight. I think that there's a lot of people who take what I would see as an occasional pragmatic necessity and turn that into a moral good and take like a perverse sense of joy in it, which I have for those listeners who haven't seen it. Contra points recently did a video on violence, which actually goes quite in depth into a lot of, uh, a lot of these points. The Tl DW on, on that for this specific point is that you really, I think that violence is necessary in, in some circumstances and I think that violence, which a more individualistic or someone who has less of a materialist view of the world would see as preemptive. I would tend to look more at the structures that undergird society and things like white supremacy and say that there is ongoing continual violence that certain things that some people don't see as violence, uh, you know, as as a part of. And so I see that maybe a little bit more in a nuanced way, but definitely we do have to make sure that we are not done dehumanizing people, which you go to great lengths to say that we can't and I absolutely, totally 100% agree with you on that. And the other thing is that we need to be careful of anybody who takes joy in violence, whether or not they're justified in acting it or whether they are on your side or not. So I kind of wanted to get your take on what sort of violence is for you, the kind of violence at shore identifying in your article and try to try to see where that line is for you on accessibility.

Speaker 3:

I mean I would agree with you that there are different types of violence. Poverty is one that strikes me right away as being a form of violence. And as a feminist, I see so many types of violence against women and other vulnerable populations. Um, and I would see that as being a pervasive part of violence in our society. And Yeah, when you touched on dehumanization, that is a big part of my argument is that what I'm seeing is people, whether it's on the internet or whether it's in person saying, you know, this person is worth less than other people because they're doing x, Y,Z, that they're violent. And so anyone who's violent or has takes on an ideology that is violent, that they deserve x, Y, z. So they deserve to be beat up, jailed, killed, whatever it is. As I said, a lot of people call it self defense or what needs to get done for accountability reasons, you know, a consequence of some type. Um, and what I caution is how we do it. Not that we're just going to let people go or a whatever or ignore it. I do believe in accountability, um, and I do believe in consequences, but what does that look like? And the problem with dehumanization is when you start to think, well, fascist, racist, whatever, whoever you're against, whoever you had, once you start labeling them your enemy and you don't see them as human beings, anything that you do to them is not justified. And that is a big problem. Um, and it's something that we have to avoid, especially a socialist because as I began the conversation, socialism is about being human. And really at the end of the day we are about helping human beings not hurting them. Um, and I'm not a socialist that believes we are in a half to kill a big part of the population in order to institute socialism. There are many people that I have run into that do believe that. And I would say part of the reason why I did leave the Socialist Party is the increase in, um, what I would call a authoritarian socialism, which I think is an oxymoron really, because I think real true socialism is not authoritarian, but the authoritarian left is a real thing. And it is, um, I feel like post Trump the, the slide into we're going to have to be authoritarian. We're going to have to use authoritarian tactics to be a fight. Somebody who's authoritarian. Um, I really don't buy into that. And you think it's, it's like a red flag and we really need to check ourselves. And in terms of like at a protest, what would I see that I don't agree with? So people just standing there talking, demonstrating whatever, who you might label a fascist or whatever they're not doing or, or saying anything in particular that we would consider a violent, but then antifa you know, goes and beats them up. Like they, they didn't strike anybody, push anybody, do anything. They're just standing there and basically they're like, well, we don't want them to stand there and talk in public. We just, we don't want them to exist. You know, we want to beat them up and run them into the shadows. And that that's kind of the attitude is like they're vermin and they have to be eliminated, you know, exterminated and that kind of thing, that there's an issue there that it's a problem. And I think that there's a difference between free speech and hate speech. And I don't think, I think the line has been blurred in terms of what that is. And I think that the tendency to shut down free speech has actually risen dramatically within the socialist movement. And that's very concerning and we should take a look at that. So what's your position on no platforming or d platforming, fascist and fascist speakers? I think it really depends on what's going on. And I think every demonstration or whatever is every action is going to look different and say Charlottesville for example, which is something I do bring up in the article, that's an extreme example of like when you have two institutes, self defense and no platforming because that particular protest or demonstration was extremely violent. And without using force to protect people, people would have got way more hearse. You know, we, we did see somebody die from that incident and some people got hurt but people would have been way more harmed and there possibly would have been more people killed if there had not been a self defense used against violence. And kind of like the way that I define violence is initiated violence. When people are fighting back against violence, I call that self defense. Um, I don't even use the term violence for that because you were trying to get someone off of you are you're trying to keep someone else from hurting someone else. And so to me the aim is not to like, like beat that person up or kill them. It's really to get them away or to get them off of you so you can run away. That's at least how I see it. Although some people when they're being beat up, they will try to beat that other person up way worse. I think that that's part of that is anger and part of it is kind of a fight or flight response because people will basically, if you get into that, if that's triggered in you, your responses might be not very evenly handed. It might be overboard because you're, you're trying to protect yourself at a very basic level and, and your, your, your system might think to you're, you know, there's a threat of harm that might kill you and so it Kinda like takes over and you're going to hurt that person wait worse than they hurt you. That's I think something we have to be careful of. And so, you know, it's like a lot of emotionality and I think that we have to kind of deal with our emotions if we're going to have people who are going to protest a protect other people, they kind of can't be hotheads at. They can't, they can't be the guy who, you know, is volunteering to go beats people up. That's not the person you want to be. The one that you choose to protect people. Obviously they have to be good at, uh, maybe some martial arts or some self defense training, but you don't want someone out there who's like, I want to go crock skulls. You know, it's like the same thing you would think of. Like when you pick someone from the military, do you pick the person who says, yeah, I want to go kill some people. That's not the person that you want to put into the military. And I'll tell you that's the people they want in our military. It's like if we're going to have a self defense force as activists and as Socialists, we don't want those people to be like military. That's kind of what I'm trying to point out. Yeah. It's the, the death squad quad

