Meanwhile, even among the European (white) left, the perspective of ANTIFA isn’t that much more appealing. Regarding the people who go out and do their absolute best to challenge white supremacists who are out and about all the time now, respect is due. Still, its important that those people, as well as everyone else who has a desire for justice, understands that the definition of people fighting against fascism, or ANTIFA, isn’t just a 20 or 30 something white anarchist dressed in black.
The definition of anti-fascist fighters also isn’t participants within the U.S. military who fought in World War II against the Third Reich and Nazi Germany. Those ex-soldiers are often used by the liberal bourgeoisie establishment as the poster child of anti-fascism, but within a logical context, this belief is incomprehensible. At the time of World War II, the U.S. was a society legally segregated based upon race. African people were relegated to unhuman treatment and Indigenous people were systemically removed from society and placed on reservations. The realities for Africans and Indigenous people during World War II (just as it is today) was the living definition of fascism i.e. living in a police state where the political, economic, and social order is organized to oppress and repress segments of the population as policy. This ill-refutable reality makes the capitalist effort to propagate the U.S. as being anti-fascist during World War II (the U.S. didn’t even see the necessity to enter the war until the Nazis had been in power eight years), as a joke.
What most people never think about when they hear the word ANTIFA is the African and Indigenous masses. Since most people see ANTIFA today as white anarchists, and they seldom see us at the face offs with the racist fascists, we are probably never the people that anyone who hasn’t studied history thinks of when the topic is raised.
We would suggest that there are concrete reasons why you don’t see multitudes of African and Indigenous people at the face offs with white supremacists. In many ways, we are still reeling and recovering from the tremendous toll this government’s counter intelligence programs aimed at African and Indigenous communities has had on our ability to organize. Whether we are talking about assaults against our organizations and/or systemic efforts to destabilize us through drugs, alcohol, etc., in our communities. We are still dealing with the physical (mass incarceration), and psychological impacts of that systemic assault against us that exists along with day to day white supremacy of all variations. So, again, the people showing up today, largely white youth, are to be commended for doing so because its needed, but just because we are not in your videos challenging white supremacists as much as you see yourselves doesn’t mean we aren’t doing it, usually much more often and intensely than anyone else.
It can easily be said that we are the original ANTIFA because the first colonial domination in Africa, in the 1480s by Portugal, was met with resistance by the Ashantis, Akan, and many other Ethnic groupings of African people. This represented the first definition of anti-fascist work because as was previously stated with the World War II example, anti-colonialism is the highest expression of anti-fascism. That’s why by the same token, the crashing of Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) and his ships into the Dominican Republic and the subsequent resistance of the Arawak people against that invasion should be seen as the beginning of anti-fascist work in the Western Hemisphere.
Following the 1400s, the examples are endless. C.L.R. James cites in his classic book “Pan-African Slave Revolts” that approximately 500 organized/mobilized resistance efforts against European colonizers took place from the African continent through the middle passage (the terrible journey from Africa to the Americas). These anti-fascist actions happened from the 1400s through the end of chattel slavery in the late 1800s everywhere. The high mark was of course the glorious Haitian revolution in 1804, probably the most successful slave revolt and anti-fascist action in human history. The history here is overwhelming. In concert with those African revolts were the Maroon revolts in the Caribbean and South America that were often unified actions between Africans and Indigenous people. The Quilombos in Brazil are without question a manifestation of that phenomenon. And, Indigenous people waged relentless anti-fascist struggle as well, all through the Americas, non-stop.
The issue here is just one of people recognizing that anti-colonial struggle is anti-fascist struggle by definition. Even the white anarchists should be able to see that if they are against neo-nazis and white supremacists showing themselves that should be because they recognize that those groups have the objective of oppressing and repressing colonized people. That is the reason those organizations exist so by default, if white anarchists fighting them is ANTIFA, than the defining element has to be African and Indigenous people fighting them long before white people began doing it. The courageous battle of Crazy Horse and his people at the Battle of Little Big Horn, anti-fascist work. The Lumbee Indigenous people crushing the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in 1957, anti-fascist work. The Mau Mau resisting the British in Kenya in the 50s and 60s, anti-fascist work. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense organizing against police terrorism against African people, anti-fascist work. The original Black Panther Party in Lowndes Country Alabama fighting against white supremacy there, anti-fascist work. The American Indian Movement defending the Indigenous people on the Pine Ridge reservation from Dick Wilson and his armed GOON squads, anti-fascist work. The taking over of Wounded Knee, South Dakota by Indigenous activists, anti-fascist work. The mobilization of the Republic of New Afrika against the state apparatus in Mississippi in 1973, anti-fascist work. And, the Black Lives Matter’s struggle against police terrorism in current times and the equally contemporary Standing Rock resistance to protect land and water rights for Indigenous people, anti-fascist work. We can go on and on, but the main point here is that African and Indigenous people started the clock on anti-fascist work all over the world. We have done serious anti-fascist work which by definition has to be defined as work that eliminates oppression against everyone, not pretending to fight fascism in the left hand while maintaining it in the right hand like the U.S. did in World War II
And, the white anarchist left, well intentions or not, needs to do an awful lot of anti-colonial study. Speaking from an analytical position and lots of personal experience, much of that anti-fascist work is far from absent from white supremacist values and practices.
So, don’t necessarily look for African and Indigenous people at the confrontation events. What you have to recognize though is that every movement we engage in is by definition a challenge to the status quo capitalist system. As a result, whether we hit the streets and/or organize against police terror, land/water rights, etc., that’s core ANTIFA work even if we aren’t wearing all black and covering our faces. The reality that the only reason ANTIFA is such a commonly used word today, whether used correctly or not, is the result of the exposure white activists have received by participating in Black Lives Matter activities. Yet another example of the mechanisms of systemic white supremacy where we do much of the groundwork, but never receive any of the acknowledgement.