Wednesday, 18 October 2017

ANTIFA are the "anti-fascist" fascists

"Fascists are divided into two categories, the fascists and the anti-fascists” 

~ Ennio Flaiano

ANTIFA: Self-Appointed Radical Revolutionaries or Neoliberal Thought Police?

Diana Johnstone

Antifa. (Photo: Twitter)

17 October, 2017

In recent weeks, a totally disoriented left has been widely exhorted to unify around a masked vanguard calling itself Antifa, for anti-fascist. Hooded and dressed in black, Antifa is essentially a variation of the Black Bloc, familiar for introducing violence into peaceful demonstrations in many countries. Imported from Europe, the label Antifa sounds more political. It also serves the purpose of stigmatizing those it attacks as “fascists”.

Despite its imported European name, Antifa is basically just another example of America’s steady descent into violence.

Historical Pretensions

Antifa first came to prominence from its role in reversing Berkeley’s proud “free speech” tradition by preventing right wing personalities from speaking there. But its moment of glory was its clash with rightwingers in Charlottesville on August 12, largely because Trump commented that there were “good people on both sides”. 
With exuberant Schadenfreude, commentators grabbed the opportunity to condemn the despised President for his “moral equivalence”, thereby bestowing a moral blessing on Antifa.

Charlottesville served as a successful book launching for Antifa: the Antifascist Handbook, whose author, young academic Mark Bray, is an Antifa in both theory and practice. The book is “really taking off very fast”, rejoiced the publisher, Melville House. It instantly won acclaim from leading mainstream media such as the New York Times,The Guardian and NBC, not hitherto known for rushing to review leftwing books, least of all those by revolutionary anarchists.

The Washington Post welcomed Bray as spokesman for “insurgent activist movements” and observed that:

The book’s most enlightening contribution is on the history of anti-fascist efforts over the past century, but its most relevant for today is its justification for stifling speech and clobbering white supremacists.”

Bray’s “enlightening contribution” is to a tell a flattering version of the Antifa story to a generation whose dualistic, Holocaust-centered view of history has largely deprived them of both the factual and the analytical tools to judge multidimensional events such as the growth of fascism. Bray presents today’s Antifa as though it were the glorious legitimate heir to every noble cause since abolitionism. But there were no anti-fascists before fascism, and the label “Antifa” by no means applies to all the many adversaries of fascism.

The implicit claim to carry on the tradition of the International Brigades who fought in Spain against Franco is nothing other than a form of innocence by association. 

Since we must revere the heroes of the Spanish Civil War, some of that esteem is supposed to rub off on their self-designated heirs. Unfortunately, there are no veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade still alive to point to the difference between a vast organized defense against invading fascist armies and skirmishes on the Berkeley campus. As for the Anarchists of Catalonia, the patent on anarchism ran out a long time ago, and anyone is free to market his own generic.

The original Antifascist movement was an effort by the Communist International to cease hostilities with Europe’s Socialist Parties in order to build a common front against the triumphant movements led by Mussolini and Hitler.

Since Fascism thrived, and Antifa was never a serious adversary, its apologists thrive on the “nipped in the bud” claim: “if only” Antifascists had beat up the fascist movements early enough, the latter would have been nipped in the bud. Since reason and debate failed to stop the rise of fascism, they argue, we must use street violence – which, by the way, failed even more decisively.

This is totally ahistorical. Fascism exalted violence, and violence was its preferred testing ground. Both Communists and Fascists were fighting in the streets and the atmosphere of violence helped fascism thrive as a bulwark against Bolshevism, gaining the crucial support of leading capitalists and militarists in their countries, which brought them to power.

Since historic fascism no longer exists, Bray’s Antifa have broadened their notion of “fascism” to include anything that violates the current Identity Politics canon: from “patriarchy” (a pre-fascist attitude to put it mildly) to “transphobia” (decidedly a post-fascist problem).

The masked militants of Antifa seem to be more inspired by Batman than by Marx or even by Bakunin.

Storm Troopers of the Neoliberal War Party

Since Mark Bray offers European credentials for current US Antifa, it is appropriate to observe what Antifa amounts to in Europe today.

In Europe, the tendency takes two forms. Black Bloc activists regularly invade various leftist demonstrations in order to smash windows and fight the police. These testosterone exhibits are of minor political significance, other than provoking public calls to strengthen police forces. They are widely suspected of being influenced by police infiltration.

As an example, last September 23, several dozen black-clad masked ruffians, tearing down posters and throwing stones, attempted to storm the platform where the flamboyant Jean-Luc Mélenchon was to address the mass meeting of La France Insoumise, today the leading leftist party in France. Their unspoken message seemed to be that nobody is revolutionary enough for them. 

Occasionally, they do actually spot a random skinhead to beat up. This establishes their credentials as “anti-fascist”.

They use these credentials to arrogate to themselves the right to slander others in a sort of informal self-appointed inquisition.

As prime example, in late 2010, a young woman named Ornella Guyet appeared in Paris seeking work as a journalist in various leftist periodicals and blogs. She “tried to infiltrate everywhere”, according to the former director of Le Monde diplomatique, Maurice Lemoine, who “always intuitively distrusted her” when he hired her as an intern.

Viktor Dedaj, who manages one of the main leftist sites in France, Le Grand Soir, was among those who tried to help her, only to experience an unpleasant surprise a few months later. Ornella had become a self-appointed inquisitor dedicated to denouncing “conspirationism, confusionism, anti-Semitism and red-brown” on Internet. This took the form of personal attacks on individuals whom she judged to be guilty of those sins. What is significant is that all her targets were opposed to US and NATO aggressive wars in the Middle East.

Indeed, the timing of her crusade coincided with the “regime change” wars that destroyed Libya and tore apart Syria. The attacks singled out leading critics of those wars.

Viktor Dedaj was on her hit list. So was Michel Collon, close to the Belgian Workers Party, author, activist and manager of the bilingual site Investig’action. So was François Ruffin, film-maker, editor of the leftist journal Fakir elected recently to the National Assembly on the list of Mélenchon’s party La France Insoumise. And so on. The list is long.

The targeted personalities are diverse, but all have one thing in common: opposition to aggressive wars. What’s more, so far as I can tell, just about everyone opposed to those wars is on her list.

The main technique is guilt by association. High on the list of mortal sins is criticism of the European Union, which is associated with “nationalism” which is associated with “fascism” which is associated with “anti-Semitism”, hinting at a penchant for genocide. This coincides perfectly with the official policy of the EU and EU governments, but Antifa uses much harsher language.

In mid-June 2011, the anti-EU party Union Populaire Républicaine led by François Asselineau was the object of slanderous insinuations on Antifa internet sites signed by “Marie-Anne Boutoleau” (a pseudonym for Ornella Guyet). Fearing violence, owners cancelled scheduled UPR meeting places in Lyon. UPR did a little investigation, discovering that Ornella Guyet was on the speakers list at a March 2009 Seminar on International Media organized in Paris by the Center for the Study of International Communications and the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. A surprising association for such a zealous crusader against “red-brown”.

In case anyone has doubts, “red-brown” is a term used to smear anyone with generally leftist views – that is, “red” – with the fascist color “brown”. This smear can be based on having the same opinion as someone on the right, speaking on the same platform with someone on the right, being published alongside someone on the right, being seen at an anti-war demonstration also attended by someone on the right, and so on. This is particularly useful for the War Party, since these days, many conservatives are more opposed to war than leftists who have bought into the “humanitarian war” mфantra.

The government doesn’t need to repress anti-war gatherings. Antifa does the job.
The Franco-African comedien Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, stigmatized for anti-Semitism since 2002 for his tv sketch lampooning an Israeli settler as part of George W. Bush’s “Axis of Good”, is not only a target, but serves as a guilty association for anyone who defends his right to free speech – such as Belgian professor Jean Bricmont, virtually blacklisted in France for trying to get in a word in favor of free speech during a TV talk show. Dieudonné has been banned from the media, sued and fined countless times, even sentenced to jail in Belgium, but continues to enjoy a full house of enthusiastic supporters at his one-man shows, where the main political message is opposition to war.

