Filed under: Ami du Radical, Analysis, Anti-fascist, Education, Featured
For the time being, the street presence of the neo-fascist movement has been decimated. What remains of the horde that invaded the Berkeley campus in April of 2017 has burnt itself out through a combination of ineptitude, infighting, and an inability to match the speed and reach of antifascist organizing. When the tattered remnants of the Alt-Right showed up to Chicano Park on February 3rd to protest murals, they were nothing more than a fly on the shoulder of the all-out party being enjoyed by the park’s occupants.
However, this raises the question: after the failure of Charlottesville and the winding down of public fascist mobilization, where did all of that early inertia go? Unsurprisingly, the revanchist political faction that fueled the Trump campaign has not vanished simply because the pugilistic boneheads have temporarily hung up their white laces. Rather, the fascist undercurrent of America has retreated to those spaces where it cannot be directly attacked, safely camouflaged by the far-right ecosystem which still holds legitimacy in the media, newspapers, podcasts, and most importantly, college campuses. While outright neo-Nazi propaganda is typically frowned upon by society, media figures like Tucker Carlson have tapped into the frustrated ethos of the white nationalist movement, reformatting their talking points for mass appeal. The rhetoric of fascism, hypernationalism, and xenophobia has unavoidably seeped into public discourse, and that is a point of no return.
But rhetoric alone cannot sustain a subculture, and what the neo-fascist movement needs most is fresh recruits. Winnowed by their constant failures, and overpowered by antifascist uprisings, white nationalists and their politically-adjacent sister movements have accelerated their recruitment drive on college campuses, in order to refill their dwindling ranks. The New Right organizations that acted as a vehicle for neo-fascism in 2016 have continued their offensive against leftist professors, campus protections for marginalized groups, and the ideological principles of inclusive education facilities. Known white nationalist groups have renewed their efforts to infiltrate universities, spread propaganda, platform their ideologies, and attract new members. Knowing that violent hate groups deliberately target disaffected young people who are easily drawn to a sense of community and belonging, it is imperative that this new threat be addressed. Furthermore, it should be remembered that since the 1960s, conservative activism on college campuses has been geared towards raising the next generation of politicians, students who will go on to run for local office, become advisors, senators, or even presidents. Considering the state of the modern conservative movement, the implications should be cause for alarm.
Just like in earlier decades of radical struggle, college students are shouldering a large portion of current social conflicts. Abandoned by the government, sidelined by unwilling or incapable college administrations, and left vulnerable to the predations of neo-fascists, they have had to organize and advocate for themselves. In response to growing protests against Alt-Right activity, anti-racist and antifascist students are now being hobbled even further by campus policies that are ostensibly meant to protect equal freedom of speech, but in reality are widening the foothold of white nationalists whose very presence in a university constitutes a threat to the wellbeing of other students. The antifascist movement cannot rest on its laurels while our youngest members are now bearing the brunt of the fight, a burden that hinders their education, jeopardizes their bodily safety, and regularly causes them to be silenced, dehumanized, or punished when they take action. The saplings of the neo-fascist movement have been cut down, but to prevent a resurgence, the roots must be pulled up as well.
THERE IS NO “FREE SPEECH” IN A HIERARCHICAL SOCIETY
The night of February 1st, 2017, then-superstar of the Alt-Right, Milo Yiannopoulos, experienced consequences for the first time in his brief period of celebrity status. Understandably, this was a shocking moment for him. For years, he had been allowed to energize harassment campaigns in the interest of inflating his persona, safe from meaningful scrutiny or pushback from the majority of society, causing an unbelievable amount of suffering to the people he helped to terrorize. He had outed a trans student in front of a crowd of anti-trans bigots, and bragged about the possibility he would be snitching on an undocumented student. Suddenly, overnight, his invincibility was gone. The black bloc arrived, chased him out of Berkeley, and ultimately contributed to his collapse as a public figure.
But predictably, the resultant media cycle was centered around infuriatingly hollow defenses of Milo’s “free speech” rights. The level of concern that was absent for Anita Sarkeesian or Zoe Quinn while they were coping with death threats was effortlessly summoned for Milo, one of the architects of their suffering. This began a repugnant trend in how college politics are discussed and debated: no amount of orchestrated intimidation, slander, or harassment qualifies as a “denial of free speech” when it targets a marginalized individual or a leftist. Yet any attempt to fight back, to deplatform people who encourage the isolation and vilification of the socially vulnerable, brings forth breathless, thundering denunciations from every hack journo in America.
At the core of this debate is a simple truth which seemingly no major publication is capable of perceiving: in a hierarchical, class-based society, there is no such thing as “free speech.” Because the freedom to speak comes with the possibility of backlash, it is actually social capital and legitimacy that determines how freely one can express themselves in society. The greater the likelihood that your speech will be defended by a sympathetic or permissive public, the greater latitude you have to abuse that freedom to intimidate others. Conversely, those people who are already excluded or legitimized by society risk much more when they critique the nation or express their identity. The same culture that exalts itself for bravely tolerating Klan rallies in the name of free speech absolutism, will also decry BLM activists as being “racially divisive,” and shrug when confronted with the level of unjustified police surveillance their movement endures. There’s a reason those Klansmen don’t bother wearing their hoods anymore.
This demonstrates the mechanism by which codified “freedom of speech” was eventually hijacked by the far-right, and weaponized to advance their agenda. The very concept relies on the influence of the state in imposing social order. So long as nothing Milo did seriously violated the letter of the law, there was no wrongdoing, no matter how much damage he inflicted. But because the Berkeley crew shut him down without license from the state, they were scolded for breaking protocol, irrespective of how great a moral imperative they had to oppose him. In the final analysis, the “campus free speech” debate is actually an argument over how much responsibility we have to obey codes of law which, themselves, facilitate our oppression and promulgate a lopsided society. To the liberal and conservative blocs, law itself is the axis of morality, because it is ordained by the state; if we silence any individual voice, they claim, we are endangering freedom of expression altogether. Paradoxically, they make a demand of oppressed peoples to not resist their own speech being threatened or policed, if the culprit has the law on their side. This self-defeating ideology infects everything from denunciations of the J20 defendants to sanitized interpretations of the original Free Speech Movement which loudly disobeyed both the police and the administrative policies of UC Berkeley in order to achieve political freedom for themselves. Radical action outside of state control, no matter how necessary, is a sin in the eyes of statists. Incidentally, the FSM was completely rejected by ’60s conservatives, just as the Civil Rights Movement was rejected by most ’60s liberals.
It’s only logical that the ultimately reactionary fashion in which “free speech” is protected in America has become a cudgel in the hands of the right wing. Not only does it insulate conservatives by processing their angst through the judicial system, meaning revolutionary elements will be disregarded outright from the process, but lawsuits are also prohibitively expensive, and therefore favor the wealthy class. The new tactic of the far-right is to simply bludgeon every university with the threat of legal action while incrementally shifting campus policy rightward, and introducing exponentially more grotesque forms of neo-fascist ideology. Presently, the YAF is moving forward with their lawsuit against UC Berkeley, pertaining to cancellation of Ann Coulter’s speaking event in April of 2017. This coincided with the appearance of a band of unambiguous neo-Nazis who attacked students freely, aided by the local police who stripped the antifascist resistance of their weapons and stood back when the inevitable combat ensued . Berkeley, the lawsuit alleges, violated the First Amendment rights of the YAF when it charged “exorbitant” security fees for the event. Now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has filed a statement of interest, siding with the YAF against the campus . The YAF have a much larger war chest than the average student group, funded by both conservative donors and the Leadership Institute, meaning they can leverage the threat of a lengthy court case against any campus that doesn’t completely acquiesce to their introduction of anti-trans, anti-Muslim, and anti-feminist speaking events with figures like Steven Crowder, Ben Shapiro, and Robert Spencer. It’s the exact same methodology employed by white nationalists; each time they succeed in forcing a campus to host Richard Spencer, they have also justified and normalized the use of massive police deployments to ensure the state’s decision on the matter can’t be challenged. UC Berkeley alone shelled out four million dollars for security fees in 2017.
Turning Point USA has also made good use of this blindspot in liberal both-sideism. Not only have they regularly platformed the demagogues of the Alt-Right, but they have increased the scope of their assault on campus policies that discourage or punish the dehumanization of their fellow students. They are currently engaged in a campaign spanning 21 states to enact versions of the “Campus Free Speech Act,” the model legislation of which was drafted by the Goldwater Institute. It includes the nullification of existing hate speech policies and imposing a fine of up to $100,000 on students who disrupt scheduled speakers, to prevent the “heckler’s veto” . Similar legislation in Nebraska came on the heels of the TPUSA smear campaign against graduate student Courtney Lawton of UNL . It would require the campus to organize committees to record potential infringements of the free speech policies, instate a three-strikes rule for offenders, and regularly report to the state government. The North Carolina “Restore Campus Free Speech Act” contains a sanction against any action that interferes with the free expression of other students, including – quelle surprise – the act of protest or counter-demonstration . All told, this is a highly focused, government-sanctioned effort from TPUSA and its various conservative supporters to annihilate the possibility of dissent on campus, and it is gaining traction. The fact that it seeks to “enshrine free speech” by severely punishing expressions of opposition is beyond parody.
