When asked if he regards the endless attempts by Antifa rioters to burn down the federal courthouses in Portland and Seattle as acts of domestic extremism and terrorism, Merrick Garland, Joe Biden’s nominee to be Attorney General, replied:
So an attack on a courthouse while in operation, trying to prevent judges from actually deciding cases, that plainly is, uhm, domestic extremism, uhm, domestic terrorism. An attack simply on a government property at night…or any other kind of circumstances, is a clear crime and a serious one and should be punished. I don’t mean…I don’t know enough about the facts of the example you’re talking about, but that’s where I draw the line. One is…both are criminal, but one is a core attack on our democratic institutions.
After all, how can anyone expect an Attorney General-designate to know enough facts about attacks on the federal judicial system that kept happening night after night?
It was after his bedtime.
Seriously, if you watched only the carefully curated national news, you’d have gotten the impression that (a) Antifa doesn’t exist; (b) Antifa is a civic betterment movement led by the public-spirited Wall of Moms; and (c) The peaceful protesters of Antifa were the Gandhi-like victims of Trumpian brutality.
On the other hand, some of us who are Pacific time zone night owls watched hundreds of Andy Ngo videos of what was happening in Seattle and Portland during the wee hours long after the national media had called a lid on their coverage of the Peaceful Protests. In Ngo’s simple video footage, the Antifada sure looked extremist and terrorizing.
Ngo, a brave Portland journalist, writes in his new best-seller Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy:
…reports from legacy media outlets focused heavily on the alleged “block party” atmosphere of the occupation, repeating a talking point from [Seattle] Mayor [Jenny] Durkan. “The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone #CHAZ is not a lawless wasteland of anarchist insurrectionists—it is a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world.”… Of course, when media crews arrived at the gates of CHAZ during the day, this might have been believable…. At night, a whole different side of CHAZ emerged when the media crews and outside visitors left.
But how could a federal judge of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals like Judge Garland see what was happening to federal courthouses at night?
It’s dark out there!
If domestic terrorism doesn’t happen before the evening news, it didn’t happen.
After 24 days of insurrection and nights of violence in CHAZ, the Antifa vigilantes’ tendency to nervously shoot black males finally got on even the Democratic mayor’s nerves. As it turned out, Antifa didn’t fight like the Paris Commune of 1871. Instead, the cops cleared the insurrectionists out of their six downtown blocks in under an hour.
But when the politicians are less determined or, as so often was the case in 2020, on the side of Antifa, the leftist gangs can carry on their violence for months, as in Portland.
Ngo, who was severely beaten by Antifa in 2019, leaving him with a bleeding brain and temporarily slurred speech, warns that the right-wing meme that Antifa are weak and effeminate is misleading. Despite (or perhaps due to) the remarkable number of transgender ex-men among the brawlers, on the whole Antifa represent masculinity at its most toxic: guys who like criminal violence (and girls who like guys who like inflicting pain on the police).
Where did Antifa come from anyway?
Ngo explains in Unmasked that the name originated with the Stalinist street thugs of the Weimar Republic. But they spent much of the 1920s battling the Social Democrat militias, only coming up with the name Anti-Fascist in 1932 shortly before Hitler took power.
Then in the late 1970s, the Antifa moniker and the continental institution of street clashes ostensibly over ideology were picked up in Britain, with its spoilsport tradition of deciding politics by peaceable debate rather than by fighting in the streets. Leftist skinhead punk rock fans looking for an acceptable excuse to hold a white riot against rightist skinhead punk rock fans latched on to the Antifa concept.
Finally, in the U.S. in the 21st century, this mélange of Marxism, anarchism, and punk rock was picked up in the U.S. and merged with soccer fandom in the Pacific Northwest. To a certain type of white person, it’s the perfect storm of Stuff White People Like about Europe: arcane and brutal continental ideologies, electric guitar rock, and soccer hooliganism.
