Not everyone to the right of Karl Marx is fascist
Re: “My family is ‘antifa’” (March 8)
So, the letter-writer’s family opposes fascism. That’s great. So does mine. Given the background-reveal, I get it; the person fears that fascism may resurge and target people of that background — not to mention other minorities — again. That is a reasonable fear.
What isn’t a reasonable fear, is believing that everyone to the right of Karl Marx is a secret fascist that’s just itching to round up minorities and exterminate them. Given the extremely bad-faith insinuations that myself and Mr. Foster are secretly fascists — when the letter-writer quotes someone that says fascists oppose free speech, but myself and Mr. Foster are proponents of free speech and the letter-writer thinks that “free speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences”; a contradiction if I ever saw one plus it undermines the letter-writer’s own point — then it strays into downright paranoia. This is akin to the “communists under every bed” phenomenon of the Cold War that leftists love to laugh about as delusional these days, only now it’s “fascists under every bed” and the Left is taking it as seriously as the Right took the former situation decades ago. By the way, the amount of Jewish ancestry in my family is not zero, so yeah, nice try but no cigar.
Perry Foster didn’t say he was speaking for “all” law-abiding Canadians, by the way. The word “all” was quite literally missing from his sentence. Yeah, we get it, he doesn’t speak for you. Methinks the letter-writer doth protest too much.
The problem here, is that “Antifa” has more than one usage and meaning, and some gatherings of left-leaning/communist individuals that have engaged in riots — who by their actions haven’t actually saved a single minority life — have claimed the title. Because of this unfair conflation between them, and people who have fought fascism by war and other means in the past, and the simplistic reasoning “If you’re against Antifa, you’re a fascist”, the term “fascist” has been redefined and is now used to describe anybody to the right of Karl Marx, even if they hold no anti-minority beliefs. The fallacy of the excluded middle/false dilemma is in play here; as well as the fallacy of equivocation — having more than one definition of “fascism” and then pretending to use the definition in common parlance while secretly using a very different definition and pretending it has the same impact. Personally, I wouldn’t blame “Antifa”, anyway. It’s too slippery a term.
I am absolutely open to the possibility that there are black-clad protestors only pretending to be left wing or acting in its name and are secretly fascists, which makes it all the more imperative that their actions be condemned when they hurt the very people they claim to help. I can think of no more problematic an image than a white, trust-fund privileged college student destroying a Black neighborhood while claiming to be saving Black lives. I don’t know what to make of individuals who profess left-wing values who do things like assault journalists for reporting on their actions, or attack various people for allegedly being “Nazis” when there is no proof of any such beliefs or affiliation on the other person’s part. People on the Left calling a gay Vietnamese man a Nazi, or a fascist, makes about as much sense as making the same accusation against an Orthodox Jew, which is no sense at all. All I know is, when political violence results in innocent victims without any damage to the opponent they claim to be fighting against, and shutting down speech they don’t agree with that isn’t even close to being fascist in nature, I have to wonder. I’ve also noticed a lot of antisemitism coming from the left in the past few decades, just saying.
The letter-writer claims to have encountered people espousing fascist principles in real life that never declared affiliation to fascism. Maybe it would help if the letter-writer stated what specific views these alleged secret fascists were advocating for? Otherwise, the vagueness of the account plus the tendency of the letter-writer to misrepresent what others have said, and to hold different definitions of words than the general public, makes the claim a little suspect.
I absolutely support the use of violence in defense (and self-defence) of life and liberty for all. I oppose totalitarianism in all its forms, whether fascist or communist. I support the right to a fair trial and freedom of speech. I absolutely abhor bigotry in all its forms, and I can’t understand why someone would hate another person for the color of their skin or any other variance, especially a variance that a person has no control over. Hatred is something I do not keep in my heart — it’s like taking poison and expecting some other person to die. So yeah, I’m literally the opposite of a fascist.
When I said violence in regards to political protest was a nuanced discussion, I was stating a fact — that depending on the situation, sometimes violence isn’t always the best or most practical solution. However, I always support the use of force to stop an active, violent mob of bigots from committing a massacre. This is what I’m really saying. If the letter-writer is trying to detect bigotry via “dog-whistle”, just remember that dogs are the ones that hear dog whistles, and if someone is “hearing” bigotry in mundane ordinary statements when I can’t, that probably means they’re the bigot.
April J. Gibson