Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 28, 2017

The Ugly Side of Antifa

Filed under: anarchism,black bloc idiots — louisproyect @ 11:30 pm

Yesterday, at the anti-Alt-Right rally in Berkeley, I watched groups of masked Antifa members in Black Bloc formation swarm individuals who were apparently antagonizing them, and pummel them with their fists, feet, and flagpoles. When the victims tried to escape, they were run down, and in at least one case, cut off by the Antifa mob and beaten down some more. In the incidents I witnessed, about 5 or 6 Antifa members at a time participated in the attacks, while perhaps 100 others stood behind them, forming an impenetrable wall that blocked bystanders from intervening, or documenting the violence on camera. Those people would also help chase the victims when they fled.

In one case, as a crowd of non-Black Bloc protesters yelled at the assailants to let their victim go, an Antifa activist yelled, “He’s a Nazi!” over and over again, justifying the assault. Then, abruptly, maybe after realizing that the victim was not, in fact, a white nationalist, he changed his mantra. “He doesn’t have to be a Nazi!” he now shouted. The suggestion was that even if the victim wasn’t a fascist, he still deserved to be beaten. For what was unclear. Maybe because he supported Trump? Or he objected to Antifa’s tactics? Or refused to do something they ordered him to do? Who knew? The only thing those of us watching from a few yards away could tell was that a man, by himself, was on the ground, with a bloodied face, covering his head with his arms, being kicked and punched by a group of masked people, who were shielded by dozens of their comrades. My guess is that a lot of the Antifa people in the crowd who were passively assisting in the violence, including the guy yelling that he was a Nazi, didn’t know anything more than that, either.

Last week, Mark Bray, a historian of Antifa, said on Trumpcast, Slate’s podcast on all things Trump, that Antifa members are “some of the most caring and compassionate people I’ve met.” I just finished directing a short documentary about the online origins of the Alt Right, for which we interviewed several Antifa members, and I can affirm his depiction. To a person, our interviewees cared deeply about egalitarianism and anti-racism, and spent much of their day-to-day lives either working professionally or volunteering for organizations and in activist groups that fought for the social and economic rights of the disenfranchised. They gave eloquent and persuasive explanations for why fascism must be confronted head-on, with tactics up to and including violence.

But parsing out the nuances of moral justifications for violence in a quiet room somewhere is an entirely different thing than standing in a park with a mask on and a flag in your hand, with hundreds of your comrades, and making snap decisions about whose ass to beat and whose not to. Or whether to back up your comrades when they start beating someone up, when you have no idea how the altercation even began, or who the victim is. Or whether to go online afterwards and claim that everyone who got beat deserved it because they were all Nazis.

What happened in practice in Berkeley yesterday was that anybody who challenged the Black Bloc made themselves a target, whether they were a white supremacist looking to stir shit up (and there were maybe five or six of those in a crowd of thousands), or a liberal who yelled their disapproval at their tactics, or a reporter taking pictures after being commanded to stop. If you pissed someone in the Black Bloc off, and someone came after you, the rest of the bloc followed. Suddenly you were facing a hostile mob, the time for arguing your case expired, literally fearing for your life.

I was at the protest with a film crew, working on a documentary. We were in a public park. It was a big news event, where everybody knew there would be media. Activists in the Black Bloc were concealed by sunglasses and ski masks to protect their identity for exactly this reason. They carried flags and banners, to make themselves a spectacle. Yet for their personal security, many of them decided that it was their right to command photographers not to take their pictures, to physically block them from doing so, and if they persisted, to smash their equipment and assault them. That’s what apparently happened to the guy who the Antifa member kept calling a “Nazi,” until he changed his mind. One of my filmmaking partners and I got pushed around by Antifa, too. We were targets because we had cameras. The only reason we didn’t get administered a beat down is because when we were ordered (not asked) to point our cameras elsewhere, we only pushed our right to film them so far. Had we pushed it a bit farther, we probably would have ended up with some smashed equipment and black eyes.

There was a moment of triumph during the demonstration, before all the violence began, when just after facing what looked like the beginning of a confrontation with the Black Bloc, the police line that surrounded the park retreated, the checkpoints into the park, where police were searching bags for contraband, were taken down, and everybody outside of the perimeter flooded onto the field. Following upon the unambiguous victory over the Alt Right in San Francisco the prior day, it should have been the capstone of the weekend. The Alt Right had surrendered; the people had taken their public space back from both the “fascists” and the police. But it probably hadn’t been an hour before that feeling dissipated entirely. Soon, it was Antifa, instead of the police, who were occupying the park. The rest of the crowd, who many of the masked radicals probably disdained as wimpy, bourgeois liberals, shrank from the violence that had begun to overtake the scene, as well as the yelling and the physical domination and the general sense of schoolyard bullying emanating from the massive Black Bloc. At one point I turned around and all I could see was Antifa. They had spread throughout the park, and everybody else had gone home.

When you criticize Antifa members or their defenders for the tactic of mob violence, the reflexive response is usually something like, “There are literal Nazis marching in the streets, and you’re attacking us over your precious little non-violence principles?” But Antifa doesn’t have a monopoly over concern for what’s happening in this country. They’re no more woke than the squishy liberals who showed up to protest with their signs and their voices and not with their fists. The revulsion to violence on the part of most people on the left, from liberal to radical, is not born of naïveté over the scale of the right-wing threat. It’s the expression of basic moral principle, as well as a pragmatic political understanding that random mob violence by masked vigilates on the left isn’t going to defeat the Alt Right. In the Bay Area this weekend, the Alt Right was already defeated. All Antifa did was transform that message of people-powered victory into a cascade of headlines bolstering Trump’s “both sides” talking point.

The revulsion to Antifa’s violence is also an indication of the paucity of trust Antifa has established with much of the wider, non-activist world. People want the white nationalist movement smashed into dust; that’s why they’re showing up by the thousands and the tens of thousands to protests against the Alt Right. That doesn’t mean they want to hand leadership over to a subcultural vanguardist movement that barks at them from behind masks and shields and threatens to beat those who disagree with them into submission.

Most Antifa members are anarchists. It was an ironic thing to see these anti-authoritarian, anti-government activists essentially acting as a de facto state on that little quarter acre of lawn, ordering photographers around, deciding who could be in the park and who couldn’t, responding to dissent — even from liberals — with physical confrontation, and dishing out violence on whoever they decided deserved it, whether they were a “Nazi,” a non-compliant liberal protester, or a reporter with a camera. It was a bleak alternative to the far right dystopia we face under Trump. It was much more like the last days of the Occupy movement than like the first. It was dark, it was scary, and it was ugly.

(This appeared originally at http://leightonwoodhouse.com/the-ugly-side-of-antifa/)

33 Comments »

  1. The best takeaway:
    “It was an ironic thing to see these anti-authoritarian, anti-government activists essentially acting as a de facto state on that little quarter acre of lawn, ordering photographers around, deciding who could be in the park and who couldn’t, responding to dissent — even from liberals — with physical confrontation, and dishing out violence on whoever they decided deserved it, whether they were a “Nazi,” a non-compliant liberal protester, or a reporter with a camera.”

    A great complimentary piece to this was on Counterpunch today, by Anthony Dimaggio, titled, ‘Trump’s Antifa Moment: Police Repression, Nonviolence, and Movement Building on the Left.’

    It is really infuriating to think that after so many years of the people not taking to the streets, and now that the people ARE taking to the streets, a tiny minority of “activists” are about to ruin the conditions for the growth of the movement. This points more and more to the need for a mass movement with its own marshals and its own policing. (The scare quotes for the “activists” is because I see them not as activists at all: they are a bunch of politico juveniles seeking self-glorification, with ZERO political understanding of how movements are built.)

    The police is always against us; that’s a given. So, the ONLY way to face down fascism is a mass movement with actual social demands, but the Antifa crowd is intent on reducing the movement by as much as possible. This can in turn act against people’s ability to build a mass movement that imposes key social demands on the state. I would not be surprised to find out that a bunch of these Antifa folks are state agents that have infiltrated their ranks and acting as provocateurs.

    Comment by Reza — August 29, 2017 @ 12:22 am

  2. It’s important to be clear — the “alt-right” are effectively nazis, in that there in many respects there is only minimal effective difference between their stated goal of a “whites-only-ethno-state in north America” accomplished through “physical removal” of non-whites, non-Christians, left-wingers etc., and the genocidal ideas and goals of historical nazis and contemporary neo-nazis.

    So let’s be clear about that: alt-right=nazis.

