This past week, in Warsaw, Poland, tens of thousands of young Poles marched in an independence-day procession organized by a nationalist youth movement that seeks an ethnically pure Poland with fewer Jews or Muslims.
They chanted “fatherland,” while carrying banners that read “White Europe,” “Europe Will Be White” and “Clean Blood.” Some of the marchers flew in from Hungary, Slovakia and Spain and waved flags and symbols that those countries used during their wartime collaboration with Nazi Germany.
This is not an isolated event and it is not limited to Poland. There is a growing acceptance of fascism throughout much of Europe. As we have seen here in the US, the election of a clearly racist, misogynist candidate, Donald Trump, to the presidency of the US. has allowed and often encouraged fascists and white supremacists to come out of the closet to organize and openly share their beliefs. Trump has given credibility to their beliefs.
Many have defended their right to speak. After all, we as a society, honor free speech and we may disagree with their message but they have the right to broadcast it. Right? NO, WRONG!!!
Fascism is not an opinion, it is a threat to the well being of large numbers of people in this country. It is not an issue we should discus and debate, it is an idea that must be eliminated. Have we not learned anything from Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’a Italy and Franco’s Spain? Millions of people died for no other reason than their religion, their race, or their physical and/or mental disability as a direct result of fascism.
We are under no obligation to provide the fascists with a public forum where they can organize and spread their poisonous message. They are quite capable of defining for the rest of us what constitutes an acceptable human existence. For then those that do not qualify can be exterminated. Is this the message we wish to help them spread?
Despite the history, many so-called progressives and “free speechers” have focused their anger on the Antifas, a group of anti-fascist activists who have taken action to prevent fascists from holding organizing events and demonstrations.
Active anti-fascists should be lauded by those on the left, not condemned.
Many years ago, the American Nazi Party wanted to hold a rally in NYC. Well, that’s where I live and there was no way I would accept their right to deliver their message that would be a threat to me, a Jew. I spent much time attempting to figure a way to go to their rally with a baseball bat. Does that make me no better than them? As those members of the Antifa, I was willing to fight hate by any means necessary. Members of the Antifa are the good guys not those who spread hate.
Many people who resisted the fascists in the 1930s and 40s were killed while trying to kill them. Should we equate those heroes with the Nazis themselves?
By the way, the fascist rally in NYC was cancelled due to the threat of violence. A victory for the people of NYC, home of the immigrants.
Dave Alpert has masters degrees in social work, educational administration, and psychology. He spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents.