What Anarchists Have Been Saying For Years, and What Liberals Need to Start Hearing

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Originally published to It’s Going Down
December 8, 2016

On Wednesday, December 7th at Texas A & M University, as FBI agents monitored hundreds of protesters from the tops of roofs, heavily armed riot police clashed with demonstrators bent on disrupting and shutting down an event organized by Preston Wiginton, a 51 year old former student of the campus and long time white supremacist. The event featured a talk by Richard Spencer, a leading ideologue within the growing “Alt-Right,” which attempts to re-brand fascist, Neo-Nazi, and white nationalist ideas for the millennial generation in order to create an all-white fascist “ethno-state.”

The clashes that erupted on the campus are just the latest in a string of growing confrontations between autonomous revolutionaries and the racist far-Right which is acting as an auxiliary force of the Trump regime while attempting to push it farther to the right. Suddenly, anarchists and antifa, who have been demonized and sidelined by the wider Left have been hearing from liberals and Leftists, “you’ve been right all along.” But while revolutionary anarchist ideas and starting to have a broader currently, many of the things that people are starting to pick up on, we have been saying for years.

And the stakes are only getting higher. Far-Right forces are growing, both here in the United States and around the world, but they are growing in the context of a drastic failure of both neoliberalism and socialist and Left parties which grew out of social movements like Syriza and Podemos, and the continuing fallout of a restructured economy that has left behind literally billions of people. Moreover, industrial production and extraction of resources which propels this system forward has continued to launch itself into overdrive. This year marked a horrific turning point, as we officially hit the 400 parts per million carbon milestone. Now, many scientists and even government institutions are predicting drastic climate change in our lifetimes as unavoidable and weather patterns are currently already changing rapidly. Revolution, in the sense that everything will be turned upside down, is inevitable. The question is, what kind will it be?

But as ecological apocalypse lies on the horizon, all other signs point towards the continued growth of the wealth gap, inequality in all aspects, and amassing insecurity and precarity for workers and the poor. This is true in urban centers as it is in Appalachia. On a base line level, wages have stagnated or fallen, poverty and homelessness grow, gentrification runs rampant, and overall conditions have continued to erode for many Americans while the most wealthy have grown even richer. Moreover, repression on the streets of the US continues to ramp up, as the government continues to amass more powers of surveillance and spying, the prison population soars, police kill on average around 3 people per day, and law enforcement becomes more and more militarized. In short, for most people, things are getting worse, not better.

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The coming to power of Donald Trump only signals an acceleration of all of these realities. From Trump’s plan to push through more resource extraction projects while seeing the finishing of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the erosion of democratic rights and the further growth of surveillance powers, attacks on women, queer people, immigrant workers, and Muslims, to broad sweeping attacks on the entire population as unions are assaulted, basic social welfare programs are eroded, and wealth continues to flow out of our hands and into the pockets of the rich.

In the face of all of this, from a growing insurgent far-Right, to impending ecological collapse, broad attacks on workers, the poor, the environment, and those most vulnerable, many ask: where is the opposition? The answer is clear as day, but it isn’t in the halls of power, in the politicians, the leaders of the unions, or in the big NGOs. Instead it’s in the rioters. The blockaders. The people in ski masks and in the streets. The ones on the front lines fighting with the cops. The people attacking, defending, building, and growing.

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