Layered Defense?

Some of you may remember that I am in the process of studying for my Security+ technical certification.  One of the things I have taken from my pursuit is that security has many layers; a network may have an Intrusion Detection System to deal with external threats, anti-virus and anti-malware software to combat “Trojan Horses”, and group policies so users only have access to what they should.

As I was considering the best way for the Harrisburg activist community to respond to the city council’s decision to give the Police $65,000 in riot gear, a decision likely influenced by events in places like Charlottesville, etc.  Now from what I have seen at fascist or “Alt-Right” events in Harrisburg, the police seem more likely to deploy against the opponents of fascists than the actual fascists.  I have seen with my own eyes the police facing the protesters as opposed to the fascists, sending a clear message who they see as the greater threat.

But might the response demonstrate that “Community Defense” needs to be multi-faceted and multi-layered.

When I would speak of the concept to my allies, it was purely physical.  Being able to defend oneself or one’s allies against attack, be it from fascists or police[NSFW Language] .   Now I do think that is a component, but finding the techniques in one place may be difficult.  This may be something that has to be cobbled together, in a sense a true “Mixed Martial Art”.

A second component may be monitoring.  I could see either a form of Cop Watch just for the “geared up” officers or perhaps to monitor the actions of the police as a whole.   This could be a bit simpler, a matter of reaching out to the leadership of a group from Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore or New York City and asking them to come and present.  Interested parties from Harrisburg could also meet members of affiliates in their cities and bring what they learn back to train members of the Harrisburg Community.

A third component, and the one I may be the most familiar with, is technology.  Being able to communicate securely and in some degree of secrecy is likely almost another component of self-defense.  We’re back to the idea of providing activists with the resources they may find useful in their struggle against a state and system that seems more likely to protect a fascist than defend a person of color, a transgender person or one of their woke allies.

Advertisements

Another “Generation Gap”

One of the earlier posts to this blog concerned me feeling “stuck in the middle” between the Sanders and Clinton backers. I was too old to be part of Bernie’s Millennial base, but seemed too young for Hillary’s base.  I like to say I have seen things from all sides; I backed Bernie in the primary, Hillary in the general, and now see myself as a member of “The Resistance”.

But could there be a “Generation Gap” among “The Resistance”.  The actions of the “AntiFa” in places like Charlottesville, Berkeley, etc seem to have exposed one.  On one side, you have those who seem to say “Let the ‘alt-right’ speak,” their rhetoric will show them as the bigots they are.  Alas, Trump may have helped give the deplorable confidence to come out and spread the message.  A second group advocates for the kind of non-violent, pacifist, resistance of Martin Luther King, etc.  I more and more think that this approach may better be called passive-ism, as I have stated before, I think the “Community Defense” model of the Black Panthers, etc is a superior tactic.

These first two approaches are that of an older generation.  Some of the activists of the Millennial Generation and the trailing end of “Generation X” have gone “all in”.  They are the “Black Bloc”, the ones taking to the streets to battle the “Alt-Right”.   They are the folks recording the police, or “doxxing” fascists.  With the ideas of White Supremacy, or at least White Superiority, resurgent, resistance through direct action may be the best option.  As an old anti-racist poster I once saw said “Pull them up–before they take root”.  Perhaps a better phrase for now if “Cut them down, before they spread”


Choosing My Battles

I had a guest for part of this past weekend.  One of my Facebook friends came to visit some of his family.  I had to pick him up at the train station and we did go out for a late dinner.  The conversation centered around two things; the McGregor-Mayweather fight and my life.

I felt at times like I was being analyzed and interrogated at the same time.  But there was one thing I took away, I need to put me first a bit more.

One aspect of this may be me scaling back on my resistance activities a bit.  Fear not, I am not giving up the fight.  I just may be picking my battles based on two separate, but related questions; “Do I have the time” or “Can I make the time”.

And much of what I do when I’m not on the streets may still be helpful when I do take to the streets.  I want to learn how to search for information that can be used to out fascists, yes I want to learn how to “doxx” people.  I want to be able to better defend myself and others against fascists, etc.  I may even want to finish starting my app–again.

It’s Only Going to Get Harder

Last Sunday,  July 24, I had quite a busy day.  In the Morning, I went canvassing with MoveOn.org.  This was not the traditional “Are you for or against” canvassing that I was used from my work with campaigns, this was “Deep Canvassing”.  We were looking for stories on health care and the apparent impending “Repeal and Replace” of the Affordable Care Act.  It was challenging, time-consuming and a bit complex.  But there were some good stories that my partner and I gathered.

Later that day, I patched my phone into a phone call with MoveOn.org.  It was in regards to mobilizing in resistance to “Repeal and Replace”.  There was one tidbit from that which stood out.  The reason the Affordable Care Act was so high on Trump’s agenda was that he thought it would be easy.  This has not proved to be the case; as on Friday the latest effort was defeated in the Senate.

Now there are apparently plans to try another repeal.  But I can’t help but thing if the “easy part” has taken this long, what about the harder issues.  The budget, the border wall, etc.  These are issues that finally may put Trump face-to-face with the “firewall”; a group of progressive Senators who will make getting to 60 votes difficult, if not impossible.

Also the success of repelling repeal may embolden “The Resistance”, who showed tremendous ability to mobilize on the phones, on-line and even on the ground.  The image of wheelchair-bound protesters being arrested could be the “Selma Moment” of the opposition to Trump.  They may also see momentum on their side, momentum that may lead to efforts to advance a “Medicare For All” alternative to the Affordable Care act.