Speaker 4:

mentality. The people who take joy in their, in their violence. I think some of it may also be related to valorization of those who, uh, on quote unquote the front lines of Antifa versus those who perhaps like, ah, medics or jail support or that kind of thing. That really what you see, if you're not already in the circles where that stuff is discussed, what you see is Richard Spencer getting punched and then that is going to, I suppose lead to more people being interested who find that as a method of praxis immediately appealing. Not that you can't punch Nazis in self defense and not that we didn't all rejoiced to see that Gif re posted over and over and over again. I must admit I did take a perverse sense of pleasure watching that. And that's, that's partially where it gets tricky for me because I, I to believe that we shouldn't be striking first, but damn, it felt good to watch him get clocked. How, how do I reconcile? How do I reconcile that? Yeah. And the other, and the other thing about that is that, you know, when, when he talked about that event and another time that he had gotten punched after that or the, so some of these kids who went out to to in a

Speaker 1:

fashion rally and we're presented with a credible threat of violence and realize that shit was getting serious. There is a sense where when these things happen, it makes them, it makes the, the, the fash side of this dance think twice and makes it more difficult for them to actually go out and be doing things. You know, after Charlottesville there was a, an attempted next rally after that where there was such an overwhelming crowd that they probably credibly thought might turn violent and against them if they started displaying a little bit too much of, of aggressivity towards that, that crowd of people who were there to protest the, the fascist we see like in, in Murphysboro and stuff like that, like Antifa people organizing with Antifa, we'll go there and present themselves as we are here to remove you potentially by any means necessary. And that does have a significant effect on their ability to actually do these propagandistic recruitment, uh, marches. So it's, it's kind of, it's kind of a hard for me to say that something like punching Richard Spencer wasn't the, it's, I can't say it's good because I just morally, I can't say that violence is good. It is only at the most necessary. What I can't say that punching Richard Spencer was not the correct choice to make at the time because of these things. And, and I think you have maybe a little bit of a different perspective on that than I do.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I mean for me, you know, listen to you guys saying it gave us some kind of satisfaction to see that he was punched and then to see it posted over and over. I would say the initial for me is like, yeah, that guy got what he deserved. But then seeing it posted over and over was actually traumatizing for me. And I am somebody who is a survivor of violence. So I think that we kind of, that kind of gets lost in the whole thing is like, wait a minute, we're trying to stop violence. How is perpetuating violence actually a good thing. And I think that it, it has to be very, very precise and it has to be targeted and it has to be very specific to a certain situation. And it can't become like, yeah, punched everybody you think is a Nazi. And it not, when they punch first just po, you punch them first. And it's kind of like this, it became kind of like a promotion of violence, which to me is very different from than saying, hey, we need to the fund, this is a, this is a time where, and we'll hop, we'll have to defend other vulnerable communities. And I consider myself to be a vulnerable person when I go to a protest. I am not somebody who I'm vulnerable to violence. And so I need to feel like if somebody is going there to defend me, they're not going to be actually making things worse and making it so like I'm more likely to get hurt. And so that's always in my mind. And then also I just think I think about, that's kind of where my mind goes when I think about that and oh, what the no platforming thing. I think about how, how do we get someone makes, make it so somebody is not getting a platform. And for me that's numbers. I think that if we can attract a lot of people, like say in