ForumTouchy Subjects ► The Far / Radical Left
What is it? Is it antifa? The Resistance? Communism? Neo-Marxism? Socialism? Social anarchism? Anarcho-capitalism? Beats me. The far left as a concept is one of the harder things to pin down in today's political landscape, largely because of fiscal conservatism and its place under the "left" umbrella, as well as the lack of a very clear "villain" at the same level of austerity as the alt-right and the Red Pill crowd. What comes to mind when you hear people talk about the label? How do you approach conversations regarding it?
  
I assume the far-left is Antifa, Communists, Marxists, SJWs, Anarchists.

To me "far-left" mainly conjures up images of 20 year-olds running around with balaclavas over their faces calling everyone to the right of them a Nazi.
  
I think I've percieved it as more like people rallying for faaar left politics, rather than antifa memes. Not that all faaar left politics are inherently bad or something, but it's not productive to go "I know the general political community is struggling to take a foothold in solidly left ground, but let's jump that hurdle and immediately adopt full communism!"
  
There's no possible way this thread ends well.
  
Has about as much potential for that as threads hinting at the concept of white suppression, but what else is new in this forum?

Aside from that, I feel like there's this superiority that comes with actively advocating for left-of-left politics - like "I'm on that next level shit, you'd better step up"-vibes. I'm into socialism but I feel like being dismissive of your average leftist because they don't get it yet isn't helpful.
  
Here are two videos that I often use to initiate people who are not accustomed to thinking about socialism. Socialism is a giant umbrella of ideologies, but every one of them seems far left to someone indoctrinated in capitalist society.
  
I saw that you linked those a bit back, yeah. It's difficult to displace someone's perspective from capitalism just based on the virtue of how deeply it's rooted in the consciousness of society. Hearing people dismiss the concept as a whole on the virtue of previous implementation of it is a little frustrating since a lot of the time it's socialism managed under / applied through capitalism.
  
I have a general understanding of socialism that it's when the government regulates the economy to make sure the working-class are doing okay. Improving workers' conditions, wages, free healthcare, that sort of thing. There's degrees of it, but I don't think it's particularly radical and I don't call it far-left. I thought socialism was generally considered centre-left. That's where it's always sat in my head. That's why I left it off above.
  
That's one take on socialism. Another defines it in terms of resistance to capitalism. It's the process but which a communist society is attained. In either case, socialism is worker control of industry, with or without a democratic government as an intermediary.
  
What countries if any would you call socialist?
  
China rears its head in any discussion about socialism, but no country operates in an void - China is a politically, superficially socialist country only as far as capitalism can still exist as a means of profit there. Socialist societies whose fates are so deeply ingrained in capitalism are kinda sad imo.
  
Millpond said:
What countries if any would you call socialist?
Good question. None, probably.
  
I think one form of the radical left is when somebody starts justifying prejudice against whites and males. Usually this is on the grounds of racism/sexism = prejudice + power. If you have prejudice but no power over whites and males, its not truly racist or sexist. I think I would be in the minority considering this radical. I think this is becoming more and more popular of an ideology. Maybe I am wrong to think encouraging the less powerful to ramp up their prejudice is a potentially bad idea.

An extreme of a radical left would be TERFs, which also exclude people on the basis of being biologically male, according to them.

Then there are radicals on the left who, like radicals in any group, justify violence against others on the basis that those others' ideas are violent.

Violent radicals in any group (Christian, Muslim, abortion clinic terrorists, various members of Antifa, etc.) generally get a lot of attention and give those groups a really bad name even when they are an extremely small statistical minority, so I think those are the worst radicals of all.

So, I don't really consider Antifa or BLM to be a violent/radical group, I think the violent aberrant people from those groups just get a lot of press time. I could be wrong about that, too.
  
I would not characterize BLM as generally violent or radical. But I think it's fair to describe antifa as both. Antifa is quite comfortable using violence, the threat violence, and/or destruction of property to advance its goals. Examples.
  
