democracy, Europe, latest, USA
Comments 44

Antifa in Theory and Practice: Storm Troopers of the Neoliberal War Party

by Diana Johnstone, 9 October 2017, via Counterpunch
Fascists are divided into two categories: the fascists and the anti-fascists.”
– Ennio Flaiano, Italian writer and co-author of Federico Fellini’s greatest film scripts.

In recent weeks, a totally disoriented left has been widely exhorted to unify around a masked vanguard calling itself Antifa, for anti-fascist.  Hooded and dressed in black, Antifa is essentially a variation of the Black Bloc, familiar for introducing violence into peaceful demonstrations in many countries. Imported from Europe, the label Antifa sounds more political.  It also serves the purpose of stigmatizing those it attacks as “fascists”.

Despite its imported European name, Antifa is basically just another example of America’s steady descent into violence.

Historical Pretensions

Antifa first came to prominence from its role in reversing Berkeley’s proud “free speech” tradition by preventing right wing personalities from speaking there. But its moment of glory was its clash with rightwingers in Charlottesville on August 12, largely because Trump commented that there were “good people on both sides”. With exuberant Schadenfreude, commentators grabbed the opportunity to condemn the despised President for his “moral equivalence”, thereby bestowing a moral blessing on Antifa.

Charlottesville served as a successful book launching for Antifa: the Antifascist Handbook, whose author, young academic Mark Bray, is an Antifa in both theory and practice. The book is “really taking off very fast”, rejoiced the publisher, Melville House. It instantly won acclaim from leading mainstream media such as the New York Times, The Guardian and NBC, not hitherto known for rushing to review leftwing books, least of all those by revolutionary anarchists.

The Washington Post welcomed Bray as spokesman for “insurgent activist movements” and observed that: “The book’s most enlightening contribution is on the history of anti-fascist efforts over the past century, but its most relevant for today is its justification for stifling speech and clobbering white supremacists.”

Bray’s “enlightening contribution” is to a tell a flattering version of the Antifa story to a generation whose dualistic, Holocaust-centered view of history has largely deprived them of both the factual and the analytical tools to judge multidimensional events such as the growth of fascism.  Bray presents today’s Antifa as though it were the glorious legitimate heir to every noble cause since abolitionism.  But there were no anti-fascists before fascism, and the label “Antifa” by no means applies to all the many adversaries of fascism.

The implicit claim to carry on the tradition of the International Brigades who fought in Spain against Franco is nothing other than a form of innocence by association.  Since we must revere the heroes of the Spanish Civil War, some of that esteem is supposed to rub off on their self-designated heirs. Unfortunately, there are no veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade still alive to point to the difference between a vast organized defence against invading fascist armies and skirmishes on the Berkeley campus.  As for the Anarchists of Catalonia, the patent on anarchism ran out a long time ago, and anyone is free to market his own generic.

The original Antifascist movement was an effort by the Communist International to cease hostilities with Europe’s Socialist Parties in order to build a common front against the triumphant movements led by Mussolini and Hitler.

Since Fascism thrived, and Antifa was never a serious adversary, its apologists thrive on the “nipped in the bud” claim: “if only” Antifascists had beat up the fascist movements early enough, the latter would have been nipped in the bud.  Since reason and debate failed to stop the rise of fascism, they argue, we must use street violence – which, by the way, failed even more decisively.

This is totally ahistorical.  Fascism exalted violence, and violence was its preferred testing ground. Both Communists and Fascists were fighting in the streets and the atmosphere of violence helped fascism thrive as a bulwark against Bolshevism, gaining the crucial support of leading capitalists and militarists in their countries, which brought them to power.

Since historic fascism no longer exists, Bray’s Antifa have broadened their notion of “fascism” to include anything that violates the current Identity Politics canon: from “patriarchy” (a pre-fascist attitude to put it mildly) to “transphobia” (decidedly a post-fascist problem).

The masked militants of Antifa seem to be more inspired by Batman than by Marx or even by Bakunin.

Storm Troopers of the Neoliberal War Party

Since Mark Bray offers European credentials for current U.S. Antifa, it is appropriate to observe what Antifa amounts to in Europe today.

In Europe, the tendency takes two forms.  Black Bloc activists regularly invade various leftist demonstrations in order to smash windows and fight the police.  These testosterone exhibits are of minor political significance, other than provoking public calls to strengthen police forces.  They are widely suspected of being influenced by police infiltration.

As an example, last September 23, several dozen black-clad masked ruffians, tearing down posters and throwing stones, attempted to storm the platform where the flamboyant Jean-Luc Mélenchon was to address the mass meeting of La France Insoumise, today the leading leftist party in France. Their unspoken message seemed to be that nobody is revolutionary enough for them.  Occasionally, they do actually spot a random skinhead to beat up.  This establishes their credentials as “anti-fascist”.