Boston there was 40,000 people or a large amount of people, it was that, that was like the large end that it was 40,000 people that showed up to that protest. It was definitely tense, right? So that to me is what I would consider a mass movement. And a mass movement is what shuts down these things very quickly and with the least amount of violence possible. And that is what I think is a good way to deep platform people is to overwhelm them with numbers. And these are basically an overwhelming amount of people is intimidating. Just the sheer amount of people is, it shows strength, right? So a lot of these fascist white supremacists, whatever you want to call it, nationalist little protests, most of them have been little Charlottesville was different. Um, it was a lot larger, but most of them have been like 20 people, 50 people. Okay. 40,000 people is a lot more than that. And so I think that what we need is more people. I mean there's literally in the Park in Berkeley, like six months to a year ago, there are people showing up. It was like 30 people against 30 people and people were getting really hurt, like not just the fascist side, but our side. People were getting concussions and all kinds of problems back in April. Yeah. They just went there to fight each other basically. Which, hey, if that's what you want to do, I can't stop. Anybody wants to go beat each other up. I don't think it's a good idea. I'm not going to go there. But you know, I know that I can't make choices for other people is a libertarian socialist. I am very much on up on self determination, autonomy and freedom of choice. If you want to go, you know, if you want to go have like a street fight. Okay. But I don't see where it's productive. I think it's counterproductive. I don't like seeing activists get hurt. I don't like seeing them get put in jail. Um, I think that we need them healthy and we need them to be able to keep doing work on the outside, not locked up. And I don't see it as being worth that to destroy lives. I don't see where, I don't even see how it, we have basically there are alternative ways that we can shut these things down. There's waves of ways that we can out organize the other side. Um, and it's, it's kind of like about making smart choices versus jumping on the, I'm pissed off. These people need to be eliminated. Let's just go beat them up, you know? And that's kind of where it's been turning is kind of gotten really ugly to the point of people are so scared and so angry, but they're willing to do anything to stop people. Like you were saying, by any means necessary. Well, I always say what is necessary, you know, should we, we should only really be utilizing defense when it is actually necessary. And so I kind of, I see people say, well, they're for genocide, so we have to kill them. They have to be a eliminating, and if they're going to go out there and spout racism, then they have to be, you know, ran outs, even if that's where the bat or you know, whatever it's going to be. And so I just don't think that that's, that is a very effective, as much as get a bunch of people to show up and drown them out and make it so that they can't get their message out there and then they, they basically have to leave, um, because they're, you know, they're, they're message can't get out. The whole thing is not effective for them. So, you know, you give them a reason not to keep going with what they're doing just by sheer numbers and your message. And it's kind of like, you know, I know people say that they don't, they don't want to debate fascists or whatever, and it's the whole, the old line of you can't defeat fascism. All you can do is smash it. Um, their only, the only language that they understand is violence. And so those are the old lions, the plot lines that I always hear as to why that's the defense for why we have to do these things. But I don't really, I just don't buy into it and going to actually say, I think that that is kind of an online thing in, in much larger part than it is reflective of the actual events that are being planned, organized and executed. There's, um, there's an argument to be made that when, when we went down to the, whatever it was, that the tax rally back in April, that there were some, there were definitely people there who were spoiling for a fight. And I think that that is why

