Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Continuing Fictitious Struggle

By Paul Gottfried, American Consequences

Antifascists and others on the Left like to believe they have been struggling against the same Right for almost 100 years. But there is little evidence for this assumption.

Breitbart last week published a commentary about homosexuals who were demonstrating against the Israelis and calling themselves “Queers for Palestine.” The commentator reminded the activists that while the Israelis are quite tolerant of gays, the Palestinians treat them rather brutally. This may all be true but is also irrelevant for why gays, Black Lives Matter, and other groups on the intersectional Left have taken the side of the Palestinians (really Hamas) against the Israelis. They are siding with what they imagine to be a permanent revolutionary Left, all the parts of which form a harmonious whole.

According to this enduring myth, which finds expression in, among other sources, Mark Bray’s The Anti-Fascist Handbook, the current Left is a continuation of the Communist-led Popular Front of the 1930s, while the unchanging enemy is fascism. While the fascist enemy may vary, depending on what the self-described Left decides to crusade against, the Republican Party and the Israeli government are now stand-ins for Hitler, the former apartheid government in South Africa, and other villains of the Left.

What happens politically or culturally must be understood through these ideologically shaped lenses: Antifascists believe they are still in a struggle that erupted between Right and Left almost 90 years ago, and whomever they designate as “fascists” become the heavies in this morality play.


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