Well, Senator Ted Cruz’s August 4 Senate hearings on Antifa terrorism were at least a start. But Cruz’s apparent strategy of exposing Antifa and expecting elite journalists to explode in outrage is a failure. These journalists know exactly what the group is doing—and support it. The Trump Department of Justice needs to actually use state power to break up Antifa networks and arrest those committing crimes. As of now, the “authoritarian” Trump Administration has used far more force against its own supporters than it ever has against those whose stated goal is to destroy the country.
Cruz’s hearing didn’t lack for dramatic rhetoric. “This shouldn’t be complicated: peaceful protests must be protected,” the senator said. “Riots must be stopped” [FBI has opened 300 ‘domestic terror’ investigations as a result of riots, attorney tells Capitol hearing on Antifa, by Marisa Schultz and Adam Shaw, Fox News, August 5, 2020].
Still, Cruz took a defensive tone throughout. The riots were bad because they had “hijacked” protests from those “who took the street because their hearts cried out for justice” [Here’s What You Missed From The Congressional Antifa Hearing, by Samantha Renck, Daily Caller, August 5, 2020]. He appealed to the memory of flawed Leftist icons Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. He also said the “rioters aren’t concerned about racial justice” but are “racist” themselves because they “destroy minority communities” and “minority businesses and minority lives across this country.”
Of course, Senator Cruz isn’t wrong with that last point. Mobs have destroyed minority businesses in many cities. Nonwhites are the ones paying most of the price from increased crime [Michael Tracey: Minority business suffering in Minneapolis following rioting after George Floyd’s death, by Michael Tracey, Fox News, July 8, 2020].
But it shows the senator’s acceptance of the Left’s moral frame and the American Right’s need to hide behind nonwhite mascots. Antifa may be extreme and a lot of them may be white, but it doesn’t follow that they don’t sincerely oppose “racism” as they define it. They just think nonwhite casualties are collateral damage, much like how John Brown began his infamous raid by shooting a free black man in the back [Was John Brown’s 1st Victim Black, by Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root, December 16, 2013].
Incidentally, unknown protesters, presumably Brown’s ideological descendants, recently smeared a monument to that black man with feces [VILE: Harpers Ferry Monument to Free Black Man Killed By John Brown’s Raid Vandalized With What Appears to Be Feces, by Cassandra Fairbanks, Gateway Pundit, July 21, 2020].
Antifa’s methods and goals are not a mystery. The group is quite open about it. In the hearing, The Center of Security Policy’s Kyle Shideler accurately described them as an
anarcho-communist movement whose goal is to use physical violence and intimidation to terrorize American citizens to disengage them from the political process.
CSP’s Shideler argued that Antifa define the entire American political system as “fascist.” To prove this, all we have to do is look at the flag burnings, condemnations of “ameriKKKa,” and the direct threat in Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook about making it “politically, socially, economically, and sometimes physically costly” for political opponents to articulate their beliefs, with the goal that “in twenty years those who voted for Trump are too uncomfortable to share that fact in public” [Portland Protesters Burn Bibles, American Flag Outside Federal Courthouse, by Andrea Morris, CBN News, August 2, 2020].
Shideler also made the critical point that Antifa is structured in a hierarchical way and relies on a vast system of “support organizations,” including the Democratic Socialists of America, The International Workers of the World, Refuse Fascism, and the National Lawyers Guild,” among others [Shideler testifies before Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Center for Security Policy, August 4, 2020].
This is important because any serious attempt to stop these riots would involve breaking up these criminal conspiracies.
Yet this probably won’t happen. Andy Ngo urged the government to take action but inadvertently provided reasons why it won’t.
“Antifa has mastered the art of making its violence appear innocuous,” he testified. “For example, projectiles that look like water balloons can be filled with chemicals; small slingshots can be used to project rocks, glass, and ball bearings into police lines; umbrella tips can be fastened with discrete pocket knives; powerful handheld lasers can cause serious damage to the eyes.” (Indeed, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli testified that 113 out of the 277 injuries federal officers suffered in Portland involved eye injuries, many caused by industrial lasers.)
[Andy Ngo’s Testimony Implicates ‘Peaceful Protesters’ in Antifa Violence, by Tyler O’Neil, PJMedia, August 4, 2020]
This innocuous appearance allows sympathetic journalists and politicians to pretend that there is no actual violent Leftist group or that people are just being overly idealistic.
They do this anyway even when there is no room for doubt. For example, New York Magazine has run a sob story about lawyers Urooj Rahman and Colinford Mattis, respectively an immigrant and the son of immigrants. The former allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail while the latter allegedly drove the getaway car. In journospeak, this could mean they are “civil-rights heroes, even martyrs” or, at worst, “professionals who crossed a line” [The Making of a Molotov Cocktail, by Lisa Miller, Intelligencer, August 4, 2020].
During the Antifa hearing, Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono, an immigrant whose commitment to Anglo-American legal norms is notoriously questionable, proclaimed that “we all agree” that “violent extremism of all stripes” is deplorable. But she also smeared the Center for Security Policy because it has been named a “Hate Group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (who hasn’t been?) [Controversial witnesses testify at Senate Judiciary hearing on protests, by Jinitzail Hernandez, Roll Call, August 5, 2020].
And when challenged by Ted Cruz to denounce Antifa specifically, Hirono simply walked out of the hearing [‘You’re Welcome To Say Something Negative About Antifa Right Now’: Ted Cruz Spars With Mazie Hirono At Senate Hearing, by Scott Morefield, Daily Caller, August 4, 2020].
In fact, of course, this is the behavior of a winner. She simply refused to accept Cruz’s framing of the issue.
The Dallas Morning News, one of Ted Cruz’s home state newspapers, slammed the senator for saying that Democrats are arguing for “abolishing the police.” Perhaps Senator Cruz was too sweeping in his claim. However, this is no longer a fringe, unthinkable position on the Left. Even the writer conceded that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez really does want to defund the police [Echoing Trump, Ted Cruz falsely claims “the Democrats are arguing for abolishing the police,” by Todd Gillman, Dallas Morning News, August 5, 2020].
The New York Times recently provided a platform for another Leftist activist to clarify the issue: the movement really does want to outright abolish the police because “reform won’t happen” [NY Times op-ed clears up ‘Defund the police confusion: ‘Yes, we mean literally abolish the police,’ by Joseph Wulfsohn, Fox News, June 13, 2020].
In another example, the Intercept’s Natasha Lennard called the Cruz hearing a “farce,” but casually concluded Democrats should have supported the “serious and reasonable demand to defund the police at the center of the protests” [Ted Cruz’s Hearing on Anarchist Protest Violence Was a Total Farce, August 5, 2020].
It’s worth noting that the Intercept’s Lennard also praised Antifa for taking down the Alt Right in 2018. Of course, it wasn’t Antifa but government action, including by the Trump Administration, that gutted the movement. This includes the unequal justice levied against Unite The Right protesters, the Rise Against Movement, and the Proud Boys. (Ted Cruz himself sanctimoniously referred to the ostentatiously multiracial Proud Boys as “bigoted idiots” in a recent video [A Portal Into the Progressive Mind ft. Eric Weinstein | Ep. 39, Jul 23, 2020]).
And this illustrates why this hearing was still empty spectacle. If people wonder why ordinary Americans aren’t defending monuments, the flag, or police, it’s because we know that “conservatives” like Cruz will be only too happy to throw us in prison so they can get back to the important work of passing tax cuts for Woke Capital.
Before the hearing, Ted Cruz said that the United States was suffering from “organized terror attacks” [Cruz, ahead of Antifa hearing, describes riots in US cities as ‘organized terror attacks,’ by Adam Shaw, Fox News, August 4, 2020]. If he really believed such rhetoric, this would warrant drastic action. If President Trump and Attorney General Barr wanted to, the Department of Justice could easily unravel these groups, whose organization, membership, and tactics are fairly well known.
But, instead, we have nothing.
Which is particularly frustrating because this chaos could be ended almost instantly. When local police finally had enough (perhaps when a turba descended on the woke Mayor’s house) and broke up the “autonomous zone” in Seattle, it was the work of a few moments rather than provoking a Paris Commune-type fight to the death.
President Trump could stop this American Cultural Revolution tomorrow. The FBI could destroy the coordinating groups with just a modicum of the energy it spends investigating garage door pulls shaped like nooses. Senator Cruz could propose concrete action rather than whining that Democrats aren’t even bothering to play the lip service game the same way he does.
Yet at this point, it’s no surprise that Republican Congresscritters keep acting the way they do. The only hope is that President Trump, perhaps out of sheer, naked, panicked self-interest, will take a strong hand to turn the tide of an election that the Main Stream Media keeps trumpeting that he is losing [Republicans fear disaster in November, by Olivia Beavers and Juliegrace Brufke, The Hill, August 6, 2020].
If Trump doesn’t, he and other Republicans will learn that Democrats aren’t afraid of using state power against opponents [New York seeks to break up National Rifle Association, alleging financial mismanagement, by Daniel Trotta and David Shepardson, Reuters, August 6, 2020].
James Kirkpatrick [Email him |Tweet him @VDAREJamesK] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc. His latest book is Conservatism Inc.: The Battle for the American Right. Read VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow's Preface here.