They use these credentials to arrogate to themselves the right to slander others in a sort of informal self-appointed inquisition.

As prime example, in late 2010, a young woman named Ornella Guyet appeared in Paris seeking work as a journalist in various leftist periodicals and blogs. She “tried to infiltrate everywhere”, according to the former director of Le Monde diplomatique, Maurice Lemoine, who “always intuitively distrusted her” when he hired her as an intern.

Viktor Dedaj, who manages one of the main leftist sites in France, Le Grand Soir, was among those who tried to help her, only to experience an unpleasant surprise a few months later.  Ornella had become a self-appointed inquisitor dedicated to denouncing “conspirationism, confusionism, anti-Semitism and red-brown” on Internet.  This took the form of personal attacks on individuals whom she judged to be guilty of those sins. What is significant is that all her targets were opposed to U.S. and NATO aggressive wars in the Middle East.

Indeed, the timing of her crusade coincided with the “regime change” wars that destroyed Libya and tore apart Syria.  The attacks singled out leading critics of those wars.

Viktor Dedaj was on her hit list.  So was Michel Collon, close to the Belgian Workers Party, author, activist and manager of the bilingual site Investig’action.  So was François Ruffin, film-maker, editor of the leftist journal Fakir elected recently to the National Assembly on the list of Mélenchon’s party La France Insoumise.  And so on.  The list is long.

The targeted personalities are diverse, but all have one thing in common: opposition to aggressive wars.  What’s more, so far as I can tell, just about everyone opposed to those wars is on her list.

The main technique is guilt by association.  High on the list of mortal sins is criticism of the European Union, which is associated with “nationalism” which is associated with “fascism” which is associated with “anti-Semitism”, hinting at a penchant for genocide.  This coincides perfectly with the official policy of the EU and EU governments, but Antifa uses much harsher language.

In mid-June 2011, the anti-EU party Union Populaire Républicaine led by François Asselineau was the object of slanderous insinuations on Antifa internet sites signed by “Marie-Anne Boutoleau” (a pseudonym for Ornella Guyet).  Fearing violence, owners cancelled scheduled UPR meeting places in Lyon.  UPR did a little investigation, discovering that Ornella Guyet was on the speakers list at a March 2009 Seminar on International Media organized in Paris by the Center for the Study of International Communications and the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.  A surprising association for such a zealous crusader against “red-brown”.

In case anyone has doubts, “red-brown” is a term used to smear anyone with generally leftist views – that is, “red” – with the fascist color “brown”.  This smear can be based on having the same opinion as someone on the right, speaking on the same platform with someone on the right, being published alongside someone on the right, being seen at an anti-war demonstration also attended by someone on the right, and so on.  This is particularly useful for the War Party, since these days, many conservatives are more opposed to war than leftists who have bought into the “humanitarian war” mantra.

The government doesn’t need to repress anti-war gatherings.  Antifa does the job.

The Franco-African comedien Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, stigmatized for anti-Semitism since 2002 for his TV sketch lampooning an Israeli settler as part of George W. Bush’s “Axis of Good”, is not only a target, but serves as a guilty association for anyone who defends his right to free speech – such as Belgian professor Jean Bricmont, virtually blacklisted in France for trying to get in a word in favor of free speech during a TV talk show.  Dieudonné has been banned from the media, sued and fined countless times, even sentenced to jail in Belgium, but continues to enjoy a full house of enthusiastic supporters at his one-man shows, where the main political message is opposition to war.

Still, accusations of being soft on Dieudonné can have serious effects on individuals in more precarious positions, since the mere hint of “anti-Semitism” can be a career killer in France. Invitations are cancelled, publications refused, messages go unanswered.

In April 2016, Ornella Guyet dropped out of sight, amid strong suspicions about her own peculiar associations.

The moral of this story is simple.  Self-appointed radical revolutionaries can be the most useful thought police for the neoliberal war party.

I am not suggesting that all, or most, Antifa are agents of the establishment. But they can be manipulated, infiltrated or impersonated precisely because they are self-anointed and usually more or less disguised.

Silencing Necessary Debate

One who is certainly sincere is Mark Bray, author of The Intifa Handbook.  It is clear where Mark Bray is coming from when he writes (p.36-7): “… Hitler’s ‘final solution’ murdered six million Jews in gas chambers, with firing squads, through hunger and lack of medical treatment in squalid camps and ghettoes, with beatings, by working them to death, and through suicidal despair.  Approximately two out of every three Jews on the continent were killed, including some of my relatives.”

This personal history explains why Mark Bray feels passionately about “fascism”.  This is perfectly understandable in one who is haunted by fear that “it can happen again”.

However, even the most justifiable emotional concerns do not necessarily contribute to wise counsel.  Violent reactions to fear may seem to be strong and effective when in reality they are morally weak and practically ineffectual.

