Photo Credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D. via Wikimedia
Prisoners' Uniforms with Red Triangles of Political Prisoners - Museum Exhibit - Dachau Concentration Camp Site - Dachau - Bavaria - Germany

In a world of ignorance and mutual loathing, political referencing has led Facebook to accuse the Trump campaign of running a Nazi symbol. You’re going to laugh after I explain what I believe happened.

On Thursday, Facebook took down a Trump reelection campaign ad that featured a very large, red triangle. According to Facebook, the red triangle pointing down was a Nazi concentration camp symbol, and so using it violated its “policy against organized hate.”

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Before we move on to the next paragraph, does anyone know why the Trump campaign would feature a Nazi symbol? Was it some alt.right, neo-Nazi campaign staffer who decided that now, when the president’s numbers are in the ditch, it would be best to mark him as a Nazi sympathizer? And if so, why use a red triangle? Why not the good old, tested swastika?

The campaign ad with the red triangle is an attack on Antifa, which, in the narrative offered by the White House to explain the past several weeks of protests across more than 500 American cities, are the puppeteers who manipulate the protesters:

Trump campaign ad / Screenshot

In my view, Trump and his team are wrong about there being an organization whose leaders, using George Soros’s money, are coordinating thousands of local rallies. Certainly, there are many individuals on the left who consider themselves affiliates of Antifa (which is short for Anti-Fascist, a German concept that was imported to the US,) but Antifa is more of a loose movement of individual activist cells who share a philosophy and tactics – as was seen at confrontations during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in the summer of 2017. They are secretive, have no official leaders, and expect anyone they meet to be a lurking FBI agent. And there are a myriad other cells and groups who come together on an ad hoc basis, as they’ve been doing since the eruption of the George Floyd riots and protests.

But regardless of whether or not the Trump campaign is correct in believing Antifa is an organized, radical army laboring to topple the US government – the fact is it’s what they believe, which is why they included that glaring downturned, red triangle: because it’s an Antifa symbol.

OK, why is the triangle an Antifa symbol? Because the modern German antifascists borrowed it from the Nazi concentration camp index of badges, where a red triangle indicated that the camp inmate wearing it belonged to the category of political prisoners which included social democrats, socialists, communists, anarchists, gentiles who saved Jews; trade unionists; and Freemasons.

This is the full selection of Kennzeichen für Schutzhäftlinge in den Konzentrationslagern (the triangle marking system for prisoners in German concentration camps):

The triangle marking system for prisoners in German concentration camps. /  United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington via Wikimedia

The red triangle has long since become a popular, hip if you will, fashion choice, as in this screenshot from the online vendor Red Bubble:

Antifascist Red Triangles (antifa left symbol). / A screenshot from the online vendor Red Bubble

So, to summarize: the Antifa folks appropriated the Nazi camps’ designation for leftist prisoners as a badge of honor, the Trump campaign used it as a mark of shame against them, and finally, the ultimate idiots in this dance, the Facebook arbiters, dropped the Trump ad because it used a “Nazi symbol.”

As the immortal Groucho Marx once said, in his role of Rufus T. Firefly in Duck Soup: “Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot.”

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