Apparently, the Right is afraid of Marxism.
In America. In 2017. Yes, really.
The cancelled alt-right rally in Berkeley on Sunday was billed as “Say No to Marxism,” and there were rumors of an “Anti-Marxist” attempt to block the Golden Gate Bridge on Wednesday … because, you know, they’re totally worried about the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeois.
Excuse me, but can you get any stupider?
Remember that whole thing that happened in November, when “working people” were fed up with the way “elites” were running things? So they elected one of their own as president — that kind of sounds like a proletariat revolt, right? But the “one of their own” who was installed into power is actually a billionaire who’s financially invested in many of the corporations these people say are ruining the country.
But yeah … ooh, the scary Marxists. The closest any of these people have ever been to a Marxist is when their cousin bought a Che Guevara T-shirt at Walmart.
The racist violence that happened in Charlottesville, Va., and the way this dog-and-pony show of an administration handled it was enough to push many fence-sitters over to the anti-Trump side of the divide. This focus on “fighting Marxism” is the Right’s latest attempt to scare Americans back into their hollow brand of patriotism, one that equates anything not white, Christian and straight as anti-American. “Fighting Marxism” is the ultimate, on-brand tie-in for the MAGA-bators. It reads: “We fought Marxism in the ’50s, and that’s when America was great right? So fighting Marxism is making America great again.”
I repeat: Can you get any stupider?
This would be funny if they weren’t using it as the brush with which to paint Antifa as terrorists. Antifa is anti-capitalist, and since many on the right are too foolish to see that capitalism is the American religion that makes all of us victims, it’s easy to say that Antifa are Marxists and, therefore, anti-American. And once you’re spun as anti-American, it’s only a half step until you’re called a terrorist.
Let me say this boldly: Antifa is not a terrorist group. They don’t drive cars into crowds. They don’t blow up abortion clinics. They don’t use their lobbying dollars to make it easier for mass shooters to get assault rifles. They don’t have a long track record of imprisoning and killing innocent people of color. All of these are acts of terrorism.
A white supremacist shooting pepper spray into a crowd might also be terrorism, but the people from Antifa punching the crap out of the him isn’t.
The business of breaking news and current events has always been one consumed with chasing spectacles. This is even more true now that the wildest headline gets the most clicks. And because of this, a few bits of violence at an event that is 99 percent peaceful becomes hot news and gets spun into something that it is not. I was there in Berkeley. What little violence there was was massively dwarfed by an otherwise peaceful day. But that doesn’t get clicks. Making it seem like an all-out street battle does.
I don’t always agree with everything Antifa does, but I’m always glad they are there to protect people from both white supremacist groups and the police. When the system is set up to support white supremacy, and the police are in place to protect the system, the consequence is that the police are protecting white supremacy as well.
White people, including myself, grow up with the understanding that police are there to save them. We’re taught as children, “Wave to the nice policeman,” and “If you’re in trouble, find a police officer.” But as video has become so readily available, we’ve seen time and time again that not all communities have with the same relationship with the police. And when police don’t protect people from white supremacists who want to physically harm them, it’s Antifa who often does. Just ask Cornel West. He said that, when he and other faith leaders were trapped in Charlottesville, it was Antifa, not the police, who saved them.
That’s what’s getting lost in the conversation: People are coming to our communities and telling us that we don’t deserve to exist and that we are not Americans. And those willing to physically fight back are the ones getting called terrorists.
If that’s the case, I’d rather be a Marxist any day.
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the San Francisco Examiner.