Progressives cannot prevail by tolerating Antifa’s violence

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Alvaro Azcarraga/Staff

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“You can’t trust anyone over 30,” some of us used to say in the 1960s. Now that I’m over 70 — and still struggling for social justice — I see there are people under 30 you cannot trust: the supposed “Antifa” (anti-fascist) groups that have, in effect if not in intent, become the secret little friends of Fox News and, ironically, American fascism.

I don’t speak lightly. We’ve seen it before: young people whose infatuation with violence undermines the progressive cause.

In the 1960s, we fought effectively and nonviolently against American apartheid and against America’s mass killing in Vietnam. I was an organizer in eastern Arkansas for the front-line civil rights group Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and an anti-Vietnam War organizer, speaker and author, arrested a number of times in both pursuits.

Enormous numbers of people came to support those nonviolent movements. But we had our Antifas, too. They called themselves “Weathermen,” and they claimed we needed to “bring the war home.”

They brought street fighting with the police and further violence to our otherwise peaceful anti-war actions. They undermined broader participation and gave political ammunition to pro-war forces. They helped elect Richard Nixon, prolonging the war for years.

Sadly, the same violent, self-obsessed mentality is at work today.

In response to the widespread condemnation of Trump after Charlottesville, white supremacists sprang to his defense, proposing pro-Trump demonstrations in Berkeley, among other cities.

On Sunday, I joined 4,000 others at a Berkeley counterprotest. A myriad of signs proclaimed Berkeley’s rejection of hate and white supremacy and expressed support for immigrants, people of color and other targets of Trumpian rage. But among the peaceful demonstrators were dozens of black-clad, masked Antifa, a frightening sight as they marched in a menacing phalanx.

They claim they were there to defend themselves and others. But, commonly, there is no violence at protests when they don’t appear, and when they do, their macho warrior posturing provokes violence even when they don’t actually initiate it.

At Berkeley, a hundred members of Antifa crossed police barriers to assault the Trump supporters. Not surprisingly, the violence of this handful won more media attention than the message of the peaceful thousands.

Their assault was profoundly misguided. Violent efforts to suppress or expel white supremacists can only weaken and harm the movement to defend democracy.

The rightists need to be tolerated — and, indeed, should have been protected — not because their speech is innocuous, but because suppression is worse.

First, attacking them changes the subject of contention from their racism to our tactics. Do we want people discussing the right’s pathetic defense of Confederate heroes — or our violence against them?

Second, violence feeds the Fox News and Breitbart storyline that progressives are enemies of freedom. Just as Weathermen helped the GOP convince middle America that opposition to the Vietnam War was an unpatriotic fringe activity, the Antifa antics promote the falsehood that leftist violence is the main problem, not resurgent white supremacy.

Third, Antifa confrontations — even their combative appearance — discourage participation by masses of people who don’t want to be caught in a riot. The Women’s Marches following Trump’s inauguration had a giant impact because millions took peacefully to the streets. That impact would have been completely undercut had a handful of militants wreaked acts of violence in the name of “anti-fascism.”

Fourth, if it is deemed acceptable in Berkeley that local police need not protect those whose views are deemed hateful and repugnant, that same principle will cut against us elsewhere in America and will be said to justify ignoring violence against progressive speakers, particularly in places where, for example, local politicians claim Black Lives Matter is a “hate” group with a violent anti-police ideology.

Finally, if political violence becomes the norm, the fighting won’t be limited to fists, sticks and Mace. After all, which side has the guns?

Antifa thinks only of its immediate satisfaction in expressing anger. But politics is not just about self-expression. It is about effecting change, and this requires influencing millions of people who don’t presently agree with us. The political theater of Berkeley is playing on the larger stage of America, where Antifa’s militant posturing and self-indulgent violence does grave damage.

However they may think of themselves, Antifa is actually just what the right-wing ordered. Its tactics have no place in the struggle to defend American democracy.

