Image by Gerd Altmann
Antifa means you’re ANTI-fascist. It’s literally right there in the word. Anti-fa. Anti. Fascist. How can one be against Antifa? They are literally fighting fascists. If you’re against Antifa, that must mean you’re pro-fascist.
Or so goes the logic of the far-Left activist.
In the current year—2019—politics in the United States of America is very divisive. Of course it can be, and is, divisive in many other countries around the world, but America is special. At least, the citizens think they are special. Just read any article from an American journalist or blogger or YouTuber, and you’ll hear them talking about Donald Trump and the rise of fascism and how it affects “us”. They will say “our” livelihoods are being affected. “Our” undocumented migrants are being slaughtered. “Our” world is being turned upside-down. It’s all very Americentric. And while antifascist groups definitely have a presence in countries that are not the United States, when the far-Left aspiring activist is talking about Antifa, they are primarily talking about antifascist action in the United States of America. Because Drumpf.
Ever since his Presidential election in 2016, Donald Trump has been accused by leftists of every persuasion of being a fascist. And we shouldn’t completely denounce these accusations. It’s melodramatic to say “Drumpf is a fascist bigot!”, and it’s definitely naive to say “Trump is not a threat whatsoever”. It has gotten to the point that anyone who even vaguely has any right-leaning beliefs whatsoever is labeled as a fascist, which is an insult to victims of fascist violence everywhere.
There’s a massive difference between a moderate Right-winger like Jordan Peterson, and a far-Rightist like Richard Spencer or David Duke.
Nope. Not to the current victims of the two-party black-and-white thinkers of far-Leftism. Let’s be blunt about this. America’s two-party system has largely contributed to this problem we have now. While there are other parties—as long as you have a lot of money, you can vie for the presidency—everyone knows that only a Republican or a Democrat stands a chance of winning the coveted title. Republican equals Right-wing. Democrat equals Left-wing. Even if the members of said parties do not follow the tenets of their parties whatsoever. Hillary Clinton, despite running as a Democrat, had much in common with her Republican adversary Donald Trump. There wasn’t much that separated them. But, because they ran under two differing parties, one must equal Right-wing (bad) and one must equal Left-wing (good).
Media bias also contributed to the black-and-white divide in the 2016 Election. Bernie Sanders, who identified as a socialist (Left, which should equal good), was somehow portrayed by the mainstream media as having having parallels with the Republican Party (right, which equals bad).
So, what does this have to do with Antifa and the alleged antifascist movement?
It’s this divisiveness, which rose to its extreme levels during the 2016 U.S. Election, that has led to such strawman arguments as “Because ‘Antifa’ means ‘antifascist’, then that must mean they’re antifascist”.
Because of the massive amounts of identity politics at play back in 2016, intelligent, inclusive arguments are almost impossible to hold. To be anything other than 1000 percent LEFT, you must be 1000 percent RIGHT. To not be on our side and agree completely with everything we say—then you must be on the Other Side and disagree with everything we say. To not have a black-and-white opinion, and to not believe that there are only two answers to every issue, that must mean you are a Radical Centrist. To put it simply, this is how you are expected to think in this childish state of political discussion:
Left: Antifa means you are antifascist. If you are against Antifa, you are a fascist, which makes you worse than Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini combined. You support the murder and harassment of women and minorities and undocumented migrants, and want the world to BURN! Guns are to blame for mass shootings because of guns alone and because America is a fascistic hellhole and video games are bad, but that’s because they’re misogynistic rape machines.
Right: Nazi means you are a leftist. ‘Nazi’ stands for ‘National Socialist‘, which means the Nazis are actually leftist. They are the true fascists. The spate of shootings are not because of guns, because guns are good and precious and beautiful, but because the dumb Nazis (i.e. leftists) are to blame with their violent shoot-em-kill-em video games and illegal aliens and abortions and mental illness!
Center (i.e. the Right-enablers): I have no opinions on anything LOL! Antifa and Nazis are just as bad as each other, and only fifty percent of minorities and women should be murdered and harassed, and only fifty percent of guns should be banned. In fact, everything should be fifty percent. Thanos Snap half the U.S. out of existence, and half the guns, and…
There should not be two accepted states of political being. If gender and sexuality are on a spectrum, then why not politics? Why should politics only have a binary choice?
With that in place, why is it wrong to say “But Antifa stands for antifascist!?!?!”
When one says “Antifa means you are anti-fascist”, they are using the same logic as Right-wingers who claim Nazis are actually Left-wing because “Nazi” stands for “National Socialist.”
Just because Antifa means antifascist, it does not mean they are antifascist. The Nazis are in no way socialist, democratic, or a workers party. The People’s Republic of China is neither a republic nor for the people. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is most definitely not a Democratic People’s Republic in any way.
