Antifa Says It’s Fighting Fascists. It Just Might Be Helping to Re-Elect Donald Trump.

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tags: Hitler, fascism, Nazi, Trump, antifa



Ronald Radosh, an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, is author of a history of the Democratic Party and many other books.

... There’s no consensus of what antifa stands for, or if their tactics will achieve their stated goals. Is it, as leftist professor Todd Gitlin asserts, simply a “particular strand of aggressive left-wing activism,” that is a “defensive response to the growing presence of right-wing extremism,” or is it, as liberal editor and columnist Josh Marshall writes, a group which empowers “violence over law… the surest route to the destruction of democracy and dictatorship?” 

Many trace the group’s origins back to the antifascists who fought Mussolini in 1920’s Italy and the communist action groups that engaged in street fighting with Hitler’s SA Brownshirts in the early 1930s in Weimar Germany. Indeed, antifa’s ultimate justification for their use of violence is that era. Resistance, historian Mark Bray argued in The Washington Post, should “simply be flipped on in a crisis. Once the Nazi and fascist parties gained control of government, it was too late to pull the emergency brake.” 

Writing in The Nation, antifa activist Natasha Lennard urges liberals not to criticize them for being “willing to put their bodies on the line against neo-Nazis.” Seeing fascism in the U.S. “in Trump’s ascendance,” Lennard eschews “polite protest,” favoring in its place making sure that “all far-right events will be bombarded and besieged.” 

Comparing herself and her comrades directly to “the international militant brigades fighting Franco in Spain, the Red Front Fighters’ League in Germany who were fighting Nazis since the party’s formation in the 1920s,” and the members of the “43 Group in England fighting Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists” in street brawls in London, she emphasizes that they all depended upon “physical combat.”

That call to violence—somehow supposedly defensive even when the antifas initiate it—leaves little to discuss with moderate liberals like Peter Beinart, Todd Gitlin, Devin Foley, and the editors of The Washington Post. A widely circulated call to arms on the anarchist site “It’s Going Down” in December dismissed union leaders, politicians of the left, and NGOs, declaring that the only thing stopping Trump’s march to fascism was “the blockaders. The people in ski masks and in the streets. The ones on the front lines fighting with cops. The people attacking, defending, organizing, building, and growing.” ...




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