    The “alt-right” is a world where the ideas of young movement Matthew Heimbach, who was a key organizer of the Charlottesville events, are representative — and here’s how Heimbach described some of those ideas in a 2015 speech, “Our media and our government, driven by the organized Jewish community, has invested millions and billions of dollars to make white pride, white culture and white survival the absolute most horrendous thing in American history. The ultimate sin in the false religion of multiculturalism is thinking that you as a white man and woman has a right to survive … The left fights by using anti-white discrimination, public shaming, biased persecution … We are a people that were pioneers and conquerors. … Yet somehow, amazingly, we have given up our own homelands without a shot fired, without a fight … While things look bleak right now, we can never accept being demoralized — because victory is ours, and victory is coming … So we must realize the pendulum is swinging…next time we have this conference I want to see twice the amount of people here. In ten years, I want a Nuremberg rally, and I think with your hard work we can do it.”

    That’s from here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-BU2UFdkWQ

    So keeping in mind that the “alt-right” actually are trying to advance an ideology of the most extreme violence and mass murder, the author of this piece certainly does seem to describe some people who are well-meaning and passionate about opposing nazism and genocide but who may have gone in a direction that over zealously responds by harming some bystanders and potential allies and thereby possibly doing the movement to oppose genocide and nazism harm. However I really am not convinced this is representative of those demonized as “antifa” or the “alt-left” by the Trump regime and its media organs.

    It’s also key to recall that before the terror attack that killed Heather Heyer, there WERE NOT 1000s of people nonviolently protesting in the streets when ever these contemporary nazis got together. The people now demonized as “antifa” were pretty much the only game in town opposing the alt-right nazis.

    That doesn’t excuse the destructive, dysfunctional violent behavior described in this incident or others like it that may have occurred. But this “movement” against contemporary nazis that the author talks about is, as far as mass street protests, very VERY new, as in new to the last couple of weeks. Prior to that there were some big anti-Trump rallies but a lot of people were taking the tact of just ignoring his more extremist supporters and hoping they went away.

    Meanwhile the alt-right nazis put out more and more media about the need for genocide and ethnic cleansing, which also generally encouraged murder in the name of their ideology — and in places like Baltimore, Seattle, Portland, or New York City, some members of the movement took to terrorism and killed, or tried to kill, people using knives and swords and guns.

    Don’t get me wrong, I thought what was needed all along was a mass movement where 10,000s of people came out against these nazi scum. I’m glad to see it finally happening. But I’m also glad the antifa black bloc punks were there when it wasn’t.

    Comment by d1122 — August 29, 2017 @ 12:26 am

  3. I didn’t go to Berkeley yesterday. I could have. I live in Oakland on the border with Berkeley and it would have been an easy walk for me. I stayed home.

    I disagree with d1222. When the black bloc punks were there to stop Milo from speaking a few months ago they were not doing the left a favor. They should have let Milo talk: he would only have made a fool of himself.

    The left in the East Bay is suffering from shock. The socialist left never thought Trump would win the election. Even serious socialists who should know better think that fascism is about to engulf Berkeley and that only violent resistance can stop it.

    For about ten years I have been a “supporter” of Solidarity, a socialist group proud of its connection to the Berkeley Free Speech Movement. You might think that Solidarity would object to black bloc thugs breaking up the Milo event on the Berkeley campus. Instead the moderator of the Solidarity web list warned me to watch my language when I spoke about the good people fighting fascism. I ignored his warning and ended up being kicked off the Solidarity list.

    Fine, I said to myself. I will join the Democratic Socialists. I attended a DSA meeting for “new” members. (I had joined the Young Peoples Socialist League in ’62 when along with Louis Proyect I was a student at Bard College.)

    One of the speakers at the DSA meeting was a young German woman who told us about how much fun it is to beat the heads of fascists with sticks. The young socialist comrades applauded her courage.

    The east bay socialist left is sick. Their shock may eventually pass. There are signs that this is beginning to happen.

    The only reason I avoided this shock is that I did what the LABOR FOR BERNIE people told me to do. I spent the primaries and the general election talking with members of my union of building engineers. Most of the members told me they were voting for Trump and they told me why they were doing so. They listened to my reasons for supporting Bernie and I listened to what they had had to say about Trump. We each shared our wish to see the end of Hilary Clinton.

    The day after the elections I shared a bottle of cava with union friends and wives at a crab feed. We gave a toast to the end of Clinton and I wished them luck with Trump. When I mentioned this on the Solidarity blog I received hate mail from several members. Anyone would drink wine with fascists doesn’t belong in the socialist movement, they told me.

