Antifa in Theory and in Practice
Date Written: 09/10/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21422
A masked vanguard calling itself Antifa, for anti-fascist, is just a variation of the Black Bloc, which is familiar for introducing violence into peaceful demonstrations in many countries. Imported from Europe, the label Antifa serves the purpose of stigmatizing those it attacks as "fascists", yet despite its imported name Antifa in the U.S. is basically just another example of America's steady descent into violence.
Excerpt: American Antifa looks very much like a middle class wedding between Identity Politics and gang warfare. Mark Bray quotes his DC Antifa source as implying that the motive of would-be fascists is to side with "the most powerful kid in the block" and will retreat if scared. Our gang is tougher than your gang.
Antifa follows the trend of current Identity Politics excesses that are squelching free speech in what should be its citadel, academia. Words are considered so dangerous that "safe spaces" must be established to protect people from them. This extreme vulnerability to injury from words is strangely linked to tolerance of real physical violence.
In the United States, the worst thing about Antifa is the effort to lead the disoriented American left into a wild goose chase, tracking down imaginary "fascists" instead of getting together openly to work out a coherent positive program. The United States has more than its share of weird individuals, of gratuitous aggression, of crazy ideas, and tracking down these marginal characters, whether alone or in groups, is a huge distraction. The truly dangerous people in the United States are safely ensconced in Wall Street, in Washington Think Tanks, in the executive suites of the sprawling military industry, not to mention the editorial offices of some of the mainstream media currently adopting a benevolent attitude toward "anti-fascists" simply because they are useful in focusing on the maverick Trump instead of themselves.
Antifa USA, by defining "resistance to fascism" as resistance to lost causes -- the Confederacy, white supremacists and for that matter Donald Trump -- is actually distracting from resistance to the ruling neoliberal establishment, which is also opposed to the Confederacy and white supremacists and has already largely managed to capture Trump by its implacable campaign of denigration. That ruling establishment, which in its insatiable foreign wars and introduction of police state methods, has successfully used popular "resistance to Trump" to make him even worse than he already was.
The facile use of the term "fascist" gets in the way of thoughtful identification and definition of the real enemy of humanity today. In the contemporary chaos, the greatest and most dangerous upheavals in the world all stem from the same source, which is hard to name, but which we might give the provisional simplified label of Globalized Imperialism.