Still, accusations of being soft on Dieudonné can have serious effects on individuals in more precarious positions, since the mere hint of “anti-Semitism” can be a career killer in France. Invitations are cancelled, publications refused, messages go unanswered.

In April 2016, Ornella Guyet dropped out of sight, amid strong suspicions about her own peculiar associations.

The moral of this story is simple. Self-appointed radical revolutionaries can be the most useful thought police for the neoliberal war party.

I am not suggesting that all, or most, Antifa are agents of the establishment. But they can be manipulated, infiltrated or impersonated precisely because they are self-anointed and usually more or less disguised.

Silencing Necessary Debate

One who is certainly sincere is Mark Bray, author of The Intifa Handbook. It is clear where Mark Bray is coming from when he writes (p.36-7): “…

Hitler’s ‘final solution’ murdered six million Jews in gas chambers, with firing squads, through hunger an lack of medical treatment in squalid camps and ghettoes, with beatings, by working them to death, and through suicidal despair. 

Approximately two out of every three Jews on the continent were killed, including some of my relatives.”

This personal history explains why Mark Bray feels passionately about “fascism”. 

This is perfectly understandable in one who is haunted by fear that “it can happen again”.

However, even the most justifiable emotional concerns do not necessarily contribute to wise counsel. Violent reactions to fear may seem to be strong and effective when in reality they are morally weak and practically ineffectual.

We are in a period of great political confusion. Labeling every manifestation of “political incorrectness” as fascism impedes clarification of debate over issues that very much need to be defined and clarified.

The scarcity of fascists has been compensated by identifying criticism of immigration as fascism. This identification, in connection with rejection of national borders, derives much of its emotional force above all from the ancestral fear in the Jewish community of being excluded from the nations in which they find themselves.

The issue of immigration has different aspects in different places. It is not the same in European countries as in the United States. There is a basic distinction between immigrants and immigration. Immigrants are people who deserve consideration. Immigration is a policy that needs to be evaluated. It should be possible to discuss the policy without being accused of persecuting the people. 

After all, trade union leaders have traditionally opposed mass immigration, not out of racism, but because it can be a deliberate capitalist strategy to bring down wages.

In reality, immigration is a complex subject, with many aspects that can lead to reasonable compromise. But to polarize the issue misses the chances for compromise. By making mass immigration the litmus test of whether or not one is fascist, Antifa intimidation impedes reasonable discussion. Without discussion, without readiness to listen to all viewpoints, the issue will simply divide the population into two camps, for and against. And who will win such a confrontation?

A recent survey* shows that mass immigration is increasingly unpopular in all European countries. The complexity of the issue is shown by the fact that in the vast majority of European countries, most people believe they have a duty to welcome refugees, but disapprove of continued mass immigration. The official argument that immigration is a good thing is accepted by only 40%, compared to 60% of all Europeans who believe that “immigration is bad for our country”. A left whose principal cause is open borders will become increasingly unpopular.

Childish Violence

The idea that the way to shut someone up is to punch him in the jaw is as American as Hollywood movies. It is also typical of the gang war that prevails in certain parts of Los Angeles. Banding together with others “like us” to fight against gangs of “them” for control of turf is characteristic of young men in uncertain circumstances. The search for a cause can involve endowing such conduct with a political purpose: either fascist or antifascist. For disoriented youth, this is an alternative to joining the US Marines.

American Antifa looks very much like a middle class wedding between Identity Politics and gang warfare. Mark Bray (page 175) quotes his DC Antifa source as implying that the motive of would-be fascists is to side with “the most powerful kid in the block” and will retreat if scared. Our gang is tougher than your gang.

That is also the logic of US imperialism, which habitually declares of its chosen enemies: “All they understand is force.” Although Antifa claim to be radical revolutionaries, their mindset is perfectly typical the atmosphere of violence which prevails in militarized America.

In another vein, Antifa follows the trend of current Identity Politics excesses that are squelching free speech in what should be its citadel, academia. Words are considered so dangerous that “safe spaces” must be established to protect people from them. This extreme vulnerability to injury from words is strangely linked to tolerance of real physical violence.

