In the past 24 hours, a lot of folks have read my concerns about how Chapo-style class reductionist approach primes their audience for recruitment by white supremacists.

A lot of folks have been like, WTF, how?

So y'all, let's talk about how.

Let's talk about Occupy.

There are a lot of new folks up in my tweets today, so let me start by introducing myself.

I'm a lifelong leftist direct action organizer.

I started professional economic justice work at age 17, when I was working doing intake at a homeless shelter under an amazing mentor.

When I was in college, I served as co-president of the college's (actually leftist) progressive action coalition and started/worked on economic justice campaigns.

After I graduated, my (now) husband and I led one of the first-ever successful canvasser unionization drives in partnership with @phillyiww.

At the same time led a solidarity project on a @jobswithjustice security guard independent union campaign.

In 2009, at age 24, I became Executive Director of @phillyjwj, a direct action economic and labor justice coalition of nearly 40 local labor unions, faith congregations, community groups, and student orgs that led direct action issue and solidarity campaigns.

(for folks being like, see, no actual experience working jobs that suck-- nah, I've been working since middle school. I was a receptionist, I've worked retail, I was work-study, I've packaged chemicals, I've been a nanny, I could go on and on and on, my dudes)

I worked nearly a decade at Jobs with Justice, helped found @taxmarch, contracted in DC for a hot minute, helped with logistics on the the wonderful @NelStamp's March from Charlottesville2DC after the horrors of Unite the Right.

I've been Organizing Director for the racial justice interfaith coalition @powerinterfaith, I'm a democratic committee person, I received the Philly Coalition of Labor Union Women's community empowerment award, I've been a DNC delegate 2x, served as delegate whip for Bernie.

I've led sexual misconduct accountability campaigns in PA since before #metoo started trending, I was a founder on the campaign that forced the PA Dem party chair to resign over that issue, and I'm currently being sued by State Sen. @daylinleach for saying I believe women.

Since then, I've literally been fighting Nazi terrorists, outing them and getting them fired and arrested and infiltrating the online rocks they hide under (work I do alongside my antifascist comrades, of course).

I'm sharing my resume not to be like, oh hey look at me, I'm hot shit, but pre-empt all these little Chapo shits showing up in my replies already being like, "wah wah left unity who the fuck do you think you are?"

I think I'm a fucking badass, motherfuckers.

The broader point is, the Left's been my home since before I got my driver's license.

Not just ideologically, but professionally.

I love it fiercely, it's my home, I'll be fighting for it to be the best, most powerful, most intersectional Left it can be til the day I die.

I don't make $160k a month.

I'm lucky if I bring in $1.5k a month, pre-tax.

I'm blessed in that I have a mensch of a husband who makes sure we make ends meet, but-- unlike certain podcast hosts I could name-- we sure as shit are not making bank, least of all off this movement we've dedicated our lives to growing and nurturing and sustaining.

And let me be clear, that's our choice.

Together, we've agreed that what matters most is doing the right thing & standing for justice, even when it's meant blowing up my career and going from "rising star" to "that nuisance who needs to be sued into silence"

One thing I don't think folks new to the Left get (and quite frankly a lot of oldheads stubbornly refuse to get this through their heads, too) is, standing up for intersectionality in the middle of a "Powerful Movement Moment" *always* means sacrifice and punishment.

In anti-racist organizing, there's a concept called "The Urgency of White Supremacy."

What it means is that in spaces-- even and especially spaces that aim to deal with justice-- there is always An Emergency That We Need To Resolve Before We Talk About Our Internal Racism.

Sometimes it's a good emergency ("Bernie's leading the polls!").

Sometimes it's a bad emergency ("Trump just got elected!")

Sometimes it's a bullshit emergency ("We have to vote, it's on the meeting agenda!").

There's always some emergency, though.

You know the Covey matrix?

In meetings we're always like, oh, yes, white supremacy totally exists in our space and is bad but we have this "urgent/important" emergency and racism is "not urgent/important" so we'll plan for later.

Except, there's always that emergency.

Right now, the "emergency" we're in is a "good emergency"-- Bernie's doing great, and like real talk for all his needs to improve on intersectionality, he's the Left's best chance at having a president we can move on justice demands.

That's created a smaller scale "bad emergency," where the neoliberal establishment is striking back as hard as it can, and its most buzz-y success has been around pointing out racism/misogyny on the Left, most recently in its profile of Chapo Trap House.

Bernie has brought a loooooooooot of new people to the Left (good thing!).

Many of those people are white dudes seeing their economic self-interest for the first time (also a good thing!).

Intersectionality is *not* in their immediate economic self-interest (real thing.).

So for those of us looking at this situation as seasoned intersectional organizers on the Left, this is a... tricky thing.

Even more than most of these newbies, we're *very* aware of how wonderfully tides-changing a Bernie general election candidacy (and win!) would be.

The Chapo stans hear "intersectional," and they think neoliberal idpol, a.k.a. class vs. identity contests.


Intersectionality is about addressing the complicated INTERSECTIONS of identity (including class) and oppression, not about "identity" trumping class.

Now, the Chapo troll crowd really think they're the New Hip Left Going Places No One Has Gone Before, and... oh, my good buds.

Y'all aren't the new frontier, you're a blast from the past.

You're just bigger assholes about it.

See, the DSA and Jacobin clique didn't start with you, or with Bernie.

They've been in the wings yearning for Ye Olde Days of class reductionism since women and POC started making inroads being like nah, actually, sexism/racism/etc is about more than just our paycheck.

Women and POC have been fighting that snide shit and winning space, getting punished, winning space, getting punished since before you were born.

We were getting punished for winning justice and demanding to be heard long before Marx was a twinkle in his Daddy's eye.

And here's where Occupy comes in, because I cannot think of a better object lesson in the dangers of giving quarter to the kind of white men that show up on third base with no creds, grab the mic, then steal home and demand a victory party.

Occupy, my darlings, was in many ways the brainchild of the labor movement.

We spent about a year working on variations of Main Street vs. Wall Street rallies and pitches, and, credit where it's due, Adbusters marketed it best and in September 2011 it took off in a big way.

"Occupy was white dudes with no demand," right?

Well, yes & no.

Show up to a Philly GA at 6 pm during peak Occupy Fever, and yeah, 100%, white as Wonderbread and male as boycotting Gilette.

Show up at 12 pm when folks were laboring invisibly? Pretty different story.

The kitchen? Mostly women and black folks.

The finances? Several beleaguered women accountants and I (Philly JwJ was the fiscal sponsor, on my volunteer labor)struggling behind the scenes with Quickbooks from Hell.

Government liasons? Mostly women.

Legal team? Majority women.

Set up, take-down, homeless community outreach/assistance? Women.

Portapotties? women.

Infrastructure? Largely donated by congregations (diversely represented on-site) and diverse labor unions.

In Philly, at least, Occupy may have seemed like just a random coming together of folks with zero experience and one hundred energy, but it never would have gotten off the ground if experienced, largely women and POC organizers hadn't shown and done initial heavy lifting.

White boys who jumped up onstage grabbing mics Day 1 thought this was The Revolution They'd Created.

But Occupy was built on our labor, and on groundwork/experience/generosity of movements which have *always* relied on the invisible, disproportionate labor of women & POC.

In fact, that mic they grabbed?

That mic was there because the Stagehands lent out $3000 worth of audio equipment at the request of a woman, equipment I hauled back and forth every morning and evening back and forth from my office so it wouldn't be stolen overnight.

I'm Alinsky-method trained, and Alinsky organizers are trained to set the stage and step back, so that the base they're organizing can step forward and own their power.

I'd haul equipment and negotiate portapotties and step back for the "people" to take the stage.

Except, you know what happened?

Every time I'd step back, five white guys who'd never lifted a finger would step forward to give a speech or take credit.

The (initially very white, very male) "facilitators" would strut like rock stars each GA, receive their fans at the end

I remember the day I finally fucking lost it with crystal clarity.

This one white dude facilitator, who I knew from college New SDS organizing days and who definitely did not have ignorance as an excuse, was receiving his fans as I broke down the evening GA audio setup.

This was a week in, I was an established, respected community organizer/exec director. I'd been hauling this heavy shit every day without complaint.

