When Did Opposing Fascism Become Politically Contentious?
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Politics and Activism

When Did Opposing Fascism Become Politically Contentious?

The lessons of World War II have been forgotten.

When Did Opposing Fascism Become Politically Contentious?
L.A. Times

Fascism: A governmental systemledbyadictator havingcompletepower, forcibly suppressingoppositionandcriticism, regimentingallindustry,commerce,etc.,and emphasizinganaggressivenationalismand oftenracism.

The above is the first definition of fascism one finds when googling the term. As of late, it has become politically contentious to oppose that. In fact, it goes beyond being politically contentious, it is now downright considered terrorism. New Jersey recently declared Antifa (An antifascist group across the country) a terrorist organization and there is a change.org petition for the national government to do the same thing. I challenge someone to come up with something more fascist than declaring that antifascism should be eliminated.

Antifa has been around for a while. Although many folks are just now learning of the group's existence, antifascism has been around almost as long as fascism has. In fact, immediately before the rise of Adolf Hitler, an Antifa group called Antifashisteste Aktion tried to oppose him and his rise. They were forced to disband after his election, primarily because they were being targeted much like the Jewish people, Communists, people of color, etc. What does this look like in context of the modern era?

At Donald Trump's press conference yesterday (August 16th), he still refused to call what happened in Charlottesville a terrorist attack. Even Jeff Sessions called it a terrorist attack. What's more, though, Trump spent most of the press conference rattling off about the threat of the "alt-left." He called neo-nazis and white supremacists a group of "bad people" but finished this sentence out by saying that the "the other side is also bad people." Let's be clear: He just equivocated nazis with the folks who think it's important to fight them.

When did this trend emerge? Countless troops died during World War II fighting one of the greatest evils the world has ever known. Suddenly, conservatives, moderates, and liberals alike are united in the notion of ensuring nazis and white supremacists have a platform. Perhaps people have forgotten, or else they just don't care, but nazi sympathizing seems to be at an all time high.

Even Mitt Romney recognizes this trend to be morally repugnant.

When you're to the far right of Mitt Romney, you need to ask yourself what's going on.

The labeling of antifascist and leftist groups as terroristic and the attempt to morally equivocate them to neo-nazis is not just run of the mill politics, though. It is extremely dangerous. Prior to Donald Trump's election, many historians issued a warning to the public: Do not allow the abnormal to become normal. Yet this is precisely what is happening. One of the better pieces of analysis on this question comes from Ruth Ben-Ghiat.

"Normalization is a form of decriminalization. It’s when Trump can say, 'I’ll shoot someone' and he does not get booted out as a candidate. He wins. You decided to accept what used to be considered lawless. There’s trickle-down violence, just as there’s trickle-down racism. Trump sets the tone."

Do not allow the lines to blur. It should not surprise us when Trump calls the media and protestors enemies of America. Trump, his supporters, and the alt-right have made an entire political agenda off of making their adversaries out to be a threat. Meanwhile, while folks are sympathizing with white supremacists in the name of "free speech" the real threat looms: Donald Trump is gathering information on those who oppose him. The wake-up calls could not be more loud or more clear. Antifascism is not just a fringe organization, it is not a radical ideology, rather it is a baseline. It is a litmus test for governmental and individual action. Fascism relies on suppression, alternative facts, and violence to sustain itself. The American public as a whole must decide to be anti-that. The countless lives lost to white supremacy each year depends on it and indeed the very future of America depends on it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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