During and after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, last January, thousands of people took to the streets refusing to accept the openly racist, misogynist, anti-immigrant, and insulting Trump as their president.
For 8 years, progressives bitterly complained about the silence of the American people as their government killed and destroyed around the world. The comment often expressed was, “What will it take to wake up the people?”
Yet, here in January 2017, the people awoke only to find that many progressives were denouncing them for not waking up soon enough. They were accused of being disenchanted Hillary supporters or pawns of George Soros, or Democratic Party hacks, etc. Granted, some of that was probably true, but what of the thousands who were marching against the rhetoric that Trump used in his campaign that promised the people a strong, overt movement toward fascism.
It is absolutely true that under Obama’s leadership, the country moved toward a militaristic, fascist state. As the executive, he assumed the power to attack and bomb countries without congressional input. As the executive, Obama assumed the power to unilaterally decide who is a threat to US security, who shall live and who shall die. (NDAA, National Defense Authorization Act, Tuesday morning meeting with advisors to form the “Kill List,” etc).
It was also under Obama’s leadership that police departments throughout the country were being supplied with military hardware in order to control the people.
Obama also was instrumental in criminalizing whistleblowing, a crucial part of holding the government accountable if and when it engages in illegal activities.
There are many other highlights to Obama’s legacy but the main point here is that the people were silent.
The ruling elite made a brilliant choice when they dumped Hillary in the 2008 election and threw their support to Obama. He is intelligent, engaging, speaks very well, respectful, has a beautiful family, and is black, the first black president in American history. Who of us felt free to criticize this man, especially since he was under constant attack from the far right, and risk being labeled a racist.
So, Obama successfully neutralized the left and was given a free pass and the anger of the progressive community was and is justified and understandable. But to withhold support from those who finally rebel and take to the streets is a missed opportunity to influence the narrative and affect people’s consciousness.
Strangely, this past summer, thousands of anti fascists took to the streets to confront the fascists, white supremacists, and members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). One would assume there would be unanimity of the progressive community supporting those fighting fascism. But, no. Instead, we have a large number of so-called progressives denouncing the methods being used by the anti-fascists as being equivalent to those used by the fascists.
Noam Chomsky, the intellectual voice of the “left” wrote an article titled, “Antifa is a major gift to the right.”
Would Chomsky see the Jewish resisters in the Warsaw ghetto as a gift to the Nazi regime because they picked up weapons and fought back?
Are the anti-fascists only effective when they allow themselves to become victims of the violent fascists?
There are many people on the “left” who invoke “free” speech as a rationale to allow the fascist, racist element to organize and march through the streets and parks of this country. REALLY? What message will these people present us with? . . . hate, scapegoating, provocation to violence against various ethnic groups, etc.
African-Americans lost tens of thousands of lives to the slave-holders and Jim Crow enthusiasts, tens of millions of Soviets were killed fighting fascism, millions of Jews, gays, and the disabled suffered and died under the hands of fascism.
What are the benefits of allowing this murderous cancer to grow in our communities? Any activity or message that threatens the lives and well being of our neighbors must be stamped out by any means necessary. They are not entitled to a public forum in which to spread their hate. Therefore, I praise and support the efforts of Antifa.
We must be aware of the fact that it was the liberals in Germany that maintained silence or offered the support that allowed the Nazi Party a public platform and, therefore, a vehicle to gather support from the discontented who were looking for scapegoats.
Please note, that despite the complaints by progressives about the inactivity of the people through Obama’s 8 years, the two times, since January, 2017, that the people took to the streets to resist, many members of the “progressive” community have withheld their support.
Various rationales have been put forward to justify their non support but, truth be told, such behavior is more damning to the movement for meaningful change than anything the far right could drum up. If there is anything that’s a gift to the right, it is the constant criticizing of the anti-fascists by those who claim to be progressives.
And that includes Noam Chomsky and Amy Goodman.
Dave Alpert has masters degrees in social work, educational administration, and psychology. He spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents.