Before murdering 17 Florida high school students and faculty, Nikolas Cruz posted Instagram pictures of himself in a “MAGA” hat. On social media, he yearned to join the U.S. military and kill Muslims. He stalked women, and carried guns to school, well before he was expelled from the site of his American carnage.
Within 24 hours after Cruz’s rampage, news media reported claims by a white supremacist militia that he had worked out with the group: http://time.com/5160819/parkland-shooter-nikolas-cruz-was-a-member-of-white-supremacist-group/ Then both the leader of the group, the “Republic of Florida,” a “white civil rights organization” seeking to build an “ethno-national” white state, fudged initial assertions that Cruz was a member. Quickly, Florida police also said they found “no ties” between Cruz and the group: https://www.salon.com/2018/02/15/white-supremacy-group-florida-school-shooter-was-a-member/
The fluidity of claims and associations bespeaks, literally, the permeable spectrum of fascist, neo-fascist, white supremacist and white nationalist thought permeating U.S. ‘blood and soil’ in the current conjuncture. Cruz’s participation in white nationalist group may or may not be documentable (groups like these don’t keep tight records) but Cruz’s racist, militarist, misogynist life and the politics of American fascism today are co-constitutive.
“Hail Trump” cried Richard Spencer last November at the Washington D.C. “Nazi-In” where hundreds of white supremacists from groups like Identity Europa gathered to celebrate Trump’s election as a mandate for their toxic fascist program: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/richard-spencer-speech-npi/508379/ Last April, white supremacists roamed the streets at “Patriot’s Day” rally in Berkeley looking to beat anti-fascist protestors. They did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOUSMwr96mQ
Fascist violence begets not only itself but permutations on the form. White supremacist killings more that doubled in number in 2017: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/white-supremacist-murders-2017-report_us_5a5f59b0e4b0ee2ff32c4bea Each fascist killing now looks both forward and backwards: to the next murder motivated by its precursors, and as explanations of fascism’s long, slow rise into our current moment. We now know that the Santa Barbara mass killer---long-known to be a misogynist and racist---was also connected to the alt.right universe: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-isle-vista-massacre-alt-right-20180206-story.html
These examples demonstrate that rather than fine-tooth combing our assessment of who has fascist credentials, we simply need to fight back.
Last summer, the Campus Antifascist Network was formed in the wake of Trump, and “Patriot Day,” and the explosion of white supremacist and white nationalist fliering on U.S. University campuses---more than 200 episodes since November, 2016.
CAN has one objective and goal: to smash fascism.
The Network has more than two thousand participants and 13 chapters across the U.S., Canada and now the U.K. https://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/antifascist-organizing-explodes-college-campuses/
CAN has organized against the appearance of Richard Spencer at University of Florida, Milo Yiannopoulos at California State University Fullerton, and Lucian Wintrich at University of Connecticutt http://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/essays/campus-antifascist-network-winning-fight-fascism-universities/
CAN has taken the position that Fascism is not free speech and should not be protected—it should be opposed and shut down: http://campusantifascistnetwork.com/2018/02/07/can-statement-on-free-speech-and-college-campuses/
Organizationally, CAN is a united front that has endorsed anti-racist protests by National Football League players, and the upcoming International Women’s Strike http://campusantifascistnetwork.com/2018/02/07/can-statement-of-solidarity-with-the-international-womens-strike/
Most importantly, CAN has revived the long tradition of popular anti-fascism that is part of a history of dissidence Donald Trump and the alt.right seek to demonize, criminalize, and erase. As CAN members put it in a recent LA Review of Books essay:
In its philosophy and tactics, then, CAN honors a proud, popular tradition of antifascism that many Americans have forgotten, and which the alt-right seeks to erase. Its history in the United States has included coalition building, education, and community work, from the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League of the 1930s, which featured prominent writers Dorothy Parker and F. Scott Fitzgerald; to the Jewish Labor Committee of the 1940s which sponsored refugees into the United States fleeing the Holocaust; to the coalitions that rose to confront Joe McCarthy in the 1950s and then George Wallace in 1960s; to the LGBT-led campaigns against the Christian Right in the 1980s and beyond. Indeed, in American history such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Langston Hughes have been antifascists, as was the great Billie Holliday. For these people, fighting fascism, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism were not just virtues of being progressive: they were a mandatory form of political empathy and common sense.
Now more than ever is the time to act. Share this blog post and join the Campus
Antifascist Network. Build a branch at your college or University, right and fight the fascist scourge.
No more Floridas! No more Fascism!
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