Behind this kind of legal jousting, TPUSA has continued its onslaught against leftist professors and students alike, completely unchallenged by the same institutions they accuse of not properly ensuring their freedom of expression. Turning Point has already been exposed for funneling dark money into student elections, attempting to override the will of student bodies and inject far-right ideology into campus politics. Candidates of theirs were forced to drop out of elections in Ohio State and the University of Maryland when these unauthorized donations came to light, but Charlie Kirk has already explicated that this is the real objective of his organization:
[[A copy of a Turning Point brochure prepared for potential donors that I obtained provides a glimpse into the group’s tactics. (A former Turning Point employee said the brochure was closely held, and not posted online so that it couldn’t leak.) Its “Campus Victory Project” is described as a detailed, multi-phase plan to “commandeer the top office of Student Body President at each of the most recognizable and influential American Universities.”
Phase 1 calls for victory in the “Power 5” conference schools, including the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big Ten Conference, the Pacific 12 Conference, the Big 12 Conference, and the Southeastern Conference. Phase 2 calls for winning the top student-government slots in every Division 1 N.C.A.A. school, of which it says there are more than three hundred. In the first three years of the plan, the brochure says, the group aims to capture the “outright majority” of student-government positions in eighty per cent of these schools.]] ~ Jane Mayer, The New Yorker 
Meanwhile, TPUSA is still operating its Professor Watchlist, a McCarthyist catalogue of professors who have expressed opinions which, allegedly, reveal an anti-conservative bias in the classroom. Many entries are scrubbed of their context to sound ludicrous, then reported and cited through Campus Reform, TPUSA’s personal yellow journalism rag. Courtney Lawton and Amanda Gailey were both targeted at UNL, and both received a torrent of threats afterward. Tariq Khan, of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, received the same treatment, and is still being harassed by far-right goons . Sarah Bond of the University of Iowa ended up on the Watchlist for explaining that the use of white marble statuary contributed to the adoption of the word “white” as a racial identifier for light-skinned peoples; she received numerous threats after Campus Reform reworded her speech, claiming she’d called appreciation of marble sculptures a racist act.  George Ciccariello-Maher was eventually forced to leave campus when he was attacked for mocking the myth of “white genocide,” and his university bowed to the hate mob rather than standing up for the safety and basic freedoms of a professor. His students protested for his protection, to no avail.
Charlie Kirk’s excuse is that these actions are not his responsibility. “We do not call for any of that sort of harassment,” he told CNN in response to threats against these educators . “We don’t condone it. We don’t try to facilitate any sort of cyber bullying or harassment. And just because you put up the words, or another article that’s been written about a professor in an aggregated format, does not mean we should be held responsible for what other people do.” That’s certainly a convenient mentality; it’s not Charlie’s fault that teachers listed by Turning Point are threatened, professionally blackballed, and pushed out of their job based on the slander his organization prints. He can’t help it if his followers are violent bullies who lash out at every teacher he holds up as a punching bag. He doesn’t condone their behavior, but he won’t interfere with it, either. If this technique of barely-plausible deniability sounds familiar, it’s because Milo Yiannopoulos built a career on that same cheap excuse.
There are two lessons to be found here. The first is that state-based solutions to the fascist menace on campus are useless. Any appeal to existing forms of authority will only result in policies built to uphold the concerns of those who benefit from the status quo. Even colleges which would be willing to protect their students cannot hope to outspend the blackshirt organizations in a prolonged legal battle. The second is that our so-called “freedom of speech” is a myth. It is a hollow platitude used in conversation to cast each of these conflicts as a battle over the right of every human to speak freely. Yet the standard is never applied equally, always at the mercy of reactionaries who actively work to stifle the speech of their political enemies. For every professor or student who is told to suck it up and endure orchestrated intimidation or dehumanization through a bullhorn, there is a rightist whose selfish, infantile shrieking over non-binary gender pronouns is rewarded. While Turning Point claims to only be preaching the value of free market ideals and traditional conservatism, they repeatedly platform speakers who call every trans student a mentally ill child predator, every Muslim student a secret terrorist, and every rape survivor a lying harpy. They use their wealthy donor base to subvert the democratic process of student government elections. And yet no consideration is given to the students targeted by TPUSA’s hateful rhetoric, and how their lives will be affected by the real, material consequences of normalizing and encouraging xenophobia.