We are in a period of great political confusion.  Labelling every manifestation of “political incorrectness” as fascism impedes clarification of debate over issues that very much need to be defined and clarified.

The scarcity of fascists has been compensated by identifying criticism of immigration as fascism.  This identification, in connection with rejection of national borders, derives much of its emotional force above all from the ancestral fear in the Jewish community of being excluded from the nations in which they find themselves.

The issue of immigration has different aspects in different places.  It is not the same in European countries as in the United States. There is a basic distinction between immigrants and immigration.  Immigrants are people who deserve consideration.  Immigration is a policy that needs to be evaluated.  It should be possible to discuss the policy without being accused of persecuting the people.  After all, trade union leaders have traditionally opposed mass immigration, not out of racism, but because it can be a deliberate capitalist strategy to bring down wages.

In reality, immigration is a complex subject, with many aspects that can lead to reasonable compromise.  But to polarize the issue misses the chances for compromise.  By making mass immigration the litmus test of whether or not one is fascist, Antifa intimidation impedes reasonable discussion.  Without discussion, without readiness to listen to all viewpoints, the issue will simply divide the population into two camps, for and against.  And who will win such a confrontation?

A recent survey* shows that mass immigration is increasingly unpopular in all European countries. The complexity of the issue is shown by the fact that in the vast majority of European countries, most people believe they have a duty to welcome refugees, but disapprove of continued mass immigration. The official argument that immigration is a good thing is accepted by only 40%, compared to 60% of all Europeans who believe that “immigration is bad for our country”.  A left whose principal cause is open borders will become increasingly unpopular.

Childish Violence

The idea that the way to shut someone up is to punch him in the jaw is as American as Hollywood movies. It is also typical of the gang war that prevails in certain parts of Los Angeles.  Banding together with others “like us” to fight against gangs of “them” for control of turf is characteristic of young men in uncertain circumstances.  The search for a cause can involve endowing such conduct with a political purpose: either fascist or antifascist.  For disoriented youth, this is an alternative to joining the U.S. Marines.

American Antifa looks very much like a middle class wedding between Identity Politics and gang warfare.  Mark Bray (page 175) quotes his DC Antifa source as implying that the motive of would-be fascists is to side with “the most powerful kid in the block” and will retreat if scared.  Our gang is tougher than your gang.

That is also the logic of U.S. imperialism, which habitually declares of its chosen enemies: “All they understand is force.”  Although Antifa claim to be radical revolutionaries, their mindset is perfectly typical the atmosphere of violence which prevails in militarized America.

In another vein, Antifa follows the trend of current Identity Politics excesses that are squelching free speech in what should be its citadel, academia.  Words are considered so dangerous that “safe spaces” must be established to protect people from them.  This extreme vulnerability to injury from words is strangely linked to tolerance of real physical violence.

Wild Goose Chase

In the United States, the worst thing about Antifa is the effort to lead the disoriented American left into a wild goose chase, tracking down imaginary “fascists” instead of getting together openly to work out a coherent positive program.  The United States has more than its share of weird individuals, of gratuitous aggression, of crazy ideas, and tracking down these marginal characters, whether alone or in groups, is a huge distraction.  The truly dangerous people in the United States are safely ensconced in Wall Street, in Washington Think Tanks, in the executive suites of the sprawling military industry, not to mention the editorial offices of some of the mainstream media currently adopting a benevolent attitude toward “anti-fascists” simply because they are useful in focusing on the maverick Trump instead of themselves.

Antifa USA, by defining “resistance to fascism” as resistance to lost causes – the Confederacy, white supremacists and for that matter Donald Trump – is actually distracting from resistance to the ruling neoliberal establishment, which is also opposed to the Confederacy and white supremacists and has already largely managed to capture Trump by its implacable campaign of denigration. That ruling establishment, which in its insatiable foreign wars and introduction of police state methods, has successfully used popular “resistance to Trump” to make him even worse than he already was.

The facile use of the term “fascist” gets in the way of thoughtful identification and definition of the real enemy of humanity today.  In the contemporary chaos, the greatest and most dangerous upheavals in the world all stem from the same source, which is hard to name, but which we might give the provisional simplified label of Globalized Imperialism.  This amounts to a multifaceted project to reshape the world to satisfy the demands of financial capitalism, the military industrial complex, United States ideological vanity and the megalomania of leaders of lesser “Western” powers, notably Israel.  It could be called simply “imperialism”, except that it is much vaster and more destructive than the historic imperialism of previous centuries.  It is also much more disguised.  And since it bears no clear label such as “fascism”, it is difficult to denounce in simple terms.

The fixation on preventing a form of tyranny that arose over 80 years ago, under very different circumstances, obstructs recognition of the monstrous tyranny of today. Fighting the previous war leads to defeat.

