AuthorZirin, Dave

We are living in a moment when some of the grandest public displays against street-thug fascism are taking place at Major League Soccer games. Sincerely.

That's because the heart of soccer country is in the Pacific Northwest, where the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers have one of the fiercest rivalries in sports. The Pacific Northwest, especially Portland, is also home to the greatest incursion of organized fascists in the United States.

Soccer fans and soccer stadiums are engaging in public displays of resistance to this Trumpian trend. This was seen in August at what should have been a typically raucous Timbers-Sounders game in Portland.

The match took place on August 23, one week after fascists took to the streets of Portland. This time they did it with a wink and nod from Donald Trump, who tweeted in typically thuggish fashion, "Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an 'ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.'"

The fascists, naturally, saw this tweet as a green light to crack heads.

Earlier this year, Major League Soccer issued a new Fan Code of Conduct banning any and all political symbols at matches, claiming these "represent a threat to the safety of the event." This from an organization that thinks nothing of dressing players in camouflage to showcase "military appreciation."

The political expression particularly in the crosshairs of Major League Soccer was the symbol of the Iron Front. This image was created in the early 1930s by socialists in Germany as an expression of opposition to the rising fascism of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis.

When the symbol began to appear at soccer games in the Pacific Northwest, Major League Soccer decided to issue its own ban, on the tenuous grounds that the symbol had become too associated with Antifa.

This silencing of political speech at a moment when fascists had just paraded through the city, pushed the Portland Timbers fan club, the Timbers Army, into action. They worked behind the scenes with supporters from their archrival club, the Seattle Sounders, to start the game protesting with thirty-three minutes of absolute silence.

Why thirty-three minutes? Because the Iron Front was banned by Nazis in 1933.


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