    The socialist left is sick.

    Paul Mueller

    Comment by Paul Mueller — August 29, 2017 @ 4:55 am

  4. Lenin is supposed to have said that there can be no revolution without firing squads. Now we know why. It’s ironic, but if the authentic left is forced to take up arms, it will be against this filth. Rest assured, there are many paid provocateurs among the maggots writhing in this pile of human garbage.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 29, 2017 @ 10:56 am

  5. Furthermore: It can’t be said too often that the erection of violence vs. non-violence as some sort of necessary moral gateway to left activism is a fraud. Not even Gandhi regarded non-violence as the whole duty of an activist. American liberals and most of the DSA, on the other hand do. This is a willful and essentially disingenuous error.

    Having shattered that myth however, IMHO, we cannot question at least: a) that non-violence is preferable to violence in particular situations as long as it works; and b) tactically speaking, massive non-violence is far more effective politically than the “antifa” slavish imitation of the fascism they claim to oppose. They are the Left equivalent of Satanists, unable to see that the dichotomy before which they are prostrated is itself an ideological obstacle.

    Finally, the whole idea that fighting fascism is the most important job of the left is simply false. Fascism here and now is far from negligible–on the contrary–but–as many thoughtful commmentators have pointed out–the big danger comes from the forces behind fascism, which are not affected when some idiot swathed in bandages punches pudgy Richard Spencer ineffectually on the nose and runs away. (Or when some gang of possible police provocateurs puts an innocent photographer in the Emergency Room.)

    If the trend shown in the accompanying video is the reality, antifa itself is rapidly becoming a far greater danger than fa, and should be dealt with accordingly by whatever means prove most expedient. This includes the same thing that appears to work best against fascism currently: continuing massive non-violent protest action. I can’t avoid mentioning the now-prehistoric Women’s March, which completely put the police, the fascists, and the Black Bloc completely in the shade. But if that fails, other means are available, given the will and the organization.

    I call on thinking young people to organize among themselves and prepare to take the necessary steps.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 29, 2017 @ 12:12 pm

  6. correction “completely put … completely”: delete second “completely.”

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 29, 2017 @ 12:20 pm

  7. So…if left-anarchist, anti-fascist, anti-racist activists get involved in a confrontation during a demonstration with an advocate for genocide like Milo Yiannopolous (his writings on the alt-right in Breitbart explicitly advocate for cleansing part of the U.S. to remove non-whites, non-Christians, and trans-people) or like these other alt-right-nazi assholes, the liberals want to put them in prison, the alt-right-nazis want to drop barrel bombs on them or throw them out of helicopters, and the “socialists” or “communists” that comment here want to put them before a firing squad. Lovely.

    Comment by d1122 — August 29, 2017 @ 1:52 pm

  8. This is why I don’t like anarchists.

    Comment by J.T. — August 29, 2017 @ 2:35 pm

  9. This is why I hate anarchists…

    Comment by J.T. — August 29, 2017 @ 2:35 pm

  10. We’re not talking about assaulting Milo Yiannopoulos, you disingenuous prick. We’re talking about using fascist tactics on peaceful left protesters, beating people up at random for no reason, and putting innocent photographers in the hospital (just like the police, be it noted), and driving all left “competition” out of a park.

    Go straight to hell and take your weak-kneed whine about how abused you are with you. You sound just like a Donald Trump republican.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 29, 2017 @ 2:59 pm

  11. Yes, I’ve noticed that if there’s one thing that always shows you are right and have the intellectual and moral high ground, it’s calling for the summary execution of young leftists for their involvement in street fighting with nazis. That and calling them “filth” and “human garbage.”

    The other thing that always shows how smart and right and moral you are is that if someone points out this behavior you turn around and call them a “disingenuous prick” or “weak-kneed” and make up a story that they are whining about being abused.

    I’m sure a political mass movement rooted in this kind of behavior and thinking will break out any moment and make the world a truly beautiful place — I mean every other time people who thought they were the “authentic left” took up arms to violently purge their opponents who they had labelled as filth and garbage, that worked out great, right? That’s why the USSR is still a beautiful socialist utopia, and Spain too, eh?

    Meanwhile, there are other accounts of what happened in Berkeley circulating. I’m sure both sides have some truth. And as I said above : “I thought what was needed all along was a mass movement where 10,000s of people came out against these nazi scum. I’m glad to see it finally happening. But I’m also glad the antifa black bloc punks were there when it wasn’t.”

