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Tag: Featured

You’re Never ‘Just’ A Journalist: Reporting From The Left & The Far Right (Gonzo Notes)

Posted in Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

It’s a gift to be a journalist in this moment.

Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. It’s the only way to get through.

Freelancers (like I am right now) spend every month counting our pennies, making sure we’ll make rent and have a little left over for food and coffee and the other vices of our profession. For those lucky few with a steady job, they’re wondering how long until downsizing and budget cuts will put them out on the street.

In addition to journalism’s grim financial picture, we’re finding ourselves targeted by the government and by far-right fascists for violence and repression in a way we haven’t faced in decades.

No Platform For Islamophobia: How Austin Shut Down ‘March Against Sharia’ White Supremacist Rally

Posted in Austin, and Journalism

It was called the “March Against Sharia,” but thanks to a lot of very loud Austin activists this white supremacist gathering could barely speak, much less march through the city.

The openly Islamophobic gathering was part of a June 10 national day of action organized by ACT For America, a hate group that uses fearmongering about the mythological spread of “Sharia law” in America as a way to foment hatred and violence against Muslim people.

As with every similar gathering in Texas since the election, from the March 4 Trump to May Day, the event attracted a range of fascists, neo-nazis and far-right nationalists that makes these events virtually indistinguishable from one another. Whatever the ostensible reason for gathering, whether it’s expressing loyalty to the president or opposing immigrants, these events essentially promote the same white supremacist agenda.

What Is American Fascism And Who Are The Antifa?

Posted in Act Out!, Austin, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Video

You’ve seen them on TV: black clad activists marching against, and even openly fighting with neo-nazis, nationalists, and white supremacists. Since the election, antifascists have seemingly been everywhere online and in the media. Some call them terrorists, while others call them heroes, but really they’re just humans like you and me. Humans who hate fascism.

Who are the antifa, where did they come from aaaand what, really, is fascism anyway?

A question that’s no longer simply academic: across the U.S., and indeed, in Europe too, far right forces are growing in power. Whether they call themselves “nationalists” or claim to be opposed to “radical” Islam while targeting innocent Muslims for threats and violence, the bad old days are coming back round again on insanity’s loop.

Laughing Ourselves To Hell: Trolling As A Lifestyle (Gonzo Notes)

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, and Gonzo Notes

I was a teenage (and young adult) troll.

In my early 20s especially, I hung out on SomethingAwful, a website with a lively associated forum that would often target groups we perceived to be low hanging fruit (furries, goths, and so on) for online attacks.

Our viciousness never rose to the level of today’s super-trolls, who send SWAT teams to their enemies’ houses or wage ongoing campaigns that drive vulnerable people to suicide, but I can see how I took part in the early days of this trend, and I’m not proud of it.

Part of maturing for me has been recognizing that I can’t eradicate this prankster side of myself, so I’ve instead learned to direct it against the corrupt systems that promote inequality and the powerful people who profit off modern day, extractive capitalism.

Pranking up, not punching down.

Why The United Nations Protects Empires While Failing To Protect Human Rights

Posted in Act Out!, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Video

So, you might be surprised to learn that Saudi Arabia recently gained a seat on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

That’s right — a country where male guardianship requires that women get permission to do everything from receive an education to travel, a country where women can not drive or leave the house without proper head-to-toe covering – and when they do everything is gender segregated — that Saudi Arabia was given a three year term as a member of the U.N. agency whose sole mission is to promote gender equality and women’s rights. Take a moment with that.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a nonprofit that tries to keep the international body accountable called the move “absurd — and morally reprehensible.”

Absurd as it may be — and it is fucking ridiculous — what’s even more absurd is that the appointment isn’t a sign that something is wrong at the U.N.

Unpacking The Fascist Rampage On May Day In Austin: What Happened, What Went Wrong

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, and Journalism

On May Day, 2017 in Austin, Texas, a coalition of heavily armed Nazis shut down a radical activist march.

The international workers holiday brought a variety of activist events to the Texas capital, from workers’ protests organized by Fight For 15 to a sit-in at the Governor’s Office in opposition to SB4, the brutal and inhumane anti-Sanctuary Cities bill.

In the afternoon, a Communist organization in Austin had called for a radical (“red bloc”) march. While these kind of events are a fixture in cities like Portland and Seattle, but has only begun to appear in Austin in the last couple of years, and with far fewer numbers attending.

At 4pm, the designated start time, a couple dozen radicals dressed in black began to trickle into the meeting place, a downtown intersection near Republic Park. However, the fascists were already in the area and on the march, even as our people began to gather.

Although Republic Park is a historic meeting place in the city, it’s currently shut down for construction and surrounded by high fencing. In fact, the entire area around 4th and Guadalupe is full of construction, creating a boxed in atmosphere that the fascists used to their full advantage. Additionally a security camera operated by the local transit service, along with what was most likely an undercover cop disguised as a homeless man, were present at the site, further placing activists at risk.

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