"WW2 Vets Are the Original Anti-Fa"


#1

Out of the entire fiasco following the protests at Charlottesville, this has been the only thing that has irritated me to the point of feeling a need to initiate an outward complaint about it. I do so because it involves such a mind-numbing, almost catatonic lack of self-awareness and a complete disregard for historical coherency. Because unlike taking down monuments that glorify a cause, this involves outright distortion of our country’s history. Because it directly disparages WW2 veterans themselves, whom I have zero doubt would rather have a beer with ex-confederates than the utterly shameless cretins who are trying to co-opt their sacrifice for their political gain.

Let’s start with a short, very basic history lesson. The United States didn’t enter WW2 until December 7th, 1941, when it was directly attacked by the Axis member Japan at Pearl Harbor. In his 1940 re-election campaign Roosevelt had publicly stated that our involvement would be limited to aid, saying, “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again; your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.” American’s polled almost unanimously against allowing refugees from Europe into the United States. Throughout the war, thousands of Jews would be turned back to Europe in their boats because they were suspected of being ‘German spies’. Over a hundred thousand ‘Japs’ would be put in internment camps by the federal government for the same suspicions. According to an internal survey conducted in May, 1942- which you can read here- there was super-majority support for racial segregation within the U.S. military. Americans from this era would poll in majority favor of segregation and then against interracial marriage for decades to come. This is the “Greatest Generation” that would supposedly be first in line to “bash the fash” today.

My late great-grandfather, a WW2 veteran, confided in my family that he was astonished that a “nigger could become president” upon the election of Obama. He openly hated, bitterly, the kinds of left-wing activists that want ‘racist’ statues to be taken down, in spite of the fact he was a northerner. And those left-wing activists openly hated him, his generation, and almost everything he represented as a white man from that era. You can find endless posts on social media about how happy many people are about ‘old white men’ like him finally dying out, and people just like him got maced and assaulted at Trump rallies during the election. He went out and put his life on the line to fight against the Axis to prevent the world from falling under what he saw as tyranny, and he died feeling like this country was increasingly no longer something he could recognize as America.

In WW2 American soldiers fought for the idea of freedom enshrined in the constitution. Beating up up peaceful demonstrators protesting the removal of a monument, because they’re “Nazis”, is not a part of that ideal. To co-opt their name in support of violating their first amendment rights is repugnant. To equate landing at Normandy with being involved in a petty riot to suppress public demonstration is fucking shameful.


#2

That freedom is threatened by a growing ultra-nationalist movement that would have those freedoms removed for certain people.


#3

No, it’s not, nothing about that rally threatened freedom, and it certainly didn’t threaten constitutional freedom as defined in the 1940’s. Whether or not that statue is up or down has zero affect on anyone’s constitutional freedoms.

Nothing about stopping that rally stopped that ultra-nationalist movement from growing. Take a moment to actually examine the situation instead of viscerally feeling it. Your “side” or movement would have been far, far better off letting people see spooky nazi rallies, letting them be terrified, and taking that fear to the polls when we actually decide who gets put into power in this country. Instead you fuel the narrative of victimization that the far-right has been making gains with for years. The only saving grace for the left was from a far-right guy driving a car into that crowd, something nobody could predict in advance.

Plenty of communist and anarchist groups initiated street fights with fascists throughout the 1920’s and 30’s, and if anything all it did was worsen the situation by eroding rule of law and proving the existence of a violent far-left. Violent opposition within domestic politics works when the people you’re opposing are bringing violence to you. When the KKK are showing up to beat up minorities, violent opposition works and is applauded. When people are showing up to peacefully demonstrate, it’s an entirely different scenario. There is next to zero historical evidence to suggest that anti-fa’s tactics are anything other than emotional indulgence. It didn’t work in Spain. It didn’t work in Italy. It didn’t work in Wiemar Germany. God only knows why people believe it will suddenly work here. It’s incredibly easy to see how the liberal center and social norms is what holds countries together, and that when that center is eroded by political violence the whole thing goes to shit and opens the door for dictatorships and bloody revolution. If the goal is to spiral down to the point where we tilt far-right or far-left, then anti-fa and the alt-right are doing a fine job of helping each-other reach that point. Regardless of the way we tilt, more freedom is the probably the least likely outcome.


