(UPDATED THRICE) The political movement that positively will not renounce violence even when repeatedly challenged to do so now somehow wants you to go to the gym.

Exercise is always a good idea, even for incomplete quadriplegics and the very old. I take a Richard Simmons approach here: No amount of added activity is too small. It is easy to adopt the secular religion of working out, especially in my case – after a crippling back spasm that occurred when I leaned a few degrees forward to take a picture. Besides, as I am never shy to explain, you can at least teach an athlete to read, and if you have a choice between going to the gym and reading a few pages of yet another book, well, the book lasts longer than your body does. (If the choice is between going to the gym and rechecking your Twitter, it isn’t a “choice.”)

I advised antifa to stop wearing blue hair and start working out. But I take issue with motivation.

I made a case to radical lesbians that amateur boxing should be at least begrudgingly accepted. Yet if one believes the following minitrend is even real, a ginger-bearded ostensibly Hispanic socialist is encouraging his comrades to lift weights, while antifa are trying to raise the money to start their own gym. (Is it par for the course, or is it perverse, that they can’t come up with 50 grand by themselves?)

The outfit’s name – Haymaker – is the first of many clues that, irrespective of claims to the contrary, this is a facility that will train antifa in how to throw the first punch. All this is about inciting violence, not engaging in limited self-defence, which, in the U.S. context, is bewilderingly complex in legal terms. Ginger-bearded socialist Poncho Martinez (no relation) specifically articulated the scenario of interposing himself in, say, a subway car when some kind of minority (this means a Muslima in hijab) is being verbally abused. Knowing as little as they do about the male psyche, these antifa don’t understand how quickly matters will escalate. (Or they do, and that’s what they’re hoping for.) In neither case do they understand how much better at fighting their opponents will always be.

This Martinez later stated on Twitter: “I think it’s pretty clear I’m not a pacifist.” (Martinez didn’t answer a respectful E‑mail. Neither did Haymaker.)

Remember: In the current political context and in my own direct observation, it is antifa that instigates violence. They could stop doing that if they chose. They choose the opposite.

Notably, Black Lives Matter Toronto majordoma Janaya Khan is a trained boxer, which fact joins the constellation of reasons why her insurrectionist faction was the first to bring violence to Gay Pride.


  1. Haymaker belatedly responded to my mail:

    Our position on self-defen[c]e goes beyond that of simple antifascism and we articulate our position vis-[à]-vis antifascism in our campaign. If you’d like to know more about our politics, I recommend reading this interview we did with antifascist news [sic]

    …linking to the same article I did here, which intentionally makes nothing clear and does so in thousands of words of academic jargon.

    My follow-up was of course ignored:

    You didn’t answer the question. Are you planning on training members to initiate violence, to make the first strike, or not?

    Note: Any answer other than no is indistinguishable from yes.

  2. The curiously named UnicornRiot.NINJA deleted an article about Haymaker (2016.06.27; copy-edited):

    Learning To Make A Fist With The Haymaker Collective [caps in original]

    Chicago, Illinois – On June 11th, 2017, Unicorn Riot met members of the Haymaker collective, a new public facing anti-fascist and anti-racist project, on a beach in Chicago. The collective’s goal is to further community self-defence.

    They referred to their upcoming gym as a “popular fitness and self-defence” gym that will be donation-based. While they told us their collective couldn’t address all the self-defence needs of the city, they said they were already in conversations with queer and Muslim trainers who wanted to use the space to provide self-defence lessons to their communities.

    “Queers” should not really be banding together with “Muslims.” Muslims throw queers off roofs and shoot us up at our bars.

    Kevin, one the members of the collective, told us that the collective had raised $6,000 on Indiegogo, but they weren’t getting a space until this fall. The beachside training was just to get the ball rolling.

    At the beach, the group went through a series of warm-ups and stretches. After the stretches, they learned how to properly form a fist, practised jabs and crosses [and] a takedown, and how to fall and get back up while defending themselves. The workout ended with some strength training.

    Meyer, a Haymaker collective member, said that they had received international support and explained that anti-fascist self-defence gyms existed across Europe, and that they had already heard interest from other people in the United States who wanted to open up gyms. When we asked another Haymaker collective member why they were involved with the gym, they [Kevin] said, “We need to start thinking about in radical communities, and community organizing and whatnot, we need to have a physical component to it. Marching, all these things we do have a physical component and it’s often overlooked.”

    The Haymaker collective said they were preparing to defend their communities against the rise of the right under Trump and pointed at the previous day’s anti-Muslim rally as an example of escalating right-wing violence.

    Haymaker trains to defend against fascists and racists.

    After the workout, the participants looked tired but were excited to have begun to learn self-defence. Kevin, who has only one leg, told us they [again, they keep calling this male “they”] were disabled and never thought they’d ever be able to join a gym, and that they looked forward to learning self-defence and then teaching other disabled people how to defend themselves.

    UnicornRiot.NINJA also deleted an adorable video showing these antifa learning to make a fist. (Later reuploaded.)

  3. To no one’s surprise, Steven Crowder, who actually can make a fist, mocked this project. (Actually, Kacie Burnett wrote that figurative takedown.)

  4. Now: What’s up with ginger-bearded ostensible “Latinx” Poncho Martinez (no relation) and his three cats?

    Well, he managed to look like a regular guy at the gym at one point –

    At the squat rack at a gym

    – but that was after he got his nails did.

    Sparkly nail polish, pitch-black toenail polish

    Your “radical liftist” leader, ladies and gentlemen of various genders.

And now: A feature article in Men’s Health

Tubby ginger sips a drink while walking past a graffitied wall

(2017.09.03 · 2018.04.22) Rather unhelpfully for Poncho Martinez, that’s Men’s Health UK. Nonetheless, the article (PDF) by Tom Ward (with Nils Ericson photos) reveals:

  1. names of a couple of the tiny number of members of this Swole Left

  2. that one of them wants to run away from cops faster (deadlifts et al. will not help with that)

  3. that Poncho understands he has to be at the right place at the right time to intervene in right-wing violence (“The problem with any superhero fantasy is 90% of the time you won’t be there when anything bad happens”)

  4. that Poncho somehow believes right-wing violence really exists in America

  5. that Poncho rules out preëmptive violence (“I believe you shouldn’t go out of your way to fight anyone”)

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.05.28 11:43. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

(Values you enter are stored and may be published)



None. I quit.

Copyright © 2004–2024