The Difference Between Tolerating Nazis, and What Americans Really Need from Antifa

When I've asked today's anti-fascists to slow down and talk to people, they reply, you don't talk to Nazis. But we're not talking about David Duke, a provably racist cop, or any public figure. Antifa is throwing bricks and punches, swinging sticks and the label Nazi, in a blind rage. That blindness is what we need to talk about.


If you want to use the internet to grow strong human bonds with new people, you have to make extra efforts. Things like body language and tone of voice -- the universal languages -- get replaced. In their place, many of us have resorted to judging each other based on consistency of issue-based passions and choices of words. But vocabulary and exposure to different perspectives are two areas where humans tend to diverge, and the places where our paths and perspectives diverge tends to be based on matters of pure chance -- the ideas conveyed during one's upbringing are a hell of a drug, and all that.

Antifa is about making change, not making friends. I get that. I've been a part of that counterculture my entire adult life. One thing I know is that Antifa brooks the full spectrum of humanity, from thugs with little-or-no impulse control, to philosophers who actively shape the world day to day with their writings, speeches, and leadership.

There are the followers: the people who embody postmodern deconstructionism, either knowingly or unknowingly, because nihilism is adaptive from a game theory standpoint and completely compatible with the picture of competition we've always considered to be civilized. And there are the leaders: people who teach and innovate upon postmodern deconstructionism, because they know we can't have a revolution without breaking a large number of people of their ordinary worldview.

We live in a complex world full of sophisticated people who aren't afraid to argue with you. So, if you're a person who plans to say we ought to go in a large group to a free speech rally and punch the people organizing it because your groupthink says those people are nazis, you need to deal with the arguments you will encounter when making that particular rallying call.

Antifa, if you won't do that, then we have a new, serious problem: Antifa.

If you do, then it is possible, in the course of an honest exchange with people your groupthink has told you is toxic, that you may come to agree with something that hasn't been approved by the groupthink. That might sound sarcastic, but that is what Antifa leaders tell their followers, and what their followers then tell each other.

Here is the real version of what's possible.

Continuing to do what you've been doing, will only produce an accelerated version of the results of doing nothing at all. Your actions are the solution to the deep state's biggest problem: the American picture of civil rights. They've been eroding and removing those steadily for a few decades, using useful idiots with low-effort degrees from legit universities and diploma mills alike, who make warped versions of legit demands. That's the slow erosion of doing nothing. Your actions create a much larger number of people willing to consider the removal of our rights.

I hope this is constructive.
I hope this is constructive.
I hope this is constructive.
I hope this is constructive.

The comic above is a public domain work. It is a reply/retort to this comic by @LeftistFoxbutt on Twitter. I acknowledge using art from @LeftistFoxbutt's work to compose my retort.

I realize Antifa has a warped view of our rights at the moment -- that American civil rights, such as the right to free speech, are what permits hate to exist. Deep down, I think everyone knows that's just an abandonment of using words honestly. When thugs argue that people should be disenfranchised en masse, what they're really saying is that they want to destroy a lie that's so big nobody can see past it.

Before the corporate media stole the phrase "fake news," for decades, countercultures grew around the understanding that we are subject to a comprehensive effort to control our perceptions of reality. There is a wool pulled over our eyes by the deep state and its corporate tools. In order to weave reality into its narrative, the elite lies about us -- you, me, and everyone else. They lie about average people so that we'll be more afraid of average people than we are of the friendly authority who protects us from our foul nature. They lie even more about anyone who challenges them. Every group who spends any time seeing past the wool and trying to do something about it, spends its time being ignored, its time being demonized, and its time being painted as heroes.

Because of that, one thing we need is for Antifa to have a much higher standard of validation than the corporate media's willingness to go along with your narrative.

Antifa has waited a long time to be viable. It grew into a real threat for the power elite: the idea that one should break the law if it seems like it's the only way to stop one's own empire from doing unspeakable evil. It was pure, for some people, because it was only a flag and a vague idea -- it could be whatever they pictured as heroic and preemptive and anti-fascist. It was pure for other people because it was a scholarly pursuit -- it was like a chemical formula they were refining, and people were building a real culture out of that.

After the results of each primary, no matter who won the Oval Office in 2016, America was going to be angry. And although some loyal Democrats don't understand this yet, the classical Antifa, the legit Antifa, would probably have redoubled its efforts to rise even if Hillary had won. They'd definitely do their best to rise under Trump. America is just too far in that direction now, and Washington DC is almost at the periphery of that process now.

