Statement on Strategy and Tactics for June 4th Rally

Published on May 24, 2017

The event organizers would like to make a clear statement on the strategy and tactics of the June 4th event.

We believe that a broad coalition response is necessary to combat this particular extreme right alliance. The composition of this grouping, with explicit white nationalists embedded in a larger sphere of various crypto-fascist and far-right parties, makes this trickier to address than a simple “white power” march. We would like to focus on highlighting the overt white supremacists in attendance. Having reviewed the successes and failures across the country in addressing similar events, our view is that an indiscriminate approach attacking their entire event would not be strategic and plays into their hands in several important ways.

We are committed to the idea that people in our community should be able to participate in resisting this bigotry in whatever capacity they find appropriate. For this reason, we have chosen to make the primary focus of the event a rally at a separate location that is adjacent to the Alt Right rally.

We are unapologetic about the reality that fighting fascism at points requires physical militancy. Anti-fascism is, by nature, a form of self-defense: the goal of fascism is to exterminate the vast majority of human beings. However, we realize that not everyone is able to do that type of work for a wide variety of reasons. We cannot emphasize enough that a diverse range of other forms of resistance are also crucial. There are groups in attendance that will be prepared to handle physical opposition, and all those compelled are welcome to join in that effort. We want to be clear that we are by no means expecting the entire rally to want, or be able, to do that. We ask that all rally attendees respect the boundaries and safety of one another.

While we are not opposed to the tactic of property destruction, we would encourage other individuals and groups to seriously consider the strategic value of their chosen actions at this event. The climate in Portland and across the country right now is such that extremely heavy charges are being handed out for acts of vandalism that have little impact beyond the symbolic. We are by no means against people risking arrest in order to fight for justice, but as witnessed at May Day 2017, the Portland Police and District Attorney are more eager than ever to hand out these charges, and to enact violence against members of our community. While sometimes it is unavoidable to confront the state in order to achieve important goals, these decisions should be carefully thought out in terms of costs and benefits.

Putting ourselves at risk for mass arrests for very little tangible victory is not a sustainable model. It places an enormous burden on support networks to provide finances and labor. And in a world where doxxing is a primary weapon of our opponents, arrests can be hugely taxing long term even if charges are beaten.

Our message is “No Nazis in our city!” and we want to see tactics that align with that. Again, we ask that attendees respect a diversity of tactics.

St Paul Principles on Diversity of Tactics

1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for diversity of tactics and plans of other groups. As individuals and groups we are committed to treating each other as allies in the struggle.

2. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of time or space to protect the autonomy and safety of the movement.

3. We realize that our detractors will work to divide us by inflaming and magnifying our tactical, strategic, personal and political disagreements. Therefore, any debates or criticisms must stay inside the movement to avoid any public or media denunciations of fellow activists or events.

4. We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance, infiltration, disruption and violence. We agree not to assist law enforcement actions against activists and others.

We hope to see you with us at the rally on Sunday, June 4th!

In solidarity,

Rose City Antifa

Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective