I have come to the realization that I am a member of Antifa. This surprises me, since I’ve often been a huge critic of the mobs that rage in the streets and cause immense physical and emotional damage. I’ve written columns excoriating them, recorded podcasts condemning them, issued appeals to my friends on social media to confront them.
But it occurred to me over the past week of violence, of curfews, of erasures of history and abject apologies for crimes never committed that I am against fascism, and that makes me Antifa namely, “Anti-Fa(scism ).”
Who are the fascists, you might ask?
Here’s an incomplete list culled from this past week alone:
- The vandals who rampaged through the streets of cities over the weekend, causing untold damage to businesses, buildings, livelihoods and emotional well being.
- The people who supported them with this bizarre justification that “95 percent of the folks protesting were peaceful, only a few were barbaric.” I find it very hard to believe that only 5 percent of the crowds committed the massive amount of damage in Center City Philadelphia. Heck, General Sherman and his troops didn’t do that much damage.
- The people who remained silent while their cities were shuttered and covered over with plywood and cement blocks in an attempt to protect them from the vandals artwork, including many in the faith community who should have been the loudest.
- Speaking of which, the Episcopal Bishop of D.C., Marian Budde, who excoriated Donald Trump for appearing in front of a fire-bombed St. John’s, implying that she had a veto over God’s real estate.
- Speaking of which, part 2, the Catholic Archbishop of D.C., Wilton Gregory, who attacked Trump for visiting the shrine of St. John Paul II, a trip that had been planned months ago and to which Gregory had agreed all those months ago.
- The folks who finally got the spineless mayor of Philadelphia to remove the statue of a mayor many people actually adored, and many others tolerated, because they were so triggered at seeing Frank Rizzo greeting them from the Municipal Services Building. They defaced it, and now they erased it, like good fascists do.
- Malcolm Jenkins, LeBron James and the other Orwellian stormtroopers who will persecute a man who disagrees with them. When Drew Brees, a man who has done more for his community than those two loudmouths combined said that he would never disrespect the American flag, the ex-Eagle and his buddy the King harassed and publicly humiliated the future Hall of Fame quarterback until he capitulated. Textbook Stalin: Torture until they capitulate.
There are many more examples of this newly-trending society fascism, including the attempts of social media to cancel out conservative viewpoints, the editorial board of a local paper apologizing to their readers for running a headline that read “Buildings Matter Too,” the triggered employees of that paper who stayed home with a case of Floyd Flu in anger and pique about the headline, the constant drumbeat of people telling us to “be kind, be aware, be sorry, be humble, or be silent,” and so many other instances of what my friend Jim calls “witch hunting.”
This fascism is upsetting, and I never noticed until quite recently how ubiquitous it was. I thought that I lived in the United States of America, where people were able to express their opinions without being forced into capitulation and silence. I thought that journalists were actually able to write about current events without themselves becoming part of the story. I believed that in this country, and the greater world, one evil (the killing of a civilian by a police officer) did not justify an equal or greater evil, the destruction of cities, reputations, livelihoods, futures and the structures of civil society.
But clearly, I was dozing off as fascism, like carbon monoxide, colorless and invisible, infiltrated our world to the point that, like George Floyd, we cannot breathe.
And so that’s why I’m a proud member of Antifa.
Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at email@example.com