Speaker 1:

that is why we kind of got pushed back on. And, uh, you know, a lot of people got hurt and I don't, I don't really see that being replicated in a lot of the events that are happening. And you know, down in, down in a university of Florida, that was a nonviolent event that was about showing up and shouting down and, and denying Richard Spencer the opportunity to, to say his piece in Murphysboro there was an implied threat of violence. But because the antifascists were much better organized and had a community to draw from to, to, to get more people out, there wasn't violence that was necessary. And, and I, I don't think that the people who are, uh, by and large, the people who are actually making these calls for this kind of violence are kind of the same people who sit in their basements and stand for like DPRK or something. Oh, you mean bedroom, bedroom, bedroom, tankinis or like the a Reddit r and r kiss who are just all the narco, Katie's who are just enamored of, of like a retributive violence in these kinds of things. I don't see that as, as much as an actual thing that even if you're only engaging online, everybody's got to start somewhere. It's true. Hopefully engaging with, hopefully someone out that is able to meaningfully engage with people whose grasp on socialism is counterproductive and radicalize them and more productive directions. But I, I do see what you mean about people who, whose primary interaction with Antifa is reposting memes or getting hyped and not being involved in any IRL stuff and any actual activism or getting, you know, putting their, their clinical body on the line or whatever that kind of being a face online. Exactly. Yeah. And Yeah, and I think, I think that is from what I can see the, the majority of the people who are making these, these kind of like bloodthirsty calls for violence and that's where I mostly see it coming from. But actually a, I do want to address one very, very quick thing. I was actually gonna say up top, but I forgot to, we are only talking about a very narrow topic of what is a much broader set of praxis that defines anti fascism. Like we're really just talking direct confrontation, direct action confrontation here. There's, um, uh, you know, all of us here for the listeners at home, we all do appreciate and know that a lot too, a majority of what anti fascists and an Antifa people comrades are doing. It doesn't actually involve showing up on a street and directly confronting fascists. That's, that's only the, that's the flashy part. And that is the part that can lead us into probably the most trouble potentially. But it, we do understand it is a much broader thing. But, uh, if, if I can get you to sort of respond to the, the, the sort of sense of, uh, how immediate and to what scale you, the issues that you outlined in your article are

Speaker 3:

