Why is Melissa Lemieux of Newsweek referring to three plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Portland as “counterfascist”, let alone as “self-described counterfascist” in the article’s meta tags? Just as a counterprotest doesn’t mean “against protest”, but “a protest opposing another protest”, counterfascist would mean “a fascist opposing another fascist”. The word here is antifascist, and it’s neither dirty nor a slur. It’s a perfectly good word describing a perfectly good thing to be: against fascism, and neither Lemieux nor the protesters should avoid using it.

ETA: Apparently, Newsweek got the “self-described” language from OPB, where Meerah Powell referred to “a self-described ‘counter-fascist protest’”. Alex Zieklinski’s coverage for Portland Mercury teaches me that the language ultimately is drawn from the text of the complaint which refers to “counter-fascist groups” and “counter-fascist protestors”, which also isn’t a thing. This means the actual lawyers for antifascists are running from the term antifascist. That’s bad.

ETA: This effectively sells out anyone else still—correctly, and appropriately—calling themselves antifascist. It cedes authority over our language to the bad-faith apologists for fascism and hate who want to make “antifa” synonymous with “terrorist”. Shame on Levi Merrithew Horst and Oregon Justice Resource Center.

ETA: Weirder yet, the complaint later does use the term “anti-fascist” and OJRC used that term in a statement, so why are they using the nonsense word “counter-fascist” at all?

Fascism Journalism Language Law Politics Portland Protest

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