Antifa has no place in Oakland because it is a racist, reactionary, reductive, counter-revolutionary, and nihilistic organization that has attacked workers and community members as well as engaged in intimidation increasing police repression against marginalized communities.
I am writing this open letter to demand that Antifa in Oakland disband and to denounce their recent efforts which caused the Oakland Police Department to force the Oakland Metro Operahouse to cancel a recent concert and face increased repression while resisting displacement and gentrification.
Some Background About the Situation
Recently individuals identifying as Anti-Fascist Action Bay Area (aka Antifa, see: https://www.facebook.com/antifabayarea/) circulated a post on social media demanding that the Oakland Metro Operahouse cancel a concert with the band Marduk from Sweden. This and all related posts have since been removed from social media.
I contacted my friends in Sweden who are part of the punk and metal scenes as well as anti-authoritarian organizing. I was informed that Marduk were not Nazis, and that Antifa was misinformed. I shared this information with Antifa and asked them to discontinue their campaign. I received no response.
|Antifa member gloats about police cancellation|
In their post Antifa made a call to action threatening to shut down the show by force if the Oakland Metro Operahouse refused to comply with Antifa’s demands.
Members of Antifa were aware that law enforcement was monitoring social media. Prior to Antifa’s actions The Oakland Metro Operahouse had been subject to harassment by city officials looking for an excuse to shut down the venue as part of an effort to gentrify the Jack London Warehouse district.
The Oakland Police Department denied the permit for the concert citing the threat of violence in light of the recent protests at U.C. Berkeley against Milo Yiannopoulis.
I am Lebanese-American, a social justice organizer, and a musician in the punk and heavy metal scenes. In the late 80s the Nazi-skin/neo-Nazi scene was growing and increasing numbers of Nazis came out to punk shows. My friends and I were attacked by Nazis during this time, and the relative safety we found in the punk scene was disappearing.
One day I confronted the Nazis and about a dozen Nazis violently attacked me as other punks stood by and watched. After that the punks mobilized to run the Nazis out of the shows. Eventually the Nazis were driven out of the scene. Similar situations like this were occurring across the U.S.
I moved to Oakland in 1997 and soon began organizing with the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation working with family members of those killed by law enforcement. When reaching out to Anarchists I was often told that they only wanted to work with other anarchists thus precluding them from working with marginalized communities.
I found more success finding allies in the punk and metal scenes which were more racially diverse and less dogmatic about political ideology.