At the end of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus‘s second act, B.J. “Terror Billy” Blaskowicz infiltrates the smoldering remains of the New Orleans ghetto. After the Nazis dropped an atom bomb on New York City to end World War II, the Reich turned New Orleans into a walled-off prison to house all of America’s undesirables — Jews, people of color, LGBT folks, Communists, etc. B.J. Blaskowicz, an American G.I. and Nazi killer extraordinaire, is searching for the last remnants of resistance and finds it in Horton Boone and his band of hedonistic, Communist revolutionaries just trying to survive and kill every last Nazi they can before their time finally comes.

B.J. and Horton ultimately become comrades, but their initial meeting is a tense, drunken screaming match where the pair trade shots of Horton’s homemade shine and B.J. throws the entire kitchen sink of liberal critiques of Bolshevism at this person who has spent years staying alive and fighting against the Nazis in America. He implies that Horton is a coward because, before the war, Horton and his crew protested the imperialist American war machine. He thinks that Horton’s entire viewpoint about American politics and capitalism nearly amounts to collaboration with fascism because, maybe if he had worked with America instead of against it, the Nazis would have never won the war.

As much as I love the work Machinegames has done with the Wolfenstein franchise and how much I appreciate the opportunity they gave me to murder digital Nazis by the thousands, that was the moment I nearly stopped playing Wolfenstein II because anybody who knows anything about history knows that it was Communists who were on the front lines of the fight against fascism in Europe and who carry that fight forward now, here in America.

Back in May, I gave the opening speech at a May Day rally in Morgantown, West Virginia. It was a joint production put on by the PSL (the Party for Socialism and Liberation, a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary socialist party), ANSWER (Act Now Stop War End Racism, one of the leading anti-war organizations in the age of the “War on Terror”), and a handful of local socialist and progressive organizations. However, the primary organizers and architects of the event was the state PSL chapter, and I know this because I used to live with the state party chair.

In the weeks leading up to the event, we received threats on social media from nearby white supremacist groups. 3%-ers — a neo-fascist organization rooted in a fetishization of the American Revolutionary War and military symbolism — found out about the rally and made it known on Facebook that we weren’t welcome and that they would disrupt our event any way they could. This was in the midst of violent confrontation between Antifa and white supremacists/fascists across the country although specifically on college campuses like UC Berkley and UVa. We had no association with antifa — although I support them wholeheartedly in their fights — but the 3%-ers wanted to believe we did or simply didn’t care and thought the mere threat of their presence (and the implied violence that would bring) would be enough to keep us home.

It wasn’t.

We arrived in front of Morgantown’s court house and were greeted by about a dozen white nationalists in full military tactical gear. They didn’t have visible firearms, but in West Virginia, you can conceal carry without a license. To think that they weren’t armed feels naive to an absurd degree. There was no other reason for them to have on flak jackets and other defensive military gear beyond the twelve-year old Call of Duty cosplay masturbatory element of it all and the fact that they were itching for a fight. They made physical threats to us that other folks on the streets couldn’t hear when we walked past. They made transphobic and racist slurs at the queer and trans and people of color folks in our group. And they were filming everything we did, from multiple angles and taking down information about all of us and our vehicles.

They were gladhanding with the local cops the entire time. There was a sizeable police presence for a rally that was maybe twenty people on our side and around twenty on theirs. Probably a dozen cops. The cops didn’t interact with us at all. They didn’t say a single word to us. We have photographs of the cops shaking hands with the 3%-ers, having friendly conversations with the cops, showing them something they had hidden in the trunks of their cars (if I had to guess, I’d say it was the sort of guns even the Nazis had better sense than to bandy around in public). No physical violence broke out that day. My comrades in the PSL have training on how to keep these sorts of confrontations from growing violent, but there was so much tension in the air that if anybody had moved even the slightest wrong way, there could have easily been a bloodbath in the streets of Morgantown. That’s not an exaggeration. I wouldn’t joke about it.

Afterwards, we had a party at my place and we hosted a screening of Appalachian labor classic, Matewan. However, our nerves were on edge even then. Most of us took complex, convoluted routes to my place to make sure we weren’t being tailed by the 3%-ers or the local pigs. The Nazis were on a local bridge into my neighborhood looking for us later that evening. One of our non-Communist, socialist friends showed up blasting Rage Against the Machine and we thought the white supremacists had showed up, blaring skin-head metal.

It wasn’t beyond the pale to think they knew where we lived. Turning Point USA — a highly financed, right-wing org — had staged a very public incident with an anarchist in our broader social circle that had gotten national attention from the right-wing media because Turning Point trolls showed up at an ultra-left student meeting and one of the anarchists had to shove a Turning Point fascist to get them to leave and stop filming. It was exactly what Turning Point wanted to happen. The anarchist should have known better, but, honestly, if I had been in their shoes, I might have done worse than just shove. I tend to black out when I get angry. I can’t remember giving that May Day speech. I remember starting, and I remember the applause afterwards, but once I started going, I was too pissed off that there were legit fucking Nazis across the street from me and they were best buds with the pigs. I’m glad I wasn’t armed. I might have started the incident that was just waiting to boil over that day.

There were also Turning Point operatives at the rally who were attempting to camouflage themselves as regular civilians. But we picked them out of the crowd with almost no issue cause they aren’t as clever as they think they are, and we had most of the shit-stirrers on a list ever since the incident with the anarchists. The 3%-ers had also recruited kids from the local ROTC to keep an eye on us. I recognized them too because I had class with several of them. I also know that WVU’s ROTC is a hot-bed of white supremacy because a girl I took Spanish with was a cadet and told me about all of the neo-fascist memes that were regularly shared on their FB groups.

And who was on the ground, letting the Nazis know that Morgantown had no place for them even when they were embraced by the cops? Socialists, people of color, Jews, the LGBT community, ancoms. Who has always been on the ground fighting Nazis when the wealthy finance them and law enforcement throws their weight behind them? Socialists, people of color, Jews, the LGBT community, ancoms. World War II would have been lost were it not for the immense sacrifice and resilience of the Soviet Union which was the only major European power besides England not to fall in the face of fascism.

So B.J. Blaskowicz — god bless his Nazi-killing soul — can kiss my trans Jewish communist ass on this one specific point. He should bow down and be thankful for the Bolsheviks. They were the key opponents to World War I, the major historical event that allowed the Nazis to seize power in Germany in the first place. The Bolshevik commitment to equality and the dissolution of colonialism was the antithesis of the entire Nazi platform. Fascism took hold in Europe because the wealthy preferred white nationalism to revolutionary socialism. Maybe if B.J. had gotten behind Bolshevism and aligned himself with the global proletarian struggle the Nazis wouldn’t have won.

Wolfenstein II would have been a better game if you had played as Horton. It would have been an even better game if you had played as Grace Walker, the revolutionary black nationalist that B.J. also recruits early in the game. Although “recruit” feels even more condescending with Grace than it does with Horton because she has been fighting the Nazis this whole time as well. And lest anyone forget, there was significant collaboration between the Black Panthers and Communists during the 1960s because the Communists (particularly Communists of the Marcy-ist strain like the PSL, or the group it split off from, Workers World) were among the only groups at the time committed to total black liberation as well as indigenous liberation.

There are few things more dangerous than the erasure of the pivotal role revolutionary socialists played in the defeat of fascism. There is nothing more dangerous than the erasure of the role reactionary conservative “democracies” played in the rise of fascism. Wolfenstein II gives players the power fantasy of massacring Nazis, and trust me, nobody wants to murder Nazis more than I do. If I could kill one in real life and get away with it, I would. If I could push a button and every last Nazi on the planet would die, I’d do it and I wouldn’t feel an ounce of regret. But fascism arises out of the failures of capitalism, the destruction of imperialist war-making, and the inability of Western “democracies” to reckon with the legacy of white supremacy. And in one of the most pivotal scenes of the game, Wolfenstein II makes it clear that maybe it doesn’t understand that much about Nazis after all.

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