    Here’ another account circulating:

    “Anyone who was on the ground in Berkeley yesterday will tell you how beautiful a demonstration it was: thousands of people, old and young and in between, socialists, anarchists, liberals, unionists, brass bands, religious groups, students, you name it. There was tactical cooperation between very different groups. A large Antifa contingent played a vital role in defending the community from the 30 or so white supremacists who showed up armed and looking to fight. There were a handful of scuffles, and a few Nazi’s got mildly beat up and removed from the park by Antifa folks (which I think is absolutely ok, and amazing). But the day was overwhelmingly celebratory and peaceful. The hundreds and hundreds of cops in all their military gear were totally useless, and they were forced to abandon their plans of restricting entrance to Civic Center park because there was just too many of us. There was no large scale violence whatsoever, which just shows what can happen when you kick the Nazi’s out of town: shit tends to be a lot more peaceful. Weird, huh? What kept the peace was: 1.) masses of peacefully assembled people on the streets and 2.) a couple hundred Antifa who used a small amount of force to prevent any white nationalist violence. It was an absolute success, and today those of us who were there are talking about how beautiful it was to see a true diversity of tactics at work, and we’re NOT arguing about whether it’s ok to break windows. This feels like a huge step forward.

    The media is apparently living in a completely alternative universe. Today all you see in the headlines is “Anarchists cause violence in Berkeley.” It’s frustrating I guess, but not surprising. Their narrative is so completely detached from what happened that one wonders if they wrote their story on Saturday. I guess they decided that it’s not as exciting to print a story about diverse sections of the community (of which are anarchists are merely one, though sizable, element) coming together and working in solidarity across huge ideological and identity divides, and successfully driving out fascists from Berkeley using very limited physical violence, and leaving no shattered glass behind to whine about. But that’s what happened, unequivocally. Please spread the word, if you were not present, so that people do not get misled by this. This weekend was a huge moment for the Bay, and was a perfect example of what we can accomplish when anti-fascists of all stripes put our heads and hearts together. “

    Comment by d1122 — August 29, 2017 @ 3:23 pm

  12. I agree with Paul’s analysis. We live in an apolitical society. Ultra-leftism has two problems. Besides being lost in the world, it is hooking in to people’s feeling of
    abject powerlessness. It is similar to a comic book narrative. There’s some psychological comfort in having a caped hero save the day. According to a Berkeley antifa member on Twitter, “We’d rather be spending our weekends at the beach BBQ’ing with friends and family.” Talk about the least political project masquerading as a politics.

    Comment by Aaron — August 29, 2017 @ 4:11 pm

  13. d1112

    I’m so glad you’re having a beautiful experience, you self-righteous twerp. Did bodies melt into other bodies? Ohhhh.

    That photographer that got gang-stomped fascist-style probably just lacked a sense of aesthetics. He should have opened himself up to the beauty pouring in around him.

    Yeah–that’s the ticket. Christ what an idiot.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 29, 2017 @ 7:58 pm

  14. Too much drama. Really., The antifa is my neighbors. In their black clothes and wielding cardboard swords. What is all the media hysteria about what added up to playground scuffles. Most urban low-income schools in this country contain more violence than this – every week. More to the point, where’s the solidarity? What happened was great., A small band of white supremacists were sent packing by a city that wasn’t having it. We were all celebrating while the media and pundits had an official nervous breakdown because we dealt with it ourselves like no one remembers that the police are actually a problem. I’ll share two more things. a) That Max Haven is completely right to call out the hypocrisy and white privilege in the calls for civil discourse about other people’s freedom and safety http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41750-what-the-abolition-of-the-british-slave-trade-can-teach-us-about-free-speech and 2) What Really Happened in Berkeley: “I was there at the protest from early in the morning until the end yesterday trying to observe as much of the dynamic as I could. I totally share concern about what’s strategic, and how to counter a narrative in which defense of oppressed people is framed as the enemy of “peace and order”, which has a history of forging strong, broad right coalitions in CA and elsewhere. What you will not get from tv or newspaper articles about yesterday is that nearly all of the aggressive conflict happened before the black bloc showed up — some initially peaceable protestors, not antifa — were drawn/provoked into conflict with a few guys who said they “just wanted to argue the merits of cultural Marxism or BLM” and that they themselves were opposed to fascism — then when focus shifted elsewhere they would yell “go Trump, go KKK, go fascist USA” at the margins of the crowd. It took me awhile to understand what was even going on. These guys told the media they were there peacefully for free speech expression, but they had concerted tactics of escalation: at the climax of each little episode one of them would be surrounded by peaceful protestors, and then would yell something about “white genetic superiority” before lashing out physically at the closest person. Then they would run and get chased by the crowd (who were mostly filming). I saw a few purportedly peaceful, unmasked protestors lose their temper and lash out, as well. Again, this was before there were any antifa in the park. There was much less conflict once the black bloc arrived. After that point the alt-right who were chased around were those who came back into the fray after hitting someone earlier. So, what I take away from this is that it’s not as easy as many people think to distance the “good left” from the “bad left” and gain some desired, long-term legitimation in the process. I wish it was that easy. If you were following right wing social media, the Jan 21 Women’s March was represented as a violent, anarchic free-for all, and evidence for this was calls for police violence and an end to patriarchy. I am all for long-term strategy, and I have yet to hear a viable plan for this that is not another rehearsal of left divisions. Though, at the same time, I am extremely sympathetic to forming a broad, sensible coalition”. I strongly suggest the professional pundit class and the journos (with a few notable exceptions) take a deep breath and stop hyperventilating. The antifa can take care of the full-on violent white supremacists and the rest of us can peacefully debate with the Trumpheads as long as we want too. It’s okay. To each his/her own.