We can expand this. Just because feminism is defined as “equality of the sexes”, does not mean every feminist believes in equality. Many self-proclaimed feminists appear to be militantly anti-equality. Christians (as well as other Abrahamic faiths) claim to be the authority on all that is moral, but some Christians are not moral in any way, despite their attempts to claim their immorality as moral. Just like feminists do not get to own the word “equality”, Christians don’t get to own “morality.”
Antifa may claim to be antifascist, but just because they have appropriated the 1940’s antifascist movement, does not mean they get to be the moral authority on all that is antifascist.
Just because someone is labeled a “fascist” by a member of modern Antifa, it doesn’t mean that person is suddenly a fascist with no redeeming qualities. Journalist Andy Ngo may be a Right-winger, but it does not mean he is immediately a fascist simply because he antagonizes 2010s Antifa. This is a childish outlook on the world, immediately labeling people into groups of “good” and “bad”.
If you are pro-Antifa and reading this, you’ve likely already made your assumptions: designating The Fifty Percent Review into check-boxes of “fascist-enabler” or “Radical Centrist” or “traitorous Liberal”. None of these are correct.
Small YouTuber Dankey Kang made the same mistakes in his recent video How Liberals Always Side With F@scists feat. David Pakman (Seattle ICE Facility Attack). In this thirty-minute video, self-proclaimed Tankie Dankey Kang accuses Liberal (moderate Leftist) YouTuber David Pakman of siding with fascism because Pakman denounces the violence of an antifascist man who was killed while firebombing a Seattle ICE facility:
(sarcastically) Hey, did you guys know that in Nazi Germany, when the Red Army showed up and they shot those Nazis in the face, killed them, they were being just as bad as the Nazis, folks? Did you know that if you punch a Nazi, you’re literally just as bad as a Nazi? Did you know that that makes you a fascist?
Even if you are an anti fascist which, like, by definition means you’re not a fascist.
This also plays into the false equivalency that Nazis from Nazi Germany and alleged fascists from Trump’s America are exactly the same people which, as far as we are aware, they are not. One group is historically the worst group of human beings to have ever existed, coming in only second to Josef Stalin’s USSR (who are only second by virtue of siding with the Allies in WWII). The other is the only political frame of reference we have in our short life, because in the junk food lifespan of clickbait journalism, nobody remembers any political leader other than the last two.
There is no doubt that under Donald Trump’s leadership, some shitty things have happened. In states like Alabama, ignorant conservatives are trying to make abortion basically illegal. Mass shootings have increased, and because of a rampant gun culture and a massively influential gun lobby, nobody seems to want to focus on the actual issues at hand. Illegal immigrants—and allegedly even some legal immigrants—are being deported out of the country.
Newsflash: This is not new to Trump. He is not the first American politician—let alone the first conservative—to attempt to enact draconian laws and destroy muh freedom land of the brave.
Newsflash: Your country has had problems long before Donald Trump even decided to quit reality TV and make a run for the presidency.
Credit card companies selling off your data so stalking and doxing are only a Google search away? Mass shootings that almost nobody seems willing to fix, because that would involve decades—and more than one President—to resolve? Supposedly progressive people in power willing to start wars for almost no reason at all? A corrupt news media controlled by Liberal elites in Washington D.C who see you as no more than puppets; telling you the real issue is the Right-wing fascists when the real issue is the privileged upper-middle-class bourgeoisie brainwashing your thoughts and emotions?
Nope. It’s the fascists. They’re to blame. And by “fascist”, we mean anyone who doesn’t have the same politics as us.
When David Pakman says that antifascists can sometimes be fascists in disguise, maybe look into it a little more rather than dismissing him and falling for the left-right piss contest that means nothing and does nothing.
To put it simply: Just because one calls themselves a member of Antifa or an antifascist, doesn’t mean that they are. Just because said Antifa member calls someone a fascist, doesn’t mean that person is a fascist. Just because that person isn’t a true blue comrade, it doesn’t mean they are the enemy and should be destroyed.
You’re not enabling fascism if you say it’s wrong to punch people who aren’t fascists.
In any case, punching a fascist won’t stop them. How well did that work out for Richard Spencer? He’s still as horrific as ever.
If you’re still focused on dismantling actual fascism, then there are ways about it. While peaceful protest is a nice idea like David Pakman suggests, it isn’t always viable. The White Rose movement members were still guillotined by the actual Nazis. But that would imply that the current wave of fascists and alleged fascists are the same as fascists in 1940’s Nazi Europe.
You can talk to them. They are human beings. Just like you’ve likely been manipulated into the black-and-white left-right divide, so have they.
There are solutions. This article doesn’t have all the answers. It is not as simple as a quick dot point list in a clickbaity news article.
The answers are not as binary as you think. We are more complex than mainstream media pundits would have us believe.