Donald Trump is an outsider who will not be let inside. The election of Donald Trump is above all a grave symptom of the decadence of the American political system, totally ruled by money, lobbies, the military-industrial complex and corporate media.  Their lies are undermining the very basis of democracy.  Antifa has gone on the offensive against the one weapon still in the hands of the people: the right to free speech and assembly.

Notes:

* «Où va la démocratie?», une enquête  de la Fondation pour l’innovation politique sous la direction de Dominique Reynié, (Plon, Paris, 2017).


Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

 

44 Comments

  1. “The facile use of the term “fascist”…” Diane’s article is marred, in my opinion, by a weird bias. She makes the case that antifa prefers violence over words – which ‘can’ be dangerous, which must be acknowledged – and then dismissed those who don’t agree with her concept of fascism. She unnecessarily complicates things, as so many who talk about fascism do. Historical fascism and fascism are still fascism Diane. Conversations about fascism don’t require your stamp of approval. Do they?

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  2. Big B says

    Talking of fascist anti-fascist organisations – working to further the globalist agenda: I would add our very own prototypical Hate not Hope, sorry, Hope not Hate, to the list. Calved from New Labour – featuring such luminaries as Ruth Smeeth MP (former deputy leader), Nick Lowles, and Brendan Cox – most recently deployed (with Avaaz – to defend Soros’ ‘weapons of mass migration’ programme) and discredit the Defend Europe mission to chronicle (illegal) NGO activity in the Med.

    Talking of Soros – he has recently declared open (society) warfare on humanity – by bequeathing $18.9bn to the Open Society Foundation. So with a heavy heart, I declare that human rights everywhere, will soon be stifled until dead. The tactics employed by Antifa, HNH, AI, HRH, Avaaz, etc, etc, etc … now come with unlimited funding.

    [Personal aside: I disillusioned myself for the second time this week, in reading the article about Soros the great philanthropist – in the Guardian. I was going to comment, but the overall tone of the comments was in defence of Soros – so why bother?. If he is seen by the ‘liberal left’ as the epitome of a big-hearted progressive liberal defender of human rights – and champion of freedom – we don’t stand a chance.]

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  3. Peter says

    Some of you may remember a terrorist group in Germany in the 1970s called the Red Army Faction. They also used to call themselves anti-fascists, but that didn’t stop them killing innocent men, women and children.
    I have no doubt that sooner rather than later, some unhinged member of antifa is to go snap and set off a bomb somewhere.

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      • My thoughts exactly. Prada-Meinhoff (RAF) – beloved by the leftist intelligentsia (including Sartre I believe) – put the anti-imperialist chic into terrorism. Trained and infiltrated by the Stasi. I think they fooled everyone.

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  4. Frank says

    Seeing as the word ‘Fascism’ has become meaningless due to improper and repetitive use it may be useful to define it in historical and political terms.

    The term Fascism started life with Mussolini’s movement in Italy (1)and then a little later in Germany. It was a mass counter-revolutionary movement from below involving hundreds of thousands of adherents, including many embittered returning war veterans during the 1920s and 30s, a period of mass unemployment and post-war austerity in both Germany and Italy. The fundamental tenets of fascism were aggressive nationalism, cultural symbolism, a charismatic leader, rabid anti-semitism (at least in Germany) hostility to democracy (although this did not preclude an opportunist engagement in parliamentary politics) bitter opposition to liberalism and socialism/communism, and also containing a strong left, anti-capitalist element – in Germany the Storm Troopers (SA) and Italy the Blackshirt Squadristi. Fascism could only develop as a serious political force when the traditional ruling elites were weak and in crisis. The fascist conquest of power involved what amounted to a civil war between the SA and the Red Hundreds (communist KPD militias) in Germany as well as a political struggle to force the movement into power. It should be understood that there were no-go areas that remained outside of the Nazi conquest: the army, navy and civil service, as well as agrarian interests to the East of the country which were under the control of the Junker class, a group which Hitler wished to avoid antagonising along with big business interests such as Krupps, I.G.Fabern, Siemens et al. who had been financing the Nazis all along.

    However, in 1934, Hitler’s Pretorian Guard, the SS, carried out a bloody purge in what was to become known as the ‘Night of the Long Knives’. The object was the decapitation of the SA and its anti-capitalist, left leadership, Ernst Roehm, and Otto and Gregor Strasser who were summarily liquidated. After this, all the talk of Nazi socialism was forgotten and Germany was to become a more stable type of right-wing capitalist dictatorship.

    The only proximate Neo-nazi movements present in Europe today are to be found in Ukraine, Praviy Sektor, Svoboda, Patriots of the Ukraine, the Aidar and Azov paramilitary battalions and the Radical Party, a potent but often undisciplined force, who exhibit all of characteristcs of Nazism, and who are also apt to parade in full neo-nazi regalia: flags, badges, torch-light parades, SS memorabilia and so forth. These groups co-exist uneasily alongside with the oligarchs, Poroshenko, Pinchuk, Akhmetov and others.

