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Antifa Atrocities In Berkeley

Everybody’s talking about this Matt Labash story [1]from Berkeley, and with good reason. It’s a stunner. Labash went to Berkeley to follow Joey Gibson, founder of Patriot Prayer, as he and his cohorts tried to rally in that city. You may be thinking that Patriot Prayer is some sort of Trumpkin alt-right outfit. You could not be more wrong:

As white supremacists go, Joey Gibson makes for a lousy one. For starters, he’s half Japanese. “I don’t feel like I’m Caucasian at all,” he says. Not to be a stickler for the rules, but this kind of talk could get you sent to Master Race remedial school.

And it gets worse. The founder of Patriot Prayer—a Vancouver, Wash.-based operation that sponsors rallies and marches promoting freedom and First Amendment rights along with all-purpose unity—also spews hippie-dippie rhetoric like “moderates have to come together” and “love and peace [are] the only way to heal this country.” Joey tends to sound less like an alt-right bully boy than a conflict-resolution facilitator or a Unitarian Sunday school teacher.

Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein tried to get Gibson’s Liberty Weekend banned by the National Park Service as a threat to public order. Local officials got involved too, but to no avail:

Properly whipped into an anti-racism frenzy, the Bay Area did what the Bay Area loves doing most. Or second most, after driving low-income minorities out of hopelessly expensive neighborhoods so that tech millionaires can live in them. They planned counterprotests! Lots of them. The events list ran to multiple pages.

There would be “empathy tents” and “mobile dance” counter rallies. They slated candlelight vigils and Michael Franti concerts, “anti-hate” marches and “Flowers Against Fascism.” One event was titled “Calling All Clowns”—a “call for anti-racist, anti-fascist clowns to descend upon Crissy Field to mercilessly ridicule any neo-nazis, white supremacists, or alt-right trolls who dare show their face.” Then there was the invitation for concerned citizens to deposit “your dog poop on Crissy Field” in order to “leave a gift for our alt-right friends.” A Guardian headline-writer billed this the “Turd Reich.”

Here’s what’s so fascinating about Joey Gibson and his Patriot Prayer group. It’s not, as I assumed, some sort of kitschy nationalistic outfit, full of pro-Trump provocateurs. Gibson talks about bringing people together:

When Joey draws antifa out to show themselves, it’s not really conservatives he’s trying to reach. Conservatives already loathe antifa, he says. Rather, Joey’s interested in appealing to good, honest middle-of-the-road liberals. He likes them and believes there are plenty of them still out there. They’re just not terribly vocal at the moment when it comes to suppressing their own extremists, who seem hellbent on suppressing everyone else. As with some of the rancid elements of the right, when the moderates are quiet, extremist voices become amplified. “I’m also trying to help conservatives understand that they have a warped perception of liberals, because the good liberals are keeping quiet.” Joey says. “You go on YouTube and see thousands of videos of social justice warriors acting like crazy Batman because that’s what gets the views. You’re not going to see a video of a normal liberal making sense, you know?”

change_me

Joey holds the door open for liberals in his freedom-loving unity movement, and some, including liberals of color, have joined. One African-American liberal I meet, Ryoga Vee, signed on after having an antifa member call him a Nazi and then try to set him on fire with a road flare when Vee attempted to attend Milo’s Berkeley speech out of curiosity. “I don’t care who you vote for,” Joey says, so long as you’re pro-freedom.

Labash talks about Gibson’s past, including a short jail stint. Then:

But Joey came back. People helped him. He remembered who he was and got his heart straight again. Maybe because of his own time in darkness, he thinks everyone’s redeemable and anyone can be helped, including those we think are bad guys who don’t even know they need it. This is a truth that he thinks we’ve all but forgotten.

I don’t want to quote much about what Labash saw when antifa jumped Joey Gibson and his friends. You really need to read it yourself. Here’s a taste:

First he catches a slap in the head, then someone gashes him with something in his ribs. He keeps his hands up, as though that will save him, while he keeps getting dragged backwards by his shirt, Tiny trying to pull him away from the bloodthirsty ninjas. Someone crashes a flagpole smack on Joey’s head, which will leave a welt so big that Tiny later calls him “the Unicorn.” Not wishing to turn his back on the crowd, a half-speed backwards chase ensues, as Joey and Tiny are blasted with shots of bear spray and pepper spray. They hurdle a jersey barrier, crossing Martin Luther King Jr. Way while antifa continue throwing bottles at them. The mob stalks Joey and Tiny all the way to an Alameda County police line, which the two bull their way through, though the cops initially look like they’re going to play Red Rover and keep them out. No arrests are made. Except for Joey and Tiny, who are cuffed.

A crack reporter for the Los Angeles Times will later write that they were arrested for charging the police, which couldn’t be less true. A Berkeley cop tells me they were arrested for their own safety (and weren’t charged). When I catch up and reach the police line, the cops won’t let me past to follow my subjects. My reportorial dispassion has worn thin. I yell at the police for doing nothing, for standing by while two men could’ve been killed. One cop tells me there’s a thin line between solving one problem and being the cause of more, as though they’re afraid to offend antifa. I am sick at what I just witnessed. Angry, even. I wheel around on some protesters, asking them if they think it’s right to beat people down in the street. “Hell yeah,” says one. I ask them to cite anything Joey has said that offends them, as though being offended justifies this. A coward in a black mask says: “They’re f—ing Nazis. There’s nothing they have to say to offend us.”

All around me, good non-antifa liberals go about their business, pretending none of this has happened, carrying “Stand Against Hate” signs. There’s the sound truck with preachers in clerical garb, leading a “Whose streets/our streets” chant. There’s the gray-haired interdenominational “Choral Majority” singing peace songs: “There’s no hatred in my land / Where I’m bound.” I want to vomit on the Berkeley Peace Wall.

Read the whole thing. [1]

It’s incredible. If these thugs were hiding their faces behind white sheets and beating up black people while the police stood by, we would know exactly what they were and what to do with them. If this were the South, the media would have turned it into a national crisis. But this is Berkeley, and antifa are leftists, so … nothing. Nothing.

Did you know that most of the speakers at Joey Gibson’s rally were people of color? I didn’t, until I read Labash’s story. Did you know that Joey Gibson and his team have nothing to do with the alt-right racists? I didn’t, until I read Labash’s story.

This isn’t the first time things like this have happened in California. In that state (and elsewhere), it is impossible for American citizens who hold political beliefs antifa don’t like to assemble peaceably to speak without risking a beating by a mob of masked thugs. And all the “good non-antifa liberals” tolerate it. Why?

It’s an outrage and a disgrace. If the police and civil authorities don’t start taking a very hard line against antifa, this is very quickly going to spiral out of control, and they will bears some responsibility for the widening violence sure to come. Likewise with the media and its coverage, and Democratic politicians. I was glad to see Rep. Pelosi call for arrest and prosecution of the violent members of antifa. But deeds are more important than words. It ought to shame any city and state where peaceful people cannot exercise their rights to speech and assembly. The Justice Department ought to investigate whether or not the police in Berkeley and in other places have been instructed to hang back and tolerate antifa — and if so, charges should be brought.

Next time Joey Gibson and people like him want to hold a public rally in California, one hopes to see Sen. Feinstein, Rep. Pelosi, and other elected officials joining them in solidarity — not with their cause, necessarily, but with their right to speak freely.

98 Comments (Open | Close)

98 Comments To "Antifa Atrocities In Berkeley"

#1 Comment By kgasmart On September 1, 2017 @ 9:17 pm

It’s simple, really.

No masks. Perhaps a FEDERAL no-mask law.

#2 Comment By Kurt Gayle On September 1, 2017 @ 9:43 pm

Forerunners of today’s Antifa thugs also dressed in black and wore masks to hide their identities as they carried out criminal acts:

[2]

#3 Comment By Ann On September 1, 2017 @ 10:03 pm

Oh please.

Gibson’s S.F. Rally featured Kyle Chapman:
From The Republic:
“In a video posted on Facebook on March 27 by Kyle Chapman, the camera pans across what can only be described as a DIY armory: Baseball helmet, ski goggles, shin guards, face mask, wooden shield, flag pole. “The benefit of the baseball helmet is that you have holes where the ears are,” Chapman tells his viewers. “This allows you to hear what’s going on around you.” The helmet is emblazoned with a decal reading molon labe (“come and take them”), the Second Amendment rallying cry borrowed from ancient Sparta. Chapman also recommends going to Home Depot, where one can find a wooden table top for just $25 to fashion into a homemade buckler.”

Gibson canceled his S.F. rally after the National Park Service bans helmets, sticks, weapons, etc as described above at his rally.

These guys just want a fight and Antifa obliged them. Both are wrong. Period.

#4 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On September 1, 2017 @ 10:03 pm

And, I agree, we need to call them something besides “Antifa”. Communist thugs might work….

Sorry to disappoint you, but they’re anarchists. Communists have a history of liquidating people like Antifa. Which may also be over-reach, but give things their proper labels.

Trump gets the Chancellorsville story 90% correct…

I’m sure that was a typo, but you repeated it twice. Has Trump been tweeting about civil war battlefields lately?

Actually heartright, I’ve been opposed on principle for many years to allowing dogs on Crissy Field for any reason whatsoever. I at one time favored open season by sharpshooters on any dog who walked on the grass. (In normal times, those dogs were pampered poodles of the bourgeoisie for the most part.) Free speech is indivisible. Its not about who gets free speech rights — its about, the government does not get to assign free speech rights to some and not to others or assess which speech is deserving. We don’t trust government officials with such powers.

#5 Comment By BadReligion On September 1, 2017 @ 10:57 pm

I wish that liberals were covering for us. I wish that the police were just ignoring us. I wish that the corporate media was on our side. There’s so much more, but in actuality, all of the opposite are true.

We view liberals as dangerous, and the police as more dangerous than the Nazis in some ways, thanks to the treatment we get from both, contrasted in the case of the police with the active collusion they display with the Nazis. Many antifa and other activists won’t talk to corporate media at all, since these outlets always get it wrong, intentionally or otherwise.

We’re dealing with a situation in which Nazis, other White Nationalists, and plenty of other fascists (including those who downplay their racism) are shooting, stabbing, beating, and running over people here and in Canada. They have a sympathetic ear in the White House, and even with the departure of Bannon and Gorka, the ties are there.

This isn’t about policy differences. This is about hate. This is about the safety of marginalized communities, some of whom risk death on a daily basis.

This isn’t about free speech, either. “Congress shall make no law” means that the state can neither repress nor punish speech. Courts have expanded that to cover lower-level governments, but in any case it has nothing to do with private entities or individuals.

I’m part-Jewish. Only in small part due to that, I’ve been learning about the Holocaust since I was in first grade, when I read a frankly disturbing “Choose Your Own Adventure: Time Machine” book called “Mission to World War II.” It climaxes in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

We cannot let the fascists take over. In the 1910s-1920s, the IWW and other leftists fought the Klan. In the 1930s, American antifa fought with police outside of Madison Square Garden, where Nazi sympathizers had filled the place for a rally. You know about the war and the civil rights movement (note that MLK had an arsenal in his basement), and by the 1970s Klan rallies usually ended with the Klan getting pounded.

In the 1980s, Nazis started popping up in the punk-rock scene, and in reaction to this, Antifa as we know it arrived in North America, like its equivalents across the Atlantic and elsewhere.

We’re mostly anarchists and Libertarian Marxists, not Leninists. We’re either going to stop the further descent of the US, or die trying.

