kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
It is all very well to say "if you are not with the [explicitly violent] antifascists, you're with the fascists" but what these explanations do not seem to include is actual detailed discussion of how or why I can operate on the assumption that these people won't decide that I'm the next target. "Because you're not a fascist!" Okay, right, no, try again. Try again. I have been told, by people still substantively respected and liked in my geographically local community, that being visibly autistic in public is oppressive. I want to know what the fuck system of rules you're working with that means I won't be deemed unacceptable and I won't be deemed an appropriate target.

"Try not being a fascist!"

Yeah, thanks, see above about "me being visibly disabled in public is oppressive". See every interaction I've ever had where my disabilities are an inconvenience to The Cause.

Try again.

I'm really not comfortable with the extent to which people seem to want to shout me down on this one, using that well-known abusive tactic of telling me that if I don't unquestioningly support them in spite of grave reservations rooted in, like, bare minimum historical literacy plus personal experience, I am all that is Bad and Evil.

I am struggling to articulate this any better because of the sheer visceral horror I'm experiencing at a lot of the rhetoric that's happening. But, like, if you want to engage with me on this -- and I am, very definitely, open to being talked to -- please consider starting from a point of "I see your concerns and they're valid, here's why I'm convinced", not "you're a bad person for having doubts".

If, however, you want to ask me how Very Dare I tone-police you on this, I request that you sit this one out.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-29 08:35 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
I think antifa is operating on the principle that there should be, and therefore there are, exactly two sides: them as want to kill you, me, and all we hold dear; people who oppose the first lot.

I DON'T think it's occurred to the willing-to-be-violent subset of the second lot that some of the objections to their violence—such as yours—are legit.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-29 08:37 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
(Wish DW and my tablet would play nice together)

And like. If punching a Nazi face will prevent that person from murdering someone, punch ALL the Nazis! But. ONLY the self-proclaimed Nazis. Which I HOPE is a metric all violence-willing antifa have in place but I admit to not actually having a clue.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-29 08:39 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
Sure would be nice if people generally admitted to the existence of nuance and multitudinous points of view, you know?

And who the fuck told you being autistic in public is oppressive? Fucking GODS I hate ableist bullshit.

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Date: 2017-08-29 08:50 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
Also! As You Know Bob, strict binaries are almost invariably bullshit!

And I gotta admit I would LIKE the fascist/antifa binary NOT to be bullshit? Because saying it isn't actually binary feels like granting permission to self-proclaimed nice people to just sit this shit out? (Elie Wiesel quote on whom silence supports goes here. I forget the exact words but I'm sure you're familiar.)

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CN: antisemitic violence

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Re: CN: antisemitic violence

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Date: 2017-08-29 08:52 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
Buuut if the...core antifa, let's say, are determined to alienate people fascists target, then it's hard to persist in the belief that there's only two groups here.

I have some thinking to do. Perhaps somewhere not in your public-post comments...

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Date: 2017-08-29 08:47 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
—but you're not saying they shouldn't be able to smoke full stop. You're observing that they, presented with the choice of "asthmatic folks at protests" and "people lighting up at protests", they're opting for the latter.

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Date: 2017-08-29 09:08 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
Right there with you.

I mean literally as things go on I have been dryly thinking of the saying "the enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy." :P

My biggest concern is that the fucking asshats really WILL do something fucking stupid. Because the reality is right now we don't need violence - we need the opposite. Because while that may not always be the case it is right now.

We need psychologically-weaponized non-violence, mind. But. We do not need a bunch of idiot nouveau-Marxists on a power-trip.
Edited Date: 2017-08-29 09:40 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2017-08-29 09:49 pm (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
Yeah. All of this and all of the comments. I bear witness.

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Date: 2017-08-30 01:30 am (UTC)
birke: (Default)
From: [personal profile] birke
I'm with you on this.

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Date: 2017-08-30 03:31 am (UTC)
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] staranise
I think a lot of people are antifa because they want to punch people and feel good about it, not because they actually believe that hegemonic violence is bad.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-30 06:10 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
See: my critique of a lot of dynamics of this shit everywhere, everywhen, and it not being actually about fixing anything, it being about finding a way to designate a particular chunk of people as "people about whom I do not have to give a fuck about harming and can thus use as my punching bags", whether literaly or figuratively.
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)
From: [personal profile] vass
It is all very well to say "if you are not with the [explicitly violent] antifascists, you're with the fascists" but what these explanations do not seem to include is actual detailed discussion of how or why I can operate on the assumption that these people won't decide that I'm the next target.

