In this episode, I speak with Alexander Reid Ross, author of 'Against the Fascist Creep', and Shane Burley, author of 'Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It.' We discuss several important topics, including the historic ongoing wave of protests and uprisings across the United States since May this year, as well as the disturbing uptick of incidences of far-right vigilantism since then. We also examine one of the flash points in these struggles — Portland, Oregon — where Shane and Alexander are based.
With protests persisting over 100 days at this point, Portland has been a beacon of resistance to police brutality and repression, with anti-racist protestors contending with intermittent violent intimidation from far-right groups, as well the recent intrusions from federal officers from various divisions of the Department of Homeland Security, loyal to President Trump. I ask Shane to explain the conditions journalists covering the protests are working under, highlighting numerous examples of press being actively targeted, arrested, and brutalized by police since protests began. And finally, we address Alexander and Shane’s article published for Haarez in July, ‘Portland Is Trump's Testing Ground for Authoritarian Rule.’ What does this escalation of police violence directed towards protestors and journalists, the dramatic uptick of far-right vigilante violence across the United States, and Trump’s active encouragement of these trends portend for the upcoming presidential election and its inevitable fallout?
“If both the federal incursion and their questionable tactics become a precedent, it’s not a long way from Trump disrupting democratic functioning and dissent come November. If Trump wins in November, this militarized federal intervention could escalate; and if he loses, he has prepared the ground for federal officers to intervene if he discounts the results.
For now, Portland is the laboratory for a new politics of anti-constitutional state-sponsored violence and the suppression of civil rights. The question is what will happen when Portland ceases to be an extreme outlier and becomes a prelude to wider roll-out of authoritarian rule.” (https://bit.ly/3hXXoia)
Shane Burley is a journalist based in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of ‘Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It’ and the upcoming book ‘Why We Fight.’ His work has been featured in NBC News, Jacobin, Al Jazeera, The Baffler, and Truthout.
Alexander Reid Ross teaches geography at Portland State University, and is the author of ‘Against the Fascist Creep‘ and the editor of ‘Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab.’ His work has appeared in Truthout, ThinkProgress, The Ecologist, Haaretz, and the Cambridge University Strategic Initiative in Global Food Security.
- Read the articles referenced, including ‘America's Armed, Antisemitic Far Right Is Prepping to Defend Trump in November,’ ‘How to Survive Anti-Police Protests,’ and ‘Portland Is Trump's Testing Ground for Authoritarian Rule’: https://bit.ly/2ZYn1cx / https://bit.ly/36fcmhJ / https://bit.ly/3hXXoia
- Read Alexander and Shane’s new article ‘Conspiracy Theories by Cops Fuel Far Right Attacks Against Antiracist Protesters’: https://bit.ly/32XoUbu
- Learn more about Alexander and follow him on Twitter: https://alexanderreidross.net / https://twitter.com/areidross
- Support Shane’s work and follow him on Twitter: https://www.patreon.com/shaneburley / https://twitter.com/shane_burley1
- The songs featured in this episode are “Arid” and “Ash” by Lorn from the album Rarities: https://youtu.be/VZtHceWq2gs / https://youtu.be/o7gg3s3smvQ