Can you imagine if the British Left had taken the advice of people in this conversation and not resisted the British Union of Fascists? I mean, seriously? If it was right for them, it’s right for us.

Ain’t Benedict, thanks for pointing that out, and Zaretzke, what’s specifically wrong with women battling the fascists?

#6 Comment By BadReligion On September 1, 2017 @ 11:00 pm

MM, the baseball shooting was indeed carried out by a man who had a history of liberal and leftist activism, but he acted completely alone, unlike the Charlottesville driver and all of his fellows, who had already started the violence the night before.

As for the jihadist threat, we’ve been hearing about that since before the 11th of September 2001. Also, jihadis are rather right-wing. People often forget that.

#7 Comment By VikingLS On September 1, 2017 @ 11:00 pm

@Hound of Ulster

Okay, you also need to deal with the people who make excuses either for the fanatics, claim they CAN’T be controlled, or that want to make the focus protecting the image of their own side along the “Those people are just a bunch of nuts, how DARE you suggest they represent us, what if we talked about your crazy people?”

The fanatics have a lot of passive allies.

#8 Comment By Redbrick On September 2, 2017 @ 12:11 am

“People seem to know all about Hitler and the Holocaust. But what about Mao? Stalin? Pol Pot? Is it really possible that people don’t know that Commies and other hard left types are the violence and murder champions of all time?”

Why would they?

Does Hollywood make a Stalin or Mao movie every year? Of course not

But Hollywood must pump out 5 nazi movies a year.

Most people in America, or anywhere else, get their history from public memory.

Hollywood controls our public memory.

Everything is the nazis now…..even the confederates are now just Proto-nazis in the movies.

#9 Comment By John H Graney On September 2, 2017 @ 12:40 am

@BadReligion

“Also, jihadis are rather right-wing.”

This is total nonsense. Jihadis are Islamic Radicals, and cannot be classified on a western left-right spectrum.

Incidentally, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaedah, clearly sympathizes with the French Revolution in one of his propaganda videos.

#10 Comment By JEinCA On September 2, 2017 @ 2:58 am

Rod my Orthodox brother I am glad you now see what us local Bay Area folks who are not prog robots have to deal with here. It can be flat out dangerous to be a political conservative and/or a religious conservative here or even a libertarian or a classical liberal. The First Amendment has been severely undermined here especially by Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein and our local political figures who all took an oath to defend the Constitution. I don’t believe congresswoman Pelosi is being sincere in condemning Antifa when she was calling for the NPS to deny the Patriot Prayer Group their first amendment rights and all the local media along with CNN was calling Gibson and his group white supremacists. Pelosi was one eho riled up the violent mob. She is guilty as are the rest of our local elected officials. The mayor of Berkeley is basically a member of Antifa or at least a militant left wing group allied with Antifa. This is not America here anymore. It’s something else. I feel like a stranger in the place of my birth, where I’ve lived all my life, where I was married and started a family, the place where my ancestors are buried. I don’t feel welcome anymore in the place of which I am a native son. I am furious. I cannot explain my rage but it is there and I know I cannot be the only one.

#11 Comment By M_Young On September 2, 2017 @ 4:42 am

“Can you imagine if the British Left had taken the advice of people in this conversation and not resisted the British Union of Fascists? I mean, seriously? If it was right for them, it’s right for us.”

Winston “Keep Britain White” Churchill was the primary force in keeping the UK anti-German.

Bad Religion, You dont get to wallow in the achievements of men — white men — who were ‘racist’ in a way that the alt-right can only dream about today.

Richard Spencer is far more their heir than you are.

#12 Comment By John of Dorset On September 2, 2017 @ 8:11 am

BadReligion,

The left seems to have started the Charlottesville violence, unless you count the white supremscists trying to barge their way through a blockade of their legal protest. I suppose it is arguable, but, depending on the level of force used, I wouldn’t call that violence. Certainly you shouldn’t be punched for it, but if you are going to blockade people from going where they have a legal right to, you can legitimately expect to get shoved out the way. It would lead to unacceptable mob deprivations of people’s liberties otherwise.

#13 Comment By John of Dorset On September 2, 2017 @ 8:16 am

Also, your concerns are absolute nonsense, and you know it. White supermacists are an absolute fringe. They get no support from any mainstream right, including the White House. They have caused low level violence for decades but are no threat to the American polity. You are your ilk are a bigger threat, seeing as you seem to think it okay to attack and intimidate mainstream rightwingers, and you get succour from the mainstream left. You need to be made to stop each time you dare to break the law.

#14 Comment By Kirt Higdon On September 2, 2017 @ 8:42 am

Prayer rallies are a very good idea and I have attended many in the past, some of which were disrupted by militant homosexual activists even though they had nothing to do with homosexuality. This was back in the 1980’s so the antifa did not start this. I’m certainly willing to attend other such rallies if any are held near where I live.

#15 Comment By VikingLS On September 2, 2017 @ 8:47 am

@Bad Religion

You know if you restricted yourself to ACTUAL white supremacists actually beating people maybe we could take you seriously.

A lot of what Antifa does however seems to be disrupting events with messages they haven’t preapproved. Preventing speakers you don’t like from speaking, that’s NOT bravely stopping a beating, that’s you deciding from now on YOU are the authority and it is YOU who has the right to decide what the rest of us can and can’t hear.

When I mentioned the harassment of the Deploraball you justified it because the people inside were transphobic.

Well Rod is going to be doing a speaking tour soon. He’s spent a lot more time arguing against trans rights than any of those people. He’s put a lot of energy into opposing LGBT rights that you think are self-evident, has he not?

Would you regard Rod as a legitimate target? If not, why not?

#16 Comment By Kurt Gayle On September 2, 2017 @ 9:01 am

California law states that it is “unlawful for any person to wear a mask…for the purpose of evading or escaping discovery, recognition, or identification in the commission of a public offense.”