Wild Goose Chase

In the United States, the worst thing about Antifa is the effort to lead the disoriented American left into a wild goose chase, tracking down imaginary “fascists” instead of getting together openly to work out a coherent positive program. The United States has more than its share of weird individuals, of gratuitous aggression, of crazy ideas, and tracking down these marginal characters, whether alone or in groups, is a huge distraction. The truly dangerous people in the United States are safely ensconced in Wall Street, in Washington Think Tanks, in the executive suites of the sprawling military industry, not to mention the editorial offices of some of the mainstream media currently adopting a benevolent attitude toward “anti-fascists” simply because they are useful in focusing on the maverick Trump instead of themselves.

Antifa USA, by defining “resistance to fascism” as resistance to lost causes – the Confederacy, white supremacists and for that matter Donald Trump – is actually distracting from resistance to the ruling neoliberal establishment, which is also opposed to the Confederacy and white supremacists and has already largely managed to capture Trump by its implacable campaign of denigration. That ruling establishment, which in its insatiable foreign wars and introduction of police state methods, has successfully used popular “resistance to Trump” to make him even worse than he already was.

The facile use of the term “fascist” gets in the way of thoughtful identification and definition of the real enemy of humanity today. In the contemporary chaos, the greatest and most dangerous upheavals in the world all stem from the same source, which is hard to name, but which we might give the provisional simplified label of Globalized Imperialism. This amounts to a multifaceted project to reshape the world to satisfy the demands of financial capitalism, the military industrial complex, United States ideological vanity and the megalomania of leaders of lesser “Western” powers, notably Israel. It could be called simply “imperialism”, except that it is much vaster and more destructive than the historic imperialism of previous centuries. It is also much more disguised. And since it bears no clear label such as “fascism”, it is difficult to denounce in simple terms.

The fixation on preventing a form of tyranny that arose over 80 years ago, under very different circumstances, obstructs recognition of the monstrous tyranny of today. Fighting the previous war leads to defeat.

Donald Trump is an outsider who will not be let inside. The election of Donald Trump is above all a grave symptom of the decadence of the American political system, totally ruled by money, lobbies, the military-industrial complex and corporate media. Their lies are undermining the very basis of democracy. Antifa has gone on the offensive against the one weapon still in the hands of the people: the right to free speech and assembly.

Diana Johnstone is author of the introduction to her father’s memoir, From MAD to Madness: Inside Pentagon Nuclear War Planning, by Paul H. Johnstone (Clarity Press).

I think my computer has been hacked

I have been unable to post for about 24 hours. Right now things are working perfectly but I know it won’t for long.

Most people assume that this is a computer problem but people at the front line who have to deal with censorship and/or harassment like Guy McPherson know better

Intermittent “computer probems”

I am almost at my wits end and exhausted (not something that can be rectified with a good nights sleep or rest).

I have bern trying to work on my Mac and basically it is munted. On the Mac OS it just goes whirring around and I cannot open things or copy and paste although occasionally and unexpectedly it can work perfectly.

Yesterday When this happened I called Pam through to film it but by the time we got ready to do so the problems dusappeared.

I have a dual OS on my computer and usually I can resort to Linux Mint which has been reasonably reliable but produces shit results.

Tonight when I opened Linux I could not open any applications. I’d move my mouse around, click it but no response.

We have had ultrafast broadband installed and since then (it is anything but fast) and since then there is a strange delay that reminds me of the delay people experienced in the old days when their phone was tapped.

When I heard the guy from End Times News describe his experience i KNEW that I am being played around with by tge local snoops. It feels like someone else, not me, is in charge of my computer. 

[By the way, if you have any doubt about active censorship you just try putting in a search for End Times News Report on You Tube.]

I am tired, very tired with all this and feel ready to give all this away,only to do what? Sit in my armchair and meditate all day?

i have been doing this almost without break for six and a half years and the message is out there. I feel that we are not far off the point when everything is going to go dark and tyranny falls on us all.

Already more and more people are in Facebook jail or having their accounts removed and it is worse on You Tube. It won’t be long before any alternative to the fascist narrative will be iimpossible. What sort of world is it when the most rational and reasonable of voices are censored?

My health is very poor and my resilience very low so I cannot play the role of “truth hero” any more,

Will I keep limping on? I really don’t know.

