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Nov 9, 21

Against the Snakes of Political Moderation and Centrism

Our latest submission comes from an anonymous comrade in the Balkans and is a critique of so-called “Horseshoe Theory” — the pernicious fallacy that the so-called extreme left and extreme right are somehow alike or equivalent. This dangerous doctrine is not only beloved of Western politicians, who originated it, but also favored by the unprecedentedly powerful and wealthy oligarchs of Big Tech. It’s no coincidence that IGD Worldwide was suspended and banned three times from Facebook before we even launched.

Over and over again we hear that the world is as divided as ever. Many of the talking heads repeating this suggest that we meet in the middle, meaning meet in the middle of absolute freedom and absolute fascism. To compromise between the oppressed and the oppressor: what type of solution is this? Do you suggest to the bullied student and the bully to resolve their conflict by settling on half their lunch money everyday?

Last year Facebook helped to perpetuate an already dangerous political trend begun by Western politicians, equating anything “radical” as one in the same:

Alongside groups openly committed to genocidal white supremacy, which constitute a very real threat to Black and Indigenous communities, as well as other people of color, Facebook also shut down the pages of numerous antifascist, anti-capitalist news, organizing, and information sites. The move follows a pattern now well-established by the Trump administration — and unchallenged by most every mainstream media outlet — that draws indefensible false equivalences between organized, racist fascists, and the antifascists who vigorously oppose them.

The Intercept

For many years in the USA, the FBI declared the #1 domestic terror threat was the Animal and Earth Liberation Fronts, informal and decentralized clandestine groups that have never inflicted any physical injury as a means of resistance– an approach that is among their defining guidelines.

This was decided nine years after Timothy McVeigh was influenced by the Turner Diaries to indiscriminately murder 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing. Millions, if not billions of dollars in the USA has been invested in targeting and terrorizing defenders of animals and the environment, Black liberationists, anarchists and other political movements who advocate for freedom from oppression.

Now– at least since the 2017 ‘Unite the Right’ rally and the January 6th ‘Stop the Steal’ rally– we are told that the FBI has finally begun paying attention to the extreme right. But we can still clearly see that even when a supposed “anti-extremist” policy is put into practice, it still overwhelmingly and disproportionately targets leftists and anarchists. Contrast the prosecution and punishment of right wing “extremists” versus individuals arrested during the George Floyd uprising in the summer of 2020.

Few incidents capture the true face of this manipulative “both-sides” notion as when Trump, following the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, VA by a neo-nazi, said on television that there were “very fine people on both sides.” Many of the same people in the USA and abroad who already have fallen into this “horseshoe theory” trap used by the moderate and centrist political elite of the world were shocked by his statement, but it was only a further development of the logic that anything outside the accepted norms is somehow equal to anything else.

We see another example of the dynamic in Israel’s recent delegation of six NGOs as terrorist organizations. The convenient logic of this “anti-extremism” approach is applied regardless of its absurdity.

Another notable example would be the prosecution of Golden Dawn in Greece by the supposedly ‘moderate’ New Democracy administration under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

After a five year trial, this neo-nazi organization in Greece that held seats in both domestic and European Union parliament was deemed a criminal organization.

There was joy from the left and liberal establishment of Greece when the ruling was declared. However this followed and helped further pave the way forward for an informal war declared on anarchists, immigrants, and all deemed excluded by the right (yet polite) status quo. Golden Dawn was a heinous organization of scum whom terrorized immigrants in the streets and conducted various brutal fascist acts, from assaults and murders of immigrants that never made the headlines to firebombing refugee camps and holding anti-muslim pork BBQs beside them. The assassination of anti-fascist rapper Killah P was likely the reason for the trial existing in the first place.

In less then a year some of those sentenced have already been released, but this is not the reason we mention the case. While we don’t care if they rot and die in prison or rot and die of Covid in the streets, we discuss Golden Dawn because their prosecution was a show trial by New Democracy to announce to the world that Greece has settled for the center.

We are supposed to be relieved that Golden Dawn has been “broken,” but pogroms towards immigrants and refugees and the prosecution and repression of anarchists in Greece has since been happening on a scale that exceeds anything Golden Dawn would have been capable of at a grassroots level.

