6 reasons why Chomsky is wrong about antifa

6 reasons why Chomsky is wrong about antifa

Noam Chomsky recently made some comments about antifa, and militant anti-fascism in general, which were as ill-timed as they were ill-informed. Here's what we think he's got wrong about the subject.

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, the spotlight has been turned on the reality of fascist violence in America. The murder of Heather Heyer is only the most recent in a year which has seen numerous other killings (such as the two on the Portland MAX in May and Timothy Caughman in New York City), with the 2015 killing of nine worshippers at Denmark Vesey's church in Charleston by Dylann Roof showing a continuity of far-right violence long before the election of Donald Trump.

Despite all this, many liberal talking heads have also decided that now is the time to condemn those opposing the fascists. Perhaps the most upsetting, has been the intervention of Noam Chomsky, given how important a figure he was to our politics when we were growing up. But what did Chomsky get wrong?

1) Antifa's 'predecessors' are more significant than Chomsky thinks

Chomsky describes Antifa as "a minuscule fringe of the Left, just as its predecessors were" with "some limited similarity to the Weather Underground". While we might take issue with Chomsky's description of contemporary Antifa, another problem is his misrepresentation of its "predecessors".

Antifa's predecessors have almost nothing to do with the Weather Underground. Rather, they can be seen in the mass mobilisation against Mosley's Blackshirts in Cable Street, East London, as well as less famous mobilisations in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Hulme and Stockton.

They are the 43 Group and the 62 Group, Jewish-led organisations who took it upon themselves to smash Mosley's attempts to reorganise after the Second World War. They are in the mass mobilisation of locals in Lewisham, South East London, in 1977, the Southall Youth Movement who fought skinheads in the streets and Anti-Fascist Action, who regularly routed fascists throughout the country from the mid-1980s to the late-1990s.

In Europe, they are the Red Warriors of Paris or the Revolutionary Front in Sweden. And in North America they were the Teamsters who formed a defense guard against the Silver Shirts in the 1930s, or Anti-Racist Action who took on Klansmen and the National Socialist Movement from the 1980s until very recently.

None of these can or should be dismissed as easily as Chomsky seems to.

2) Antifa are 'a major gift to the Right, including the militant Right, who are exuberant'?

When the extreme-right get smashed by anti-fascists, they are not exuberant.

When anti-fascists in Liverpool wiped the floor with the 2015 White Man March in Liverpool, they were not exuberant; they were utterly humiliated.

When the English Defence League were chased out of Walthamstow in 2012, they were not exuberant, they were utterly humiliated.

The 43 Group, 62 Group and Anti-Fascist Action successfully disrupted organised street fascism in the UK for decades after World War Two.

In all these cases, physical defeats led to increased divisions in the far-right, mutual recriminations and, most importantly, a puncturing of the invincible street-fighter image these groups like to cultivate for themselves.

Of course they will try and spin every defeat as them being victimised. But, they would just as much spin any unopposed march as a successful show of force, especially if they go searching for targets afterwards, as they have done in the past; 'ignore fascists until they go away' only works if you have the privilege of being ignored by them as well.

A physical defeat is not a gift to the militant right; it is one of the most effective ways of keeping them weak.


Attendees of the 'White Man March' not looking very exuberant as they hide in Liverpool Lime Street's left luggage department, 2015.

3) Denying fascists a platform is not 'wrong in principle'

Perhaps Chomsky's most dangerous claim is that "What [antifa] do is often wrong in principle – like blocking talks". We say dangerous because it encourages people to provide space for fascism to grow in.

There is nothing wrong with denying fascists a platform, whether these be rallies, demonstrations, public meetings or debates. Fascists use their platforms to build strength and, as they grow stronger, to attack their opponents.

We are not duty-bound to give fascists somewhere to spread their hate. In 2002, the train drivers' union, Aslef, expelled a member who had been a local election candidate for the far-right BNP. Perhaps Chomsky thinks this is wrong? Perhaps they were duty bound to accept a member who would sow divisions between white and non-white members? Perhaps Aslef should have organised a public debate to hear him out?

Fascists love it when liberals provide them with a platform. It helps them spread their message so that they can build numbers and confidence to crush their opponents - liberals included.

These platforms - whether on city streets or in debate halls - should not be provided.

4) Street confrontations are not always won by 'the toughest and most brutal'...

Chomsky claims "When confrontation shifts to the arena of violence, it's the toughest and most brutal who win – and we know who that is". Yet mass anti-fascist mobilisation can shut down fascists without being 'the most brutal'. In Liverpool, fascists ran to hide in a train station's left luggage department after being outnumbered 10-to-1. In Brighton, fascist marches have been made impossible without heavy police escort due to mass local opposition.

Ultimately, the most powerful force in society is the working class. We can always win when we turn out in force.

5) ... and the far-right aren't always 'the toughest and most brutal' anyway.

It is the stuff of far-right fairy tales that they have the monopoly on using violence. The experience of Post-World War Two Britain is that the far-right, for all their bluster, were not as 'good on the pavement' as they thought they were. From the 43 Group to the 62 Group to AFA, the far-right were frequently beaten on the streets.

While it is important that we focus on building mass, working-class anti-racist movements rather than crack squads of elite anti-fascist special forces, it's also important not to perpetuate the myths which the far-right perpetuate about themselves. Just look at this loser for a start:

6) Physical opposition to fascism does not negate 'constructive activism'

Chomsky's claim that one of the "costs" of physical confrontation with fascists is the "loss of the opportunity for education, organizing, and serious and constructive activism" is a false division. Moreover, it's one that shows a lack of real-life contact with anti-fascists.

In reality, anti-fascists often are involved in activity beyond 'anti-fascism' whether that be migrant solidarity, union organising, anti-police violence or whatever else. They hold film screenings, concerts and football tournaments. The fact that Chomsky misses all this says more about him than it does anti-fascists.

If people are prepared to put their lives and safety on the line to resist fascism that's a choice which should be celebrated. Community self-defense can create space for other organising to happen, whereas un-opposed fascists will happily crash and disrupt left meetings and organising.

A big contingent of antifascist mobilisations in the US have been associated with the IWW, a radical union which puts huge importance on serious, constructive education and organising. You can organise at work Monday to Friday and oppose fascists when they occasionally come to town on Saturday, that's not much of an 'opportunity cost.'

