As a rule, I tend to not comment on personal action or belief when I decide to comment on an article. This is because what a person does in their own life is, in my eyes, largely their own business and not really much of a concern of mine unless they’re hurting someone. And because I really don’t care what a person believes in, as long as they hold that belief is for themselves and not that said belief is to be forced off onto others. I truly prefer to debate ideals and ideologies only when they come forth to demand obedience from other people who believe different things, and create actions to enforce that demand.
Today though I’ll be going over some of an article with goes a bit past what I’m usually comfortable doing in the ideological/personal line. But this time (mostly because Bellona keep insisting) we’re going to delve past that line not as much “in refutation” as it is a spring board to point out larger things.
That being said, let us look at Christopher Scott Thompson’s Praxis.
Most of the discussion about polytheism and politics has focused on theory. This is a little bit strange because you often hear people saying that polytheism is a matter of “orthopraxy not orthodoxy.” As it happens, I am not particularly a fan of either. Still, if it’s all about “right practice” then why has so much of the conversation been about “right belief”?
Because people such as Rhyd and other writers at G&R (along with other places) have made the issue of “right belief” a major area of contention ever since the article “Confronting the New Right.”
Used to be, Pagans and Polytheists could believe whatever they wanted to politically. But now everyone is having to justify and defend their political views from accusations of being “Alt-Right” and holding “Fascist” ideals by a bunch of people holding Marxist ideals who seem to insist that their anarchist, Marxist, anti-capitalist ways are the only moral view points to have and the only decent theology project going on in Paganism.
Chris then spends a paragraph talking about his religious devotion to Brighid (a Celtic Goddess of Spring, fertility, and smithcraft) which is quite extensive. I suppose that gets his devotional bonifides on the table.
A few weeks ago, I started a Southern Maine chapter for an antifascist organization. I’m not going to name the group here, because they are not a religious organization and might not prefer to be mentioned in an article about paganism. I’m sure the members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, both secular and religious. However, the current membership of the chapter I founded is the same group of people I worship with on the new moon every month. Our current focus for antifascist activity is the Trump campaign, so when we found out that Trump was going to be speaking at the Hyatt in New York City on April 14th I decided to go.
Well, my experience with anti-fascist organizations is they tend to be just as bad as the fascists. The fact that Chris will not give me the name of the organization makes me a bit suspicious. Now I cannot research them and learn of their past and present deeds.
But here we get to why I think Bellona pushed me to work on this article. Trump. Their anti-fascist activities are focused on Trump. Now, Trump is not a fascist. He’s not advocating for fascist policies. He’s a populist. But I’ll get to that in a moment. Mostly because this part of the article is not going to be about Trump.
There is a long tradition of antifascist streetfighting, going back to the decades before the Second World War. Even now, many groups take an aggressive approach to antifascist action. I do not condemn this strategy, but due to past experiences in my own life I have made a personal commitment not to ever fight except in self-defence or direct defense of another. I chose the particular organization I’m part of because they have made the same commitment. Nevertheless, my next step in preparing for the protest was to make an offering to Macha.
Oh yeah, there is a long tradition of “antifascist streetfighting” that does predate WWII. In fact, most of those street fighters were communists who wanted to take over their countries for Marxism, tear down society, and rebuild it in a Marxist image. In fact, a lot of the support for fascism arose because of this “antifascist street fighting” as people saw the fascists (who supported the traditions of their native people and demanded a return to those traditions) being attacked by communists.
In more modern times, you can look up anti-fascist street fighting and it tends to be Marxists running around beating the shit out of people for not being Marxists. So yes, a long and noble history of beating the shit out of people because they have a different ideological point of view than you. Much moral.
Now the part that I have to raise my brow at is where Chris says “I only fight for self defense or defense of another.” As if this makes him different from other anti-fascist street fighters. The truth is, most Anti-fascists seem to have this same ideal in mind. They excuse their violence and justify it as “Defending another” from the “harms of fascism.”
You can justify a lot if you’re “defending someone else.”
Why would I pray to a goddess associated with war and conflict before going to a nonviolent protest? Because civil resistance is a form of conflict even when the participants reject violence as a tool in that conflict. Past protests against Trump have been marked by violence against the protesters, and the NYPD has a reputation for violence at protests too. I left a small bowl of milk and honey, and asked Macha to keep me safe and sound on my journey to new York and in the protest itself, and to bring us victory if such was her will.
