AUSTIN: Opinion Editorial on ATX Resistance Action and Bad Antifascism

By Ed Dalton

Editor’s note: The cover photo is from an upcoming counter protest by “ATX Resistance Action” at Leander Public Library.

There are certain rules to antifascist work which should be observed by the serious left, which are no platform for fascists, no debating fascists, and no working with the police. Much has already been said about the organization “ATX Resistance Action” but their upcoming counter-protest against homophobic right-wingers “Mass Resistance Texas” just went all out for full collaboration with the Church and state.

Their event description itself is enough to repel anyone who takes antifascism seriously. It states, “The time of the fascist event opposing story time is 1 pm. We need to be there at 12:30 so we have enough bodies to take the space.” For starters, “ATX Resistance Action” has no tactical sense. If the folks at “Mass Resistance” can make a Facebook event, they can certainly read the public “ATX Resistance Action” event page and decide to show up at 11. Good organizers should know better than to show their cards. This should be the first alarm that these organizers do not know what they are doing, but the spectacle continues into farce.

“Our purpose is to create a sound and visual barrier of bodies between the fascists and those coming to the library.” By not analyzing any conditions before organizing, they fail to warn anyone that Leander, a suburban town north of Austin is a hotbed for the homophobic, Trump-loving middle-class Americans. The drag queen story hour is not going to be attracting a large audience to say the least. Nonetheless, this ignorance of local conditions leads to more bad organizing:

“Must be done in a kid friendly way so the children think it’s all fun and aren’t afraid of seeing people with guns behind us.” Perhaps this is lost on “ATX Resistance Action,” but being intimidated by armed homophobes should not be covered in “fun” dressing, it is not fun and it is not something to make a joke out of. So they insist that those who attend (which by their past record and slipshod organizing will be next to none) adhere to the following:

“Kid friendly messages only on posters. Don’t engage the opposition, we will be there to welcome the story time participants”

They have come up with an “antifa” that now is not actually antifascist, but a circus greeting committee which only confuses things and doesn’t actually protect anyone from the mob of armed men. Things get creepy really fast:

“Have fun and dress like a kid in silly stuff, paint your face!” “ATX Resistance Action” is known to be led by a white man, who has been targeted by local women organizers for being a sexual opportunist. Now he is asking other grown men to dress up as children. This bizarre plot would not be complete unless they made themselves completely vulnerable to both the far right Williamson County Police and “Mass Resistance” by insisting that:   “The church has asked that there be no weapons.” This is the first we hear of church involvement but what are they expecting? Jesus is going to protect the men dressed up as children? They should rely on more material means of protection because neither the Wilco Cops nor Jesus is going to lift a finger. The truth is, the lead organizer tends to put himself in losing combat situations and at this point it seems intentional. We can only come to one conclusion—he likes getting beaten up. But of course the debacle would not be complete without police collaboration for desert. The event page states:

“The church wants the police there, so all communication with the police will be through our church liaison. We’ll have a person designated to coordinate with the liaison. Anyone who is disruptive on either side will be escorted out by police.”

They have now lost any semblance of antifascist organizing and have more or less vowed to use the state as a means of preventing anyone from deplatforming the fascists. Using an extremely hostile and brutal police department against those who disrupt is not only unforgivable, but it obviously contradicts their purpose for being there which in their own words is to “create a sound and visual barrier of bodies between the fascists and those coming to the library.”

While these views do not necessarily reflect those of Incendiary News Service, the example set by “ATX Resistance Action” was too bad to pass up.