Tucker Carlson is telling his viewers that Antifa is organizing riots across the country:
"Antifa is being organized. By whom? We don't know. Why don't we know? To do what? We can't say right now. … Antifa is mobilizing to commit violence. This is a political militia." pic.twitter.com/mgBuonqbuz
— Kat Abu (@abughazalehkat) January 28, 2023
Earlier tonight on his FoxNews show, Tucker Carlson said we need to be afraid of Antifa again because they’re organizing “violence” across the country tonight. He even cited comments by the head of the “Fredericksburg, Maryland chapter” to buttress his claims. But at 3AM, all appears to be quiet in our major cities – or they’re at least not being disturbed by violent hordes of anti-Fascists. The FoxNews webpage has no stories on violent protests happening this evening, nor do CNN’s or MSNBC’s. So, what happened? Where did the protests go?
As may be obvious, there never were any protests planned. The threat was a lie. Antifa isn’t organizing anything. It can’t. Why not? Because Antifa isn’t an organization in any normally understood meaning of the word. There’s no organizational structure, no leader/president/CEO, no headquarters or local/regional chapters (not even in Fredericksburg, Maryland). There’s no way to apply to be a member, no membership fee or donations, no member roster, no membership list, no meetings and – sorry Tucker – no organizational plans. It can’t be a militia, and it can’t be mobilizing to commit violence because it doesn’t exist in that form.
Antifa is a portmanteau used to indicate that someone or something opposes Fascism. It literally means “anti-Fascist” and came into vogue to describe the tactics employed by people protesting Fascism. Some right-wing leaders and broadcasters, however, have made it one of their biggest boogiemen, casting it as an mysterious, violent group dedicated to ruining our way of life (and by their reckoning, “our” means “white people’s”.)
There are sufficient genuine threats in the world that we don’t need either side creating imaginary ones. While it’s possible that some people opposed to Fascism are plotting to engage in violence, “Antifa” as an organization is not. Rather than telling scary stories about large groups planning to riot “on both coasts and in the middle,” wouldn’t it be better to focus on any actual, known threats? The problem with that, of course, is that focusing only on real threats doesn’t scare nearly enough people, and history has shown that one of the most effective ways to get communities to accept an authoritarian, totalitarian, or Fascist government is to keep them afraid, and offer authoritarianism as the best way to protect everyone.
By morning, most who saw Tucker’s breathless fear-mongering will have forgotten there were supposed to be violent riots overnight, but the bit of fear he inflicted upon them as they watched his show will still be there. They’ve been given another reason to fear “Antifa” – whatever that may be – and have subconsciously absorbed it. And that’s how an imaginary “political militia” engages in imaginary “violence” and becomes another reason for people to think they need a strongman government to protect them.