Trevor Noah ain’t wrong. Antifa is.

I’ve already gotten to the point where I just chalk antifa up to Black Bloc 2.0. Fuck those guys.

Richard Spencer, known Nazi, getting punched was, I admit it, hilarious. It was timely. It was spot on. Mostly I’m okay with that one painfully symbolic moment because there’s no doubt exactly what kind of Nazi asshole Spencer is. No doubt.

Antifa tactics aren’t limited to violence against specific “knowns.” Proximity is often enough for them. That’s not enough for me. I’m not suggesting for a moment that there were “fine people” in Charlottesville marching side by side with swastika waving jackoffs. But when the brush being applied is applied too broadly, as, for instance, the way it was applied against all Trump supporters when that was a crock of shit stance to begin with, well, we know how that turns out.

If someone is going to play the race card, they need to be damned certain that shoe fits. [mixed metaphors are fun]

If the sexism card is played, that shoe better fit.

If any card it played, it needs to be applied well and truly. Otherwise there’s a lesson lost, and lost just that quickly. Robert Anton Wilson had something to say about that in one of his stories. The background was the Catholic vs. Protestant violence in Ireland. The authorities in the area knew there were a bunch of violent radicals named the White Boys responsible for some heinous shit. They nabbed a guy they were sure, absolutely sure, was one of the White Boys. They were wrong. They tortured him. And tortured him. And tortured him. His final response to them was basically, “I wasn’t one of them before, but I damned well am now.”

By all means, left and right alike, encourage the other side to police their own ranks of the worst riffraff. And do your bit to police your own ranks. But getting behind violence applied too generally only makes the other side, whichever side it is, stronger.

The closest I can get to sympathizing with antifa is this:

By adopting the methods of Black Bloc, a bunch of anarchists who seek to use propaganda of the deed (violence like bricking windows, for instance), they seek to bring down the wrath of The Man. They want the establishment power to crack down on everyone hard. They want thousands of cops in riot gear, carrying shields, to start crackin’ heads and stompin’ nards, the more crackin’ and stompin’ the better. Because, so the wisdom goes, if they can cajole the state to overreach, then “the people” will finally rise up in glorious revolt and mayhem and rip the whole establishment structure down. The problem is…it doesn’t seem to work here like they think it should. Riot police, organized by local politicians in cahoots with Obama’s administration, crushed Occupy…who thought they had a friendly in office, someone who would support them because he did say, after all, “make me do it.” They tried. Scott Olson got shot in the head with a teargas canister for his troubles, and nobody was ever held accountable. Pepper Spray Cop got paid well for his efforts once the smoke had cleared.

There was really only so much pushback the left was going to give while their own team was in power and throwing them under the bus.

If these methods are ever going to work, they have to be done while the opposition is in power. That cuts both ways, left and right. If you want them to crack down and your own team to rise up in revolt against the abuse, make damned well sure it’s the other team in power because it’s the only real chance your own team will actually do anything about it.

Because my bias is to the hard left (not Dems, that bunch of deceitful corporatist swine masquerading as liberal), I’d far rather see a right-wing administration overstep its bounds because if there’s a successful uprising it would hopefully set their agenda back a generation or three. I say if because this isn’t the old days with a big labor movement willing to take real chances sustained over the long haul. This isn’t the 60’s. This is the 21st Century with 24/7 internet everything, half of which is bullshit, and more people than ever are anesthetized by their entertainments and disinfo silos and just well enough off they’ve got too much to lose to join in the fray that I really just don’t think it’ll happen.

If it were to succeed, it would have to succeed hard and fast, while the opposition is still in, because we also now know what happens when the revolt isn’t over yet when the centrists on your own team take over. Remember that anti-war movement during Bush 43 that dried up when Obama won? Here we are, 9 years later, and Afghanistan is now our longest running war, Iraq was left mostly to its own devices to deal with ISIS, Syria got out of control, and now, across administrations, it seems like it’s a coin toss whether we’ll send money and weapons to our enemy al Qaeda against ISIS on any given day, or to our enemy ISIS against al Qaeda.

Success seems very unlikely. And failure? That just gets the opposition more pumped up to keep doing what it does best, however wrong it is. Those Trump supporters that actually weren’t racist? Those Confederate flag/monument supporters who actually think of it as “Southern way of life” in all the right and best ways? Antifa is just the violent edge of the kind of thinking that made them all White Boys now. Good fucking job.

3 replies »

  1. Let me ask a question. It begins with an assumption: violence can justifiably be met with violence, and those who advocate extermination of a race are fair game.

    If you reject the assumption, cool. That leads us to a different conversation.

    If you buy the assumption, and if you believe antifa ain’t really antifa at all, that’s just a pose (which could well be), then what would a valid response look like to you? Are there groups in our history, or the world’s, who’d serve as a model? The Panthers, maybe?

    • I’m not answering for Frank, but IMO yes, violence can be justifiably met with violence. I don’t feel we’re at the point where offensive violence is justified, but defensive violence is absolutely justified.

      I’ve been thinking about how to break out of my self-defense conundrum and I might have a partial solution – tazers. Especially the hand-held type. No good against firearms, but they’d be good against a club-wielding fascist. And they’re so explicitly defensive that it might be a solid counter-protestor tactic.

  2. I think most “antifa” are nothing of the sort. They’re immature youths who think it’d be cool to live in a video game or anarchists and related radicals who like dressing up in black masks so they can be violent and otherwise stupid, hopefully without legal consequence. I think the real anti-fascists are the people who are happy to be peaceful counter-protesters, but who will push back – hard – against white supremacists and neo-Nazis and actual fascists if they’re charged by people carrying sticks, shields, and wearing goggles and helmets.

    I think the whole “antifa” is an exercise in false equivalence and is being pushed by Donald, his minions, and the right-wing media in an effort to normalize actual fascism and racism in the Administration and Donald’s supporters. Exhibit A: Black Lives Matter is not “antifa.”

    So I try to avoid using the term “antifa” whenever possible.