    Comment by Tracy Rosenberg — August 29, 2017 @ 11:49 pm

  15. What motivates these Antifa thugs? Surely not changing society; unless, that is, they believe that violence will turn the the public in this direction. Except based on all the negative media coverage that’s followed their recent antics, I doubt they’ll win many converts to progressive causes. More likely abhorrence to violence in politics will turn away many who otherwise would be open to
    presentations on the possibilities now for attaining a just and peaceful world. Even more crucial here, why violence, when nonviolence has such a proven track record here in America – the Civil Rights and the anti-Vietnam War movement. Furthermore, if we progressives adopt the thuggish practices of fascists, what will distinguish us from them? Our ideas and plans for realizing peace on earth and goodwill to all – while simultaneously pummeling photographers and bystanders? Good luck with that one. Better, “we be the change we wish to see in the world”*

    *whether or not this maxim is attributable to Mahatma Ghandi

    Comment by jacobo — August 30, 2017 @ 12:43 am

  16. The antifa is my neighbors. In their black clothes and wielding cardboard swords. What is all the media hysteria about what added up to playground scuffles.

    —-

    Why are you bringing up media hysteria here? This is not some Washington Post’s op-ed writer’s blog. It is that of a Marxist as the title should indicate. My beef with antifa is the same beef that Lenin had with the Narodniks. My suggestion is that before you post comments here again that you get up to speed on Marxism versus ultraleftism. You might want to start with this: https://www.marxists.org/archive/camejo/1970/ultraleftismormassaction.htm

    Comment by louisproyect — August 30, 2017 @ 12:44 am

  17. As I apparently did not make clear, that was another second-hand account of events this weekend in Berkeley that is circulating, like the second-hand account that was reposted and led to these comments. As I said previously: “I’m sure both sides have some truth.” Any way, I will leave those who believe they have the correct analysis alone now, secure in their righteous role of holding every one else responsible for not toeing their line closely enough — or else. But no matter how many names you call me, I’m still going to keep what I said above in my initial comment — that I do not excuse the destructive, dysfunctional violent behavior described in this incident or others like it that may have occurred, but I’m going to continue to criticize the analysis of anyone who thinks that the existence of antifascist black blocs are a profound, horrific problem in the world that far outweighs resurgent nazism, etc. Meanwhile, you can continue to plan your death squads to kill me and others who disagree with you on your analysis that murderous purges of the left are what the world needs, and continue to talk about anyone who disagrees with you about anything in the terms you love, like: “filth” “paid provocateurs” “maggots writhing in this pile of human garbage” “the Left equivalent of Satanists” “disingenuous prick” “weak-kneed” “self-righteous twerp” “idiot” etc. Maybe some day you will get to be the next Assad and realize all your dreams.

    Comment by d1122 — August 30, 2017 @ 1:03 am

  18. d1112:

    Idiot.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 30, 2017 @ 11:03 am

  19. “I’m still going to keep what I said above in my initial comment — that I do not excuse the destructive, dysfunctional violent behavior described in this incident or others like it that may have occurred, but I’m going to continue to criticize the analysis of anyone who thinks that the existence of antifascist black blocs are a profound, horrific problem in the world that far outweighs resurgent nazism, etc. Meanwhile, you can continue to plan your death squads to kill me and others who disagree with you on your analysis that murderous purges of the left are what the world needs, and continue to talk about anyone who disagrees with you about anything in the terms you love, like: “filth” “paid provocateurs” “maggots writhing in this pile of human garbage” “the Left equivalent of Satanists” “disingenuous prick” “weak-kneed” “self-righteous twerp” “idiot” etc. Maybe some day you will get to be the next Assad and realize all your dreams.”

    Count me as a second idiot along with d1112.

    Comment by Richard Estes — August 31, 2017 @ 5:38 am

  20. Fuck you, Richard.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 31, 2017 @ 9:25 am

  21. d112 is a weak-kneed, whining twerp whose pose of injured self-righteousness exactly mirrors the victimization whine of right-wingers and fascists everywhere. When this maggot says he does not justify the fasicist violence of the antifas, he is lying–just like a fascist.

    That is all there is to it.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 31, 2017 @ 9:43 am

  22. That said, the disingenuous fakery of idiots like d1112 is less important than the damage done by antifa in perpetuating the, for petty-bourgeois adventurists and academic careerists, convenient lie that antifascism is the whole duty of the left. See the Camejo piece reposted by Louis above.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 31, 2017 @ 10:16 am

  23. Also a number of sober comments on Marxmail that make this point better than I can, though I have made the point many times to the best of my ability.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 31, 2017 @ 10:21 am

  24. Richard–I really shouldn’t have said “fuck you.” A simple “But of course” would have sufficed. My apologies to you but not the other guy. Enough said.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 31, 2017 @ 11:13 am

  25. Meanwhile other people who were present in Berkeley tell other stories, like the ones reposted above by myself and Tracy Rosenberg. Those stories match what I have heard from every one I know personally who was at the events. Here’s another view on the Berkeley demonstrations and what has come after:

    “Liberal and moderate people who were at the demonstration in Berkeley on Sunday are finally being forced to confront the reality that most of our media spins straight up lies about our movements.

    We all went into Sunday knowing that it was possible, maybe even likely, that some of us would be seriously injured or even killed taking a stand against fascism. Berkeley police said they would not be surprised to see another car drive into the crowd, to see more casualties.

    Instead the worst that happened was tear gas hurled at demonstrators by police and some fistfights that ended in minor injuries for a small handful of White Supremacists who dared to show up. Less drama than most Raiders games.

    The next day all the headlines accused the “violent antifa” of attacking “peaceful protestors” and disrupting the counterprotest. Today the mayor of Berkeley said that #antifa should be classified as a gang, which would subject those standing up against fascism to increased surveillance and police break-ins of their homes, as well as trumped up charges that could put people in prison for decades.

    We need all hands on deck to get the truth out there. Tell everyone you talk to that Sunday was a beautiful victory for a diverse group of people with a diverse set of tactics. Tell them that next to the anarchists in black masks children blew bubbles and brass bands blared. That we sang together and basked in sunlight and made sure none of our friends left in bodybags.

    They are terrified of our unity because in that unity we find power.”

    Comment by d1122 — August 31, 2017 @ 8:16 pm

  26. MEANWHILE Republicans call for anti-fascist activists to be designated as terrorists, while Democrats call for them to be designated as a gang.

    THE HILL: Laura Ingraham proposes declaring antifa a ‘terrorist organization’

    http://thehill.com/homenews/media/348383-laura-ingraham-proposes-declaring-antifa-a-terrorist-organization

    CBS NEWS: Berkeley Mayor: We Should Classify Antifa ‘As A Gang’

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/08/28/berkeley-mayor-classify-antifa-as-a-gang/

    YET THE ACTUAL ORGANIZERS of the Berkeley events defend the “black bloc” or whatever you want to call it that was as mall part of the larger event of 1000s of anti-fascists — despite the case the mainstream media and both mainstream political parties are building, and despite the actual experience on the ground by those who were there in Berkeley, like my friends who attended with their children and felt safe and empowered and inspired:

    CBS NEWS: Berkeley Counter-Demonstration Organizers Defend Antifa

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/08/28/berkeley-counter-demonstration-organizers-defend-antifa/

