By FERRAN BARBER. @diasporasmagaz – Read the original article in PUBLICO
The antifascist paths are so inscrutable that they have finally concurred in Walmart and Amazon. More than three hundred euros were asked by Barneys few months ago for a military jacket with the classic anarchist icons and a handful of printed slogans among which there were some verses attributed to the Greek homosexual poet Dinos Christianopoulos: «They tried to bury us, but they did not know we are seeds. »
The product was literally sold online as an Anarchist «jacket» and was manufactured by a company, Alpha Industries, which was among the suppliers of American Army clothing. It was accompanied by a label, which stated: «Anarchy Cotton Blend». No one had dared to put together any similar words since the creation of the «Sex Pistols MasterCard». Over time it has been known that many units of the JACKET were not sold.
Between Durruti and Zara
These new «revolutionaries» aligned on the «pop» side of the insurgency seem to be less inspired by Bookchin, Durruti or Marx than by the magnetic attraction that exerts to be part of a black bloc uniformed with military boots, hood and balaclava. The less purists can also get their «neo-punk» tacks in Zara, but without any printed slogan or any explicit political orientation. The most notorious irruption of Inditex in the, so to speak, «clothes with ideological stigma» was a striped pajama, which was finally withdrawn from the market because it evoked the uniform of the Jews crowded by the Nazis in the extermination camps.
Europe is not alien to the mercantilization of antifascism, but on a different scale than in the United States. If there is a place where this distortion of the essences of the movement is about to turn it into a kind of parody, that is North America. In America, this trend points in two directions. On the one hand, by reaction to the white supremacists to whom Donald Trump gave wings after winning the presidency, anti-fascism has been reinvigorated and has gained adherents. But on the other side, it has laid roots on much weaker ideological foundations than those that support its European variant, less oriented towards the «show». Or what is more notorious, it has totally renounced to any consistent ideological commitment. Often, the affinities with anarchism are essentially aesthetics. Apart from the uniform, they just usually share with libertarian black blocks their desire for direct action.
Every «teenager who claims to be an anarchist because he has the false impression that anyone who spends the day complaining about a government is one, while maintaining that the rest of humanity is blinded by propaganda».
In other words, the more popularity it has gained among Americans, the less compromised the movement is with the class struggle and the attack on the system and the more followers win between the «posers», a term with which it is usually designated, according to the insurgency slang, to every «teenager who claims to be an anarchist because he has the false impression that anyone who spends the day complaining about a government is one, while maintaining that the rest of humanity is blinded by propaganda». In a somewhat more colloquial way, the English online encyclopedia of slang also refers to them as «crazed children who tend to complain about capitalism without having a fucking clue on what the fuck they are talking about». In Castilian, those subjects are usually called «anarchists or punkies for the postcard».
Punch the Nazis
This irreversible American process of frivolization, misrepresentation, domestication and ridicule of antifascism was recently supported by the New York Times. The iconic American media ventured to publish some recommendations about literally «what to wear to hit to the State. » In case anyone has doubts about the intentionality of his story, its author, Rick Paulas, anticipates in the intro: «The antifascists believe [that it is convenient] to dress [appropriately] for the work they love. At the moment, many think that this job is to punch Nazis. »
In other words, according to this journalist, the main reason for being an «American antifa» is to fight the «xenophobic and islamóphobic bigotts» of the Alt-Right in the manner of a sports league. Replace «concentration or protest» with «match» and the way in which they challenge and confront the white supremacists resembles, in a way, a national gladiatorial championship or a post-technological version of a medieval joust. «This is a revolution, baby. Anarchism goes to Hollywood. » See you in Charlottesville.
«It is clear,» says the Catalan analyst Aniol Gutiérrez, «that the commercialization of antifascism has been much more noticeable in the United States than in the rest of the world. And it is true, too, that this is taking the form of an urban subculture without a unifying ideology. Of course, this is not entirely negative if we consider the way in which the number of openly fascist and neo-Nazi groups has increased in this decadent planet. »
In Gutiérrez’s opinion, the problem is that, by adopting the form of a reactionary fashion absorbed and even used by the system, it has stopped offering ideological or material alternatives to that decline. «And what is worse,» he adds, «has become one of the biggest distractions of the problems that our model of production and social organization brings. I insist, however, that the European VERSION of the phenomenon is less worrisome. In Italy, for example, there have recently been protests in response to the attack on African immigrants by a candidate from the LIGA NORTE. When there are cases like these, the antifascist emblem is much more justified and can bring together people not previously aligned under any ideology. »
Made in Mexico
One of the most grotesque cases of commercialization of antifascist iconography was the sale at Walmart of an «antifa» sweatshirt with the classic red and black logo of the movement. The commercial emporium offered thirteen different models of this «made in Mexico» garment, and one hundred percent of cotton. As they had done before with other marketing products associated with «Black Lives Matters», the sweatshirts were commercialized on the Walmart website by a third part company called Tee Bangers.
North American press – in particular, the conservative one – usually presents the «antifas» as the natural enemy -the nemesis- of the supremacists. Both are described as «radical», and in the middle, equidistant, are located the rest of the citizens, divided between conservatives and liberals. However, in the most popular right-wing newspapers, antifascists tend to be mentioned, at best, as «violent terrorists». The sale of anti-fascist sweatshirts on the Walmart website aroused the anger, among others, of the editorialists of one of the most frequented by white supremacists medias: Breibhart. Its journalists complained about the unequal treatment received by the racists and recalled, in this regard, that, just like Amazon, Ebay and Sears, Walmart had withdrawn a confederate flag from the sale so as not to hurt the sensibilities of some of its customers. The sweatshirt «antifa» finally disappeared from the catalog of the American chain last December.
COPYRIGHT BY FERRAN BARBER & PUBLICO