More from the Las Vegas shooting

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Witness to the Las Vegas shooting meets with Laura Loomer and describes the events of that evening. She was located in the VIP area and we all believe, myself included, that shots were fired into the crowd BEFORE the main volley of shots which the FBI and Police narrative claimed were the first shots into the crowd.

Dahr Jamail on mourning for the planet

Dahr Jamail | Mourning Our Planet: Climate Scientists Share Their Grieving Process

Guy McPherson in Burbank, California, 9 October, 2017

Schultz Awareness Lectures: with Guy McPherson

Israeli attacks Syrian air defenses

Israel Attacks Syrian Air Defenses After Warplanes Come Under Fire

16 October, 2017

It’s pretty common for Israeli warplanes to attack targets inside Syria, and it’s very rare for Syria to do anything about it. This appears to be giving Israeli officials a sense that they’re entitled to attack Syria whenever the mood strikes, and led to a furious reaction overnight when Israeli warplaneswere raiding Syria, and came under fire from Syrian air defenses.

Israel responded with a new round of attacks against Syrian air defense batteries east of the capital city of Damascus, presenting it as “retaliation” for Syria daring to fire on the warplanes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuinsisted such attacks are “not acceptable,” and that Israel will continue to strike Syria whenever it sees fit.

Throughout Syria’s war, Israel has regularly attacked Syrian military targets, particularly in the country’s south. Though Israel says they are “neutral” on the Syrian war, top officials have regularly said they would prefer ISIS winning in Syria instead of the Assad government.

Israeli officials say they believe that they can continue to strike Syria withimpunity, or at least without the Russian military being too angry, so long as the attacks don’t directly threaten the Assad government’s survival. Russia has, however, warned Israel at times, particularly regarding operations around Russian bases on the Syrian coast.

There has been no word of casualties from the attacks so far. Israeli forces say their plane was not hit, and the destroyed anti-aircraft battery has been identified as an S-200, an obsolete Soviet-era design.

Attacks Target Police Compounds, Training Sites

The battle in Kirkuk and Raqqa

61,000 flee Kirkuk as Iraq says Kurdish independence 'a thing of the past’

61,000 flee Kirkuk as Iraq says Kurdish independence 'a thing of the past’

17 October, 2017

After the Iraqi army took over Kirkuk, Baghdad has said that Kurdish independence is “a thing of the past” and the controversial referendum should be forgotten, as the UN says 61,000 people have fled the northern city of Kirkuk.

In the past 48 hours, the UN Migration Agency says that some 61,000 people have left Kirkuk and surrounding areas, most of them heading north and east toward the Erbil and Suleimania governorates,” Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, told reporters Tuesday. “We call on all parties to ensure that civilians are protected and [that they] can leave affected areas if they choose.”

Both Iraqi and Kurdish leaders have called for a "peaceful solution" to the current crisis. However, while the Baghdad official announced the controversial referendum should be forgotten, the Kurdish leader assured his nation's efforts for independence were not in vain.

Iraqi army members advance in military vehicles in Kirkuk, Iraq October 16, 2017 © Reuters

"The loud voices you raised for the independence of Kurdistan that you sent to all nations and world countries will not be wasted now or ever," Masoud Barzani said in a statement  Tuesday, adding that "the Kurdistan nation... sooner or later, will eventually reach its right and sacred objective."

Barzani also decried the apparent split among the Kurdish ruling forces. The recent Peshmerga withdrawals from the disputed areas, such as the city of Kirkuk and other regions now under control of Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shiite forces, "was the result of unilateral decisions of some persons within a certain internal political party of Kurdistan," he claimed, without specifying further.

Saying that he and his supporters "are doing our utmost to preserve our achievements," Barzani called for unity within the Kurdish nation and urged for "peaceful solutions."

On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who belongs to the Shiite majority, also called for a dialogue with the Kurdish leadership "under the constitution."

PM Al-Abadi, however, apparently denounced the recent Kurdish independence referendum. It "is finished and has become a thing of the past," he told journalists in Baghdad.

