Thursday, November 17, 2016

Report back from 3rd Annual TORCH Antifa Conference

South Side ARA is very grateful to have attended the 3rd annual TORCH antifa conference. The first was held by our chapter in Chicago in 2014 and we are pleased to announce that in 2017, we will be hosting the 4th annual TORCH antifascist conference.

Taken from Rocky Mountain Antifa:

Rocky Mountain Antifa is pleased to announce the success of the 3rd annual TORCH Antifa Network Conference! TORCH is a network of various antifascist groups working autonomously. We come together to share resources, information, and strategy. Our purpose is to oppose and fight all formations of fascism. We confront neo-nazis, anti-migrant, anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice, anti-Muslim, the KKK, Trump supporters, the Alt-right, and more. Such groups and individuals have never been a minor issue. Although it was only a year ago when many fascists were hiding, they still contributed and promoted violence against women, Muslims, people of color, LGBTQs, and social justice activists. Groups like Blood and Honour, Ku Klux Klan, Keystone State Skinheads, Golden State Skinheads, and the American Freedom Party continue to pop on our radar. In addition, new objects have appeared such as the Traditionalist Workers Party, Soldiers of Odin, Identity Evropa, and far-right militias such as Oath Keepers and Three Percent Patriots. With the state and mainstream media jumping at the chance to amplify their bigotry, the rising movement of fascism is not a joke. It's not a bad dream, bad movie, or section of a political science book. This is real.

On Friday Nov. 11th, TORCH chapters gathered in Denver to discuss the network and upcoming goals/strategies. In attendance were Rocky Mountain Antifa, Philly Antifa, WNC Antifa, Los Angeles People Against Racist Terror (PART)/ARA-LA, and South Side Chicago ARA.

Then on Saturday Nov. 12th, a much larger crowd gathered for the semi-public portion of the conference. Attendance comprised of groups and individuals from:

Los Angeles
Dallas/Ft. Worth
Bay Area

The larger event kicked off with a speaking panel on Four Tasks for Confronting Contemporary Fascism:
    •    confronting machismo
    •    defense ideas and strategy
    •    counter recruitment to undermine white supremacy
    •    identifying our allies and connecting struggles

After a 20 minute break we regrouped for a workshop on antifascist prisoner organizing. Finally, we ended with a facilitated discussion on Alt-right formations, strategies and tactics for moving forward, collective resources and implementation, and a go around of the efforts in our different regions. The conference was a huge success, and with no disruptions from the enemy.

We want to take a moment to answer the question of "What happened to TORCH?" We assure everyone that we are still here and still fighting fascism in the streets and on the Internet. The TORCH network is not going anywhere. If you noticed the website was down, it was because of technical issues with the server. These problems are being resolved as we speak and we will soon be re-launching our twitter account. The network has expanded over the weekend and we are expecting much greater numbers by this time next year. The tactics of TORCH have been effective for us and many others. We will continue to neutralize the efforts of fascist organizing and recruitment. Under a Trump regime we cannot fall short of our goals. For more information on our analysis of fascism and our points of unity, as well as contact info for our chapters, go We have a lot of work to do. We intend to win!

The Trump Regime:

For years antifascists warned the world of nationalist formations and their influence in politics and mainstream media. Since the inception of the Trump campaign, we warned everyone of the seriousness of this man, the consequences of his presidency, as well as the uselessness of voting in electoral politics. We demanded ACTION to stop fascists from taking power. When we took actions ourselves, we were smeared by many on the liberal left. Perhaps the most notable example was the June 26th action in Sacramento to shut down the neo-nazi rally organized by Matt Heimbach. The aftermath was a sea of liberals defending the neo-nazis and shaming Antifa. Then on Tuesday November 8th, 2016, a fascist manipulated his way into office, changing things forever. Unsurprisingly, Antifa hasn't seen as much of the character assassination we saw just a short time ago. The shift is massive.

In light of the emergency protests erupting across the country, in enormous numbers, it seems many have finally acknowledged the grim reality we warned about. Social media is blowing up with encouragement to join your local Antifa groups. What does this mean for Antifa? It means our role has increased drastically. We are more than local crews combating local fascists. We are essentially tasked with building resistance to a fascist regime. For those of us who saw this coming as well as those who are just waking up, we need to recognize our significance at this moment. All social movement organizing is now antifascist organizing. We are at a pivotal point in the outcome of this overwhelming shit show. Mistakes made now are more detrimental than ever. Every step needs to note the masses of people looking at us for an idea of what to do.

We call on antifascists everywhere to be bold moving forward. If you haven't already, join your local Antifa group or start a new one. If starting a new one, pick your most trusted people and develop a secure strategy for recruiting more. Consider that Trump plans to immediately deport up to 3 million people. This means that 3 million friends, family, allies, accomplices, comrades, and community members need backup. Develop community-based coalitions and create local defense networks to resist raids and deportation. Secure your communications with Tor, Signal, Tails,  GNU Privacy Guard (GPG), Full Disk Encryption, and read the limitations of each. Seek firearms and self defense training and share skills with everyone around you. Stock up on medical supplies, emergency contraceptives, and hormones. Stay together, support one another, and keep fighting.

There has been a call for a mass convergence in Washington D.C. to disrupt the inauguration of Trump. The TORCH Network endorses this action with several other organizations. We encourage all who reject domination and oppression to be there.


Rocky Mountain Antifa and the TORCH Antifa Network