The title of this article is a quote from Mark Bray, an historian of human rights, terrorism and political radicalism in modern Europe who is currently a lecturer at Dartmouth College. He is the author of the forthcoming book, “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.”
I thought that Brey’s comment put my view that we, the left, the anti-fascists, the anti racists, should make sure to arm ourselves when we take to the streets to ensure we are protected from the potential physical attacks we would have to endure.
But, don’t these people, no matter how obnoxious their message have a right to express their ideas? The ACLU along with many free speech enthusiasts seem to think so.
Still, I, a supporter of democratic freedom, have difficulty with the notion that fascists have the right to employ their freedom of speech and, instead, must be shut down.
We must look at history to understand fully what fascism is and the dangers it and its fascist storm troopers present to all of us.
“Fascism is not an opinion.” it is a threat, a potential program of genocide of those who do not have the correct attributes. (Please refer to WW2).
Antifa, which is an abbreviation of anti-fascist, is dedicated to intervening and interfering with fascists who are attempting to organize and get their message out to the public. This is a nonviolent organization that is willing to physically defend itself and others when threatened by white supremacist violence. As Cornel West explained after surviving neo-Nazi attacks in Charlottesville, “If it hadn’t been for the antifascists protecting us from the neo-fascists, we would have been crushed like cockroaches.”
Antifa is unwilling to passively wait till the fascists become well organized and powerful. Instead they organize preemptive interference with fascist marches and organizing activities as they occur.
Antifa is not new . . . they go back in history in the fight against fascism in Spain, Italy and Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as resisting the fascist dictatorships in Latin America.
Some well meaning people have suggested that a harsh stance against those white folks who wish to “take back our country” will further divide us and that the real enemy sits in their lavish corporate offices.
It’s not a question of which is the enemy. Yes, the power lies in the corporate boardrooms but it is those people marching to make this a white country who will be the storm troopers carrying out the murders that will fulfill the fascist agenda.
The country is clearly divided but I see no way to sit with racists and neo-Nazis to work out our differences. “Fascism is not an opinion.”
Turning back to historical references, it is crucial to recognize that a movement doesn’t require hundreds or thousands of people. As Mark Brey points out, Mussolini only had 100 men as members of his fascist nucleus in 1919, while Hitler’s German Worker’s Party, the precursor to the Nazi Party, was made up of 54 members at their first meeting.
That, my friends, is why it is of utmost importance to treat every activity of the fascists, who are now emerging from the sewers of this country, seriously.
For those of you who think it is more important to protect their right to free speech, how many innocent people must die at their hands before you recognize the plague being unleashed on all of us?
The US and “our” European friends are moving toward oppressive and fascistic governments. “Fascism is not an opinion” . . . how long do we wait before we act?
Dave Alpert has masters degrees in social work, educational administration, and psychology. He spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents.