Stephen Maseda | Mob Violence vs. Democracy

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

There have been a number of letters to the editor lately that, shall we say, are not well thought out — see Ms. Betty Aronson’s recent reply to one such letter. 

The Antifa letter (July 11) is another example. It starts from the false premise that to “understand the real issue with Antifa” we need to understand “what fascism is.” While the given definition of fascism is very general, I will not quarrel with it for purposes of this discussion. So now a reader has been given a general understanding of fascism, but knows absolutely nothing about Antifa, except its name. The letter writer makes no attempt to even discuss what Antifa actually is, nor what it does. Anyone who has been watching knows that Antifa is an anarchistic, communistic and anti-capitalistic organization that uses violence against those with whom it disagrees, seeking to silence them; and to effect a change in our government through mob violence. As such it resembles most closely the Italian Black Shirts or the Nazi Brown Shirts. They were tools used by the fascists and Nazis to violently suppress those with whom they disagreed. and to overthrow existing governments. That Antifa is a violent organization is beyond question. That it attempts to achieve its goals by violence is also beyond question. These are the tactics of fascists. We saw it in Italy, the home of fascism, and in Germany, the home of Nazism. 

The president seeks to have Antifa declared a terrorist organization because of what Antifa does, not its name. Organizations are defined by what they do, not by the name they adopt.  

In democracies we decide issues by voting for our representatives, and by debate and discussion, not mob violence. Critical to this process is free speech, protected from government interference, and from organizations who attempt to interfere with it through violence, be they on the left or right. The latter requires that politicians enforce the law, and are not so shortsighted as to believe that an organization such as Antifa can be let loose on those with whom the politicians disagree. Unfortunately, we have seen little resolve among our political class to prevent political violence, and a lack of understanding that democracy dies where violence is allowed to flourish and free speech is suppressed.

Stephen Maseda

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