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Friday, September 25, 2020

Dear Antifa

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Karen Lehrman Bloch
Karen Lehrman Bloch is a cultural critic; author of The Lipstick Proviso: Women, Sex & Power in the Real World (Doubleday) and The Inspired Home: Interiors of Deep Beauty (Harper Design); Editor of International Political Affairs at The Weekly Blitz; and curator of the book and exhibition Passage to Israel (Skyhorse).

I have to admit, it’s a clever ruse. Donning all black, claiming a lineage to anti-fascist groups in Germany and Italy, stating that your aim is to “halt the advance of white supremacy” — I commend your branding strategist.

And it worked. Despite the unhinged disruption of free speech, the bloodied noses, the clubbing of police officers, the smashed windows and hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage, the left bought it. Despite the fact that most of you are so white and morally challenged that any fascist leader would have chosen you in their top ranks, you were able to convince a fair number of the intellectual elite that you actually are here to fight an “uncontrollable rise of fascism.”

But yeah, I get it: You got bored. I mean, how many times can you set a limo on fire (especially when the driver turns out to be a Muslim immigrant)? 

Well, on June 29, you assaulted the ideal target to out yourselves: Andy Ngo, a gay, Asian journalist who works for a media outlet with the motto “Free thought lives.” Those of us who didn’t see through your hoax before saw through it now. It’s you who are the fascists. And you’re just trying to make fascism cool again, right?

But the leftist elite — sometimes they can be rather dense. Instead of finally seeing you for who you are, some of them have gone on a victim-blaming rampage, claiming that Ngo deserved the bleeding hemorrhage because … they had to think fast here … because he’s not a “real journalist”… in fact, he’s a fascist himself.

Then they went after Quillette, where he’s an editor. They’ve been calling Quillette — one of the few media outlets today that is truly liberal — “reactionary.”

But even worse is the apathy.

As writer Alexandra DeSanctis tweeted: “We witnessed a multi-week meltdown from prominent progressives after a high school student supposedly smirked at a Native American, but a journalist actually gets brutalized by Antifa and to them it’s a non-event.”

All of this has given us two new terms: “violence apologists” for “righteous mobs.” Violence is now seen as acceptable on the left if you don’t like someone’s political views, and journalists who are not part of the #resistance are fair game. Free speech is so last century. Critics of this idea are now being mocked with the term “civility-fetishizing.” 

The fact that studies show that violent protest movements are counterproductive — the silent majority runs to law-and-order policies when people are being punched in the streets — doesn’t seem to matter. As Maria Stephan, a director at the United States Institute of Peace puts it, “Nonviolent movements succeed because they invite mass participation.” They are in fact twice as likely as violent movements to achieve their aims.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re frustrated and that’s why I’m writing. We Jews have an interest in knowing who the real fascists are, so in this one sense our interests are aligned. 

Let’s start with the basics — and I’m sorry to be so blunt. Those black doughy get-ups have to go. The Nazis were nothing if not efficient, and their tidy uniforms told you exactly who they were. Next: the masks. You’re proud to be fascists, right? Own it.

Add in a salute. I’m not saying to copy the Sieg Heil exactly, but the leftist elite clearly needs, to use your language, a punch in the face to finally understand who you are. I would say to also start weaponizing the Holocaust, but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stole your thunder on that one, didn’t she? 

Finally, you have to be more upfront regarding your socialist views and how they are a direct tie to the original Nazis. Maybe you need to give leftists a history lesson. I know, it’s hard. We try to do it all the time and they have their fingers stuck in their ears. Nazism = National Socialism. The Nazi Party = the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. This is your lineage.

Look, I make no promises that leftists will finally get it. But the rest of us will then be able to get you classified as the domestic terrorists that you are — and shut down. Completely. And for that, I’m happy to give you some free advice.


Karen Lehrman Bloch is a cultural critic and author living in New York.

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