Ultimately, it's important to remember that 'anti-fascism' will never be enough to defeat fascism; in fact, there is no defeating fascism without defeating capitalism. That means building a mass, working-class political culture that stands as an alternative to both the far-right and the liberal politics of 'business as usual': vibrant workplace organisations both inside and out of traditional unions, community groups fighting on housing, police brutality, proper provision for survivors of domestic violence, migrant solidarity, and so much more it couldn't possibly fit here.

We mustn't think of antifa as an end in and of itself. But we don't need the left's most prominent public intellectuals to throw them under the bus either.

Comments

Reddebrek
Aug 20 2017 13:13

Yes, I know that's your line, but it isn't a point, because you haven't proven anything nor are you answering any criticisms of your stance.

Your characterisation that Anti Fascism is purely a "street" phenomena is just absurd and untrue. Either you're very ignorant or dishonest. This blog you're criticising even included some workplace examples.

Jim
Aug 20 2017 13:46
Sharkfinn wrote:
Working classes strength is supposed to be at the point of prodction, the streets aren't someting that we can control.

If the working class is incapable of controlling the streets then there is no hope for communism. What good is it to control factories and points of production if good can't be moved from place to place, people can't travel to and from workplaces etc. Being able to control the streets is an essential aspect of a revolutionary process.

Reddebrek
Aug 20 2017 14:13

Well there's that and the more immediate concern that when right wing forces get a presence on the streets they come into the workplaces too. The KKK and other vigilante groups terrorised workers and did their best to smash organised labour and keep workforces racially divided. For example.

And that was what the Silver Shirts were doing, hiring themselves out as strike breakers, they just had the bad luck to pick and then lose their fights with the Teamsters. The strike in JJ Foods in the UK also had the boss attempt to create racial tensions between his largely Kurdish and Turkish workforce, and when that failed he brought in members of the Grey Wolves to try and crush the strike physically.

Then of course Mussolini's Black shirts were used to smash striking workers and reclaim occupied factories.

The whole workplace vs streets is really a false and dangerous framing.

potrokin
Aug 20 2017 14:11
Fleur wrote:
re:Mallen.

I love it when liberals who want to promote nonviolence invoke the name of MLK, seemingly oblivious to the fact he was murdered, that he was armed to the teeth, along with the people who worked with him, that he met with people who employed non-violent tactics, that he never condemned people who took part in physical resistance. Liberals seem to forget that the era, and the era preceding it, was a period of extreme racialized violence, in which African Americans organized in self-defence and and paid for it with their lives. Non violence was only one tactic of the civil rights movement but it's the only one that liberals seem to remember (bit like the myth that non-violence was the thing which drove the British out of India.) It's a very cozy idea, which enables well-meaning people to feel safe and comfortable in their refusal to get involved in the fight.

Perhaps try reading something written by people involved in the civil rights movement, as opposed to watching too many made for TV movies which cast white liberals as protagonists in the civil rights movement. Try these for starters.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18210783-this-nonviolent-stuff-ll-get-you-killed
This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed - Charles E Cobb
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17072350-we-will-shoot-back
We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement - Akinyele Omowale Umoja

There is also the myth that liberals supported the civil rights movement, they largely did not. In 1966, 85% of white people thought that the disruptions of the civil rights movements hurt black people.
http://www.theroot.com/mlk-would-never-shut-down-a-freeway-and-6-other-myths-1790856033
I expect in 50 years time, white liberals will be claiming that physically confronting fascists was their idea all along.

(Edited to fix link.)

Damn son!

Jonathan M. Feldman
Aug 20 2017 15:29

Item 1: Is a matter of interpretation. Any group can claim groups that are actually different from them in which they have no organic link as their predecessor group. Therefore, one has to substantiate the existence of a lineage and not simply claim it.

Item 2: Chomsky never said "'ignore fascists until they go away" because he warned about fascism or fascist tendencies many years ago. His larger point is that we must do other things than street fighting, independently of his specific critique of antifa.

Item 3: The author or authors are fishing when they write: "In 2002, the train drivers' union, Aslef, expelled a member who had been a local election candidate for the far-right BNP. Perhaps Chomsky thinks this is wrong?" Chomsky is talking about public events like universities and to a certain extent the public space where one gets permits. He is not talking about non-state actors like trade unions. This is a kind of strawman argument. One can argue that people marching through public space using torches are provocative and require a street response. Whether or not antifa should lead or does a good job in organizing that street response is another question. I won't take a side in this question, but just stick with what I indicated.

Item 4: Is an interesting point. The point may be valid, yet irrelevant because the larger point that is not part of this quotation and critique is that it is hardly sufficient to use street demonstrations to stop fascism or the larger environment breeding aspects of fascism, e.g. economic decline of industrial areas. Part of Chomsky's views relate to this larger point which the author or authors don't take up at all.

Item 5: This point seems like chasing after details and I could not really understand it. The author or authors do significantly write: "While it is important that we focus on building mass, working-class anti-racist movements rather than crack squads of elite anti-fascist special forces." This sentence appears to contradict what I wrote earlier, but it doesn't really. Why? Because this "mass movement stuff" has been necessary but neglected industrial policy, controlling the means of production and innovation, and all sorts of deep measures necessary to smash fascism and build an effective response. Anarchism is supposed to be rooted in such things, think the Spanish Anarchists, and not simply movements in some street-focused fashion. The author(s) does not bring up these elements but seems to romanticize a syndicalist or protest variety of anarchism that is part of revisionist treatments of what anarchism represents.

Item 6: On the face of it, this part of the article also appears to contradict some of what I have written above, but not really. A lot of these activities are highly useful and essential: "anti-fascists often are involved in activity beyond 'anti-fascism' whether that be migrant solidarity, union organising, anti-police violence or whatever else. They hold film screenings, concerts and football tournaments. The fact that Chomsky misses all this says more about him than it does anti-fascists."

Yet, something is rotten in the states of the USA, UK and elsewhere when it comes to the Left and the author(s) engage in bad faith when they neglect that. First, none of this activity prevented fascism. Second, the current praxis of the Left is weak on combating de-industrialization, cooperative development and the extension of economic democracy, ending economic racist or sexist divisions-of-labor, and ending militarism. All these marches have still left in check big fat military industrial complexes and arms export machines. All these activities have been de-linked from a lot of pro-active economic organizing. You still have an almost totally powerless media accountability system in the US and UK and elsewhere in Europe.

This point is true, but seems to suggest that Chomsky does not understand it: "If people are prepared to put their lives and safety on the line to resist fascism that's a choice which should be celebrated. Community self-defense can create space for other organising to happen, whereas un-opposed fascists will happily crash and disrupt left meetings and organising." The problem is that a lot of left meetings freely meet and their results are disappointing. So, while the point is valid as a necessary condition, it is hardly sufficient. I also believe that it would be wrong to think that Chomsky does not understand such matters, but assuming he does hypothetically not get this point, it still begs the larger questions described in my analysis.

