Unable to hang Russia collusion charges on President Donald Trump, The Washington Post has turned to a new and far more dangerous tactic – normalizing and promoting left-wing hate groups in hopes of encouraging violent conflict against the president and, in particular, his supporters.
Days before the rioting in Charlottesville, Va., the Post ran a feature on the cool kids who were gravitating to the anarchist movement. It delved into their weekly potlucks (deviled eggs, banana bread, occasional Popeye’s chicken and a late start because the group runs on “anarchist standard time”) and how they wore black masks “so that authorities would have a harder time identifying – and convicting – participants.”
Then, rather than try to find out why a former Obama acolyte had organized the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, it devoted days of coverage to how it was Trump’s fault because he had not sufficiently denounced racism.
Then, it gave op-ed space to Mark Bray, who calls himself an historian of human rights, terrorism and political radicalism and, of course, a lecturer at Dartmouth – but who actively is seeking to become the intellectual explainer/justifier of alt-left street violence. In fact, what Bray, who wrote a book last year about the Occupy movement, is attempting to do goes beyond that. He is trying to create the intellectual case for beating up anyone who disagrees with you politically and implementing the “no platform” strategy – which means to give opposing speakers no platform to share their views.
Bray’s line is that the precursors of Antifa were the anti-fascist groups of the 1920s and 1930s in Germany and Italy, and if they had been able to attract more followers and disrupt more events, World War II itself might have been avoided.
Today’s Antifa, he said, exists to assure this mistake is not made again. What about this business of disagreeing with your speech but defending your right to say it? “Anti-fascists fundamentally disagree with that premise,” Bray said. Rather, they “want a political content to how we look at speech in society, which is drastically different from a liberal take, and this entails shutting down the extreme manifestations of fascism and neo-Nazism.”
In other words, to prevent another World War II, we need to disabuse ourselves of the notions of free expression associated with the First Amendment. A “political content to how we look at speech in society” is precisely what the First Amendment forbids.
The task is urgent, Bray said. The party that gave us Hitler had just 54 members when he joined; the group that gave us Mussolini numbered only in the 40s. The time to go violent on Nazi and white supremacist protesters is now, before they can gain strength to make serious trouble, Bray said.
“The fascists didn’t actually stage a revolution to come to power; they worked within the political system, and all the reasonable dialogue and debate that one could muster did not do the job,” Bray said. “The argument is that if we want such a horrific crime to not reoccur, it needs to be nipped in the bud through a variety of tactics, but one of which is through violently disrupting Klan rallies, Neo-Nazi speeches and so forth.”
But it’s about more than protecting us from Nazi takeover.
“Anti-fascists identify as communists, as anarchists, as socialists and want to really organize for a revolutionary rupture with the prevailing political system, and then this is in line with that,” Bray wrote in the Post.
Which brings us to the situation in Charlottesville and its relationship to President Trump. Bray used his Post piece to make the case only for violent response to extreme groups, such as those, he said, who were protesting in Charlottesville.
But in other interviews, he has been quite clear about where he would like this to lead – into essentially an organization devoted to beating up whoever supports President Trump or conservative policies. One can start with the easily identifiable bad guys, such as the white supremacists in Charlottesville, and then eventually characterize virtually the entire other side as unworthy of living in this country. “A lot of alt-right people are infiltrating the Republican Party,” Bray warned. “And we need to recognize that the far right will try to hide behind the legitimacy that Trump has given their politics.”
Later, in the same interview, he said: “Nazis in the 1920s or 1930s marching along a mainstream parade with swastikas … would it have been inappropriate, considering that the Nazi Party back then was a mainstream party, to have tried to disrupt that? You know, those are the kinds of comparisons that need to be made in discussing this question.”
The question he refers to is whether to allow an administration, duly elected by the citizens of a country where the people are sovereign, to function. Bray’s answer seems to be, “Only if they pass our litmus tests.”
As for the Post, the caption on the photo with Bray’s Washington Post article stated, “Activists may seem like a novelty, but they’ve been around for a very long time. Maybe we should start listening to them.”
So, in other words, according to the flagship paper of the nation’s capital, communists, anarchists and socialists who are organizing for a “revolutionary rupture with the prevailing political system” should become the arbiters of who should be allowed to speak in our society and given permission to physically attack dissenters.
And these freshly minted arbiters also should be made aware of parallels between the Trump administration and the Nazi Party of the 1920s and ‘30s.
Because what’s an all-out assault on the First Amendment, an implicit and close to explicit call for political violence and a total abandonment of principle when there are political allies to be gained in their war on Trump? Has the Post no shame left?