Opinion: Antifa are not folk heroes, they’re punks

(AP)

I understand the temptation — really, I do — but you can’t go around punching Nazis, not unless they try to punch you first.

You also shouldn’t make folk heroes out of people who do go around punching Nazis. And yes, by that I mean antifa. They are by no means friends of liberty or democracy, and in fact they endanger the very values that they profess to try to defend.

Before we go further, let’s set some things straight, because it’s complicated and clarity is essential:

1.) It has been argued that Donald Trump has tried to equate neo-Nazis and white supremacists with antifa.  That’s not quite accurate. For whatever reason, Trump has been more emphatically critical, more specifically, of antifa than he has of white supremacists. Furthermore, the two groups are not moral mirrors of each other. Both wallow in violence, but one group endorses doctrines of racial superiority, genocide and hatred. One group does not. The difference in goals matters. A lot.

That said, liberals who treat Trump’s criticism of antifa as evidence of the movement’s value are in effect outsourcing their independent moral and political judgment to Trump. I’d be very wary of doing that.

2.) By multiple accounts (see here and here and here), antifa did do important, perhaps even life-saving work in Charlottesville, protecting peaceful counter-demonstrators and clergy against violence perpetrated by white-supremacist and neo-Nazi groups.

“They came to defend people, to put their bodies between these armed white supremacists and those of us who could not or would not fight,” recalled Logan Rimel, a protester at Charlottesville committed to non-violence. “They protected a lot of people that day, including groups of clergy. My safety (and safety is relative in these situations) was dependent upon their willingness to commit violence. In effect, I outsourced the sin of my violence to them. I asked them to get their hands dirty so I could keep mine clean. Do you understand? They took that up for me, for the clergy they shielded, for those of us in danger.”

3.) However, let’s face the truth: The largely defensive role played by antifa at Charlottesville is not typical of the loosely affiliated groups that identify under that banner. It was the exception. In other parts of the country, in other incidents, antifa have been the clear aggressors. On multiple occasions they have physically attacked peaceful right-wing demonstrators. They have used violence and the threat of violence to bar right-wing speakers from college campuses, a direct violation of free speech to which all are entitled. In short, they have acted as anarchistic, violence-prone adrenaline junkies.

I’ve seen and read the excuses for such behavior. “They are fighting fascism,” the argument goes. “They are employing violence to shut down hate speech and hate groups, and those are evils so great that violence against them is justified.”

No. No, it isn’t. Because once you’ve embraced that exception, all kinds of problems present themselves. If hate speech and hate groups are legitimate targets for violence, who gets to define “hate speech” and “hate groups”? Are you really comfortable with secret antifa cells getting to decide which groups will be allowed to participate in public debate, and which are not?

Are you willing to let other groups make that same kind of decision?

Some on the right see Black Lives Matter as a hate group. Others see Islam as a hate group. According to that notorious #AlphaFail, Sebastian Gorka, the Southern Poverty Law Center is “a racist hate group.” In Portland, Ore., a local “rose parade” was canceled earlier this year because local antifa had threatened violence if the Republican Party was allowed to participate, and because antifa there had demonstrated the capacity to carry out the threat.

Again, no. That is not by any means acceptable. And these examples aren’t the excesses of antifa. This is the essence of antifa. Endorsing antifa is the left-wing equivalent of endorsing “Second Amendment solutions,” and it creates the same sort of problems.

You cannot use organized violence and physical intimidation as political tactics, as antifa does, and then claim to be anti-authoritarian. Political violence is the core of authoritarianism.

 

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

1595 comments
Charlie Byrd
Charlie Byrd

I'll take a punk over a white supremacist any day.

Stephen Buckley
Stephen Buckley

Wow Bookman finally says something I can agree with.....astonishing

Barbara Sayer Farmer
Barbara Sayer Farmer

If they think that there so tuff, why in the hell don't they show their faces. What the matter are the little sissies scared that someone will recognize who they are, besides they wouldn't know how to fight in a war or let alone survive a catastrophe if one was to ever occur.

Scott Maney
Scott Maney

The ignorance of the left is amazing.

Gary Haire
Gary Haire

Nazi's violence must be met with defensw, is the answer to others violence. Thats what gets nazi's and the kkk attention.

Nick Clifton
Nick Clifton

Violent rednecc never like it when you give them a taste of their own meds, you know the whole eye for an eye thing. Poor Nazi snowflakes and their sympathizers. Lol

Blanco
Blanco

The old Civil Rights Movement set an example of non-violence that resulted in victory (the destruction of the Jim Crow segregation system).  They schooled their demonstrators in non-violence (despite intense provocation) because they knew that their opponents would use any violence by their people to confuse the issues before the public, and victory for any social movement is impossible without public support.

Mike Gray
Mike Gray

Kevin they are no better than Nazis or the KKK they are the flip side of the same coin.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith

And criminals, and fascists, and socialists, and communists and dog squeeze.

Jay Smallwood
Jay Smallwood

They are both socialists...the Nazis and Antifa....let them kill each other off...