I tap this dude on the shoulder I'm like, hey, excuse me, can you keep an eye on the amplifier while I deal with the speakers

Dude turns to me, gives me this absolute death stare of contempt, and is like, "I'm in the middle of a conversation."

Turns his back on me.

Okay, you know what, I lied.

I didn't lose it right then.

I should have, but I didn't.

Because, Good Emergency, right? You don't want to fuck it up.

This was right around the time the white dude finance "committee" chair got mad at me for saying, hey, we actually have to put the hundreds of dollars coming into the cash jars through the books before we disburse, you can't just hand out fists of cash to your friends.

The "committee" chair (I put committee in quotes because the "committee" was just the dudes he smoked up with in the finance tent he sold weed out of) lost his shit.

Now, keep in mind, Philly JwJ is the fiscal sponsor. My org loses its 501c3 if fraud gets caught.

And look, not like I went to U. Penn for a grad degree in nonprofit management or anything (oh wait, I did, while working 70 hour weeks making next to nothing doing labor solidarity), but undocumented cash disbursal out of a drug tent isn't like, the IRS's FAVORITE thing.

So in a very not suspicious move, the finance chair absolutely REFUSES to deposit the cash and/or track disbursal.

He tells me I don't understand finance, so I call the accountant on my personal new smartphone (very exciting in 2011) and hand it to him.

Half an hour later, I see him wandering around.

Where's my phone, I ask.

He shrugs and points to the busiest intersection in Center City. By the part of the encampment area known for hard drug use.

This is like 9 pm at night, by the way.

I head over and, somehow by the grace of God, there's the phone that cost me half my monthly salary sitting unattended on a low wall by the sidewalk.

He'd left it there to get stolen.

This was one of the *milder* acts of aggression this fucker committed at Occupy, where he held the position of finance co-chair until the money ran out and he jetted to California.

When one Communist org sold 25 cent buttons at their table, he complained it was taking away from the sales of the "official" Occupy Philly t-shirts (OP never saw a dime from those, incidentally) and complained to the GA.

The GA said, nah, it's fine.

Guy waits for the encampment to clear for an pm march.

He takes out the boltcutters he'd hidden and hacks the org's tent, table, & materials to pieces.

Did I mention that this org's table was lovingly tended by a Black staffer at the meeting house that hosted our rain GAs?

Meanwhile, I'm more and more urgently warning that something is very fishy with finances.

I show up to the encampment one morning (I slept off-site, I knew I was a target), and someone pulls me over quietly.

"[finance guy] didn't find your tent last night, did he?"

So here's the deal: Finance guy went to his perceived allies the night prior trying to locate my sleeping location.

He had a plan and he was so proud of it he had to share it: he was going to piss on me in my sleep and teach me a lesson.

Finance guy later took a houseless veteran comrade/drinking buddy of mine aside and offered him money to lure me into an alley and beat the shit out of me.

Now, at this stage we'd gone through a couple phases at Occupy Philly: the heady first days of nonstop free pizza and cash and white boy heroes, a relatively awesome period where women and POC and some pretty great anarchists had started insisting on better practice.

We were entering a phase I'll gently call "men fucking everyone else over."

It's not my place to speak to what happened to Black women in internal Black space there ( @khadastrophic just a tag-in in case you want to, no pressure), but oh lemme tell you about the white boys.

See, the thing about White Dudes Showing Up At Their First Movement Moment is, they tend to be absolutely, completely oblivious to the fact that

1) it's a moment, not the rev;

2) that they're showing up to the party, it isn't their house and they aren't hosting; and

3) the women and the POC did are not here to bask in their hot political theory takes, make dinner, and clean up their messes.

This shit isn't your pond, you aren't Thoreau, and we sure as shit aren't Mom coming up every week to do your laundry so you can write Walden.

The men worked hard and effectively to convince a whole lot of women, POC, and especially WOC to be like "yeah no, we're out."

The "leadership" increasingly turned into grifters after the $20k in the bank & So Woke White Dudes still certain this was THE REV & they were Che.

It got messier, fights over money got more naked, grifters planned with scam artists and $1000s of dollars were disbursed (technically properly) never to be seen again.

