Are Antifa Really ‘Nazis’? By Peter West
This article by Professor Gottfried argues that the antifa are literally Nazis. That was something I had seen made metaphorically, but not seriously argued for before.
“The antifascist left, about which I have just finished writing a book, resembles the Nazis in a striking way, particularly when these earlier advocates of violence were on their way to power. I am drawing this parallel while being fully aware of the qualifications that I am constrained to offer. Yes, I am aware that, unlike the Nazis, American Antifa members and German Antifaschisten loathe their own race and nation and are doing everything possible to weaken them. They also favor filling their country with third world immigrants, preferably non-Christian, to change its inherited cultural and ethnic character. Further, these rioters and subversives are working to bring shame on once-celebrated national heroes and call for tearing down their statues and banishing national literatures. As I write, Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) have just torn down a statue of George Washington in Portland, Oregon. Elsewhere, Confederate memorial monuments, statues of Columbus, and other tributes to the onetime heroes of my youth are being smashed or defaced. If all these things are true, then how do antifascists resemble those whom they claim to be combating?
First off, political movements often imitate those that they purport to stand in opposition to. The Nazis borrowed heavily from Stalin’s Communist regime. Concentration camps, a totalitarian state structure, ubiquitous secret police, and the cult of the leader were all aspects of the Soviet system that Hitler borrowed from his murderous Soviet competitor. Although he might have taken the leadership principle from the Italian Duce and then expanded it according to his own sinister designs, other traits of Hitler’s rule, including genocide, as historian Robert Conquest showed, were previewed by the Soviets. Hannah Arendt, a pioneer in the study of totalitarianism, has argued that Stalin experimented with anti-Semitism during his long rule. He thought it was an instrument in Hitler’s ideological toolbox that he too might put to good effect. The fact that Antifa claims to be against fascism, and particularly Nazism, certainly does not mean it cannot adopt some of its features from real Nazis. Second, today’s Antifa and its German counterpart are not derived from traditional Marxist ideology, which appeals to a “science of socialism.” Antifa has no rational or even pseudo-rational plans to reconstruct society, but focuses on venting destructive energy against hate targets. In this tendency, Antifa and its riotous allies seem much more like Nazis than communists or generic Marxists. They illustrate what German philosopher Hermann Rauschning regarded as an essential characteristic of the Nazis, which was a “revolution of nihilism” that presumably would go on and on until it eradicated all inherited moral institutions and marks of human civility.
Having read Mark Bray, Alexander Reid Ross, and other Antifa theorists, it is hard for me to see anything positive they are engaged in beyond targeting enemies and calling for their destruction. Author Keith Preston, who has devoted his life to studying anarchist movements, is at a loss to find a coherent anarchist vision in the pamphlets and manifestos of Antifa activists. Like the Nazis, who incited violence against Jews, socialists, clericalists, and other supposed enemies of the German people, Antifa militants spread their mayhem to new targets daily, striking out against an ever-expanding collection of “fascist” enemies. Even more striking is the way in which both the Nazis and Antifa have built on a vast support system that gave their unruly behavior social acceptability. The German political sociologist Claus Wolfschlag has observed that German Antifaschisten, who provide the model for their American counterpart, represent no threat to those who run the German government. The anti-national left and left-center who exercise power do not stay up nights worrying that leftist rioters will devastate their assemblies or offices. The ones whom the violent protesters unleash their hate on are “the isolated and powerless.” These are people whom the Antifaschisten accuse of belonging to the nationalist right, or being insufficiently enthusiastic about admitting more Muslim migrants into Germany. Antifaschisten speak for those in high places politically and socioeconomically, while holding down and terrifying the antidemocratic troublemakers among the average population.
In the U.S., according to polls by Rasmussen Reports, Antifa enjoys openly declared support from more than 20 percent of the population. In addition, no Democratic member of Congress will lay a glove on our urban rioters without a multitude of qualifying statements. Progressive Democrats, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, freely raise money for Antifa activities, while Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison proudly posed in a picture with Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. Meanwhile, corporations supply funds for bailing out Antifa and BLM rioters, assuming municipal governments in New York City, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis do not let them out quickly enough. PepsiCo, Goldman-Sachs, Citibank, and the National Football League are just a few of the many corporate sponsors pampering those who are wreaking havoc. Meanwhile, Google, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media giants censor and de-platform those who may be calling too much attention to what is being done by supposedly peaceful antifascists.”
Both movements are essentially nihilistic concerned with destruction of supposed enemies who are beyond the pale and reduced by them to non-human form. This is very early days yet, and as the moment grows in power, provided it does not threaten the top-level elites, who will always be protected by thugs with guns, the antifa will be free to become the new warlords of a decayed America. At some point though, they will challenge the top-level elites, especially when the thugs with guns think that they can do better taking the elites stuff rather than protecting them.