    ONE OF THOSE ORGANIZERS of the Berkeley events had this analysis of the attacks against anti-fascist activism now being mounted by political parties, the mainstream media, and also apparently some progressives, socialists, communists, :

    “This moment is not about Antifa. Do not be fooled. This is about breaking down uncompromising resistance to a criminal state agenda. It exposes the true relationship between the conservative right and the liberal left. We are headed toward a neo facist police state. This moment is about criminalizing ALL those who have been, and aspire to be, barriers between the people and predatory power, PERIOD. Let me explain what will happen next if we allow false equivalencies to continue and if we don’t push back:

    1. Antifa will be classified as a terrorist “organization”

    2. Anyone who identifies as such is subject to raids and imprisonment.

    3. Anyone “associated” is criminalized, marginalized, imprisoned.

    4. Movements for justice will be defanged, declawed, and neutered by rendering political self-defense illegal despite the violent, oppressive conditions.

    5. Status quo forces will use the liberal left to set the standard for what “proper”, “acceptable” or “good” activism looks like. Best believe that what it will look like is weak and conciliatory. At times, this activism will appear radical and contesting but will ultimately be respectability capitulation activism wrapped in radical facades that will facilitate the same predatory agenda.

    6. The very facist, white nationalist, and white supremacists we have been fighting will be empowered and emboldened.

    Know a set up when you see a setup.”

    BUT I SUPPOSE it may be hard to convince those on the right AND left not to follow the cult of the President and Trump’s lead…

    TRUTHOUT: Trump Hates the Antifascist Movement; Let’s Refuse to Follow His Lead

    http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41777-trump-hates-the-antifascist-movement-let-s-refuse-to-follow-his-lead

    Comment by d1122 — August 31, 2017 @ 8:27 pm

  27. YET THE ACTUAL ORGANIZERS of the Berkeley events defend the “black bloc” or whatever you want to call it

    Young, you don’t seem to understand what this blog is about or what the critique of Marxists in general is about. I don’t give a crap if some preacher said that the antifa knuckleheads were doing a good thing. Christian theology and Marxism are really quite distinct in their orientation. I hope that you keep this in mind during your interventions here.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 31, 2017 @ 8:39 pm

  28. Proyect — Point taken. I enjoyed reading this blog over the last 2 years for its cogent critique of the authoritarian leftists who support Assad, as well as its movie reviews, among other things. But I will abstain from reading it in the future, and I will pass on to others your words.

    Comment by d1122 — September 1, 2017 @ 12:22 am

  29. […] to Smear Bernie Sanders. Seriously. Hit by Hurricane Harvey While Still Feeling the Impact of Ike The Ugly Side of Antifa Is the Republican congress trying to block Mueller before he gets to them? 15 Turkish Security […]

    Pingback by Links 9/2/17 | Mike the Mad Biologist — September 2, 2017 @ 8:45 pm

  30. It astonishes me that anonymous beat-down artists, bullies, and egocentric macho confrontational poseurs like black bloc/antifa insist on portraying themselves as anti-authoritarian. This is perfectly fine as long as you obey their orders.

    The point of “resistance” is revolution, not giving beautiful experiences to parasites.

    Idiots.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — September 3, 2017 @ 11:52 am

  31. […] The revulsion to Antifa’s violence is also an indication of the paucity of trust Antifa has established with much of the wider, non-activist world. People want the white nationalist movement smashed into dust; that’s why they’re showing up by the thousands and the tens of thousands to protests against the Alt Right. That doesn’t mean they want to hand leadership over to a subcultural vanguardist movement that barks at them from behind masks and shields and threatens to beat those who disagree with them into submission. – Leighton Woodhouse, “The Ugly Side Of Antifa”, louisproyect.org, August 28, 2017 […]

    Pingback by On Antifa and Violent Protest | No I Has Heard — September 3, 2017 @ 3:49 pm

  32. This is nonsense. Your anti-antifa article is a pathetic defense of journalists and camera crews. Which you self-identify with, bringing along you documentary team to a punch up. The ‘innocent’ journalists you so empathize with also have other names, professional snitches, cops with cameras, ect.

    If you consider yourself a ‘marxist’ and are filming masked anarchists/communists who have already told you to stop, you really should expect to get a beating, you certainly deserve it.

    Comment by nah — September 19, 2017 @ 3:45 am

  33. Plus, I heard that a lot of the photographers were Jews so they deserved to be beaten particularly hard.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 19, 2017 @ 11:31 am


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