Hannah Arendt, 1906-1975, was a German-born Jewish political theorist who had a decades-long friendship with philosopher Martin Heidegger, a former rector of the University of Freiburg and a member of the Nazi party.
FOR GENERAL RELEASE
Because ItsGoingDown.org has not responded to my messages regarding the article of theirs which is currently published, containing a link to my blog and discussion of the allegations against Augustus Invictus, I wanted to write publicly to make clear my official position on the conflict between Antifa and Augustus Invictus.
Politically, I consider myself to be on the left. However, I am not a communist. I particularly abhor the political positions of Stalinists and Maoists. With this in mind, I would like to be clear that I do not support the use of violent tactics against Augustus Invictus, and I do not support the “by any means necessary” rhetoric which Antifa employs in discussing how to respond to the rise of fascism and the alt-right. The rhetoric from both sides of the conflict between fascists and Antifa is very black-and-white; reality, on the other hand, involves color. People can call me a “liberal” as a derogatory as much as they want, but this does not mean I am a mainstream Democrat, and it does not mean my beliefs will change.
Someone once told me, “the best thing about you and your shit politics is that if the fascists don’t kill you, the leftists will.” Quite to the contrary, I believe my refusal to succumb to traditional ideological lines—if I feel my own beliefs do not fit into traditional ideological categories—is one of my virtues, and not a sign of my own weakness. It was in this spirit that I interviewed Augustus Invictus to begin with, and I do not regret my decision to do so. As a Nietzschean, I do not believe in regret at all.
All human beings, save those who are actively perpetrating genocide such as ISIS, deserve for their basic human rights to be protected. Similarly, all U.S. citizens deserve
for their Constitutional rights, to free speech among other things, to be protected. While granting someone a platform is not a necessary part of protecting their right to free speech, this does not justify the escalation to violence or threats of violence. White nationalists may potentially pose a threat to the human rights of others, but until that has been proven as indisputably as one may today may prove it for ISIS, such suspicions as those many harbor against white nationalists do not justify indiscriminate endorsement of use of violent force against them or their families. Mob justice is not justice; further, I believe that such a war is a losing battle which will yield needless loss of life on the left as well as the right. Right-wing militias in the U.S. today, I assure you, are more than adequately prepared to defend themselves from such threats.
What must be done in times such as these is very far from indiscriminate violence. What must be done is for all of us to summon our bravery in service of civil dialogue, and in service of the protection of everyone’s Constitutional rights. Especially in need of protection are the rights of two separate categories: the rights of those who are weak, and the rights of those with whom we disagree. If we do not protect the rights of those who are weakest, or those who are most different among us, then we do not protect the rights of anyone at all.
Just so we are all on the same page:
- This does not mean I myself am a white nationalist.
- This does not mean I support the violation
of human rights.
- This does not mean I support ISIS.
- This does not mean that I support the use of violence against Antifa,
or support their persecution for exercising a Constitutional right to
protest. It simply means that I reject the use of violence, or threats
of violence, in all forms save for the sake of literal self-defense.
As Hannah Arendt said in her 1970 critique of Mao Tse-tung ‘On Violence,’ “power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.” Violence may be justified in certain cases for the sake of self-defense, but it cannot be forgotten that it is a sign of the absence of power. If the left has resorted to it, this is not laudable, but tragic: for it is a symptom of our powerlessness.
While I am sure I sound hopelessly idealistic to many, I am sincere. I welcome, and will be hospitable to, any response to my statement by any party—whether critical, or otherwise—so long as it is polite. Anyone who wants further background on the events in question may follow this link.