“I think there’s blame on both sides.” said President Donald Trump, regarding the chaos that broke out between the “Alt–Right” and “Antifa” in Charlottesville, Virginia. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”
“There are two sides to every coin,” as the saying goes. We may feel that one side is ‘good’ and the other ‘bad,’ but there is often even some bad found in the good and good in the bad. And sometimes both sides are simultaneously good or bad, and in competition for the best or the worst. But what is the coin, and what are its sides?
In Charlottesville, where two opposing factions met in a bloody and contentious feud, America witnessed the major debut of millennial political radicalism. Though many were in attendance that had nothing to do with either side, the headliners were those who seem to carry very different views of the world: the Alt-Right and Antifa. Little is well understood amongst the populace regarding these contentious groups. But so much has already been said in both praise and criticism (mostly of the latter) that it would behoove us to give them both a proper analysis.
President Trump has expressed condemnation towards “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” So let’s examine these sides, whether they are coins of different molds and determine the merit, if any, to the President’s rebuke and the value of the groups themselves.
“Racist” is possibly the most shameful and widely abhorrent characterization a person can be given in the American society – and it is far more despicable when it’s true. After the violent outbreak in Virginia, which left one woman dead and the nation indignant, Americans on either side of the isle brazenly condemned the violence and bigotry of the Alt-Right. Senator Ted Cruz tweeted “I am saddened and disappointed by the hate on display this weekend in Charlottesville.” as well as Senator Burnie Sanders, tweeting “The violence in Charlottesville was caused by neo-Nazis and white supremacists attempting to spread their hateful and racist ideology.”
“Hateful and racist” fairly clearly quantify the moral deficiency of the Alt-Right, but who are they in their own words? Richard Spencer of altright.com has written a 20 point “meta-political manifesto for the Alt-Right movement” – though, I’m certain, more talented authors could have summed it up in certain four letter words.
Spencer contends that race is “the foundation of identity,” then establishes the “Aryan” peoples as the Alt-Right’s heritage and progeny. He regards the “ethno-state,” that is “racially or ethnically defined states” as both “legitimate and necessary.” He claims that “economic freedom is not an end in itself,” and that “all economic policies should serve the people of the nation.” He does, however regard “the natural world,” such as “national parks… wilderness… wildlife… farms and ranches,” as a legitimate end. He advocates for the reestablishment of “cities and towns” against the urban “car culture,” and suggests that “economic and political globalization… has been destructive to authentic cultures.”
By all means, this Alt-Right movement is a White-Nationalist faction of the Dixiecrat platform, hell-bent on securing their ethnic “existence and uniqueness” by waging “ideological war on those deconstructing European history and identity.”
So what does the “Alt” in Alt-Right mean? Certain individuals, groups and news outlets such as Breitbart News suggest that “alt” is an abbreviation for “alternative,” as in ‘the alternative to the traditional right-wing establishment.’ This is true insofar as it is in opposition to traditional American right-wing principles, namely “liberty and justice for all.” But the “alt” is a double entendre, as it is also the German word for “old,” as in the ‘old Brownshirt right.’ This constant allusion to the Aryan race (the ancient Indo-European moniker for the supposed “master-race.”), founded upon reactionary nationalism and hostility toward the free enterprise system, equate the Alt-Right to the National Socialists of old – that is: “Nazis.”
It should be noted, however, that though finding certain common ground with the traditional right (i.e. the conventional family, the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, etc.) these neo-Nazis are by no means “Right-Wing Conservatives.” In fact, the Alt-Right rejects vehemently to certain fundamental principles of American Conservatism, such as our founding “Judeo-Christian values,” that “all men are created equal,” privy to an “equal protection of the laws,” and “the commercial character of America.” These and many more draw a stanch contrast between the Conservative and the Alt-Right.
They fancy themselves American/White “Nationalists,” but their ideologies are the spawn of 20th Century European-reactionary thought, and thoroughly un-American. Their groundless claim to “nationalism” has led an unfortunate many to equate the patriotic-right to the racist, bigoted, homophobic, what have you, Alt-Right – much like equating stream water to sewage. They are indeed white supremacists, positing all social and political power to a white collective and abandoning the principle of western Individualism.
They are the afterbirth of Hitlarian philosophy. They carry with them the stench of Third-Reich “WELTANSCHAUUNG” (outlook on the world). Thus, if we are to best understand the perceptions of Richard Spencer and his companions regarding the United States, we need look only to the words of Adolf Hitler himself:
In North America, where the population is prevalently Teutonic [Aryan], and where those elements intermingled with the inferior race only to a very small degree, we have a quality of mankind and a civilization which are different from those of Central and South America. In these latter countries the immigrants–who mainly belonged to the Latin races–mated with the aborigines, sometimes to a very large extent indeed. In this case we have a clear and decisive example of the effect produced by the mixture of races. But in North America the Teutonic element, which has kept its racial stock pure and did not mix it with any other racial stock, has come to dominate the American Continent and will remain master of it as long as that element does not fall a victim to the habit of adulterating its blood.
Fascism is “a political philosophy, movement, or regime… that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” This would include such groups as the National Socialists, the Fascisti, and yes, the Alt-Right. Most Americans reject such an ideology of hatred and bigotry, and would refer to themselves as being “anti-fascists.” But one group has taken this narrative as their title: “Antifa.”
Antifa paints itself as a radical leftist movement, consisting mostly of young political activists affirmed to eradicate the nation of intolerant fascists. This narrative has won over the hearts of many folks on the left who perceive Antifa as a counter-fascist, peace seeking progressive organization.
