I Am Antifa

Mine Furor today announced, “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.” Antifa, of course isn’t an organization; it’s a principle: antifascism. Here’s a sampling of the people he’ll be designating as terrorists.

You’d also have to include groups like the 107 Independent Supporters’ Trust (a.k.a Timbers Army), and many other American soccer fan clubs.

This is not nit-picking. The control of language is important here. Mine Furor is telling Americans that they must choose between fascism and terrorism.

Let me be clear: I am antifa.

“Today,” writes Jay Rosen, “my case to American journalists is this: You cannot keep from getting swept up in Trump’s agenda without a firm grasp on your own.” This does appear to be the crux of the problem in American journalism: they don’t seem to think they have, or should have, an agenda. Rosen offers a fairly disturbing quote from Peter Baker, who covers the White House for The New York Times.

As reporters, our job is to observe, not participate […].”

The thing is, journalism is a bit like quantum mechanics: you can’t merely observe. Reporting on events necessarily both partakes of those events and impacts those events, and Rosen is especially right that if journalists don’t have (yes) a political agenda of “fighting authoritarianism and the subversion of democracy”, then journalism itself effectively is a pointless and impotent exercise.

Because neither the news media nor the nation’s larger political culture has reckoned with the GOP’s authoritarian evolution, the habitual response is to mislabel GOP authoritarianism as hypocrisy. Calling out hypocrisy is a pointless shaming mechanism for a party that has broken free of shame. Worse, it camouflages a war on democracy as democratic politics as usual.

From American Politics Is Now Democrats Versus Authoritarians by Francis Wilkinson (via John Stoehr)

It’s distressing, maddening, saddening, exhausting, genuinely tragic. Lots of people are going to die. There’s so much wrong with what Patrick said – callous, eugenicist, immoral, based on false premises, obscures the real problem and motives, straight up evil – but one that keeps getting me is that he’s opposing any kind of economic restructuring in the name of these “grandchildren.” The economy, as is, works horribly for future generations. There’s a huge generational wealth gap, for example, that leaves younger generations with less money at the same age than any of their predecessors. It’s also causing environmental collapse that future generations will have to deal with. And employment-based health care, student debt, and other products of our current economy punish the youth as well. What he’s asking isn’t even for the immoral sacrifice he proposes – it’s that a lot of people sacrifice their lives so people in power can keep the illusion that nothing’s wrong.

From Imagining the future by David Iscoe

If the press corps does not act with suspicion toward the administration, I’m afraid it will fall back on its hoary habits, behaving, as it often does, with endless benefit-of-the-doubt. Even now, after knowing everything we know, the press corps still acts as if there’s something unknown, or unknowable, about how Trump will behave during a national emergency. Respectable journalists from the largest and most trusted news outlets continue, to this day, to demonstrate an unwillingness to accept that this president is no ordinary GOP partisan. Trump is a fascist with no hope of redemption.

From Amid a National Health Emergency, There’s No Hope for Redemption for Donald Trump by John Stoehr

“I would love to hear a believable explanation for all this,” challenges Heather Cox Richardson, “that does not lead to the conclusion that Republicans are willing to invite Russia—or any foreign power— into our elections, so long as it means they win.” Richardson’s newsletter, which I only just found, has been a daily accounting of the dismantling of the republic. If you’re into that sort of thing.

It’s telling that Stephen Miller effectively confesses to government officials that all he has is his seething racist xenophobia, and equally as telling that he’s Mine Furor’s longest-running staffer.

As the meeting ended, Miller held up his hand to make a final comment. “I didn’t mean to come across as harsh,” he said. His voice dropped. “It’s just that this is all I care about. I don’t have a family. I don’t have anything else. This is my life.”

“Republican senators affirmatively voted to allow the president to use his official powers,” wrote Adam Serwer on Wednesday, “to suppress the opposition party, [and] to purge government employees who proved more loyal to the Constitution than to Trump.” The very next day, reporters revealed that Trump had fired the acting Director of National Intelligence for briefing congressional Democrats on Putin’s continuing electoral support for Trump, replaced him with an inexperienced yes-man, and gave that yes-man a senior advisor who was Devin Nunes’ chief gaslighter on Russia.

Legislators in functioning democracies need not agree on substantive policy matters—they might fight over environmental safeguards, for example, or tax rates, or immigration, or health care. But no matter the party or ideology they support, they must hold sacred the right of the people to choose their own leaders. The entire Senate Republican Conference has only one legislator willing to act on that principle. The lesson Trump has learned from impeachment is that the Republican Party will let him get away with anything he wants to do.