Learn from past successes, but modify them to make them fit the present.
‘Law-abiding’ sounds so proper, peaceful. But what to think of that when the law is on the side of evil? Then, not breaking the law is wicked!
Evil-supporting laws have different sources. First of all, they can have been made by people whose ideas were more wicked than the ones of most others. Apartheid South Africa, Nazi Germany, you get the picture.
Beware of dictators condemning impoverished demonstrators as divisive and disrupting the peace! (Or chauvinist men who trash angry women by saying: They’re so nasty. If you’d listen, they’ll become more mellow.)
But then, there is unjust law that comes from a dark past. When ethical awareness increases, our laws normally don’t precede that. Better laws must be propagated, demonstrated for, and always lag behind. Think of how we now know that Freedom of Speech cannot justify hate speech.
Now, what to do when the law protects evil and changing it shortly isn’t in the cards? A new book, “Gangsters vs. Nazis; How Jewish Mobsters Battled Nazis in Wartime America,” tells of one such successful intervention.
In the 1930s, mostly German citizens in the US who hadn’t yet received US citizenship tried to start a vibrant Nazi Party in the US. Free Speech, and Freedom of assembly, as American as apple pie. What will happen next?
A Jewish US-Law senior sitting judge secretly asked Jewish mobsters from around the country to beat the hell out of these fascists. One condition: don’t kill. The police, bought by the gangsters, looked the other way.
This was more than just a few unpleasant but toothless antisemites. There were 100 such groups, intending to persuade the US not to interfere with Germany’s expansive, belligerent actions. But, they didn’t bill this as pro-German but as American, to Make Amerika Great. They assumed Jews were soft and would be afraid to fight back. Hitler was plotting to take over Hollywood to spread Nazi propaganda nationally and globally.
Differences in details with today make one wonder what lessons to take.
Everything then was black and white. No shades of gray. At first, all anti-Nazi operatives were Jews, except for the police. Almost all the Nazis were German. That doesn’t exist today. The greatest US dog whisperer of White supremacists is American; his grandfather forwent his German nationality. He even has a Jewish son-in-law, a daughter who properly converted, Jewish grandchildren, and officially supports Israel. But, he speaks from both sides of his mouth. He opined that some of the demonstrating Neo-Nazis shouting “Jews will not replace us” were good people and that the White supremacists, the Proud Boys, should stand down and stand by. He denied he was pro-Russian but for Making America Great Again. Wow. He took over the Internet with fake news and conspiracy theories, and labeled the Free Press the enemy of the People, thus winning the information war.
Today, it would be impossible to keep an anti-fascist pact a secret.
Presently, there are hate laws, though not enough and under attack.
The assault today is on Jews but not only on them; it’s increasingly also on women, LGBTQ, and Asians, and on anyone who’s not bullet-proof.
I’m not for violence, but neither for passivity. Just like only marches in the 1960s ended racist law, now, only new marches will bring protective law.
The success of the 1960s shows that new anti-bigotry marches must be peaceful. The whole world is watching. Will the People rise, or continue its consumption of the entertainment and fitness industry, helped by legal and prescription drugs and a free press promoting fatalism and doom?