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“The Job of the Media is To Divorce Movements From Their Base” (podcast)
This past weekend in San Francisco and Berkeley saw tens of thousands of people hit the streets against a series of far-Right rallies attended by Alt-Right trolls, Proud Boys, and neo-Nazis. The mobilizations showed that there is broad popular opposition to the Alt-Right as antifascist groups, groups of workers, faith based organizations, and a multitude of sectors mobilized and organized to confront the far-Right. The bay area mobilizations also showed that the autonomous power and energy that was unleashed after Charlottesville is still very much alive and is growing among the broader population.
But in the face of growing mass popular opposition not controlled or contained by the Democratic Party and also through building a coalition that includes anarchists and antifascists, both the Right, Center, and liberal Left began to launch a series of attacks in the media against ‘antifa.’ Attacks in Right media have been constant and borrow from viral stories coming out of the Alt-Right media eco-system and are often based on disinformation, in fact Raw Story reports that pro-Putin Twitter bots are helping to make narratives go viral of violence “on both sides.” Meanwhile, Center and liberal publications that weeks before had given airtime to antifascists now drew hard lines against it. The Washington Post even ran an editorial saying that antifa was the ‘moral equivalent’ of neo-Nazis, while others brought out old tropes that resisting fascism only helps it to grow.
In this episode of the IGDCAST, we push back on these media attacks with two guests who were in the streets of the bay area during last weekend’s mobilizations. In our first discussion we talk mainly about both the media and their role in trying to separate movements from their base; either forcing them back into the logic and framework of the political system or setting them up to be destroyed. With that in mind, we then discuss the calls for the repression of antifa from both local bay area elites, ‘extremist’ watchdog groups like the ADL, to the security state itself.
In our next discussion, another guest discusses what happened throughout the two days. We discuss the massive failure that took place on Saturday for the Alt-Right as well as the mass mobilization that happened across San Francisco. We then discuss the Berkeley demonstrations and rip apart the media narrative that the antifascists in black bloc ‘crashed’ a peaceful protest or that they were removed from both the organizing or the execution of the weekend’s events. We also talk about how the few clashes that did take place between members of the Alt-Right and antifascists were few in number and very contained, as well as putting the violence in a context of months of Alt-Right attacks and escalation of violence in the Bay Area.