#4

It wasn’t about that statue, I really dont think either side cared, the statue was just an excuse to go out and rally

The idea has never been to change their minds, at this point it’s to actively fight against it, physically if necessary.

A lot of people in the far left believe in accelerationism.

I just think a lot of you are misunderstanding anti-fa, at this point it’s just emotional responses. I mean, you get it at least, but many don’t. They aren’t trying to “convince” anyone.


#5

Even if they are symbols in a wider culture war, the statues were the explicit point of tension that the rally was organized around. Regardless, it was a public demonstration. They weren’t marching on federal buildings and trying to seize power.

Yes I am aware that is the idea. I am telling you that there is no evidence to suggest that you “actively fighting it” is actually having any impact on stopping it. People “actively fought” fascists in Wiemar Germany. It didn’t stop Hitler from coming to power. There’s a big difference between “actively fighting”, and “actively winning”.

And they’re morons with a death-wish. The Russians and Chinese laugh.


#6

To be fair, I always read those memes as attempts to refute the idea that fighting against Nazis made one as bad as them by applying the same reasoning to WWII and showing how absurd the result was.


#7

Fighting the Nazi state after it had crushed a dozen nations and was marching on the world is nowhere near the same thing as fighting a coalition of people from the far-right, a minority of them openly wielding Nazi flags, to keep them from publicly demonstrating over the removal of a monument.

I would understand if there was evidence that this “fighting Nazis” you and others like to meme about had any historical evidence for it’s success to back it up, but it doesn’t. It’s childish and harmful. You can meme as much as you want about Paul Joseph Watson’s retarded “so-called tolerant left” bit, but street violence from the left really does sympathize people to the authoritarian right, and has been for years. The scenes of riots and looting occurring around BLM protests were hugely beneficial to the movement behind Trump. Cruz’s popularity swung downward in the primaries after he blamed Trump for the violence outside his rallies because republicans at large saw it as being the fault of groups like Anti-Fa.

There are only a few things that truly terrify me because of the body counts they can rack up. Body counts that indicate the ease with which people can be swept up against their will into them. Civil war is one of them. It’s much easier to get political violence rolling than it is to stop it. It’s all the easier because, as hopefully the recent election illuminated, there are powerful entities abroad that are eager to push the Jenga blocks out from under us.


#8

So are we just going to wait until they are strong enough to do so?

At this point it’s actively fight or let it take hold. Of course I’d rather there be no fighting, but the movement isn’t stopping.

Sure, but it still addresses your criticism.


#9

How about picking your battles instead of acting overemotional and aiding your enemies.
If violence inherently translated into political power India would still be a British colony. Public perception is paramount.

There is no historical evidence you are doing anything but aiding the people you claim to oppose.
I don’t see what is hard to grasp here. I’ve tried to find arguments in support of what you’re talking about for a while and have simply found nothing. This mentality seems to be motivated by emotional reasoning rather than objective analysis. Communist v Fascist street battles were a norm of Weimar Germany, and it only helped Nazis spread fear over the ‘Red Menace’. In Spain escalating all the way to civil war ended in Republican defeat.

Only as much as someone saying they want to die addresses criticism of them hanging themselves.


#10

Speaking of the alt-right movement in general, if history and their words are to be trusted, they will commit genocide if they achieve full power. So forgive me if I see nothing wrong with taking preemptive measures to stop them.

If you’re talking about using counter-violence as a means to fight them, then I’d say it’s a bit of a grey area. There are certainly situations historically where violence has greatly moved forward political movements (slave rebellions, Women’s Suffrage, the Civil Rights movement), but it certainly hasn’t been the sole component of those movements.


#11

Speaking to history, your “preemptive measures” show no hope of stopping them from achieving power, and there is reason to believe it in fact helps them to do so.

