The following is a post from Ben Pollak.
Why is the Iron Front symbol so important, you ask? Why can’t we settle for other antifascist symbols and messages? Hopefully I can help dispel some myths and explain how we got to this point.
The league arbitrarily banned the Iron Front symbol, alleging that there are fans who are uncomfortable seeing it in the stands due to supposed connections to violence, but the Timbers Army has displayed the Iron Front for years in our stadium with no complaints, and indeed the Emerald City Supporters in Seattle have included it on their scarves since at least 2009.
This symbol is important because it comes from a time and place that we would do well to learn from. It was designed by antifascists in Germany in the 1920s, who wanted something that represented their opposition to Hitler and his Nazi party that could be used to easily cover up swastikas. It is especially important for me, as a Jew whose grandfather barely escaped Vienna in 1939, getting a visa to come to the United States the day after the Germans annexed Austria. The vast majority of his family — my family — were murdered by the Nazis, and the Iron Front was the symbol of opposition. It has since been adopted by American antifascists, like myself.
I was told all my life never to let the Holocaust happen again. Well, my friends, NEVER AGAIN IS NOW. We are operating concentration camps, and though we are not yet exterminating people, we are detaining them in conditions that match the descriptions of those used by the Nazis. If you want a first-hand account of the horrors of Nazi concentration camps to compare them with what we are doing to detainees on our own border, I suggest you read Elie Wiesel’s Night or Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
We choose to stand up at a critical time for the world, and say no to hate, no to fascism, and no to bigotry. We are the Timbers Army, we are antifascists, and we want your help. Help us overturn the ban on the Iron Front and reform the code of conduct with guidance from experts on human rights. This simple symbol represents opposition to the three most prominent forms of totalitarian government: fascism, monarchy, and communism. Regardless of party affiliation, you likely oppose these things. Censorship is a very slippery slope, and if we allow the league to ban the Iron Front, what will be next is anyone’s guess.
Is the symbol associated with antifa? Perhaps, but what does that mean? I am antifa, and in fact you probably are too, if you’re reading this. Antifa is an idea. It means anti-fascist. Do you oppose fascism? Then you are antifa. Those who insist antifa are a violent group are lying to you. They have an agenda, and they know what they are doing when they demonize the people who oppose them as violent thugs.
By censoring this symbol, MLS is doing the bidding of those who want to see children in cages. Let’s mean it when we say NEVER AGAIN.