For months now, President Donald Trump and his followers, including both uniformed and civilian white supremacists, right-wing terrorist organizations, and civil war boosters, have been threatening to carry out a dictatorial coup, either through use of Republican-run courts, or through violence in the streets. This would discredit the national elections and end even the limited democracy the U.S. currently enjoys. What will actually happen we do not yet know; the majority of the population is presently against this, seemingly including much of the ruling rich and the establishment. But any such attempt will need to be stopped with direct action. Hoping things turn out for the best is not enough.
We cannot trust the Democrats, or the rest of the ruling elite, to defend democracy and freedom. They have supported all longstanding limitations on true democracy in the United States: the Electoral College, the unrepresentative Senate, the gerrymandering of congressional districts, private funding of all election campaigns, judges appointed for life, and so on. Voter suppression is rampant, particularly in non-white communities. Native American communities face the double injustice of having their sovereignty trampled as well as being systematically disenfranchised in U.S. elections. We live in a capitalist economy in which a tiny few have power over hundreds of millions. All the Democrats and the professional “resistance” know is process, procedure, and institutions - and they will no doubt naively seek refuge in these state apparatus even as the threat of fascism is upon us.
We the people can only rely on ourselves. Any actions by pro-Trump partisans, including Proud Boys, white nationalists, and far-right militia members, must be met by massive popular demonstrations throughout the country. Our rulers must fear that they will lose control of the population. The more militant the protests, the better. Only by a massive show of force can Trump and his authoritarian allies be convinced that stealing power is simply not worth it.
Demonstrations, however, will not be enough. Working people have a special power. There must be strikes in important sections of the economy. There must be general strikes in cities throughout the country, as well as rent strikes and consumer boycotts. On a local and international level, activists are doing their part to organize workers against a possible coup. Here in New York City, we support calls for a Peoples’ State of Emergency/Days of Rage to flood the streets on November 4th. Resources, from protest guides to lists of events, for post-election mobilization are being gathered under the slogan Everybody Out! All of these efforts must be applauded and supported.
We may have disagreements with other leftist and liberal groups, but this moment in history calls for setting those differences aside: we will work with anyone who will help build a movement against an attempted coup. As for ourselves, we are anarchists, libertarian socialists, and autonomists. Our goal is a true, popular democracy in which we all have a say in all aspects of our daily lives. We seek to build a movement which rejects the white supremacy, both implicit and explicit, and patriarchal authority that Trump and the far-right have sought to defend. A movement that is revolutionary, anti-capitalist, and anti-statist - one that will continue to organize even if the Democrats take power.
In the spirit of abolition and building a better world, we honor #Juneteenth today with the MACC Anarchist Feminist working group’s contribution to Public Seminar anarchafeminist manifesto.
Anarchafeminism means abolition of the police and prisons. As anarchafeminists, we recognize that the prison-industrial complex is a project that extends beyond physical walls and permeates all of society. This antiblack, ableist, and gender- normative project maintains the sovereign state, and the sovereign sex. It upholds the dangerous view that a neutral arbiter of justice and rightful punitive measures exist in a system built upon racism, colonialism, and misogyny. The system is not broken. It is working exactly as intended – criminalizing black, brown, indigenous, feminized, and gender nonconforming bodies. Treating this violence as an exception, is ahistorical, dangerous, and limits possibilities for real transformation.
Reforms such as the ones proposed by the 8cantwait campaign, allow the state to appear as if it is responsive to demands for change, while leaving the same structures and systems intact. In contrast, the non-reformist reforms proposed by 8toabolition, offer one path forward that reduces the resources that go toward policing and prisons, and increases investments in communities.This is a step in the direction of an abolitionist vision, in which the carceral state, and all states are obsolete.
Gendered violence is foundational to the development of the state. However, the state’s pathological desire to control women’s bodies is exacerbated within the carceral state. Women are the fastest-growing prison population in the so-called United States. As male prison populations decrease in response to criminal justice reforms, women’s incarceration continues to grow at an all-time high. One in 18 Black women will be incarcerated in their/her lifetimes and 47% of Black transgender women will be incarcerated. Prisons are inherently spaces of violence and control for everyone, but women also experience sexual forms of violence and trauma during incarceration including rape, shackled births, and denial of necessary medical care. At least 1 in 4 women has had an incarcerated loved one, which contributes to decline in mental, emotional, and physical health. Incarceration of women and their loved ones is a burgeoning women’s health crisis.
We recognize that the carceral state was built to maintain a disciplined society, in which gender binaries and norms were policed. We stand against this political isolation, that maintains a binary and dominant gender by taking women and femmes away from their resources and support structures. In opposition, we build solidarity through walls and bars by supporting our incarcerated comrades with acts of care and mutual aid. Our political commitments of abolition, anarchism, and radical feminism break the chains of our oppressors and aim to create a world that renders the prison-industrial complex impossible.
From the onset of COVID-19, it was obvious that the authoritarian government led by Rodrigo Duterte was not prioritizing the needs of Phillipino people. He ignored calls for a travel ban, lest the country lose out on any tourism revenue. And, while the pandemic called for health-related responses, like increased PPE and transportation for healthcare workers, Duterte’s administration responded instead with militaristic tactics, treating the virus like an enemy state. According to Local Autonomous Network (LAN), this is an attempt to secure power, rather than to keep anyone safe.
The anarchists involved in LAN were already not inclined to rely on Duerte’s regime, nor the prevailing capitalistic order. To do so begets a return to ‘normal’, and ‘normalcy’ means more of a structure that encourages selfishness and supremacy over cooperation. As with most anarchists, LAN sees many of the hardships under COVID-19 not as anomalous, but as agitations of structural injustice. For example, they cite Duerto’s ineffective aid to “no work, no pay” workers, such as street vendors or pedicab drivers, as an ignorance towards the needs of his own people. Those who have reacted to COVID-19 with selfishness are expressing a learned maladaptive - a symptom of a social order that impairs cooperation.
“Mutual aid is a natural action for a person,” says a collective member who helped Food Not Bombs hand out fresh soup. “Cooperation is an instinct.” Jean, who helped distribute rice around her community said, “this is not to show off that we want to be a hero, but [that] we are there to share what we have according to our capacity.” Chung, a pedicab driver, has been offering free rides to healthcare workers, as well as using his cart to distribute aid packages. These efforts belong to a complex network that looks to model cooperative living: community gardening, donation drives, food redistribution, and online classes for children and adults. All of this falls in-line with LAN, FNB and the Etniko Bandido Infoshop’s ongoing work; that is, community-building mutual aid that persists through foul and fair weather.