antifascism is fascism, fascism is not antifascism

i'm going to be speaking as a marxist whatever and not as a self-identified leftist (i.e. i don't identify), so i don't have any qualms criticizing leftists and socialists and antifascists and so on. and this amounts really to speaking as an observer, not as a political ideologue trying to persuade you to 'correct' your ideology. i'm not your mother.

isn't it kind of weird that over the summer, during the riots against police brutality, there was a ton of discourse about ANTIFA? i'm pretty sure the fascists were the first to associate the riots with ANTIFA in mass media (save for antifascists who wanted to claim these efforts by black people for their own ideological project).* anyway, the result ended up being liberals trying to 'reclaim' the word ANTIFA alongside leftists, with all the facebookcore posts about how your grandpa in WWII was an ANTIFA supersoldier etc. besides this, to combat right-wing accusations of violence, leftists and liberals both pulled out statistics to prove that akschually self-identified antifascist protestors are non-lethal and kill far fewer people (if at all?) than white nationalist terrorists, fascist terrorists, police officers, and so on.

one day on twitter when this guy was getting canceled for the nth time, for being a constant piece of shit, i was scrolling on his profile. it was a sort of "the worst person you know just made a great point" moment: he pointed out that he has better reason to fear threats from right-wing individuals for being whatever he was (?) than to fear threats from left-wing individuals for being a landlord's son. i just thought it was sort of funny, given all the mass media discourse over the summer. the liberals who started cheering on the dubious ANTIFA boogeyman relied on that boogeyman basically being impotent, a symbol of #resistance more than anything, and antifascists didn't really do anything to combat this because it's not like they're a big enough or powerful enough (actually or spectacularly) group. by that same virtue, they also don't combat anything.

antifascism is precisely the movement to restore democracy against the threat of fascist totalitarianism. i'm thinking specifically of the iron front in germany which originated the three-arrow symbol: it was a popular front for liberals and social democrats, meant to combat the three threats of monarchism, fascism, and communism insofar as they were extremist and antidemocratic movements. the partisan movement in fascist italy was also meant to restore the republic from the fascist takeover. even now, although antifascists consider capitalist democracies to be false corporate-backed democracies, the goal is to bring about some true democracy qua rule of the people proper. hence antifascists tend to phrase their struggle as an antiviral one, to remove intruders from the community, to push back against the fascist government, etc. for antifascists, there exists a society which is threatened by fascism, and this fascism can and should be eliminated.

the right accused the ANTIFA boogeyman of fascism qua political authoritarianism (a dubious definition of fascism, needless to say), to which the response from leftists and liberals who identify with antifascism has been "no, they're fighting against fascism and they're loosely organized and they barely cause any real trouble".

i claim that the fantasy of antifascism is homologous to that of fascism, but not for the same reason as the fascists who disavow their own fascism: it identifies itself as the antiviral response of an otherwise harmonious/natural community against some external threat. both fantasies result from capitalist anxiety, often from a petit bourgeois vantage, that the normal state of that community is changing.

for historical and modern fascists, the petite bourgeoisie feel threatened in their socioeconomic stability (or lack thereof?) by communists and racial minorities and proletarianization. for "liberal" antifascists, the community is threatened by fascists who want to use wanton violence to terrorize people in public (the normal state of politics is considered non-fascist). for "leftist" antifascists, who at least see that the political situation under trump which is called fascism has already been the norm, the solution remains to overcome this antidemocratic threat and to create a truly democratic situation for the people. frankly any ideology that defines itself on behalf of a 'the people' (there are many the peoples) is already playing to the same social anxiety and fantasy which constitute fascism, a return to safety and stability, an antiviral response.

a more cohesive reading of "leftist" antifascism also relies on a thorough reading of leftism/socialism and its desires and anxieties and fantasies, since otherwise (i fear) this reading is pretty incomplete. but i'm not going to take any more of your time.

maybe this is an applicable point: instead of making antifascist statements in your games (since this is a blog for games), it might make more sense to make an anti-bigotry statement. for one, an antifascist statement reduces fascism to the micropolitics of personal opinion, and not the impersonal politics of social history. also, the word 'bigot' captures a bigger group of people than the word 'fascist' does: all self-identified fascists are bigots, and there are definitely more bigots than those who fall in that one category. and again, if you simply define fascism as bigotry, even with a political dimension, you've missed the point of fascism.


* not that there aren't black antifascists, but these protestors did not all identify with the larger political project of antifascism and interpret their own behavior in this way. to speak more from my own experience, i rolled my eyes seeing leftists claim the anticolonial riots and protests in puerto rico as ideological expressions of anarchism and so on. fuck off, they're fighting for themselves. i'm sure there were some proud anarchists in the crowd or whatever.


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