“CALIFORNIA Penal Code Section 182-185
185. Section One Hundred and Eighty-five. It shall be unlawful for any person to wear any mask, false whiskers, or any personal disguise (whether complete or partial) for the purpose of: One–Evading or escaping discovery, recognition, or identification in the commission of any public offense. Two–Concealment, flight, or escape, when charged with, arrested for, or convicted of, any public offense. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.”

#17 Comment By Kurt Gayle On September 2, 2017 @ 9:08 am

At least 11 states have state codes related to wearing masks. The anti-masking laws in a number of southern states were put in place many decades ago in order to stop public masking by members of the KKK. An example is the Georgia anti-masking law which is quite comprehensive and provides for exceptions:

GEORGIA Code Title 16 – Crimes and Offenses,16-11-38.
(a) A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he wears a mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer and is upon any public way or public property or upon the private property of another without the written permission of the owner or occupier of the property to do so.
(b) This Code section shall not apply to: (1) A person wearing a traditional holiday costume on the occasion of the holiday; (2) A person lawfully engaged in trade and employment or in a sporting activity where a mask is worn for the purpose of ensuring the physical safety of the wearer, or because of the nature of the occupation, trade, or profession, or sporting activity; (3) A person using a mask in a theatrical production including use in Mardi gras celebrations and masquerade balls; or (4) A person wearing a gas mask prescribed in emergency management drills and exercises or emergencies.

#18 Comment By Kurt Gayle On September 2, 2017 @ 9:23 am

The week after masked “anti-Fascist” protesters used violent means (physical assaults and property damage including burnings) at a similar event in Berkeley, CA — while police officers stood aside and did nothing – police officers at Auburn University enforced Alabama anti-masking law.

Officers told Antifa protesters at a speech by white nationalist Richard Spenser: “No hoodies, no masks. Take the mask off before you go in, or you’ll be arrested.”

[3]

#19 Comment By at the soundcheck On September 2, 2017 @ 10:16 am

My first response to the Charlottesville story, that I don’t recall anyone mentioning: Charlottesville’s city council changed the park’s name from Lee to Emancipation. Not like there’s a state bird or flower or anything neutral. Eliminated any chance of sympathy I might have had.

They love this sh#t. It makes them feel important.

That’s what makes ‘antifa’-type people tick as well.

#20 Comment By Ben H On September 2, 2017 @ 10:43 am

I hate to break this to you BadReligion, but your movement continues to exist because you are useful to the liberal. You guys are doing what he kind of wants to get done, using means that he does not want to have anything to do with directly. In fact your bluster about hating the liberal is phony. It’s what you’ve been told to say, and you’ve been told to say it to protect the liberal not to hurt him.

You’re not using him, he’s using you. He’s the smart guy, your’re the dumb guy. And once he’s done with you, you will be flushed down the toilet. You don’t matter individually or as a group. You are nothing but a tool to these people.

So you can enjoy your rage spiral for the moment (please don’t kill anyone) but prepare yourself emotionally to be discarded, suddenly and without notice. At that point please remember the words ‘it is good that you exist’ even though you won’t feel that way, and use that idea to build the self-respect that will hopefully take you out of this antifa garbage.

#21 Comment By collin On September 2, 2017 @ 12:05 pm

Wait, the Right has a problem denouncing white supremacy? What makes you think so? I think the evidence is very much to the contrary.

Who is the Republican conservative leader? President Trump?!? He is clearly not denouncing white supremacy and their followers. He considers these voters his base and is going to do everything to protect them.

Your point was true under President Bush.

[NFR: Two things: 1) Trump has denounced white supremacy; you are free to doubt his sincerity, but he has done it; and 2) Trump is not the spokesman for all of the Republican Party, or conservatism; a little googling will show you that there was near-universal denunciation of white supremacy by GOP leaders after Charlottesville. You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. — RD]

#22 Comment By MM On September 2, 2017 @ 12:10 pm

“He acted completely alone, unlike the Charlottesville driver…”

Wait, do you have inside knowledge of the ongoing criminal investigation?

Has it been officially determined whether the Charlottesville driver acted alone or in coordination with others?

Thinking, hoping, wishing for something, merely for the sake of an ideologically dubious position in an anonymous forum, doesn’t suddenly cause the facts back in the real world to magically fit…

#23 Comment By VikingLS On September 2, 2017 @ 1:16 pm

“Your point was true under President Bush.”

You mean the guy who executed all those people as Gov. of Texas?

[4]

Not saying Bush was motivated by personal racism, but we was a huge supporter of and participant in a system that is notoriously racist.

Just out of curiosity who is the leader of Conservatives and Republicans when we don’t have a Republican president?

#24 Comment By Kurt Gayle On September 2, 2017 @ 1:36 pm

“People Who Are Proud of What They’re Saying Don’t Cover Their Faces When They Say It.”

[5]

#25 Comment By MM On September 2, 2017 @ 2:32 pm

VikingLS: “a system that is notoriously racist.”

How so, exactly? Are you talking about the process or the outcomes? A system like capital punishment is made up of individual case decisions, so a majority of those individual cases would need to involve racial bias on the part of the prosecutor above and beyond the facts of the crime for the entire system to be considered racist.

#26 Comment By collin On September 2, 2017 @ 4:09 pm

1) Trump has denounced white supremacy; you are free to doubt his sincerity, but he has done it

Yes, I completely doubt any sincerity on this from Trump and only said because Kelly forced him to. And I don’t think of Trump as a white supremacy but he views of these voters as his base.

2) a little googling will show you that there was near-universal denunciation of white supremacy by GOP leaders after Charlottesville

I do agree 95% of conservatives did denunciation of white supremacy and I believe they were bothered by Trump’s reaction. Did Trump do a religious eulogy at Heather Heyes’s funeral the same way Obama did one at Dallas police officers last year? And yet many conservatives were still bothered by Obama’s sympathies for Trevor Martin and BLM concerns. And I do think that is the heart of why a lot of Republicans can’t trust Trump.

