How the Left sees its political violence: as innocents victimized

Summary: Slowly the Left begins to grapple with the cycle of political violence they have begun and realize that this might end badly for them and America. That is not enough and is too late. Stopping the escalation requires the Left to see their role in it as other than pretty protesters with a tiny violent (but well-meaning) fringe.

“This is the moment our generation decides whether we are a society of laws & freedoms, or violence & militance.”
— Jeff Giesea (on Twitter).

Black Bloc in Milan

Guns, Extremism, and Threats of Escalation.

By Rick Perlstein at the Washington Spectator.
“Behind the far-right’s ‘counter-resistance’”.

“A friend writes, “For basically the past six months or so I’ve been trying to tell my lefty friends in so many words, ‘Hey, there are a bunch of people on the Internet who are waiting for someone to tell them it’s okay to start shooting at you.’” He became concerned when a thread at the non-political firearms-enthusiasts website he regularly follows became filled with comments in all caps referring to liberals as enemies who must be shot. Developments both online and off following Donald Trump’s election have caused me to share his concern. …

“Then came February 1 in Berkeley and things really started getting scary.

“The saga of what happened when Milo Yiannopoulos came to speak at the flagship campus of the University of California has since become foundational, not just with the alt-right but with quite nearly the entire right. Alt-right provocateur Yiannopoulos was turned back by violent protests, which culminated in the burning of a portable generator. Stuffed down the wingnut memory hole are the events that preceded the mêlée. The violence was, in fact, preceded by peaceful protests by approximately 1,500 Berkeley students, until they were waylaid by a tiny handful of off-campus “Black Bloc” and “antifa,” or anti-fascist, cadres who believe racist speech licenses violent resistance. …

“How afraid of this should you be? The most interesting answers to that question do not come from the left. They come from concerned voices on the right, who’ve been monitoring the chatter with mounting alarm, going public with pleas to liberals to still the antifa renegades before bodies begin piling up. The most convincing evidence that they have a point comes in the ensuing comment threads, where the need to prepare for armed force is taken as gospel.”

Then follows 2,500 words of accurate reporting about violence and talk of violence by the far-right. Scary stuff. (For more about this see What are the odds of violence from the Right in America?) He ends with the left’s ritualistic invocation of Hitler: “Maybe it’s all just idle Internet chatter. But didn’t they used to say that about Munich beer halls once, too?” (Never mentions of Stalin or Mao.)

Perlstein follows the standard frame of both Left and Right when reporting political violence. Their side is virtuous; the others are evil incarnate. Accordingly his account is ludicrously one-sided. This is the biased view used by both sides to justify escalation of conflicts.

All Perlstein says about violence by the Left is…

“Alt-right provocateur Yiannopoulos was turned back by violent protests, which culminated in the burning of a portable generator. Stuffed down the wingnut memory hole are the events that preceded the mêlée. The violence was, in fact, preceded by peaceful protests by approximately 1,500 Berkeley students, until they were waylaid by a tiny handful of off-campus ‘Black Bloc’ and ‘antifa,’ or anti-fascist, cadres who believe racist speech licenses violent resistance.”

The LA Times tells a different story.

“In February, UC Berkeley officials criticized what they described as a paramilitary force armed with bats, steel rods, fireworks and Molotov cocktails. They set a fire on campus and prevented Yiannopoulos from speaking. ‘They didn’t come to lock arms and sing “Kumbaya,”‘ said Dan Mogulof, assistant vice chancellor and spokesman for UC Berkeley, said at the time. ‘They came to [mess stuff] up,’ he said, using stronger language. …

“‘It wasn’t just people dressed in black who were acting militantly and everyone else is peace-loving Berkeley hippies,’ said Yvette Felarca, a political organizer of By Any Means Necessary, an immigration and affirmative action coalition that seeks to build a mass militant movement. ‘Everyone cheered when those barricades were dismantled. …Everyone was there with us in political agreement of the necessity of shutting it down, whatever it was going to take. It shows we have the power.’”