Mitchell Zimmerman is a former UC Berkeley law student and frequently speaks at Berkeley intellectual property programs.

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  • Mitch–

    Well said and well argued. I would phrase it as “A provacateur is as a provacateur does.”

    One point I would add though is that while I agree with you that we have to protect the free speech of those we disagree with lest our own speech be suppressed, there is a point at which “speech” becomes a form of action. Action that is used to terrorize and intimidate. The KKK cross-burnings you and I experienced in Mississippi were a form of speech, but more importantly they were a terrorist threat of violence against any Black person who dared try to vote. Speech as coercive intimidation and direct incitement to violence we can — and should — oppose. I make that case more extensively at: http://www.crmvet.org/comm/fsvhs.htm

  • paxman

    Putin approves of Mitch Zimmerman’s sophomoric rant against Antifa: “Fascism is good, Anti-fascism is bad!” Never mind how many people have been murdered by the neo-Nazis and racists. “Antifa” punched some loud mouth provocateur!!!!

    • zzz

      Please explain how German Democratic Republic(East Germany) was democratic.

      Please explain how Democratic Kampuchea( Khmer Rouge) was democratic.

      If someones claims something in their name they must be it.

      • paxman

        Don’t be an idiot. Every idiot knows that answer. Bark somewhere else, I’m busy doing things.

        • zzz

          Obviously not.

      • paxman

        Sure! Your name is zzz, therefore you’re asleep, aka unconscious! Yippeee! Using your ridiculous attempt at logic I win!! Golly gee, I hate intellectual disputes with unarmed opponents.

  • Mitchell Zimmerman

    This discussion seems to be wandering about freely, but no mind. May the author offer a further thought that might be helpful in considering these issues?

    We need to consider what the source is of the main threat to democracy. Is it people who carry KKK banners and swastikas, or the right-wing half of the Republican Party, now embodied by Trump? I say the latter.

    The KKKers are dangerous ferrorists but there is little risk of them seizing state power. The bigger risk is that the Fox- and Breitbart-backed part of the Republican party will consolidate and find excuses to move further toward authoritarianism. How are antifas going to stop that? In reality it is more likely that they will alienate moderates and provide an excuse for a “crackdown”.

    • DrSox

      Some information from the National Lawyer’s Guild:

      “The National Lawyers Guild, an organization of thousands of lawyers, law students and legal workers across the country, has supported free speech and assembly for all progressive and radical movements for 80 years. But The Chronicle’s coverage of the Aug. 27 rally would have you believe that it is the “alt-right” that seeks to protect speech. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

      Here are some examples of what the far right does when no one is filming:

      •Our volunteer attorneys, legal workers and clients have received death threats and their personal information publicized to promote harassment, as a result of our defense of antifa activists;

      •One attorney was stalked inside the courthouse by a man with a swastika tattoo and a shaved head wearing quasi-military-type attire. He then left, and shortly thereafter she received threatening messages and had to seek protection at a safe house;

      •A group of men wearing military-like attire, and one with a swastika tattoo, was seen waiting outside Santa Rita Jail for arrestees to be released;

      •National Lawyers Guild phone lines have been inundated with hate calls.”
      http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/We-are-all-antifa-12174947.php

      This is not about speech.

    • SecludedCompoundTTYS

      tell me all the factual things Trump has done so horribly to make you hate him SOO much…Lets see if you actually know the whole truths of anything. I’ve noticed people like you, cannot think objectively at all. It’s not possible.

  • Man with Axe

    Very good points, but I have one bone to pick. You wrote: “The rightists need to be tolerated — and, indeed, should have been protected — not because their speech is innocuous, but because suppression is worse.”

    This is true so far as it goes, but the real reasons the rightists need to be tolerated are:

    1) because they are Americans, and we are bound by our Constitution to respect the right of those with whom we disagree to express their opinions peacefully.
    2) the Golden rule requires us to accept that if we want our own speech protected we must treat others as we wish to be treated by them.

    It is not just for strategic reasons, but for moral and constitutional reasons that they must be tolerated.

    • SecludedCompoundTTYS

      Yes, you are right, we we live in a country of laws which is what makes us great, I’m glad you just figured that out…

      • Man with Axe

        “I’m glad you just figured that out…”

        What is that supposed to mean? Is that just sarcastic bullshit?

  • DrSox
  • FreedomFan

    If you want to know exactly what the antifa thugs did last Sunday, here’s an excellent first-person account by the courageous Matt Labash of National Review:
    “A Beating In Berkeley”
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/a-beating-in-berkeley/article/2009498

    • DrSox
      • zzz

        MotherJones is FOX news for the left.

        • DrSox

          And the Weekly Standard is Pravda for the right. Read multiple sources, don’t take any for granted. Go to the protests yourself. Talk to people who were there. You’ll see that the Mother Jones story is much more accurate than the Weekly Standard one.

          • Rollie

            “Read multiple sources.”

            Yes. Good advice for all.

          • DrSox
          • zzz

            Mother Jones then Vox, you read varied sources. har.

          • zzz

            I read multiple sources, Mother Jones and for example Brietbart are good for a laugh.

            Mother Jones is based in the bay area, antifa violence has a history in the bay area, I read an article on antifa history in Mother Jones months ago, no mention was made of antifa’s May Day rioting or it’s bike lock attacker.

            Propaganda.

      • Rollie

        From the Mother Jones article: “When a group of hundreds of black-clad protesters later arrived to the rally site and poured over the police barricades into Martin Luther King Jr. park—a space occupied months ago by white supremacists—I heard several normally dressed protesters shout “thank you,” something that, in years of attending and covering protests in the Bay Area, I have never seen.”

        This may explain why some journalists have become suspicious of the idea that all protesters who aren’t actually cracking heads are peaceful. On the contrary, a certain number of these “peaceful” folks seem only too happy to let Antifa and other thugs do the dirty work, which they wouldn’t dare to do themselves. In this way they are not the kind of “peaceful” that they claim to be. And if it’s fair to deem senior citizens in Trump hats as complicit in the president’s disrepute, merely by association, then it’s equally fair to deem these particular counter-protesters, by mere virtue of their gratefulness, as complicit in black-bloc mayhem.

        • zzz

          https://ww2.kqed.org/forum/2017/08/28/historian-mark-bray-explores-antifas-roots/

          At 48:00 claimed antifa member claims that the regular protesters encourage antifa.

          The whole thing is amazing, the interviewee is a mealy mouthed scumbag.

          • Rollie

            Very interesting, this interview and the pouting complaint by an Antifa member that the media have been unfairly separating his violent group from peaceful protesters. His explanation that many of the “peaceful” are unabashedly supportive of Antifa, some even being sometime-members themselves, is completely plausible to me. But on the other hand, it is unbelieveable that the accusation is true for all counter-protesters, or even most of them. There are too many testimonies on this forum and elsewhere, of decent, non- violent liberals/progressives who are not only disgusted by Antifa/BAMN and the other thugs on their side, but are pissed off because the little fascists are actually weakening their cause.

            The ever-obvious lesson is first, that there are good and non- violent people on both sides who simply disagree with each other, and who seek civil debate as a means to achieve peaceful resolution. Second, there are also hateful shitheads on both sides who are only too happy to piss in the punchbowl and ruin the party for everyone.

            The coddling of trouble-makers must stop, and they must be marginalized and held accountable for illegal actions (NOT silenced). There is no merit in the excuse that “my thugs aren’t as bad as your thugs.”

          • zzz

            The media is never going to get anything ever right in the eyes of a true believer, the antifa types probably think their rioting is just another form of protesting so why is (as the guy says ‘the liberal media’) the media separating the two?

            Also, he’s showing up with his idiotic mask on, antifa attacks the media… so how is the media supposed to get it right to your satisfaction?

            These antifa types are delusional.

          • DrSox

            These are the people you defend when you attack antifa: https://medium.com/@ZarinaZabrisky/how-alt-right-trolled-america-67354108268a

          • zzz

            anti-sense.

          • paxman

            …and zzz is obviously sound asleep. LOL!

    • paxman

      LOL!!! I was there. Matt experience his very own fever dream unrelated to reality.

  • Rollie

    Nicely put, Mr. Zimmerman, and it’s very helpful for someone like you to explain that today’s Antifa and other thugs are not, as they claim, the descendents of the yesteryear’s non-violent protesters, but are more the progeny of the Weathermen and other thugs of the time. Your experience is meaningfully informative.

    I think your comments only fall short in characterizing the Antifa brutality as principally a tactical misstep, a retrogressive approach that hurts its claimed cause more than helps it. That may be true, but isn’t the violation of the First Amendment fundamental and primary? (Not to mention the physical safety of humans.) You spend many words describing Antifa tactics as distracting and counter-productive, with only scant and oblique reference to the core issue of free speech itself. You do write that ”The rightists need to be tolerated — and, indeed, should have been protected — not because their speech is innocuous, but because suppression is worse.” But in the context of your writing, the phrase “suppression is worse” seems to describe damage to the movement, rather than the elemental subversion of a basic, Constitutional right—the one that underpins our ability to protest/counter-protest in the first place. I hope my impression is wrong.

    I think the best reasons for condemning Antifa and rejecting their violence is (1) that humans are being physically hurt; and (2) that the First Amendment, which protects all of us, is under attack. Only after those considerations should come any concern about tactical value or the undermining of a cause.

    • Mitchell Zimmerman

      This is a fair criticism. I would put my further thoughts on the issue this way: Freedom of expression, one of FDR’s four freedoms, is a fundamental human right, and rightists do not forfeit this right just because their views are unacceptable.

      • DrSox

        Advocacy for genocide should be protected speech? I disagree.

        • zzz

          You are opposed to people who identify with movements that in the past mass murdered? And you think antifa are a good thing?

        • Mitchell Zimmerman

          What is the criterion for illegality? I’m presuming you agree that there should be a legal process for stopping unprotected speech. Not vigilante “justice.” Describe the standard.

          • DrSox

            Speech that advocates for genocide should be out of bounds. Such speech is not a legitimate part of a range of discourse. The state should deny permits and platforms to groups advocating genocide. Other institutions, including UC Berkeley, should do the same. If the institutions will not, then protests should do their job for them.

          • DrSox

            Also, I posted this below Mr. Zimmerman, but please read this NYTimes op-ed from a group of pastors for a different perspective from yours. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/01/opinion/civil-rights-protest-resistance.html

          • DrSox

            Please also read this. This is the future we face. Concern about antifa should pale in comparison. http://splinternews.com/charlottesville-was-a-preview-of-the-future-of-the-repu-1797988745

          • DrSox

            Some more resources for you Mr. Zimmerman. These are the people in question in Berkeley. https://medium.com/@ZarinaZabrisky/how-alt-right-trolled-america-67354108268a

          • Man with Axe

            The article you cite is standard “all Republicans are racist” claptrap. It would be just as valid to say that all Democrats are communists. Neither is remotely true.

            Most rank and file Republicans have nothing but disdain for white supremacists, and wish they would go away. Most of the political violence this year has come from Antifa, in Middlebury, Berkeley, Boston, Phoenix, at Trump rallies during the campaign, and even at Charlottesville.

            White supremacists would have much less of an effect if Antifa would leave them alone and stop making martyrs out of them.

          • DrSox

            All Republicans are willing to vote for racists. The article is about where the youth of the Republican Party is–which is either with pepe racists, or nothing at all.

          • Man with Axe

            “All Republicans are willing to vote for racists.” So you would agree that all Democrats would vote for rapists and perjurers.

