Captain America’s an interesting dude. When I was younger, I disliked him. Mostly because of an incomplete understanding of the character. To me and my occasionally militantly anti-imperialist brain, any bloke walking around with a stars-and-stripes shield and literally calling himself ‘Captain America’ acted as an instant red flag of cringe. Really, dude? ‘Captain America’? Why not just call yourself ‘Corporal Colonialism’ and be done with it? Or ‘Sergeant Structural Adjustment Program’.
Of course that attitude was largely due to me taking things at face value and ignoring all historical context surrounding the character’s creation, as well as a nigh-on complete ignorance of the character himself. Also, it was before they put him in a film called Captain America: The Winter Soldier and had Chris Evans play him. That really helped turn the tide of my opinion. The sum total of my knowledge about the character to this day is still basically just what the MCU has fed me, but based just on that—and on Best Chris’s pitch-perfect, empathetic portrayal—I really like the guy now. He’s not some swivel-eyed jingoistic neo-Monroe Doctrine marauder traipsing around the world in order to ensure the supremacy of the flag and backing his message up with his fists. He’s just a dude (from Brooklyn!) called Steve Rogers (from Brooklyn!) who wanted to do what was right (and came from Brooklyn!) when duty called (even if it meant leaving Brooklyn).
Incidentally, ‘doing what was right’ was basically code for ‘punching Hitler square in his stupid fascist face.’ And who can object to that?!
When it comes to punching Nazis and fascists in the face, whatever you may think of that in real life, Cap is a comic book character. A superhero. They don’t really do the whole ‘solve big problems with words’ thing. Doesn’t fit the medium. No, most superhero problems are—broadly speaking—solved by punching them in the face. It can be a surprisingly effective strategy. Especially when deployed against problems, or people, that give you no other choice. What’s that thing Stokely Carmichael said?
In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience.
Recently, celebrated author, scholar, and commentator, Ta-Nehisi Coates took on the task of writing the Captain America comics. It seems that one of Coates’s storylines involves having Cap align himself with Antifa, the sprawling, non-centralised, autonomous, militant anti-fascist movement that often confronts those they have a problem with—fascists—by, well…
Some people, it seems, have not taken kindly to this development.
Cap is now #Antifa? WTF, @Marvel? Why do you hate #CaptainAmerica so much? What on earth made you think for one minute that an America-hating racist like Ta-Nehisi Coates would do a good job with this book? pic.twitter.com/AWXdDNBBXL— Boom San Agustin (@RoundUpBoom) April 18, 2018
Naturally, a conversation developed.
Nice to know you dont know what Antifa is or means.— Fairy Dreamy Succubus~❤ (@Emiko_Wisp) May 14, 2018
Equally nice to know Coates is a great writer I need to keep up on.
But seriously, do you know nothing about Cap??
Antifa people have literally protested against neo-nazis and other such groups who have, and seek to harm others.— Fairy Dreamy Succubus~❤ (@Emiko_Wisp) May 14, 2018
Okay. They're the same.— Boom San Agustin (@RoundUpBoom) May 14, 2018
But, Antifa is a terrorist group.— Boom San Agustin (@RoundUpBoom) May 14, 2018
Lmao Captain America was always anti-fascist he was literally invented to punch Hitler in the fucking face.— Kamiten making BLFC preparations (@Kamitenz) May 14, 2018
They burned my brother's car in London.— Boom San Agustin (@RoundUpBoom) May 14, 2018
What year? Only one I’m googling in London was a police car in ‘81.— Brin Schuler (@BrinEileen) May 14, 2018
Also US antifa/fascist conflicts aren’t the same as UK. Sports fans over here set fire to more things. (I think we’re up to 3 things since Trump including 1 highly-photographed trash can?)
Also, destruction of private property is not terrorism. Vandalism, in this example maybe arson.— Brin Schuler (@BrinEileen) May 14, 2018
If it were that simple the Philadelphia Eagles fans would be a terrorist organization. (Don’t y’all have football hooligans? They never break things?)
Possibly not. But even if he’s not arguing in good faith there are people reading the argument in good faith who may not have thought it thru before.— Brin Schuler (@BrinEileen) May 14, 2018
The idea that you can love Cap &still automatically be on the same side as the police vs protestors in the US right now? Nope…
I'm saying the writer is pro antifa.— Boom San Agustin (@RoundUpBoom) May 14, 2018
you are complaining that a character that has always stood against fascism is standing against fascism. That makes me question whether or not you actually understand what that mean and how that paints you.— Smokey (@abluedrag) May 14, 2018
To be fair, Boom may have confused antifa with the part of the miniscule but showier and more photogenic and mediatropic 'black block' that tends to promote violence. Back to antifa: https://t.co/41o4Nrm87Q— samvega (@samvega) May 15, 2018
I'm really sorry for you that you were brainwashed so much that you think antifas are actual fascists.— Armordillo (@Palfy37) May 14, 2018
That means the actual fascist propaganda and disinformation worked.
Now, to be fair, and without knowing anything else about the dude Tweeting, let’s try to wrap our heads around this.
It seems that the Tweeter has some personal history, a bit of beef, with some vandals who apparently burned his brother’s car at some point in London. That’s, obviously, no fun, and my sympathies go out to the brother. We have minimal context to go on here, but let’s say that sometimes in protests, especially ones that turn violent, acts will occur that shouldn’t have occurred and that need to be condemned. But even if we accept as fact the proposition that the people responsible for the burning of your brother’s car were part of some protest, and that in fact they were members of Antifa, that’s still one hell of a chasm leap to go from ‘Goddamn it! My brother’s car!’, to: ‘Antifa are literally terrorists no worse than the Neo-Nazis they fight.’ My dude, that is some heinous and egregious both-siderism on your part. As one of the Twitter replies said: Individual and isolated acts of vandalism or property destruction do not equal terrorism. Neo-Nazis and some sectors of the right-wing media love to paint Antifa as being ‘just as bad’ as the fascists and racists who call for ethnic cleansing. Don’t listen to them. Mind you, that’s giving you a quite generous benefit of the doubt, which—…
Comic book superhero stories are about justice and overcoming odds, not social justice. The moment you put "social" before "justice", it becomes unjust.— Boom San Agustin (@RoundUpBoom) May 11, 2018
I used to live in London and my brother still lives there. I can honestly say that Mayor Khan is quite clueless. https://t.co/nPJrGc3b7k— Boom San Agustin (@RoundUpBoom) April 28, 2018
Aight fuck it. That’s enough of that. No more embeds for you.