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Antifa: “Existing systems that maintain capitalism must be toppled”

An initiative of the Revolutionary Communist Party Toronto, the Facebook page Toronto Against Fascism “serves as a news resource for anti-fascist news in the Toronto area, as well as a rapid-response network for mass mobilizations against fascism.”

The far-left group states “We hope that anti-fascists in other cities will take up the struggle against fascism locally. Fascism does not need to be debated. It needs to be smashed. It is the people, when organized, who will do the smashing.”

On June 6, 2020 Toronto Against Fascism published the following document:

Solidarity Toronto! One of your local antifa super soldier HQs (heyyooo Toronto IWW General Defence Committee Local 28 and INAF: Intersectional Anti-Fascists) sounding off!!

We stand with everybody fighting for Black liberation around the world. This is a joint letter from some of the city’s antifascist organizations to express unequivocal solidarity with people around the world struggling for Black liberation, and the abolition of police, prisons, and colonial states.

In this letter, we hope to dispel some misinformation that is going around about “ANTIFA” and the mythical “black bloc.” We also hope to clarify our unfettered support for a position that demands justice, dignity, and security for Black people across the country, continent and world, and for the abolition and dissolution of all structures that contribute to anti-Black racism.

At the end of this letter, we have linked some resources by Black comrades for you to check out.

First: What is Antifa?

“Antifa” (no capital letters) is short for “Antifascist.” We see fascism in the militarized police, the murder of Black people by the state, violent exploitation of Indigenous land and Indigenous people, the demonization of immigrants, Muslims, 2SLGBTQIA+ community members, and continued appeals to the mythology of good, “old-stock” Canadians. We acknowledge that active and existing systems that maintain capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, racism and patriarchy as fundamental pillars of fascism. They must be opposed and toppled.

Antifascism is self defense. Antifascists do not “come into town” to ruin it. We are residents of this city who organize to oppose fascism.

Second: What is the Black Bloc?

‘Black bloc’ is a set of practices and tactics to protect the identity of protest attendees. It has origins in a specific politics, but antifascists do not have sole ownership of the concept. We do not have a uniform, and we do a lot of work for the community while not wearing black ski masks. That said, we encourage all protesters and activists to take measures to protect their identities, and that includes wearing clothes that do not stand out from your compatriots. There’s no need to make heroism about one person: it is what we achieve together that matters. Also, standing out is a terrible idea when subject to police repression or fascist doxxing.

We would never roll through the streets wearing black clothes and terrorizing working-class Torontonians. That’s the police you’re thinking of.

Third:

Antifascist-organized actions in this city try to make space for diversity of expression and diversity of tactics. In confronting white supremacist formations and their police accomplices, we understand that we cannot dictate how someone should express their disdain, contempt, or outrage towards their oppressors. The only ask we make of people is that before they commit to a plan of action, be that yelling, fireworks, smoke grenades, or anything else, consider how their actions affect the safety of those around, whether consent has been given, and what the immediate consequences might be for themselves, their peers, and a movement or organization as a whole. Be safe and take care of each other.

Put plainly, to shut down any demand for justice, angry or not, is cop work. We don’t do cop work.

We also want to turn the focus onto the police. Their violence is reason why we are taking to the streets, and we should never forget that. When protesting police brutality, handing over protesters to the police is a betrayal of our principles to the utmost. It should never be attempted. We are capable of resolving our differences without relying on the police. If we disagree on tactics or behaviors, we can talk about it after the demonstration is over. Again: We don’t do cop work.

On the weekend as a whole:

At this time, we are facing an enormous humanitarian crisis of police forces brutalizing and murdering Black people. Without question, this is one of the most pressing issues of our time in so-called North America. In this time, it is the voices of Black people that need to be heard. Our organizations and collective groups do not believe in hogging the limelight when Black voices need to be elevated. Without question, this is not our ship to steer.

To answer the call by our Black comrades for accomplices in dismantling white supremacy and allies in securing justice and peace for Black lives means collaboration, mutual aid, and listening. It means offering and using specific skills to aid that struggle. There is no imperative to center our aesthetic or our organizations. If we show up in Black Bloc, it would be the result of a joint consensus and on the trust of the Black comrades.

We encourage anyone looking for antifa to judge us by our actions in support of the community, not by our tactical decisions on what to wear.

Finally:

As seen in the US, hundreds of peaceful protests this week have been continually met with police violence, often after departments get their photo ops. While things between the states and Toronto may seem different to some people, we should be clear that the TPS has no problems sending SWAT teams to raid Black communities the day before peaceful protests, abandoning immigrant members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to a white serial killer, or brutalizing white and nonBlack PoC activists trying to stop hate marches in our communities.

The TPS is not our friend. Demands should be made of them to demilitarize and disband, as we are seeing across cities in the US. Abolish the police and abolish prisons. A better world is possible.

Happy Pride! We celebrate its history in that it was both a riot and a radical act of care spearheaded by Black members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Further reading:

Prison Abolitionist readings:

https://twitter.com/time2ryot/status/1265707093509566469

Commentary on commodification, rioting, and seizure of goods as a form of protest, from the Hampton Institute:

https://twitter.com/hamptonthink/status/1265841732140167169

Thread on looting and community, and why big box stores aren’t part of a community:

https://twitter.com/dubsteppenwolf/status/1265916328147386370

Links to Black Revolutionary texts: https://t.co/iKLxyHTO6U

About Rachel Ehrenfeld

Rachel Ehrenfeld
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is Founder and President of the New York-based American Center for Democracy, and the Economic Warfare Institute. Dr. Ehrenfeld has authored academic and policy papers and more than one thousand articles. Her books include FUNDING EVIL: How Terrorism is Financed – and How to Stop Ii (2011) • EVIL MONEY (HarperCollins, 1992,1994). Her latest book project is on The Economic Warfare against the U.S. from Within and Without. • NARCOTERRORISM (Basic Books, 1990, 1992).

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