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Dropping A Dime On The Activist


By Albert DeSimone

Athens is the penultimate city of left-wing activism, perhaps only losing the last most left position to San Francisco.

Let me be clear: I bear the activist no animosity, no more than I do his or her right-wing counterpart.

But I’m going to drop a dime on the activist.

The U.S. dime had an interesting symbol on its reverse from 1916 to 1945, a fasces. A fasces is a bundle of sticks tied together to represent strength in unity. It is represented as such in Aesop’s fable “The Old Man and His Sons.”

The word “fascism” is derived from “fasces.” The fasces has been used by Romans, Mussolini, and Hitler as a symbol of unity, but forced unity by authority.

In the pre-Nazi, Aesop’s fable, sense of the word, activists are fascists, as are their right-wing counterparts, the reactionists. Activists and reactionists bring the like-minded together and create a strength and ability to more effectively promote their agenda through numbers.

In this sense, fascism is indistinguishable from activism or reactionism.

I envy the heart and passion of each group. I envy their resolve and grow weary of my own penchant to avoid attachment to causes. I’m consoled by my unwavering resolve to practice the ways of the classical liberal, but tire of having to explain why a rainbow crosswalk can coexist with a Confederate statue. Or why I can be pro-choice but highly sympathetic to the pro-life view. Or why I think the solutions to inequity and climate change reside in capitalism.

We need the activists of the world, without the violent George Floyd protests. We need the reactionists of the world, without the violence of January 6. We need their high-profile, bi-directional resistance to jolt and jar our leaders. Their extremism defines the boundaries that create the middle ground of compromise.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?”

Keep up the good fight. Without your resistance we end up with a monolithic government catering to an oppressive majority denying the rights of the few.

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13 Comments


John Patrick Huie
John Patrick Huie
Aug 04, 2023

Capitalism cannot solve global warming and inequality. Unregulated capitalism is what CREATED global warming and inequality.

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Charlotte Penson
Charlotte Penson
Jun 25, 2023

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Jeffrey Wieler
Jeffrey Wieler
May 05, 2023

Mr Covi: You say "Current definitions of fascism include the ideas of centralized autocratic government run by dictatorial leaders, severe economic and social regimentation, and the use of force to suppress any opposition. Social activists want just the opposite - freedom, self-determination, and autonomy." I might want to point out that the ultimate conservative battle cry is "Leave me alone". Conservatives want not to wear masks, defend the right of people to choose whether to take vaccinations and want the freedom to choose where to educate their children. They also want to know if somebody is encouraging them to be transgender or teaching them that their race is inherently evil. All these positions are clearly opposed to centralized autocratic govern…

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Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
Apr 08, 2023

I think the term activist has been hijacked by some, making it difficult to truly define what an activist is. Recently "activists" in Atlanta have violently protested a law enforcement training center resulting in property being destroyed, a State Trooper being shot, and an idiot being killed. These people are not activist. The only thing they are active in is causing tax payers tons of money and a waste of resources. For an activist to potentially be respected and have their voice heard, in my opinion, they must be tactful, respectful, peaceful, and express their opinion and grievance in a way that can garner an audience and attention that isn't prefaced with disgust by irreprehensable behavior.

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Izzy Mendalbaum
Izzy Mendalbaum
Apr 20, 2023
Replying to

Borf you read the news today as I did. And the news today makes the State Patrol look very bad. I'm not convinced that the kid was innocent, but today's news is as I stated. Bad. Potential prison time awaits. But do you mind if I bring up the general protest at 'Cop City' in the first place? These people have proven not to be peaceful. Their members include arsonists and people who throw molotov cocktails and other dangerous items. They refuse to move from land they do not own and they have shown a proclivity for violence. No one deserves to die for a non-violent protest. But some of these people are clearly asking for trouble. Do…

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Bob Covi
Bob Covi
Apr 07, 2023

Dear Mr. DeSimone,

I have to disagree with your description of Athens as the "penultimate city of left-wing activism". Left leaning, yes, more progressive, yes, but the last word of left-wing activism is a bit over the top. As far as your statement that "fascism is indistinguishable from activism or reactionism", even in the limited sense you used it, is not defensible. Current definitions of fascism include the ideas of centralized autocratic government run by dictatorial leaders, severe economic and social regimentation and the use of force to suppress any opposition. Social activists want just the opposite - freedom, self-determination and autonomy. Quoting Jefferson, "When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty."

Bob Covi

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