          • DrSox

            I mean, I’m not a Democrat, so *shrug*. In point of fact, since you’re referring to Clinton, Lewinsky was after he had been reelected, and he never ran for office again, so your point is moot. I surely won’t defend Democrats for their voting choices though!

          • Man with Axe

            The point is that there is nothing accurate to say about “all Republicans” or “all Democrats.” These are huge coalitions of people with vastly different interests and views about issues.

          • DrSox

            Fair enough. I’ll change my statement to: anyone who voted for Trump, Reagan, or Nixon (at a bare minimum) has shown that they are willing to vote for racist policy.

          • Rollie

            “All Republicans are willing to vote for racists.” You mean that literally, huh?

            It is generalizations like yours that prevent open debate and, in turn, any resolution between people who disagree. Yes, simply demonize all of your opponents with a single accusation, call yourself “anti- racist” and write them off as unworthy of any effort to understand their points of view. For you, it’s just one big, fat line drawn in the sand, and anyone not on your side is wrong and irredeemable. For good measure, enable your fascist thugs to put on masks and a black shirts, and go crack a few of heads along the way—you know, just so the public understands that in your America, dissent will be met with violence.

          • DrSox

            It’s not that complicated: Trump’s campaign was openly racist. Today’s announcement of DACA only drives the point home more clearly. I’m sure many Republicans voted for Trump despite those things–I know many of them–but the fact is that they were willing to overlook his racism and vote for him anyway. So my point is clearly true.

          • Rollie

            1. You wrote that ALL Republicans are willing to vote for racists. Literally, no exceptions.
            2. Factually, many Republicans were not willing to vote for Trump— many even voted for Clinton, Sanders, McMullin and others.
            3. Your generalization doesn’t allow for a single Republican who voted for Trump, to have done so in ignorance, not believing the man to be a racist. To you, these can only be cases of “overlooking” his racism.

            Your point in demonstrably untrue, and displays the sort of over- simplified demonization that many use as an excuse to avoid debate with opposing viewpoints. Just write ‘em off as racist/evil/sexist/fascist /whatever ahead of time, and you won’t have to actually do the work of letting them explain themselves. Establish a dialogue with your opponents? Forget about it…why bother?

        • Man with Axe

          What are you prepared to do to black people who advocate the elimination of all white people? I’ve seen such advocacy on facebook. Should such a person be imprisoned?

          • DrSox

            This isn’t about facebook posts, so your comparison is disingenuous.

          • Man with Axe

            If advocacy for genocide is unprotected speech, it can be criminalized regardless of the forum where it is found. So I reject your claim that my question is disingenuous.

          • Nunya Beeswax

            Facebook posts aren’t speech?

          • DrSox

            Some random facebook posts are not the same as a movement with advocates in the White House.

        • Linda Sinnombre

          Well, the US Supreme Court says you’re wrong. So does the Constitution. If you don’t like the First Amendment, perhaps you should consider moving to England, Germany, or Russia. No such pesky little thing as Freedom of speech there.

          • DrSox

            No, hate speech is not a protected class of speech under the first amendment, and ample legal precedent has established that fact.

          • Rollie

            Dr. Sox…wow, you’ve really out-done yourself here. Let’s see if you can write an ending to your exercise in creativity. Please substantiate your claim that hate speech isn’t protected by the First Amendment, and keep in mind that a reasoned argument requires answering at least the following:

            1. For the purpose of its prohibition, how will hate speech be defined and identified? Be specific, please.

            2. Who will have the privilege of identifying hate speech?

            3. What will be the penalties for unlawful hate speech?

            4. What will be the appeals process for someone whose speech has been deemed hateful, officially?

            5. What is the evidence for the “ample legal precedent” that you claim?

            6. What is your understanding of the First Amendment to begin with? Helpful hint: Avoid referring to “class of speech” in your answer, because nowhere in the amendment itself will you find such a concept.

            Bonus question: What will you say if someday your own speech is deemed hateful and therefore illegal, based on codified restrictions that you now advocate? (Remember, power changes hands, and legalizing any form of discrimination means that today’s enforcers can easily become tomorrow’s victims.)

          • DrSox

            I was using the term hate speech in an imprecise way. Speech that incites imminent violence is not protected by the first amendment–as we have seen in Charlottesville, for example, the kind of speech from the alt right in question is exactly that kind of incitement to violence.

            Furthermore, the first amendment, of course, applies to protection from interference from the government. Communities may act to shut down speech deemed out of bounds in a civilized society. Advocacy for white supremacy is out of bounds, and we should keep it that way. Trying to “both sides” this does not work–there are people advocating for white supremacy, and people trying to stop them, there is no equivalence.

          • Rollie

            “I was using the term hate speech in an imprecise way.”

            Fine, but if we’re talking about restricting or allowing speech, isn’t precision called for? Otherwise, it’s like calling for people to be jailed for doing “bad stuff”.

            “Trying to ‘both sides’ this does not work–there are people advocating for white supremacy, and people trying to stop them, there is no equivalence.”

            Ah, but there IS equivalence under the law, and that’s what you’re not seeing. Apart from the basic question of legality, the Constitution, and therefore the law, make no qualitative judgment whatsoever about speech. That is only for humans to do, in ethical, moral, political and other non-binding discussions.

            As for the concept of “out of bounds”, that too requires specific, Constitutionally justified parameters, and so far your argument doesn’t mention anything that would stand up for five seconds in a court of law.

            Regarding incitement to violence, it’s most important to understand that any incitement to violence must be explicit for it to be illegal, such as a speaker telling acolytes to go commit named crimes. (For example, an Antifa leader telling followers to go crack the head of anyone with a Trump hat.) It is not sufficient that someone merely commits violence while inspired by what they heard someone else say. If that were sufficient, then we’d have to jail Martin Scorcese for Hinkley’s shooting of Reagan, or Michael Brown’s stepfather for acts of arson during BLM protests. So despite what you believe, the mere expression of hate cannot be a crime, no matter what inspiration some nutjob might take from it.

      • Man with Axe

        Their views may be unacceptable to YOU. That does not make their views unacceptable full stop.

    • stale2000

      His audience is other leftists. Other leftists aren’t going to be convinced by arguments like “Free Speech is important”.

      • Rollie

        stale2000, if your comments refer to Zimmerman, then I think that you have him wrong. You say “…his audience is other leftists,” but the mere fact that he is participating in this forum and debating people who are presumably on the right, shows that he seeks discourse with opponents and not just allies. His posts have been civil and reasoned, and perhaps he doesn’t identify as a “leftist” anyway…who knows? Also, I think you engage a stereotype by claiming that “other leftists” won’t be convinced by an argument for free speech. My own opposition to leftism doesn’t depend on believing all those on the left to be closed off, but in fact counts on the opposite being true—that decent, open-minded people of all political stripes will value the free exchange of ideas. Sure, this may seem implausible when you look at the absurd shenanigans that certain, left-leaning college students are pulling these days, such as censoring Halloween costumes and banning Taco- Tuesday nights, but their soft little intellects don’t really illustrate the perspectives of mainstream liberals, nor even “leftists,” as I understand the term.

  • FreedomFan

    Radical Leftists smear decent people as “fascists” or “racists” and pretend to be threatened by “violent” speech in order to justify their own violent criminal attacks.

    Moderate Leftists…watch.

  • Dave Doleshal

    I strongly agree with what Zimmerman says here. While I share Antifa’s extreme dislike of fascists, I cannot agree with or condone Antifa’s violent approach to dealing with them. By using violence, this may make Antifia members feel “empowered,” but by doing so, they discredit themselves in the eyes of the public, as well as discrediting any groups that are perceived to be allied with them. By making common cause with Antifa – or with any other group that uses or condones violence as a “legitimate” political tool, progressives are only crippling and counteracting their own efforts. The general public is afraid of the neo-fascists, but they also are afraid of anyone who they perceive as using, encouraging, or condoning violence. They tend to vote for and encourage repressive police measures and laws to restrain and punish people they are afraid of. By using violence ourselves, allying with people who do, or condoning their use of violence, we are playing into the hands of the fascists.