Finally, all the anti-intellectual and ageist statements about Chomsky and deconstructions of one of the leading critics of the academic system are rather disgusting and idiotic. This last point refers not to the original piece but various comments made during this debate in social media.

For more elaborations, see: http://www.globalteachin.com/uncategorized/is-chomsky-totally-wrong-about-antifa-no

Sharkfinn
Aug 20 2017 19:36
Reddebrek wrote:
Yes, I know that's your line, but it isn't a point, because you haven't proven anything nor are you answering any criticisms of your stance.

Your characterisation that Anti Fascism is purely a "street" phenomena is just absurd and untrue. Either you're very ignorant or dishonest. This blog you're criticising even included some workplace examples.

What would proof mean in this context? I explicitly used the terms black bloc and no platforming to emphaise what I'm talking about, which was also the tactic Chomsky was referring to. If we define antifa widely enough, its hard to criticise it or even think about it analytically, because it's too vague. When we talk about antifa I assume most of us understand it to mean physical mobilisation against fascists.

If I have a point, it's that fascist are on the rise and antifa tactics won't do anything to stop it. You don't need to control the streets to build mass support when you got the internet https://www.splcenter.org/20170118/google-and-miseducation-dylann-roof. - My point is they have platforms, and areas antifa is worried about are not part of that.

That is not a moral critique of the antifa, its a tactical critique. If people wanna be weekend warriors, fine. But its disingenous to demand people not to criticise them on tactical grounds, or to compile a call out list of enemies because some people don't agree (I don't blame libcom.org explicitly for doing that). But like the article on cable street should demonstrate the first order of business is to determine what works and why. The left is currently extremely small because, as small sects, we don't offer much to people.

I think Pennoid pointed out very important point on another thread, that antifa is taking the struggle to violent arena way too soon. Right now we are at the situation were violent confrontation works (if we are being very, very generous) in areas where we are already strong (liberal urban areas, uni campuses) (-for the record I'm not sure it's doing what is intended even there). Neither of those places are extremely important for fascist in terms of recruitment or for reaching state power. It can however backfire on the left if the violence and specific demands are not properly coordinated (- I don't have time to discuss this in detail at the moment, sorry). I don't think we need to worry about that excessively. The real question to worry about, is how to organise working class again into a conscious mass movement, with power at the point of production. Answer to that problem is also answer to the former. But if we want to reach that, the left needs to seriouly rethink itself on many grounds.

Cris Oliveira
Aug 20 2017 22:37

The number of anti-fascist demonstrations around the world is growing and while liberals preach nazis have the right to speech and platform, it was the antifa who has been spearheading the resistance. Despite that, Chomsky still states antifa is counterproductive. So sad an intellectual powerhouse like Chomsky will be remembered in the future for his cowardice and doing nothing to advance anarchy beyond saying it's cool and expecting people to trust him on it because he's like a rockstar of linguistics and political science.

potrokin
Aug 21 2017 07:40
Sharkfinn wrote:

If I have a point, it's that fascist are on the rise and antifa tactics won't do anything to stop it. You don't need to control the streets to build mass support when you got the internet https://www.splcenter.org/20170118/google-and-miseducation-dylann-roof. - My point is they have platforms, and areas antifa is worried about are not part of that.

You have a point but if you think that the far-right are not interested in gaining support at uni campuses and in liberal urban areas then you are mistaken. Far-right figures have appeared at universities to give speeches (I am thinking here of Tommy Robinson, and I'm sure there have been others more obviously fascistic and nazi). Also, from my own experience Antifa is not only about physical confrontation- 'ideological work' is seen as just as important by the members of Antifa that I have met and they are aware of the importance of countering anything online ideologically, as I'm sure is the left and the anarchist/ anti-fascist movement. I agree with the last point of your post though ofcourse, the majority of the working-class needs to know who it's true enemy is and what it should be unifying against.

Jonathan M. Feldman
Aug 21 2017 04:28

What you write here is reasonable, I think some aspects of a well-regulated antifa make sense under some circumstances. The power at production is limited by outsourcing and so-called globalization requiring different organizing strategies, some of which are community based. As for the Internet, it is not sufficient because of the quality of the content.

On media power, see:
https://sciser.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/reconstruction-as-a-solution-to-the-problems-of-media-content-and-form.pdf

On the globalization and workers' power and production organizing, see: http://www.labornotes.org/2017/08/why-did-nissan-workers-vote-no and Chris Brooks here:
http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/Radio.html

I think this is the tip of the iceberg, however, you need a totalistic organizing approach (indicated here): http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08854300.2016.1184913?journalCode=csad20

Jonathan M. Feldman
Aug 21 2017 04:29

See above.

Jonathan M. Feldman
Aug 21 2017 05:11

There is no evidence that Chomsky will be remembered in the way you state except for a very limited number of persons whose views of politics begin and end in street protests.

Ed
Aug 21 2017 11:15
potrokin wrote:
Sharkfinn wrote:
If I have a point, it's that fascist are on the rise and antifa tactics won't do anything to stop it. You don't need to control the streets to build mass support when you got the internet https://www.splcenter.org/20170118/google-and-miseducation-dylann-roof. - My point is they have platforms, and areas antifa is worried about are not part of that.

You have a point but if you think that the far-right are not interested in gaining support at uni campuses and in liberal urban areas then you are mistaken. Far-right figures have appeared at universities to give speeches (I am thinking here of Tommy Robinson, and I'm sure there have been others more obviously fascistic and nazi).

This is true. Identity Europa have specifically targetted university campuses for recruitment and if you look at a lot of the people exposed in the aftermath of Charlottesville, a lot of them were university students as well. Similar with National Action in the UK (before they were proscribed as a terrorist group). So there is an effort on the part of the far-right to get a foothold among university students.

Again, as I think I mentioned earlier, I'm really confused as to why so much discussion here is about the inability of anti-fascists to stop fascist governments coming to power when, as has been said already, the American 'alt-right' is not a government in waiting (it's hardly an opposition in waiting) but much more similar to the postwar British far-right: small though well-linked to establishment politicians and organised and violent enough to threaten communities they don't like.

I mean, as late as the 1980s/early 1990s, fairly big music artists (Desmond Dekker, the Pogues) were having their shows attacked by neo-nazis. Anti-fascists organised to smash them out of music scenes and out of the spaces (including pro-nazi shops in Central London) where they would hang out. Like the 'alt-right', they were never likely to take state power but they were still very dangerous.

