by Max Barry

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NationStates founder Max Barry rhetorically posed the question, “Is it [NationStates] a serious political thing, or just for fun?” He responded, “You can play it either way. NationStates does have [a] humorous bent, but that’s just because politics is naturally funny.” The German–language, „Was will Spartakus?,“ translates as “What does Spartacus want?” Spartacus (Latin/Latīna, Spārtacus; or Ancient Greek/A̓rchaía Hellēniká, Σπᾰ́ρτᾰκος, Spắrtăkos, “Spartan”), a Roman gladiator who lived circa 110–71 B.C., was highly respected by Karl Marx.

Roy Bhaskar argued that there are three levels of relative reality: the Real (causal mechanisms), the Actual (the events generated by those mechanisms), and the Empirical (direct sensory observations). The Real is metaphysical. It cannot be directly be observed.

In physics, no one has ever seen gravity. Yet, we know that any object in a vacuum falls at a constant rate of approximately 32 feet (or 10 meters) per minute. No one has ever seen the strings posited by any of the three major string theories. Yet, string theory is one of the dominant perspectives in theoretical physics.

Similarly, human nature cannot be directly observed. It belongs to the Real, not the Actual, domain. To Bhaskar, we discover it, metaphysically, through phenomenological analysis. In other words, because we can observe regularities (such as the ability to learn language), we can speculate that there is a human nature.

Critical realism is, that respect, similar to speculative realism. It rejects the idea, found in direct realism, that reality is limited to directly observable phenomena.

“What Trump and his administration are doing could pose an existential threat to humanity,” Andy Zee, a member of the advisory board for refuse fascism, told Newsweek in a phone interview, echoing comments made by leftist academic Noam Chomsky and others regarding the alleged dangers of the contemporary Republican Party. “We’re in one of the most perilous moments in history right now.”

Michael Edison Hayden. Newsweek. November 2ⁿᵈ, 2017.

I have reworked the website It now includes two nations, not just one.

In light of the potential destabilizing of the Middle East by recent statements from the White House, Antifa activism is perhaps needed more now than ever before.

How should we protest neo-Nazis? Lessons from German history
August 21, 2017 9.57pm EDT

After the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, many people are asking themselves what they should do if Nazis rally in their city. Should they put their bodies on the line in counterdemonstrations? Some say yes.

History says no. Take it from me: I study the original Nazis.

We have an ethical obligation to stand against fascism and racism. But we also have an ethical obligation to do so in a way that doesn’t help the fascists and racists more than it hurts them.
History repeats itself

Charlottesville was right out of the Nazi playbook. In the 1920s, the Nazi Party was just one political party among many in a democratic system, running for seats in Germany’s Parliament. For most of that time, it was a small, marginal group. In 1933, riding a wave of popular support, it seized power and set up a dictatorship. The rest is well-known.

It was in 1927, while still on the political fringes, that the Nazi Party scheduled a rally in a decidedly hostile location – the Berlin district of Wedding. Wedding was so left-of-center that the neighborhood had the nickname “Red Wedding,” red being the color of the Communist Party. The Nazis often held rallies right where their enemies lived, to provoke them.

The people of Wedding were determined to fight back against fascism in their neighborhood. On the day of the rally, hundreds of Nazis descended on Wedding. Hundreds of their opponents showed up too, organized by the local Communist Party. The antifascists tried to disrupt the rally, heckling the speakers. Nazi thugs retaliated. There was a massive brawl. Almost 100 people were injured.

I imagine the people of Wedding felt they had won that day. They had courageously sent a message: Fascism was not welcome.

But historians believe events like the rally in Wedding helped the Nazis build a dictatorship. Yes, the brawl got them media attention. But what was far, far more important was how it fed an escalating spiral of street violence. That violence helped the fascists enormously.

Violent confrontations with antifascists gave the Nazis a chance to paint themselves as the victims of a pugnacious, lawless left. They seized it.

It worked. We know now that many Germans supported the fascists because they were terrified of leftist violence in the streets. Germans opened their morning newspapers and saw reports of clashes like the one in Wedding. It looked like a bloody tide of civil war was rising in their cities. Voters and opposition politicians alike came to believe the government needed special police powers to stop violent leftists. Dictatorship grew attractive. The fact that the Nazis themselves were fomenting the violence didn’t seem to matter.

One of Hitler’s biggest steps to dictatorial power was to gain emergency police powers, which he claimed he needed to suppress leftist violence.
Thousands of Nazi storm troops demonstrate in a Communist neighborhood in Berlin on Jan. 22, 1933. Thirty-five Nazis, Communists and police were injured during clashes. AP Photo
The left takes the heat

In the court of public opinion, accusations of mayhem and chaos in the streets will, as a rule, tend to stick against the left, not the right.

This was true in Germany in the 1920s. It was true even when opponents of fascism acted in self-defense or tried to use relatively mild tactics, such as heckling. It is true in the United States today, where even peaceful rallies against racist violence are branded riots in the making.

Today, right extremists are going around the country staging rallies just like the one in 1927 in Wedding. According to the civil rights advocacy organization the Southern Poverty Law Center, they pick places where they know antifascists are present, like university campuses. They come spoiling for physical confrontation. Then they and their allies spin it to their advantage.
A demonstration on the University of Washington campus where far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was giving a speech on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

I watched this very thing happen steps from my office on the University of Washington campus. Last year, a right extremist speaker came. He was met by a counterprotest. One of his supporters shot a counterprotester. On stage, in the moments after the shooting, the right extremist speaker claimed that his opponents had sought to stop him from speaking “by killing people.” The fact that it was one of the speaker’s supporters, a right extremist and Trump backer, who engaged in what prosecutors now claim was an unprovoked and premeditated act of violence, has never made national news.

We saw this play out after Charlottesville, too. President Donald Trump said there was violence “on both sides.” It was an incredible claim. Heyer, a peaceful protester, and 19 other people were intentionally hit by a neo-Nazi driving a car. He seemed to portray Charlottesville as another example of what he has referred to elsewhere as “violence in our streets and chaos in our communities,” including, it seems, Black Lives Matter, which is a nonviolent movement against violence. He stirred up fear. Trump recently said that police are too constrained by existing law.

President Trump tried it again during the largely peaceful protests in Boston – he called the tens of thousands who gathered there to protest racism and Nazism “anti-police agitators,” though later, in a characteristic about-face, he praised them.

President Trump’s claims are hitting their mark. A CBS News poll found that a majority of Republicans thought his description of who was to blame for the violence in Charlottesville was “accurate.”

This violence, and the rhetoric about it coming from the administration, are echoes – faint but nevertheless frightening echoes – of a well-documented pattern, a pathway by which democracies devolve into dictatorships.
The Antifa

There’s an additional wrinkle: the antifa. When Nazis and white supremacists rally, the antifa are likely to show up, too.

“Antifa” is short for antifascists, though the name by no means includes everyone who opposes fascism. The antifa is a relatively small movement of the far left, with ties to anarchism. It arose in Europe’s punk scene in the 1980s to fight neo-Nazism.

The antifa says that because Nazism and white supremacy are violent, we must use any means necessary to stop them. This includes physical means, like what they did on my campus: forming a crowd to block ticket-holders from entering a venue to hear a right extremist speak.

The antifa’s tactics often backfire, just like those of Germany’s communist opposition to Nazism did in the 1920s. Confrontations escalate. Public opinion often blames the left no matter the circumstances.
What to do?

One solution: Hold a counterevent that doesn’t involve physical proximity to the right extremists. The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a helpful guide. Among its recommendations: If the alt-right rallies, “organize a joyful protest” well away from them. Ask people they have targeted to speak. But “as hard as it may be to resist yelling at alt-right speakers, do not confront them.”

This does not mean ignoring Nazis. It means standing up to them in a way that denies them a chance for bloodshed.

The cause Heather Heyer died for is best defended by avoiding the physical confrontation that the people who are responsible for her death want.

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Trivial, really, but I started wearing my new antifa cap today here in red-state Kansas. I have two more ordered. Not many stares, but, if past is (with all the necessary qualifiers) prologue, the reactions should start coming fast and furious pretty soon.

Protofascism characterizes much of the history of the world. One of the key features of modernity has a break with ethnicism, racism, and provincialism. However, the break was never complete. Contemporary neofascists—such as nazism, alt–rightism, neo–confederalism, white identitarianism and nationalism, nativism, ôðalism or odalism, thuleanism, xenophobia, the neo–folkish movement (German, die neo–völkisch Bewegungen), and an assemblage of ultra–right creeds—are yearning for a return to the old and traditionalism (even if it is partially imaginary). Julius Evola, with his far–right version of the esoteric Traditionalist School, is an example from recent history.

These neo–fascists are looking to an idealized, and partially imaginary, Eurocentric past.

Check out the Google+ Antifascist Front:

Merry Christmas to all my Christian friends.

Be happy! 2017 is almost over and May Day will be right around the corner. It may take a while, but given the rapid disintegration of the capitalist world-system, time is on our side.

I go back to work on Monday. Just meetings, meetings, and more meetings. Students return the following week. I hope I get some good classes, i.e., no alt-right, no neonazis, no neofascists, no white identitarians, etc.

Happy belated New Year.

The first week of class is almost over, and many of my students have already signed up on NationStates.

First week is over and, as far as I know, no fascist students. If so, they usually drop my class the first week.

I had a run in with a self-avowed Nazi in the forum, but s/he hasn't bothered me since. Anyway, the case has been reported.

As Antifa, we must never give up our shared commitment to defending the victims of neofascism, neonazism, white identitarianism, the alt-right, and the like. If necessary, we must be willing to lay down our bodies between the fascist filth and their intended victims.

The enemy of the Left is within: a left-wing populism which opposes intersectionality, so-called social justice warriors (even as a tactic), and so forth. Marx was not a left-wing populist. He recognized that oppression was a complex, multifaceted, intersecting world-system.