No mention by the LAT of a “tiny number” of violent leftists (also, Perlstein is guessing about how many of them were students). The peaceful leftist protestors were “waylaid” but Perlstein neglects to mention that the conservative protesters were attacked. Perlstein also neglects to mention the leftists that applauded the violence.

The Left has been escalating political violence

.
In January Richard Spencer, a white supremacist, was sucker-punched by a good leftist — which they applauded. See “Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer Got Punched — You Can Thank the Black Bloc“, an ode to leftist political violence by Natasha Lennard at The Nation. Daniel Nexen (assoc. prof of government at Georgetown) wrote “How is this Even a Thing?“, a tepid condemnation of “some dude {who} sucker-punched an asshole racist neo-Nazi (or post-Nazi or whatever) who was giving an interview.” Most of the comments were full Stalinist, cheering street violence against enemies of the people.

Many leftist websites were giddy about this violence and eager for more (e.g., this at The Fader). Beth Spencer (an artist) wrote at Lawyers, Guns and Money: “When Is It OK to Punch Nazis? Always.” They did not have to wait long for more to cheer.

On March 2 leftists rioted at Middlebury College to suppress a speech by Charles Murray. The Addison County Independent reported about it (see this for more details).

“As Stanger, Murray and a college administrator left McCullough Student Center last evening following the event, they were ‘physically and violently confronted by a group of protestors,’ according to Bill Burger, the college’s vice president for communications and marketing. Burger said college public safety officers managed to get Stanger and Murray into the administrator’s car.

“’The protestors then violently set upon the car, rocking it, pounding on it, jumping on and try to prevent it from leaving campus,” he said. ‘At one point a large traffic sign was thrown in front of the car. Public Safety officers were able, finally, to clear the way to allow the vehicle to leave campus. During this confrontation outside McCullough, one of the demonstrators pulled Prof. Stanger’s hair and twisted her neck,’ Burger continued. ‘She was attended to at Porter Hospital later and (on Friday) is wearing a neck brace.’”

On April 7 leftist violence prevented a speech by Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald at Claremont McKenna College (Los Angeles).

“Mac Donald then moved her speech to a livestream, but when the chants turned into threats, and protesters began banging on the windows, campus police had to escort Mac Donald out of the building, escaping through a kitchen and into an unmarked police van outside.

“Student journalists covering the event told Campus Reform that they, too, were under attack, particularly one writer who tried to interview protesters … ‘Protesters tried to prevent me from conducting interviews by pushing me, grabbing me, and blocking my camera. Several protesters followed me around for almost an hour and formed a wall around me,’ the student said.” {See the details, with links, here.}

Sometimes leftists’ threat of political violence is enough to win. In April a liberal city responded to threats of violence if Republicans were allowed to participate in the Roses Parade. Organizers canceled it.

Seattle protest on 20 January 2017
Seattle protest on 20 January 2017. AP photo by Ted Warren.

The April Berkeley Riot

By April the cycle of political violence was in full roar, as thugs on both sides came prepared to fight. Perlstein forgets to mention the accounts of violence by his side’s thugs (e.g., in this story by Dow Jones Heat Street. Plus the many reports of the left’s protestors throwing M-80 firecrackers (powerful ones, capable of inflicting serious injuries). See more photos of Leftist violence at the end of the post (as Perlstein says, the Right committed their share of violent acts there, as well).

Black Bloc sprays Trump supporter at Berkeley
Black Bloc sprays Trump supporter with a chemical irritant at Berkeley on 15 April 2017. Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images. Click to enlarge.

Conclusions

Perlstein is obviously correct about the danger of the far-right escalating the violence. But his description of the situation is false because he grossly understates the Left’s role in this. This is very 21st century America, where responsibility has become one of the few words inappropriate for polite company (unless used in the second or third person).

