In Defense of Antifa
- Total Posts: 5,590
As a person who defends Antifa (and identifies as an anti-fascist, among other things), I have been told by people that Antifa is a government plot, a bunch of rich punks who like to break things, a group of people who substitute punching people for a political program, and the reason Donald Trump will win re-election. Furthermore, people have told me that Antifa go after ordinary people by confusing right wing populists with fascism and that, while Trump is a populist, he is not a fascist. My response to this is that there were certainly many Germans, Italians and Spaniards who were their nation’s version of populist in the 1930s who never thought their support for Hitler, Mussolini or Franco would lead to the debacle it did. In other words, knowing this, why should we wait for fascists to show us what real fascism is if we can shut them down before that?
Right wing populists are much closer to fascism then they are to anything else. My understanding of history is that many fascist sympathizers in Europe and the US in the 1930s considered themselves populist in their politics. Once they realized the nature of those leading them, it was too late to turn back even if they had wanted to. Fascism is the ultimate realization of capitalism. It does not stand in opposition to any manifestation of that system. Neoliberalism is a step closer to the realization of fascism. Even though the meaning of Trumpism in relation to fascism continues to be debated, the fact remains that the US is considerably more authoritarian than it was even four years ago. That isn’t to say that it was not authoritarian prior to Trump’s entrance into the White House—of course it was. Indeed, the rise of the politics Trump represents would not be possible without the history that preceded his presidency. However, Trumpism is unique in the history of authoritarian rule in the USA in that it revolves around a single human—Donald Trump.
Has Antifa made mistakes? Of course they have. After all, it’s through praxis, not pontificating, that one learns what works best. In virtually every human endeavor, one learns much from their mistakes. Hell, when it comes to leftish movements, the movement behind the Sanders campaign made a few mistakes itself. They were arguably more consequential than any made by Antifa. However, like the Sanders campaign, Antifa has had its share of successes too. Perhaps the greatest one is that invitations to alt-right and fascist speakers to speak on university and college campuses greatly diminished (even prior to Covid shutdowns) since the Antifa campaign to shut them down began.
Folks running under the Antifa banners are first and foremost against fascists and white supremacists. This includes people like Charles Murray and David Duke and the tiki torchbearers in Charlottesville. It includes Proud Boys and neo-nazis, Donald Trump and racist cops. The unfortunate (for some) truth is that sometimes, you gotta’ fight fascists if you want to fight fascsim. Vigils don’t make them go away. In today’s climate, when fascist sympathizers (if not outright fascists) are sprinkled throughout the national government, various state governments and throughout most every type of law enforcement, disavowing Antifa and labeling it as criminal helps the most reactionary elements of the state consolidate their control. You may not like their tactics, but these folks are allies. The idea that they might be infiltrated is of course true, but who does more harm? An infiltrated bunch of leftists and anarchists or a bunch of liberals spouting the same garbage as the president, the justice department and other rightist politicians attempting to enhance the police state.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
June 3, 2020 at 4:51 PM #322490VoltairineParticipant
- Total Posts: 1,796
One of the worst mistake is way too loose labeling of any and all perceived political opponents as fascists – as neonazies, white supremacists, extreme right etc. It’s highly counterproductive and only works to push many of those perceived opponents further to the dark side, it only works in the devious manner of staring at the monster so hard that you become the monster yourself that otherizes and demonizes and dehumanizes fellow human beings, in the manner of cancel-culture etc. authoritarian persecution.
One of the most effective methods of preventive and healing anti-fascist work is to recruit former members of organized neonazi groups, who have had change of heart and grown up, to talk peacefully and confidentially with current members, and especially to listen their stories and emotional injuries. Compassion works much better to bring lost sheep back to the society than hostile confrontation.
June 3, 2020 at 6:43 PM #322499HamletParticipant
- Total Posts: 30
…people who virtue signal all day long but would call 911 if they saw a black man in their neighborhood
I think they are called Karens these days.
June 3, 2020 at 8:04 PM #322509ravensongParticipant
- Total Posts: 2,099
(Would be wonderful if all websites everywhere removed the accounts of the malicious, duplicitous fascists who masquerade as leftists. Their feeble, naive attempts to promote their fascist agenda is great comedy when they do it on progressive websites. They think they are so clever, and don’t realize progressives see right through them and are laughing at them as they spew their duplicitous childish and transparent RW bullshit. They have no clue that everyone knows who they are and what they are trying to do).
Donald Trump Jr. even referenced the bogus account before it was taken down, calling it a “terrorist organization” and tweeting, “They’re not even pretending anymore.”
Twitter has taken action on other fake accounts linked to Identity Evropa. The accounts were engaged in hateful conduct focused o
n issues of race, religion and sexual orientation.
Before the fake antifa account was suspended, it drew significant media attention for a tweet that incited violence, according to Twitter.
“Time and time again we have seen public figures, media personalities and even government officials amplifying disinformation and extremist rhetoric intended to inspire violence,” John Cohen, a former senior Department of Homeland Security official and current ABC News contributor, said. “A great step in deescalating the violence currently facing the Nation would be for this to end.”
“A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority.” ~ Booker T. Washington
The truth is, there’s no such thing as being “anti-Fascist.” Either you are a decent human being with a conscience, or you are a fascist.
June 3, 2020 at 9:43 PM #322545
June 3, 2020 at 11:10 PM #322582EarthartistParticipant
- Total Posts: 718
I was finding antifa A problem and felt they were to close to being violent, I have very much changed my opinion of them now. My daughter does legal observing and has for the last 8 years, she went back a forth for a bit on antifa , especially after the shooting in Seattle that she was witness to. Now she is absolutely sure they are essential. She pointed out that in these large protests they are on the frontline protecting everyone else. They get people out when hurt, they run aide stations, and they give protesters escape routes out of the violence. The discomfort for our age group is we just want peace and peaceful protests, because that is what we have been told for years, we are beyond that now . I think Caitlin Johnston’s nails it in her article. We who want to participate but not be part of the violence need to be willing to open our doors , fund, provide food water, first aid. Be peace keepers, or Legal observers, support is really important!
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