Analysis Anti-Fascist Demo

Something Has Changed Forever: Portland, A4

reposted from It’s Going Down

8:30 A.M.: I’m sitting at my living room table trying to eat a piece of toast. Not the best breakfast to fight fascism, but my nerves are shot, and it’s all I have the energy to make. Today is going to be long, and I’m going to need the energy, but I just don’t feel like eating.

Anxiety does that to you. I didn’t sleep much, but I’m awake, really awake. Most people don’t work on Saturdays, but being someone that works in the service industry, I do. I should be there right now, at work, but I called in sick. I fibbed a little bit, gave my manager the classic “food poisoning” story, but the only thing I’m sick of is having to go out into public to confront fascism. And yet, here I am, getting ready to do just that. The word is that today could be another another Charlottesville. I believe it. I’m worried that by the end of the day, one or more of my friends will be dead or hospitalized. Suddenly nauseous, I grab the plate, walk to the trash can, throw the toast away.

11:00 A.M.: I’ve arrived to the Pop Mob (popular mobilization) meet up site, City Hall. There are numerous contingents of people from various organizations. The usual suspects are here: IWW, DSA, labor unions, various assortments of socialists and anarchists, but liberals seem to be in shorter supply than normal. Folks in black bloc mob about within the crowd. It’s big. There’s a lot of us. I take comfort in these numbers and the mentality of the crowd, after all, it’s mostly leftists, not liberals, and I know that we’re all on the same page: defend our community.

We begin to march, and soon enough we’re making our way down Salmon Street, a hundred or so militant antifascists at our front. We’ve clogged the street for two blocks. It’s definitely not Boston, but I’m beginning to think we have the numbers to make this happen, to end this before it begins. Up ahead I can see the proto-fascist (and explicitly) fascist Patriot Prayer rally. They’re just across the street, lined up behind numerous State fascists (cops), barricades, and barriers.

Their crowd is a sea of authoritarian and racist imagery, some of it obvious, some of it more subtle. There’s a few confederate flags and a yellow “anti-communist action” flag resembling a Third Reich battle flag, in the middle of this flag is a helicopter, a shout out to fascist Chilean dictator installed by the CIA, Pinochet.

Somewhere in the crowd, Patriot Prayer head goon Tiny Toese is doing his best Bane impression and wearing a shirt that reads “Pinochet did nothing wrong.” Proud Boys are all in their finest cosplay, Fred Perry polos and MAGA hats float atop the sea of red, white, and blue. Commodity fetishism at its more vulgar. But besides this visual input, a thought presses in from the corner of my mind: we outnumber them four or maybe even five to one. We’ve out mobilized them. We can do this, we can win. Maybe we already have. The pressure in my chest subsides some.

What does winning look like? That depends on who you ask. No platform is the goal, but I’m not sure that’s achievable today, after all, they’ve already gathered and are knee deep in their toxic feedback loop of Trumpist bullshit. If they were simply made to stand around bored and left to pass out from heat exhaustion in the sun, safely confined behind their barriers, both living and metal, I’d take that as a victory. After all, it’s not a rally they want, it’s blood. They come to Portland for the confrontation and no other reason. Disallowing them this inevitability, or having that confrontation go poorly for them. That would be a win for us. They want to march, but they don’t have the numbers, and we all know it, pigs included. Defend each other, defend ourselves. That’s the goal. That’s how we win.