Of course do you doubt Nancy Pelosi sincereity on her Antifa?

“Our democracy has no room for inciting violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who commit such acts,” Pelosi wrote. “The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”

[NFR: Oh, come on. If you were Heather Heyer’s family, would you want Donald Trump at your daughter’s funeral? Best thing he could have done was to have stayed away. — RD]

#27 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On September 2, 2017 @ 4:26 pm

Bad Religion is starting to remind me of the way LGBTQWERTY tendencies wrap themselves in the mantle of the civil rights movement. The array of valid and invalid claims and grievances assembled under the LGBT banner have little or nothing do do with the history of legal and cultural responses to homosexuality, but its such a convenient short cut. Present day evils have little resemblance to Nazi Germany, but by waving the Antifa banner, Bad Religion can exercise a version of the retort “My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.”

He also gets a point of law wrong. It is a federal felony to intimidate someone in the exercise of a federally protected right, whether by violence, threat of violence, or other forms of coercion. So, just as its illegal for someone firebomb your home because you had the temerity to register to vote while black, it is illegal to beat up someone attempting to make a public statement.

I agree that Antifa is not particularly useful to liberals… nor to socialists or communists. Liberals like things to be tidy and peaceful and nonviolent. Antifa is generally not useful to anyone… except once in a while when there is a real threat of violent intimidation from some other source, and then, if nobody else is willing to step in, people may be grateful they showed up. Unfortunately, like the old time protection rackets, if there is nobody in need of protection, they will go find someone to fight with anyway.

There is a video making the rounds of a Nazi firing a handgun at a black counter-protester some distance away. Police did nothing to intervene. If a private citizen with a concealed carry permit had shot that Nazi in the act, I would have considered it a laudable act, and probably legal as well.

As for the British Union of Fascists… the left in Britain was never strong enough to have suppressed them independently. Sir Oswald and Lady Mosely were discreetly arrested during the war, and provided with a few common felons to wait on them as servants in their well-appointed prison suite. His movement fell apart.

(a) A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he wears a mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered…

This may not apply in Georgia, but up north there would have to be another exception… covering the face, wholly or partially, to protect the wearer from cold, frostbite, etc. Masks and hoods or both are commonly relied upon, as well as woolen scarves wrapped around the head several times.

#28 Comment By Erin M. On September 2, 2017 @ 5:10 pm

2) Trump is not the spokesman for all of the Republican Party, or conservatism; a little googling will show you that there was near-universal denunciation of white supremacy by GOP leaders after Charlottesville. — RD

Absolutely true. But right here in your own comments section I saw all kinds of apologists for the Alt-right and white nationalism coming out of the woodwork. And even more people who reserved all of their vitriol for Antifa (who I also hate, for the record, but in Charlottesville they were not the point), while having nothing to say about white supremacy or the woman killed by a white supremacist. If pressed I imagine most of these people would say, “sure, yeah, white supremacy is bad”, but it does not seem to bother or anger them, where Antifa does (and while Antifa has hideous tactics and authoritarian tendencies, and its members are borderline delusional, they are still fighting at heart for something I believe in deeply.)

[NFR: “All kinds”? I can think of three, maybe four people. — RD]

#29 Comment By John of Dorset On September 2, 2017 @ 5:56 pm

“Can you imagine if the British Left had taken the advice of people in this conversation and not resisted the British Union of Fascists? I mean, seriously? If it was right for them, it’s right for us.”

The British Union of Fascists were a tiny group, led by an ex-leftist, who posed little threat to the British polity. The hard left in the interwar period were a much bigger threat.

The thing about people like BadReligion is that the smug insistence they get to break the law in a particularly thuggish ways, combined with misguided claims of moral superiority, is likely to turn off much of the political centre, even the centre-left.

#30 Comment By Kurt Gayle On September 2, 2017 @ 8:30 pm

Of some interest in this discussion of Antifa is this Damon Linker quote from his “Trump is toxically unpopular. He still might win in 2020” featured today in TAC’s “Of Note” section:

“If the election were being run right now, we’d see loops of protest footage showing antifa thugs beating up innocent protesters or taking a sledgehammer to a statue of Christopher Columbus interspersed with clips of some left-wing activist or professor praising the anarchists for their moral clarity and courage. Never mind that Trump’s opponent in the presidential race, along with the Democratic leadership of the House and Senate, would almost certainly denounce such violence. Some leftist somewhere would say something stupid, and the right would fasten onto, highlight, and promote it endlessly for political gain. ‘These masked vigilantes display the murderous heart of the left for all to see! If the person running against President Trump denies it, it’s only because he’s playing politics. In truth, they’re enemies of all you hold dear. Vote for Trump or America as you know it is over!’”

#31 Comment By BadReligion On September 2, 2017 @ 11:42 pm

“Jihadis are Islamic Radicals, and cannot be classified on a western left-right spectrum.
Incidentally, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaedah, clearly sympathizes with the French Revolution in one of his propaganda videos.”

They have that “desire to go back to a real or imagined past” pretty well understood. Plus, jihadis are always the people used, both domestically and by outside powers, to overturn secular, left-ish governments and movements all over the Muslim world. Zawahiri’s take on history need not make complete ideological sense.

“Winston “Keep Britain White” Churchill was the primary force in keeping the UK anti-German.
Bad Religion, You dont get to wallow in the achievements of men — white men — who were ‘racist’ in a way that the alt-right can only dream about today.
Richard Spencer is far more their heir than you are.”

I didn’t say anything about Churchill. Believe me, I am no fan of his! I’m referring to those British Jews and/or Leftists who had the guts to go toe to toe with Mosley and his scum, or, more often, with the police (as usual). Your scare quotes around the word “racist” did not escape my attention, either.