When Trump got elected, I saw a scenario where Trump realized that Government is not a boardroom, and that it would bring him to fits.


It’s Up To Me?

As Trump realized that repeal of the Affordable Care Act was failing, he did what his response to any affront to him is.  He threw a temper tantrum!

The worst of these may have been the speech he gave to the Suffolk County Police Department, where he basically urged officers to engage in police brutality.  Now he could realize that much of the resistance to repeal of the Affordable Care Act may come from communities of color, so he’s taking it out on them.  It may have to do with more “dog whistling” of his “trailer park caucus”.

To me it’s more evidence that communities of color are under attack from every corner.  The only solution may a modern-day variation of the “Community Defense” tactics that the Black Panther’s utilized.  I have mentioned this several times to my fellow activists, but the response has been less the impressive.

So perhaps I need to be the one to get the process going, but where to start?  Why not start with what I know well, technology.

Perhaps a variation on a Crypto Party,  is in order.  Introduce people in affected communities to tools like; Mobile Justice PA, Signal, Cell 411, and Orbot.  Make them aware of their rights to film officers, etc.

If they see this catch on, perhaps other activists will follow and add their skills to the mix.

At least I’ll have it out of my system.

 

A Maverick’s Last Ride?

I stated once before that one of my college alma mater’s coaches had a “24-hour rule”.  You had 24 hours to revel in a victory or sulk in defeat.

Yesterday, July 28, we went from one to the other in a matter of one vote.  When Senator John McCain (R-AZ), cast the 51st vote to defeat the “Skinny Repeal”, the last effort by the Senate GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

What is odd is that his vote that Tuesday was what allowed the debate to start.  If he was opposed to repeal, why bring the bill to the floor?  Twitter has been wondering this as well.  I have my own answer.

Senator McCain is trying to leave a legacy, in my opinion.  He was diagnosed with brain cancer and may want the image of him looking Mitch McConnell in the eye, and giving the “Skinny Repeal” the “Thumbs Down” to be how he is remembered.  For a lot of people, it will work.  For folks that can remember more than the last 15 minutes, it won’t.

Showing His Hand?

Besides building the border wall, promises to deport Muslim refugees and people of color, and rebuild the industrial economy, one of the other reasons many people decided to vote for Trump was to have the Affordable Care Act repealed and replaced.

Alas, these efforts have been met with massive resistance, to get the legislation to pass the US House required two votes.  The Senate is on now its third delay, ironically because Senator John McCain need surgery.

I cannot help but think that in some way, Senator McConnell has tipped his hand a bit.  There may not be enough votes to even bring the bill up for a debate, if McCain’s vote didn’t matter, they would press on.

I only hope that the resistance smells blood, and seizes this opportunity to push for killing this bill and advance a proposal that benefits all Americans.

#KeepPounding

I take ideas from everything and anything.  What the late member of the Carolina Panther’s Sam Mills used to rally his teammates is but one example.  Whether it be me working out or working on a skill, more than a few of my social media posts have included the hashtag “Keep Pounding”.

This past week, activists at both the national and local level seemed to show how these words can be applied to the resistance.  At the national level, one can only wonder if the latest delay with the planned replacement to the Affordable Care Act, in reality a package of corporate and %1 tax cuts paid for by cuts in health care, has anything to do with what many US Senators heard over the recess or what calls have come into their office.

At the local level, an attempt by the Harrisburg Police Department to purchase new riot gear, most likely in response to the increase in fascist, etc, rallies since Trump’s election was met by resistance from the community.

Collage1

The vote was delayed until after the August recess.  Part of the reason behind this delay may have been, ironically, a demonstration at what was billed as a “Town Hall” by U.S. Senator Pat Toomey caused the entire police contingent to head there.  At least one council member questioned why the whole command had to head to the disruption.

I already saw that civil disobedience is planned in DC on Monday, and be assured that at the next council meeting, activists will be there.

We plan to “Keep Pounding”, it would seem.

 

Every Voter Matters

Be advised this may be the first of two posts I make today, but I want to get this into the open before another idea crowds it out.

Either late last week, or early this one, an idea made its rounds about one of my Twitter accounts.  The idea seemed to me to be that Democrats should focus on building and gathering support in urban areas at the expense of rural and other non-urban and suburban areas.

On one hand, the idea of building support is a good one.  Trump’s relentless attacks on people of color, refugees, etc, all who tend to gather in urban areas may be a great tool to register and rally voters.  There is still the fact that the Democratic leadership seems reluctant to embrace the ideas of Sanders, Warren, etc, that may bring millennial and independents into the fold.

But this notion also has flaws.  For one, it would likely only help in the United States Senate.  Many, if not most, state and Federal House Districts are gerrymandered; the Republicans have drawn districts to favor the rural areas that their base lives in at the expense of urban areas.   The Electoral College, with its “Winner take all” system, allows narrow victories in a few states, or victories in many less-populated states, to be a path to victory.

The second is that this idea would only be another bone to the dog whistled.  Trump’s election may have been seen by many as a repudiation of urban America.  A triumph of the mostly homogeneous heartland over the diverse urban areas.

Might a better option be to try to get rural voters to ignore the “dog whistles”?  Get them to see how Republican policies affect their jobs, their health and even their environment?  That they may lose their health care or their local clinic, that their job may be shipped to where labor is cheaper and more exploitable, or that their fishing stream may be too polluted to fish in?