Today we take a look at the ongoing debate about socialism between socialists and non-socialists alike, including discussion of tactical strategies on where to set our goals and how to get from here to there.
Today Jay! Tomlinson and the award-winning Best of the Left podcast are covering Trump’s war on journalism and journalists. Multiple times the nation’s 45th President has labelled journalists the “enemy of the people.” He frequently derides news outlets like the New York Times and CNN.
It’s always good to reach across the aisle. I’m a firm believer in communication, even with your opponents. Without it, the world is doomed to slip into chaos. I also believe in our right to free speech. Our right to criticize our government, our law enforcement, our friends, and our enemies. In the worst fascist states, criticizing your government can land you dead in a ditch, in more civil places it can still land you a petty fine.
Recently I commented on a fellow WordPress user’s blog post, Rancid Ravioli, who runs the page But I’m Always Right. I encourage you to check out his posts and maybe leave a comment. Engaging with one another is how we make progress. It’s a notably right-leaning blog, but I find it’s important to stay informed on the thoughts and happenings of both sides of the American political spectrum.
My point is that suppression of conservatives on social media isn’t some nefarious, globalist persecution of all people right-of-center. It’s that the right has a lot skeletons, and they aren’t in the closet. They’re dancing in the streets wearing MAGA hats like some perverted twist on Cinco de Mayo, and that users of social media don’t want to experience the hate that they commonly spread online. Therefore it’s not much of a stretch to imagine that users, moderators and administrators on the internet have a tendency to remove or prevent what they view as vitriolic opinions from their sites.
The internet is not America; websites are under no obligation to tolerate your opinion. In my opinion, a lot of conservative content online is in fact spiteful, disrespectful, often factually dubious, and far too reactionary. It plays on emotion rather than reason; what feels good and not what is true. That’s a bit of hyperbole, but what the hell? This is the opinion section of the website. Ravioli has some critiques on my line of thought, and that of other leftists that I want to publicize and explore here. Let’s just run down the list. The following are taken directly from his blog post, wherein he declares that he “could easily demolish [my] argument”
1. Tasking him to specify what is “so much” and to provide at least 10 examples in the last 2 and a half years.
So here he’s asking for “10 examples in the last 2 and a half years” for conservative’s being responsible for, as I said, “so much death and violence.” So, since February 2017. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
2. I could point to all the massive ugly history Democrats have in dealing with black people which includes their record on slavery and their creation of the KKK.
You could, except the only issue with that is what a Democrat was, historically. From its creation in 1828 until the 1930’s, the Democratic Party was made up of Southern conservatives. The Party didn’t become pro-big-government, pro-social programs, and begin its Northward shift until FDR in the 1930’s. So when you hear Republicans espouse the motto “Party of Lincoln,” it’s a big falsehood. They were the “Party of Lincoln” in name only.
I could point out how fascism actually has deep historical ties to leftist ideology such as socialism and communism. In fact it is a natural evolution of those ideologies.
I’m lumping my response into the next quote’s.
I could point out how those very leftist ideologies have been responsible for the most disturbing and violent regimes in history. Stalin was a Leftist, Hitler was a fan of leftist ideology, and so much more throughout history. Research it.
I’m actually not going to deny Ravioli’s initial statement. Like every bourgeois regime in human history, leftist ideologies have been adopted by dictators and authoritarians alike to oppress and control populaces. The only caveat I’d add is that this isn’t a problem with leftist ideology, it’s a problem with the bourgeoisie (a catch-all term for the wealthy elite who end up controlling the populace and government in any given society). In the past there have been violent regimes of both leftist and conservative ideology. There are even militant Buddhists. Anyways, I do want to set the record straight on Hitler and Stalin’s dubious relationships with socialism:
“Whatever interest Hitler had in socialism was not based on an understanding of socialism that we might have today — a movement that would supplant capitalism in which the working class would seize power over the state and the means of production. He repeatedly pushed back efforts by economically left-leaning elements of the party to enact socialist reforms, saying in a 1926 conference in Bamberg (organized by Nazi Party leaders over the very question of the party’s ideological underpinnings) that any effort to take the homes and estates of German princes would move the party toward communism and that he would never do anything to assist “communist-inspired movements.” He prohibited the formation of Nazi trade unions, and by 1929 he outright rejected any efforts by Nazis who argued in favor of socialistic ideas or projects in their entirety.”