    These are the two political realities in Ukraine.

    Have we reached this moment in Europe and the US? No. The centre still holds – for now at least.

    (1) In ancient Rome, certain public officials were preceded by officers called ‘lictors’ who carried bundles of willow sticks tied around an axe as a symbol of power. In modern Italian political jargon, the name fascio/fasci was applied to various social and political groups, some of which were very advanced. But Mussolini’s movement appropriated the word for themselves.

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  5. The mainstream left has been so completely hoodwinked by the establishment that they apparently never stop and ask themselves why CNN, MSNBC etc. are all of a sudden singing the praises of Antifa? Do these media organizations usually praise self-styled “radical leftists” (or actual leftists)? No they do not. So why now? Radical change of heart in the boardrooms of corporate media or are Antifa and other nominal leftists letting themselves be used as tools of the ruling elites? And why are a lot of otherwise pretty sharp-minded people falling for this ploy?

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  6. Ms. Johnstone refers to Donald Trump as “an outsider who won’t be let inside”, which is possibly? expressing some measure of support for Trump on her part, and makes her point, whatever it is, quite difficult to grasp.

    Nobody in Antifa has come out and spoke powerfully about 9/11. And come to think of it, unless we missed something nobody at Counterpunch has been outspoken about 9/11 either, possibly because its editors censor articles questioning the official government narrative on what (never) happened on September 11, 2001. Think “left” gatekeeper.

    The same ill-informed Americans who voted for Clinton like lemmings act without critical knowledge, without knowing she was “de-selected” by the power elite in favor of equally disgusting, but “cleaner public image” (pussy grabbing aside) Trump, the “outsider” – as Ms. Johnstone bizarrely refers to the newest presidential fraud. Clinton herself knew she was going to lose because she became too damaged by the WikiLeaks emails, revealing she , Obama, etc. knew about and facilitated state sponsorship of ISIS.

    Anyone who believes Trump has put an end to covert terrorist sponsorship, or that he’s playing “5-D chess”, or that Trump and Zionist shill Alex Jones will expose the real truth about 9/11, or that he’s not an extremely dangerous, psychopathic, true world war threat, is a fool.

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  7. Big B says

    Unless someone wants to disabuse me of the notion: Antifa seem to be the latest marginal acquisition onto the books of Capitalist utilities … joining the more established core tenets: such as the ‘independent’ central banking system (laugh until I cry); the CIA; and the various franchises of Daesh/AQ [who. like the Strolling Bones before them, seem to have departed on a perennial ‘Clash of Civilisations: The End of the World Tour’.]

    Whether they are an organic grassroots; or inorganic astroturf organisation doesn’t really matter. They are being manipulated and co-opted into the Capitalist pantheon. Taking a reactionary social movement and turning it in on itself, against any chance of class solidarity – is a specialty of TPTB. Charlottesville itself was about as authentic as an autobiographical Harvey Weinstein scripted ‘boy meets ingenu girl next door’ love story. [Replete with an all-action movie stunt car crash scene – which may or may not have been wrapped in more than one take.]

    Lone, Known, or Unknown ‘Wolf’ shooters are definitely on the list. I haven’t had time to in-depth research the ever changing Mandalay Bay script: but my initial thoughts are – how were over 600 people killed or injured by sound effects? It may turn out to be an authentic event (more than likely not): so I’ll reserve judgement – but psyops and false flags are definitely on the list.

    You have to give it to the Gods of Money: they know how to divide and rule. The analogy I’d use is that you can’t get (the social consciousness) compost to rot down unless you apply deep structural stratification; distinctly layering coarse and fine organic material; you can add a regulated amount of ‘night soil’ [sh1t] if you are careful; then liberally douse with ‘taking the piss’ compost activator – et voila! How to turn any hope of class conscious mass awareness into a rotting, steaming pile of ….

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    • So the relatives who lost people in the shooting, sorry, “shooting”, are all actors or where the “victims” dragged into a government warehouse and executed by Democrat operatives? Perhaps they were killed in the “ambulances” en route to the “hospitals?”

      Or maybe it actually [i]was[/i] a lone whack job killing people with a high-powered rifle. You know, the kind of thing that happens all the time in pre-collapse America. Like inner-city violence…or is that “faked” too? Seeing hidden conspiracies behind [i]every[/i] kill event makes you a lazy thinker at best, and a paranoid fool at worst.