Genie R Krivanek
Genie R Krivanek

No, they are NOT punks. They are RIOTERS and CRIMINALS!!!! They need to be unmasked and mprisioned!!!

Kevin Kitchen
Kevin Kitchen

Antifa, like them or not, is actively taking the fight to the racist neo Nazi Alt Right. And nobody else is. At least they aren't watching this festering cancer grow and waiting to be marched into death camps. We've seen this show before and we don't want a sequel because it didn't end good. So, while you might rightfully question their tactics, always remember that the enemy of your enemies is your friend.

Cheryl Lacey
Cheryl Lacey

Beware of masked people....why hide at PEACEFUL protest

Chris Policronis
Chris Policronis

Antifa is the problem. All of the violence is coming from the left.

Will Cazmir
Will Cazmir

I can't believe racist white people are fighting non-racist white people. It's the 70's all over again. It warms my heart to see people other than AA that care

Tevis Wilson
Tevis Wilson

Antifa antifa they are the KKK they're haters of America the part of the Democrat they're the haters of America air for the Isis should be treated like Isis with no hesitation

Kamchak
Kamchak

@td1234

  I am saying you are a pathetic AH.

Rimsky got a week off for something similar.

Just sayin'.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@Kamchak 

Oh God.  If Jay gives td the Bobby Cox, the screaming will be heard in Alaska.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

I am going to sit this right here for Jay to see.  td is having a melt down because he started a race war down below and lost.


td1234 2 minutes ago

@Brosephus @td1234 I am saying you are a pathetic AH. So what? 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 even if we subtract your various other groups cited by the SPLC, what about the rest?  The number is far more than 5000, one group alone has 3000 members.


The SPLC breaks down the groups by category, noting that there were 99 neo-Nazi groups, 130 outposts of the KKK, 43 neo-Confederate groups, 78 racist skinhead groups and 100 white nationalist groups.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Hot dang but td is having one epic meltdown today. To kuut!

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

@Kamchak


What if people only talk about poverty.  Others feel a need to include black, white, yellow, brown or any other color in front of poverty.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Kamchak

Habitual and/or generational poverty among whites gets no support from me.


Kamchak
Kamchak

@TetoLeo

  Others feel a need to include black, white, yellow, brown or any other color in front of poverty.

I have never heard an anecdotal story about white people in the grocery store buying cigs and beer with foodstamps.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@TetoLeo @Kamchak "Others feel a need to include black, white, yellow, brown or any other color in front of poverty."


Because then they might actually have to think about the problem instead of just blaming a certain race.  They just cannot overcome that mental deficiency to get to the actual problem. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

I'll bring this forth again so people can understand what Antifa's ultimate goal is.

The 2016 annual report by Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), notes the same point: From the viewpoint of the “left-wing extremist,” the label of “fascism” as pushed by Antifa often does not refer to actual fascism, but is merely a label assigned to “capitalism.”

While leftist extremists claim to be fighting “fascism” while launching their attacks on other groups, the report states the term “fascism” has a double meaning under the extreme-left ideology, indicating the “fight against the capitalist system.”

This held true from the beginning, according to Langer. For the communists in Germany, “anti-fascism” merely meant “anti-capitalism.” He notes the labels merely served as “battle concepts” under a “political vocabulary.” 

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2282816-the-communist-origins-of-the-antifa-extremist-group/

While some amongst them may be your garden variety street thugs, their goal is clear.

It can be heard in their chants.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

td1234 3 minutes ago

@StraightNoChaser Like I said you defend the definition of calling Dr. Ben Carson a racist


You are a liar.  I have never called nor have defended ANY one calling Dr. Carson a racist.  He is on proud display at the African American history museum in DC as one of the pioneers of the black race.  Stop lying trying to run behind Dr. Carson's coat tail to promote your white supremacist  hate agenda.  

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser @td1234 You just defended the SPLC definition of white supremacist when they said Dr Ben Carson was one. 


Just damn. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser SPLC said COULD also share and SOME ideology, not all.  Just damn you can't stop lying can you?  Like I said stop making sheit up.


Various other groups – those classified as anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, Christian identity or general hate groups – could also share some ideology with white supremacist or white nationalist groups

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

And I'll say it again--Good on the rally organizers for having the courage to let BLM take their stage, and to have its say.

More like this, please.

Brosephus
Brosephus

td1234 just now

@LogicalDude No, I do not buy into the left wing BS propaganda. 

td1234 15 minutes ago

@TetoLeo SPLC says 5000 in the entire US.

---------------------

If someone came up with an app to help you keep track of your lies, they would become a billionaire just from td alone.

You're a pathetic liar.

td1234
td1234

@Brosephus So you are saying the SPLC is wrong in its numbers of the clan? 

Brosephus
Brosephus

@td1234

No, I'm saying you are a pathetic liar.  You like the SPLC numbers but then turned around and claimed that you do not buy into the left wing BS.

Which one is correct?  If you believe the numbers, then you are buying into the left wing BS.  If you don't buy the BS, then you don't believe the numbers.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@LogicalDude 

Only if he admits to buying the BS.  As he's in nuclear meltdown mode, then I doubt that he will admit to it.