So here is Conor Friedersdorf’s taxonomy of violent protest movements. He starts with his usual profound misunderstanding of islamic movements like ISIS– ISIS is not a protest movement– they don’t have street marches and protests– it is a violent armed insurgency that deliberately uses terror as a long-game strategy in asymmetrical warfighting. It has nothing to do with Black Lives Matter, Anti-fa, white supremacists, confederate revanchists or neo-Nazis.
ISIS has nothing to do with Naziism either. Do you know, Conor, what movement is affiliated with Naziism? The neo-Nazis that marched in the “Unite the Right” parade in Charlottesville.
So I ax Conor on his TL if he would go back in time and kill Hitler, given the opportunity. No response of course. It seems to me that if one is willing to go back in time to kill Hitler that is use of violence to achieve a goal. Because thats what Anti-fa is trying to do. Kill a Hitler before one emerges by exposing/destroying the potential base of support for fascism. (ed. note:In these arguments I never want to go back in time to kill Hitler. I think Hitler was an emergent effect of the spacetime composition of the German citizenry, there were likely many proto-Hitlers in the population, just like there was emergent fascism. Problematic to eliminate them all. No, if I get magical time travel powers someday (magical because time-travel to the past is improbable because of closedform timecurves) I would save Alan Turing and bring him to the future. Because of biology there are infinitely many proto-Hitlers out there but only one Alan Turing.)
That aside Anti-fa is just what their name suggests– against fascists. Dr. Wang at PEC has a fascism checklist based on this source I think. Trump has checked quite a few boxes so far. So if you were trying to prevent fascist ideology from colonizing a permeable sub-population– like low-information red tribe voters and confederate revanchists/white supremacists in the US– what would you be willing to do? Would you use violence? Because, violence works. Just ask Hannah Arendt or Kwame Ture (Howard university philosophy major).
In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent has to have a conscience.
If your opponent is viewed as not human, disposable, and in this hyper-polarized climate this is endemic, violence happens. The consistent thing about Anti-fa is they are responding to violence, responding to invasion of their space. The tiki torch parade happened before any Anti-fa showed up, and the polo shirt sporting incels intimidated a small group of female uni students protesting fascism. That the violence was implied doesnt make it any less real. The Unite the Right meme is “taking back” their country/cities/turf. The unis and cities dont want them there. Neither does anti-fa.
So is defensive violence ok or not? It seems like Anti-fa is defending their communities against disruptive invasions. “Unite the Right” discussed using violence in the chat-logs used to plan the march, planned for violence.
If there is ONE THING the divided country should be able to agree on, its that Naziism is BAD. Fascism is BAD.
Personally i think the GOP needs to grow a spine, and Friedersdorf needs to grow a spine AND a conscience and cut out the bothsidesdoitism and whataboutism that seems so consistant in his opinions.
Conor, try to remember only one side is sporting paired Confederate and Nazi flags.