      But hey, who needs evidence, nuance and credible proof. Like Elliiot “Bellingcat” Higgins you can tell exactly what happened (or didn’t happen) just from listening to media reports and reading stuff on the internet. Lay off the Alex Jones drip and think a little. With some events, like 9/11, there are a lot things that don’t add up in the official story and serious doubt about what happened is warranted. But not every spasm of violence in the empire is a false flag. Faking a mass shooting has zero benefit for TPTB and the intelligence agencies.

      Ohh right they want to curb your right to bear arms. Because if they fake enough massacres people are just going to hand over their weapons without resistance and the government can tear up the 2nd Amendment, no problem. Or not. Considering what lies ahead, I certainly would not be giving up my gun any time soon.

      Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

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      • Big B says

        In the words of the famous surrealist painter, Rene Magritte – “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” [the Treachery of Images: this {pipe} is not a pipe.] Lazy thinking it may be, but in over 30 years of ‘official versions’ of events: I’ve yet to find a credible one. The ‘truth’ is ALWAYS manipulated to an ends. [Even at Grenfell Tower, which was a bona fide disaster: the BBC {Victoria Derbyshire} were on the scene with a ‘crisis actor’ reading from a script … to create the ‘official’ narrative. That’s what the media do: corral the truth. {The truth: they can’t handle the truth!} Or more pertinently, they can’t just provide the facts and let us decide for ourselves. We have to be told what to think.]

        [If you don’t even believe that much: why are you hiding behind the epithet of the man that did – and gave us the vocabulary {doublethink, doublespeak, Newspeak} to understand it???]

        The ‘truth’ of the Mandalay Bay shooting is yet to emerge: but the credibility of the story so far is mired by inter-agency rivalry [the hotel guard was shot ending the shooting; or 6 mins before it started – depending on whose version of events you believe] Apart from the odd piece of information like that: I have yet to research the shooting further – so the whole bit about ‘internet research’ is null and void [and Alex Jones? Please, the man is a psyop all on his own!]

        So this rationale and lazy thinking are (almost) all my own: Paddock is in the room; he’s shot the guard (before, during or after he started shooting – so he knows the Police are on the way); but he’s got his perimeter covered (by cameras); so he opens up (or continues firing – one of the two). The one bit of video I’ve seen is near the stage; you can hear the automatic fire start – but no one moves. He reloads (or picks up another weapon: with the ‘scope set? He only had two ‘scopes – I just checked) – and fires again. Now, panic. Let’s look at this rationally. If he’s got his windage and elevation calcs right (if he’s using one of his ‘scoped weapons: if he isn’t – he’s firing 500m blind): he’s got 60 or so {???*} rounds for free – firing into a mass of people. He can’t really miss (or, alternatively; if he’s firing unsighted – he could easily spray 60-200 rounds into the night and not hit a damn thing?) But even an expert marksman couldn’t take out 58 people with his first 60 or so rounds: some would be stray. And then the crowd starts to duck and dive: only moving as he reloads. So he’s shooting at hidden targets. Man, he was one hell of a shot! So, even given that a fair percentage of the injured were not shot, but escaping – the casualty figures seem stretched to me. Implausibly so.

        So where are they? You could save me from further speculation if you direct me to the evidence (photo) of casualties: as you’ve obviously seen them? And where is the evidence (audio) of high velocity rounds impacting? Bullets don’t pass silently into the night. Firing fully, or semi-automatic, ‘scoped or unscoped – he’d have been spraying rounds everywhere? Is there any evidence of this???

        A certain amount of confused narrative I can take: but are you really telling me that the authorities and media – who do nothing but lie for a living on a daily basis – have decided to come clean about the Las Vegas shooting??? I don’t think so.

        Sometimes a cigar is not a cigar: and this pipe is definitely not a pipe.

        [* If he had high capacity mags: where did he get them from? I thought Clinton banned them nearly 30 years ago? Even in Nevada, don’t you need extra permits? I’m not telling: I’m asking?]

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    • Anonymous Coward says

      What is it with the rubes that think the government is shady enough to launch wars around the world, poison, torture, experiment on and rip off its own citizens, but when it comes to harming its citizens with terrorist violence then it will play pretend and use actors, sound effects, official secrets act signings, all sorts of fantastical nonsense because of some sort of internal moral compass. The truth is that if the government was behind it they would have just used live ammo and a man with a gun for the authenticity and deniability. To believe anything else outs you as a discredited joke in the eyes of the sane. I’m honestly astounded that so many people have given your comment a thumbs up.

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      • Big B says

        So to achieve socially acceptable ‘sanity’: you can (safely) challenge part of the received narrative – but must on faith, blindly accept other parts of that very same flawed narrative? [And the arbiter of who is a ‘discredited joke’ is …] Interesting applied peer pressure social conformism theory: forgive me if I choose to opt out.

