It’s been a few weeks now since white supremacist and terrorist James Fields weaponized a vehicle to plow through a crowd of protesters, killing civil rights activist Heather Heyer. Since then, Fields has been decried as a terrorist by many commentators in the media, not to mention high ranking Republicans like Jeff Sessions and Marco Rubio who Tweeted that Trump should describe events as a “terror attack by white supremacists.”
For a moment, the right and the left were united in condemnation of terrorism by white supremacists. This was a moment in which the entire country could have seen the left for what it is: the more principled of two parties protesting, and a victim of terror. The country would have been united in condemnation of vicious racism. Sadly, this is a narrative being crowded out by far-right counter-arguments that focus on the actions of Antifa.
Today, the media focus has changed. Instead, thanks to Antifa, the entire left is being discredited as a
bunch of jack-booted thugs. Stories of Antifa shutting down free speech on college campuses make the headlines as pictures circulate of armies of people dressed in black threaten violence and death. How would people like that run government?
Noam Chomsky was correct in his assessment when he told The Independent’s Maya Oppenheim that “Antifa is a major gift to the right.” From the article:
“As for Antifa, it’s a minuscule fringe of the Left, just as its predecessors were… It’s a major gift to the right, including the militant right, who are exuberant.”
“What they do is often wrong in principle – like blocking talks – and [the movement] is generally self-destructive,” the 88-year-old told the conservative paper.
He added: “When confrontation shifts to the arena of violence, it’s the toughest and most brutal who win – and we know who that is. That’s quite apart from the opportunity costs – the loss of the opportunity for education, organizing, and serious and constructive activism.”
Who argue with that?
Had Antifa not responded with violence, the ENTIRE media focus would now be on white supremacists murdering protesters. Bloggers and journalists have already labelled James Fields’ sickening attack an act of terrorism, but thanks to Antifa’s violence that news is being drowned out, a counter-narrative emerging where the left are just as fascistic as the right.
There was an opportunity there to reframe white supremacy as terrorism, now the right can frame the “left” as terrorists too. I ask you Antifa, how do you win a national argument from that position?
Thanks to Antifa, the young lady who died seems to have died in vain. Now, any political stance by the “left” can easily be dismissed as coming from violent people who support “left wing” terror. That’ll go for anything, if you want to protest an illegal war in the future, your opinion can easily be dismissed. They’ll say “why should we listen to the left? They are jack-booted thugs, Stalinists and terrorists themselves.” Then FOX and CNN will roll images of armed, masked protesters over a backdrop of scary music.
In the modern era, public perception and messaging must be astutely managed. You can’t do that by giving the mainstream media exactly the footage they need to portray you as a threat to civilization. In that context Antifa is frustratingly naive and counterproductive.
We live in a world where the right is in firm control of the media and government. They are constantly looking for ways to discredit the left. Not only is It incredibly foolhardy and short-sighted to believe that you can engage in violence and be portrayed as the morally correct side in the end, but looking at the bigger picture, you can’t defeat the opposition by becoming the opposition.
Just as Hillary thought she could beat Trump at his own game and lost, the left cannot beat the right by playing by the right’s rules; that’s where they own the game!
What the left needs to do is be the better person. The better vision. And the better communicator.
Not with heart-warming messages like this;
Spoken like a true sociopath whoever you are. Thanks for contributing! Maybe if I go around slaughtering people while yelling that they are all, according to my supreme judgement, “vile ignorant scum” I can make the world a better place. Great suggestion! Why didn’t Jesus think of that?
In all seriousness,
Not only must the left be better, it must inspire people. It must provide a vision of a better society and prove through their actions and choices that they are the better people. People want hope and they want to see integrity. They want a vision of safe, happy and moral society. They want to see a plan to achieve that.
The political left ignores that at their peril.
As for Antifa, I’m sorry, but you are self-defeating. If you believe yourselves entitled to shut down others’ free speech, then guess what: anyone is entitled to use violence to shut you down too. I don’t want to live in a society like that. I want to live in a society where we all enjoy free speech. If you hate someone else’s opinion, then you exercise your free speech, prove them wrong, and make a public example of them. Trust me. Victory achieved that way is far more satisfying than cracking some stranger over the head.
Honestly, if you adopt the mentality of your enemy, then how are you different from your enemy?
Look at the picture to the left. You’re not going to win anyone over with messaging like that. Just replace the word “fascist” with “fag” or “Jew” or “Muslim” or “traitor” or whatever you like. This is a message that says let’s ignore democracy and human rights and use lethal violence to solve our problems.
As that is most certainly the road to hell, I have no choice but to be loudly, unequivocally opposed.
So to you leftist psuedo-Stalins out there, please take note. I’m not threatening to kill you all. I’m just pointing out how stupid, counterproductive and ridiculous you all are in the hopes that you are reduced to becoming the butt of a public joke . See how that works?
Antifa has the militancy and energy to make real change. With a little intellectual maturity and cultural sophistication they could really shake things up, and earn a little respect while their at it. Let’s hope they get the message.