Last night, someone came by a Jewish community center in Fairfax County, Virginia, and spray-painted swastikas on the outside.
I don’t want to downplay the inherent violence here and make it about something else, but it underscores a thing I’ve been thinking about a lot recently.
Elections do matter.
Yes, by all means, let’s go get as many good, reasonable people (which pretty much means Democrats right now because most local offices are up in odd-numbered years) into elected office as we can. It’s a big deal.
But also: elections don’t stop this kind of violence.
We also need an ongoing, growing mobilization of regular people who will deny the fascists the airtime, the social sanction, the physical safety, and the wiggle room that allow them to recruit, organize, and terrorize.
That takes a lot of forms, most of which don’t actually require you to actually cover your actual face and actually punch an actual Nazi. Maybe just get a group together to check in periodically with the closest synagogue (or mosque) and see if they need anything.
My point though, and I do have one, is that I’m hearing a little bit of this:
The only thing that matters is winning elections, and the protests are motivating the right wing voters, so protests (about Kavanaugh right now but also any hot button issue) are bad.
That’s badly informed, it’s poor logic, and it cultivates an unfortunate reluctance to fight back. Please reconsider it.
We need electoral work. We need work in the streets. We need work in your personal networks. We need writers and fighters and people who carry heavy things and people who can put up tents and people who bring snacks and people who can show up and say “oh hell no” to the faces of the ones who do… this.