Antifa was a growing threat to free speech in blue cities over the past half decade, although anti-KKK laws forbidding the wearing of masks for political purposes could control them where the authorities weren’t on their side. Then, 2020’s sudden mandate that good citizens must wear masks helped empower Antifa to run amok in the name of George Floyd.
Ngo argues that Antifa members dressed in black bloc garb would often incite BLM blacks to loot by being the first to smash a window.
On the other hand, oftentimes it seemed as if white Antifa rioters would methodically break windows out of some obsessive-compulsive urge to leave no window unsmashed. For example, here’s a funny video from the Jacob Blake riots in which four black BLM marchers randomly throw bricks through the windows of the Kenosha Kumon learning center, then get bored and move on. But they are followed by an evidently white black bloc anarchist who methodically shatters all the remaining windows that the impulsive blacks had left.
Yet the social roots of Antifa remain vague because only independent journalists like Ngo, Ian Miles Cheong, and Project Veritas have dared cover Antifa in depth. For example, Ngo’s editor Kate Hartson was fired by the big Hachette publishing house just as Ngo’s book was published to substantial sales.
My impression is that Antifa foot soldiers tend to be downscale whites with antisocial personalities, ugly, nasty people such as meth addicts and child molesters who have had problems with the law. You could immediately tell that the theory that an Antifa false-flag operation had engineered the foolish Jan. 6 Capitol intrusion was mostly conservative cope because MAGA roughnecks are substantially better-looking on average than Antifa hooligans.
On the other hand, Antifa are much better organized. Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) could declare in late July with a straight face that reports of Antifa violence in Portland are “a myth” in part because Antifa is, as Ngo says, a “phantom movement by design.” He notes:
Since 2016, we have been told over and over…that antifa is not an organization. We’ve been lied to. While there is no single A “Antifa” organization with one leader, there are indeed localized cells and groups with formalized structures and memberships…. It is not a coincidence that a large group of militants dressed in the same uniform know how to coordinate mass attacks on people and property.
Project Veritas infiltrated Portland’s Rose City Antifa and found that new members were required to undergo six months of training and vetting. Ngo reprints the fifteen-page syllabus that Veritas obtained, which reads like a college course in how to be a violent leftist revolutionary.
Antifa’s tactics are cleverly designed to look mostly peaceful on national TV. For example, demonstrators frequently throw water bottles at the police, which appears almost harmless on TV. But what viewers don’t know is that they’ve frozen the normally flimsy bottles rock-hard.
Who exactly is behind Antifa remains vague. Ngo mentions a few academics who provide guidance, and the old Stalinist National Lawyers Guild offers free legal assistance to put rioters on the legal merry-go-round that typically gets them released in time to riot again the next night. According to Ngo, sizable amounts of cash come in from GoFundMe and Venmo, but he doesn’t report the names of any huge donors.
A year ago, I was asked which party would win the 2020 presidential election. I replied that it might depend on which side’s crazies acted out the worst. For example, Black Lives Matter terrorism, rioting, and murders hurt Hillary in 2016, while the anti-Semitic mass shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue in late October 2018 hurt Republicans.
As it turned out, I was wrong: The right behaved surprisingly well throughout stressful 2020, with virtually no mass shootings or Mostly Peaceful Protests. In contrast, after Memorial Day, BLM and Antifa rioted about 600 times.
And Trump still lost.
Yet, it was close, with Trump coming within 34,000 votes of tying 269–269 in the Electoral College, which would have meant he’d win in a state-by-state vote in the House, assuming the inevitable anti-Trump mayhem didn’t lead to a color revolution coup.
But in January, Trump, with his power of positive thinking mindset, pressed his (and the right’s) luck one time too many, leading to the ridiculous events of Jan. 6, which the media will make sure will live in infamy.
After all, unlike hundreds of the left’s riots over the past year, the right’s one big riot happened in broad daylight.
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