As this is written, New Democracy is starving refugees inside concentration camps, coordinating border procedures to informally drown refugees in the Mediterranean, and instituting an array of new judicial measures to declare anarchists as terrorists and create a new national standard for punishment. But hey, they are polite, believe in climate change, and said Golden Dawn was bad, so…

When you begin to reject the delegated and permitted playing field of “politics as usual,” repression is inevitable. However the fringes of the established existent, whether spouting antisemitic conspiracy theories or calling for a more open and undisguised race war, are not rejecting the playing field. They are simply looking to bring about a more honest or harsher version of what already is– a more active version of the race war long underway in the American prison system for example, or in the policies of the European Union’s treatment of immigrants.

We prefer in some ways the honest voices of Golden Dawn or Trump to New Democracy or Joe Biden, as that honesty helps fan the flames necessary to incite liberatory action.

Anarchists have committed to rejecting it all; it is our defining characteristic as we have no embassy to run to and do not limit our solidarity to any borders. Yes we are radical, because in this world of coercive exploitation and domination, advocating for liberation is radical. We are radical not because to be radical means we are among the insane, we are radical because we choose to challenge the forest and not an individual tree.

If two people are holding a gun, of course it is a potentially extreme situation in and of itself; but circumstances matter! Is it the same situation if one person uses the gun to kill someone whom raped them (Cyntoia Brown) and another uses the gun to go on a mass shooting spree of Jews, Muslims, or immigrants (Tree of Life synagogue shooting, Christchurch mosque shooting, or El Paso Walmart shooting)?

Additionally, in calling into question centrist logic, is the woman holding this gun in order to defend herself an extremist, compared to the normalized murderous police officer who is permitted by the existent to use the gun to protect the status quo and mercilessly kill anyone who calls the status quo into question or is excluded from those the status quo serves?

Facebook, Merkel, Macron, New Democracy and the so called established “politically sane” want to normalize the monopoly the existent has on violence and distance themselves from its fringes, while simultaneously having the shameful audacity to equate struggles against oppression with struggles to increase existing oppression.

The same formula applies to communities defending themselves against police, indigenous struggles in West Papua and the Amazon, or trans people who can not walk the streets without fear. The participants in the COP26 are the same who imprison Earth Liberationists. The politically sane who don’t get banned on Facebook or harassed at their homes by state agencies are fabricating false divides and delegating absurd “extremist” identities to wildly different groups that want radically different things. This is done both in order to distract and to convince those dominated that the current power structure is all that stands between them and chaos.

It is a dangerous and superficial precedent that the state, social media and various others who are looking to reify this notion of “political sanity” continue to inflict on us as a society. It is driving the idea that anything radical is the same as anything else and that ethics, goals, or circumstances do not matter.

It is driving us also to be afraid of ourselves and each other, to never question too much. It teaches that to be rational is to accept what we are told, because drifting away from the existent in your goals or analysis is “extreme” and makes you equivalent to a nazi.

This has led to the polite politics you see in many Western countries– certainly in the USA with Biden replacing Trump. Since Biden has come to power many who agreed with the burning of the police precinct in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd have “taken a step back” from politics. Very little has actually changed, only that the man on the screen now is careful with his words and engages in classical diplomacy. So-called “sanity” has returned, we are told; Lady Justice appears to be holding the scales despite Biden carefully maintaining the misery of his predecessors.

Conflating groups fighting oppression and repression with groups pushing for more oppression and repression is obscene and shameful. We reject the comparison, reject those making it, and reject those we are compared to.

We do not accept moderation, and see centrism for what it is: the right, but polite. There is nothing moderate about this “sanity” or “moderation” because in the end, the goal is to maintain and perpetuate the spiraling tragedy that is the status quo.

We have to continue to assert ourselves regardless of the ruling powers’ judgment. We need to utilize these horrible online platforms strategically, remaining anonymous, and getting creative to battle the suppression.

We prefer in some ways the honest voices of Golden Dawn or Trump to New Democracy or Joe Biden, as that honesty helps fan the flames necessary to incite liberatory action.

The Bidens and Macrons of the world leave us anarchists isolated once coming into power, as they ease the stress of the fence riding masses who eat the shit that is Facebook and the establishment’s “political moderation.”

The toothless version of politics that Facebook and the polite-yet-right leaders of the world desire is simply to coordinate superficial political rivalries while ignoring the most dangerous of political forces: those who already are in, and retain, power.

photo: via Flickr, Creative Commons

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Our goal is to extend the coverage of It's Going Down with content from outside North America, including reports, analysis and interviews. We aim to not only build awareness of anarchist struggle worldwide but to contextualize events for an international audience. We publish original contributions as well as syndicating and/or translating work from other websites and social media. Submissions are welcome! Email us at [email protected]. We're on twitter at @igdworldwide.

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