The Antifa, or anti-fascist, movement of Charlottesville, Portland, and Berkeley fame did not come out of nowhere. It is a carbon copy in name, tactics and ideology of groups that have been active in Europe for decades. The website of the Swedish organization is www.antifa.se.
Originally an anti-Nazi body in a pre-WWII Germany, organizations resurfaced in various European countries in the 1980s and 1990s, attracting plenty of attention during the anti-globalization protests at the turn of the millennium. Since then, Antifa have systematically used violence as a political tool. Victims are in no way limited to Nazis or the alt-right. Mainstream center-right politicians, leftist mayors and government bureaucrats have been targeted. Apart from the usual assaults, Antifa members have made arson and gas attacks.
An original Antifa specialty is rioting, making up the Black Bloc of more mainstream leftist demonstrations, not least in protests against summits of international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization. The most recent example was the G20 meeting in July, when large parts of Hamburg, Germany were under siege and private property worth millions of dollars was vandalized. “Welcome to hell” was the message.
The American outfit copycats its elder siblings from across the pond, blending in with democratic leftist groups (acting as self-appointed bodyguards), creating Lenin-style united-front coalitions to gain legitimacy (who is not an anti-fascist?) and applying a very wide definition of the term fascist (most people they don’t agree with).
The extreme-left tradition of misusing terms to their own benefit is not only an Orwellian cliché, but also an historic reality. Remember that the official East German name for the Berlin Wall was “Antifaschistischer Schutzwall” or Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart.
In The Washington Post, Dartmouth historian Mark Bray, author of the recent book Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, whitewashes the movement, putting forward the argument that Nazis need to be dealt with at an early-stage. But neither libertarians nor Social Democrats are Nazis. Do the ends really justify the means, especially when the end is undemocratic socialism?
In Germany, with its particular history, freedom of speech is more restricted than in the US. Nazism and its symbols are forbidden. And recently, after the Hamburg riots, authorities closed down a website used to coordinate the extreme-left activities. It is in this context that Americans should remind themselves that the First Amendment also protects authoritarian right-wingers and white supremacists.
Just as its European counterparts, the US Antifa is a mix of mainly left-anarchists and hard-core Marxists. Not trusting the government to protect them from authoritarian right-wing rule, they rely on pre-emptive “self-defense.” The more experienced Europeans, working in loose networks and strategically appearing under different group names, opportunistically set up and dissolve bodies as they go along. The same people commit one crime under one banner, going with another headline for the next deed.
One particular difference is that some European Antifas have close ties to certain labor unions, anarcho-syndicalism being a weak tradition in the US. This is one of the reasons why the struggle against capitalism is considered just as important as the fight against fascism. In fact, the latter is viewed as an integral part of the former.
Which brings us to the paradoxical enmity between European Antifa and libertarians, something that to my knowledge has not yet revealed itself in the US. In many ways, anarcho-syndicalism/left-anarchism is a cousin of libertarianism, or at least of anarcho-capitalism. After all, the US Anarcho-Syndicalist Review used to be called the Libertarian Labor Review.
So, should libertarians not be favorably inclined towards a movement that fights authoritarianism and centralization, standing up against the ugly collectivist ideology of racism? Well, it takes two to tango. And Antifa itself does not seem to think we have much in common.
Our beliefs in the rule of law, property rights, and markets are anathema to them. So, on the contrary, they are not allies, but rather a major challenge to the liberty that we cherish. Libertarians do not subscribe to threats, physical violence, and vandalism as political methods. The non-aggression principle, remember?
Somewhat ironically, European Antifa activists tend to belong to the intellectual middle class, later going on to careers in the media and academia. This is one of the reasons why they are handled with kid gloves by parts of the establishment here. Important parts of the chattering classes identify with or are apologetic of the group, a tendency that also seems to be copied in America.
True, the very top of the establishment in the US is more inclined to make excuses for the other kind of extremism. So the American problems might not be the same as the European. But beware.
Due to its political sophistication, the Swedish security police reckon that the autonomous leftist groups, of which Antifa is the most important one, constitute a more serious threat to the functioning of the country’s democracy than do the two other forces being watched, namely radical Islamists and neo-Nazis.
The false equivalence is less false in Europe. And may become so in the US as well.Reason Magazine
“Documentary film crew releases dramatic, never before seen footage of the 2017 Inauguration riots.”
File off the serial numbers on this video and present it as happening in 2021, and Democrats will howl in outrage.
I can’t say I’ve ever fully trusted the Times to be accurate, but until recently I generally felt fairly confident that even if a story was slanted in perspective, the facts that were reported were basically accurate. Not anymore.
For example, here is the Times yesterday, in a news story on the front page (and linked here to the Baltimore Sun to evade a paywll): “For months, Republicans have used last summer’s protests as a political catchall, highlighting isolated instances of property destruction and calls to defund the police to motivate their base in November.” (emphasis added)
As I’ve noted previously, the property losses from the riots and looting last summer were on a par with the Los Angeles riots of 1992 and the totality of the 1960s urban riots. They included nightly riots in Portland, the destruction of a several blocks of Minneapolis, the establishment of a lawless anarchist zone for twenty-three days in Seattle, and riots in cities all over the country. I was in Omaha last summer, and I was surprised to find that the downtown was full of boarded-up shops whose windows had been smashed. A good friend from Albany, NY was just telling me about property destruction and looting there. I mention these because they did not make the national news, but there are many other examples from New York to Los Angeles.
In short, if I read this article in the Times and believed it, I would think there were just a few isolated incidents where property was destroyed last summer, and I wouldn’t even know who undertook the destruction. If the Times had tried to convey the facts, it would have instead stated something like that the Republicans highlighted “the most destructive riots in decades, causing various levels of chaos and destruction in cities across the country, that grew out of the protests, mostly peaceful, over George Floyd’s death.”
In any event, the fact that I could read an article like this one and wind up *less* informed than I was when I started is why I don’t trust the Times anymore. I’m hoping that once Trump is out of the way, the Times’ reporters and editors no longer feel to skew their coverage for fear of helping Trump the way their coverage of Clinton’s emails in 2016 may have helped him, but I have the feeling this is an indefinite change for the worse.
Recently, in Insurrection? I made these observations, based solely on my viewing of photos and videos from the January 6th Capital Hill event: Once inside, virtually all of the “domestic terrorists” politely kept within the velvet ropes, stopped to view the paintings and statutes, to take the occasional photo or selfie, and to enjoy the […]Insurrection? 2–UPDATED X 3 — Stately McDaniel Manor
Unfortunately, it’ll take an awful lot to upend the official narrative.
[The notion that law enforcement routinely and violently cracked down on peaceful demonstrations, or even looting and rioting, is not consistent with the facts.] Last week, Joe Biden stated that if the rioters at the Capitol last week had been associated with Black Lives Matters, they would have been treated much more harshly.
Last week, Jo e Biden stated that if the rioters at the Capitol last week had been associated with Black Lives Matters, they would have been treated much more harshly . I heard a segment on NPR this morning with the same theme. The implication is that right-wing and white rioters get treated with kid gloves, while left-wing and minority rioters–and even peaceful protesters–face violent crackdowns.
The Capitol Police were woefully understaffed and under-prepared for last Wednesday’s riot. The reasons for that need to be thoroughly investigated. But the notion that right-wing mostly white rioters get special treatment while BLM-associated lawless behavior attracts violent, harsh, crackdown is at odds with what actually happened last summer.
As a thought experiment, just think for a moment if yesterday’s Capitol demonstration/protest/invasion had been perpetrated by BLM or some other leftist group. Does anyone doubt for a moment that the condemnation from the left, the Democrats, and the MSM would have been tepid and spotty, and the story would have died rather quickly?
The double standards we’ve had for years are a pernicious part of the problem, and they’re not going away any time soon, because yesterday was something people can sink their teeth into.
Some on the right are saying that the left will be using this like the Nazis used the Reichstag fire. If they mean “to stoke hatred against the right as well as to repress it further,” then I agree. I’m not sure whether most people saying this realize that there is no historical consensus on who set the Reichstag fire: Communists as accused, or the Nazis themselves. But there is no dispute on how it was used by the Nazis.
Source: Thoughts, the day after
If there is any “two systems of justice” situation here, it’s that there are one set of rules for right-wing rioters and none for left-wing rioters who terrorized entire communities for months on end in 2020.
On Thursday, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris used their platforms as the next POTUS and VPOTUS of the United States to gaslight the American people with their dishonest comparison of Wednesday’s Capitol Hill riots to the Antifa/Black Lives Matter looting and riots that happened in Democrat-run cities for over six months in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
Biden threw gasoline on the fire by proclaiming that “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol.”
Harris did her part in lighting a match as well, declaring that “We witnessed two systems of justice when we saw one that let extremists storm the United States Capitol, and another that released tear gas on peaceful protesters last summer.”
In reality, in most instances the radicals in BLM and Antifa were allowed to get away with their heinous actions last year, even being treated as heroes by the mainstream press and Democrats – some of whom, like Harris and the Biden campaign, promoted their bail funds.
Here’s a look back through the Legal Insurrection archives at the protest violence and other dangerous activities that occurred during an over six-month period of time here in America in 2020 courtesy of the left-wing extremists in Antifa and BLM:
–Mob Throws Statue of Hans Christian Heg, Abolitionist, Into Lake Monona
–It’s Going Down: Seattle Surrenders a Police Station and Four City Blocks to Antifa
–America Under Attack: Riots and Looting Nationwide
–Portland Rioters Set Fire to Bloody Pig’s Head With Cop’s Hat on U.S. Flag
–Man Violently Attacked in Portland: “I was stabbed for being a conservative journalist”
–Media, Portland Mayor Mischaracterize Assault on Federal Courthouse as “Protests”
–Sen. Rand Paul and others attacked by DC mobs after leaving Trump speech
–Kenosha, WI Under Siege By Antifa/BLM Rioters
–Riot First, Asks Questions Later: Minneapolis Looting Sparked By False Report Of Police Shooting
–DC BLM Mob Harasses White Diners, Demanding They Raise Fists In Solidarity
–Portland Rioters Wheel Guillotine Through Suburbs, Execute American Flag
–Report: Seattle Rioters Tried to Burn Police Officers Alive By Sealing Precinct Door Shut
–Portland: BLM Mob Causes Man to Crash, Beats Him Unconscious
–‘Peaceful Protesters’ in Portland Set Fire to County Government Building
–Chicago Looters Attack Ronald McDonald House
–Over 100 People Arrested in Chicago Overnight Amid Rampant Rioting and Looting
–Louisville, Other Cities Struck by Violence, Riots for Second Night After Breonna Taylor Decision
–BLM Protesters Target Georgetown CVS Because Employees Called Police on Shoplifters
–Two Los Angeles County Deputies Shot; BLM Chants “We Hope They Die” Outside Hospital
–Black Lives Matter Rioters Ransack Rochester, NY
–‘Peaceful Protests’ Push St. Louis, Portland Mayors Out of Their Homes
–National Guard Deployed to Philadelphia After Violence, Looting Explodes for the Second Night
–Pro-Trump Rally Attacked In Liberal Ithaca (NY)
–BLM Rioters Damage Homes, Stores in Wisconsin After DA Won’t Charge Cop in Fatal Shooting
Democrats and the media coddled Antifa/BLM rioters at a time when stepping up and speaking out strongly against them might have made a difference. Republicans not only repeatedly condemned last year’s looting and riots, but did the same with the Capitol Hill violence that happened earlier this week.
That’s something to remember the next time anyone on the left or in the media tries to pretend they have any moral high ground here. They most certainly do not.
Like pretty much all conservatives, I have consistently criticized riots and other forms of political violence for many years. That includes yesterday’s Washington, D.C. riot. You can’t say the same about liberals, however. Until yesterday, one might have thought that liberals consider rioting and other forms of political violence to be as American as apple pie.
Source: Enough With the Outrage
● A weatherman for a National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate in Tacoma has been taken off the air for a personal blog post that shows in vivid detail the destruction two months of incessant rioting and protests have wrecked on Seattle.