well, to respond to what you were just saying. Um, I realized that not all people who would identify with the anti some movement or consider themselves a part of that movement, participate in preemptive or an machine and violence, um, about themselves or support it. I quit consider it somewhat of a minority, but it's a concerning enough and sizeable enough minority that is participating in this that I felt called to write this. And also, I, I what I said about the rising authoritarianism that I been seeing as a general tendency in socialists circles in the past year, I think that it is t is connected and it, it is a definite trend. So is something that is big concerning for me and very bothersome. And so this article kind of comes, it's a culmination of a lot of that stuff. But I would, I try not to Pete a very broad brush and like say, well, you're all like this. You know, one thing I, I, um, I make note of in the article to make a point of his black and white thinking. I try to shy away from that in general with everything that I think about and do is I try to, um, see the nuance and the complexity and even the paradoxes. I think that that's very important that we look at complexity and say, you know, and we do not stereotype and say or generalize and say, well, all of these people are like this. I can't say Antifa is bad and that I'm anti Antifa. Um, I would definitely not say that. I'd say I am pro and Tifo with criticism. I am critical of the Antifa. Um, I think some of the things that they're doing or not good, but overall I think that their objective is good. I would say that I do not think of the liberal take on this issue, which is that Antifa is bad and white supremacists are bad. Or um, that both sides are bad. I would never take that view. Oh, it also never say that we should just ignore, um, white supremacists. I don't think that that's a good idea also, but I would say that we have to be careful about how we go about confronting white supremacy or anyone that we consider as harmful. And that kind of brings up for me, this whole me too movement that's been happening in the past couple of months where, um, a lot of people have been saying, well, anybody, any perpetrator of sexual violence needs to be fired, jailed, you know, et cetera. Like we just need to ruin their life. And it's kind of like the same kind of thing. Like the retaliation, the revenge. And, and I think that there's a difference between consequences and accountability and perpetuating harm. And I don't, I just, I really believe in transformative justice and that's, you know, it makes total sense as a socialist to believe in transformative justice, to see human beings as redeemable, to not dehumanize them and instead try to find a way, you know, how do we work together, you know, in a society, you know, I could think of that socialism is really about social relationships and social relations. How do you relate to other people? How do you get along? You know, what happens when you transgress? How do you make that right? The idea that, okay, there's a simple solution, we'll just eliminate you. That's actually authoritarian. So we have to like very like be careful and analyze what are, what choices we make, why we're making those choices. Where are they coming from? Are they coming from a good place or are they coming from, um, I hate to say a bad place, but basically a place that's not going to be productive in terms of healing and moving forward and kind of doing what's right. I constantly think about that, like what is the right thing to do here? And what I try to say is let's get out of the capitalist mode of thinking. It is the capitalist conditioning and the patriarchal conditioning that tells us use violence, get revenge. Retaliates that's kind of a capitalist way of thinking. And so when I'm thinking about transforming into a socialist and what is the socialist way to do this, kind of like my own version of what would Jesus do? I try to think what is a transformative way to do this? How do I transcend the old ways of doing things? And so I don't use the, the things that are being used now like violence, um, putting people in prison. And so like carceral feminists who are always jumping on, you know, we should lock up race rapists sat in the shed. You know, the way to prevent violence against women is to put people in prison. Like that's totally against what a socialism socialists would be about. So I shy away from the, you know, the whole gulag kind of thing. Like, oh, anybody who I consider bat. And he used to be put in a gulag. Like really it's just, it should really immature and yeah, there is a lot of it online but it wouldn't be talking about it if I thought it was just online. I think that it does go, it does go into protest and it does go into human relationships in real life and he's definitely see it in Berkeley. It is a thing. Um, I have been told it is more regional and that I can't make a generalization and say Antifa is like this everywhere because it is not a strictly organized organization. It's very, very highly decentralized and you could just basic recall yourself antifa and do whatever you want to do. And so there are people probably going out way outside the bounds of what most antifa would be for. But that's kind of a problem in and of itself. If you have an organization, quote unquote organization, if you have some kind of something that is so decentralized, you,

Speaker 4:

well

Speaker 3:

people are not in control of the narrative. People are, there's no collective anything. There's no democracy. You can't hold anybody accountable for what they're doing. Um, that's kind of a problem

Speaker 4:

falling into that. Um, the first part of the tyranny of structurelessness, I specify this first part because the thing with that article is that a lot of us tend to read the first half and be like, Oh, Anna k is terrible and not read. The second part, which is about how you can have a nonhierarchical, an archaic organization that is not the tyranny of structurelessness, but yeah, that, that bit where if you have affinity groups and self directed movements and groups that are so diffuse and like you say with, with not very much out there in terms of guiding principles or guiding ideas, there is a higher risk of things going off the rails. If you get an affinity group that doesn't, I hate to say it, that is entirely like people who just want to beat up Nazis, that there is that risk without some guidance, but then that guidance is exactly the kind of thing that would be used against people at a j 20 trial when appearances on podcasts or acting as a medic. I used as evidence that somebody was conspiracy