“Stalin’s personal character is not the dominating factor of Soviet history since 1914. Far greater forces have been at work. But if Lenin’s individual gifts were on the side of progress to Socialism, Stalin touched only to corrupt. Of political economy he was, and to a great extent is, quite ignorant; in Marxism he and his henchmen are to-day capable of errors that a raw Social Democrat would not be guilty of. These things will be proved in their place. For the moment it is sufficient to give some significant incidents in his early history.”
How Antifa is running around Canada and the US assaulting people they don’t like simply because those people have an opinion they don’t like. Antifa also distributes information on how to commit violent crimes and how to get away with it. http://destructables.org/about
Ravioli, once again I have to say you’re right… kind of. Anti-fascism is on the rise in the US. Anti-fascists have assaulted people, and sometimes unnecessarily. And yes, anti-fascists do have websites where they share tactics and methods for combating fascism. On the note of “distributing information” I will point out that the right-wing also keeps a public database of people they deem the enemy because they “have an opinion they don’t like,” or as they call us: “subversive politicians, activists, communists, agitators and out and out traitors”
It’s admittedly hard to keep all ‘members’ of ‘antifa’ accountable, because antifa does not exist as some national organization like the Proud Boys or Three Percenters. “It is impossible to know how many people count themselves as members. Its followers acknowledge that the movement is secretive, without official leaders and organized into autonomous local cells.” writes the New York Times “It is also only one in a constellation of activist movements that have come together in the past few years to oppose the far right.”
But, the whole point of anti-fascism is to stamp out fascism. Anti-fascism exists solely as a unified act of self-defense. Anti-fascists do not exist without fascism. We (oh yes, I am an antifa boogeyman) are all from different political sects, be it social democrats, democratic socialists, communists, anarchists, or centrists. But when fascism rears it’s ugly head in America, the nation that fought to save Europe from fascismjust 70 years ago, we unite in our amelioration of the American spirit of freedom and liberty, against fascism. Faaaaascism. I feel like people have forgotten what fascism is and what it has done historically. Tell me if any of these characteristics of fascism sound familiar:
Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerateopen hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
Fraudulent Elections Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
Not all of the links included here track with these tenets of fascism, but there have been hundreds of concerning trends in America that only become more prevalent each year. The right’s trend toward authoritarianism and fascism is not only factual, but the only people who actively deny it are the right themselves. Whether it’s willful ignorance or deliberately playing dumb to hide an agenda, American conservatives have doubled down on “their team.” Conservative politicians nakedly support fascistic principals that run contrary to the American spirit set forth by the Founders. Carrying on…
The reality is Cal is ignoring reality. Sure everyone can name Christchurch or the recent Garlic Festival attack. But how many more can anyone name from the last couple of years? Now google how many far leftist attacks occurred and you’ll find the Left’s argument of a rise in alt-right extremism is flawed. If there were such a massive increase you’d see alt-right assaults being reported in the Hate Media, such as CNN, every single day. Remember they will report every single alt-right attack no matter where in the world it occurs. But they will only report alt-left assaults when they have to.
I know this response was long-winded, but I hope you stuck around to the end. All of this is in the spirit of healthy and civil discourse. While I support the anti-fascist movement and its propensity for Nazi-beat-downs, I encourage violence only as a last resort and in self-defense. Fascism is a disease and has no place in the land of the free, where we believe in self-determination and personal liberty. As a proud leftist, I respectfully disagree with Ravioli’s characterization of the leftist movement, and encourage him to respond in kind.
“I write to urge you to open an organized crime investigation into Antifa” writes US Senator Ted Cruz, “an anarchist terrorist organization that routinely relies on violence to intimidate and punish its political opponents.” Cruz writes to Attorney General William Barr, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Cruz is not alone; U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) join his call to officially criminalize the anti-fascist movement popularly known as “Antifa” under the RICO Act, a law famously used to catch mobsters and even corrupt Pennsylvania lawmakers. “While RICO was originally aimed at the Mafia, over the past 37 years, prosecutors have used it to attack many forms of organized crime: street gangs, gang cartels, corrupt police departments and even politicians.” reads Justia’s article on the law. Even the President has joined in the calls, lumping anti-fascist protesters in with violent gang MS-13, calling them “Radical Left Wack Jobs”
At the event, the attacker rammed his car into a crowd of anti-fascist counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer. He was recently sentenced to more than 400 years in prison. Footage of the rally was recently shown at the end of the major motion picture BlacKKKlansman, calling for an end to the alt-right and far-right extremism.
Attendees of WOMAD 2019, the UK’s World of Music, Art and Dance Festival, are reporting quite the shocking turn of events: the appearance of a two acre, 300 foot-in-diameter crop circle in a field near the festival grounds in Wiltshire, England.
The symbol, a pointed hourglass enclosed by a circle, is the infamous ‘extinction symbol’ popularized by the Extinction Rebellion, an activist organization with a flair for the dramatic. The group is well known for staging large-scale events that make it hard to keep them out of the headlines. This crop circle is the latest.
“The Extinction Symbol crop circle draws our attention to ecocide, the loss of 75% of insects and catastrophic loss of biodiversity; the overuse of herbicide and pesticide and the havoc climate chaos wreaks on our capacity to grow food. People are already going hungry around the world, even here in the UK, and yet the amount of perfectly good food thrown away every day by our supermarkets is astounding. In the Midwest of the USA, 16 million acres won’t grow wheat this year, due to flooding. This is the reality of our current systems and the Climate and Ecological Crisis we are in. The coming years will see truly cataclysmic changes to our capacity to grow food and that is when we are genuinely looking at societal collapse.”
This circle is the second massive circle to occur in the UK, but the last one was not made of flattened plants, it was made of people.
The creators of this human symbol are an art collective entitled The Circlemakers, who released the following statement about their demonstration:
“Much of our work is inspired by the ancient sacred sites of Britain and the world – we come together, we work as a team – as they did in the past. No one of us could create what we do entirely on our own. Extinction Rebellion is about making positive change by working together. The Extinction Symbol lends itself perfectly to land art. It is the peace sign of our times. The symbol which is free to use by all (in a non commercial way) signifies the threat of extinction. The circle represents planet Earth and the hourglass within is a warning to us, that time is running out. We are in a Climate and Ecological Emergency. In the making of this crop circle – the largest Extinction Symbol ever made – we were conscious of the huge risk to our fragile planet. The time to act is now.”
The Extinction Rebellion is quickly growing in numbers and popularity, with their concise demands listed on their website, and scrawled on massive banners at protests. Their demands are:
“Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.”
“Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.”
“Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.”
The growing pro-firearms non-profit Socialist Rifle Association is bristling after receiving a letter from the CEO of the NSSF, a popular alternative to the NRA, informing them that the SRA’s membership has been rescinded. The reason cited in the letter (attached below) specifies that the NSSF “embraces free-market capitalism” and “is aware of (sic) that your organization does not share these same values”
On Monday, July 22nd, the SRA received an email informing us that our membership in the NSSF had been rescinded and our $200 nonprofit membership dues were refunded. In a followup email, a representative of the organization claimed that the NSSF stands for “free market capitalism” and that a socialist organization being a member of their trade association would be contrary to their “core values”. Further, they claimed both publicly and in the followup email that the SRA had joined through their “automated membership system”, with the clear insinuation that they had accepted our membership without knowledge of our organization’s values and purpose.
– Socialist Rifle Association
The NSSF claims that the SRA was only granted membership due to their application process being automated. The SRA refutes this claim in their public statement, stating “we followed up with both phone and email correspondence to set up our account and spoke to an individual claiming the title of “Manager, Retail and Range Services”. While setting up our online account, an NSSF employee even created the temporary password “Socialist1″ for us.” The statement includes a follow-up email from NSSF Director of Public Affairs, Mike Oliva:
The SRA’s statement shames the NSSF for the expulsion and expresses a desire for acceptance of firearms and pro-Second Amendment beliefs among the US political left. ” The SRA not only represents gun owners who align politically to the left, but also minority groups and members of the LGBTQ+ community who feel unwelcome in many circles that claim to support the Second Amendment rights of ALL Americans. The people that make up these circles represent the same voices that seem to have scared the NSSF away from its initial decision to broaden its scope to include a large contingent of gun owners that feel voiceless in regards to mainstream gun politics.”