Yes this. And in addition to your disability concerns (which I share) there are of course Jewish concerns (as I know you know.) I haven't heard of an incident of antifa targeting Jewish people as Inherently Oppressive yet, but I'm sure I will. I'm sure it's already happening and I just haven't seen it cross my tweetfeed or dash yet.

And I read a tweet just last week in which some antifa was saying that if you criticise antifascist methodology at all then you're aligned with the nazis. That fucking terrifies me. Like, pants-shittingly terrified. As Emma Goldman probably thought was too basic to even state, if I can't criticise you I don't want to be part of your revolution.

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Date: 2017-08-30 05:31 am (UTC)
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)
From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid
It's really interesting to me how Antifa who were always a small and active part of anti-racist protests has suddenly come to mean everyone, everywhere, who opposes fascism, that than those who are prepared to get into physical altercations with their opponents.

I'm antifascist, but I wouldn't go so far as to call myself Antifa because I don't get up at the front of protests, preferring to be a nice white lady in the middle, on the occasions when work and health allow me to attend protests in the first place. But what I've seen over the years is there's a big difference between whose who stand up to violence from the right or fro the police, and those who are in it for the violence. I had major problems with a local Trot group in the 90s because they liked to come to all the protests, even those that were meant to be peaceful, and find someone to punch, often a public servant who worked for department whose actions were being protested against. It's probable that my scorn at trots in general is due to this particular local group. I have no doubt that some of these people are now self-described Antifa.

As some said on twitter, "Antifa" is the new "SJW" - a catchphrase for the right to use, but you see to be more concerned with how it's been taken up by a rallying cry by those on the left who have a "you're either for us or against us" and I do think this is a becoming an issue that needs to be addressed. Because as one contingent of the many who are all all resisting fascism and racism in various ways, I think Antifa tactics are useful. But they are not the only tactics, and not the only way, and I don't want those voices to drown out others.

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Date: 2017-08-30 09:52 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
I have no doubt that some of these people are now self-described Antifa.

I think in fact that the issue is that these people are becoming the vocal, tone-setting group in many corners. I am watching this happen, in various places, and also watching the definition of "fascist" slide from people like Spencer who have literally advocated genocide to Basically Anyone Whose Politics Aren't The Way The Person Yelling Thinks They Should Be.

And a lot, a very loud and emphatic lot, of "you are either totally fine with this or you are actually a fascist (or you're stupid or you're a liar or you're a coward)."

And what is NOT happening is any actual concerted response or pushback against this.

And that's terrifying.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-30 08:51 am (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
Yes, this.
<3

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Date: 2017-08-30 01:05 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I will be coming back to this because I am also struggling currently with the dichotomy between 'I know and respect some folks who self-ID as antifa and I don't actually disagree with a lot of what I see being coherently articulated by the few public antifa websites I am reasonably confident aren't fronts that I have actually read and I don't want to let fascism have the say on how the conversation works' and 'I am kinda scared by the rhetoric I see taking place and the contemplation of violence as a go-to tactic rather than something that comes up in a conversation around defense' and BUT BUT BUT. However, I am barely coming up with the energy for School Job, so coming back to this will likely be this weekend.

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Date: 2017-08-30 02:02 pm (UTC)
elf: Rainbow fist (Join the Impact)
From: [personal profile] elf
As long as antifa are defining "nazis we can/should punch" as "the ones marching under nazi and/or confederate flags and declaring that the 'white race' needs special protections," I think I'm fine with them.

When they move into "punch the people who declare those things away from public demonstrations," I'm more iffy.

When they move to "punch the people we believe are part of that movement, based on identifiers that have nothing to do with direct statements about the 'white race' and physical markers like flags," I think they've moved from "civil activism" and into "ordinary assault and battery." (Which doesn't mean I think the others aren't assault and battery; just that, there are times when assault and battery is a valid approach to a problem - details ideally to be sorted out by juries aware of nullification laws.)

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Very much my own thoughts here...

