Austin Autonomedia: Keep Austin Criminal
This website and the parent organization it was born from, the Autonomous Student Network, were products of and participants in the wave of anti-fascist/anti-racist struggles that grew in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Some of us got an early start and caught glimpses of the preceding cycle of struggle in Austin–defined largely by the post-Ferguson moment with anti-police & Black Lives Matter movements, but we have little direct context for the depth and complexity of that moment. There is also a disconnect in historical memory between those more recently activated who see white nationalism as a product of the post-Trump moment and those who know the longer history of anti-racist struggles in Austin.
“All Lives Matter: White Reaction in Austin, TX” traces the growth of white backlash to the post-Ferguson moment–in the forms of policing, counterinsurgency, and the growth of extra-state white supremacist groups. Published in 2015 in the lead up to a local Police Lives Matter rally, it traces the forms of white reaction and connects them to longer histories of racist activity in the region. Featured in the piece are:
- Alex Jones
- KKK activity and opposition
- Nazis in punk & metal scenes
- APD’s broken windows policing initiative “Restore Rundberg”
You can read the zine HERE
You can download a print-imposed file HERE
As a product of its time, the piece is slightly dated. A couple notes looking back on this piece:
- Hoft says “The cycle of the post-Ferguson movement in Austin has been relatively tame. We never blocked a highway, no window has been broken, nor any store looted or burned.”
- A few days after this piece was written, the Black Lives Matter-led counter-protest to the police lives matter rally would block I-35. This was largely thanks to the initiative of radical BLM organizers from Dallas, not local Austin leaders.
- On Alex Jones, Hoft writes “…his anti-eugenicism goes only so far as to seek to curtail the claims to bodily and reproductive autonomy of women and queers, namely access to abortion…Jones cynically uses this politic to forge alliances with the Black right wing and to get one over on “Black Lives Matter…”
- We see holdovers of this strategy today, as campus conservative groups like the YCT have invited speakers to talk about the “abortion crisis” in Black communities as a cover for their attacks on reproductive autonomy.
- Former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is mentioned numerous times in the zine. While he departed to be Houston’s Chief of Police, Acevedo was infamous for constructing an image of a “progressive” police force while APD continued to terrorize Black, immigrant, working class Austinites and activists.
- The zine references the removal of UT’s Jefferson Davis statue after sustained outrage and vandalism. Two years later, in the aftermath of the Nazi violence at Charlottesville, UT would remove the remainder of the confederate status it kept on its South Mall–including a statue of Robert E Lee. The removal saw the presence of some regional Neo-Nazis, as well as antifascists confronting them and celebrating the removal.
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