There’s a video by Sargon of Akkad I’m going to put at the bottom. It includes accounts by people who have been to Trump rallies where in the vast majority of cases, the violence was started by the anti-Trump protestors. While there have been incidents of Trump supporters initiating violence, the vast majority of Trump supporter violence seems to be in response to direct violent actions via Anti-Trump supporters.
And really, after the riots in Ferguson, I cannot blame cops being more violent and less tolerant of protestors getting out of hand. I mean, when your city burns, you have failed your job as a cop.
Chris then details more of his spiritual practice and preparations for going to this protest. I’m going to pass over it because there’s not much in terms of ideology there.
When I reached Manhattan that evening, I had to walk as quickly as possible from the Port Authority up to the Hyatt on East 42nd Street to join the protest. As I made my way through the crowds, I saw one police van after another heading down the street in the same direction, followed by a column of officers carrying zip ties for mass arrests, and a bus to transport arrestees in case the vans weren’t enough. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make me nervous, but I knew I was as well-prepared as I could be.
You know what seeing this would have been to me? A clue.
A big freaking clue.
If the cops are headed to an area en-mass, armed with the tools they need to enact mass arrests and cart of a lot of people, this tells me the cops are prepared for a crap ton of violence. They are not going to guard a peaceful political rally. They are expecting a lot of trouble, a lot of violence, and they feel the need to be prepared to crack down fast and hard.
I’m going to pause a moment and let us think about why this might be. This is part of why I’m posting the video at the end of this post.
Trump’s Rhetoric tends to break down like this:
- Make America Great Again
- Keep Muslims from coming to the USA for a while until the threat of Islamist Terror has abated. Because places that aren’t doing this are getting attacked by Islamist Terrorists.
- Build a wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the country and insist they immigrate legally, because too many of those who come across illegally commit crimes and hurt people.
- Black people love him.
- He wants to bring back jobs
The Anti-Trump rhetoric tends to break down like this:
- Trump is Hitler
- Trump is a Fascist
- Trump is a racist
- Trump is the most evil thing on this planet since Satan.
- Everyone who supports Hitler is the same.
Now, which side sounds like the one most prone to violence? Which side sounds like it wants to kill the other. I don’t like Trump, at all, but I can admit that he’s not saying “we need to gas these people.” He’s saying “Don’t let them in.” Which is a far cry from a call to violence. If anything, it’s a call to build a “safe space.”
On the other hand, when you start throwing around things calling someone worse than Hitler, and that said person’s followers are as bad or worse than Nazi’s, you’re just asking for some self-righteous goon to come around and start some violence they feel is justified.
When I heard the sound of drums up ahead, I knew I had found the protesters. The drums belonged to the Fight for $15 contingent, which also had its own team of dancers for the event. Protests tend to attract an almost-random collection of people with different causes to push, but in this case the connection was easy to understand – Trump is on record as saying that current wages are too high!
Were these dancers being paid $15 dollars an hour?
Also, I do have a hard time disagreeing with Trump (even as someone earning min wage). World wide, wages tend to be about $1-$3 dollars an hour from what I gather. Here in the USA, they’re closer to $8 dollars and now people are wanting $15 dollars an hour. And that’s at the minimum. And I’ll go ahead and say it, most Americans are shit workers. So the value of our labor is not equal to the price we demand for it. And we as a group cannot compete with groups willing to offer fractional amounts for equal to superior work.
If someone came up to you and offered to do a job for you at $15 dollars an hour, and someone else offered to do the same job at $3 dollars an hour, which would you pick?
And people wonder why all the jobs go overseas.
There was also a large contingent from Black Lives Matter, and another from a group called People’s Assembly. In case anyone assumes this was a partisan protest, many of these groups had also been protesting Clinton the day before. The People’s Assembly speaker was saying something to the effect that “Trump doesn’t speak for us! Clinton doesn’t speak for us! Sanders doesn’t speak for us!” This wasn’t about the Democrats versus the Republicans.
Ah, Black Lives Matter, the most prominent hate group in the USA at the moment. Always good to know where the racists are siding in the political debate. I’m glad they could take time out of beating up kids in libraries and harassing people over breakfast to come lend their voices.
As for this “people’s assembly” I am going to guess it’s Marxist in nature. I tried to do a web-search and the only thing I could find was “The People’s Assembly Against Austerity” which appears to be a protest group funded by Unions in order to complain about budget cuts in the UK. Either they’ve gone trans-atlantic, or it could be a different group using the same name.
We’re gonna skip ahead. Chris talks about how the baracade system is set up, how there’s another group of pro-Trump protests, one of whom apparently punched some people, and another protestor who apparently fell and hit his head.
