I appeared on the It’s Going Down podcast to discuss the climate crisis, mutual aid, and lessons learned from the deadly freeze in Texas during mid-February 2021.
Kit is a gonzo journalist from Austin, Texas.
I keep thinking about the guy at the coup attempt who tried to murder a cop in uniform, because he thought the cop was ANTIFA.
When I think about the fury that the crowd unleashed on that cop, and the ready justification this guy had at hand, it makes me realize that we are all ANTIFA now. When Peter Stager beat Metro cop Michael Fanone with an American flag pole (symbolism, y’all), he wasn’t imagining the cop was “antifa.”
That is, he didn’t consider the police officer to be part of a political tendency loosely organized around opposition to white supremacy, genocide, and dictatorial power. No, he thought the cop was all caps ANTIFA, a much more nebulous, and dangerous category. And every one of us that’s even a little left-of-center can end up in that category, at any time, in 2021.
Inspired by Common Ground in New Orleans and Occupy Sandy and numerous other community-led relief efforts, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief cultivate “autonomous, decentralized, and liberatory disaster relief.”
I’ve featured multiple Mutual Aid Disaster Relief publications in my Virtual Gonzo Zine Library. Most recently, I put “Lessons Learned” in the “Winter 2020” edition of the VGZL. I reached out to MADR by email, and they answered collectively. I found their answers so eloquent, I wanted to present them here in Q&A format rather than editing them into a formal interview-style article. I’ve only lightly edited the responses for clarity and brevity.
Kit O’Connell: Any advice for handling armed fascists or right wingers that show up in disaster areas trying to “patrol” “prevent looting” guard against “antifa” etc?
After watching the coup, I keep imagining the feeling of breaking through. The rush. The giddy high of taking space.
Like so many antifascists, I saw something like this coming. I wasn’t surprised, but I was still shocked at the sight of a war-helmeted christofascist raising his fist in the air as he stood atop the heart of American political power.
And I keep coming back to how good they must feel. These nasty fucking fascists, white supremacists, and Qsuckers are riding one of the biggest highs of their lives. And that makes them even more dangerous.
This is the Winter 2020 edition of the Virtual Gonzo Zine Library.
The VGZL is a zine reading list and miniature zine distro. From time to time, I curate some of my favorite zines — zines that I think everyone should be reading, including myself.
These are the main selections from this edition of my reading list. I’ve selected a few bonus zines as well as some other resources to consider, too.
Often working with just their phones, community journalists can shine light on movements, expose police brutality, and help protect activists from getting “disappeared” by an authoritarian government. At the same time, the wrong tweet—or especially livestream—can leave people in the street exposed to increased police surveillance.
From “snatch and grab” arrests in unmarked vans, to raids on the homes of perceived organizers, activists have good reason to be concerned. From Portland, Oregon, to Philadelphia, law enforcement acknowledge using livestreams and other social media to gather evidence.
As activists begin to face serious charges from the most recent wave of protests, there’s also more attention on the risks posed by inexperienced or unethical community journalists. Meanwhile, more people are protesting for the first time, with some newly taking up the role of community journalist. As such, a debate that’s been bubbling beneath the surface since at least the Occupy movement and Arab Spring is bursting to the forefront: the question of whether, and how, protests should be documented in real time online.