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        • Anonymous Coward says

          Ah, the classic “but what if, like, the world was the crazy one, maaaan?”. Start explaining the logic behind your theory at any time, your Icke-esque complaining about appeals to using your brain don’t sway me at all.
          You are peddling Francis E. Dec tier nonsense and hiding behind its non-falsifiability. There is no reason or logic to calling in the CIA black helicopter special effects and sound and lighting engineer regiment when you can use a single man with a gun.

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          • Big B says

            If you wanted to put meat on your theory that this was a “single man with a gun” live fire shooting: that went down the way the media said – there is the perfect opportunity to do so on the next post. Or do you plan on living up to your name? Vaguely peurile ad homs make no case or argument at all. You are basically acting as an alternative authority and surrogate proxy for the Lügenpresse. Your appeals to join you by not using my brain don’t sway me at all.

            Like

  8. Antifa claims to be protesting against fascism by demanding that their voice is the only one heard and if you don’t agree to that, they’ll descend upon you like a gang of street thugs and bash your skull. And destroy property along the way and as long as the windows are broken, they’ll do some righteous,/i> looting.

    So what makes Antifa different from the Hitler-type brown-shirts they claim to protest?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. klarity says

    The simplistic comments on the facebook feed typify the current lack of analysis in much of the now so called left. It boils down to “if your not with antifa, then you must be fascist.” No ability to see that there might be a bigger agenda at play, or to consider that the great manipulators, the imperialistic oligarchs, might be once again using the average persons goodness and sense of right to instill outrage and allow further carnage. It is really great to have the workers of the world fighting each other, rather than their true oppressors.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ‘It could be called simply “imperialism”, except that it is much vaster and more destructive than the historic imperialism of previous centuries. It is also much more disguised. And since it bears no clear label such as “fascism”, it is difficult to denounce in simple terms’ – indeed, yet there is a willful sort of blindness to such realities, as Pinter spells out in his masterful ‘Nobel’ lecture.

    And as bad as he is, endless attacks on Trump only muddy the waters further.

    Yesterday Freedland was trotting out a fairly typical anti-Trump piece in the Guardian.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/13/donald-trump-can-be-removed-from-presidency-democrats-winning-elections

    Yet mods were busily deleting anybody who made reference to the cholera epidemic in Yemen or the post war apocalypse in Libya, both of which are a direct consequence of interventions sponsored by the Democrats.

    The Punch & Judy qualities ATIFA typify will almost certainly intensify the kind of bizarre, and ultimately counter productive polemic that get in the way of a more clear headed analysis.

    Like

  11. Alambar says

    This was going to be a great website, but unfortunately the fascistoid garbage is starting to find its way here…first Giulietto Chiesa, now Diana Johnstone…a real shame.

    Like

  12. Andrew says

    Excellent piece. Diana Johnstone is one of the few who can restore my faith in Counterpunch. I basically stopped reading it a few weeks ago, because in my opinion it was becoming a bit dubious, kinda like Alternet or Salon. Eric Draitser in particular, was getting on my t1ts. But thanks for posting this one Off-guardian.

    Like

      • Well, I’m reading that one right now (Thanks!) and I agree with much that Abitai Ben-Abba says, but not all. Diane sets herself up for arrows, in my view, by going on about non-existent fascism. Which is too bad because she makes many good points. For example, When she noted that examining immigration isn’t the same as examining immigrants, I immediately recalled the Brexit argument of folks like John Oliver, in which it was posited that we must think about the economy. We must defend the economy yadda, yadda. Bosses hated Brexit and that told those of us who genuinely oppose neoliberalism and its flip, neoconservatism, something. UK citizens are not an economies.

        “Johnstone’s torrent of unsupported claims takes a dark turn when she focuses her attention against immigration. In effect, she calls for the left to reconsider its pro-immigrant stance, because “a left whose principal cause is open borders will become increasingly unpopular.”” – Abitai. On the other hand, just what did Diane Johnstone mean there?

        And here’s the irony. If we could actually all just talk about this, I feel that we could make progress. Is Diane really a negative sort of nationalist (which neo nazis could relate to) or are we misunderstanding her because she hasn’t had the chance to explain herself? It’s not just text messaging that is problematic for the way it introduces ambiguity into conversations that can lead to anger and hostility through misinterpretation (with or without bad intentions). Diane wrote enough that we can mostly get a handle on her thoughts. But that doesn’t mean that she, or we, are perfect and can’t make mistakes or hold wrong views.

        Like

        • Amitai Ben-Abba’s too easy defense of violence is, in my view, his big no no. He slams Noam Chomsky (which more and more people these days like to do, but they overlook his Syria myopia) and Chris Hedges for their slamming of those (like Antifa) who promote violent solutions to violence. He loses me here. But, If he’s sincere in his position and his position is anti-Corporatocracy, I think that we have to cut him some slack, not by approving of his pro-violence position, but by informing him that he’s got some issues. He does no better a job at rallying us (those who see this the way I do) than the person he rails against (with some criticisms that are important and should be looked into).