Date: 2017-08-30 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
I am tending to file a lot of recent unrest under "I wasn't there so I don't know what happened," and refraining from much comment. This may be a cop-out on my part. There are certainly a lot of pictures going around Twitter of alleged Antifa violence in one place or another that turn out to be from other protests, and not necessarily Antifa.

I don't trust any media source that attempts to portray all protesters as Antifa or all anti-fascism as violence. I feel like right now that's a more dangerous and likely problem than Antifa deciding people are fascists who actually aren't, BUT that doesn't mean the latter isn't a serious and immediate problem. Thank you for articulating it as such.

I don't think anyone should support Antifa, or any other group, without question. The world is just not that binary.

I think there are several problems; here are some of the ones I can articulate whilst thinking aloud:

1) Some Antifa are probably just going along to these protests because they want to punch someone and punching a fascist is kindof socially acceptable (for now), and there's no effective way to prevent this in the movement as it currently stands. I don't know how to change this, let alone instigate the kind of cultural change that would make in-person protests safer for the rest of us to attend.

2) Many people in the West have difficulty differentiating between fascism and the cultural trappings of Nazism. We've been conditioned by years of films etc that fascist=Nazi=German and the Allied forces were and are The Good Guys. This is unhelpful in recognising fascism when it isn't wearing jackboots and doing a goose step. But it's also unhelpful in talking about oppression, because oppression and fascism are not necessarily the same thing. My white privilege absolutely means I benefit from white supremacist cultures and systems, but it does not mean that I am myself a white supremacist. Where disability is concerned, everyone who has ever told me that I'm "oppressive" in some way actually meant that I am a nuisance, usually when the nuisance factor to me of not having needed accommodations was probably worse. Are there people who will jump from "nuisance" to "oppressive" to "fascist" faster than I can get away? Absolutely. Are they right? No. I hope that Antifa are better than this on actually identifying fascism; it doesnt seem to me that they're going out and punching random people and then calling them fascist. But they're humans, and you are absolutely right to be wary, because humans do make these category errors.

3) If we say "It's acceptable to punch fascists but only if they are marching in the streets wearing fascist insignia and shouting the fourteen words so we know for definitely sure they are fascists" then activists/resistance/protesters/Antifa are basically going to be running around after the (relatively small) subset of fascists who are going on these marches. This is... possibly not the most threatening group of fascists? Like, I'm more scared of May and Rees-Mogg than I am of the National Front in the immediate future.

4) I tend to see violence as a sign that communication has broken down very badly and the perpetrator(s) should go away and think of a better way of approaching whatever the problem is. It's a skills gap indicator more than anything else. Fascists see violence as a way of getting rid of me. I am not certain that anything other than violence will protect me from a sufficiently determined fascist. (This doesn't mean I believe that I should use violence.) Antifa, or some Antifa, recognise this discrepancy and decide to fight fire with fire; they aren't trying to communicate with the fascists, they just want them to not have power, or to stop being fascists. Sufficiently determined fascists see this as escalation rather than deterrent. Not only is it pretty useless to debate fascism, it's also useless to use insufficient force. (Again: this doesn't mean I think force is right.)

5) Even if we decide violence is okay in some cases, we can't tell what is the minimum sufficient violence. I'm going to assume here that more-than-minimum -- being more violent than absolutely necessary -- is undesirable, and not because of efficiency concerns. On a smaller scale this looks like "Is it all right to punch a fascist or will following them around with a sousaphone do the trick with less harm?" (which is actually a Very Complicated Question) but on a large scale it's... much more unpleasant than a punch, and turns into "how many fascists do we have to kill to stop fascism?" which is a question I remember exploring in highschool. I hoped then that it would remain theoretical for my entire lifetime. Ugh. I hope we aren't there yet, I really do. I think some Antifa are probably already there, in their minds, and that does worry me.

6) It's not fair that in the mainstream and/or tabloid media, police violence (for example) is overlooked or praised and self-defence by protesters is demonised (even when it's e.g. property damage, and not violent toward an actual person), but that is the media which we currently have and no amount of pointing out the double standard is going to change it. Insert long rant here about the continued outworkings of the Reformation (no, seriously, ask me about this sometime, it is fascinating).

I don't know if any of this helps at all.

Re: Very much my own thoughts here...