Ferreteh said:
Has about as much potential for that as threads hinting at the concept of white suppression, but what else is new in this forum?

Aside from that, I feel like there's this superiority that comes with actively advocating for left-of-left politics - like "I'm on that next level shit, you'd better step up"-vibes. I'm into socialism but I feel like being dismissive of your average leftist because they don't get it yet isn't helpful.


The advocacy for left of left policies -- in social contexts especially -- means that the far left is constantly using "centrist" as a pejorative for anyone deviating from a pretty orthodox set of social and economic positions.

When people talk about the far left, they mean this bloc. As far as I can tell, the far left is significantly more monolithic than the alt right.
  
I would not characterize BLM as generally violent or radical. But I think it's fair to describe antifa as both. Antifa is quite comfortable using violence, the threat violence, and/or destruction of property to advance its goals. Examples.
If the main core of the group advocates violence, then I was wrong to not classify them as violent. Thank you for correcting me.
  
I think one form of the radical left is when somebody starts justifying prejudice against whites and males. Usually this is on the grounds of racism/sexism = prejudice + power. If you have prejudice but no power over whites and males, its not truly racist or sexist. I think I would be in the minority considering this radical. I think this is becoming more and more popular of an ideology. Maybe I am wrong to think encouraging the less powerful to ramp up their prejudice is a potentially bad idea.
Hi I haven't seen you since forever ago. Hope you're doing well.

It depends on what you view as prejudice. People who advocate for things like financial reparations from every white person for slavery committed by not all of those white peoples' ancestors are definitely shitty and prejudiced. People who say "white people need to stop" on twitter when people post pictures of stuff like aspics probably aren't, and saying that they are is sorta stretching it. There's that in-between of people who say things like "Men are the worst", but most of the time that's in reference to specific men or men who do specific things or it's intended to be humorous. No statement exists in a vacuum - it's similar to how when people say "cops suck", you can't assume they're talking about all cops. The difference between saying "white people suck" and saying "black people suck" is that the former is punching up. Read into it, it's pretty much the reason Ricky Gervais is percieved to be a shithead.
  
Black Lives Matter certainly has violent supporters, for example Micah Xavier Johnson who killed police in Dallas in 2016 cited Black Lives Matter as his motive. I suppose the rebuttal to that is he wasn't an official member, but who is. It depends on how broadly we define Black Lives Matter.

If we define it broadly to mean "black nationalists angry about police shooting black suspects in the 2010s" then that would include Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley who killed police in New York in 2014 and Gavin Eugene Long who killed police in Baton Rouge in 2016.

The founders of Black Lives Matter are being sued for incitement to violence by the family of these police and one of the arguments is whether Black Lives Matter is a specific organisation or a decentralised social movement. It seems to have a centralised command structure, unlike Antifa. But obviously anyone can use a hashtag so it's difficult to define where the line is. It's like anyone can say they're ISIS but it doesn't mean actual ISIS command knows about them.

I'm not aware that the actual official leaders of BLM have ever incited violence. But certainly their demonstrations have become violent. I remember in one of the protests the sister of the black suspect shouted at the crowd to stop burning black neighbourhoods, which is great, but then she encouraged them to burn the suburbs instead, which is not so great.

It might be fair to say Antifa are inherently violent in the sense that the whole point of Antifa is opposing real-or-imagined Fascists through direct action. But we don't really use another word for the ones who just hold signs. Some Antifa groups are no doubt more violent than others. There is no centralised Antifa, it's loosely affiliated local groups.
  
BLM supporters are people who identify with the movement and follow its tenets. The same can be said of anyone who supports a movement - if you don't have the same values as it and act in ways that directly oppose its goals and the actions of its majority, it shouldn't be held accountable for your actions. Not all black nationalists are BLM supporters, and black nationalism is not synonymous with Black Lives Matter. Conflating the two is a false equivalency.