I wonder if a Republic can survive when its people are unable to clearly see the world and have so little interest in truth (two of the great themes of this website). Both Left and Right have gone bonkers (details here). We need a reality-based community. Rising political violence suggests the clock is running. It will begin with decisions to act by individuals. Like you.

For More Information

Another example of a liberal accurately describes rising right-wing violence but amnesiac about left-wing violence: “Alt-right hopes to organize street-fighting goon squad: Is it more than macho posturing?” by Amanda Marcotte at Salon — “Far-right fanboys are trying to organize street gangs, and the most effective way to fight back may be mockery.”

If you found this post of use, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Also see these posts about the Berkeley riot, about political violence, about reforming America – steps to a new politics, and especially these…

Dick Schumann: Political Violence in the Weimar Republic 1918-1933: Battles for the Streets and Fears of Civil War
Available at Amazon.

A reminder from the past.

Political Violence in the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933: Fight for the Streets and Fear of Civil War by Dirk Schumann (Professor of History at Georg-August University, Göttingen), 2009. From the publisher…

“This book provides a comprehensive analysis of political violence in Weimar Germany with particular emphasis on the political culture from which it emerged. It refutes both the claim that the Bolshevik revolution was the prime cause of violence, and the argument that the First World War’s all-encompassing ‘brutalization’ doomed post-1918 German political life from the very beginning. The study thus contributes to a view of the Weimar Republic as a state in severe crisis but with alternatives to the Nazi takeover.”

More photos of the violence by the Left at Berkeley on April 15

Perlstein clearly sees the violence from the Right. He does not appear to see the violence from his side.

Milk poured on eyes of pepper-sprayed pro-Trump protester in Berkeley
Milk is poured onto the eyes of a Pro-Trump supporter to counter the effects of pepper spray at the corner of Center and Milvia Streets in Berkeley on 15 April 2017. Photo by Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group. Click to enlarge.
Pepper spray at pro-Trump Rally Attracts Anti-Trump at Berkeley riot.
Trump supporters are pepper sprayed at a “Patriots Day” free speech rally in Berkeley on 15 April 2017. Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images. Click to enlarge.
Wounded pro-Trump protestor at Berkeley riot.
A Trump supporter (L) assists an injured woman who was beat up at Berkeley 15 April 2017. Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images. Click to enlarge.

 

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19 thoughts on “How the Left sees its political violence: as innocents victimized

  1. In an earlier post on this subject, I used the phrase “breaking the First Amendment” as a short-cut to my actual thoughts. FM did not make the connection because I didn’t give enough context because I didn’t have enough time. I’m going to try to explain my concern in sufficient detail this time.

    FM hits on the main themes I was going to make but I will reiterate them briefly. The unspoken covenant that drives the First Amendment is that every person has the right to speak even though the rest of us have the right to not listen. The reason for the covenant is two-fold 1) the belief that whatever the other person says, I will say in response will be more persuasive and 2) the other person is a member of my tribe called the USA (or at least is human and I should recognize their rights).

    As FM has noted in other articles, the SJW and other lefties have won a number of battle recently on topics that are inflammatory (most notably gay marriage rights and the fall-out from that) but not meaningful to major businesses or the the governance of the country. The alt-right movement rose up to use the same tactics as the lefties to speak for either slowing down or reversing the pace of change. They have not been particularly successful other than in supporting Trump (which was meaningless because the key factor in Trump’s victory was the collapse of support for Hillary in the last few days of the election by left and center).

    The lefties, stunned by Hillary’s defeat, (although Hillary was most profoundly NOT one of them) have crossed the line. They now fear that the alt-right will successfully use their own tactics against them and reverse what the lefties victories (which means that they do not really believe that more reasonable parts of their agenda such things as gay marriage will be viewed as a just cause by most Americans, I think they are wrong) and that the alt-right is not a member of their tribe and does not have human rights (the latter of which is again, very wrong).