Surely the neutralisation of that very immediate threat was a good thing? What, then, are the differences between that experience and the one we're currently seeing in the USA? The only one that I can see is that in the UK, there was still the hangover of a powerful workers' movement for anti-fascists to draw strength from, which there isn't in currently the USA. However, that to me isn't an argument against short-term anti-fascism; it's just a problem to be solved about building short- and medium/long-term organising goals.

Sharkfinn
Aug 21 2017 19:21
Ed wrote:
potrokin wrote:
Sharkfinn wrote:
If I have a point, it's that fascist are on the rise and antifa tactics won't do anything to stop it. You don't need to control the streets to build mass support when you got the internet https://www.splcenter.org/20170118/google-and-miseducation-dylann-roof. - My point is they have platforms, and areas antifa is worried about are not part of that.

You have a point but if you think that the far-right are not interested in gaining support at uni campuses and in liberal urban areas then you are mistaken. Far-right figures have appeared at universities to give speeches (I am thinking here of Tommy Robinson, and I'm sure there have been others more obviously fascistic and nazi).

This is true. Identity Europa have specifically targetted university campuses for recruitment and if you look at a lot of the people exposed in the aftermath of Charlottesville, a lot of them were university students as well. Similar with National Action in the UK (before they were proscribed as a terrorist group). So there is an effort on the part of the far-right to get a foothold among university students.

Again, as I think I mentioned earlier, I'm really confused as to why so much discussion here is about the inability of anti-fascists to stop fascist governments coming to power when, as has been said already, the American 'alt-right' is not a government in waiting (it's hardly an opposition in waiting) but much more similar to the postwar British far-right: small though well-linked to establishment politicians and organised and violent enough to threaten communities they don't like.

I mean, as late as the 1980s/early 1990s, fairly big music artists (Desmond Dekker, the Pogues) were having their shows attacked by neo-nazis. Anti-fascists organised to smash them out of music scenes and out of the spaces (including pro-nazi shops in Central London) where they would hang out. Like the 'alt-right', they were never likely to take state power but they were still very dangerous.

Surely the neutralisation of that very immediate threat was a good thing? What, then, are the differences between that experience and the one we're currently seeing in the USA? The only one that I can see is that in the UK, there was still the hangover of a powerful workers' movement for anti-fascists to draw strength from, which there isn't in currently the USA. However, that to me isn't an argument against short-term anti-fascism; it's just a problem to be solved about building short- and medium/long-term organising goals.

Like I said, I have nothing against people defending themselves:

Quote:
Obviously, people need to violently oppose violent persecution and the working class needs to be able to defend itself against reaction, but it’s deluded to see the street confrontations as something that seriously contributed to fall of fascism.

My issue is with the tactic of no platforming as it is used in the current era, and antifa as it is discussed by Chomsky, the tactic that emphasises street confrontations. If you specifically search them up, I don't think that can be seen as purely defensive, and I don't think the pre-emptive solution (lets stop them before they get big) argument works either, as I don't think fascist need the streets anymore in the same way.

They are a group based on a shared reactionary identity build on hating whatever scapegoat identity, -a sociopath's reaction to alienation and contradictions of capitalsm as faced by the demographics attracted to fascists or hard right ideology. You can build group belonging and shared hatred through social media communities, twitter, youtube, 4chan. The way internet algorithms and social media naturally works contributes to this. That's a game changer. Those same groups can be mobilised on the streets, but I don't think we are at a moment where we should be primarily afraid of fascist street mobs. For example, a black minority group member in most "western" countries would still be most likely attacked by a random racist, face persecution from a random street person, from cops or employers, instead of organised fascist (some parts of Eastern Europe might be a different story).

The problem with no platforming is that we are unlikely to be the ones with the final say on who gets to speak. Corporate university authorities are likely to react to unrest on campus by curtailing freedom of speech in general, any speech labeled offensive, not specifically fascist speech. That threatens left organising as well as the right, and shouldn't be seen as a victory. This has already happened in the case of UK, not because of antifa thing, but because of issues dealing with religious sensibilities. Pretty much the same in the case of street confrontation, enough confrontation between small left and right sects and the right of assebly is likely to get curtailed.

Antifascism is entirely justified as a defensive measure for events (though this doesn't need a specific org or activist identity, you need fit people with baseball bats), or in situations where the police is actively supporting the fash, - as you will need to build your own security outfit because the law isn't there anymore. But those things are different from what Chomsky is talking about, and the adventurist tendency Chomsky describes is a real thing also, it shouldn't be any kind of major indiscretion to say that.

Red Marriott
Aug 21 2017 21:47
jondwhite wrote:
Have to say I agree with Chomsky on this one. And actually the Battle of Cable Street did lead to a rise in British Fascism. It was only when it was ideologically exposed at the Olympia rally that its support dramatically plummeted. http://www.historytoday.com/daniel-tilles/myth-cable-street

?? The Olympia rally happened in June 1934 while the Battle of Cable St occurred two years later in October 1936.
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/1934/jun/08/thefarright.uk
http://www.academia.edu/15178512/The_Battle_of_Cable_Street_myths_reality_and_the_collective_memory

That ‘myth’ article is from a very liberal point of view and makes exactly the same arguments with similar police sources etc as a far-right article with the exact same title. (Easily found via Google.) Jd’s interpretation fits well with SPGB narrative that sees ideological persuasion of electoral constituencies as the key to all change. But do you think East End Jews and others immediately affected by fascist activity weren’t, until Olympia, understanding of the ideological nature of the Mosleyites? Or did they understand that it wasn’t just an ideological struggle? You think the march through the East End shouldn’t have been opposed? That was the view of the CP until the last minute when they realised everyone was going to Cable St anyway and not their alternative event – ironically, a rally in Trafalgar Sq. in support of the anti-fascist struggle in Spain;

Quote:
[The CP leadership] stated that the demonstration to Trafalgar Square in support of Spanish Democracy, was more important than Mosley's march in East London. ... We argued that the best way to help the Spanish people was to stop Mosley marching through East London. It was, in fact, the same fight. If we said the Fascists should not pass, it was what the Spanish people were trying to ensure and giving their lives in the process. A victory for Mosley would be a victory for Franco. In any case, the people of East London had their own ideas about all this and would oppose Mosley with their bodies, no matter what the CP said. We argued long and hard.
Jacobs, then a young East End CP militant and participant in organising resistance, flatly disagrees with the liberal analysis of the consequences of Cable St;
...the events on October 4th represented a victorious battle, but not the end of the war. ... Speculation on what may have happened if Mosley and the National Government had not suffered this massive defeat. For what it is worth, I have oftern thought that if Mosley had secured a firm foothold in East London, from which he might have built a mass base, the whole history of the world could have been different. Certainly there were powerful forces backing him. If these forces had not been checked, might they not have had an alliance with Hitler and Mussolini resulting in an all-out attack on the Soviet Union, rather than what happened in 1939? I don't know. I do know that Mosley was being supported to build an alternative to the National Government, if it should fail to hold down the workers' struggle against unemployment and the low standard of living. There was also the growing United Front and Popular Front movements as in France and Spain, which could have developed here. After all, Hitler had arrived on the scene because of the strength of the CP in Germany, as a means of defending the capitalist system. Had not Franco been supported in his efforts to overthrow the Spanish Popular Front Government?
Mosley and his friends had suffered a defeat at the hands of gentile and Jewish people alike. This did not mean he and his friends would give up. October 4th was not just the result of some few days' effort on the part of all who participated. The defeat of Mosley started way back when he failed to gain a foothold in Shadwell and Wapping, where lived the dockers of Irish descent with a strong Catholic background and a long history of working-class struggle behind them. The Jews of East London could not, in my view, have held Mosley back without support from this area to the south of the Jewish areas, which would have found them completely surrounded on October 4th if Mosley had made the headway there which he had made in Bethnal Green, Shoreditch and Limehouse. http://libcom.org/library/battle-cable-st-1936-joe-jacobs

Joe Jacob's comments are mentioned in this vid; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE_xclpTAew

This is well put;

Spacious wrote:
It is really pretty silly to assume that everyone means the same when they utter the word "antifascism" or label themselves as such. Or that the use of that term would automatically result in a particular outcome.
Left communists are right to object to "co-operation with bourgeois forces in the name of 'anti-fascism'", or at least turning that into the highest aim, because they think that this has the result of turning communist/radical and working class antifascism into an effective support for capitalism. The object of their critique is not the antifascism, the struggle against fascist violence and fascist ideas, as such, but its particular limitation by bourgeois democratic rules and horizons, which means making your own political action conditional on maintaining coalitions with liberals and respecting the existing social relations.
Then again, assuming that everything which calls itself 'antifascist' is automatically characterized by such cooperation and such limits is really quite idiotic. Criticizing practices/aims and self-imposed limits rather than equating them to the label they happen to carry would be the first step, if you want that critique to actually be understood.
Juan C wrote:
I stick with what I said. In UK, they were beat off the street, but arguably they have remained a significant, if minority political presence. BNP, EDL, UKIP, whatever will come next. Street confrontations were a success in ejecting the far right off the corners and gathering in neighborhoods. They were not a success in preventing the far right from shifting debate on some key issues and getting some policy adopted/co-opted.

Those are two different goals and it doesn’t serve much purpose to conflate them – unless you’re trying to ‘prove’ failure of all anti-fa tactics for failing to eradicate fascism permanently, which the strongest workers movements have also failed to do. Questions of immediate protective resistance to fascist invasion of an area can’t be assumed to be identical with tactics for a more long term resistance. Simplistic anti-fa tactics can be criticised, but the ‘ignore fascists, at least until we’ve built a new workers movement/new political vanguard’ is no alternative at all – and those targeted now don’t have that choice anyway. The disconnect between anti-fa activists and ‘the working class’ is emphasised – mainly by left activists who fail to apply it to themselves and their sects too! Yet I’d be surprised if there were less non-activist locals involved in the anti-fa events than in other stuff leftists normally do. I wouldn’t be surprised if more concerned locals came out on the streets against white supremacy in their towns than attend most left-organised events, fwiw.

Fascist priorities are to attack and dominate ethnic/racial targets and destroy ‘the left’ (obv, ignoring the differences of definition squabbled over by left/ultra-leftists etc). Yet it’s often implied that only by building a strong workers movement first can fascists be then durably defeated; this begs certain questions, eg;
if that building has so far failed so badly in recent times why is it thought more likely now with the presence of a far-right explicitly aiming to prevent that?
And why is the only present resistance to fascism on the street so quickly ruled out as possibly being part of any such process of a class-based movement? Cos it’s not led by the leftist critics or their orgs and makes their narrowly intellectual orientation look irrelevant & inadequate?
It seems that on the one hand anti-fa are criticised for short-termism – while the critics retreat into wishful long-termism movement-building at the expense of dealing with immediate threats to that possibility. If invasions & attacks on non-white & ‘leftist’ targets and areas, refugees etc are escalated what immediate defensive alternatives are proposed by the critics of street resistance? Don’t get involved in such solidarity defense of non-whites, refugees, leftists, yourselves etc unless the sociological make-up of participants is sufficiently workerist? Just keep on recruitment driving to their leftist orgs & academic seminars in the hope that somehow this wins the ideological battle of ideas and that this then forms itself into a viable resistance to a far-right it has previously dismissed as irrelevant and unworthy of confronting?

The fascists have one ideological advantage over that liberal leftist view; they understand that political power and influence is never only ideological but has a practical manifestation and growth too in the here & now. All radical theory is ultimately tested by its application in historical events – the leftists seem to intend to go on showing their own irrelevance in meaningless repetition (this is a possibility for anti-fa tactics too, without innovation). The fascists now may be relatively small fry but, unopposed, are probably still strong enough to severely impact ‘the left’ that sees them as not worth resisting – and more importantly, to diminish the likelihood of a growing working class solidarity.

Talisa
Aug 23 2017 04:03

Nobody's gonna bite?

Talisa wrote:
I agree that when it comes to neo-nazis, kkk, etc., it can help if we confront them with a beating, or by shutting down their talks and denying them free speech when we have the power to do so.

My question is, where do we draw the line?

I have been really uncomfortable with where some leftists have drawn that line. Like a video I saw on YouTube of a talk that leftists shut down by constantly chanting and shouting over it. The speaker was expressing shitty right-wing views, but he's no nazi, and is a critic of the alt-right and white-supremacists. Watching that made me cringe. (I can try to dig up the link if people are interested.)

So again: Where do you draw the line? Who is it ok to prevent from exercising free speech? Who is it ok to physically attack?

spaceman spiff
Aug 23 2017 11:28

I disagree with Chomsky on Antifa, but I also disagree with those who call him a liberal or social democrat. The man has an opinion. Opinions are fine. This doesn't make him a social democrat or a liberal ffs. He's been involved in more working class organizing in his life than most of the people on this forum will ever be. He's not just some ivory tower professor publishing books.