When I was like, [finance guy] is bleeding us dry, they made his girlfriend his co-chair as "oversight."

As the official "Occupy" monies wound down, white opportunists-- almost entirely men-- found their way over to across the street to the parallel "reasonable solutions" occupation, where where gun-toting, "cunt"-screaming Rand Paulers like "12 Gauge Angel" were set up.

Now, people are like, "oh, Occupy didn't have demands," but that's bullshit.

Occupy launched on an extremely simple (albeit very ambitious) demand: wealth equity.

We are the 99%, eat the rich, guillotine billionaires.

Y'all know the drill.

When Occupy was fresh and exciting and new and beautiful with relatively clean porta-potties, all these White Dude Heroes were preachers of that revolution.

The Anonymous Guy Fawkes mask-wearers, who'd just crawled out of their 4chan caves? Viva la socialist revolution!

They fought for microphones and photo ops.

The "comic" who had to be physically restrained from punching me when I told him he couldn't just hijack the Saturday GA and use it to stage his one-man leftist comedy show?

Eat the rich, man!

The money ran out.

Mayor Nutter wasn't trying to woo us with free movies on City Hall's apron anymore.

The police were getting edgy.

The press was starting to write about the smell of piss (white boys were Too Important to manage the porta-potty situation).

A guy from the media tent went first, gravitating to the Rand Paul tent area, bringing thousands of dollars of Occupy-purchased tech with him (all of which vanished eventually without a trace).

The Rand Paul tent guys, who had started calling us slurs and making violent threats on Twitter, started calling themselves the "alternate leadership" of Occupy, giving themselves the official name of "Reasonable Solutions."

Want to guess who the deputy mayor went to pitch a deal to when they decided it was time to violently evict us?

The democratically-empowered GA, of course!

LOL, just kidding.

They arranged a secret meeting with Reasonable Solutions, the "true" leadership of Occupy Philly.

The mayor's administration said to the far right wingnuts at "Reasonable Solutions," hey, kids! We know you're the grown-ups in the room, and that they huge encampment across the street from the twenty-two of you is full of pretenders.

You're their true leaders, right?

And the guys at Reasonable Solutions said YES OF COURSE, SIR. We are the true voice of the left.

How can we be good obedient citizens, sir, and how much will you pay us?

The mayor's office says, oh, wonderful!

We will help you incorporate as an official Occupy nonprofit!

We will rent an office for you to run your official Occupy nonprofit out of!

We will help you fund your official Occupy nonprofit!

(Of course, @Michael_Nutter's office was lying through their teeth and never gave shit to the far-right gun nuts they made their devil's bargain with in order to mass-arrest us.

Just something to think about now that our beloved former mayor is a @MikeBloomberg mouthpiece.)

"Reasonable Solutions" became this bizarro-world big tent of liberal opportunists who wanted to kiss mayoral ass, proto alt-righters that actually scared the shit out of me, illuminati conspiracy theorists, and 4chan boys still pissed we hadn't V for Vendetta-ed enough.

In the post-eviction months, the folks with longterm movement experience-- socialists, labor/community organizers, West Philly anarchists-- slowly disentangled ourselves from the nightmare grift-debate GAs and tried to clean up the mess as best we could.

Once the money disappeared fully, the grifters disappeared.

That helped.

The books took almost a year and a half to get straight.

We went to court, we sued the city for unlawful arrest, we fought our charges and won.

We still had to contend with each other, though.

The millennials long-termers, many of us had been organizing together even in college.

The Gen Xers and occasional Rad boomer, they held the lines in the mass arrests at RNC 2000.

We lived in the same neighborhoods.

Remember how I lied about losing it over that mic moment with the GA facilitator?

The real moment, the moment I lost it for years and years, was the NYE fundraiser party we held for Occupy to ring in 2012.

I was at the bar with another facilitator, a white dude I trusted.

It had been over a month since eviction, and I just started venting about finance guy.

I'm sharing the stories of harassment and fraud and abuse & violence, saying wtf this dude how did he get away with it, when the guy I'm talking to interrupts to be like:

"I know there's drama between you and [finance guy], but I just don't want to get in the middle of it."


That, comrades, was the moment I lost my shit.

Not at him, not loudly or aggressively.