The majority of the successes in the civil rights movement and women’s suffrage movements involved provoking violence against demonstrators as a means of garnering public sympathy, which then translated into electoral successes and reform. As far as I can tell, at no point did “fighting nazis” or “fighting the klan” help with the campaign to get the federal government to intervene against Jim Crow. The continuation of revolutionary violence long after the Civil Rights Act and desegregation a la Malcolm X and the riots following the assassination of MLK are largely attributed to helping Nixon get elected upon his “Law and Order” campaign, the result of which was the beginning of the war on drugs and mass incarceration.

Slave revolts are iffy. Most of them end in bloody reprisals against the former master-class, and that results in terrifying everyone abroad, and not really in a good way. The Haitian slave revolt is often cited as a reason Southerners were willing to resort to civil war to prevent change in the social order, the reason being at heart they were terrified of losing control of the slaves who outnumbered them. Nat Turner’s rebellion would further fuel this, and both were used to argue that losing control over blacks would result in being massacred by them. On the other hand, chattel slavery is seen almost universally as a very obvious form of direct oppression and violence that justifies revolt. If I was leading a slave rebellion in the South I would seek to immediately turned North and escape, but it’s pretty obvious why someone in that situation would want revenge paid in blood.


#12

That’s fair enough. Extremism can only help the other side appear more moderate and appealing. I myself am not sure if counterviolence is ultimately hurting or helping the cause of antifascists. I’d rather see more attempts at de-escalation and grassroots activism with violence used either in strict self-defense or as a last resort.

That said, the memes are still fun.


#13

I’d need a citation for who was the idiot who said that. It’s pretty clear that Antifaschistiche Aktion started in 1932, formed by the Communist Party of Germany after the Roter Frontkämpferbund, the paramilitary organization of the Communist Party, was banned by the SPD — yet the Sturmabteilung was still causing havoc. Despite that, Antifa was composed by social democrats and christian progressives too.


#14

Antifa groups in the US are mostly an outlier. Since Antifascist Action isn’t strictly a group but a flat organization of self-associated individuals, there is no organizational head to coordinate the movement. Antifa in Germany is almost unrecognizible from their US counterparts. See the Dresden Nazifrei (Dresden nazi-free) campaign as a reference.


#15

I’ve seen a few people on social media make the comparison to defend Antifa. I don’t think they are being to literal though, rather responding to the liberal claim that violence shouldn’t be used, even against Nazism, with the argument that that reasoning would mean the US never would have got involved in WWI. This is obviously dumb to take literally as of course the US did not have ‘ending racism’ on their agenda when they got involved. However, I do think there is some truth in the argument as a vast majority do see WWII as a great moment in history when the liberal allies crushed a racist and authoritarian regime for a greater good; so reminding most people that if that’s what you want to think about US involvement in WWII, then why should it be any different for antifa in Charlottesville?


#16

Because the acts of the former involved defending the set of liberal principles, such as freedom of speech and right to assembly, that Antifa directly oppose. Also, because they’re co-opting the sacrifice of their struggle for a cause that few of them would ever had agreed with, and in doing so disrespecting their memory. The fact they have a propagandized version of history in their head doesn’t change that.


#17

I don’t really think this is what America was fighting for in the second world war. I think you may have a fairly propagandised version of history in your head too.

But anyway I agree with you, antifa are not comparable to the US military in 1945, I was just saying that I think people were making the comparison to highlight people’s double standard on the idea of using violence against racist intolerant beliefs, and not to actually say that the US military was in any way standing for the same things as antifa.


#18

I think it is. That’s the reason our military takes oaths to the constitution. Hitler was fully portrayed as a petty tyrant seeking world domination. So yes, they are the ideals that American soldiers in WW2 enlisted and fought upon.

Outside of that liberal ideal set, you have the interests of empire, although I would argue that those liberal ideals often fully enable the imperialism.

My complaints were with people making that comparison using WWII veterans.


#19

It actually had the opposite effect of increasing support for Fascism. An anti-fascist assassination attempt provided Mussolini the excuse to initiate the totalitarian state for instance.