The whole purpose of Nazi rallies is to make a big show of force. Today it's essentially an ideology for kids with anger and self esteem issues and for adults who think white men are persecuted by society. This is why they like to wear their military regalia and march with torches and all this sort of garbage. Antifa is important because it ruins their attempt at recruitment. Each time they're driven to train station storage rooms to hide, their show of force is completely destroyed.

Secondly, I don't understand the liberal position on freedom of speech with respect to Nazi rallies. Would they say the same thing about Al Qaeda rallies? Do they support the right of ISIL members to have a little rally through Barcelona to express their views? Of course not. So I can't understand why they think Nazis should be allowed to march through cities either.

I do have qualms about disrupting some lectures and speeches that are right-wing but not far-right, because I've seen many of my liberal friends get pushed away from socialism precisely because they thought some right-wing pundit's freedom of speech was violated. So I agree with some of the critics here that not every lecture or rally is a Nazi rally that needs to be disrupted by Antifa, and sometimes these disruptions do more harm than good, and turn into hysterical shouting matches.

Having said all this, I seem to be in disagreement with most anarchists about Chomsky and the Faurisson affair. I found Chomsky's position to be extremely disciplined and principled in this case. He explicitly stated that he disagreed with Faurisson on the holocaust, but he defended the man's right to express his view and not be thrown in jail for it. I agree with Chomsky that if we start suffocating all the opinions we disagree with, then we create a slippery slope downwards. And there is a difference between what Faurisson was doing, and what a Nazi rally is doing. We are doing ourselves a disservice if we can't differentiate between the thought police and a KKK rally.

spaceman spiff
Aug 23 2017 13:14

Fleur, genuine question here. This is the first time I ever read that 85% of white people thought that the disruptions of the civil rights movements hurt black people. If that's the case, and that violent tactics were also used in the civil rights movement, then when did white opinion change and what was it that changed their minds?

Fleur
Aug 23 2017 16:39

Spaceman spiff:

Genuine answer, I don't know, except to suggest that people often support struggles retroactively, especially after some battles have been won. People often invoke Matin Luther King -and I have the utter respect for Dr King - and often use his name to criticize current movements, like Black Lives Matter, seemingly oblivious to the full history of civil rights struggles, during the 1960s and before and after. I expect it's because overt white supremacist laws were abolished but it's easier to overlook the continuing structural racism and de facto segregation which still exists. I would never deny the effectiveness of the path taken by MLK but it was only a part of the picture.

This is probably going into derail territory but this happens in other struggles. I remember in the 80s homophobia was far more overt and legally enforced (see section 28) but nowadays politicians and corporations are falling over themselves to capture some of those rainbow dollars/pounds and votes. Similarly, I don't have any stats to hand, but I believe that at the time the death penalty was abolished in the UK, the majority of people were opposed to it's abolition, whereas now most people are not in favour of it being re-introduced.

I don't really have an answer to your question as to when and why, I just think that part of it might be that people are often more comfortable supporting something which happened in the past than current struggles.

petey
Aug 23 2017 17:09

"5) ... and the far-right aren't always 'the toughest and most brutal' anyway."

petey
Aug 23 2017 17:26
Ed wrote:
Actually kind of surprised so many people are talking about the failure of Italian and German anti-fascists to stop fascism when the article makes no mention of them. This is intentional: the alt-right are not a government in waiting. They're far more similar to the post-war British far-right (hence most of the examples coming from there): that is, not strong enough to take power but strong enough to menace communities they don't like. British anti-fascists were very successful in dealing with that menace. So I'm confused as to why there's so little engagement with that element of anti-fascist history here.

i too was thinking of AFA and similar groups. it seems to me, here on the other side of the atlantic, that the BNP failed in no small part because it was seen that there were groups who were willing to meet them on their own terms and smash them. this is about what i'm hoping for antifascism over here now: that the sort of rightwing groups who came to charlottesville will feel threatened and penned in. then we can work to eradicate their ideology ... then full communism ... but first, get them off the streets.

and after the speech in phoenix last night it's highly likely that the antifascists' job is not finished yet.

herz2
Aug 24 2017 12:25

On the issue of Professor Faurisson, for Chomsky to defend the freedom of speech of a fellow academic is understandable. But to claim that, despite his Holocaust denial, Faurisson was somehow not an anti-Semite but merely an 'apolitical liberal' is absurd.

To defend another fellow academic, Walt Rostow, and his freedom of speech (even though, as a government adviser, he had organised the US's murderous bombing of North Vietnam) may also be understandable. But to threaten to 'protest publicly' if Rostow were prevented from returning to his academic job at MIT, as Chomsky did in 1969, is even more absurd.

To defend the freedom of another MIT academic, John Deutch, to research whatever he wanted (even if he did research the use of 'chemical and biological weapons together in order to increase their killing efficiency' as well as initiating the deployment of both MX and Midgetman nuclear missiles) is perhaps, at a stretch, understandable. But to be 'one of the very few people on the faculty' who supported Deutch's bid to become MIT President, as Chomsky was, is simply outrageous (as was his support in The New York Times for Deutch's promotion from Pentagon official to the Director of the CIA in 1995).

To understand why Chomsky has often taken academic freedom to such extreme lengths, we need to understand his situation at MIT. As he says of his early career in the 1960s, MIT was 'about 90% Pentagon funded at that time. And I personally was right in the middle of it. I was in a military lab.'

Chomsky was recruited to work at MIT by Jerome Wiesner, a military scientist who had both 'helped get the United States ballistic missile program established in the face of strong opposition' and had brought such missile research to MIT. Wiesner also became a nuclear strategy adviser for both Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, and, as Chomsky says himself, 'I'm at MIT, so I'm always talking to the scientists who work on missiles for the Pentagon.'

(Police disperse a student picket of one of MIT's nuclear missile laboratories in November 1969.)

The only way a passionate anti-militarist like Chomsky could survive in such a militarised environment was for him to believe even more passionately in academic freedom. Consequently, for Chomsky a university should be somewhere where academics are both free to do the most obscene things - such as promoting Holocaust denial or researching weaponry - and are equally free to peacefully campaign against such obscenities.

This helps us understand why, in 1969, Chomsky openly told anti-war students that, rather than trying to remove war research from the university, 'you ought to have the Department of Chemical and Biological Warfare right in the centre of the campus so you can see who is coming and going.' It helps us understand why, at this time, Chomsky opposed students' attempts to occupy MIT's administrative offices in protest at their university's military research. And it helps us understand why he now opposes any confrontational direct action against fascists.