Just, in general.

That was the moment that I realized that as a woman I could name violence against me again and again, and maybe "the Left" would maybe empathize to my face.

The minute I named my pain, though?

The minute I called out those who enabled it?

The moment I asked for accountability, the moment I started complaining accountability measures did not exist?


Women's drama.

And yeah, I just lost it.

I started naming it, because, fuck them.

I'd put in more work than most of them by orders of magnitude.

The White Boy Heroes didn't own this.

The White Boy Heroes didn't make this.

They showed up on 3rd base, stole home, & demanded a party.

And oh, did I get punished.

First by radical "friends."

How dare I point out that the white dude Occupier who offered a bounty for the murder of the DA had put us all in danger & never offered restorative justice to our community?

Where was my empathy?

He went to jail!

(that dude proceeded to threaten to smear my org and publicly accuse me of embezzling funds from Occupy as revenge, but for some strange reason no one felt that was a problem, either)

The "comic" that ran for City Council after that whole thwarted stage hijacking thing? How petty of me to be like, fuck no, do you remember this guy?

For a little bit I was like, well, at least the Democratic party has MECHANISMS, right?

Well, as it turns out, when you're woman and you name your experience of sexual assault by another Bernie delegate while Hillary's trying to run on a "yay women" platform, those mechanisms vanish into pretty much thin air unless you scream like holy hell.

Demand that those mechanisms get rebuilt with actual muscle, demand they actually work?

You might manage to get the the misogynist fuck state party chair booted, but you're also going to end up sued into silence for saying you believe @daylinleach's ALLEGED victims.

(That capital letter ALLEGED goes out to my very patient legal team, incidentally)

My point is this: whether it's Occupiers or nazis or misogynists or rapists or podcasters who just happen to be very popular with my most, ahem, eager-to-educate-me reply guys, white dudes always have An Emergency to protect them & give them cover for retaliation.

The election is next year or

we need a majority vote on this bill or

he's a huge donor and we need to make payroll or

Bernie's winning and what if Chapo fans fuck off to the alt-right before Super-Tuesday because you hurt their fragile male egos or...

you get it.

Here's the thing.

This Emergency is also a Movement Moment.

The Great New Left of White Dudes Chapo and Jacobin cultivates?

The ones that we're getting told to tiptoe around, the ones whose class reductionism we're supposed to accommodate?

They're AirBnb-ers to the Left.

Will some stick around?

Sure. Some of the Occupy white dudes are still around.

I can count them on 1, maybe 1.5 hands, but yeah, a tiny fraction of them are still on the left.

You know where plenty of others went after they finished their vacation, though?

The alt-right.

See, it's this weird thing we on the Left REALLY don't talk about publicly because it's REALLY fucking embarrassing that we skillshared with a bunch of these dudes and they fucked off and then...

Then they founded Daily Stormer.

Then they organized Unite the Right.

I'm not being hyperbolic.

Weev of Daily Stormer was an Occupier.

Jason Kessler, the organizer of Unite the Right, traces his organizing career back to Occupy.

We watched this shit happen in realtime in Philly, as the Anonymous dudes & opportunists fucked off to the Rand Paul "Reasonable Solutions" tent in white boy tantrums.

We watched them suddenly become real open about their thoughts on the Jews and the Illuminati.

If there's anything accountability work has taught me, it's that infections fester.

The longer you sit there being like "yeah these dudes have a racism problem, but calling it out will hurt Bernie," the deeper and more pustulent the infection becomes.

If the immune system isn't strong enough, if you leave that infection sitting long enough, you aren't dealing with a boil anymore.

Lancing isn't gonna cut it once gangrene sets in.

Y'all, we were so eager to be inclusive and so hungry for the "energy" these white dudes brough to Occupy that even with women and especially WOC being like "uh, you guys," we tiptoed and let the infection run wild.

It was a Good Emergency, we didn't want to spoil it.

We never amputated, we never said "actually, those Rand Paul fuckers are violent white supremacist fuckwads and a danger to us all."

And (with some help from our beloved mayor) that infection entered the bloodstream and took over the body.

Well, some of the dirtbag left *is* the latest version of that infection.

