CJay Engel

October 23, 2019

Antifa are not "the real fascists"

After Andy Ngo was violently attacked, many on the right and even the center used this moment to declare that it was foolish to think that antifa ("Anti Fascist") was some peaceful and pro-liberation group, that instead they were the true fascists because of the way they carried out their methods violently and without remorse. But this is historically ignorant and borrows the mainstream framework of western development. Specifically, that framework is that the last 250 years or so are characterized by liberation and progress, that the overall trend has been toward increased egalitarianism, democracy, "power to the people," and therefore liberty. It is true in many ways that the last several centuries have been characterized by the former three, but these have little to do with liberty properly understood.

In any case, I talked about this in my reflection on the possibility of progress. As various revolutions have presented themselves to the world and became a key aspect of the overall intellectual current, it came to be that revolution was associated with progress. The French and Russian revolutions, perhaps misguided or misapplied, nevertheless were in the right direction because they favored people and "change" over the non-democratic social structures. And attempts to react to such revolutions were associated with backwardness, Reactionary impulse, and oppression.

Thus, when the Marxist-Leninist spirit swept Europe, Eurasia, and even South America, any attempt to double down in opposition was seen as conservative and reactionary. Fascists and those who hold this same reactionary response to violent communists typically are the ones responding to revolutionary marxism.In our case, Antifa are much more similar to the violent left-revolutionaries who sought a social upheaval which they set in terms of either economics (classical marxism) or cultural struggle (Gramsci-style cultural Marxism-- Gramsci was, of course, an original "anti-fascist" who was held by the Fascist government in Italy.).

Thus, saying that Antifa are the real fascists mischaracterizes the dynamic and does not take into account the socially-disrupting nature of violent revolution against the standing order of things. The reason why the "antifa as fascist" narrative plays right into the hands of the overarching narrative of the western world is because if people think of antifa as fascist, there is no paradox with the belief that revolution and disruption are inherently progress and social betterment. The modern and mainstream conservative movement has swallowed the progressivist overarching narrative and therefore see the wrong connection. But it makes little sense to think of antifa as rising in response to some other, revolutionary force in America. Is the so-called alt-right analogous to the marxist-leninist agitators while the antifa group rising in response to this? What absurdities.

But if antifa is, in reality, a communistic revolutionary force then we should realize again and again that revolutions are so often detriments to freedom, not their moment of birth. Erik Kuehnelt-Leddihn and others have even pointed out that, with respect to purpose, method, and comparison of other historical revolutions, the War for Independence was not even a revolution, properly speaking. But that's beside the point.And realizing that antifa is not fascist, but instead the predecessor of reaction, suggests there is more social strife to come. The more violent communists and left-anarchists (in the traditional, mainstream sense) push their endeavors, the more likely an actually fascistic movement will develop in reaction. In other words all this bloviation of fear and tremble in the media, in the streets, in the western world as a whole, about "fascism" and Neo-nazis..." these are goading and flaming what could indeed turn out to be actual violent reaction to groups like antifa.The far and violent left doesn't even realize that it is sowing the seeds for something far worse. Perhaps a communist-fascist struggle might once again wake from its slumber.And while on the anti-fascist subject, I should express my excitement for Paul Gottfried's forthcoming Anti-fascist history book, which will do well to complement his Fascism one.

About the author

C.Jay Engel is the founder and publisher of Bastion Magazine. He has written for, LRC, David Stockman, and related. He owns several consulting business, actively works on the magazine, and lives in Northern CA.

more from the blog