Before you head out to watch the Seattle Sounders play against New England tomorrow, give this a listen: One of our members was invited onto the Nerd Farmer podcast (along with a friend with Tacoma Against Nazis) to talk about antifascism, and refusing to be neutral in the face of white supremacy, with a recent MLS controversy in the backdrop.
This episode was recorded shortly before an incident near CenturyLink Field where a Sounders fan wearing an Iron Front shirt was assaulted by Proud Boys, known right-wing agitators who were attempting to “cause a ruckus” and begging to be let into a pub frequented by Emerald City Supporters.
The MLS had previously decided to ban display of the Iron Front flag and other arbitrarily-chosen “political” symbols.
As we say in the episode, using “political” in this way is arbitrary and useless. Singing the anthem before every game is a political choice. Pride is a political choice (one that we support). Nate is exactly right when he says that there is a class in America that defines “political” as things that that class doesn’t like.
This should not be controversial. The Iron Front was quite literally designed to cover up swastikas in Weimar Germany. Anti-fascism should be the default. It’s unacceptable that MLS would take a stand against it.
To borrow one of Nate Bowling’s terms, “do-gooder white-person neutrality” places fascism as if it’s on the same level of anti-fascism, therefore elevating the position of fascism and harming marginalized groups. Fascism deserves no such entitlement.
So, put on your Iron Front shirts, wear your pins and patches, and take other measures to voice your support for anti-fascism.
We should all agree on one thing: Fighting nazis is fun!