10 confederate flag posters w/ cotton stuck to them were hung around American Univeristy in DC tonight. Im w/ 2 black students who r shaken pic.twitter.com/wORotKYQZk
— Dena Takruri (@Dena) September 27, 2017
Militant antifascism rejects, categorically, the suggestion that fascists should be given a chance to thrive. Capitulation to the neo-fascist movement means enabling the creation of a power base which, if it acquires control over state machinery, will threaten the liberty of millions. Paradoxically, liberal society demands that we tolerate the speech of fascists, allow them to organize, and calmly await the day they rob us of our own freedoms or, as the case may be, our lives. Conservatives may believe all speech occurs in a vacuum and words have no real power, but any rational adult can understand the connection between the rise of Donald Trump, and the measurable spike in hate crimes against Muslims, the queer community, and immigrants which occurred shortly after his election . So long as TPUSA, the YAF, and the College Republicans are active on a campus, bigotry will have a safe haven, and that toxicity will attract characters far more unsavory than Charlie Kirk.
WHITE NATIONALISTS ON CAMPUS
In recent weeks, there has been an explosion of white nationalist activity in colleges. Andrew Oswalt, a PhD candidate and member of Oregon State University ASOSU House of Representatives – a body tasked with providing legal advocacy for students – was exposed as a white nationalist . But really, the word “exposed” isn’t entirely accurate; hours earlier, he had given an interview to the student paper of OSU, the Daily Barometer, explicitly stating his neo-fascist, white supremacist political views . Andrew Damitio, a member of the OSU student senate, claimed “It was very open that he was alt-right. It was never a secret.” The real extent of his involvement, however, didn’t come to light until after he was arrested for planting racist stickers on the bumpers of progressive students, and antifascists uncovered his deeper connections.
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) February 17, 2018
Our comrades of the PWNAWC, Rose City Antifa, and Eugene Antifa used their extensive catalogue of information on fascists to determine that Oswalt is a prominent white nationalist who goes by the online handle of “DatGoy.”  He has been present at numerous fascist and white supremacist rallies, including one hosted by American Front, a neo-Nazi gang, wherein he personally held the Nazi Kriegsflagge. He was an active organizer on a Pacific Northwest neo-fascist Discord server, regularly joked about genocidal fantasies, participated in a banner drop which read “Un-Jew Humanity,” and was responsible for hanging the Confederate flag in a window facing the OSU Black Cultural Center. Oswalt is an enthusiastic participant and recruiter for the white nationalist cause, and until last month, he had material influence within a student government body entrusted with advocating for students’ rights.
Andrew Oswalt is emblematic of the new white nationalist offensive on college campuses. Instances of neo-fascist and white supremacist propaganda appearing in universities tripled during 2017, attributed to groups like Identity Evropa, Patriot Front, the TWP, and the murderous Atomwaffen Division . In Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, student and Identity Evropa affiliate Casey Cooper is still attending class a year after he sent a lynching threat to a black community organizer . At the University of Lincoln-Nebraska, hundreds turned out to protest the presence of Daniel Kleve, a self-identified white supremacist and member of Vanguard America, after he posted a video expressing his violent, genocidal beliefs . Members of the Pitt College Republicans were discovered to be members of a racist joke-sharing group on Facebook . The Berkeley College Republicans, formerly headed by neo-fascist Troy Worden, remain a vector for additional white nationalist organizing. Members of TPUSA have appeared on Gavin McGinnes’ podcast, and one member of TPUSA’s leadership, Crystal Clayton, was caught sending the message “I hate Black people. Like fuck them all… I hate Blacks. End of story.”  Essentially, if there is a chapter of Turning Point, the YAF, or the College Republicans on a college campus, they are most likely involved with racists, neo-fascists, and/or white nationalists in some capacity. It is through these “respectable” organizations that the white nationalist movement gains access to college students, masked by the safe “conservative” image of the host organization and protected by campus free speech policies like those TPUSA and the YAF are pursuing.
