Antifa, paramilitary enforcers for America’s Emerging Totalitarian Left, appears on a roll right now, suppressing conservative Christian World In Review events in the Midwest this last weekend [Antifa And The SPLC Successfully Shut Down Four Anti-Islam Conferences, by Jim Simpson, Daily Caller, April 12, 2018] and basking in media praise [Is Antifa Counterproductive? White nationalist Richard Spencer would beg to differ, by Natasha Leonard, The Intercept, March 17, 2018] for mugging the Alt Right (with a little help from Democrat politicians, pundits and police). But there’s the sage advice of Morton Blackwell: Remember the other side has troubles too.
Spencer was slated to speak at Michigan State University on March 5th. He did manage to do that, barely, but (as at Charlottesville) the police outside the event made little effort to contain the Antifa besiegers, so several brawls broke out between them and people trying to get in. Several arrests were made—here are details on a Spencer supporter who was arrested, and information about how to help him.
But few know that, after that brawl, members of different Antifa groups then when at one another. In the months prior to the event, tension between the Great Lakes Antifa (GLA) and the Nashville Anti-Racist Action (NARA) had been steadily building. And when both crowds were in the same place at the same time, it got violent.
Here’s GLA’s account of what happened:
Anti-fascists from all over the Midwest, East and South traveled [sic] to Lansing on March 5th to stand against Richard Spencer. As soon as Fallon and Falko [GLA] arrived to the action, it became apparent that J & P [NARA] were present, and hunting them (YouTube video in editing; will be released shortly). J & P spent the entire action orbiting Falko and Fallon. They photographed them and video recorded them. Comrades took great care to form protective circles around the women and tell J & P repeatedly to back off and leave everybody alone.
As we left the action, Nashville ARA followed us to the perimeter. Our comrades tried to de-escalate them, but Nashville ARA pulled out batons, and began beating our comrades. They hit an African American Anti-fascist with a baton, and also called him a n*gger before they did so. They also blindsided a Jewish comrade with a baton. The following is a screen shot of a discussion of liberal organizers who witnessed the event. Identities have been masked, because this network is known to doxx and harass leftists who stand against them.
[Silence Broken, by Great Lakes Antifa, March 9, 2018]
They also posted this image of one of their wounded “comrades”—presumably the Jewish one:
The same account meticulously details the particularities of GLA’s bad blood with NARA and associated groups—and I do mean meticulously, it is over 5,000 words long. On the whole, it is not worth summarizing, as most it amounts to “he said she said”-style recollections of petty squabbles. But a few tidbits are should be highlighted:
The last point is worth dwelling on. By definition, the purpose of Antifa is to hurt people and break things. That purpose gets lipstick put on it with great regularity and is often justified in the name of “anti-racism” by its own members and fawning MSM journalists. But at its most basic, Antifa is about violence. Because of that, it does not always attract the best people—to say the least.
When Antifa is talked about by conservatives, they are sometimes cast as some kind of vanguardist group composed of dedicated militants. This is not the case. Members of your average Antifa organization tend to be dropouts from society, people with nothing to lose.
There are exceptions of course—university teachers were arrested after the Battle of Berkeley and Charlottesville and Mark Bray, the author of the leading Antifa manual is a lecturer at Dartmouth College. Needless to say, it is inconceivable that any member of the Alt Right could find employment in higher education, even though the Alt Right, unlike Antifa, does not fetishize violence. But, generally speaking, Antifa draws from a certain class of urban losers: guys who didn’t finish school, work terrible service-sector jobs, have a taste for drugs, and a love of punk music. The redemptive violence offered to them by Antifa gives their otherwise awful lives a dose of meaning and value.
Anti-racism is often compared to a religion, not only here on VDARE.com, but by John McWhorter in the Daily Beast. If that is so, Antifa is an offshoot extremist cult of that religion. And as with any other cult, it is people in bad situations who are drawn in. Antifa is not just any cult, though, it is a cult that does fetishize violence—guaranteeing a membership that naturally gravitates towards violence.
A group composed mostly of unhappy, poor, drug-addled, and violent people is never going to be stable. This does not mean that Antifa will soon collapse, or that they are not an effective fighting force. But it does mean that there is never going to be an end to their own very serious internal problems because of the sorts of people that make up their ranks.
The MSM can usually be relied to cover for Antifa. But, of all people, the ferociously left-wing writer and academic Chris Hedges made insightful comments when criticizing the “black bloc” tactic employed by Antifa in the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2012:
Groups of Black Bloc protesters, for example, smashed the windows of a locally owned coffee shop in November in Oakland and looted it. It was not, as [Derrick] Jensen points out, a strategic, moral or tactical act. It was done for its own sake. Random acts of violence, looting and vandalism are justified, in the jargon of the movement, as components of “feral” or “spontaneous insurrection.” These acts, the movement argues, can never be organized. Organization, in the thinking of the movement, implies hierarchy, which must always be opposed. There can be no restraints on “feral” or “spontaneous” acts of insurrection. Whoever gets hurt gets hurt. Whatever gets destroyed gets destroyed.
There is a word for this — “criminal.” The Black Bloc movement is infected with a deeply disturbing hypermasculinity. This hypermasculinity, I expect, is its primary appeal. It taps into the lust that lurks within us to destroy, not only things but human beings. It offers the godlike power that comes with mob violence. Marching as a uniformed mass, all dressed in black to become part of an anonymous bloc, faces covered, temporarily overcomes alienation, feelings of inadequacy, powerlessness and loneliness. It imparts to those in the mob a sense of comradeship. It permits an inchoate rage to be unleashed on any target.
[The Cancer in Occupy, by Chris Hedges, TruthDig, February 6, 2012.]
Aside from the obnoxious Lefty jargon (“hypermasculinity”), Hedges is right. The randomness of Antifa violence has disgusted other committed Leftists as well:
Bhaskar Sunkara is no pearl-clutching liberal, but the founder of Jacobin magazine, an outlet attempting to revitalize socialism—and also publishes plenty of disgusting anti-white authors such as Gavin Mueller and George Ciccariello-Maher. To this day, anarchists and Antifa still attack Sunkara and others affiliated with Jacobin over this tweet.
Unsurprisingly, people who support random acts of violence do not tend to excel at building coalitions. Tensions such as these can be found throughout the Left, especially surrounding Antifa. One of the more amusing issues of late: Leftist Middle Easterners attacking Antifa because some Antifa groups, in their quest to stomp out anti-Semitism, have become pro-Israel—a nation many Leftists (especially ones from the Middle East) view as racist and fascist. [An Open Letter Denouncing Anti-Fascist Action Bay Area, by Steven DeCaprio, Anarchist News, March 6, 2017]
Again, none of this suggests an impending collapse of Antifa. But it does mean they sometimes—perhaps especially at present—appear to have serious problems.
Not only does the other side have problems too, theirs are worse than ours. Say what you will about the Dissident Right’s many fractures and dueling egos—we have yet to start beating each other up.