Date: 2017-08-30 09:16 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
3) If we say "It's acceptable to punch fascists but only if they are marching in the streets wearing fascist insignia and shouting the fourteen words so we know for definitely sure they are fascists" then activists/resistance/protesters/Antifa are basically going to be running around after the (relatively small) subset of fascists who are going on these marches. This is... possibly not the most threatening group of fascists? Like, I'm more scared of May and Rees-Mogg than I am of the National Front in the immediate future.


Nb: this seems to be collapsing two categories of action: punching and working against.

In this case the former is not metaphorical: what is being discussed is in fact issues of when it is totally morally and ethically acceptable to walk up to someone and punch them in the face. To use targeted, specific physical violence against another person.

So yes in terms of actually punching people, you would in fact be running around after the small subset of fascists/people/whatever you want to call them who actually go into the street and say, in as many words (as Spencer did) "I think the genocide of a kind of people is correct" or other words to the effect of explicit, direct affiliation with these violent genocidal policies. Those are the people it is clearly okay to actually physically attack.

This does not mean standing idly by and allowing any other kind of fascist or authoritarian to do whatever they like. This does not mean you don't, say:

- call the police/otherwise have them charged if appropriate (it often is)
- attempt to block their gatherings and activities
- attempt to deny them a platform
- call in any and all rules or regulations of various spaces against them
- work to have their non-physical attacks addressed in law
- ceaselessly educate others against them
- convene with others to provide protection in numbers when under actual physical threat from them
- convene with others to demonstrate the sheer number of people who think They Are Shit when they try to have rallies
- block their political careers
- any number of other things including shouting FUCK FASCISM on the internet a lot.

These are all things that one is free to do at any point!


But I think the collapsing of "opposing, even vocally and continually, fascist authoritarianism" and "actually physically attacking individuals" is in fact part of the problem here, tbh.

Re: Very much my own thoughts here...

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Re: Very much my own thoughts here...

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Re: Very much my own thoughts here...

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Stepping in Carefully

Date: 2017-08-30 06:19 pm (UTC)
wild_irises: (Phil Ochs)
From: [personal profile] wild_irises
I have been thinking about this for many hours now, and finally decided to try and weigh in, hoping I can be careful and respectful, and with respect also to all the previous commenters.

So let me start with what you explicitly asked for, which is true. I see your concerns and they are valid. And for myself, I am not convinced of anything regarding antifa.

I am convinced that whether you call them Nazis, fascists, white supremacists, or whatever, you can pretty much guarantee that they take a very hard-core ablist line: i.e., they want to see disabled people at the very best out of the running to help breed the master race, and often they are just as happy to see disabled people dead.

I also have recently written about how privileged white men can use ablism to their own ends in an academic setting, and may feel rather too free to oppose ablist rhetoric that limits them without acknowledging ablist behaviors and assumptions they may be espousing.

In other words, it's complicated.

As I understand "antifa" (and there's lots useful about this upthread), it is not an organized group but is a loose connection of various affinity groups and other clusters. I have absolutely no doubt that some of the people who identify as antifa are ablist; I certainly believe you when you say that you have been described as oppressive by people identifying as antifa.

I live in Oakland, California, and the local antifa group also has roots in neighboring Berkeley, which may well be the most disabled-aware community in the world, thanks to a combination of our climate, the Center for Independent Living, and more recently the Ed Roberts Campus. I am inclined to believe that most local antifa-identifying people are unlikely to subscribe to the ablist positions you describe, especially so directly and unambiguously. Like racism, ablism permeates the culture and affects us all, and I'm sure there is ablism in local antifa, but I suspect it is more subtle.

I was also very struck by my hero Dahlia Lithwick's article about the actual behavior of antifa people in Charlottesville.

I think what I am struggling to say is something like:

1) OF COURSE, you have to find your own level of comfort with whom you support. Nothing ever obliges you to support or work with anyone who cuts off communication or refuses to listen to thoughtful disagreement.

2) ablism is everywhere and all kinds of people use it to their (our) own ends;

3) #notallantifa, at least not all to the same degree; and

4) thanks for bringing such a thoughtful conversation into the open.

Re: Stepping in Carefully

From: [personal profile] wild_irises - Date: 2017-08-31 05:00 pm (UTC) - Expand

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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
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