    Donald Trump did not directly cause any of this, what he added to the boiling cauldron of troubles is to persuade people that believing in alternate facts (aka “magical thinking”) is a viable path to success as long as you are persuasive enough. This might be true in the short-run but is never true in the medium or long-term. I propose a variation on the Bene Gesserit vow. Fear is not the only mind-killer, failing to search out the truth is, long-term, a much more dangerous mind-killer.

    Like

  2. FM, “Decision to act by individual like me.”

    Fabius, I’m stuck in my OODA Loop. I’m paralysed by information overload. On top of that trying to discern truth and reality as you recommend.

    William Lind’s commentary about our Second Civil War and his novel Victoria come to mind. Things are not panning out like the book. They still could and that is scary even though the book was a hoot!
    So here I am at the “A” of my loop but unsure what Action to take.

    You mentioned demonstrations more than once and give good examples of what fails and what succeeds. I have posted my interpretations with links to other sites and to friends and family.

    Your specific instruction would be very helpful. I want to DO but I want to be right. Been fooled too many times. You’ve informed me much.

    So far I believe we best use the methods of Ghandi, MLK, Aquino and the Chinese at Tiananmen. I understand I must be willing to take a whack for the cause but not in vain!

    We need a Lowest American Common Denominator. Suggestions? Organization?

    Lastly, what saddens me is how I had a hand in getting us to this point. I feel somewhat responsible. So I’m motivated to correct my mistakes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. longtrail,

      I suggest leaving the high-level thoughts for a later time.

      Also, do what you can to help. Donate money and/or time. Start by getting involved locally, contacting and networking like-minded people — and converting others. Do what you enjoy. Teaching, art, writing – there are roles for everyone.

      For suggestions see these posts: Reforming America: steps to new politics. Even the longest journey begins with a first small step.

      Like

  3. Perlstein is accustomed to “feeling righteous.” Altering the narrative to make his side less culpable is necessary to maintain adequate levels of righteous indignation toward the hated “other.”

    The emotional rigidity — the inability to step back and see any other point of view than one’s own which leads inexorably to violence — comes from the deep belief that one is “saving the world.” If one believes that inciting potentially deadly violence can help to discredit the forces of evil who are destroying the planet, then large numbers of today’s young and not so young are easily led to join the mob.

    Saving the world is a heady thing, after all, and justifies almost any evil thing one might do, at least in the minds of those who have never developed significant depth of independent thought. Seeing the fallacies within one’s own thinking seems quite beyond the “fascist antifa.”

    Like

    1. alfin,

      I agree on all points.

      I’ve wanted to write about the Left’s complete loss of self-awareness, as seen in here. An almost identical article could be written about the Left, something Perilstein seems blissfully unaware of. It was one of their great advantages vs. the Right. Loss of this has left them adrift, dominated by epistemic closure (talking too much only to each other, so their thinking drifts off into fantasy).

      Like

  4. “A friend writes, “For basically the past six months or so I’ve been trying to tell my lefty friends in so many words, ‘Hey, there are a bunch of people on the Internet who are waiting for someone to tell them it’s okay to start shooting at you.’”

    Indeed. I’ve been trying to explain that to my lefty friends as well. I’m not sure they realize the full scope of potential consequences of political violence. If one frequents firearms sites one realizes that there are a lot of people out there, often ex-military, who often spend their weekends combat training, and, needless to say, are armed to the teeth. Most of them are basically good people but believe strongly that all leftists and even Democrats are nothing but Stalinists in sheep’s clothing who hate America and want nothing more than to destroy freedom, God, motherhood and apple pie. “Open season on liberals” is a running joke in many a comment section, but there are always a few that seem to actually take it seriously. So far their reactions to the escalating political violence have been disgust, mockery and bemusement, but with a recognition that things could get more serious quickly. Perhaps as a consequence of the Right’s fetishization of personal independence, though, they tend to not be well-organized into groups, with some notable exceptions like the OathKeepers.