    • Rollie

      I agree with your sentiment and your stance, Dave, but I think that you’re mistaken about Antifa in a particular way. In fact, Antifa doesn’t dislike fascists, because it doesn’t understand what fascists are. Instead, it engages a modern re-working of the term, for use as a label on anything to the right of itself politically, or just anyone whose views it doesn’t like. Trump is certainly odious, his supporters are enablers, white supremacists are backward, confederates are stuck in a past that never really existed, and neo-Nazis are plainly evil. But none of them are fascists by any true, historical definition of the word, although neo-Nazis come closest. Closer still comes Antifa itself, whose method of violent censorship, enforced by a black-shirted militia, is right out of the fascist playbook. Mussolini would have been proud.

    • DrSox

      Says the safe white liberal. Germans discovered that one third of their population would murder another third while the last third watched. Your mentality will place you in the last third unless you wake up to the trajectory we are on.

      • zzz

        Russians discovered that they could use Western self styled radicals as cover for mass murder. Useful idiocy marches on.

        • DrSox

          How many people have been killed by right wing extremist terrorism in the United States since 2001? 68. How many killed by left wing groups? 0.

          • zzz

            “Says the safe white liberal. Germans discovered that one third of their
            population would murder another third while the last third watched. Your
            mentality will place you in the last third unless you wake up to the
            trajectory we are on.”

          • DrSox

            You seem unaware of the current state of our country. How many antifa members are in the White House? How many white supremacists?

          • Jorge Carolinos

            Rambling and ongoing incoherence.

          • zzz

            I’m responding to your posts in context, you just free form post incoherent idiocy.

  • Killer Marmot

    I suspect that many in the Antifa don’t care about the good of humanity or social justice or any of that stuff. They are looking for an an enemy to assault, someone to do violence against. They are hooked on adrenaline and the feeling of righteous indignation, the rush of “us against them”. The precise details or who and why are not important.

    • Rollie

      I think you’re right. Teachers would do well to have students read from Mackay and Wellman (Ox-Bow Incident), about the madness of mobs. Perhaps by the time they reach Antifa recruitment-age, they’d have a better chance of seeing bullies for what they are.

    • Jorge Carolinos

      Like skinheads who dress up stupid and attack people in mass, they have a need to belong.

      They have a revealed knowledge that everyone else is too stupid to get, so they need to get together and play dress up for us peasants.

    • DrSox

      You suspect? Maybe do some reading on the subject instead of speculating. Try Dartmouth Prof Mark Bray’s book for starters.

      • zzz

        Mark Bray is a fascist and a real piece of work. Now I see where you are coming from, a person ok with terrorism you agree with.

        • DrSox

          lol a fascist. Thanks for making it clear your posts are worth ignoring.

          • zzz

            I listened to this

            https://ww2.kqed.org/forum/2017/08/28/historian-mark-bray-explores-antifas-roots/

            Just two examples.

            Advocates political violence to get his way, says that self defense is assaulting people who’s speech he doesn’t agree with – terrorism.

            Advocates for kristallnacht like destruction to silence speech – fascism.

            He codifies his speech and stretches definitions to outside their meaning in such a way that to the fringe left his authoritarianism sounds like freedom.

          • DrSox

            Here’s Mark Bray in interview. If you think he’s a fascist, I’d say you have a bit more thinking to do. https://www.vox.com/2017/8/25/16189064/antifa-charlottesville-activism-mark-bray-interview

          • zzz

            I posted a link to an interview and I posted on his speech in that interview that made my point, then you posted that I should listen to another interview?

            Dude, you are a joke, I’ve already made my point by using his speech, listening to more of his self serving garbage isn’t going to make his magical non-sense less idiotic, why would I listen to another interview when the first one was so awful? If the interviews were 20 years apart and he had a change of heart when it came to his fascism then you might have a point.

            He is pro-terrorist with fascist tendencies who uses coded speech and the abuse of meanings to mask his authoritarianism, another interview isn’t going to change my documented points. What a moronic dodge on your part.

          • DrSox

            You completely misrepresent what he says in that interview. I hope people will listen for themselves.

          • zzz

            Nope. You are an apologist for a sociopath.

          • Man with Axe

            In that interview, Bray says this: “I don’t know of any empirical examples of anti-fascists successfully stopping a neo-Nazi group and then moving on to other groups that are not racist but merely to the right.”

            So Bray is either an idiot who doesn’t know what he is seeing on TV, or he is a propagandist for Antifa, trying to whitewash their violence. They attack ordinary Trump supporters. They attack conservative speakers like Ben Shapiro and Heather MacDonald. They attack journalists simply recording the events of them attacking others. They commit acts of violent vandalism against innocent property owners.

            In other words, they are fascists who claim to be better than some other fascists they don’t like.

          • DrSox

            Perhaps he doesn’t rely on what he sees on TV, like you are?

          • Man with Axe

            What is the point of making such a stupid and unresponsive comment? Have you no shame?

      • Killer Marmot

        I have listened to the Antifa speak. That is what I’m working from.

        I have no doubt that there is an underlying ideology behind “the cause”, but I’m also sure that many of the Antifa don’t really give a crap about it. They’re out for the adrenaline.

  • jim hoch

    Good article though he neglected what may be the most apt analogy, using the Hells Angels to provide security for events. I see the antifa situation on a similar trajectory.

  • Killer Marmot

    Even if you agree with the Antifa that fascists should be assaulted, the Antifa’s definition of “fascist” is extraordinary broad, particularly in the heat of battle. Anyone in a red hat or polo shirt , or holding a sign supporting free speech, will do.

    This suggests that if the Antifa continue to grow then violence as a way of resolving political differences will grow with them.

    • Rollie

      Simply, Antifa don’t understand what fascism is, and their claim to oppose it is absurd. I can say a thousand things about Trump, all of them bad, but he isn’t a fascist. Mussolini would have laughed at the suggestion.

      By extruding historical terminology into new shapes, Antifa not only weakens any original meaning, but actually turns the terminology back upon itself. In this way, the censoring, tyrannical, cognitively dissonant Antifa are the only fascists to be seen.

      • FreedomFan

        Antifa thugs understand exactly who fascists are. They are purposely using the label which everyone hates, in order to smear their opponents and push their revolutionary marxist objectives on the American people.

        Marxists are intentionally trying make Americans hate each other based upon differences of race, gender, income, etc. Sadly they are succeeding. A new civil war may be the end game.

    • DrSox

      This is not accurate. As I said above, Mark Bray’s book is an essential read.

      • Killer Marmot

        What is not accurate? Be specific.

        • DrSox

          Nothing you said is accurate.

          • Linda Sinnombre

            Bull. Everything he said is accurate, as is the analysis by Mitchell Zimmerman. Where were you when antifa was running amok in the streets of Oakland, trashing the neighborhood where I work, chasing away the jobs of black people, terrorizing Oakland Chinatown, and beating up people who had come to peacefully protest Trump’s election? Maybe you have a nice ivory tower office on the Berkeley campus from which to cheer on antifa’s indiscriminate violence.

          • DrSox

            I’m not a Berkeley professor, so think again. Your description of Oakland comes from some kind of fantasy land, I’m guessing you aren’t local.

          • paxman

            Doctor Sox Puppet I presume?

      • Killer Marmot

        You may want to consider the possibility that Mark Bray’s book is not being followed to the letter by the Antifa.

  • s randall

    Go to youtube and search for “Berkeley.” The facists are making hay. Antifa get a clue. Learn something about marketing.