A Statement from RefuseFascism.org Responding to Attacks on Antifa

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September 9, 2017

A controversy has erupted around Antifa, a broad grouping of people who are anti-fascist and anti-racist, many of whom are associated with anarchism. After torch-wielding white supremacists and Nazis brutalized and even murdered in Charlottesville, Donald Trump argued that Antifa and other counter-protesters were just as responsible for violence and hate. In reality, Antifa and others played a courageous role in defending people against the brutal violence threatened and inflicted by fascists.  Since then, the media has reported that the Department of Homeland Security has classified Antifa’s activities as “domestic terrorist violence.”  Nancy Pelosi has called for the arrest and prosecution of members of Antifa. The mayor of Berkeley has called for them to be classified as a “gang.” And some voices of the so-called “progressive left” have joined in condemning and distancing from Antifa.

In this context, RefuseFascism.org wants to make the following critical points of orientation:

[1] There is NO moral “equivalence” between those who are seeking to impose white supremacy and fascism on society and those who are fighting against this nightmare. Fascist forces, both within and outside of the government, are seeking to impose an order that not only strengthens white supremacy, misogyny, and all forms of bigotry, but actually returns society to the days of open white supremacy and Jim Crow segregation, anti-Semitism and Nazism, violent and repressive misogyny, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, and global destruction through wars and environmental devastation. Their acts and rhetoric correspond to this vision and these goals. All this is happening in a 21st Century context, with the Trump/Pence regime seizing the power to enact and consolidate this vision as quickly as possible. Those standing up against these horrific views and aims and are on the right side of history. One side is right. One side is wrong. There is no equivalency.

[2] To stand against injustice at this moment requires firmly understanding that the attacks against “Antifa” are designed to intimidate, suppress, and divide all opposition to fascism. The threats and attacks on Antifa and anyone else standing up against fascism, especially attempts by the state to brand them as “terrorist” or put them on watchlists, must be opposed. Criminalizing protest and resistance is an essential part of the consolidation of fascism which is fast underway under the Trump/Pence Regime. Given the horrific assault on Muslims, women, immigrants, LGBTQ, Black people, science, the environment, civil liberties, and people around the world by this regime, it is more important than ever that people have the right to stand up to fascism, to protest and to resist. Differences over tactics, where they exist, must not divide the people’s resistance. Distancing and effectively joining in the threats and attack by this fascist regime, and other government authorities, is not only morally bankrupt, it also accommodates and quickly leads to collaboration with fascism. We have learned from Nazi Germany that allowing one group to be criminalized only strengthens the momentum of fascism as it targets group after group.

[3] Refuse Fascism does not initiate violence.  We oppose violence against the people and among the people, but we uphold people’s fundamental and legal right to self-defense. We welcome and actively seek to involve people who come from a great diversity of views on many big questions, including when and whether any form of violence is ever legitimate. This is a great strength as it will take millions of people working and struggling together to stop a fascist America by driving out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime. The efforts we undertake together consist of nonviolent political protest.

[4] Some on “the left” have claimed that the actions of Antifa and others who confront fascist thugs directly are a “gift to the right” by “provoking and legitimizing” repression and assault by fascists. This is wrong. This argument rests on a wrong assessment of the danger we face. We face a fascist regime that is tearing up democratic norms and civil rights. The unleashing of organized fascist thugs to intimidate and terrorize is integral to the consolidation of fascism. It is a key part of how resistance is pacified into compliance. This process is well underway and it is not caused by – nor is it a response to – militant protest against it. This process will not stop if militant resistance stops.  Rather, the full imposition of the most brutal and terroristic forms of fascism in America will continue to advance unless and until millions come together to drive the fascist Trump/Pence Regime from power.

[5] Arguments toward moral equivalency must not be allowed to become a rationale for “good people” to stand aside. Paralysis has far-reaching consequences. Silence is complicity, and not making a choice because of a fear of going outside of normal channels and possibly encountering violence allows the horrors of fascism to advance. Those who truly abhor all forms of violence need to honestly ask themselves what they are doing to stand up to the brutal violence of fascism. Staying on the fence with a wait and see attitude is also not a morally neutral position; it is to watch the march of fascism toward genocide and the destruction of the planet, with no more outrage than a shrug of the shoulder. There is no perfectly safe place to wage this struggle. There may be safety for some in staying home and remaining ambivalent, but that comes at a great cost to one’s own humanity.

*** ** * ** ***

Every day, the urgency for people to come together from a diversity of perspectives to refuse to accept a fascist America by driving out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime grows! Join us in getting organized – building the broadest unity possible – to take to the streets starting Nov 4th in a sustained movement that grows day after day and night after night, from many thousands to millions, not stopping until our demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

In this effort, we must Unite All Who Can Be United and Defeat Attempts to “Divide and Conquer”:

Don’t allow the ruling forces, or any other force, to divide us or pit us against each other. Don’t fall for “divide and conquer” schemes and divisive actions, reject and rise above petty disputes and sectarian squabbles—reach out BROADLY to UNITE ALL WHO CAN BE UNITED, from different perspectives and viewpoints, around the great unifying objective of driving out, through massive, sustained political mobilization, this regime which has already done such great harm and which poses a grave threat to humanity.

This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

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