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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Antifa vs. Freedom of Speech and Assembly




A BLM “Flamethower” at Charlottesville

Yahoo News on August 14th published an article that couldn’t have gotten it more wrong than if it tried. Well, Caitlin  Dickson, the leftist author, tried, and got it wrong. In “As neo-Nazis grow bolder, the 'Antifa' has emerged to fight them,” her focus is not on the threat Antifa poses to freedom of speech and the right of free  assembly with its policy of terrorizing with force and assault supporters of freedom of speech, but rather the alleged threat that “white supremacists” pose to it. An Atlantic article blames President Trump, and even candidate Trump, for being a catalyst for the growth of Antifa, because his alleged “racist” and “fascist” rhetoric was so hated by its members and by the Left. Peter Beinart, in his article, “The Rise of the Violent Left,” in the Atlantic, claimed:

Trump’s rise has also bred a new sympathy for Antifa among some on the mainstream left. “Suddenly,” noted the Antifa-aligned journal It’s Going Down, “anarchists and Antifa, who have been demonized and sidelined by the wider Left have been hearing from liberals and Leftists, ‘you’ve been right all along.’ ” An article in The Nation argued that “to call Trumpism fascist” is to realize that it is “not well combated or contained by standard liberal appeals to reason.” The radical left, it said, offers “practical and serious responses in this political moment.”

According to Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the California State University, San Bernardino, Antifa activists participate in violent actions because "they believe that elites are controlling the government and the media. So they need to make a statement head-on against the people who they regard as racist."

According to Antifa organizer Crow, Antifa is based on the idea of direct action, "The idea in Antifa is that we go where they (right-wingers) go. That hate speech is not free speech. That if you are endangering people with what you say and the actions that are behind them, then you do not have the right to do that. And so we go to cause conflict, to shut them down where they are, because we don't believe that Nazis or fascists of any stripe should have a mouthpiece.


The Clash of the Midgets
Charlottesville 2017
Beinart makes a very salient point:

What’s eroding in Portland is the quality Max Weber considered essential to a functioning state: a monopoly on legitimate violence. As members of a largely anarchist movement, Antifascists don’t want the government to stop white supremacists [or anyone else] from gathering. They want to do so themselves, rendering the government impotent. (Brackets and Italics mine)

In short, Antifa wants to be the government and the vehicle with the power and the potency to arbitrate who may speak and who may assemble. It wants to oppose and eradicate “hate speech” which it alone will define and quash.



Antifa’s political “direct action” predecessors:
Hitler and Hermann Göring with
SA Stormtroopers at Nuremberg in 1928.

Wikipedia  also does not deny that Antifa is committed to violence against individuals, groups, or causes it does not approve of or which it perceives as a “fascist” threat. Although Wikipedia does not acknowledge the fact, Antifa has declared war on all forms of government, against conservative causes and speakers, and against freedom of speech and the right of assembly of those who champion freedom of speech and assembly. Antifa itself is as “fascist” in action as was the Sturmabteilung (SA) battling the Communists that caused civil chaos and which led to the rise of Hitler in Germany.

Antifa protesters participated in the 2017 Berkeley protests where they gained mainstream media attention, "throwing Molotov cocktails and smashing windows." Later, two Antifa groups threatened to disrupt the 2017 Portland Rose Festival parade after hearing that the Multnomah County Republican Party would participate. The parade organizers received an anonymous email, saying, "You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely". The email also said that 200 people would "rush into the parade" and "drag and push" those marching with the Republican Party. The two groups denied having anything to do with the email. The parade ended up being canceled by the organizers due to safety concerns


Locking horns at
Charlottesville
Antifa counter protestors at the far-right 2017 Unite the Right rally In Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 "certainly used clubs and dyed liquids against the white supremacists."[  Journalist Adele Stan interviewed an Antifa protester at the rally who said that the sticks carried by Antifa protesters are a justifiable countermeasure to the fact that "the right has a goon squad." Some Antifa participants at the Charlottesville rally chanted that counter-protesters should "punch a Nazi in the mouth."

They were also armed with sticks, baseball bats, cement filled soda cans, different kinds of disabling spray, and with rocks and shields. They did not appear to “peacefully” protest the white supremacists, but to attack them. The white nationalists and supremacists had a permit to protest the removal of a Confederate statue; Antifa and its cohorts had no permit and apparently outnumbered and overwhelmed the supremacists and were allowed to assemble without control restriction by the police.

Not noted by Yahoo News, Caitlin Dickson, or by Peter Beinart, is that Antifa’s outrageous “successes” only fuel the rise of a “counter revolution” against Antifa, and the swelling of “far right” resistance and numbers, thus guaranteeing more violence and a virtual civil war.


Ancestors of today’s mobs, Germany 1933
The term “far right” is an egregious misnomer. If one endorses freedom of speech and the right of assembly (even if one must obtain a permit, which a government hasn’t the right to deny), one is not of the right or of the “far right,” but an advocate of individual rights. One is then the true “Antifascist,” if one is opposed to the arbitrary power of government (even an “anarchist” one, such as Antifa) to regulate and/or suppress speech and to violate, prohibit, or interfere with the right of assembly.

It was not the Bill of Rights either group at Charlottesville was defending or even expressing. But Antifa was certainly attacking it.