The roots of modern antifascism can be traced back to every society that has faced the rise of fascism in the past. As we know, many of those early resistance movements were unsuccessful, in many ways due to inherent qualities of the fascist narrative that make it uniquely unlike other ideologies and thus unresponsive to standard opposition tactics like rational debate.
Fascism relies on blame shifting the perception of a threat to a nationalist identity onto an ethnic or cultural group that is not actually the source of the crisis, typically economic, it is actually facing. It then rallies against that common enemy using a language of authoritarianism that is atypical of garden variety authoritarianism. It openly promises to use the systemic power of the State, not simply to reform the regulatory landscape but specifically to cleanse the actual human beings being scapegoated.
As each resistance movement studied the one before it, they learned through trial and error a unique set of tactics much better suited to this particular narrative and the psychology of its followers. No-platformism is one of the most effective early-stage tactics because it denies the visibility that people vulnerable to fascist narratives require in order to coalesce around the belief that the charismatic leader speaking this set of ideas can set them free by cleansing the target population.
A person who has no platform cannot plausibly promise the systemic power it would take to achieve the goal of cleansing they seek. In this way, the rise of fascism may be suppressed.
In the latter half of the 20th century, resistance movements became successful at thwarting fascist entryism, most notably in the punk scene of the 80’s. By applying the lessons of no-platformism and confrontational disassociation, xenophobic personalities and those attracted by them were deprived of the illusion that their ideology was compatible with the kind of defiance punk culture represented, or that they could ever gain popularity by expressing them.
As modern Libertarians, we find ourselves in a unique position, with an openly stated commitment to non-aggression. This limits our tactics in ways that historical antifascism is not limited. This is why you perceive a mismatch, but here is the important thing: They are not acting randomly as violent people… they are applying a century’s worth of experience to the situation we find ourselves in. That is something to consider carefully before one passes judgment.
Libertarians must lead by example in how our principles can actually accomplish a peaceful, diversely empowering society. Giving fascists a platform has failed, and it has failed miserably and gotten millions of people killed. We have the power of disassociation and it is possible to apply no-platformism peacefully. But we must understand its priority in order to apply it. If we cannot do peacefully what antifascism believes must be done by violence, they are going to step forward and do it themselves.
Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. The Libertarian Anti-Fascist Committee invites you to join us in applying those lessons through a blanket policy of no-platformism for voices like Augustus Invictus who advance the fascist narrative, and educating libertarians about the characteristics of early-stage fascism so we may recognize it among us and deny it a platform. It’s our job to take out our trash, and we plan on taking personal responsibility for that. Will you?