Why antifa is not ‘just as bad’ as nazis, a note from Europe
Right now, with America joining in the fun, there is quite the debate whether antifa is nice or is not nice. Almost ironically a lot of people seem to be afraid that a force like antifa will spread out and eventually come for their ‘freedom of speech’ (slippery slope and such) . Let me try to persuade you to believe otherwise. The antifa is not a threat to you, if you do not openly propagate fascism that is.
Let me begin by stating the most important fact:
If there are no fascists, there is no antifa. If there is no antifa, there aren’t necessarily no fascists.
Now lets make this more clear with a colorful example. Lets say we have a fellow and he is a ‘nazi’, or at least white supremacist enough to proclaim that people that are not white are not supposed to be living in ‘his’ area. This statement is not a position in a theoretical ‘rational debate’, this statement is an inherent proclamation of violence.
If you say that someone is forbidden from doing X, is not allowed to be at Y or any other statement that is aimed to force the behavior of another person, that statement is inherently violent. Because words itself aren’t going to be enough to create this reality, you will need to force the other person to adhere to your wishes somehow. This force is what we generally call violence.
Why is that? Lets say this guy actually believes in what he is saying and he would like black people to get out of his living space. A liberal minded free speech loving individual could say, let this man speak, as is his right! But that would mean that a person of color could equally say: I would like to stay here. From this moment on there is a conflict since both wishes are impossible to be reality at the same time. Nazi wants the blackies out, blackies want to stay (and most probably the nazis out).
So unless the nazi in return says, well ok, that’s your freedom of speech I guess, this rational debate has come to a halt, the next step is probably some other kind of method to get his way, i.e the blackies must go. How would he go about this? He might ask again, but then really nicely? Lets say the black people still don’t want to leave and are quite honestly getting more aggravated about the fact somebody wants to force them out of their homes (or worse, bodies) merely because of the color of their skin. What happens next? The nazi might gather some friends to show that he is not alone… (to do what exactly?)
The only possible outcome of this conflict is that force will get more intense until one or both of the sides are forced to stop pursuing their goals. What is the means of this intensifying force? Indeed, violence.
Now you could count on the state to handle this dispute, but most people that make up antifa don’t really place that much trust in the state in these matters (for good historical reasons I might add). And to be honest with a currently seated president like Trump it shouldn’t take much imagination to see their point.
The antifa doesn’t claim to be non-violent and sees no need for strictly non-violent behavior. Because the antifa recognizes that society and it’s hegemony is continuously build and secured through the violence of state and non-state parties. Most of the time so efficiently, that it allows many people to believe there is no violence behind the screens at all. Until their privilege runs out and they are somehow confronted with it themselves.
The antifa openly proclaims to be for: the equality of race, the equality of gender, the equality of sexuality and the equality of humans in general. And they are willing to defend these values with violence if needed. You know why? Because not defending them would mean letting violence happen to ‘innocent people’, their friends, family and neighbors. They have decided to fight the aggressors, not the victims.
Nobody likes violence, but if you declare yourself non-violent you will always lose to those who don’t.
Being a nazi is an inherently violent position, stop being a nazi and you stop being punched, it really is that simple.
However, leaving the often cult like far right scene can be a tremendous barrier. Therefore it is important to not only put the pressure on but also make the transition to a non-far-right life as easy as possible.
In Germany for example there is an organization called ‘EXIT’ that helps people seeking to get out of the far right scene and with hundreds of reformed nazis they have proven to be quite successful . Today the organization is not just made up of ‘leftists’ but also counts many former nazis who fought their own battle to get free .
This sort of dualistic method might seriously defend against the ever reviving specter of the far right. On one side putting on the pressure, defending our streets against bigotry and violence. On the other side holding out an ever reaching helping hand to those who wish to leave the battle and confront this human shitstorm from a different perspective.
Just to get some things straight though: Are there a lot of annoying shitheads in ‘the antifa’? Sure. Is it nearly impossible to have a non-dogmatic argument with more than half of them? Definitely. Is a large part of the psychological motivation a desperate search for meaning in an otherwise meaningless societal machine? Probably. Can all their actions be justified? Fuck no. You know why? Because antifa is made up out of people and people aren’t rational liberal machines most of the time.
This however does not make them equally bad as genocidal maniacs that want to force everyone around them to live the narrow way they want you to live or else you’ll be send to a fucking deathcamp. That seems like an important distinction wouldn’t you agree?
P.S It is important to remember that strong authoritarian tendencies can take any form, race or religion. The example in this case is a ‘classical western fascist’ (or better yet, racist redneck) but the same general principle applies to many other groups and individuals.