          Like

  13. flybow says

    When nazi types used to come to the bloody sunday marches in London. we used to deal with them. (red action) Otherwise they just picked off people who were on their own.

    Like

      • You’re going to get that everywhere where commenting is allowed. Once I find that a commenter is someone who I think is up to no good, I simply ignore all their further posts. Nothing says that you have to read them. Someone can tell me that I should or that I must, but I don’t agree. Is arguing all the time, in anger, with someone, who you can instead get away from, productive?

        Like

    • bevin says

      “When nazi types used to come to the bloody sunday marches in London. we used to deal with them. (red action).”
      And how did those sort of tactics pan out?
      Into Blairism, on the one hand, and obscurantist neo-Trotskyist sectarianism on the other. Socialism as a popular and living idea almost disappeared as Chris Harman and Jack Straw took over.
      The Antifa view appears to be that fascism stems from the ancient hatreds and prejudices of the unenlightened, uneducated, dark people and its relationships with capitalism and imperialism are purely coincidental.
      The notion that fascism triumphed in Germany, Italy, Spain etc because there was no popular resistance is not simply a-historical but a bloody lie- communists, trade unionists and working class communities resisted fascism desperately, but the state, and the intelligentsia, the ‘clerisy’ in class society, consistently sided with fascists as a lesser evil and a defence against the threat of socialism and, the ultimate horror, equality.
      Unconsciously, no doubt, the Antifa tactic is exactly what the ruling class prescribes in this era of crisis- it begins by ruling out the unification of the victims of capitalism and quickly proceeds to fabricate the arguments for ‘order’ and yearnings for the mythical liberalism of old.
      The defence against fascism lies now, as it always has, in the development of democratic trade unions, community movements and socialist parties. And they are all founded in the understanding that unity is based on respectful and honest exchanges of opinion and experience, amongst equals. Leave the celebrations of violence and authoritarian practises to the elites who fear the truth that comes from free expression. To the elites and their waterboys in the bourgeois intelligensia.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Big B says

        @bevin: don’t forget the funding. “… but the state, and the intelligentsia, the ‘clerisy’ in class society, [and the Wall St bankers] consistently sided with fascists…”

        Hitler was funded by Brown Brothers-Harriman (through various fronts; most notably the Union Banking Corp – facilitated by the industrialist Fritz Thyssen on the German side) from 1920-1942 (when they were partially closed down under the Trading With The Enemy Act – and Prescott Bush had his assets frozen.*) The organic resistance movements: including the original Antifa (Antifaschistische Aktion) – didn’t stand much of chance once Hitler started to receive Capitalist backing? And now the modern iteration of Antifa (whether they realise it or not) are fighting to further Capitalist goals. Seems that they have forgotten who the real enemy is???

        [For reference: Webster Tarpley – George Bush: the Unauthorised Biography: or Antony Sutton – Wall St and the Rise of Hitler. Both available in full online.]

        Like

      • flybow says

        So do you think they should be allowed to walk the streets and beat people up?
        will the democratic trade unions, community movements and socialist parties. Deal with them? NO. How did it “pan out”? We took these scum off the streets.

        Like

      • “Socialism as a popular and living idea almost disappeared as Chris Harman and Jack Straw took over.”

        Question: in what sense — as I think you are implying — would the like of Chris Harman be responsible for the demise of socialism as a popular and living idea?

        I’m not challenging your implied thesis. Merely looking for a little elaboration.

        Like

      • flybow says

        You ever going to answer the question? We took these scum off the street. When the thugser that way come for you, use a polemic. They will kill you. But I will be there to batter them. Your polemic? Or would you like help?
        Please respond, as you have no FUCKING IDEA about racism/neo nazism.
        HAVE YOU EVER taken on a real nazi skinhead? Have you? You are deluded. But the likes of me will protect idiots like you.. You ae a moron. You have no fucking idea. Have you seen a flat petrol bombed front and back? Have you??????? Keep in your bubble. You can feel so much better that way, while doing FUCK ALL.

        Like

      • flybow says

        You ever going to answer the question? We took these scum off the street. When the thugs that way come for you, use a polemic. They will kill you. But I will be there to batter them. Your polemic? Or would you like help?
        Please respond, as you have no FUCKING IDEA about racism/neo nazism.
        HAVE YOU EVER taken on a real nazi skinhead? Have you? You are deluded. But the likes of me will protect idiots like you.. You ae a moron. You have no fucking idea. Have you seen a flat petrol bombed front and back? Have you??????? Keep in your bubble. You can feel so much better that way, while doing FUCK ALL.

        Like

      • flybow says

        Hey bevin. You want respond? I am sick of pussies like you, who have no idea of what is like dealing with racists. Are you going to respond?

        Like

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