As we were making our introductions, another protester walked by carrying an effigy of Donald Trump, filled with needles and pins like a so-called “voodoo doll.” Surprisingly enough, this led to a debate between two of my comrades over the relative merits of Vodou and Santeria! (Neither of which actually uses this type of magic, but that’s beside the point.) I turned to them and said “whatever gets the job done” and they burst out laughing. That was the end of the debate.
“Whatever gets the job done.”
I want us to just take a moment, and let that roll around for a bit.
Trump is so “evil” that anything that would remove him, including the use of what is traditionally considered “Black magic,” likely up to and including lethal curses, is acceptable here. Now I’m not saying Vodou is bad, but my understanding is that the “vodou doll” is considered a pretty bad act when used like that even within Vodou itself.
Is it any wonder why people like Sargon and myself are waiting for the moment Trump gets Murdered.
I’m not even being hyperbolic here. Some people count the days till Obama is out of office. I’m mentally ticking off days until some one, filled with self righteousness and propaganda, gets a gun or a knife and kills Trump because “he’s the new Hitler.” I couldn’t even list the amount of propaganda out there against him, propaganda which isn’t even based on anything he’s said. You have teachers saying their students are scared of if Trump gets elected. You have people “triggered’ by his name appearing in chalk. Not even Lucifer himself gets the villain brush as heavily as Trump does.
“Whatever gets the Job Done.”
The police were trying to keep us away from the Hyatt and Grand Central Terminal with two rows of barricades and a large contingent of uniformed officers blocking us from crossing over to the other side. Despite their efforts, a hundred or so protesters managed to get around them (possibly through the subway system, I’m not sure) and were soon in front of the doors on the other side of the street.
What are the odds the protestors were there to sell cookies?
Now here’s the thing, I’m all for peaceful political protest. I’m also for obeying the Law whenever it is at all possible. These protestors decided it wasn’t good enough to get their message out in the designated area for them, in view of where they were protesting. Oh no, they had to subvert the police, sneak around them and go directly confront their enemy.
They were not there to peacefully protest.
The police immediately swarmed in on them while moving to close off access to the rest of us. I tried to slip through a gap in the barricades and cross the street to join the other protesters, but found the way blocked by a row of cops and new barricades. I thought I might be able to get around them if I went down the street a little way and then crossed at that point, but there were police blocking the way no matter how far I went. They were letting commuters through at one spot only, so I removed items that would have identified me as a protester and slipped through with the commuters.
Our “hero” ladies and gentlemen. Using deception against the guardians of law and peace in order to advance political agenda.
Frankly, good on the cops. They know violence is probably going to go down and they want to minimize that violence as much as they possibly can. Frankly, I am impressed by how efficient the cops were at blocking access. They must have seriously feared a lot of violence to put out that many people.
And notice, they’re all about keeping the protestors out…not the Trump supporters in. If that doesn’t tell you something about who they expected the massive amounts of violence to come from, well, I’m not sure I can help you.
Chris then tries several other ways of getting into the Trump Rally in order to protest further, but is stymied at every turn. Eventually he goes back, but most of his protesting comrades have disbursed when they realized they couldn’t get in. I guess if there’s no chance of getting in and causing problems, there’s no point in standing around outside to make your voices heard. Certainly, rather than stand and protest, Chris seems to have decided to go home.
As I was walking up 42nd, I recited the Sloinntireachd one more time to thank Brighid for her protection. We may not have succeeded in shutting down Trump’s event, but I did what I came to do. The more people who stand up and confront neofascist ideologies, the stronger the resistance gets. We’ll keep building this movement until Trump is defeated – either before the election or after it. Then we’ll turn our attention to the next threat.
“We may not have succeeded in shutting down Trumps event…”
Forget freedom of speech, forget freedom of belief, forget the freedom to get together with like minded people. You are guilty of wrong think and Chris wants to shut you down, along with his friends. Your concerns, your fears, your desires and hopes, are immaterial. You are offensive to Chris and his comrades. You should be shut down.
That’s what Chris set out to do. That’s why he tried to join the protestors on the other side of the barricade. He wasn’t interested in providing an alternative voice or points. He wanted to silence Trump and end his rally.
“We’ll keep building this movement until Trump is defeated – either before the election or after it”
Now if that isn’t a potentially terrifying line, I don’t know what is. If Trump wins the election, Chris and his comrades will continue to fight Trump until he is “defeated.”
Bellona’s blades, but who sounds like a damn fascist here? Who is the one going on about purging the “Wrongthink” and shutting down the “Wrong thinkers.” Who is the one insisting on an “orthodoxy?”
You get to decide.