    My concern is that at some point the left will provoke these people into joining their street violence party, at which point sap gloves and baseball bats are not going to cut it. They really are poking a slumbering bear with a stick.

    I’ve also been watching for another ominous development — the recognition by the Antifa types that they are not well-equipped to compete in the kind of violence that they have newly embraced and take steps to rectify that. They actually have the hard part down — the organization. The training and equipment advantages of their potential adversaries on the right are easily rectified with some money and a few weeks of dedication.

    So imagine my disappointment when I came across this video of Antifa activists training with rifles (and bayonets!) in the desert. The reactions of gun nutters to this video has mostly been mockery of their poor firearms handling and marksmanship skills but it sent chills down my spine. Give them three months of training and things may not be so humorous.

    We do seem to be dancing down a dark path, like a drunk stumbling in slow motion, and I am also very worried about where this all leads.

    Like

  5. “This is very 21st century America, where responsibility has become one of the few words inappropriate for polite company (unless used in the second or third person).

    I wonder if a Republic can survive when its people are unable to clearly see the world and have so little interest in truth (two of the great themes of this website). Both Left and Right have gone bonkers (details here). We need a reality-based community. Rising political violence suggests the clock is running. It will begin with decisions to act by individuals. Like you.”
    …….
    Responsibility.
    Ha…so true. Try using that idea in discussions and watch the responses.
    Best we can do is be responsible. Can you believe I even need to write that? Goodness. Get one’s act together is a great and noble job. Then squeeze in the pathway to helping Others.
    As FM writes above……”Also, do what you can to help. Donate money and/or time. Start by getting involved locally, contacting and networking like-minded people — and converting others. Do what you enjoy. Teaching, art, writing – there are roles for everyone.”
    That alone is is a great Life. Local efforts are illuminating and so few will take the necessary time on just those issues. It is citizenship and connects you deeply to your Community. Big stuff!

    Like

  6. Thank you for your reply. All your advice is already being followed. I’ve always been passionate, perhaps too much.

    Regarding the other comments, the mention of firearms related sites and descriptions thereof are spot on. I see it all over the net as well.

    As an NRA and gun club member I am even more acutely aware. The consensus among us is same as consensus here on FM site. The members think and act locally, they’re small town folk, but they’ve been around and are accomplished. We are a civic minded club, Sheriff’s SWAT and US Coast Guard borrow our facilities.

    Like

  7. Thank you for your reply. All your advice is already being followed. I’ve always been passionate, perhaps too much.

    Regarding the other comments, the mention of firearms related sites and descriptions thereof are spot on. I see it all over the net as well.

    As an NRA and gun club member I am even more acutely aware. The consensus among us is same as consensus here on FM site. The members think and act locally, they’re small town folk, but they’ve been around and are accomplished. We are a civic minded club, Sheriff’s SWAT and US Coast Guard borrow our facilities.

    Street fighting is discussed but farthest from our minds. We are marksmen, paper punchers not training for combat. The vast majority of our members are in the 70-80+ age group!

    How about a Boomer March! We can carry signs like “Sorry” or “Did Our Best”. In order to involve our offspring “Legalize Weed”, “Same Sex Mariage”, “Universal Medicine” and “Save Our Planet”. Labor can bring their usual signs. ;-)

    Best regards.

    Like

    1. Hi Longtrail,

      It’s true that the age of most gun guys is trending toward the geriatric (demographics is not on the side of gun rights unfortunately) and most of them are just interested in punching paper and/or hunting. But there’s also a set of 20-30 somethings, many of whom are veterans, who spend their money on multi-day “tactical” carbine courses and setting up their “fighting rifle” for when “SHTF.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, per se, but those folks could easily form the nucleus of a modern-day Freikorps if it does come down to serious street fighting. And worse, if the left comes up with something to match them.

      All still low-probability events but getting more probable with each news cycle, it seems.

