BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
A choice between two equivalent options has come to be known as a Morton’s Fork. Under Henry VII, John Morton was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1486 and then Lord Chancellor a year later. He justified a King’s benevolence by holding that a man living modestly must be saving money and, therefore, could manage to pay for the benevolence, whereas a man living expensively evidently was rich and, therefore, could also afford the benevolence. Either which way Morton ensured that prospective taxpayers were between a rock and a hard place.
The death of black man George Floyd by asphyxia under the knee of white police officer, Derek Chauvin, is grim watching and not something that anyone sane would ever wish to repeat or emulate. Chauvin is the latest in a long line of policemen in the US who have acted barbarically – often their barbarism has been directed against blacks and ethnic minorities. Allegations of police brutality have been regularly highlighted since the start of the Black Lives Matter movement which began after the acquittal of neighbourhood watchman George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American Trayvon Martin in February 2012. Black Lives Matter then morphed into a blatant protest vehicle for identity politics, sowing the seeds of racial division. The deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York in 2014 also sparked huge protests.
The prudent position here is to thoroughly condemn the policeman – making sure his type are never recruited again – and feel deep pity for Floyd and his relatives. However, to support even ideologically the “anti-fascist” protesters in memory of Floyd as they now loot and destroy American cities is as logical as taking part in Extinction Rebellion protests after buying a gas-guzzling Bentley.
Chauvin is no fascist totem nor is he under the spell of one. He does not possess the grey matter to put a pin through France on a map let alone have the ability to read a copy of Mussolini’s La dottrina del fascismo. Perhaps he has swastika tattoos on his upper arms but there have been no reports of Chauvin having any political leanings. Similarly, the masked thugs wrecking US cities seem more like opportunists and sneaker thieves than Searchlight types. Judging by the state of their 90’s Buicks and bashed-up Chryslers, their Hate rather than Hope seems driven more by personal resentment and malfunction than by any desire to effect good on America. Yet they have been claimed by anti-fascist movements as Antifa’s “troops”.
Why do “anti-fascists” give us the false Morton’s choice of supporting Chauvin or backing them? Both sides are as unattractive and reprehensible as each other – the thuggish behaviour of Chauvin has some of the same characteristics as the thuggish behaviour of the violent and looting rioters. The question then is why do the so-called anti-fascists hijack a police killing, which may or may not have been a racist killing, framing it as fascist?
One cannot help but conclude that while their opportunism trumps any reason or sense of “anti-fascism”, in an election year Antifa see street violence as a means to overthrow the powers that be. What other conclusion is there to reach? Social instability leads traditionally to incumbents losing votes. U.S. intelligence sources back this theory up alongside law-enforcement officials in various departments in the US who have monitored Antifa activity last week and conclude, “the playbook in every rioting city is almost the same: the peaceful protests are organised, and a point place is designated for people to gather in the daylight hours.”
While some rioters are genuine voices of the unheard, the crowds are mostly comprised of useful idiots merely serving the anti-fascists’ purpose. Interview actual anti-fascists and fascists who have philosophised on their political stance – their political rhetoric stresses the differences between socialism-communism on the far left and fascism on the far right. Their extremist positions meet and resemble each other in their contempt for democracy, their pretence to virtue and being wronged, their disgust at bourgeoisie consumerist values and their emphasis on big state rather than free markets. Both inhabit the same extreme ground on any sensible political spectrum. Both sides reject any thought of similarity yet, as occurred in Nazi Germany, the number of people who slither from one side to the other so easily in their desire for authoritarianism clearly demonstrates their compatibility.
It is possible to be anti-fascism and anti anti-fascists. Indeed, that is the sensible and illuminated position to hold, just as not wanting to date a man hardly makes one homophobic. The lesser of two evils principle simply does not apply here. Reason eclipses both positions the anti-fascists force you to choose from. As for Morton and the likes of Sarkar, they can go take a hike too – their rationale is so obviously contrived and bunkum to boot.