The Aimee Tereses pitching red-brown alliances, the crypto-Strasserist podcasts, Joe Rogan's friendly "meet your friendly neighborhood fascist" interviews.

That's fucking white supremacy. Period.

The Chapo hosts? I mean, yeah, white supremacist, less in the GONNA TURN EVERYONE FASH sense.

More in the "oh hey hah hah isn't it cute when we make edgy jokes a way that just happens to reify and encourage virulent racism and misogyny among our fans" sense.

The overwhelmingly white dude Jacobin and DSA oldheads?

No, they aren't going to drop the n-word and wink.

They're just gonna let the Chapo celebs do their work, take advantage of the conflation of liberal identity politics and intersectionalism, and drop "helpful" hints.

You know, hints like "emotional labor doesn't exist outside the workplace" and

"this socialist book about intersectionalism is bad because I, a white woman, believe only class matters," and

"Don't go to that counterprotest against Nazis, they're just cosplayers"

In the end, the game is the same.

Play the victim when POC and women and other oppressed people are like, "hold on a fucking minute, let's have accountability here."

Cast us as dividers of "The Left."

Accuse us of wasting time during The Emergency on the non-urgent.

This isn't new, this isn't fresh.

It's a stale playbook used to peddle regressive, class reductionist bullshit.

It's pearl-clutching about how the women & POC folk keep raising our voices, creating "drama," we'll lose all these new, precious white dude lifestyle Leftists.

I'll tell you a secret.

You don't spend two days in a Movement Moment without pretty much figuring out, yeah, 3/4 of these people couldn't care less about the movement, they're bandwagoners just attracted to the excitement and energy.

They know these dudes are weekenders.

And hey, if you're a good organizer, you get them to sign the petition, storm City Hall, do a sit-in at Comcast, whatever.

You give them an entry point, you invite them up the ladder of engagement, you strategically harness their energy for the time they're there.

What good organizers-- good leaders-- DON'T do is, turn around to the people that created the Moment and the energy fighting for their lives and their dignity through largely-invisible labor and sacrifice and say:

"Hush now, OUR BASE has arrived, don't scare them off."

Because, the weekenders are not The Base of the Left.

White dudes that showed up three days ago are not The Movement.

At best, they're cheerleaders.

Usually, though, the "leftist" Weekenders are interlopers who demand the Movement Moment center their privileged asses now that they've finally deigned to arrive.

Because of course, right?

What organizers-- leaders-- understand is, movements are about building a culture, and culture takes time.

You don't convert day 1 and demand to be the preacher day 2.

Privilege teaches the privileged that we OUGHT to be Day 2 preachers.

We DESERVE to be Day 2 preachers.

The Day 2 preachers, though? They aren't leading the congregation. They didn't build the church.

They haven't even finished reading The Book, yet.

They're hijackers.

So listen to the Day 2 preachers if you want. They're funny sometimes.

You do you.

The ones that demand that the oppressed of the congregation step aside and make room in the front pews and the pulpit for their white dude Day 2 squad, though?

Think very long and very hard about when that white dude Day 2 squad showed up, why they showed up, who they are demanding to speak over and which seats they feel entitled to.

Think about whether they're there for the Good Book or the energy of the revival.

And if they're not there for The Book?

If they're there to demand the pulpit, to demand adulation, to egg on their worst followers?

To cause chaos, to center themselves in it, and thereby center themselves in the crowds it attracts?

If the Day 2 preachers don't care much for the Book of Justice, think about what other churches might be even more willing and eager to center their privilege, nurture their worst assumptions and most destructive tendencies, to welcome chaos in & around their congregations.

Think about what those churches' revivals look like.

Think about the kind of blood and bodies they dine on at their communions.

Think about who their Saints are.

Antifascists study and infiltrate those other churches.

We know what they look like, we know what promises they make.

We know just how many Day 2 preachers, how many Left weekenders, show up for their services when the shine and freshness of a Movement Moment fades.

It's a long thread.

It's a scary fucking story.

Dodge accountability, ignore the infection, let the dirtbags get their way for the sake of "Left unity."

Just know it's a cycle that repeats again and again.

Decide what role you want to play while you're onstage.

You can follow @gwensnyderPHL.
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