Humanist Perspectives: issue 204: Are the Antifa the Brown Shirts of Our Time ?

Are the Antifa the Brown Shirts of Our Time ?
by Madeline Weld


n this issue, Alfred de Zayas writes bluntly about the Antifa movement in Germany. He describes their bully tactics and asks why the authorities allow them to operate almost with impunity. De Zayas believes it is because of the collusion of the media and the complicity of the authorities. Social conservatives and others who are not keen on the social and cultural transformations brought about by mass migration and multiculturalism are defamed as fascists or Nazis and stand to lose their jobs. In such a climate, self-censorship is the norm – which is the subject of James Bacque’s article. Bacque himself has experienced severe censorship for daring to write about Allied atrocities against Germans, which caused him to be dropped like a hot potato by publishers on both sides of the Atlantic, despite his books having been bestsellers.

As it happens, while working on this editorial, I received an email from my sister in Germany, who wrote on March 8th:

Next week I plan on going to the Leipzig Book Fair for two days, which is the next biggest to the world-renowned Frankfurt Book Fair. There the publisher Antaios (conservative, anti-Islamic, pro-German-patriotism) was “visited” by the Antifa, the books smeared with toothpaste and doused in beer, the posters ripped from the walls and the bookstands overturned.  This highly intelligent action by the Antifa brought the Antaios Verlag to the attention of the entire nation, most of whose inhabitants had never heard of it, and as a bonus, brought Antaios a bonanza of new subscribers to their periodical publications (such as Sezession) and book-buyers.  They could never have paid for the amount of publicity that the Antifa gambit brought them.  Ein Eigentor, if ever the was one.   [“Ein Eigentor” means “an own goal.”]

While it’s nice to see the Antifa score an own goal, the laissez-faire attitude of the authorities is inexcusable. And it’s not only in Germany. In London, on March 5th, a mob of masked activists brandishing an Antifa flag shut down an event by the King’s College Libertarian Society, featuring the chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute Dr. Yaron Brook and internet personality Sargon of Akkad. Having pulled the fire alarm to create a deafening noise, Antifa burst into the hall, rushed on the stage, and threatened speakers with violence. Fights broke out. Students trying to record the incident were attacked. Windows were smashed and gas bombs lit. Videos of the event, easily found online, reveal a dearth of security officials, let alone any kind of “muscular security,” although a number of security guards were reportedly hospitalized after being assaulted. Students said they believed that King’s College turned a blind eye to Antifa because authorities disagreed with the content of the speech but couldn’t legally prevent Brook and Sargon of Akkad from speaking. Since the “protest” was organized on Facebook, the question arises as to why the authorities were so unprepared. Or were they?

Having pulled the fire alarm to create a deafening noise, Antifa burst into the hall, rushed on the stage, and threatened speakers with violence. Fights broke out. Students trying to record the incident were attacked.

Also in England, in the town of Lewes, a literary event, the Lewes Speakers Festival, ended in violence because the last speaker was the controversial conservative journalist Kate Hopkins, who was to speak about her recently published memoir, Rude. Considerable efforts had been made by the usual suspects to bar Hopkins from speaking. In the Winter, 2018, issue of Speakers Cornered magazine, Theodore Dalrymple, the penultimate speaker at the event, provides background information on Hopkins and gives a detailed account of how things spiralled out of control soon after his talk, which occurred without any disturbance (The anti-free-speech mob comes to Britain, available online). As is not untypical with Antifa, there were threats, physical violence, and destruction of property. Demonstrators broke into a church with a crowbar, one bouncer suffered a serious injury to his arm, requiring surgery, and police smuggled Hopkins out of the building where she was to speak for her own safety. The police, who arrived “somewhat tardily” according to Dalrymple, also escorted the attendees under cover of darkness through a back entrance through an ancient graveyard.

About the lawbreakers, Dalrymple makes this observation:

The police made no arrests, despite having been assaulted themselves and witnessed others being assaulted, despite the fact that a building was illegally broken into, despite the fact that 40 people had been falsely imprisoned, despite the fact that threatening language (of a degree likely to make any reasonably firm-minded person afraid for his safety) had been used repeatedly. They failed to protect citizens who were going about their lawful business. To say that they were useless would be an exaggeration: goodness knows what would have happened had they not been there. But they did not carry out their duty with alacrity, and the social media—videos, sound recordings, photographs—that helped to call the mob into being in the first place are now being used to hold the police to account for their passivity in enforcing the law.

Things are not much better on this side of the pond, where countless people have been “deplatformed” by mobs identifying as anti-fascist. Most recently on March 5th, the same day as the rampage at King’s College, an event featuring American author Christina Hoff Sommers was shut down at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Hoff Sommers’ offence is that she favours traditional feminism “that won women the vote, educational opportunity, and many other freedoms,” but despises the current “fainting couch feminism that champions victimhood.” Shockingly, the Portland National Lawyers Guild tweeted its approval of the protest that law students planned to mount, praising them for “taking a concerted stand against fascist, racist, and misogynistic views.” Soon after she tried to start her speech, Hoff Sommers was shouted down by chanting students who rushed to the stage decrying the “male supremacy” and “rape culture” that she purportedly advocated.

But perhaps no one in North America can bring out the mobs like Canada’s Dr. Jordan Peterson, the University of Toronto professor of psychology, who has famously refused to use compelled speech on the subject of pronouns. On March 5th (a banner day for the Antifa, it seems), he spoke at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, on the subject of “The rising tide of compelled speech in Canada.” “Social justice” mobs laid siege to the lecture hall, pounded on the stained glass windows (breaking one), and used dumpsters and recycling bins to barricade the entrances to the lecture hall, all while one woman shouted “Lock them in and burn it down.” Although Peterson was able to give his talk, videos show that he and audience members during the Q & A sometimes struggled to be heard over the thunderous noise of the mob outside. With the front and back doors blocked, attendees were forced to leave by an adjacent hall, where they were subjected to a gauntlet of protesters screaming “Shame on you!” As a window was heard to break partway through Peterson’s talk, he paused and said, “Mark my words, that’s the sound of the barbarians pounding at the gates.” Peterson would later describe the experience on Twitter as “absolutely surreal.” “The mob neglected to bring torches and pitchforks, but the sentiment was there,” he wrote. As I watched a video of the rampaging protesters outside, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Where are the police?” In the video, I saw a lone (and therefore ineffective) security person who essentially stood by helplessly as the braying mob screamed, pounded on windows, and moved dumpsters to barricade doors. Was this not a riot? What if someone had actually set fire to the dumpster contents? Did the authorities not anticipate that with Peterson as a speaker, there would be trouble?

In a less frightening way, I’ve also had an encounter with Antifa. On behalf of ACT! for Canada, I organized the world premiere showing of “Killing Europe,” a documentary by Danish filmmaker Michael Hansen about the Islamization of that continent, at the Ottawa Public Library for November 25, 2017. I had booked the auditorium a full month in advance, the Library had the police vet the film, and two days earlier I had confirmed that I would pay for security arrangements. (In case you’re wondering, the Library was not concerned about violence from those who wanted to see the film.) But the day before the showing, the Library abruptly notified me by email that the event was cancelled, possibly as a result of the relentless pressure (and threats?) from “anti-racist” activists, who had been actively using social media to exhort opponents of “hate speech” to protest and shut down the event. Discouragingly, it seemed to me that the City of Ottawa and the Library’s board of directors were almost eager to comply.

In the Western world, speakers who are insufficiently progressive are being silenced in the name of stopping hate speech, which increasingly means anything critical of Islam, multiculturalism, or “diversity.” Rarely, if ever, are the Antifa and its allies taken to task for their thuggish behaviour or even called “far left.” On the contrary, the ones they shut down are designated as “far right” and depicted as dangerous, even if they do not advocate or engage in violence. A case in point occurred last August in Quebec City, when members of the much-maligned Quebec nationalist group La Meute meekly spent hours in an underground garage for their own safety waiting to hold a lawful demonstration, while “anti-racist counter-protesters,” as the media euphemistically called them, violently clashed with police and threw projectiles in an attempt to stop the demonstration.

As the multicultural “narrative” of our globalist leaders is increasingly challenged and popular resistance grows toward the social and cultural changes being forced on Western countries by a high intake of often poorly assimilating migrants, the authorities have taken to choking off the expression of unwelcome views. In Europe, simply reporting on migrant crime or expressing unfavourable views about migrants or Islam on social media has resulted in warning or even charges of “incitement.” The truth is no defence. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to be on board with the creeping censorship. Last year he advised Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg that Facebook could face regulations in Canada if it didn’t fix its “fake news” problem. Indeed, perhaps we Canadians should be thankful that the government wants to protect us from fake news. We should only learn the truth, or “Pravda” as it’s called in Russian. Motion M-103, passed by Parliament in March, 2017, and which condemns “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination” is seen by many as an attempt to silence criticism of Islam.

More and more, speech that doesn’t conform to the progressive narrative is being silenced as “hate speech” by “anti-fascists,” open borders advocates, or anarchists who can count on the authorities to mostly turn a blind eye to their brown shirt tactics and on the media to shift the blame on those being silenced by designating them as “far right.” Unfortunately for those of us who actually believe in free speech, “hate speech” seems to be a very expandable concept.

—Madeline Weld