Social Question

Demosthenes's avatar

Should the Democrats embrace Antifa or distance themselves from it?

Asked by Demosthenes (11262points) 1 month ago

From one perspective, the Democrats have already embraced Antifa, downplaying their violence and pushing the narrative of the “mostly peaceful” protests. Yet overnight there were violent anti-Biden protests in Portland and other cities. It’s clear that Antifa and other far-leftists do not support the Democratic establishment. Should the Democrats try to cater to them more or should they distance themselves from them? Will becoming more left-wing help Democrats or help Republicans (by pushing people away from the Democrats)?

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35 Answers

hello321's avatar

You’re asking if the Democrats should be antifascist or fascist. And the framing you’re creating here is one that is solely based on optics. Should the Dems turn towards fascism in order to not offend people who support the Republican party (a right-wing racist and xenophobic party that is lousy with fascists).

Good stuff.

Demosthenes's avatar

@hello321 Yes, yes, I know, I’m quite amusing. You obviously think Antifa truly is anti-fascist because it’s in their name and hey, names always reflect perfectly what something is; if you’re against the American Family Association, it must be because you hate families, right?

hello321's avatar

Go on. Tell me about this “Antifa” organization that you know so much about. Where is their office? I’d like to call the manager and have a word with him/her.

Demosthenes's avatar

Why is that an argument? “Antifa isn’t organized therefore they shouldn’t even be discussed”. I knew that was going to come up. It’s the argument you guys always present when Antifa is talked about: “there’s no office so there’s nothing to talk about”. Pretty sure there’s no “QAnon” office either, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a thing and doesn’t have influence.

hello321's avatar

@Demosthenes: “Antifa isn’t organized therefore they shouldn’t even be discussed”.

Nobody would ever say that.

You pulled a “I hope nobody notices that I’m going to compare an organization with a tendency or shared ideology to a Christian organization” in hopes that nobody will notice.

I’m antifascist. My ideology is that fascism can’t be tolerated. But wait @hello321 – isn’t that intolerant? Of-fucking-course. That is because tolerance of intolerance = intolerance.

I’m also antiracist. Loose terms might get slapped on me re: that position. You guys on the alt-right might label me “BLM”. So, I’m “Antifa” and “BLM” because I’m antifascist and antiracist.

No go on with your question about how the Democrats should not be antifascist (or antiracist) so they don’t offend fascists (or racists).

Demosthenes's avatar

Not seeing how that invalidates my point. The argument is that Antifa is called “antifascist” therefore they are antifascist. Various people use the term “Antifa” to describe themselves; that doesn’t mean they are all antifascist. The name doesn’t guarantee purity of ideology or intent. Yes, I think Democrats should be opposed to fascism. That is not the same thing as saying that they should condone the violence and the rioting that’s occurred in Portland and other cities in the name of “Antifa”. Otherwise you’re going to have to explain to me how vandalizing local businesses opposes fascism.

hello321's avatar

@Demosthenes: “The argument is that Antifa is called “antifascist” therefore they are antifascist.”

Oh, for shits sake. I never made that argument. Antifa is a label people use for people who are..umm… antifascist. Now you’re going to define that to mean people who are fascist.

How about you don’t use the term at all if words aren’t going to mean anything.

@Demosthenes: “The name doesn’t guarantee purity of ideology or intent.”

Absolutely. So, why don’t you discuss actions or ideas that you dislike?

Why don’t you actually do some research and find out what the hell these people were doing in Portland? What do they say their motivation was?

More importantly – you might want to ask yourself why you are approaching the concept of fascism/antifascism via optics rather than principles.

hello321's avatar

Here is some local article on the stuff happening (not even from the demonstrator’s position or interviewing them). People were assembling outside ICE. The police said people were “throwing rocks, eggs, and vandalizing the building”. The police hit the crowd with tear gas and smoke. People were arrested.

And you’re going to come here as “maddeningly moderate” and talk about the bad optics of supporting people out there protesting ICE? Are you kidding me? Talk about stripping words of their meaning. “Moderate” now = alt-right?

Demosthenes's avatar

@hello321 “Antifa” is not synonymous with “antifascist”. It is a movement that engages in certain protests and actions. Not everyone who opposes fascism identifies with the Antifa movement. That is why I refuse to use the terms interchangeably.

I have discussed actions that I dislike, namely the vandalization of small businesses, looting, fighting in the streets. I’ve said many times I dislike those things. I also cannot ignore optics because it can help or hurt a cause. I think we had this discussion before: if there is a goal that I am working toward (e.g. the normalization of homosexuality), then I do not support things that hurt that goal and present LGBT activists as intolerant bullies (e.g. harassing a bakery that won’t make a cake for a same-sex wedding). Now, I don’t particularly care about the Democratic party or its future. But there is a perception that they support violence and rioting from the left and I’m wondering is that a bad thing? You’re saying no, if the cause is a good one (in this case, opposing ICE) then it would behove them to support it.

hello321's avatar

@Demosthenes – You seem to want to be specific in your word choice re: antifascists and antifa. But are very loose when it comes to everything else.

@Demosthenes: “I have discussed actions that I dislike, namely the vandalization of small businesses, looting, fighting in the streets.”

You are assigning these actions to “Antifa”.

@Demosthenes: “I also cannot ignore optics because it can help or hurt a cause.”

There is something to be said re: tactics, and how there are many different types that are required. And how many things explode out of conditions and are not tactics per se, but are the result of certain conditions (riots, for example).

That said, I really wish you could see how you are framing this and what “side” is subject to critique. It’s not the literal fascist org that is funded by your tax dollars (ICE). It’s a handful of people out there expressing rage at the existence of ICE. You’re suddenly a movement tactical analyst whose only input is for antifascists to sit the fuck down or go do some peaceful performance art.

You’re on the wrong side, skippy. And you think you’re the reasonable voice in the middle.

@Demosthenes: “Now, I don’t particularly care about the Democratic party or its future.”

Neither do I. And I don’t think they’ve “embraced” antifascists. The antifascists and people who take direct action have been around a lot longer than Trump.

@Demosthenes: “But there is a perception that they support violence and rioting from the left and I’m wondering is that a bad thing?”

1. If there is a perception that they support violence and rioting from the left, that’s on you.

2. Don’t adopt a right-wing fascist framework and attempt to dig yourself out by appeasement.

3. ICE and USDHS shouldn’t exist. If you have a solution to resolving this, let us know!

4. Stop describing action in the street as “violent” when you really mean property destruction. Because the police are out there cracking heads and spraying chemical agents on people. That is violence. ICE is out there terrorizing families and causing literal violence.

Would I like the Democrats to embrace antifa? No. I’d like them to be antifascist. They hold the power. So, giving lip service to people out there risking their lives would be horseshit. They are protesting against the Democrats.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The primary utility of Antifa is not to Democrats but exactly the opposite. Antifa is the excuse proffered for those so lazy to think that the left is just as bigoted and biased overall as their supposed counterparts on the right. To equate movements opposed to fascists comparable in violence to the requirements of fascists is ludicrous on its face, and far from an isolated example of conservative nonsense propaganda. The only thing that allies Antifa with Democrats is the stated aversion of BOTH to fascism. This being the case, it is difficult to conclude that any party decrying opposition to fascists not allied with said fascists. This is merely an extension of the claptrap “good people on both sides” bullshit.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The primary utility of Antifa is not to Democrats but exactly the opposite. Antifa is the excuse proffered for those so lazy to think that the left is just as bigoted and biased overall as their supposed counterparts on the right. To equate movements opposed to fascists comparable in violence to the requirements of fascists is ludicrous on its face, and far from an isolated example of conservative nonsense propaganda. The only thing that allies Antifa with Democrats is the stated aversion of BOTH to fascism. This being the case, it is difficult to conclude that any party decrying opposition to fascists not allied with said fascists. This is merely an extension of the claptrap “good people on both sides” bullshit. I do not condone the beating of fascists, but I deny that when it happens, there is no equivalence to systematic eradication of the jews.

