When you believe violence is an acceptable form of political advocacy.
This feature appears in the November ‘17 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
Antifa is the brainchild of the far-left side of the political spectrum. Not that they claim it; Antifa’s tactics make it too vile to openly embrace. However, violent, disgusting and destructive as it is, it is one they cannot afford to declare criminal because, when the TV cameras are absent, the far left secretly agrees with its goals.
Most Americans are just becoming aware of Antifa protesters dressed in black—faces covered in black bandanas, heads covered in black hats, bodies clad in black shirts and pants—destroying public property and beating the daylights out of anyone they deem out of order. And in the midst of the so-called “mainstream” media’s tolerance for this movement, newspapers and networks around the country point to 5 million NRA members as being the ones inciting “violence” in our country—simply for believing in the God-given right to protect ourselves and our families.
A Little History
But is this a new phenomenon? Or are we looking at another iteration of the same old violently thuggish group? We need only look across the Atlantic for similar actions in the streets of Europe to understand that this tiny, very organized, intensely secretive group has larger aims in mind. When interviewed, Antifa activists claim that violence is necessary, pointing to authoritarianism by racists. Yet the only authoritarianism on display is their own.
Antifa activists have said on camera that those who they proclaim to be racists, Nazis, white supremacists—just because they don’t agree with them—should not be permitted to gather and speak their minds in public.
“The justification [of the use of violence] is that Nazi ideology at its very core is founded on violence and on wielding power by any means,” Mike Isaacson, one of the founders of Smash Racism D.C., an Antifa organization, told thehill.com. “I don’t think anyone should think that someone who is intent on politically organizing for the sake of creating a state-sponsored genocide—I don’t think is something that we should protect.”
Of course, such a “state-sponsored genocide” is only occurring in the minds of these fringe individuals who want simply to hurt, bully and destroy. This type of anti-free speech rhetoric should mobilize the media and Americans everywhere to stand in defense of the First Amendment and our God-given right to free assembly. These are rights so intrinsic to the American experience that we are prone to take them for granted. But we do so at our peril, allowing a group of fanatics playing dress-up and bent on anarchy to rage in our midst. Antifa openly desires the right to physically destroy anyone who offends them, which is chilling.
And that desire for destruction includes targeting police, government and anyone who condemns Antifa’s violence. In fact, Isaacson, who is an anarchist, claims that police departments and the military have been infiltrated by Nazis and “have them kind of on their side.”
“Getting [the] state involved in this is no better than letting the Nazis go free,” he said. Isaacson, who is an anarchist, claims that police departments and the military have been infiltrated by Nazis and “have them kind of on their side. Getting [the] state involved in this is no better than letting the Nazis go free,” he said.
For anyone under the misapprehension that these are new thugs, disabuse yourself—quickly. It seems that some of the same wild-eyed youth who rioted from their Manhattan tent cities during Occupy Wall Street (OWS) are back with a vengeance. Only now they are the trainers—showing up just before the burning of Ferguson, Mo., to rally people who just wanted to protest a perceived injustice. When organizers found the radicals, ne’er-do-wells and carpetbaggers with a taste for violence, they activated them using social media to boost their numbers.
The former OWS thugs then took the show on the road, from Baltimore to Berkeley, Calif., and points in between. Now after years of agitation, it is hard to believe that the Ferguson riots were three years ago. There is no longer a need to train—the followers are ready and spoiling for a fight.
The Original Antifa
In his book Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, author Mark Bray explains the history of the movement and teaches would-be activists in classic how-to style. He describes the aims of the current movement as such: “Simply, Antifa aims to deny fascists the opportunity to promote their oppressive politics, and to protect tolerant communities from acts of violence promulgated by fascists. Critics say shutting down political adversaries is anti-democratic; Antifa adherents argue that the horrors of fascism must never be allowed the slightest chance to triumph again.”
How does hitting police officers with bottles of human waste deny fascists the opportunity to promote their oppressive politics? Why has no one pointed out that political movements rooted in the politics of Europe will invariably deny our constitutional form of governance and strip citizens of rights? And why does Antifa claim the sole right of decision over what is and isn’t acceptable political speech? These questions deserve answers if we are to retain our rights in the face of a secretive, growing, destructive force.
The original anti-fascist movement was born in the 1920s and 1930s as a response to the despotism of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. But this claim is a useful demonstration of the core problem with the current Antifa movement: Those men killed millions of their own citizens and practiced politics in ways that not only drove the world to rebuke them in war, but desolated the wealth of their own nations. The comparison is so rife with contextual error that it is utter fiction. But it serves a dastardly purpose for leftists and anyone who hates President Donald Trump: The movement named after antifascists who fought the genocidal reigns of Mussolini and Hitler has to be noble, virtuous and true. If Antifa is fighting Trump, the logic goes, then he must, therefore, be as bad or worse than those men were.
When asked for proof of this, though, most activists go on the record as saying they are staging a pre-emptive strike against what Trump “might do.” Of course, this pre-emptive strike requires that we suspend our First Amendment right to assemble, and that we recognize a nonexistent right to not be offended. I am utterly offended by white supremacists. But as an American, I recognize that as long as they are expressing speech and their actions remain benign, they have as much of a right to speak as I have to ignore them.
The Violence, The Threats
In September, the Department of Homeland Security classified the activities of Antifa groups as domestic terrorist violence, and with good reason. At every public event, their presence is marked by property damage and grievous bodily harm. DHS documents obtained by Politico expose early knowledge of the dangers of white supremacist groups encountering Antifa. In April 2016, reports referring to “anarchist extremists” connected them with incidences of damage to government buildings, assaults on law enforcement officers and attacks on capitalistic symbols.
The simple fact of the matter is that our government knew back when Barack Obama was still the president that Antifa was loaded for bear and damaging everything in its wake.
This violence serves as a tool for recruitment: Those interested in mixing it up with what they consider to be vile individuals deserving of ire don a balaclava and all black clothing and head in for a heady dose of violent retribution on their “enemies.” Never mind that our political system honors peaceful protests and the free exchange of ideas—this is an opportunity to beat others senseless and get away with it. Make no mistake, the masks are there to ensure anonymity and offer those with grievances a guilt-free mechanism with which to purge their anger.
And that must be stopped. Americans are free to assemble, but we are not free to break the law. The DHS classification should go a long way toward empowering local governments to put a stop to this madness. If not stopped, DHS officials fear that American Antifa might follow the path of their European counterparts, escalating to bombing buildings and people that they don’t like, as we’ve seen in Greece, Italy and Mexico.
According to senior law enforcement officials interviewed by Politico, that madness includes “Antifa guys showing up with weapons, shields and bike helmets and just beating the s*** out of people.” He went on to describe riot activity: “They’re using Molotov cocktails, they’re starting fires, they’re throwing bombs and smashing windows.”
The Media’s Response
Does this sound like what the media has been telling you? In fact, it’s not even remotely close, because the so-called “mainstream” media, in their devout opposition to Trump, are going out of their way to provide cover for Antifa.
Media outlets like the U.K.’s Guardian frame Antifa as a punk-rock type of movement started in the 1980s to combat nationalistic resurgence. Such a take is cunningly styled to mask the violence and engender a sense of normalcy. Referring the reader to popular bands places Antifa in the realm of things that have always been here. “From the collectivist principles of anarchist punk bands such as Crass and Conflict, the political outrage of groups such as the Dead Kennedys, mdc and Discharge, Antifa draws on decades of protest, self-protection and informal networks under the auspices of a musical movement.” Notice how neatly the Guardian omitted the violence we saw as the anarchist streak of Antifa rioted and set cars ablaze at the G20 Summit in Germany.
The loving portrayals of Antifa don’t end with Mark Bray’s book, articles in TheWashington Post or surrogate appearances for Democracy Now! The entire media apparatus seems to be in on the apology tour defending Antifa. The New York Times classifies the group’s violent activities as having “clashed with” white supremacists, without any delineation of the melees started by those dressed in black, carrying Antifa propaganda materials and wielding bats. When did the American concept of freedom of speech become only freedom to those who believe a certain way, all others be damned—or damaged?
CNN even wrote a feature story detailing the preparations made by an individual protester on his way to an event with others in his Antifa group. It was a sympathetic treatment of an individual who admitted to attacking others while masked.
While CNN did report that the black bloc antifascist movements originated in Nazi Germany, it stopped short of condemning the violent actions admitted to by the participants. And the network’s tone isn’t one of reproach, describing the leftists as seeking “peace through violence.” Well, isn’t that quaint—and nonsensical!
As ironic as it seems, the media can’t bring themselves to see that Antifa are true fascists in today’s American political equation. True fascists have always invented a threat as a way to seize control. Antifa who label conservatives—or anyone who believes differently than they do—as fascists, Nazis or racists would do well to take a good, hard look in the mirror to see where true fascism lives and prospers.
Meanwhile, media continue to push the false narrative that it is the 5 million members of the NRA who are the real “violent” threat to our nation. The New York Times proclaims that NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch saying the organization will fight anti-freedom lies “with the clenched fist of truth” is an incitement to violence, even as Antifa use their fists—along with bricks and rocks—to beat down those who dare to express a different opinion.
In the aftermath of Loesch’s pronouncement, she and her family received numerous death threats from those opposed to “violence.” The NRA was even proclaimed a hate group by some leftist organizations.
Just try being a conservative-minded speaker who visits a college campus these days. Fact is, you’d be taking your life into your own hands. When did the American concept of freedom of speech become only freedom to those who believe a certain way, all others be damned—or damaged? When did being a congressman who wants to have a town hall meeting back in his home district become an open invitation for shouting, bottle throwing and violent harassment, all for simply wanting to communicate freely with constituents? When did America’s young people stray from hoping for peace on earth and freedom for all, to seeking to completely silence those with other views, no matter the cost?
The media should be saying, in no uncertain terms, that anyone committing violence to silence another group is criminal and must be stopped. They should be helping shut down any violent activities, not subtly giving a wink and a nod to those who wish to kill the free speech of others—a freedom that media, of all groups, should never take for granted. And they should not be joining in the alt-Left’s redefining of once acceptable terms as something they are not—like “political speech” now equated to “violence,” “voter identification” equals “racism,” or “conservative” equals “fascist.”
With funding from George Soros and others, Antifa isn’t going away any time soon. Our only recourse as Americans is to require our elected officials to enforce the law and prosecute those who commit acts of violence, regardless of where they stand in the political spectrum.
Seeing the rise of Antifa in response to the Democrats losing a presidential election makes me long for the days of the Tea Party—lots of grandkids in red, white and blue, flags waving, permits requested and paid for, and port-a-potties on site. And after a course of rowdy pro-America speeches, public spaces left without a speck of trash and absolutely no property damage in sight
Stacy Washington is a decorated Air Force veteran, Emmy-nominated TV personality and host of nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right,” based in St. Louis. She loves God and guns, and is a member of the NRA.