New York Times: “There is no such thing as the ‘alt-left.'”

by raptavio –

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 Like to say “Alt-left”? This is you

Researchers who study extremist groups in the United States say there is no such thing as the “alt-left.” Mark Pitcavage, an analyst at the Anti-Defamation League, said the word had been made up to create a false equivalence between the far right and “anything vaguely left-seeming that they didn’t like.”

Some centrist liberals have taken to using this term.

“It did not arise organically, and it refers to no actual group or movement or network,” Mr. Pitcavage said in an email. “It’s just a made-up epithet, similar to certain people calling any news they don’t like ‘fake news.’”

“Some centrist liberals”, of course, includes our own Markos Moulitsas, a choice which I hope he’s come to regret in the wake of Tangerine Palpatine’s press conference today.

When used by centrists and some liberals, of course, this is an extension of the “Horseshoe Theory”, a glib assertion that the “extreme left” and “extreme right” are closer together than not, much like the ends of a horseshoe.

It is, of course, nonsense.

A woman of color wearing a T-shirt with an upside-down American flag says "Oppression is bad." A grinning white guy with a fedora and a T-shirt that says "TOP KEK" says "Oppression of most people is actually good." A bow-tied professor exclaims, "It
Literally horseshoe theory

But what it does do is allow both the “alt-right” to deflect attention from their violent, bigoted, anti-Semitic, extreme racist and homophobic selves and onto those standing bodily in opposition to them. Cheeto Benito himself has employed this very tactic today in what may be the worst press conference in Presidential history.

This usage is appalling, of course, but understandable, because these people are in all ways vile and evil.

Democratic “centrist liberals” and their somewhat more progressive allies use the term differently, despite its origins as a right-wing smear. They use it directed toward progressives who have, for whatever reason, chosen to not support Hillary Clinton last November and who continue to withhold their support for Democrats today.

This usage is also appalling, and in all ways totally unjustifiable, because it is literally claiming these leftists are the moral equivalent of actual Nazis.

There are, of course, actual racists, and sexists, and especially anti-Semites, among the left. They exist throughout all factions of the Democratic Party as well, and it is incumbent upon all of us as people of conscience to challenge and confront bigotry within our own ranks wherever we find it. Moreover, all of us carry bigoted views of which we haven’t purged ourselves, or even confronted, and it’s our responsibility to check ourselves and each other to eliminate or minimize as many of those views as possible.

And I find it pretty unjustifiable at this crucial juncture in history for people on the left, whether they call themselves Democrats or not, to sit on their hands, claim there’s insufficient difference between Democrats and Republicans, or whatever ridiculous excuse they come up with to not form a united front against Lord Dampnut and his kakistocracy.

And precisely none of that justifies actually labelling entire groups of people as the moral equivalent of genocidal anti-Semites, murderers, terrorists and their supporters.

This needs to stop and stop yesterday. Eating our left flank like this is exactly what will prevent Democrats and progressives from being able to stop the horror that is upon us in the form of that insufferable orange abomination.

They will either get on board, or they won’t. Either way, focusing on those who won’t is aiming our metaphorical guns directly away from the literal fascists who are actively tearing down everything Americans are supposed to hold dear.

There is no such thing as the “alt-left.”

One more time.

There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. The. Alt. Left.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos