I am completely anti-fascist. My grandfather spent years in a Fascist PoW camp, though he lived to tell the tale. Today I live in a city that was occupied by Fascists who then dragged away tens of thousands of our citizens to torturous deaths in death camps.
I am firmly in favor of antifa and everything it stands for.
However, somehow the translation from anti-fascist to antifa abstracted the etymology to the point that the opposition to Fascism part was lost. For example, a persistent slander is that Antifa means “Anti First Amendment”.
And to be honest I really think that for a lot of people, “Fascism” is a synonym for “authoritarianism” or even just “a powerful government”, and not a very specific political movement with extremely coherent goals, or otherwise such lying words as “ecofascism” wouldn’t exist.
I’ve been musing about this for years, but I finally came up with a new branding for exactly the same groups and people and concerns as antifa — People’s Defense.
The phrase “people’s defense” is as free as any two word name is in 2021! There’s an abandoned political fundraising site, and that seems to be it.
- The word “People” makes it clear what’s going on — a group to defend the People (against e.g. fascists and lawless police forces)
- And “People” has the feeling of diversity, and a Socialist/Leftist flavor.
- “Anti” has a negative nature; “People” is more inclusive and attractive
- “Defense” makes the non-pacifist nature clear, while still emphasizing the reactive nature of any violence. “We won’t start anything, but we will stop everything if we have to.”
- It’s also very hard to warp this name. The initials are PD — which most people associate with Police Department. So you won’t see Fascists with banners saying “Fuck you, PD!”
- Opponents will be forced to spell it out. “People’s Defense”. Well, it really doesn’t sound so great to be against the “people’s defense,” now does it? That puts you against “people”…
- A new name lets the good guys reclaim the full anti-fascist label in debate by refusing to say “antifa” until the other person says “fascist”.
- “Are you antifa? “We’re the People’s Defense. We defend people from unlawful violence.” “Well, are you sympathetic with antifa?” “I’m not sure, what do you mean by that word?” [bloviation] “Can you be specific?” and then keep going until they are forced to say, “Anti-fascist” and then say, “We are against fascism in every way.”
- You can start using “people’s defense” right now in speech and people will understand exactly what you mean. “At the last demo, a people’s defense group protected demonstrators from the police teargas.”
- And the final argument is this again — “People’s Defense” is exactly what is going on here, it is a true description. When it comes down to it, in the United States particularly, the People are under assault from many sides, not just Fascism.
Q: Why don’t the police arrest white supremacists?
A: For the same reason that Batman never plays tennis with Bruce Wayne. (That and the cape.)