In an ideal world, there would be no need for violence. Is this an ideal world?
As right-wing populism runs rife like it’s 1936, it has become abundantly clear that peaceful demonstration alone is not enough to stamp out the fascist disease. Now, this isn’t a call to arms against democratic processes like Donald Trump’s sensational sweep to power, nor is it the encouragement of mindless rioting. But, with the growth of the far-right providing backward cave dwellers mainstream representation across Europe, there is an argument for making neo-nazis feel unwelcome in your community, by any means necessary.
I am a pacifist. A pacifist in that my version of a utopia would be 100% free of hatred and war. My utopia, by the way, would also promote fully regulated, legal psychedelic drugs – and that’s as far away from becoming a reality as world peace. It is possible to believe in something strongly enough that you act contrary to the morals of your ideal society in order to realise it. As set out in Machiavelli’s classic political science treatise The Prince, sometimes a leader must act in a “bad” way, for the greater good. Each one of us can be a leader in our own respective communities, leader’s of a society that if needs must, will literally kick hatred off its streets. Intolerance can never be tolerated.
The Civil Rights movement was successful because it was spearheaded by an amalgamation of approaches dedicated to realising a shared goal. The leading figures of the time, from Rosa Parks to Martin Luther King Jr. are rightfully hailed as iconic public figures who achieved freedom through admirably peaceful defiance. The African-American struggle, however, owes as much of its advancements to the no nonsense approach preached by Malcolm X, who advocated armed self-defence against race-hate, arguing that equality should be attained by any means necessary.
Throughout history, militant resistance has proved wholly effective in the face of fascism. The original Anti-Fascist Action in Britain routinely kept neo-nazis in line throughout the 1990’s. At the height of fascism in the 1930’s, the Battle of Cable Street in East London saw a mass outpouring of Anti-Fascist defiance defeat Oswald Mosley’s poisonous British Union of Fascists. And where would the women’s movement be without the extreme tactics of the Suffragettes who gained the right to vote in 1928?
If given room to breathe, fascism can still be a very real threat to society. It breeds violence, if not physical (the terrorist murder of Labour MP Jo Cox a recent example) then mental. Fascist ideals, if dressed up in a manner that puts blame upon the “liberal establishment” and its passive nature towards immigration, can pollute the minds of the disillusioned electorate, as has become all too apparent in Greece, France, Austria, the UK and US, among others.
As touched upon, militance does not exclusively mean violence. It refers to physical opposition, countering fascist existence head on at any given opportunity, and never turning one’s cheek. Physical presence has played a significant role in the demoralisation of the Scottish and English Defence League’s for years. Even the mere expectation of Antifa hostility has been an effective tactical step towards instilling fear in neo-nazi ranks.
With the Western political climate as volatile as can be in 2017, the fear of fascism rearing its ugly head once more sits at the forefront of the liberal psyche. Only when militant Anti-Fascism is broadly accepted to be equally as important as party political and peaceful opposition to the epidemic, can the fascists begin to fear us once more.