Antifa: The Other Evil Political Force

a group called the Direct Action Alliance declared, “Fascists plan to march through the streets,” and warned, “Nazis will not march through Portland unopposed.”

.. “we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade … and drag and push those people out.” When Portland police said they lacked the resources to provide adequate security, the organizers canceled the parade. It was a sign of things to come.

.. If you believe the president of the United States is leading a racist, fascist movement that threatens the rights, if not the lives, of vulnerable minorities, how far are you willing to go to stop it?

.. For a while, antifa has remained on the fringes of the Left, smashing up storefronts to protest globalism, and things like that. But:

.. According to NYC Antifa, the group’s Twitter following nearly quadrupled in the first three weeks of January alone. (By summer, it exceeded 15,000.)

.. An article in The Nation argued that “to call Trumpism fascist” is to realize that it is “not well combated or contained by standard liberal appeals to reason.” The radical left, it said, offers “practical and serious responses in this political moment.”

.. The legitimization by mainstream people of violent political action is a Rubicon. Mark my words, it will be followed by the same thing on the Right.

.. And, as Beinart notes, these violent attacks on people on the Right, making no distinction between true fascists like Richard Spencer and ordinary Republicans, is being cheered by some on the mainstream Left. Thus, antifa — which reserves to itself the right to determine who is allowed to speak publicly — is growing.

.. Mines concluded that the United States faces a sixty-per-cent chance of civil war over the next ten to fifteen years. Other experts’ predictions ranged from five per cent to ninety-five per cent. The sobering consensus was thirty-five per cent. And that was five months before Charlottesville.

.. Mines’s definition of a civil war is large-scale violence that includes a rejection of traditional political authority and requires the National Guard to deal with it.

Mines cited five conditions that support his prediction:

  1. entrenched national polarization, with no obvious meeting place for resolution;
  2. increasingly divisive press coverage and information flows;
  3. weakened institutions, notably Congress and the judiciary;
  4. a sellout or abandonment of responsibility by political leadership;
  5. and the legitimization of violence as the “in” way to either conduct discourse or solve disputes.

Seems to me that the only one of these conditions not in place is the final one. Charlottesville may have changed that. People of goodwill on both sides have to hold the line against the legitimization of political violence. Empathy — the ability to put yourself in the shoes of someone unlike yourself — is a fundamental quality of liberal democracy. Losing the capacity for empathy is a precursor of political violence.

 

.. This, by the way, is why I am so alarmed by Texas A&M Prof. Tommy Curry’s radical racialist rhetoric, and how he is given a pass by academia.

In African American political thought, integration and the hopes of non-violent progress has become the unquestioned foundation of Black political and legal theory. This author believes that the dogmatic allegiance to non-violence is a price that African descended people in America can no longer afford to pay. Historically, the use of violence has been a serious option in the liberation of African people from the cultural tyranny of whiteness, and should again be investigated as a plausible and in some sense necessary political option. 

.. Curry talks about racial violence — about blacks attacking whites — as cleansing, as “anger realized as liberation.”

.. It’s as if the media do not want to see it, or do not want to talk about it for fear of giving fuel to the fire of white racists. The coverage has generally portrayed Dr. Curry as the innocent victim of a right-wing blogger who stirred up the crazies. Never mind that I quoted at length Dr. Curry’s own words. This kind of thing is why so many people on the Right simply do not trust the media.

.. The media should talk about every instance of people on the Left and the Right, especially authority figures (pastors, politicians, academics, and so on) legitimizing violence as a way to solve political disputes. And the rest of us should fight hard to make it taboo, to establish it as a line we as a society will not cross. We have to stop with whataboutism, the habit of responding to revolting things your own side does with “but the other side does it too!” Donald Trump is an accelerant to both the radical Left and the radical Right.

.. Ross Douthat says don’t panic, that we are nowhere near as violent and fraught as we were in 1968. He’s right about that. But if we are going to keep ourselves from going there, it is time for people in authority — whatever authority they have — to speak out forcefully and repeatedly. Not just people on the Right, but people on the Left.

.. It doesn’t matter who’s worse, antifa or the neo-Nazis. Both are capable of doing severe damage to our democracy, because they both hate the political order, and they both love violence.

How Mr. Trump Could Face Up to White Supremacists

Yet even as he now managed to get some of the right words out he could not bring himself to assign blame for Ms. Heyer’s death, saying only that she “was tragically killed.” Contrast that with his eager invocations of Kathryn Steinle — “the beautiful Kate,” as he started calling her in tweets and speeches more than two years ago, after she “was gunned down in SF by an illegal immigrant.”

.. The double standard goes to the heart of Mr. Trump’s simplistic, racialized worldview, where the criminals are black or brown and the victims are white.

.. He could start by scrapping his plan to remove white supremacists from a federal antiterror program’s agenda.

.. “The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity,” he said. “It sought to tear apart our nation and subjugate our fellow Americans to slavery. This is the history we should never forget and one that we should never again put on a pedestal to be revered.

Trump Gives White Supremacists an Unequivocal Boost

President Trump buoyed the white nationalist movement on Tuesday as no president has done in generations — equating activists protesting racism with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rampaged in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend

.. angrily asserting that so-called alt-left activists were just as responsible for the bloody confrontation as marchers brandishing swastikas, Confederate battle flags, anti-Semitic banners and “Trump/Pence” signs.

.. But members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private. National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably as the president exacerbated a controversy that has once again engulfed a White House in disarray.

.. And of the demonstrators who rallied on Friday night, some chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans, he said, “You had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest.”

Since the 1960s, Republican politicians have made muscular appeals to white voters, especially those in the South, on broad cultural grounds. But as a rule, they have taken a hard line on the party’s racist, nativist and anti-Semitic fringe. Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush roundly condemned white supremacists.

.. In 1991, the first President Bush took on Mr. Duke, who was then seeking the governor’s seat in Louisiana, saying, “When someone has so recently endorsed Nazism, it is inconceivable that someone can reasonably aspire to a leadership role in a free society.”

.. But his unifying tone, which his staff characterized as more traditionally presidential, quickly gave way to a more familiar Trump approach.

No sooner had he delivered the Monday statement than he began railing privately to his staff about the press. He fumed to aides about how unfairly he was being treated, and expressed sympathy with nonviolent protesters who he said were defending their “heritage,” according to a West Wing official.

.. Mr. Trump prides himself on an unapologetic style he learned from his father Fred Trump, a New York City housing developer, and Roy Cohn, a combative lawyer who served as an aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

.. The president was about to revert to his initial, more defiant stance. As Mr. Trump approached the microphone in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday, aides winced at the prospect of an unmediated president. With good reason.

.. the hiring of Mr. Kelly, who was to impose discipline on a chaotic West Wing.

.. He added that efforts by the president to equate the actions of the counter-protesters, however violent they may have been, with the neo-Nazis and the driver of the car that murdered a protester were “unacceptable.”

“There’s no moral equivalence,” Mr. Cantor said.

Wikipedia: Richard B. Spencer

Spencer has stated that he rejects the label of white supremacist, and prefers to describe himself as an identitarian.

.. He has advocated for a white homeland for a “dispossessed white race” and called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to halt the “deconstruction” of European culture

.. In response to his cry “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”, a number of his supporters gave the Nazi salute and chanted in a similar fashion to the Sieg heil chant used at the Nazis’ Nuremberg rallies. Spencer has also refused to denounce Adolf Hitler.[11]

.. Spencer was born in Boston, Massachusetts,[12] the son of ophthalmologist Rand Spencer and Sherry Spencer (née Dickenhorst),[13][14] an heiress to cotton farms in Louisiana

.. From March to December 2007, Spencer was assistant editor at The American Conservative magazine. According to founding editor Scott McConnell, Spencer was fired from The American Conservative because his views were considered too extreme.

.. In 2014, Spencer was deported from Budapest, Hungary (and because of the Schengen Agreement, is banned from 26 countries in Europe for three years), after trying to organize the National Policy Institute Conference, a conference for white nationalists.

.. A CPAC spokesman said he was removed from the event because other members found him “repugnant”.

..  Michael Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville, called the protest “horrific” and stated that it was either “profoundly ignorant” or intended to instill fear among minorities “in a way that hearkens back to the days of the KKK

.. During a speech Spencer gave in mid-November 2016 at an alt-right conference attended by approximately 200 people in Washington, D.C., Spencer quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German and denounced Jews.[9]. Audience members cheered and made the Nazi salute when he said, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”[9][5] Spencer later defended their conduct, stating that the Nazi salute was given in a spirit of “irony and exuberance”.[37]

..  he has supported what he has called “the creation of a White Ethno-State on the North American continent“, an “ideal” that he has regarded as a “reconstitution of the Roman Empire.

.. after leaving The American Conservative he rejected conservatism, because he believed its adherents “can’t or won’t represent explicitly white interests.

.. Spencer supports legal access to abortion, in part because he believes it would reduce the number of black and Hispanic people, which he says would be a “great boon” to white people.[15]

.. Despite his opposition to same-sex marriage, Spencer barred people with anti-gay views from the NPI’s annual conference in 2015

.. He was separated from his Russian American wife, Nina Kouprianova, a political analyst on modern and contemporary Russia, culture, and U.S. foreign policy.[65] The couple separated in October 2016[13]; however in April 2017 Spencer said he and his wife were not separated and are still together.