Far-left groups like antiFa are calling for an escalation in tactics following this weekend’s violence at the “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
Many of the same groups that have organized violent demonstrations in Berkeley, California and elsewhere are now calling for an aggressive response to the violence in Charlottesville. Far-left “anti-fascist” (or antifa) figures are advising agitators to do the job that police won’t: shutting down “fascists” and preventing them from organizing.
Radical left-wingers have for months justified violence as a way to fight back against “fascism” and “racism” — terms that they have applied not just to white nationalist fringe groups but to prominent figures on the right as well.
“Charlottesville is just the beginning. If the alt-right can get away with murder there, none of us will be safe. We have to stand up to white supremacists, we have to shut down and chase out these bigots every time they try to organize, or else they will kill more people,” reads one poster created by anarchist group CrimethInc, a self-described “international network of aspiring revolutionaries.”
“The police will not protect us. They murder over a thousand people every year in this country, and infiltrate and attack our demonstrations when we stand up against alt-right terror. We have to organize to defend ourselves.”
Another anarchist group, the Revolutionary Abolition Movement, issued a statement after Charlottesville praising the far-left fighters who, along with violent white nationalists, turned Charlottesville into a literal political battlefield.
“Our fighters showed daring and a willingness to risk their own safety for the sake of others, and we hold them in the highest regard. Due to their fortitude and unwavering determination, the anti-fascists held their ground and succeeded in stopping the rally. Though we will never know exactly how many lives were saved by their actions, it is clear that without resistance to their fascist terror many more would have been harmed,” reads the statement.
“The American state is collapsing. As capitalism remains mired in crisis, its once solid position within the global order is crumbling. With ever widening cracks in the state’s foundations, those who reaped the benefits of white supremacist society and American imperialism are grasping at any last chance to maintain their position in the hierarchy it legitimates,” the statement continues.
One article by CrimethInc, prominently displayed on the front page of popular antifa website It’s Going Down, blames democracy and capitalism for the violence in Charlottesville. The article claims police are complicit in fascism and so “we must not look to the police or any other aspect of the state for deliverance.”
“It’s essential to build fighting formations capable of facing down far-right violence. Fascists love to portray themselves as victims in order to claim the right to do violence to others; their entire narrative is built around the contradiction that they are simultaneously master race and underdog, victorious and persecuted. They treat any resistance to their program as an affront to their dignity and a violation of their safe space. Nonetheless, we have to be able to stop them in their streets, because they are in the business of purveying revenge fantasies,” the article states.
“Any footage they can record of successful attacks, however cowardly, will help them recruit from their base of bullies and sadists. Because of this, it is preferable not to enter into conflict with them except when fully prepared — but at all costs, we must not let them attain control of the streets.”
Even before Charlottesville, left-wing group Refuse Fascism was planning a series of mass demonstrations on November 4 that they say must result in the end of Trump’s presidency. The group is holding several organizing conferences on August 19 to plan out the mass protests.
Refuse Fascism was one of the groups calling for rioters to shut down Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech at the University of Berkeley. The school cancelled Milo’s speech after black-clad agitators staged a violent riot and set fires on campus.
A flier advertising the organizing conferences states: “We will gather in the streets and public squares of cities and towns across this country, at first many thousands declaring that this whole regime is illegitimate and that we will not stop until our single demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”
Antifa groups have previously labeled right-wing speech as violence — framing violence as “self-defense” against violent speech — but this weekend’s literal violence has given them an opportunity to rally their forces to take on right-wingers and society as a whole.
Radical left-wingers have repeatedly turned violent against conservatives and right-wingers.
Pro-Trump commentator Milo Yiannopoulos had his speech at the University of California-Berkeley canceled after rioters set the campus ablaze in order to keep him from speaking.
Those same activists were able to shut down pro-Trump commentator Ann Coulter’s UC Berkeley speech just by promising a repeat performance of the Milo riots.
A month before the election, someone firebombed a North Carolina GOP office. A building adjacent to the office was spray painted with a warning: “Nazi Republicans get out of town or else.”
A popular parade in Portland, Oregon was canceled in April after threats of violence were made against a local Republican organization taking part.
An email warned parade organizers that 200 or more protesters would rush into the parade and drag the Republicans out, if that’s what it took to keep them from participating.
“You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” the email stated. Portland has been a site for organized left-wing protests, which have often turned into violent riots.
The threatening email was sent from an account registered with RiseUp.Net, an organization that is open about “providing communication and computer resources to allies engaged in struggles against capitalism and other forms of oppression.”
One of Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett’s town halls in May featured a heavy police presence after Garrett and his family were targeted by repeated death threats. “This is how we’re going to kill your wife,” read one such message, Garrett told Politico. He added: “I don’t want to die anytime soon. I got stuff left to do, I hope. But when you pull wives and children in, that’s not cool.”
In one of the most prominent instances of anti-Republican violence, left-wing Bernie Sanders supporter James T. Hodgkinson opened fire in June on Republican congressmen in Alexandria, Virginia as they practiced for a charity baseball game. Hodgkinson, who volunteered on Sanders’ campaign, wounded several victims including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
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