Author Mark Bray, who backs Antifa’s more vociferous measures, has written a historical account and manifesto of the movement in Antifa: the Anti-Fascist Handbook – though a more common manifesto comes to mind.
Here is what we do know:
- Antifa presents itself as an “anti-fascist,” “anti-racist,” “anti-homophobic,” “anti-capitalist,” anti-etcetera counter-culture.
- Antifa is predominantly socialist/anarchist, thus the banners of red and black flags draping over each other.
- Antifa is a black-clad militant group ready to use violence to silence voices or opinions deemed fascist; and “argue that after the horrors of chattel slavery and the Holocaust, physical violence against white supremacists is both ethically justifiable and strategically effective.”
After the sadistic outbreak in Charlottesville where Antifa contended with the Alt-Right, certain progressives and media types began comparing Antifa to WWII American Soldiers. CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Brian Fallon both tweeted out photos of D-Day, where Americans attacked the Nazi army in Normandy, saying “Let’s not forget: Anti-Fascists disrupting a large gathering of white supremacists…” and “also confronted the Nazis without a permit.” Even Canadian entrepreneur, Scott Gilmore joined in with “Alt-left, violently coming at the alt-right, circa 1944.”
Most of those fighting the white supremacists in Charlottesville were doing so because they rightly despise vile racism like we all should. But not all of them acted so nobly. Yet the incongruous homage paid to Antifa was met with waves of fury and indignation. Why? If they are indeed anti-Fascist, weren’t the comparisons between the “Greatest Generation” and these militant millennials founded on fact? Or perhaps those who found these tweets utterly abhorrent understood Antifa for their tactics and traits.
On August 27 in Berkeley, California, hundreds of violent Antifa activists viciously attacked “a larger crowd of around 2,000 that had marched peacefully throughout the sunny afternoon for a “Rally Against Hate” gathering.” Many of the right-wing protesters were beaten down with sticks, poles and shields with the words “no hate” panted on them. Video was taken of a journalist being bludgeoned and his camera stolen and broken. Another man was ambushed, lying on the ground while protesters kicked, punched and battered him with a flagpole, merely for appearing to be Alt-Right. It became to vicious that the police were order to “stand down” so as not to exacerbate the situation.
But this in not their first such act. “In February, 150 Antifa members smashed windows and set fires on campus at the UC Berkeley in protest of a speech by right-wing media personality Milo Yiannopoulos.” And back in Charlottesville, while the Alt-Right was receiving all the blame from those like Sen. Sanders, “Police say, ‘Both sides showed up for a fight.’”
If this is what the Antifa movement really is, a radical left movement hiding behind its more mainstream progressive counterparts, then it is the height of disrespect to compare its actions to that of the Greatest Generation.
And, just as the Alt-Right is not Conservative, Antifa is the antithesis of Liberal. The liberal says, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Antifa calls anyone they disagree with a “Nazi,” then chants “death to fascists.” The liberal believes that in individual justice, the citizen is supreme and deserves an impartial trial. Antifa demands social justice, that the collective is to be exalted above the individual. The liberal stands for economic and political liberty. Antifa marches for an autocratic leviathan of coercion and redistribution of wealth.
In fact, the only difference between Antifa and the Alt-Right is the issue of race. The former favors class and the latter favors nation. The former believes that society is based on income percentile; the latter is based on the color of your skin. The former calls for the downfall of the American establishment and to be replaced by Social-Anarchism; the latter wants the same, but National Socialism in the end.
“Anti-Fascist” may be their preferred nomenclature, but some might call them neo-Fascists. They preach against bigotry and hatred, only to be found bigots and malevolent themselves. Their ideology is a festering landfill of Mao, Mussolini, Hitler and more.
Their “Political Correctness”: “Where do correct ideas come from? Do they drop from the skies? No. Are they innate in the mind? No. They come from social practice and from it alone. They come from three kinds of social practice: the struggle for production, the class struggle and scientific experiment.” – Mao Zedong
Their fascist-like “Blackshirt” tactics: “I declare….in front of the Italian people……that I alone assume the political, moral and historic responsibility for everything that has happened. Italy wants peace and quiet, work and calm. I will give these things with love if possible and with force if necessary.” – Benito Mussolini
Their collectivism: “Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity.” – Benito Mussolini
Their socialism: “[The National Government’s] salvation can only be effected within the scope of general economic policy. The National Government is determined to find a far-reaching solution to this problem. It recognizes its historical task of supporting and promoting the millions of German workers in their struggle for their rights to exist. As Chancellor and National Socialist, I feel allied to them as the former companions of my youth.” – Adolf Hitler
These and many other features lay sound enough grounds to determine the Anti-Fascist Action movement is a neo-Fascist crusade that favors class and victimhood over the individual.
There are two sides to every coin. The Alt-Right and Antifa are two sides of the same coin, with tails where their heads should be.
But how should we respond to these domestic terrorists? We, the Conservatives and the Progressives, the lovers of liberty, the defenders of freedom, WE THE PEOPLE must let them speak. We must let them expose themselves. We must allow them the same measure of freedom as we intend for ourselves. Certainly, we must protect ourselves and demand our government do the same; but can not use their own tactics against them. They cannot and should not be silenced.
Freedom is not always pleasant. These are the evils that can arise within a free state when decency and personal accountability are laid aside. But it surely beats the alternative. It is far better to live in a free state with a cancer or two than the state these vial clusters propose: the coercive, unjust, leviathan state. Let the cancer eat itself! If we are to maintain our blessings of freedom, we must reject these ideologies of hatred and malice and embrace the goodness of America that is known throughout the world… but let them speak!
The coin is tossed, now let it fall.