“The left seems to have started the Charlottesville violence, unless you count the white supremscists trying to barge their way through a blockade of their legal protest.”

No. It’s on video. The fascists had their torchlight parade, and when they got to the Jefferson statue, there was a badly outnumbered group of unarmed students linking arms as they stood around it. They didn’t blockade anything more than one-person deep. The fascists got there, started bullying the students, and before long were punching, kicking, and beating them with torches and other implements. The cops let this go on for a bit before getting in the middle.

“Also, your concerns are absolute nonsense, and you know it. White supermacists are an absolute fringe. They get no support from any mainstream right, including the White House. They have caused low level violence for decades but are no threat to the American polity. You are your ilk are a bigger threat, seeing as you seem to think it okay to attack and intimidate mainstream rightwingers, and you get succour from the mainstream left.”

No, Trump was in large part elected due to the sentiments (not just racism) that such people advocate. In any society where such things are marginal, Trump’s attempt to disqualify Judge Curiel’s judgment because “he’s a Mexican” would be a career-killer. That’s just one example. That low-level violence you talk about is very high level to marginalized communities in this country, and your glib dismissal indicates what you seem to think of them. No, mainstream rightwingers are not exactly the focus, unless the alt-right has become the mainstream. I’m not sure what you mean by “mainstream left,” but if you mean liberals, no, we do not get succor from them!

“A lot of what Antifa does however seems to be disrupting events with messages they haven’t preapproved. Preventing speakers you don’t like from speaking, that’s NOT bravely stopping a beating, that’s you deciding from now on YOU are the authority and it is YOU who has the right to decide what the rest of us can and can’t hear.
When I mentioned the harassment of the Deploraball you justified it because the people inside were transphobic.
Well Rod is going to be doing a speaking tour soon. He’s spent a lot more time arguing against trans rights than any of those people. He’s put a lot of energy into opposing LGBT rights that you think are self-evident, has he not?
Would you regard Rod as a legitimate target? If not, why not?”

It’s not about simple disagreement or disapproval. (Most of) the people targeted for no-platforming are those whose words and deeds directly place vulnerable people in danger. Milo Yiannopoulos, who was originally scheduled to be at the Deploraball, was a major player in Gamergate, leading to many women getting bombarded with rape threats and worse, not to mention all of the racism. He’s also singled out transgender students for harassment, among other things.

Other Deploraball organizers/attendees included those who created the “Rape Melania” hoax among others, promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy theory (which was not harmless, by the way), further promoted Gamergate, denied/excused date rape, promoted the White Genocide conspiracy theory, killed people in jail among other terrible misdeeds, made numerous fraudulent videos (getting sued and settling out of court, but not before destroying a charity), jacked up the price of a life-saving medicine, endorsed domestic violence, made common cause with overt racists, called Jada Pinkett-Smith a monkey, etc.

These are not just conservatives.

I would not regard Rod as a legitimate target, because (among other things), unlike these people, he doesn’t seem to have the same size of an audience, and more importantly, the BenOp is starkly different than what these alt-righters are doing.

“In fact your bluster about hating the liberal is phony. It’s what you’ve been told to say, and you’ve been told to say it to protect the liberal not to hurt him.”

You wouldn’t even have to listen to/observe any antifascists in order to know how wrong you are. Just read anything we’re writing these days! Also, why do you assume “the liberal” is male?

“Has it been officially determined whether the Charlottesville driver acted alone or in coordination with others?”

I’m referring to the evidence (photographic and otherwise) we have of Fields working with alt-right groups that day, such as being on the streets with them, uniformed. Along with that, consider his own statements, to his mother and others, and the evidence that fascists were discussing vehicular assault in the days leading up to the Charlottesville clash.

“How so, exactly? Are you talking about the process or the outcomes? A system like capital punishment is made up of individual case decisions, so a majority of those individual cases would need to involve racial bias on the part of the prosecutor above and beyond the facts of the crime for the entire system to be considered racist.”

There are also juries to consider, but besides that, what do you think explains the massive racial disparities in things like the arbitrary and capricious system of capital punishment?

“Present day evils have little resemblance to Nazi Germany…”

Even if one agrees with you, there are too many other examples that might fit better.

“It is a federal felony to intimidate someone in the exercise of a federally protected right…”

Apparently not: [6]

“As for the British Union of Fascists… the left in Britain was never strong enough to have suppressed them independently. Sir Oswald and Lady Mosely were discreetly arrested during the war, and provided with a few common felons to wait on them as servants in their well-appointed prison suite. His movement fell apart.”

Before the war even started, fierce resistance from the British left seriously disrupted the BUF’s plans. Mosley re-emerged after the war, and was an irritant in the UK for decades, attracting the admiration of those who went on to commit any number of hate crimes. Antifa was there to fight back.

“This may not apply in Georgia, but up north there would have to be another exception… covering the face, wholly or partially, to protect the wearer from cold, frostbite, etc. Masks and hoods or both are commonly relied upon, as well as woolen scarves wrapped around the head several times.”

Also allergens, pollutants, etc.

“The British Union of Fascists were a tiny group, led by an ex-leftist, who posed little threat to the British polity. The hard left in the interwar period were a much bigger threat.”

Most revolutions only involve a small part of the population. Even groups who never come anywhere close to power can be a dangerous menace, i.e. the Confederate Hammerskins, among many others. I have mentioned the BUF a lot because antifa successfully disrupted them. What should have happened in Germany, Italy, etc.?

#32 Comment By bard_puddleglum On September 2, 2017 @ 11:58 pm

Rod, I am quite surprised that you simply assumed that Joey Gibson and the Patriot Prayer group were alt-right or even white nationalist. The real concern here is that political leaders are now spreading salacious rumors that are creating wrath from the crazy-left. Nancy Pelosi herself referred to the Patriot Prayer group as “white supremacists” on her Twitter feed a couple of days before the event was to take place. Feinstein chose to apply the vague “hate” tag to the group. This rhetoric has real consequences and is incredibly concerning that national political leaders are openly lying about these issues. Rod, please don’t assume that people are racists or bigots just because they are called that. You, more than anyone, should know that this accusation has become commonplace and, when reported, should be held with great skepticism.