College conservative organizations are not “student activist groups.” They are, rather, highly connected, de facto organs of the GOP which have injected far-right talking points into the university environment. When this method was used in Fascist Italy, the organization was the Opera Nazionale Balilla, a student group which groomed young men to become fascists, then shuttled them into the ranks of the Blackshirts, the vigilante squads Mussolini used to terrorize and murder leftist political enemies. In modern America, the equivalent is the New Right, a loose collection of conservative activist groups which coalesced around the Barry Goldwater campaign, formed an alliance with the Republican party, and worked to eradicate radical leftist ideology in colleges. The YAF, TPUSA, and CR’s function as an astroturfing operation, laying the groundwork for neo-fascism by spreading propaganda, platforming nationalistic and xenophobic beliefs, creating footholds for outright white nationalist groups, and stoking conspiracies about a leftist cabal of professors oppressing conservative students.
White nationalists are also making more brazen attempts to intimidate any opposition. Members of Identity Evropa interrupted an ethnic studies course at UC San Diego, sitting through the lecture and taking notes while periodically messaging on their phones. They claimed they were there to “observe” the class, then flashed IE badges as they left . This curious display of formalistic behavior was uneventful, but it raises concerns about violent neo-Nazis trying to police university life. The TWP has announced their intentions to start a college tour in the style of Richard Spencer, starting in Knoxville, where they misrepresented themselves as a church group in order to secure space for their event . At the University of Tennessee, they spraypainted white supremacist slogans on a monument. Earlier this month, members of the TWP and their allies arrived at the Colorado State campus in Fort Collins during a TPUSA speaking event. They canvased the surrounding area with flyers a few days earlier, but tried to deny they would be attending the event. Thankfully, the local NoCoAnCo crew didn’t buy it and gathered at CSU; when the TWP showed up late in the night to harass the crowd of protesters, they were swiftly removed by antifascists, and some were later identified with footage of the short-lived fight .
These are the two elements of the neo-fascist movement. While neo-Nazi groups attack and recruit from the outside, New Right student organizations provide a more legitimate face for the neo-fascist movement, often coordinating with its leaders, while also softening official campus resistance to the rhetoric of racial hatred, misogyny, queerphobia, and brutal nationalism. The hybrid far-right social movement they are welcoming into student populations has, to date, killed dozens of people . One of those people was Richard Collins the III, killed by a radicalized fascist . The far-right is responsible for almost all of political violence committed in America . The average number of far-right attacks has ballooned during the Trump presidency to 300 attacks per year . It is physically dangerous to include white nationalists in a college environment, and permitting them to spread their ideology allows them to also build networks of support.
This is why the struggle against the neo-fascist movement cannot be compared to a scholarly debate between philosophers, as Charlie Kirk would ask us to do. While he’s scoffing about welfare recipients and hate speech codes, the movement to which he materially contributed has taken numerous lives. He used Breitbart to spread his message, worked for months with the Trump campaign to secure the youth vote, and even platformed major figures of the Alt-Right to attract support from their fan bases. He has fought against campus policies on the behalf of viewpoints he shares with open white supremacists. While he puffs up his chest about MS-13, Trump’s overhyped boogeyman , Charlie has helped stoke the fires of fascist violence. Maybe he genuinely considers himself part of a separate, coincidental movement, but his opinion on the matter is irrelevant. Charlie may believe his words really have no effect on anybody’s actions, but if that’s the case, why does he hold motivational speaking events to encourage conservative mobilization?
ORGANIZING AND ENABLING STUDENT RESISTANCE
[[The Campus Antifascist Network understands freedom of speech as an important tool for political dissent, and one that should be protected when used without the threat of producing serious physical or mental harm to others. Fascism, however, is not merely a speech-act or set of ideas: it is a social program aimed toward undermining democracy, murdering its opponents, and establishing a racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-semitic, transphobic, ableist and nationalist authoritarian state. As such, CAN argues that Fascism should *not* be protected as free speech because speech in support of such a social program is always an expression of violence.
Indeed, Fascist speech on college campuses undermines free speech more than it advances it. By violently disrupting the conditions for all to speak freely, especially for those individuals and groups who are already marginalized, fascist speech attempts to hide its program by deploying “free speech” in order to destroy the free speech of others.]] ~ CAN Statement on Free Speech and College Campuses
For students who have experienced the resurgence of white supremacist activity, this situation may feel daunting. Unlike the ragtag groups of thugs employed by the neo-fascist movement in 2017, the agents of white nationalism on campus have immense protection from the state. Moving forward, speeches delivered by right-wing provocateurs will probably enjoy heavy police protection, a response to the victories of the black bloc last year. Policies will be adapted to appease blackshirt organizations, prioritizing their temper tantrums over the safety of other students. This does not mean, however, that antifascist action is impossible. The law does not dictate our behavior, it only imposes obstacles that shape our response. Antifascism has proven to be an effect means of quarantining white nationalist activity and depriving it of momentum, and is a flexible means of defending communities rom fascist violence. So, how can students participate?
