17 January 2021

Antifa (n.)

Talking about “Antifa” makes one Not Even Wrong. Antifa-with-a-capital-A does not exist. Saying “member of Antifa” reads like “member of Conservatism”. Clueless.

Yes, a large, loose antifascist movement exists. As do many antifascist organizations. As do militant antifascists. As do everyday antifascists. They may refer to themselves as “antifa”. I do. But no “Antifa” organization exists.

Militant antifascists oppose the far right through direct action. They may doxx far right actors, or counter far right groups’ street actions. This reflects not opposition to far right ideas, but defense from threats from far right action. No threat, no militancy.

Militant antifascists sometimes use a tactic called “black bloc”. On the street one refers to “the black bloc” as one says “the medics”. Saying “The Black Bloc” reveals the same cluelessness as saying “The Medics”.

Militant action reflects only a small part of the antifascist movement. It does far more research, commentary, and advocacy than direct action. Antifascist action includes publishing this blog post.

The antifascist movement studies fascism and the broader far right, distinguishing those from ordinary conservatism. We oppose all violent far right movements & actors, and say “fash” as term of art including all of them, not only avowed fascists.

Yes, many anarchists participate in the antifascist movement. As do socialists. As do social justice advocates. As do vegans. Overlapping but not equivalent. Antifascism means opposition to the far right. No more, no less.

No Antifa political agenda exists because no Antifa organization exists. No antifascist political agenda exists beyond opposition to the far right. Not anarchism. Nor socialism. Nor communism. Nor social justice. Nor the Democratic Party.

Some resources:

Anti-Fascists Say They Are Protecting Communities From Right-Wing Violence, Not Fomenting “Terror”

“Antifa,” a label which many right-wing commentators tend to apply to anything vaguely left-wing, has become a boogeyman in recent years as large anti-fascist demonstrations have confronted white nationalists and Trump allies. Because of the virulent anger “antifa” inspires on conservative social media, Trump is able to score points with his base by erroneously blaming anti-fascists and escalating the language he uses to describe them.

Yet “‘antifa’ isn’t an actual organization. It’s a set of shared ethics and tactics used by activists to describe the work we do to protect our communities,” says an anti-fascist activist who goes by the moniker “AntiFash Gordon,” and is known for exposing neo-Nazis online.

Andy Ngo’s Unmasked: The Next Phase Of The Grift
While Ngo’s claims about antifa’s ubiquity are absurd enough, they’re only the starting point for even more bizarre comparisons. He suggests that there have been several “antifa” mass shootings, including on the list of perpetrators people who have no discernable relationship to antifascism. Yet that, of course, is not the point. Antifa for Ngo comprises everyone from actual leftists to liberals he dislikes. Anyone with an ideology that fits into this conception must be unstable and prone to violence. Antifa is a priori violent; all leftism is antifa and all leftism causes violence.

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