SocraticGadfly: "Antifascism" — call it what it is, the #BlackBloc rebranded

August 24, 2017

"Antifascism" — call it what it is, the #BlackBloc rebranded

Other than this once, just to mention it, I refuse to use the cutesy, pretentious rebranding portmanteau term "antifa."

And, I don't care if you don't like me calling it that. When I announced on Effbook that I was setting my FB Purity filters to screen it out, for those reasons, one person unfriended me. Sorry, but it's true. I won't care if some Green Party Effbook friends eventually also unfriend me for calling out the love some of them have for anarchism in general, whether or not the Black Bloc in particular. I won't care if non-friends among GP Facebookers block me, either.

And, no, this is not just my observation. Several insightful online friends agree that the "antifascism" movement has a largely anarchist core, and one that's detrimental to good liberal, left-liberal and leftist opposition to the alt-right. Noam Chomsky says the same. (I saw an anarchist site try to refute him, but I wasn't convinced.)

The current "antifascist" movement didn't spring up overnight, either, contra some people's claims. It was behind the violence at Berkeley early this year when Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak, for example. (The university noted that non-student outsiders were major drivers of the somewhat violent, very destructive protests.)

Strangely, Chomsky misses the likely Black Bloc-related core of this movement. And it is strange. Either that, or its deliberate, because he felt a degree of sympathy to it in the past.

Now, the Black Bloc is no more an organized movement than the alt-right. But, it has roots going back at least 20 years, to its ramp-up to opposition to the 1998 WTO meetings in Seattle, and its first major American round of destructive anarchism.

Already at that time, I didn't really care a lot for anarchism in the abstract. After that, and some life changes, I definitely did not care for anarchism in the concrete, doubly so as anarchism of the "deed" rather than the "word."

The pretentiousness factor, the street theater factor, continued (in my opinion, along with artsy Adbusters conntections) to the Occupy movement's original New York start. So, too, I think, did the myth of leaderlessness of Occupy have earlier roots. Per a link within that piece:
All that remain are what Occupy began with: A clever jingle or two, and the launching of a handful of anarchist “brands.” 
One of these vile anarcho-marketing brands is a twenty-something hipster named Malcolm Harris. To me, the Occupy Movement will always be conflated with Malcolm Harris and the brand of marketing-concocted “anarchism” that he represents. And that’s bad, because one look at Malcolm Harris—his anarcho-hipster sneer, his marketing-guy hipster glasses—and you’ll be reaching for the nearest can of pepper spray. 
The son of a Silicon Valley corporate lawyer turned State Department diplomat, Malcolm Harris brands himself as the “vanguard” of the Occupy Protests, and I’m starting to agree with him, the more I’ve come to accept that Occupy really was of, by and for the anarcho-marketing crowd. He was one of the very first to capitalize on the marketing possibilities of Occupy, and how he might exploit the marketing and messaging to quickly build his own brand.
And, contra at least one anarchist GPer, I'll take Mark's take on Occupy ahead of his any day of the week and double on Sunday. Ames' final take is: "Never trust an anarchist." Damn skippy.

Obviously, true anarchy, by definition, can't have anything planned. Yet more on the myth of Occupy's leaderlessness here.

That said, this is yet another reason that I look askance at certain Green Party members who touted and toasted the Democratic Socialists of America opening a libertarian "sectional" at its recent national meeting. Some seem to think the GP needs more anarchy, if "only" anarchy of the word as a further push behind their definition of decentralization.

Absolutely not.

To the degree I see a rise in that, that's another thing more likely to lead me to look at the Socialist Party USA more carefully.

This was also one of the few political matters on which I and departed friend Leo Lincourt had serious disagreement. I don't know if his support for anarchy was of the word only, or also of the deed, since health limitations precluded him from personally engaging in anarchy of the deed. But, even anarchy of the word, in any strong sense, I oppose. And, as name-calling actually does hurt kids, at some point, anarchy of the word becomes anarchy of the deed.

So, to most of you antifascists? Grow up. You probably need to do that about as much as many members of the alt-right.

And, beyond that, and per the above, let's get more specific.

Collegiate and post-collegiate hoodlums and hooligans wearing black and smashing glass in Seattle are not your friends. (WTO 1998)

Pretentious Canadian graphic artists charging $10 a pop for their graphics arts magazine largely populated with unartisitic creations rejected by ad shops and others are not your friends. (Adbusters)

Whiter than national average, richer than national average recent MBA and JD graduates butt-hurt that Wall Street wouldn't hire them in the middle of the Great Recession are not your friends. (Occupy, original Zucotti Park, per self-reporting on family income, ethnicity, and education; interpolation mine.)

A leaderless, and proudly leaderless inchoate movement? (Black Bloc, in its original, as far as I can tell; Occupy in myth but not in reality; Adbusters in responsibility shirking; I'll think of more?)

They are ... not your friends.

You then need to read Idries Shah, and internalize this:
To 'see both sides' of a problem is the surest way to prevent its complete solution. Because there are always more than two sides.
Got it?

Sometimes, the enemy of my enemy is not my friend. He or she is only an ally of temporary convenience.

And sometimes, the enemy of my enemy is a second enemy to me.

Got it?

These people are not your friends.

Or, if you think they ARE your friends, if you want them to really be your friends?

You're not my friend and I'm not yours.

Got it?

We've got a fair amount of time until the 2018 midterms and a long way until the 2020 elections. Maybe this will all come out in the laundry. But, I'm afraid it may not.

And, while I've mentioned eyeing the SPUSA, its platform, through this year, is overall worse than the Greens'. It's just as bad on GMOs and worse on other things.

This is an area where Leo was spot-on — the sweet spot between good leftism, good scientific-critical thinking and good secularism is hard indeed to find.

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