Weekly Insurgency 12/17/2020
Portland 'Red House" Showdown, Lefties and Squatting Tactics, Lisa Fithian Review, Olympia/DC protests, Links to lefty docs and guides
Welcome to the Contextual Insurgent Project by writer, analyst, and activist Erin Smith.
This is your Contextual Insurgent weekly roundup, where I link you to a selection of the previous week’s previous notable events/articles/tweets and contextualize them with a short analysis drawn from a synthesis of hands-on experience and theoretical knowledge.
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Portland Eviction Defense, Worrying Squatter Trends
Howdy friends! I hope you’re well, I delayed this roundup for a few days while we fixed some WordPress issues at another site so I could *finally* publish the piece I planned to start this roundup with. It’s still not quite 100% (the embedded twitter links wouldn’t resolve correctly for starters) but it’s an introduction to the ‘Red House on Mississippi’ RHED (Red House Eviction Defense) drama that roiled Portland last week. You can read my story by clicking this link but to give a quick overview, A Moorish sovereign citizen scammer family tricked Portland hard lefties into tard jousting with Portland Police on their behalf, then barricading the neighborhood while fundraising 300k to buy back their forclosed rental house (yes, the family actually lives nearby in another house they own free and clear).
That story seems to be wrapping up, but I believe it’s worth looking at some of the tactics used during the siege now that we’re seeing more autonomous and quasi-autonomous zones popping up as well as squats established in vacant homes, the latest being the ‘Yellow House’ in Seattle:
After Portland police were repulsed from the vicinity of the Red House, the lefties on scene built pretty elaborate barricades. Fencing has been a staple component of barriers, but this was fairly robust:
Note the Plastic wrap in the first and last images, this is a tactic first seen in Hong Kong as an anti-vehicle tactic. Also note the D-Day-style mini hedgehogs.
(The following two images are from HK)
Caltrops also were very popular in Portland, it seems they overall put some serious effort into anti-vehicle obstacles:
It’s important to note that Obama revoking LE acquisition of tracked armored vehicles under the 1038 program in 2015 likely removed a tool that would come in handy against these sorts of obstacles.
One of the biggest things normies/righties miss about rallies/protests/mass assemblies is that they offer incredible opportunities for movement-building, networking, and training, and the Portland protest crew that turned out definitely took advantage:
I suspect we’re going to see more of these sorts of actions as we head into 2021, given somewhere north if 30% of Americans are currently behind on their rent or mortgages and eviction freezes can only last so long. Squatting/eviction defense is something historically fairly common in Europe -in fact modern antifa grew out of 1980’s Autonomen movement in Germany, which involved anarchists taking over entire city blocks- but we’re already seeing increasing signs of it domestically.
I noted earlier this year that lefties were already working hard on building tenant unions and eviction support starting around the April time frame, which was when the first indications of how dramatic the economic damage from Covid was going to be. Having a head start like that will come in handy for them WRT community outreach, depending on how badly things get next year.
Lisa Fithian and the Lefty Activist Ecosystem
“Righties mostly don’t have an adequate appreciation of leftist infrastructure, or a good idea of what it looks like. The elites are too lazy and too focused on policy nerd stuff; the grassroots tends to fantasize about all-consuming conspiracies or get hung up on specific individuals. But you can learn quite a lot about leftist radical infrastructure if you just sit down and read their books.”
David Hines is someone definitely worth a follow, and he has another great piece out in American Conservative about lefty infrastructure, what it can really do, and how it produces organizers like Lisa Fithian.
People like Fithian don’t come from nowhere, they’re the product of an activist pipeline that gives people the tools, training, and multiple opportunities to gain experience. That pipeline exists because they put in the hard work to build the infrastructure to do it, and there’s really no shortcuts or magic tricks to make up for lacking it.
Two critical things righties often miss are the need for structure to direct and sustain grassroots energy,and the importance of continuing to pressure and support candidates after they get elected; all-too-often righty groups engage in some perfunctory lobbying at best:
“The Right never gets past the grassroots groundswells. Maybe those people get dollars, sometimes, but there’s no framework for building skills, no network of people to make sure attention gets where it’s needed, and no lasting local groups with the skills to pressure local officials. Most of Righty civilians’ organizing energy is spent in getting people into office. In Fithian’s view, this is a trap: “…people believe democracy is about representation. We think that somebody else is in power, and therefore our problems are somebody else’s responsibility. If something is wrong, we feel powerless to fix it, always waiting for someone else to solve the problem, leading to resentment, weakness, apathy, or anger.” This, to me, pretty neatly nails the powerlessness felt by the grassroots right: eternally hoping for Someone To Do Something.”
When your candidate gets elected, they owe you nothing; at best you now have an elected official that can be classified as an “amenable authority” and it’s still up to you to make sure your guy does what he pinky-swore to do.
Go read the entire piece, it’s really good.
Olympia and DC Riots
Last weekend there were pretty significant conflicts in Olympia WA and Washington DC, including another shooting at the Olympia event. Not much to add here I haven’t already said before: enter and exit events in groups, don’t wander off on your own while you’re there, don’t go hands-on if your armed, wear a mask to help provide some anonymity, and above all remember this is still to some extent a propaganda/narrative war.
There was some drama in DC about the Proud Boys allegedly taking a BLM banner from a church and burning it, objectively speaking it was relatively small potatoes considering rioters burned churches for most of the summer with less criticism. This brings me to an important point: the right currently doesn’t hold the preponderance of economic or cultural power while our opponents do, so we need to remember we’re effectively the insurgents in leftist cities; the local power structure (and national for that matter) is not our friend and we don’t have the same lawfare infrastructure to back us, so that asymmetry should be kept in mind when you hit the streets.
I spend alot of time snooping in leftist channels, here’s a repository of protest/riots guides and resources that are very detailed and quite interesting. Some samples:
That’s it for this week’s Roundup, I’ll have a podcast out this afternoon and another one Monday. Thanks for following!