JLeslie's avatar

I distance myself from anyone who thinks violence, setting fires, and rioting is ok. I have friends who identify as antifa, as anti-fascists, and of course I am against fascism too, but taking on the name antifa I think is a mistake because the extreme groups are using that label. I think the Democrats as a party would be smart to distance themselves from “antifa” while still being clear we are against fascism. I doubt it will come up a lot for a while now that Biden is president.

An analogy would be a friend of mine back in the 80’s and 90’s would not call herself pro-life even though she was against abortion. She didn’t want to associate herself with pro-life. because they were harassing women in front of abortion clinics, blowing up clinics, and killing doctors who were performing abortions.

Another analogy is Southerners trying to hold onto the Confederate flag because they feel it is the flag of the South, and they are proud Southerners. They don’t want to see that the flag is adopted by the White Supremacists let alone that it has always represented fighting for slavery and leaving the Union. If they are goo people who are not racist then they have to let go of that flag or they are associated with WS Nazis whether they want to think so or not.

kritiper's avatar

Embrace it? Like some Republicans do?

kritiper's avatar

. (Still having problems…)

Demosthenes's avatar

@hello321 Yes, I am assigning those actions to Antifa because people who identify with the Antifa movement carry out those actions.

If the Democrats don’t support it, why was the establishment-friendly media doing nothing but downplaying the violence and praising the “mostly peaceful” protests? If they’re supposedly so opposed to these threatening leftists, why didn’t they come out more forcefully against them?

Who says I support ICE? Just because I condemn these hipsters doesn’t mean I defend ICE. I can condemn these organizations while also condemning the tactics of people who make the places they live in shittier. No, I don’t really care what happens to an ICE office, but let’s not act like only very specific “fascist” targets are harmed during these riots.

hello321's avatar

I’m apparently talking to a wall.

Demosthenes's avatar

@hello321 Nah, you’re just a dick.

hello321's avatar

@Demosthenes: “Nah, you’re just a dick.”

Well that is true.

Kropotkin's avatar

The Democrat establishment is itself fascistic anyway. The Democrat Party is one of war-mongering, oligarchy, and of capital. It’s racist, classist, and imperialistic.

The Democrats don’t embrace or cater to either “Antifa” or anti-fascism.

There’s no copyright or trademark on ‘Antifa’ as far as I’m aware, so anyone is free to affliate with the label. Kurdish militia have used the Antifa flag, for example.

There are networks of left-wing activists who organise informally and horizontally, and as autonomous groups. And in recent years many have adopted the banner and label “Antifa”. It used to be Anti-racist Action or ‘ARA’, but ‘Antifa’ has been widely adopted, presumably because it’s catchier for the internet age.

“Antifa” is more a thing now and gets a lot more attention because it’s the subject of right-wing conspiracy theories (and anti-semitic ones with George Soros supposedly funding it all) and the focus of media sensationalism, with much hysteria and moral panic about “violent leftists, burning cars and looting”.

Of course, you won’t hear about the peaceful things done by left-wing and anti-fascist activists, like soup kitchens, book fairs, donation drives, and peaceful protest, because those things are boring and don’t make fun news.

You probably won’t hear that they actively suppress fascist and far-right activity, because that’s boring, and the sort of thing you’d expect the police to be doing—a police with fascists and white-supremacists, often instigating riots, deliberately escalating confrontations with left-wing groups of any kind, and who use far more aggression and force against left-wing protestors than against anyone else, and who have a very long history of using agent provocateurs and infiltration.

But you read some article about some such, so Antifa bad. They’re “hipsters”, and you know all about the tactics that you know you dislike so much.

JLeslie's avatar

@Kropotkin _ Of course, you won’t hear about the peaceful things done by left-wing and anti-fascist activists, like soup kitchens, book fairs, donation drives, and peaceful protest, because those things are boring and don’t make fun news._

Are they identifying as Antifa?

