At This Point, If You’re Not Antifa, You’re Fa

Neutrality in the face of rising authoritarianism is not an option

Tim Wise
4 min readDec 17, 2021


Image: Roman Samsonov, Shutterstock, standard license, purchased by author

It’s like the old saying goes: you can’t be neutral on a moving train.

Or, if you prefer the metaphor of the moving sidewalk at the airport, fine, go with that. The same principle applies.

You can stand there, exerting no energy and making no effort to go forward. But you will end up wherever the sidewalk seeks to take you, all the same.

Only if you turn and walk actively in the other direction, pushing against the force of the sidewalk, might you avoid that place.

So whether it’s the B and C concourses at the Detroit airport or the death of democracy, if you don’t want to go there, you’d best be prepared to make a decision once the ground starts moving.

It’s like the old saying goes: you can’t be neutral on a moving train

And when it comes to America, the ground is moving. It’s been moving for a while now.

Your refusal to acknowledge it doesn’t stop the ride.

I prefer not to acknowledge that I’m getting older or the aches and pains that verify, brutally, that fact. But the clock hasn’t stopped. And neither have the aches and pains, despite my stubborn desire to change the subject.

The insurrection was a deal-breaker

So here we are, in a nation where violent insurrection is being downplayed by half the country and even lawmakers who were hunkered down in the building under attack at the time.

Hell, some were actively running plays inside, entirely in line with the terrorists outside, threatening to kill their colleagues.

We now know they were sending texts to the President’s advisors advocating that the will of the voters in half-a-dozen states be overturned on behalf of their would-be Emperor God.

This is authoritarianism at its finest. It is fascism, American style.

And since the only factor clearly correlated with one’s participation in the insurrection was coming from a Census tract that had seen its white…



Tim Wise

Anti-racism educator and author of 9 books, including White Like Me and, most recently, Dispatches from the Race War (City Lights, December 2020)