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7

We, Anti-Fascists

2
terms
3
notes

Lennard, N. (2019). We, Anti-Fascists. In Lennard, N. Being Numerous: Essays on Non-Fascist Life. Verso, pp. 7-24

11

[...] We are observing a phenomenon that Martin Luther King Jr. noted well in his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” We are dealing with “the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action.’” There is no shortage of irony in the invocation of MLK by today’s white moderates in order to decry Antifa tactics as violent; in fact, I believe (if one can so speculate) that these same commentators would have been critical of his radical nonviolence, predicated as it was on the provocation of violent spectacle. It is a great liberal tradition to stand on the wrong side of history until that history is comfortably in the past.

oof

—p.11 by Natasha Lennard 11 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] We are observing a phenomenon that Martin Luther King Jr. noted well in his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” We are dealing with “the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action.’” There is no shortage of irony in the invocation of MLK by today’s white moderates in order to decry Antifa tactics as violent; in fact, I believe (if one can so speculate) that these same commentators would have been critical of his radical nonviolence, predicated as it was on the provocation of violent spectacle. It is a great liberal tradition to stand on the wrong side of history until that history is comfortably in the past.

oof

—p.11 by Natasha Lennard 11 months, 3 weeks ago

(common Althusserian term) the process by which ideology, embodied in major social and political institutions (ideological & repressive state apparatuses), constitutes the very nature of individual subjects' identities through the process of "hailing" them in social interactions

11

published a string of profiles platforming white supremacists and neo-Nazis as if they were now an accepted part of the social fabric (thus interpellating them as such)

—p.11 by Natasha Lennard
notable
11 months, 3 weeks ago

published a string of profiles platforming white supremacists and neo-Nazis as if they were now an accepted part of the social fabric (thus interpellating them as such)

—p.11 by Natasha Lennard
notable
11 months, 3 weeks ago

(German for worldview) a particular philosophy or view of life; the worldview of an individual or group

13

the incommensurability of a white supremacist Weltanschauung with one of tolerance

—p.13 by Natasha Lennard
notable
11 months, 3 weeks ago

the incommensurability of a white supremacist Weltanschauung with one of tolerance

—p.13 by Natasha Lennard
notable
11 months, 3 weeks ago
16

And what of the fascisms in each of us who would be anti-fascist? “Kill the cop inside your head!” goes the anarchist dictum. As philosopher John Protevi noted in his 2000 essay, following Deleuze and Guatarri, “A thousand independent and self-appointed policemen do not make a Gestapo, though they may be a necessary condition for one.” How do we remove ourselves as participants in such a condition? Easier said than done. We cannot simply be anti-fascist; we must also practice and make better habits, forms of life. Rather than as a noun or adjective, anti-fascist as a gerund verb: a constant effort of anti-fascisting against the fascisms that even we ourselves uphold. Working to create nonhierarchical ways of living, working to undo our own privileges and desires for power. The individualized and detached Self, the over-codings of family-unit normativity, the authoritarian tendency of careerism—all of them paranoiac sites of micro-fascism in need of anti-fascist care. Again, easier said than done. But better than a faulty approach to anti-fascism that frames it as some pure position, when it is anything but. We act against fascists in the knowledge we need to act against ourselves, too. The strategy is always to create consequences for living a fascist life and seek anti-fascist departures.

—p.16 by Natasha Lennard 11 months, 3 weeks ago

And what of the fascisms in each of us who would be anti-fascist? “Kill the cop inside your head!” goes the anarchist dictum. As philosopher John Protevi noted in his 2000 essay, following Deleuze and Guatarri, “A thousand independent and self-appointed policemen do not make a Gestapo, though they may be a necessary condition for one.” How do we remove ourselves as participants in such a condition? Easier said than done. We cannot simply be anti-fascist; we must also practice and make better habits, forms of life. Rather than as a noun or adjective, anti-fascist as a gerund verb: a constant effort of anti-fascisting against the fascisms that even we ourselves uphold. Working to create nonhierarchical ways of living, working to undo our own privileges and desires for power. The individualized and detached Self, the over-codings of family-unit normativity, the authoritarian tendency of careerism—all of them paranoiac sites of micro-fascism in need of anti-fascist care. Again, easier said than done. But better than a faulty approach to anti-fascism that frames it as some pure position, when it is anything but. We act against fascists in the knowledge we need to act against ourselves, too. The strategy is always to create consequences for living a fascist life and seek anti-fascist departures.

—p.16 by Natasha Lennard 11 months, 3 weeks ago
22

We must delineate what we are, and are not, willing to name “violence.” I don’t believe a smashed bank window or a burning trash can on the Berkeley campus outside a Milo speech to be victims of violence or to produce victims. But that is not an absolute distinction related to animate versus inanimate objects—for a smashed mosque window or a swastika on a Jewish grave would, by my lights, produce legitimate victims of violence. The latter, but not the former, are in service of an ideology—white supremacy—in which violence inheres. There is a crucial distinction between destruction as collateral damage of a political end (say, in the goal of disrupting a neo-Nazi gathering), versus as its central tenet (genocide).

Anti-fascist violence is thus a counterviolence, not an instigation of violence onto a terrain of preexisting peace. A situation in which fascists can gather to preach hate and chant “blood and soil”—this is a background state of violence. The problem we face, then, is not so much that of necessary violence as it is one of impossible nonviolence.

—p.22 by Natasha Lennard 11 months, 3 weeks ago

We must delineate what we are, and are not, willing to name “violence.” I don’t believe a smashed bank window or a burning trash can on the Berkeley campus outside a Milo speech to be victims of violence or to produce victims. But that is not an absolute distinction related to animate versus inanimate objects—for a smashed mosque window or a swastika on a Jewish grave would, by my lights, produce legitimate victims of violence. The latter, but not the former, are in service of an ideology—white supremacy—in which violence inheres. There is a crucial distinction between destruction as collateral damage of a political end (say, in the goal of disrupting a neo-Nazi gathering), versus as its central tenet (genocide).

Anti-fascist violence is thus a counterviolence, not an instigation of violence onto a terrain of preexisting peace. A situation in which fascists can gather to preach hate and chant “blood and soil”—this is a background state of violence. The problem we face, then, is not so much that of necessary violence as it is one of impossible nonviolence.

—p.22 by Natasha Lennard 11 months, 3 weeks ago