#33 Comment By John of Dorset On September 3, 2017 @ 2:06 am

Ann, perhaps you should take a break from blaming the victim. Nothing you have mentioned matters. The only thing that is relevant is that who started the violence. It was the radical leftists.

#34 Comment By Kurt Gayle On September 3, 2017 @ 9:51 am

“BadReligion” writes: “We’re mostly anarchists and Libertarian Marxists.”

I remember a small British “libertarian Marxist” splinter group from the Trotskyites back in the 1960s. They put out a publication called “Solidarity” and they came to be known as Solidarity.

Among the most obvious differences between Antifa and earlier libertarian Marxist (LM) groups is that the earlier LM groups had a loose program for transforming capitalist society, while Antifa has no such program. Also, most of the earlier LM groups had a program for involving the working class in these societal changes, while Antifa seems to be a bourgeois formation with no stated program for the working class.

(During the late-60s break-up of Students for a Democratic Society some of the fringe tendencies around the Revolutionary Youth Movement I & II and Weatherman took the Antifa approach: Not much program for change and no working class base – but a lot of heavy-duty, fairly mindless violence against selected soft “enemy” targets. Antifa calls its selected soft enemy targets “fascist.”)

With the advantage of hindsight we can see how some of the most violent leftist “anti-fascist” street-fighters in Germany during the late ‘20s and early ‘30s – as well as the “Days of Rage” type rioters in the US during the late ‘60s — played right into hands of their establishment political enemies. The violence of these groups – and now Antifa — alarms the public and clever establishment politicians subsequently cash in with law-and-order platforms.

If Antifa didn’t already exist, some establishment politicians would want to invent it. (Maybe they did.)

#35 Comment By MM On September 3, 2017 @ 2:16 pm

“There are also juries to consider, but besides that, what do you think explains the massive racial disparities in things like the arbitrary and capricious system of capital punishment?”

I don’t have to explain the outcomes, because I’m not arguing that capital punishment is or isn’t a racist system. You have to prove that a majority of individual cases that make up death row were the result of racial bias, over and above the facts of the crimes involved.

But I assume, therefore, since you believe death row and probably general incarceration outcomes (only) are evidence of racist systems, then you also believe those same outcomes are also evidence sexism, because 90% of those incarcerated and 99% of those on death row, are MALE.

Can I get a straight yes or no answer on that?

#36 Comment By BadReligion On September 3, 2017 @ 3:29 pm

“The only thing that is relevant is that who started the violence. It was the radical leftists.”

Once again, this is false.

“Among the most obvious differences between Antifa and earlier libertarian Marxist (LM) groups is that the earlier LM groups had a loose program for transforming capitalist society, while Antifa has no such program.”

This is completely wrong. Read/hear a little of what we have to say, and you’ll see that we do indeed have such a program.

“Antifa seems to be a bourgeois formation with no stated program for the working class.”

Wrong again, substantially so in some cases.

#37 Comment By MM On September 3, 2017 @ 4:05 pm

“Ann, perhaps you should take a break from blaming the victim.”

In reading and watching the coverage locally, I didn’t see anybody associated with the rally organizers, Gibson et al. San Francisco or Berkeley, that were carrying and wearing any of the weapons and equipment she mentioned.

Any comment, Ann?

#38 Comment By MM On September 3, 2017 @ 7:35 pm

“Once again, this is false.”

Regarding Berkeley, the violence was entirely one-sided. And in the U.S., the English dictionary, and every other place where reason prevails, speech is not violence.

So, calling a factual statement that’s been easily verified false is itself an absurdity. Which pretty much sums up Antifa’s public relations…

#39 Comment By John of Dorset On September 3, 2017 @ 10:18 pm

“Once again, this is false”

Yet you have no support for your claim. The record of antifa is clear -they are fine with starting violence. In England the vast majority of violence and disorder at BNP and EDL rallies is started, and often entirely carried out by left wing radicals. The events at Charlottesville, from what I have seen, fit this pattern. The only complicating factor is the blockade that tried to stop the Nazis – whether it us legitimate to barge through it (I think it is) and how much force was used to do so (I think only shoving is legitimate).

#40 Comment By John of Dorset On September 3, 2017 @ 10:27 pm

– I didn’t realise BadReligion was talking about Berkeley. In that case there is not even the ambiguity there is in the Charlottesville case – the violence in Berkeley was started and almost entirely carried out by the antifa. That is, using the term violence in a normal and sensible way.

You don’t seem to realise such behaviour and obvious falsehoods simply alienate even most people in the middle and centre-left. Most people reading of the Berkeley events will think, not what brave fighters against fascism these antifa are, but where is that whiff of grapeshot from the police to easily disperse these antifa thugs and cowards.

#41 Comment By Kurt Gayle On September 4, 2017 @ 11:50 am

@ Rod Dreher: You’ve been stridently anti-Trump for a long time, Mr. Dreher. But I must give you credit for having a clear understanding of the how American voters see the street violence. You wrote about the effect of seeing this violence on voters long before most of the liberal media understood the effect and wrote about it:

For example, from your June 3, 2016 TAC column “Anti-Trump Mob Runs Amok”:

“People who think that most voters will see these riots and reason that while the riots are terrible, we have to remember that Trump is worse — they’re deluded. Even if it is true, most people, left and right, don’t vote on the basis of reason. They vote on emotion. They vote on what’s in their gut. These Social Justice Warriors are making lots of people feel in their gut that Donald Trump is the only thing that stands between them and those mobs, and that if Hillary Clinton wins, mobs like that will have their champion in the White House. Don’t come back to me and say, ‘It’s ridiculous that anybody would think such a thing.’ Maybe it is. But it’s going to happen. A lot of people legitimately criticized the Republican Party and its presidential candidates for not taking Trump seriously enough early on, when they could have stopped him. Now the Democrats are not taking the effect of these anti-Trump rioters seriously enough. If they think Donald Trump is a threat to democracy, then the most important thing for them to do is to do whatever they can to stop street mobs from vindicating Trump’s critique…A mob runs wild in his streets, beating up some of his own constituents who were peacefully assembling to hear a presidential candidate, and the police under his authority let it happen — but hey, it’s all Donald Trump’s fault. I’ll say it again: Trump is a bad man. And the Left is doing its part to put him in the White House by vindicating his critique. The media may think it can control this by downplaying those videos of street violence, but there were many people there recording what actually happened and distributing those scenes on social media. Outside the leftist bubble, those videos are hand grenades.”

[7]

#42 Comment By PeterK On September 4, 2017 @ 7:37 pm

“No masks. Perhaps a FEDERAL no-mask law”

oh but then you’ll have CAIR and the liberals saying the law is anti-Muslim since many Muslima wear the nigab

#43 Comment By John of Dorset On September 4, 2017 @ 10:29 pm

“No. It’s on video. The fascists had their torchlight parade, and when they got to the Jefferson statue, there was a badly outnumbered group of unarmed students linking arms as they stood around it. They didn’t blockade anything more than one-person deep. The fascists got there, started bullying the students, and before long were punching, kicking, and beating them with torches and other implements. The cops let this go on for a bit before getting in the middle.”

Then there in fact was a blockade. In my opinion, there is no right to blockade people from where they have a legal right to go. Shoving is legitimate in such a situation. Punching and kicking is not, but I don’t trust your timeline of events. Others suggested the far left thugs were there quickly, so how the shoving turned to worse is open to question.

The rest of what you write is patent nonsense. It relies on the most hysterical leaps imaginable – a tiny minority may one day become powerful, so it’s open season on them; all racialism, or even what you call racialism, leads to Nazism. This kind of logic is the enemy of all order, law, and civil peace. That such reasoning would allow the violent attack of almost anyone who disagrees with you is obvious.

To be honest, it isn’t even worth arguing for you. Almost anyone but a hard left ideologue is simply going to be put off by your posts. They are veritable propaganda for the cause of lawful authority.

#44 Comment By John of Dorset On September 4, 2017 @ 10:38 pm

And I would say the best solution in Germany in 1933 would have been that Hindenburg and his circle retained power and put down both the Nazis and the communists. It’s on video. The fascists had their torchlight parade, and when they got to the Jefferson statue, there was a badly outnumbered group of unarmed students linking arms as they stood around it. They didn’t blockade anything more than one-person deep. The fascists got there, started bullying the students, and before long were punching, kicking, and beating them with torches and other implements. The cops let this go on for a bit before getting in the communists. The communists coming to power may have seen things end up as bad.

#45 Comment By John of Dorset On September 5, 2017 @ 12:45 am

– sorry, somehow I managed to post the quote from BadReligion on the end of my second comment. Everything from ‘it’s on the video’ is his comment.

#46 Comment By VikingLS On September 5, 2017 @ 2:54 pm

“I would not regard Rod as a legitimate target, because (among other things), unlike these people, he doesn’t seem to have the same size of an audience, and more importantly, the BenOp is starkly different than what these alt-righters are doing.”

So in the former point, if Rod was more popular it would appropriate to use violence to silence his words, or in the latter, if you didn’t approve of the ben op, or if the ben op inspired hostile trolls, it would be okay to use violence to silence him?

Antifa words and actions, particularly the fondness your movement has for attacking unarmed reporters, preferably female ones, not only put people in danger, you ACTUALLY physically do things to them they could die from. By your own rationale, you yourself should NOT under any circumstances have a public platform, and the use of violence to no platform you is 100% appropriate.

We’ll have to consider that.

#47 Comment By MM On September 6, 2017 @ 12:28 am

VikingLS: “By your own rationale…”

Don’t forget, Antifa probably thinks in terms of “punching upward”, against the privileged, the establishment, and anybody else who gets in their way.

Remember, that was Garry Trudeau’s rationale for the Charlie Hebdo massacre, that you should never “punch downward” and attack the underprivileged. In that case, Muslims, you know, that tiny group of about 800 million that live in countries with established state religions, massive oil wealth, and in at least one case nuclear weapons.

Only the Left can successfully justify violence for political gain. Because it’s always with a smile, and the best of intentions…

#48 Comment By cdugga On September 6, 2017 @ 3:36 pm

Thank you for a reminder to stay away from flag waving mobs. Anyway, I feel like I may have fallen asleep sometime during the obama administration. So much non-scandal, non violence, with just the regular right wingnut massacre or shooting breaking up the monotony of the republican congress setting new records in proving the definition of insanity. What was the record anyway? How many times did they vote to take healthcare away from americans? But really, I would like to go back to sleep and not worry about the antifa this skinhead that, neo nazi neo zionist oxymoronic flag waving mobs. Meth-heads for god? Well, they say former meth-heads and that they are for jesus, but the congregation all has concealed carry permits and claims to be soldiers of god as they smite the pagans and apostates. Maybe we at TAC should be more entertained and less outraged. Like, we do not have to dissect the mob to supply the most accurate labels to apply. They all crazy. And our president presides over bringing the crazy out. So, I will stay awake to deal with the mobs I have to, but I will not join any of them. And when I need a little respite from the pandora’s box of mob demons set loose by the reality tv casino boss, I will dream about the good old days, and the president that thinks before speaking. Hey, a russian said that. We should expect a GOP investigation into obama’s collusion with the russians. Oh, never mind. Turns out the russians he was colluding with are all dead now.