The objective of militant antifascism is the destruction of those resources which fascists use to advance their agenda. This can roughly be broken down into three categories; intimidation, social acceptance, and secrecy. As this essay has outlined, neo-fascism infiltrated college campuses by way of crypto-fascist student groups, who made space for taboo xenophobic beliefs to become acceptable again. To support this objective, they quietly partnered with hardcore white nationalists while stirring up anti-left hysteria among conservatives. This produced an environment in which any racist idea could be submitted as “free speech,” any progressive objection could be used as evidence of anti-conservative bias, and the presence of literal neo-Nazis could be incrementally normalized. However, this model of organization has a critical flaw; it has a limited pool of public tolerance in which to operate. The Nazi party was not widely beloved by Germany, but rather managed to sneak its way to political power by courting liberals long enough to seize control, before unleashing their true intentions. Without the early support and acceptance they enjoyed, the Nazis would have been crushed in their infancy. The question, then, is how can these resources be taken away?
Can you damage the secrecy by which neo-fascists conceal their behavior? As a student, are you aware of the blackshirt organizations on your campus? Do you know if there is a chapter of TPUSA, the YAF, or the College Republicans active in your college? Do you know the name of their chapter president, and do you have the ability to monitor the chapter’s activity? The bulk of antifascist work is based on careful observation; when connections are made between online activity, poorly-concealed associations with white nationalist groups, and publicly available photos, it is easier to identify neo-fascist organizers, as with the Andrew Oswalt case. When a neo-fascist student is exposed to the public, they may be protected by campus policies, but their ability to act is significantly decreased. If you discover a student interacting with white nationalist groups on social media, do you know how to contact a local antifascist chapter, or a revolutionary media source, to make the information available to the public? Do you know how to protect your own skin in the process, practice “security culture,” and use encrypted services like Protonmail to safely transmit information to one another?
Can you chip away at the public acceptance of fascism and white supremacy? Could you patrol your campus, alone or with an affinity group, to remove or replace white supremacist propaganda? The presence of flyers or stickers advertising a white nationalist group or slogan is demoralizing for vulnerable students, a physical reminder that bigotry is largely permitted by society. Conversely, public acts of simple solidarity like banner drops or social media awareness campaigns make a visible statement against the presence of fascism on campus, and encourage people to openly oppose it. Could you agitate campus officials to publicly denounce neo-Nazi groups like the TWP if they are active in your school? Can you out your local fascists by posting flyers of your own, exposing their racist beliefs and depriving them of plausible deniability? Would you be willing to organize letter-writing campaigns or phone zaps to demand the expulsion of white nationalist students?
Can you strike back against the intimidation tactics of neo-fascists? Could you organize a defense committee if a fellow undergraduate, graduate, or professor was targeted by TPUSA’s watchlist? When a person finds themselves the target of a fascist harassment campaign, what they need most is a group of sympathetic actors who can reach out to them, amplify their voice, and make certain their side of the story isn’t drowned in the inevitable conservative witch-hunt. Like George Ciccariello’s students, could you protest on behalf of one of your teachers and demand they be protected by the campus? Can you reach out to other campuses and establish communication with likeminded antifascists? Could you provide material support, and offer to walk other students to class if they’re enduring threats of violence? If public demonstration is still an option for your campus, could you add your voice to the opposition of a fascist speaking event?
There is no strict itinerary for antifascist action, and practically anyone can participate in the process of education, agitation, and organization. The black bloc has become the public face of antifascism thanks to the sensationalist media, but that is a fraction of the movement’s methodology. Militant antifascism, at its core, is a program of mutual defense. Each participant recognizes that from a historically-informed perspective, fascism is an unqualified danger to humanity, and that anybody isolated by widespread xenophobia might become a victim of the bloodshed which always accompanies a fascist regime. Ergo, the only effective prescription is for citizens to band together, adopt a militant attitude towards the presence and public organization of neo-fascists, and to protect one another in any way possible. When this is accomplished across multiple regions, platforms, and interlocking struggles, it becomes a bulwark against the kind of violence that exploded across the country in 2017. If there is any doubt about the effectiveness of antifascism, just take a look at what remains of the star-spangled goons of the Alt-Right.
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