Originally published on my Patreon. This is the first draft of what I hope will become the introduction to “Soup For Our Families: An Antifascist…
Let me start by saying thank you for supporting me. The last couple of months have been challenging, and the next few probably won’t be a whole lot easier. I’m looking for work, dealing with the slow collapse of the hemp industry, and coping with some significant health problems in my family.
So that’s why I’m assembling a cookbook zine. It’s called Soup For Our Families: An Antifascist Cookbook, and I’ll be collecting recipes over the next month. That’s right, actual food recipes — and not just soup, I’m collecting food and drink from every category from apps to desserts. I want to showcase the wide range of who we are, using food as a window. The only rule is the recipes should come from antifascist/antiracist people or groups.
Activists sometimes forget that anyone can use tactics like banner drops, including the fascist far right.
Late in 2020 and in the first days of 2021, I spoke twice to Spencer Sunshine, a researcher of the far right and ways to oppose them. I included “40 Ways To Fight Fascists,” the zine he co-wrote with PopMob, in my Virtual Gonzo Zine Library.
Since Trump’s election, I’ve noticed more American fascists using tactics traditionally associated with leftist activism, like banner drops or wheatpasting. Patriot Front is one of several groups that frequently drops banners, with messages in support of white supremacy, from buildings and overpasses.
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.
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.