August 23, 2017 by gregrabidoux2013
Currently, there is a petition making the rounds at about 160,000 signatures strong so far, that is requesting the White House officially name the Anti-Fascist group or “Antifa” for short, as a domestic terrorist group.
Supporters of this petition-drive have far more signatures than needed to have their request formally reviewed and a decision then enacted, one way or the other.
So, the question is fast becoming not when but if such action should be taken.
If so labeled, the Antifas would ironically join such groups as the Aryan Nations (White Supremacists) the Ku Klux Klan and the Neo-Nazis in sharing the dubious and definitive label as a terrorist group. This, despite their (The Antifas) stated assertion that they diametrically oppose such groups, defend freedom of speech and only resort to violence if so attacked, essentially in self-defense.
Critics of Antifa beg to differ.
They claim that these folks, the ones you may have seen on television news or facebook wearing black masks and armed with tear gas, baseball bats or long wooden sticks with sharpened nails at the end (to both stab humans and police horses) are no defenders of free speech or practitioners of tolerance. But rather, their critics allege, these are the very same protesters using violence, intimidation or coercion to suppress free speech, and to chill any freedom of thought they do not agree with or support.
Antifas have been blamed for fostering and leading violent protests or counter-protests recently at the University of California at Berkeley, Seattle, Sacramento, Claremont, NYU, Columbia University, the UVA at Charlottesville, Bosti and last night (8/22/2017) in a counter-rally to protest the president’s own rally in Phoenix. AZ.
As Antifa and By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) leader Yvette Felarca, a Berkeley elementary school teacher when not leading counter-protest rallies says, such violence is justified in the face of hatred, extremism and fascism.
Of course, when we have two groups literally attacking each other as we did in Charlottesville recently (the Antifas, Black Lives Matter and BAMN on one side and the White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis and KKK on the other) handing definitive and certain labels can become problematic. As President Trump found out much to his chagrin, expressing any moral ambiguity whatsoever when it comes to whom and what to denounce creates its own violent and heated backlash. However deserved it may be.
But rather than retracing and reinterpreting what Mr. Trump said or did not say about these groups and their shameful behavior, what does the law have to say, if anything on the matter?
Well, under US statutory law as proscribed in the most recent Legislative renewal of the USA Patriot Act, a domestic terrorist group is defined as:
Any and all acts of domestic terrorism are those which: “(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended – (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”
According to the FBI there are at least 20 such organizations currently operating and active within the US and they are most concentrated and active within the public policy areas of economic, environmental and animal rights.
It should also be noted that there have been a number of domestic terrorism acts, such as bombing of abortion clinics or the kidnapping and murder of medical professionals involved in performing abortions over the past 40 or more years. Though the majority of these terrorists do not necessarily claim formal affiliation with any known terror group so designated by law.
But what about the Antifas? Innocent defenders of freedom or guilty participants?
Despite their stated mission to defend free speech and their desire to “shut down” hatred, bigotry and racism,” they certainly don’t shrink from using the very same tactics that those they claim (rightly so in the cases of the Neo-Nazis, KKK and White Supremacists) do to advance their political, social and economic agenda. As we have seen this includes attacking uniformed police with rocks, bottles, bricks and tear gas and attacking and physically beating those who hold rallies that fit their and probably just about everyone’s definition of fascists and racists like the groups I’ve mentioned.
But when you consistently fight fire with fire do you then not become an arsonist yourself?
The Antifa movement in its current iteration has deep roots dating back to the civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements of the 1960s. Antifa leaders have both studied and apply the teachings and tactics of domestic terrorist groups like the Black Liberation Army, the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground. In fact, the Antifas recently hired Bill Ayers, the chief “disruptor” and architect of terror attacks on and bombings of US governmental offices and building between 1968-1978 as a “consultant.”
It’s hard to believe that “Bill the Consultant” will offer his expertise on anything but causing upheaval, violence and where best to place and set off bombs.
What we also know about the Antifas is that they are well-funded (financial support has been traced back to liberalist George Soros among others) well trained (they conduct regular briefings and workshops on how to provoke violent reactions) in the art and science of disruption and well motivated (the anti-trump, eco-terrorists and so-called extremist climate changers all claim steadfast support and alignment with Antifa) for the long-haul.
In fact, several of the Occupy Wall Street protesters and occupiers in NYC and Washington DC a few years back are applying the lessons they learned there to the street fights and counter-rallies we now see over the past at least 8-12 months.
So, is Antifa a domestic terrorist group?
Well, at times they certainly look, sound, walk, talk and swing a baseball bat like a DTG.
However, regardless of whether they deserve or get the formal label, I for one, would like to see leaders on the Left like Senators Schumer and Warren, Congresswoman Pelosi, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, DNC Chair Tom Perez, Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama at the very least condemn the hatred and violence emanating from their side of the aisle. But to do so would mean condemning groups like Antifa, BAMN and even Black Lives Matter which has openly called for the slaying of random policemen and women across the USA.
And at the moment the silence from the Left is deafening.
It seems so long as these groups hate Trump that is in and of itself enough reason to look the other way and take a vow of silence.
Our country is becoming far too divided and hate-filled and violent to not acknowledge, condemn and even label hate groups regardless of their stated goals.
Sadly, hatred, racism, bigotry and the commitment to use violence and intimidation to achieve its means is not exclusively found on any one side of the political spectrum.
It’s time our leaders showed the courage to confront and condemn such ugliness wherever and whenever it rears its head.
Because the freedom of speech and thought that any hate group may choose to allow today may just be the very freedoms and thoughts, mine or yours, they target for suppression tomorrow.
And quite frankly, I have a hard time feeling confident that my constitutional rights will be preserved and protected from folks who feel they have to wear white masks, black masks or any masks at all when they “defend” my right to speech.