I announce the creation of a movement which I have no desire to lead. The White Rose Resistance is a movement dedicated to eliminating the threat of American fascism.
An inchoate, amorphous mass movement has already begun.
It needs a name. It needs leadership, guidelines, a manifesto. These words are not that manifesto. These words are meant to inspire that text.
The White Rose Resistance must remain wedded to the principle of non-violence, for tactical reasons as well as moral reasons. Fascism is inherently conspiratorial, and the Reichstag fire was the most important conspiratorial act committed by the German fascists. We must expect our enemies to stage crimes attributed to those they wish to discredit and demolish.
The White Rose movement must NOT be wedded to libertarianism, socialism, anarchism, environmentalism, atheism, utopianianism or any cognate "ism." We stand against fascism, racism and misogyny. Even those we hate can be allies, if those we hate also hate fascism.
The movement dies the moment it becomes hijacked by a specific interest group, even if that group favors a cause which you or I consider laudable. This movement also dies when it becomes hijacked by the politics of identity. This movement thrives when people of differing views and diverse backgrounds unite against a common enemy.
Each and every one of us has specific ideas on "How I would run the zoo." This movement is not a place for you to insist on having your personal vision fulfilled. This movement is about the preservation of democracy -- not an idealized democracy of some utopian dream, but the actual, imperfect, compromised, unfair and often infuriating democracy we once took for granted. Once that
democracy is safe again, then
we must seek ways to perfect it. Until then: If we let the ideal be the enemy of the good, we will have neither the good nor the ideal.
For example: Let us say that you favor the idea of ending corporate personhood. So do I. But that goal is not the goal of the White Rose Resistance. We must be willing to work with those who believe in ideas which you and I might consider objectionable, as long as those others do not seek to impose their
personal visions on the entire movement. You are encouraged to work separately on issues which you consider vital.
We have faith that, in an atmosphere of reasoned discourse, all other issues become resolvable. We seek the return of normal politics. We do not despise the mainstream; we must never disdain those who seek a conventional existence.
We want a political culture without smear campaigns, absurd propaganda, demagoguery, intolerance, bigotry, extremism and cults of personality. We cannot accept a "president" who admires dictatorship, who allies himself with underhanded schemers, and who lies his way into power.
We also seek the clearest possible definition of that which we oppose. Fascism is like pornography: Hard to define, but (usually) easy to recognize when encountered.
I would argue that, in their germinal states, all forms of fascism rely on
1. Demonization of enemies
3. The elevation of the irrational
4. The worship of Might
5. The cunning appeal to the average person's legitimate grievances
6. A belief in conspiracy theories.
The last item warrants special attention. Fascism feeds on fear; thus, fascism requires the spread of conspiracy theories. Yet fascists are always the first to practice
conspiracy. This seeming paradox is the key lesson we learn from a study of the Nazi rise to power. Nazi propagandists convinced a generation that any critic of Hitler toiled on behalf of an international Jewish conspiracy against Germany.
Conspiracy theories kill
. Anyone who doubts this precept should visit the concentration camps.
Yet who can deny that the masters of the Third Reich attained power through conspiratorial means? The volumes of the Nuremberg Trial transcripts are titled "Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression."
Conspiracy theories kill -- yet some conspiracies are genuine.
If you cannot understand the preceding sentence, if you consider those words an insurmountable contradiction, you cannot mount an effective resistance to fascism.
Streicher, Rosenberg and Goebbels were the spiritual fathers of Alex Jones and Steve Bannon. A mindless belief in unproven conspiracy theory has addled many Americans, rendering many of our fellow citizens incapable of civil argument or decent behavior. How can we speak to those who lack all standards of evidence, and who automatically presume that their opponents are operating in bad faith?
When asked if conspiracies exist, the White Rose Resistance can only point to the Nazi example. We say: "Yes, some conspiracies are real. History proves that far-right conspiracy theorists are
Let us now address the question of structure.
The Occupy Wall Street movement once again proved the failure of that unkillable left-wing delusion, "consensus politics." A strict consensus is impossible. The mirage of consensus wastes time and resources. The mirage of consensus insures inaction. The mirage of consensus will inevitably encourage those who would destroy a movement through diversion, division and infantile narcissism. There must be leadership and structure -- but that structure must always remain fluid, and the leaders must always remain both humble and (if necessary) replaceable.
Let a hundred flowers bloom; let gardeners prevent weeds from killing the flowers.
These are my initial ideas. I do not seek to lead this movement. By nature, I am a recluse, a pessimist and an outsider.
Ideally, the leader of the new White Rose Resistance will be a young woman of intelligence and vision. Why a female? Because the first White Rose movement was led by a brave young woman named Sophie Scholl. I am convinced that her spiritual daughter is somewhere among us; I am anxious to learn her name.