November 4th And The Paranoid Patriotism Of The American Right [Opinion]

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Large swaths of right-wing Americans are convinced that leftist activists are planning large-scale acts of terrorism on November 4th in protest against Donald Trump and what they see as creeping fascism in the United States. Right-wing social media users and websites that peddle right-wing conspiracy theories are describing it as an attempt to stage a “communist revolution” in the United States, claiming that Hungarian billionaire George Soros, the arch-villain of right-wing paranoiac fantasy, has funneled millions of dollars to Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and other leftist groups for the purpose of purchasing weapons to begin a campaign of violence against Trump supporters and basically anyone who stands in the way of the Soros agenda. Barack Obama is allegedly involved too.

If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it’s completely ridiculous.

According to a report in Newsweek, the catalyst for the right-wing paranoia surrounding November 4th is a lefty protest group calling itself “Refuse Fascism” which has a website calling for nationwide peaceful protests against the Trump administration on that date. The “Refuse Fascism” website gives no indication that it is involved in planning anything even approaching violence and the group counts a relatively insignificant 50,000 followers on its Facebook page. Still, fake news conspiracy sites like Alex Jones’s Infowars and Your News Wire are hyping the protests as a vehicle to instill fear and paranoia in the hearts and minds of their right-wing audiences.

Of course, this kind of paranoid patriotism is nothing new for the right. George Soros conspiracies are a consistently profitable trope for right-wing fake news sites. Many on the right are convinced that Soros is busy masterminding the destruction of the United States as part of a globalist, Marxist agenda (why a billionaire hedge fund investor is seen by the right as the face of modern Marxism remains unclear). And due to a few violent skirmishes between far-right nationalists and members of Antifa in Berkeley, Portland, and elsewhere, the right is convinced that Antifa is just inching toward some kind of violent insurrection against Trump’s America.

One viral Facebook post by a right-wing activist named Lisa Jennifer details a supposed plot by Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and the New Black Panther Movement to “attack white people” on November 4th. No real evidence is supplied, of course. We’re just supposed to take this person’s word for it that millions of left-wing terrorists are conspiring to engage in violent insurrection beginning on the 4th of November.

The thing is, these people seem genuinely excited at the prospect of being the valiant defenders of the United States against a domestic enemy. The right-wingers swept up in these paranoiac fantasies about Antifa, BLM, and other lefties waging a campaign of violence are gleefully describing their own violent responses should violence start erupting on November 4th. That’s because what this is all really about is a deeply-felt hatred among the right for anyone who dares to protest against what they see as the established order. And since committing acts of violence against people who are merely protesting is technically not legal, they are hoping beyond hope that they can act out their violent fantasies in self-defense.

The paranoid patriotism of the American right has manifested itself in another of its many absurd ways. The desire to defend the country against a “communist revolution” on November 4th is really not much different than the desire to build a pointless wall along the American-Mexican border. Both involve deep-seated insecurities concerning outsider groups that are perceived as a threat. Both propose highly symbolic solutions that do nothing more than ease some psychic turbulence for the paranoiacs who cling to them. And once November 5th arrives and the civil war has not started, something new will spring up from the depths of right-wing thought to fill the void.

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[Featured Image by Stephen Lam/Getty Images]