      Like

  8. This website is one of the few that has been writing consistently rational, moral responses to the current political and social crisis (and crisis it truly is) over free speech rights and political violence. Almost everyone else, left and right, seems to be caught up in groupthink: too busy trying to justify their childish fetishising of violence.

    For a brief moment, the right held the moral high ground, but they have quickly surrendered it: and the turning-point was the so-called “Battle of Berkeley”.

    Far from the myth-making the right are circle-jerking themselves with, it is obvious that the Berkeley rally had little to do with free speech, and everything to do with simply provoking a fight with Antifa. This was obvious enough in the lead-up, with YouTube loudmouths like Gavin McInnes openly inciting his followers to start beating up Antifa in retaliation for the latter’s thuggish violence, and “Based Stick-Man” Glen Chapman, dressed up in full LARP cosplay gear, invoking infantile fantasies of the Normandy landings.

    The proof came on the day, though, when the right, contrary to their claims of “self-defense”, were openly parading, not just offensive weapons prior to the event, but clearly captured on video launching unprovoked attacks on their opponents.

    None of this is to justify the idiotic savagery of Antifa, of course. A pox on both their houses, quite frankly.

    Like

    1. Lushington,

      “A pox on both their houses, quite frankly.”

      I believe that is the essential insight about today’s politics: both left and right have gone bonkers. Each sides sees this clearly — in their political foes, but are blind about similar faults in their side. Two one-eyed maniacs bludgeoning each other, with America as a collateral casualty.

      “This website is one of the few that has been writing consistently rational, moral responses to the current political and social crisis (and crisis it truly is) over free speech rights and political violence.”

      Bad business sense.

      Like

  9. There’s no real evidence from the article that Perlstein is being dishonest about the events surrounding Berkeley. The article was about ‘the far-right’s counter-resistance’ and he does a pretty good job towards that end: finding and verifying sources within right-wing activist circles and then *reporting* on what he found. He never condones the violence of the Berkeley protesters or interjects to condemn the rightwing activists. As far as I can tell, your real complaint is that he chose to report on one aspect of partisan political violence rather than issuing your favorite flavor of sermon.

    Also, I don’t really understand the bizarre insistence that Perlstein needs to talk about left and rightwing violence in the same article. How far should we extend this standard? If someone were writing about 1960s leftwing groups like the Weather Underground, would they be obligated to mention right-wing death squads in S. America as well? Does a historian writing a book about Nazi Germany have to include a chapter called “Stalin was bad too though”?

    Like

    1. Tips,

      So you didn’t read the article. That’s cool. Here are a few quotes from your comment, followed by what you would have learned if you read the article.

      (1) “he does a pretty good job towards that end: finding and verifying sources within right-wing activist circles and then *reporting* on what he found.”

      The first sentence after the excerpt says that he gave “2,500 words of accurate reporting about violence and talk of violence by the far-right”.

      (2) “As far as I can tell, your real complaint is that he chose to report on one aspect of partisan political violence rather than issuing your favorite flavor of sermon.”

      Of course you can’t “tell” much, not having read the article. I used Perlstein as an example of a larger phenomenon. Let’s replay the tape.

      “Perlstein follows the standard frame of both Left and Right when reporting political violence. Their side is virtuous; the others are evil incarnate. Accordingly his account is ludicrously one-sided. This is the biased view used by both sides to justify escalation of conflicts.”

      (3) “There’s no real evidence from the article that Perlstein is being dishonest about the events surrounding Berkeley.”

      If you had read the article you would see the quote of Perlstein about violence (lack of it) by the Left, contradicted by the LAT (and a thousand other media reports).

      (4) “If someone were writing about 1960s leftwing groups like the Weather Underground, would they be obligated to mention right-wing death squads in S. America as well?”

      Weird. Perlstein isn’t talking about events on different continents — but two sides of the same riot. To discuss only violence by one side while misrepresenting that of the other side gives an incorrect picture of the event.

