The Peregrine Forum, a group that promotes radical, green transformation for the world with community forums held a discussion Thursday about how to best fight fascism and the far right movement.
The panel at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center consisted of two guest speakers, Dr. Adam Schesch, a comparative historian of guerrilla movements and counter insurgency, and Liam Manjon, an employee of the General Defense Committee of the Industrial Workers of the World.
Both speakers were concerned about how fascism played a role in previous protests, such as Charlottesville, and how it will continue to play a “violent” role for future protesters fighting white supremacy and facism.
To protect protesters from violence, Manjon said they should focus on learning self defense.
Manjon said he is becoming proficient in “pole defense” — a form of self defense which includes protecting oneself with a pole — and teaching others how to be as well, so that peaceful protestors can protect themselves.
“You will find time and again that the police are on the side of the white supremacists, or at least turn their heads,” Manjon said. “The country’s extremely polarized right now.”
Without the help of police and governmental forces, people can no longer expect peaceful protests, Manjon said.
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Schesch, echoing a similar sentiment, emphasized the importance of protesters organizing to be successful.
The balance of power in the United States is the root of facism, Schesch said. Military, financial and mass media power all play a role.
Moreover, protesters no longer have to worry about a potential force because the force is now present, Schesch said.
Schesch said he would not start a fight to ward off the present force, but he would practice self defense if needed.
“I will never fight somebody until we get to all out guerrilla warfare,” Schesch said. “I will never take the fight to the bastards. Why? Because I want to unify everybody that’s standing beside me.”
Schesch’s second concern was the political climate that the United States is currently in. Schesch said if anti-fascists get to the point of open warfare, they will need to be organized.
Manjon agreed that anti-fascists need organization, which he said is needed if they want to protect themselves.
“If we don’t learn how to protect ourselves … then we will have no movement,” Manjon said.