This week, Baghdad has deployed the army to "impose security" in the resource-rich province of Kirkuk. Iraqi troops have seized control over several key Kurdish Peshmerga-held positions in the region. The Kurdish Peshmerga forcesproclaimed the takeover "a flagrant declaration of war."

Up to 11 people might have been killed in Monday clashes between Iraqi and Kurdish forces, Reuters reported, citing US military personnel present in Iraq as part of Washington-led anti-terrorist operation in the region.

The White House has previously said it would not be "taking sides" in the battle between the two US allies.

Meanwhile, in Syria...

Raqqa liberation from ISIS reportedly at final stage, UN says city in ruins

17 October, 2017

US-backed fighters in Syria have reported the final liberation of Raqqa from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). However, there seems to be no further plan in Washington of how to bring life back to the almost completely destroyed city.

Opposition forces in Syria, including Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the People's Protection Units (YPG) announced a ground victory over the terrorist group in its former self-proclaimed capital in Syria. The American-backed SDF claimed on Tuesday that Raqqa is under their control.

While "major military operations" in the city are finished, the militia fighters "are now clearing the city of sleeper cells, if they exist, and mines," SDF spokesperson Talal Salo said in a statement.

"We are now in Raqqa city... Raqqa is liberated from ISIS mercenaries, some foreign members of them remained," a local militia fighter told RT's Ruptly agency. "Raqqa is going to be entirely liberated within a few hours," he dded.

A spokesperson for the US-led anti-terrorist operation in the region, Ryan Dillon, of the Combined Joint Task Force, said the US military officials were "aware of the reports that ISIS has been defeated in Raqqa." The city has been 90 percent cleared of IS, the US military officials suggest, saying that they still expect some resistance.

"Clearance operations continue and we expect our SDF partners to hit pockets of resistance as final parts of the city [are] cleared," Dillon said.

Meanwhile, Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, told reporters on Tuesday that the UN has “received reports that much of the city has been damaged or destroyed due to the fighting.”

Videos filmed on the ground by Ruptly video news agency show a city that has been turned to a deserted wasteland of burned-out cars and twisted metal.

Once inhabited by 300,000 people, less than 1 percent of the population remain in the city, which has no working electricity or running water.

Raqqa is still laced with booby traps and explosives laid down by retreating IS terrorists. In addition to that, some 3,000 bombs have been reportedly dropped on the former IS stronghold by the US-led coalition since January.

While recapturing Raqqa, which became Islamic State's de-facto capital back in 2014, delivers a blow to the terrorist group, the reported victory seems to have come at a high price.

During the months-long military operation, with the US-led coalition supporting local fighters from the air, the UN estimated dozens of people had been killed in Raqqa every day. "Civilian casualties are large and there seems to be no real escape for the civilians," UN officials have said, admitting the cost of the "constant air raids" from the coalition forces.

Saying that "the war against ISIL as we know it is more or less over," Beirut-based journalist Martin Jay told RT that there still are "huge questions to deal with in the coming months and years."

"Raqqa needs to be rebuilt, [thousands of] people need to be put back in their homes, there is a massive reconstruction job ahead and nobody in the international circle, not the EU nor the Americans is waving a checkbook or even suggesting they are going to pay for it," Jay said.

Meanwhile, according to reports in the US media, Donald Trump's administration is still struggling to shape "broader strategy for the war-torn country."

Citing three US officials involved in Syria policy discussions, an NBC report claimed there is still no plan of what to do next in Syria, with an apparent split among US high-ranking foreign policy officials.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is among those who "favor a plan that leads to ousting" Syrian President Bashar Assad, the report reveals, adding that "moderate factions of the government feel he [Assad] is the only thing keeping the country from turning into a black hole engulfing much of the region."

US-backed fighters in Syria have reported the final liberation of Raqqa from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). However, there seems to be no further plan in Washington of how to bring life back to the almost completely destroyed city.

Opposition forces in Syria, including Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the People's Protection Units (YPG) announced a ground victory over the terrorist group in its former self-proclaimed capital in Syria. The American-backed SDF claimed on Tuesday that Raqqa is under their control.

While "major military operations" in the city are finished, the militia fighters "are now clearing the city of sleeper cells, if they exist, and mines," SDF spokesperson Talal Salo said in a statement.