Kelly Hayes & Maya Schenwar: The Midterms Did Not Stop the March of Fascism, But We Can

Twenty-two months into the Trump administration, the United States is a country in denial. Even amid the Democrats’ recent electoral gains, Trump’s would-be opposition is not poised to halt the rise of fascism. Nancy Pelosi announced plans to pursue “bipartisanship” and “common ground,” even before her own electoral victory was complete. Trump himself endorsed Pelosi as Speaker of the House — making clear that there is no leadership in the legislative branch that is equipped to confront the steady rise of Trumpian fascism. Meanwhile, as Pelosi flaunted her establishment takes, some on the left smugly mocked leftists who had joined Democratic electoral efforts, backing candidates and working to get out the vote. Was this what they had been fighting for, the critics asked? For a Pelosi-Trump partnership that would aid in Trump’s expansion of the military-industrial complex?

Even as those divisions simmered, another moment of left-of-center conflict broke out when news emerged that protesters had paid a visit to Tucker Carlson’s home in Washington, DC. Protesters, who apparently knocked on Carlson’s door a few times, chanted and shook a tambourine, before one of them spray-painted an “A” on Carlson’s driveway, were characterized as “monstrous” by Stephen Colbert and condemned as “disastrous for any republic” by television producer David Simon. Colbert and Simon had apparently made no inquiry about the protests before commenting, instead basing their analysis on Carlson’s now-debunked version of events, thereby accepting the account of a white supremacist propagandist (who was not home at the time of the protest).

Critics like Simon have stated that by “normalizing” the already common tactic of visiting people’s homes with political messaging, antifa are putting marginalized people at greater risk. As organizers and journalists who are Native and Jewish respectively, we are among those Simon claims to be defending with his critiques, and we feel we must, in this critical moment, name the errant nature of such assertions. People who are attempting to interrupt right-wing violence are not responsible for the violence of the right. You will not defeat fascism by example, and any belief that enforcing a standard of respectability will stop bombs and bullets is a dangerously misguided perspective.

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