Although a genuine belief in free speech, combined with a genuine fear of a right-wing backlash, explains some of his approach to fascism, it seems that he has also extended his rather extreme interpretation of academic freedom from the university campus to the wider political environment.

Does this mean we should ignore his views? I don't think so. After all, Noam is not unintelligent! But we do need to understand how his position at MIT has influenced these views in order to decide how seriously to take his opinions on both politics and science.

For full references and for more on Chomsky's situation at MIT see:

'Chomsky at MIT: Between the war scientists and the anti-war students.'

'John Deutch - Chomsky's friend in the Pentagon and the CIA.'

OhneWahrheit
Aug 25 2017 16:31

Sherbu, your quip regarding the lack of antifa having stopped Hitler from rising to power is extremely shortsighted.

What was required to stop the advancement of the NS was a collection of the worlds greatest imperialist powers using overt violence/force, combined with the Russian winter forcing a drawback of the German troops.

What is implied in your kissing of Chomsky's ass is that somehow a mass movement of academically inclined orators yelling the right slogans at fascists is what would have them stop.

I poke fun at the academy being someone who's in university currently and knowing full well how this life can envelop ones consciousness is laziness and cowardice predicated on faulty justifications for 'speaking truth to power' and so on.

OhneWahrheit
Aug 25 2017 16:37

This must be the real reason that Chomsky talked so much shit about Foucault: at least Foucault went out, rioted, built a barricade and got his head split open by the pigs. Marcuse went out and set up barricades while he was teaching and he was almost deported from the U.S. for it.

Chomsky, on the other hand, has remained relatively inauthentic throughout his existence and doesn't seem to have attempted to combine theory and practice.

sherbu-kteer
Aug 26 2017 08:34
OhneWahrheit wrote:
Sherbu, your quip regarding the lack of antifa having stopped Hitler from rising to power is extremely shortsighted.

What was required to stop the advancement of the NS was a collection of the worlds greatest imperialist powers using overt violence/force, combined with the Russian winter forcing a drawback of the German troops.

I know that that's what it too to destroy the Nazis. That's my point. It wasn't small street fights that did the job.

OhneWahrheit wrote:
What is implied in your kissing of Chomsky's ass is that somehow a mass movement of academically inclined orators yelling the right slogans at fascists is what would have them stop.

I poke fun at the academy being someone who's in university currently and knowing full well how this life can envelop ones consciousness is laziness and cowardice predicated on faulty justifications for 'speaking truth to power' and so on.

I'm not kissing anyone's arse, you're just putting words in people's mouths and trying to smear Chomsky as a some kind of do-nothing academic, which he's not. You don't have to be a street fighter to be an effective activist - I guarantee he's done more for anarchism than any baseball bat wielding dolt ever will.

OhneWahrheit wrote:
This must be the real reason that Chomsky talked so much shit about Foucault: at least Foucault went out, rioted, built a barricade and got his head split open by the pigs. Marcuse went out and set up barricades while he was teaching and he was almost deported from the U.S. for it.

That's complete nonsense. Chomsky was on trial in the sixties until the charges against him were dropped, more out of incompetency on the part of the prosecutors as opposed to any other reason. But that's not even that relevant. He's participated in and helped far more political campaigns than Marcuse and Foucualt ever did; he's given countless talks, interviews, etc. He's been answering mail from the general population from the 60s. I could go on and on and on but I get the feeling you don't give a shit about what he's actually done before. Like I said, you don't need to be a street fighter to be an effective activist.

OhneWahrheit wrote:
Chomsky, on the other hand, has remained relatively inauthentic throughout his existence and doesn't seem to have attempted to combine theory and practice.

I have no idea what that even means

sherbu-kteer
Aug 26 2017 09:08
spaceman spiff wrote:
The whole purpose of Nazi rallies is to make a big show of force. Today it's essentially an ideology for kids with anger and self esteem issues and for adults who think white men are persecuted by society. This is why they like to wear their military regalia and march with torches and all this sort of garbage. Antifa is important because it ruins their attempt at recruitment. Each time they're driven to train station storage rooms to hide, their show of force is completely destroyed.

I get what you're saying but this is a simplistic way of looking at it. As you say, it's an ideology for adults who think white men are being persecuted. The right wing and far-right wing in 2017 is built around a victimhood complex and extreme acts of violence against far-right protesters can play right into that, if we're not careful. It's not just about making a big show of force anymore, it's about playing yourself off as the victim and baiting the left-wing into attacking you. You yourself mention that your liberal friends get drawn away from socialism because leftists acted poorly toward a right winger. If your friends weren't liberals, but disaffected, alienated conservatives, then they may go even further and back that right winger and believe his or her nonsense.

spaceman spiff wrote:
Secondly, I don't understand the liberal position on freedom of speech with respect to Nazi rallies. Would they say the same thing about Al Qaeda rallies? Do they support the right of ISIL members to have a little rally through Barcelona to express their views? Of course not. So I can't understand why they think Nazis should be allowed to march through cities either.

ISIL/al Qaeda are both proscribed terrorist groups who regularly commit atrocities so they're a bad example. They're not quite the same as the BNP or the modern Ku Klux Klan or whatever. I doubt an organisation like the ACLU would defend them. But if unarmed, non-ISIL/AQ Salafists wanted to protest, then consistent liberals would defend their rights. Whether your average white liberal would is a different question.

Glenn Greenwald has written well on the topic of free speech and is one of the few consistent liberals out there. Examples:

"The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville"

France's censorship demands to Twitter are more dangerous than 'hate speech'

For what it's worth, the same law that countries like the UK use to unduly restrict speech aren't just used on racists, they're used on Muslim teenagers and BDS activists

Steven.
Aug 26 2017 10:42
Talisa wrote:
Nobody's gonna bite?…

So again: Where do you draw the line? Who is it ok to prevent from exercising free speech? Who is it ok to physically attack?

I don't think anyone has responded to this because I think the article is pretty clear it is talking about opposition to fascism. So it is talking about fascists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. And it's not preventing them from exercising "free speech", it's attempting to stop them from growing to the point where they can enact mass murder and genocide. They can say what they want.

exit 8
Aug 26 2017 22:46

This has been a useful thread for me to read - I am trying to figure out how I feel about (and whether to get involved in) antifa actions locally. It's interesting to read some historically based arguments for and against modern antifa tactics.