JLeslie's avatar

@Kropotkin Of course, you won’t hear about the peaceful things done by left-wing and anti-fascist activists, like soup kitchens, book fairs, donation drives, and peaceful protest, because those things are boring and don’t make fun news.

Are they identifying as Antifa?

JLeslie's avatar

@Kropotkin Of course, you won’t hear about the peaceful things done by left-wing and anti-fascist activists, like soup kitchens, book fairs, donation drives, and peaceful protest, because those things are boring and don’t make fun news.

Are they identifying as Antifa?

JLeslie's avatar

@Kropotkin Nowhere I’ve seen. Can you give me an example? A link? I don’t say that because I don’t believe you, I’m just wondering who and where.

misfit's avatar

^You don’t see because I’m assuming you don’t live in a progressive city? It’s not like these people are promoting themselves saying “hey, we’re anti-fascists and we’re here to help.” I know dozens of people in my city who are anti-fascist and are out supporting those in our community who need it. I’m anti-fascist.

JLeslie's avatar

@misfit Like I said above I am separating anti-fascist from antifa.

It doesn’t matter if liberal cities around the country use the term antifa and interpret it as loving peaceful people, it matters how it is widely interpreted if you want to win states like FL, GA, MI, OH, PA, all possible if you don’t give them something to worry about.

It’s like Bernie identifying as a Democratic Socialist. I knew that second Florida would be almost impossible for him. Then the next 5 years Democrats still trying to explain Socialism. Democrats need to take a few marketing classes like a branding class and some lessons in knowing your target market.

hello321's avatar

good christ

gorillapaws's avatar

Antifa has about as many members as the Jackson Hole Bowling League. It’s a boogy-man organization that is being used to justify authoritarianism and false equivalency with radical right extremists.

misfit's avatar

Sure, let’s use our words to appease fascists to win votes.

<eye roll>

Anti-fascists kicked Trump out of office. We don’t need to appease redneck racists.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s not appeasing fascists. I’m talking about the average American and especially the Americans who fled socialism for safety and freedom in America.

A friend of mine said to me she is tired of being attacked for having an education and a brain in her head. I tried to be delicate while explainBig that leaders need to know their audience if they want to influence them. Sometimes that means using simpler vocabulary and understanding how a message is received. That is the “smart” thing.

Kropotkin's avatar

” . . .especially the Americans who fled socialism for safety and freedom in America.”

LOL

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie “especially the Americans who fled socialism for safety and freedom in America.”

Is that why Bernie beat Biden with a 3:1 margin with latino voters in the Nevada Primary? Basing your national campaign around catering to the expat Cuban vote is ridiculous. No matter how far right you move the right will still characterize the Democrat of being a Communist and suppressing the enthusiasm and turnout of your base. The better strategy is to pursue policies that have 70% approval instead of fighting over the remaining 30% to try to prove how conservative you are…

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws Nevada is primarily Mexicans and other Central American countries. Mexico is a Democracy and a Capitalist country like many Central American countries.

Cuba and Venezuela are examples that affect Florida heavily, and Florida is an important state regarding electoral votes, we luckily overcame it this time. It’s not just Cubans and Venezuelans who are concerned about it. Other Latin Americans are influenced by it, because their friends can speak to what happened and their news sources report on Venezuela more than your English language news sources do.

My neighbor has parents who left Hungary many years ago, and socialism for them is an evil term. My neighbor still voted for Biden, because she can sort the information, but many can’t, and Biden is not running as a socialist.

I’m not saying America shouldn’t have social policies, I’m talking about how you package it, or call it.

WHY is it so important to jellies to use the word socialist? Why not just talk about each policy, Medicare, healthcare, social security, and have the possibility of a bigger buy in from the American people? Florida voted for Trump and for a $15 minimum wage.

Why do you use the word expat regarding Cubans? Is every immigrant an expat? You would use that to describe my husband? My grandfather? Even though they both are Americans? I use expat for people temporarily working in another country. I haven’t heard it the way you used it. I guess it is a politer word than immigrant?

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