It sounds kinda dystopian, don’t you think? This post is going to be about that group of people who are smashing crap up all across the US and causing problems at every single protest ever. They are The black bloc, and we need to take note of them, because they are hugely damaging the left wing’s chances at having a serious opposition against the rising tide of right wing politics.
The black bloc is a strategy employed by groups during legitimate protests. In a fascist society it would be important to conceal your identity, to avoid prosecution for having an opinion that goes against the fascist order. The all black clothing means its easy for you to blend in with the crowd, its easy for you to hide amongst numbers, and its a lot harder for anyone to really single you or anyone else out of a crowd. Its a great tool for citizens of fascist countries to utilise. Unfortunately, that’s not really what’s happening in the western world currently.
The western world is plagued by Anti-fascism, also called #antifa, an ideology which groups a bunch of fascists who claim they’re not fascists. Obviously, by the strictest definition of fascism they are not fascists – but they do utilise all of the tools commonly associated with fascism. Using people’s identities against them, hiding their own identities, violence, damage to property etc. Their line of thinking is basically “if I don’t like your beliefs I can punch you in the face” as we saw with the Richard Spencer video recently. This makes it scary to have an opinion that doesn’t stick with what they think, and is literally why we fought against fascism. Its these behaviours that can not stand. Not necessarily the right wing politics typically associated with fascism.
You can see these guys at protests across the years. They’re the ones setting things on fire, smashing windows, etc. They are organised and this behaviour is their plan.
There actions hinder the legitimacy of any protest, because as soon as something like this happens, you know what happens next? Right-wing media sees it and puts a spin on it. They use these actions to say “well look they’re just a bunch of violent thugs” and given all the justification flying around for the Spencer punch, they’re not exactly wrong. This is not how you gain political leverage and respect. This is not how you win.
I usually dislike labels, and never use them for myself, but given my beliefs its probably a bit silly to deny that I’m likely left-wing as heck. So believe me when I say I want the left to win, I want the left back in power, but this really isn’t the way to achieve it. Enabling this kind of behaviour only gives the opposition more wiggle room to convince people to their side, if you need evidence of this just look at 2016.
If we’re being honest, all politics is argued from a mixture of a moral and practical standpoints. If you have a group of people associating with you who are behaving immorally then by association people will assume you’re immoral too. So that’s that part checked off. As for practicality, what’s practical about punching someone? What’s practical about smashing windows? What’s practical about setting fires? These things don’t hinder the companies you’re attacking – mega corporations like McDonalds can shit windows out without a worry on their bank balance. They don’t stop the ideologies you’re against, they embolden them. Politically speaking, antifa are cancer. They are cells which just don’t know when to stop.
What can we do though? Simple. The black bloc appear to be large in numbers, but realistically speaking they are a minority of a protest. Like a tiny minority. You’ll be lucky to have a group of 100 amongst hundreds of thousands. They only appear a large and solid group because of their tight grouping. Unfortunately for them though this makes it really easy to gather them into an area in a move known as kettling. Obviously I’m not condoning violence or attacking these people, and kettling a group of people shouldn’t be attempted if you think they are likely to get violent. Though I do wholeheartedly believe legitimate protesters need to start pushing these people out of the protest.
I don’t just mean this literally in terms of kettling either. I mean this through social media too. They need to know that their actions are unwanted and damaging the cause. Push them away from you, distance yourself from them and show people you are against this fringe group of lunatics too. Break that “guilty by association” narrative the press is using to de-legitimise your protest.
With 2017 in full steam and a lot of scary things happening, there’s going to be a lot more reasons to protest. All of which will be shut down and illegitimate if protesters continue to enable the anti fascists to continue their fascist behaviour. If you have a shred of political integrity when you go to a protest, remember to push them out.