Summary: Here is a summary of the political violence afflicting America, and a simple recommendation about what to do about it. This is a conclusion to a long series of posts about these disturbing trends.
First, look at the far Left in action.
This is cartoon but represents true events. The often violent war on free political speech at colleges (e.g., Edgewood College, Middlebury College, the Berkeley riot, Evergreen College). Their enthusiasm about their use of political violence (e.g., “punching Nazis“). The May Day riot in Portland. Their attempts to shut down Trump rallies (e.g., here and here). The frequent riots around the world at global trade meetings (e.g., G20 in Hamburg).
Second, look at the alt-Right in action.
This is terrifying and needs no comment. Nazis resurgent.
See the news media coverage of the street fighting.
The NYT applauds their thugs: “‘Antifa’ Grows as Left-Wing Faction Set to, Literally, Fight the Far Right.” They uncritically repeat the statements by the Antifa thugs, with amnesia about the many reports by observers and journalists that both sides were eagerly fighting.
“Last weekend, when a 27-year-old bike messenger showed up at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Va., he came ready for battle. He joined a human chain that stretched in front of Emancipation Park and linked his arms with others, blocking waves of white supremacists — some of them in full Nazi regalia — from entering.
“’As soon as they got close,’ said the young man, who declined to give his real name and goes by Frank Sabaté after the famous Spanish anarchist, ‘they started swinging clubs, fists, shields. I’m not embarrassed to say that we were not shy in defending ourselves.’ …
“In the days after the violent events in Charlottesville, some antifa members responded with an angry call to arms, saying they could not back down from what they described as the ‘aggressors on the right, even if it meant an escalation into gunfights. …
“’The essence of their message is violence,’ Jed, an antifa organizer in New York who asked that his name not be used, said of his right-wing foes. ‘The other side’ — his side — ‘is just responding.’ …”
This is the hallmark of biased reporting of our political street fighting: each side declares that they were just defending themselves. No matter how obviously false, each tribe believes. For example, see How the Left sees its political violence: as innocents victimized.
For a slightly more sophisticated account of the alt-Right counter-revolution, see Reuters: “Charlottesville Exposes New Threat-for College Campuses” — Also note how the reporters are unclear about the problem. Is the problem the alt-Right are holding rallies and passing out flyers, that the Left responds violently, or that both sides are eager to fight. Also, the reporters have amnesia about the years of escalating violence by leftists on campuses, shutting down speech they don’t like.
“On college campuses, white supremacists and other far-right extremist groups see fertile ground to spread their messages and recruit followers. But for many colleges, last weekend’s deadly attack at a rally near the University of Virginia exposed a new threat.
“The rally in Charlottesville left universities across the U.S. bracing for more clashes between extremists and the protesters who oppose them. It also left schools in an increasingly tight bind as they try to ensure campus safety in the face of recruiting efforts by white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups that have escalated beyond campus flyers and online messages, and to balance that with freedom of speech.
“On the eve of Saturday’s rally, young white men wearing khakis and white polo shirts marched through the University of Virginia’s campus, holding torches as they chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans. …
“Far-right groups have promised that more rallies will follow. On Monday, Texas A&M University canceled plans for a “White Lives Matter” rally in September. Two days later, the University of Florida denied a request for white nationalist Richard Spencer to rent space on campus for a September event. Spencer and his supporters are promising court challenges.
“As colleges wonder which campus will be next, Riseling’s group is organizing a series of training events in October to help campus police prepare. ‘If you’re sitting on a campus where this hasn’t happened, consider this your wake-up call that it might,’ she said.
“Last school year, racist flyers popped up on college campuses at a rate that experts called unprecedented. The Anti-Defamation League counted 161 white supremacist ‘flyering incidents’ on 110 college campuses between September and June. Oren Segal, director of the group’s Center on Extremism, said the culprits can’t be dismissed as harmless trolls.”
What should we do?
So far the Left has been the aggressor — seeking out their foes’ demonstrations to disrupt. The Right has been eager to fight back. Let’s not allow their fighting escalate, making it even more difficult to stop.
Street fighters are criminals, no matter how noble their professed motives. There is no right in the Constitution to disrupt demonstrations of your foes. Political officials should condemn violence by both sides. But that is not enough.
DoD has equipped US police to fight a small war. Order the police to keep both sides apart at their events, and quickly suppress any fights that do break out. If necessary, tear gas will weaken the gangs’ enthusiasm. A night in jail will provider rioters time for contemplation about the value of rational debate.
These measures will fix nothing. They will, hopefully, maintain public order — buying time for our normal political processes to sort out these issues. Hopefully to a good end.
What about the alt-Right rallies, their torchlight parades, their Nazi racist anti-semitic slogans? Let them march. If this madness finds a large audience, we are well and truly screwed. I doubt that it will. Political officials failing to condemn them should be ostracised by their own parties.
Suppressing political violence is a matter of will, requiring us to rise above our tribal loyalty to defend the political system that is the heart of America. It is a relatively easy task compared to others that lie ahead.
Which side to support in our Weimerica street battles? The police maintaining order.
For More Information
For more about this problem see Fear the rise of political violence in America. We can still stop it.
If you found this post of use, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Also see these posts about political violence, about racism, about fascism, about reforming America – steps to a new politics, and especially these…
- Fear the rise of political violence in America. We can still stop it.
- Terrorism won yesterday in Berkeley and Portland. See these important stories.
- How the Left sees its political violence: as innocents victimized.
- The Right began the current cycle of political violence in America.
- See the facts about the Charlottesville riot. You decide what they mean.
A reminder from the past.
Let’s not follow the path taken by the Weimar Republic, with its street battles between thuggish armies of Communists and Nazis. It did not end well for them, and won’t end well for us. To see this sad but useful history I recommend 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.”