      Like

    2. “Perstein follows the standard frame… their side is virtuous”. That’s exactly what I was addressing in my first post. Perlstein never condones the violence, in fact calls it violence bluntly, but given his piece is about the response of right-wing activist groups to Berkeley, does not spend more than a couple of sentences on it. He never calls the protestors ‘virtuous’. Maybe you disagree with what number constitutes ‘tiny’ but the LAT article you keep mentioning like it’s damning evidence never tries to figure out how many people were involved in the black bloc tactics. It mentions about 20 people were arrested and quotes a pro and an anti-protestor witness. Again, there’s nothing solid in the LAT article contradicting Perlstein’s account of the events.

      If you don’t like the examples I gave there are plenty of others: violence of segregationists vs violence of the Black Panther Party, etc. The point is that someone can try to understand political violence without being sanctimonious or engaging in theatrics. Perlstein’s piece is a pretty good example – it tries to establish an accurate reading of recent right-wing activist activity without fear-mongering or downplaying some disturbing trends.

      Like

    3. tips,

      You keep giving rebuttals to things I didn’t say. That is to say, you’re lying about my post. Now you lie about my reply.

      (1) “Perlstein never condones the violence”

      I didn’t say that he did. Try to reply to direct quotes.

      (2) “If you don’t like the examples I gave there are plenty of others: violence of segregationists vs violence of the Black Panther Party, etc.”

      Again you lie. I never said or implied that I “don’t like the examples {you} gave” of right-wing violence. In the post I explicitly agreed with Perlstein’s accounts of right-wing violence:

      “Then follows 2,500 words of accurate reporting about violence and talk of violence by the far-right. Scary stuff. (For more about this see What are the odds of violence from the Right in America?)”

      (3) “Maybe you disagree with what number constitutes ‘tiny’ but the LAT article you keep mentioning like it’s damning evidence never tries to figure out how many people were involved in the black bloc tactics.”

      That’s not a lie, just bizarre. The LAT article, and the many others, contradicts Perlstein’s claims of “tiny”. As do the many videos of the event.

      (4) “The point is that someone can try to understand political violence without being sanctimonious or engaging in theatrics.”

      Perhaps you should try to do so without lying.

      Like

    4. The title of your blog post was “How the Left sees its political violence: as innocents victimized” It then uses Perlstein’s article as an example of a partisan who sees his side as ‘virtuous’ (your exact word). Exactly how would anyone reading the title of your blog post and then reading your description of Perlstein’s article as an example of a ‘ludicrously one-sided’ account following the ‘standard frame’ that ‘their side is virtuous; the others are evil incarnate’ come away with any conclusion other than Perlstein condoned the violence?

      You keep repeating your one line, “then follows 2,500 words of accurate reporting about violence…” as if this is the source of our argument. Neither of us disagrees that Perlstein’s reporting is factually accurate – the entire disagreement comes from your characterization, implicit and explicit, of Perlstein’s article being willfully deceptive about leftist violence. I keep making the same point over and over that you seem to miss over and over: there is nothing in Perlstein’s article suggesting deception. You seem (because who really knows the actual impetus of your strangely disgruntled response) angry at all of one word: ‘tiny’. I actually mentioned the number of people arrested – “about twenty” – from the LAT times article. You don’t mention any numbers explicitly or try to find the number of people involved in black bloc tactics. Since the entire disagreement comes down to what you think constitutes ‘tiny’ – maybe you should actually try to provide a verifiable figure.

      Just as a piece of general advice, you could learn a lot from the way Perlstein writes about politics. Notice how he is able to report on pretty vile stuff, including the shooting of a protestor by a right-wing activist, without demanding the entire right morally condemn such behavior in the next breath? Notice how he doesn’t use every vile remark he hears as an opportunity to do nothing more than mouth pious cant about ‘neither left nor right’ and feel righteous?

      Like

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