Antifa: A Look at the Antifascist Movement Confronting White Supremacists in the Streets

Amy Goodman speaks with Mark Bray about one of the groups who confronted the white supremacists in the streets, the antifascists known as Antifa. Bray is the author of the new book titled Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. (Democracy Now!) 

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3 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Spread An Idea and commented:
    A timely Democracy Now episode.

    I am deeply disturbed to see videos of Nazis, or equivalent extremists of any stripe- disturbed to see them at any time or place, and of course more so when our government either condones it or actively supports it (as happens from time to time for “strategic” reasons), and more so still when when it is here in the US and when they put their words into action.

    Unfortunately it isn’t the first time for any of these “more so’s”.

    There are 3 ingredients that intensify this latest episode.

    First is the Trump factor, which starts off the media spectacle charged up with the nasty national energy that’s been building on all sides since last summer., when everyone realized Trump would take the Republican nomination, that a huge section of the American population didn’t really care, and the Democratic leaning part of the media had no idea how to respond (their response basically got him elected, IMO).

    Secondly, you have the thing with the confederate statues. Although not unjustified, it’s a losing idea just because Democrats will be going back in 3 years to ask white rural Americans for their vote. Attacking a symbol of an ideology, or a statue of a dead person is not impossible, but it’s really hard, especially when you’re a minority party and you must rely purely on rhetorical persuasion. When that is your only tool, it’s much easier to bring down a living person with flaws visible in real time, but at the moment even that’s not working. There are other responses that could be done that could be just as powerful but more conciliatory in light of the need to get the same people to vote for you – for example, erect monuments along to all the victims of slavery etc.

    And the last ingredient, of course, we now have the Antifa.

    With the federal government being semi-controlled by a gridlocked and still incomplete Trump Administration, not much will come from there. And as the experience of BLM showed, police forces in a lot of places are, frankly, sympathetic to some degree of white supremacy. Thus it makes sense for citizens to take matters into their own hands.

    However…

    Despite my deep respect for the gentleman in the video, the “any means necessary” attitude will cause some problems.

    For it to work, first of all, it can’t be a cushy middle class movement. We’re talking about a movement that is advocating preparation for street battles with Nazi thugs. It’s going to have to be the kinds of people who go to the boxing gym on the wrong side of the tracks – pardon the metaphor. Such a movement will not be tolerated by mainstream Democrats, in fact they’re going to see it as an even bigger threat to themselves than the white supremacists. The corporate liberal wing of the D party will assume that once they get into power, they can simply order the criminal justice system to take care of the white supremacists. In their home states. This is uncertain.

    You could, potentially, have something that parallels the relatively good outcome of the civil rights movement, which finally succeeded in the 70’s. But a lot of other things were going on then. It might not work.

    And as I mentioned earlier, there is a total lack of awareness in terms of political strategy. In 3 years, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you’re going to ask people to vote for you, first of all in primaries (where the South counts the most), then in a general election. 2016 showed that both parties are deeply mistrusted.

    The Democrats are scared enough that they are now bouncing around from one scare tactic to another, running out of options and paralyzed by the need to cater to their corporate wing. A militant leftist movement (vs the generally friendly Sanders movement) could put them over the edge into a terminal panic, and they could end up doing something really, really dumb.

    The Republicans, meanwhile, just sit back and enjoy the show. They can flush the whole thing together with Trump, any time they want. The crazies can go start a 3rd party, and if such a party takes states, it could send the 2020 election to the House of Representatives where the party controlling the most states (again, the R’s) wins. Or the Republicans put up a clean cut fresh face, like Marco Rubio, except this time they’ll be ready to defend him.

    From the point of view of the Democrats — I’d say the focus should be on condemning any racially motivated violence or violent extremism in the strongest possible terms. Then, stop. Change the subject to economic matters. In the US, Race is not a battleground that favors Democrats at this time.

  2. The problem is – people aren’t hearing much about the evil Antifa prevents. I have 1st hand experience with that and sad those efforts never get covered. But great interview on Democracy now.

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