Speaker 1:

conspiring, right? Like how do we have a movement that, where we know what we're doing and we have some kind of guidance and structure, but that it's deniable enough that we won't all get locked up forever because of it. It's not just plausible deniability. Uh, it's also that much of these problems that we are facing with small and themselves diffuse and decentralized and fractious a right wing and fascist movements is that the response to them needs to be a highly tailored to the local context. There. There really isn't an, an, an anti program that you could implement everywhere and be successful at it. You know, much, much like how we, we would see our sort of utopian ideal for a future. The people there on the ground affected by and within the context, uh, get to decide how to deal with their own local context and, and get to be agents acting, acting out their own autonomy to be able to defend themselves or to, to build their communities in these kinds of things. So, so there is, you know, this idea of, of the diffuse kind of structurelessness does have its purposes. You know, there are multiple reasons why this is the case.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I mean, and when you mentioned what happened, I'm in Florida at that university. I felt like that wasn't good example of what I think is the best way to deal with it. Of course I'm only one person. Um, so other people have to figure out what they think is the best way. I think my article goes a long way into giving a good explanation or defense of my personal view of the situation and how I would deal with it. But you know, what happened at that university I felt was as a very good example of shouting down and having, you know, outnumbering them and kind of in a way like mocking them, um, without using preemptive violence to shut them down. And I think it was very effective. Um, and then also I do give the example of redneck revolt as being an organization that kind of, I think embodies more of what I'd like to see with community self defense. And they do redneck revolt. A lot of times do bring guns. They actually bring guns, which is kind of a little bit freaky for me. But if you're going to have the other side bring guns, I feel like bringing guns is a check on that. Um, it's kind of like a way to create more safety in that particular instance. I don't think more guns creates safety in general. Um, I would not say that, but at a protest to have people standing there kind of as guards, community guards. I mean it was very effective in Charlottesville. Um, and I think that it can be used effectively. I don't think that redneck revolt shows up intending to use their guns. I don't think they do. And that's kind of something I liked to, I would like to see with Antifa as that there's, they're not showing up at protests intending to beat people up. They only you self defense when it is absolutely necessary and that is does, that's what I hold for myself. Um, but I, I realized that my values are very different than other people. And, um, I, I go a long way to make an argument in defense of my personal values. And I hope that it, it at least makes people article at least makes people think cause I want people to think hard about these things and I kind of make the argument about how it's so easy to get swept up in emotions. And there's a lot of things like group think and tribalism that is going on right now. Um, the kind of makes it easy for that US versus them mentality to take over and for that dehumanization and demonization to kind of run the show. And I, I think that we have to be careful in how we act. Our behaviors shape the society that we're creating. And I think that if we want to create a socialist society, doing things in a certain way is important. And that's why principals, I think principals have to come first in everything that you do. Of course if you have to save your own life or the life of somebody else. That's also a principal in my mind. And so, but it's kind of like a last resort situation. You only resort to self defense if, if it's your only choice in order to save somebody and prevent harm and otherwise you're not using violence in the way that they're using violence. Fascists are using violence to silence people, to intimidate people, to eliminate people. Our side is not using violence in that way. We use it for self defense and so I think that line cannot be blurred. I think that we do have the moral high ground and we have to make that very clear to people and I think that when we do, people will come to our side and I think that that's how we get a mass movement. That's how we get the numbers. That's how we radicalize liberals. We have to show that we're in no way in no way are we like violent people to put it in a way that somebody pro we wiser than I has has put it be kind but be ready.

Speaker 4:

Thanks. Thank you. I do want to loop back to the redneck revolt thing because that in itself is something we could spend an hour discussing because I'm one of the founders of redneck revolt. Dave Strano has a pattern of assaulting and abusing women, so what do we do in terms of that since redneck revolt to is an organization that is not do we didn't denounce or support the organization based on the actions of this person since he's, since he was a cofounder and since he's continuing as a leader in the organization or do we look at it based on the actions of individual chapters of redneck revolt? That's something I, I do not yet know how I feel about redneck revolt based on based on that because I haven't heard anything from them in reaction to the, the discussion of, of what, of what's come out about Dave's history and that in itself was a public call outs rather than maybe addressing it in a less performative way. But also this may be the only way that somebody could bring it to people's attention to stop what's going on.

Speaker 1:

Right. But I wouldn't have gone directly to, to just single him out because it is a, a common criticism that I have heard from people both within and without redneck revolt. That there they try very hard to s shoe, this toxic masculine externalizing your penis into your gun kind of culture that, you know, American culture has bred over the years. Uh, there's a lot of debate and attempts by people within and without to, to sort of free redneck revolt from that kind of culture. But it's definitely there and I think that it, it goes, it speaks directly to what you were talking about, Tina, about the sort of sense of adventurism and the fetishism of, of violence

Speaker 4:

in and of itself. The fact that I haven't seen anything come out of redneck revolt in response to there being kind of put on notice by other antifascist organizations is one of the things that that troubles me. I am not pro exile. And I believe that pretty much everyone is redeemable, but sometimes when you heard other people and you need to do work on that, the work needs to happen away from the people that you heard or away from places where you may continue to hurt people. And you know, in, in this case, the, I think yes, some of is just

Speaker 1:

part of the dynamics of a movement that is, there are some toxic masculinity things in there that aren't necessarily being subverted. Uh, I don't, I don't have any fucking answers really. I wish I did. Yeah. And we're actually, um, we're coming up on about an hour right now, so, so Tina, if you could, if you could maybe talk about how we as a movement and, and as a left culture kind of address in a constructive and embracing kind of way, the, uh, you know, how we deal with this, this issue of, uh, the fetishizing violence and, and people who could themselves be described as violent and not just defensive.

Speaker 3:

Well first I would say I, um, I wasn't aware of the redneck revolt thing, so thank you for bringing that to my attention to our attention. I definitely agree that sometimes you can't stay in a les, especially a position of leadership and be held accountable and do that a redeeming work or that transformative justice work and sometimes you have to separate yourself from the organization so that people can feel safe. Um, so I think that that is appropriate and it, it's, it, it does speak a lot to what the, some of the crux of what I was saying about toxic masculinity and how it has been working its way through our movement. And I s I see elements of it within my critique of Antifa and I would say going forward, one good thing to think about is that violence is not happening in a vacuum. Violence is a huge part of our society and it is actually part of our humanity. I like to think of like anything that we consider evil or bad is not separate from us. It's actually in all of us. We all have the capability of being violent. Of being a dehumanizing. And we also have all have the ability to be traumatized by violence and to also be dehumanized. And so we also have the ability to be a, to be oppressors and to be oppressed. And those things are actually not mutually exclusive. A lot of people who are, have been harmed are also harming. And it's actually part of trauma that, that sometimes happens, that people have been traumatized, become people who traumatize others. And that's something I think that we need to acknowledge that some of these things, we, we live in a capitalist, patriarchal society. And so none of us is escaping capitalism. None of us is escaping patriarchy. Um, some of us have internalized forms of Patriarchy because we're women, but otherwise we as women, we can perpetuate patriarchy. And so that's something that we have to look at is are we perpetuating violence? Is it something that we're doing? And you really have to not participate in that, in order to stop it. And if we say we're against violence, we say we want socialism, we want a feminist society. Do we have to take a look at our own actions. We have to be accountable and we have to be self reflective and try to align our actions with our principals in going forward. I think that this is, uh, a community discussion. It should be an ongoing discussion and a lot of the points that we've been talking about are the really difficult, they're not easy. They're extremely complex and like, uh, I think that, you know, with the me too, um, issue that I brought up, there is a lot of like talk about accountability of men and then, you know, just in general accountability, how do we hold people who perpetuate harm accountable? And in this context it would be how do we hold fascists accountable? How do we hold white supremacists accountable and the tactics that we use create a certain society. And so we have to think about what tactics are we going to use that would create a socialist feminist society and which tactics should we either avoid or minimize? That sounds like some kind of prefigurative.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. It's almost like all of these things are just kind of interconnected. Yeah. Kind of like intersecting like Ah, there has wolf, we'll figure out a, a, a word for that later. Okay. Yeah. Okay. Well, Tina, I want to say thank you so much for discussing your article with us and also the broader implications of some of what we've been,

Speaker 3:

that's some of what you've, you've brought up, we will link to it in the show notes. It has been delightful to have you back on the show. Oh, thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this important issue. Uh, is there any way that people can see any of your other work? Um, let's see. A lot of my articles are printed online through the Socialist Party, through their publication called the Socialists. So if you look up the socialist online and then you put in my name, Tina Philips, uh, felt so two L's, you'll see a lot of my articles pop up. I'll still have my own blog that's kind of hidden, but it's called Tina's radical ramps. You could find that possibly if you put in my name and put in Tina's radical ramps. Um, it's a lot of my older articles. And then I'm also working on a new project called everyday socialism. Kind of like everyday feminism, which will not be my own platform, but it will be a platform for other socialists writers and just that's still in the works. Um, but for now I'm publishing individual articles on medium, so look out for more articles on medium from me.

Speaker 1:

All right. Thank you. Yep. All right. And thank you all for joining us for this episode. I hope that you come away with it with maybe a little bit more of an understanding that there is a good faith critique to be made of Antifa and certain antifa tactics that we really need to engage with as as curious and intellectual leftists that who, who want to make positive changes in the world. So I really hope that you agree with us on this at least, but if you would like to reach out and find us, you can find myself at checkout informant on Twitter.

Speaker 4:

You can find me on Twitter as at commune. All source these days, I am occasionally taking breaks for purposes of, of mental health and wellbeing

Speaker 1:

because Twitter is bad y'all.

Speaker 4:

It's not as bad as read it, but yeah. But my dms are open and I love most everybody on Twitter in some form or another. And you can also follow Aaron on Twitter

Speaker 1:

[inaudible] at R R R r n four as and an end. And I say this every time and I'm going to say it until he changes it, but he needs a better handle. So if you can suggest him a better handle, uh, go ahead and add him.

Speaker 4:

If he doesn't listen to this episode and he starts getting all site kinds of suggestions, do you think he's going to work out that it was us? No. Okay. You can also follow the podcast itself on North Underscore Bay B a e or the left coast media Twitter account,

Speaker 1:

which is going to have uh, quite a lot of things happening in the near future on it. That is at left-pad Lbf, t p o d for example. We have two different reading groups that we are in the middle of planning right now. One of them is a, a, a general, uh, a general interests leftist reading group. And then the other is a little bit more of a structured study group specifically around Marxism. We have a uh, an occasional cooking show that we are going to be doing that's actually going to be on video that we are going to be recording soon and then we are going to be having a, a a show about LGBTQ issues specifically around socialist feminism that I am personally actually really looking forward to. So a lot of amazing stuff coming up and hopefully you would feel it within your heart to support us on our brand new patrion page so that we can actually uh, be able to have the a little bit more of a stability to be able to put out this content for you guys. It is quite a lot of work to do and we are very happy to do it. But having a little bit more financial support really does go a long way towards making it consistent and high quality and kind of allowing us to pay for a website for this thing so that you won't just have to find us via Twitter and other stuff so that they can be a place that you go to see all of our stuff in one place.

Speaker 5:

Yes. Anyway, thank you for listening. Thank you for listening. Go in peace and be in solidarity.

Speaker 6:

Okay.