As for the lawsuit, What's funny is how it doesn't seem particularly legally defensible as mentioned here. The core tenets of BLM rely upon "justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another," as stated within the above link Unlike antifa, BLM is a centralized movement with branches that follow centralized values and advocate for centralized purposes. It even has a centralized command structure. At most, people who identify as BLM supporters and commit violence on behalf of it are directly violating the core beliefs of BLM and the values it advocates for, making it pretty difficult to lump them in with the organization as a whole and then sue the organization for their actions.
  
Let me just answer possible future criticism by saying I do not support the EDL, Sons of Odin or agree with their tenets.

Ferreteh: argument holds water to a point. The EDL was explicitly non-violent and was not explicitly against the Muslim faith as a whole. Several years ago (when he was a serious public figure and not just a youtube personality) every interview Tommy Robinson did he spoke endlessly -- agreeing with his critics -- against the violent elements of the EDL, how they were wrong about what they were doing, and that bashing random brown people was fundamentally against his group's message. The Sons of Odin in Canada frequently point out that THEY AREN'T THE SAME AS ALL THOSE EVIL WHITE SUPREMACISTS 4SRSGUISE!

At some point, a group has to answer for what people do in its name. BLM isn't at that point, I think that very polarised and extreme individuals can and often do latch on to a more centrist group, and the pattern of violence RE: BLM is not yet significant enough to take their leadership and general base to task over.

I support BLM, I think it's unbelievably obvious that black people are profiled (with lethal consequences) by the police across the USA. I think it's farcical how frequently police are let off without charges in even the most high profile cases involving black victims of police brutality. I think the police culture, allocation of resources and perception of the black community is horrific, and it isn't, or at least shouldn't be, a far left position to call for police reform.
  
I agree. It's always a worry that violence and discrimination in the name of particular political groups can come to a head like in the examples you mentioned. That's why I brought up the "actions of its majority" part (if you didn't see it at first that's 'cause I did a quiet edit).

What I find really interesting is that a lot of antifa groups hold the values of combating hateful ideologies with direct action, sometimes with the heavy implication / blatant statement that violence is totally okay. But statistically, left wing extremism as a whole contributes to just 2% of deaths by the hands of extremists in the US in the last ten years. That's behind Islamic extremism at 24% and right wing extremism at 74%. The perception of antifa as violent is slightly justifiable by how it identifies itself, but it's definitely not doing too great of a job at that.
  
No disagreement, more that groups are often called to account for their members, some groups far more than others. It seems to be a struggle getting the police to answer for their actions: Joe Arpaio is responsible for psychological and -- not even occasional -- physical torture, and somehow he's a hero to many.
  
If you acknowledge the discrepancy you have to deal with the cognitive dissonance that comes with it. It's way easier to ignore evidence.
  
We can make a distinction between the official ideology from the top and the mob interpreting that ideology at the bottom, but if the mob at the bottom is violent then we can simply use more judicious language to criticise it, eg "XXX is violent" vs "XXX supporters are violent". The rebuttal follows "but they're not true XXX supporters". Okay well they think they're supporters and they're a problem. Call them pseudo-supporters or nominal-supporters, they're a group.

Virtually all these groups have some violent rank-and-file supporters, The question is at what point is there enough to make it fair to generalise them as such. The EDL leadership disavowed violence, but some rank-and-file supporters were violent. Of course we then need to factor in that Antifa showed up to every EDL demo to get in their way and throw things at them, so maybe it's not fair to call them violent if they're being violent in that context. Overall I would say it was a non-violent organisation in that the founder-leaders disavowed violence and the violent supporters were the minority. Tommy Robinson does have a conviction for assault, but ironically it was against a Nazi.
  
I already addressed a lot of this. If the amount of violent supporters isn't a majority (or even a large minority), those supporters' actions can't be generalized as indicative of the movement. There are a HUGE amount more BLM members than there are people who have committed violence and claimed it as BLM action.

This Snopes thingy talks about the whole "antifa aren't the ones organizing the protests" thing. It doesn't specifically refer to the EDL but the logic replies since the rhetoric of the EDL is comparable to that of America's alt-right.
  
Forum > Touchy Subjects > The Far / Radical Left