To me, the discussion that I've seen, both on the internet and IRL in US activist and anarchist circles, has seemed caught up in slogans:
"The way you stop fascism is by crushing it"
"What do you want, to debate the Nazis?"
"Violence doesn't work"

Some of the slogans migrate unnecessarily, it seems, from left debates with liberals? where (at least on the internet) I see the left really caught up in trying to make the moral argument for self-defense and violence against fascists... The excess of energy out there for telling liberals that "It's okay to punch a Nazi" does make charges of "adventurism" slightly more convincing, when you're trying to figure out whether the people in black bloc really know "the way" to stop fascism, or whether they are just excited to have an enemy to fight who's less daunting than the police.

This was one of the most interesting points to me:

Red Marriott wrote:
Simplistic anti-fa tactics can be criticised, but the ‘ignore fascists, at least until we’ve built a new workers movement/new political vanguard’ is no alternative at all – and those targeted now don’t have that choice anyway. The disconnect between anti-fa activists and ‘the working class’ is emphasised – mainly by left activists who fail to apply it to themselves and their sects too! Yet I’d be surprised if there were less non-activist locals involved in the anti-fa events than in other stuff leftists normally do. I wouldn’t be surprised if more concerned locals came out on the streets against white supremacy in their towns than attend most left-organised events, fwiw.
[...]
why is the only present resistance to fascism on the street so quickly ruled out as possibly being part of any such process of a class-based movement? Cos it’s not led by the leftist critics or their orgs and makes their narrowly intellectual orientation look irrelevant & inadequate?
It seems that on the one hand anti-fa are criticised for short-termism – while the critics retreat into wishful long-termism movement-building at the expense of dealing with immediate threats to that possibility.

Particularly the question - "why is the only present resistance to fascism on the street so quickly ruled out as possibly being part of any such process of a class-based movement?"
This feels like a good challenge to both sides of the argument.
Some potential answers, which I'd like to see examined:
- The culture of today's US antifa doesn't seem "accessible"; the ppl that are most into it tend to go out in black bloc & have high expectations for security culture: so is it likely to draw in a diverse cast and build alliances?
- antifa activists *are* somewhat disconnected (in sense meant by Red Marriott), in general, as a group. Red Marriott correctly points out: so are lots of left efforts; which seems like a problem everyone needs to (and is constantly trying to) address. "We need to defend ourselves" (or lots of similar phrases using "we" or "us") becomes a sort of *aspirational* slogan for activists who want to assert that even though they mostly run in an isolated activist milieu, they are still real members of some community. I think they should be encouraged to think that way, but they should also recognize that their relative disconnectedness still means something, it shouldn't be elided away...

Seems like we should be asking: Where is Antifa beginning to look like a burgeoning class-based movement, and how can we emulate that?
Just as we would challenge, say, socialist organizers to ask: Where does your organizing involve (and galvanize into action) people *as workers*

- exit 8

Talisa
Aug 27 2017 02:33

I noticed my original post on this thread got several down votes. Will anybody explain why?

It's odd because I agreed with the majority view on this thread that it's ok to react to neo-nazis, etc., with violence and preventing their free speech.

Steven. wrote:
I don't think anyone has responded to this because I think the article is pretty clear it is talking about opposition to fascism. So it is talking about fascists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

I was hoping to extend the conversation, but I guess people aren't up for that.

Steven. wrote:
And it's not preventing them from exercising "free speech", it's attempting to stop them from growing to the point where they can enact mass murder and genocide.

When I said that I was talking about things like blocking their speeches.

Steven. wrote:
They can say what they want.

Are you saying you don't think speeches by neo-nazis should be shut down?

jef costello
Aug 27 2017 08:02

Anyone can talk anywhere they like without it having much of a political meaning.

Choosing to have a rally is a political statement (that's why 'we' have them too), and if you think that ignoring fascist demos is the best thing then do you bother to go to leftist ones? I went to a virtually empty picket and had a chat with a couple of strikers, would they have done better to go home?

Getting fascists of the street is a short-term strategy but if there is an immediate threat then that must be addressed too. I have talked to older comrades and those who remember having to physically confront fascists in the streets, when they were trying to become a mass movement in the sixties and seventies. I have also talked to comrades who told me that in the eighties you needed to have security at meetings, apart from one or two cases that hasn't been a big problem recently. We can't fetishise anti-fascism but we cannot ignore an aggressive attempt to foirm a movement.

Also 'they think white men are oppressed' is not a very good description of their beliefs, it is a escription of their propaganda. While the 'political correctness gone mad' angle might bring people in they then need to become radicalised or you risk them leaving. The unity that these movements try to achieve comes from painting their battles as a heroic struggle against evil, much the same as Al Qaeda etc Some argue that antifa gives them that mythical enemy (and it is certain that recent far right propaganda has been trying to do this ) but one thing that I think we need to remember is that fighting is fun. If you win. When disparate right-wing groups get pushed off the street they disintegrate (they also have a habit of doing that when they succeed too) but if they build momentum, if they can 'take the street' then that keeps and attracts people, it is exhilarating and gives people the feeling of doing something significant. It is hardly surprising that the EDL pushed hard to recruit amongst football fans, they wanted to capitalise on precisely that dynamic, I can remember watching films like ID as a kid and me and it looks cool to be a part of it (we missed the point of the film) and that was before the massive number of football hoolgian / kray films that are targeting the same audience.

Whatever brings people to participate we can be damn sure that winning will keep them there, wathing the accounts of the rally recently( not charlottesville) and reading hieronmous' accounts I can guarantee you that those guys won, and more importantly they felt like winners, whatever they are, however confused their politics are they now have a unifying action which will probably lead to more and worse.

I don't always agree with antifa and I don't think violence is always the answer but it is certain that when fascists feel they can 'take' our streets they will do so and they will not stop there.

Steven.
Aug 27 2017 18:01
Talisa wrote:

I was hoping to extend the conversation, but I guess people aren't up for that.

I don't know about other people, but from a personal perspective, this post was about opposing fascism. So I didn't want to derail it to start talking about anything else. Particularly as quite standard liberal/conservative attack on "anti-fascism" is to start going on about unrelated things like people attacking Trump supporters. And derailing is against the site posting guidelines. I would say your best bet is not trying to have this discussion here, but starting a new one.

Quote:
Steven. wrote:
They can say what they want.

Are you saying you don't think speeches by neo-nazis should be shut down?

No, quite the opposite. Them speaking with their friends or family at home is one thing - I don't think they should be locked up for that, as I do believe in "free speech". But trying to have a public rally, speaking to hundreds/thousands, I think we should blockade/attack/shut down