The Pentagon went to a number of American universities and thinktanks to gather data and tactics about quelling a popular uprising in the US in 2012-13. You might never have heard of Antifa before recently, but even back in the 1990s, and increasingly since, you couldn't go to a university campus with any competent approach at answering those questions without becoming aware of Antifa and its message. And so it's clear that from that perspective, Antifa had to be either destroyed, rendered neutral, or, their favorite tactic, made useful.

But how could anti-fascists become useful to a fascist deep state? That's the next thing we need from you. You need to review what COINTELPRO, the FBI's so-called Counter-Intelligence Program, was, in full detail. You need to see its tactics and the unreal history that played out in the public eye as a result of its comprehensive manipulation of left activists. Because their top goal was to make left activists behave in the public eye in ways that were reprehensible. Not to make it seem like it -- that would only help the masses understand the difference between what they're told, and reality.

How did they do that? They paid beautiful, charismatic, sometimes-educated people to join you. These people were able to find resources, or people who had them. They always had something to say, either in public or privately. They were edgy. They thought of the movement, in its written format, as too weak-willed. And they weren't worried about killing bad people. They were hardcore, and it was hard to escape their logic, even if only because they talked over your head, intimidated you, kept you buzzed, or seduced you.

And if you didn't go along, they manipulated other people to exclude you. Misunderstandings would explode overnight into a ban against speaking to unpersons. Either to build militant sentiment for purposes of corrupting the movement, or by manipulating other actors such as the KKK, the outcast's life itself sometimes became forefeit. Meanwhile, the FBI would build flimsy cases and perform news propaganda to prepare the populace for the inevitable deadly raid. The movements real adherents, frustrated and demoralized by acts of infiltration, would crumble under the sheer confusion first, and then the bullets.

FBI was told to quit that by the Senate, but I think it's almost common wisdom that such proclamations won't be tolerated as more than a speed bump to the deep state's priority of controlling mass opinion.

So that's another thing we need from Antifa. We need you not to provoke your own destruction by playing into the hands of those manipulating us all, because a lot of you have major potential. If you die, that's almost a purge of whole bodies of information necessary for progress, and anyone else who knows it, won't know what to do next, after such an event. We barely do already.

I can promise you there are many asks ahead much bigger than these. But ultimately every action sets an example, and we need you helping.

There's a unique window of opportunity right now. Everyone who is actively political, is demonized. It sucks, and that's the opportunity. Everyone wants a version of this argument that makes sense. Everyone wants their horizons broadened because the only alternative to the corporate silo is one's choice of narrow ideological silo; and all those have been poisoned.

The natural result, then, was already underway. Occupy, Anonymous, and other manifestations represented a rejection of mediated political relationships and a return to letting people show you who they were before you got too hung up on their words.

The only thing left was to destroy the commons. That's where you, and the people reacting to you, come in.

Online communities, for all their potential for fostering and protecting toxic silos, need to remain a part of our toolkit for real relationships, even though it's much more difficult. Unfortunately, too often, when I've made the case to those online who sympathize with Antifa,

When was the last time someone drove a car through a protest in America, before the rise of this current Antifa? That's how much the 4chan/Reddit incarnation of Antifa has affected national politics.

What, did you think the corporate media was working alone? Monkey see, monkey do. Remember the OK symbol? Triple parenthesis? 4chan is probably the world's best volunteer thinktank for COINTELPRO, and where Reddit suffers a gap in direct destructive actions, it makes it up by being such a good echo chamber.

We need you to stop acting like 4chan sockpuppets with fists and bricks, and come at these issues like adults -- adults who accept they've been manipulated.

We need you to do this before America is manipulated to start advocating you go to detention camps, or worse.

Antifa, America needs you to do your equivalent of getting some great head and haing a really good spa day. Then we need you to cry. You've made some horrible mistakes. We all have. We need you to process that, but then we need you to forgive yourself, because, ultimately, it was just a few assaults and attempted manslaughters (and a staggering amount of trying to get people killed by helping the media dehumanize, like, everybody).

Then we need you to remember your original goals, and try something new. Something pro-human.

Please hurry.

Because, until you're ready to see the difference between someone who thinks differently than you, and the profile your groupthink associates with that disagreement, you're just an increasingly violent group who's off the deep end. We have too many of those already.

© 2019 Nathan Hawks