Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana wants the so-called antifascists labeled “domestic terrorists.” It’s undeniable they’re perpetrating “domestic terror violence” across the nation, as federal law enforcement has been saying for some time. Time to shut them down.
By S.T. Patrick
In the wake of escalating violence from the group antifa, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has called on government officials to label the group a “domestic terror organization.” On July 1, Banks tweeted, “In light of the events this weekend in Portland, Oregon, I call on the president, the Justice Department, and the FBI to investigate antifa and declare them a domestic terror organization. Their avowal of violence and routine intimidation, harassment, and assault of Americans has no place in our country.”
Since 2016, federal law officials have been warning state and local law enforcement that antifa was perpetrating “domestic terror violence.” In 2017, antifa activists caused chaos at a Free Speech Week event on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. Author Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak, but that was cancelled early when antifa demonstrators attacked free speech advocates.
In July 2017, the Department of Homeland Security’s New Jersey state office officially listed antifa as a domestic terror organization after multiple violent attacks occurred against supporters of Donald Trump. Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” Antifa’s modus operandi is just that: violence. They have produced no meaningful literature, they have not taken part in the electoral process by offering up any candidates, and they have not pledged to accomplish anything meaningful or positive in any way. They exist to commit violence against those whom they see as political enemies.
In April 2017, ex-Diablo Valley College professor Eric Clanton hit several Trump supporters on the head with a bike lock during a “free the speech” demonstration in Civic Center Park in Berkeley. Police investigated Clanton and found “selfies” that showed him dressed in the black clothing and facial coverings of someone affiliated with antifa. Clanton later pled guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to three years of probation.
Despite the criminal violence that has been conducted across America by antifa, the mainstream media has largely explained the group away as being anti-fascist. The New York Times recently ran an article entitled “What is Antifa? Explaining the Movement to Confront the Far Right.”
CNN’s “What You Need to Know About Antifa” article of July 2 is a lesson in apologetics. Jessica Suerth and Leah Asmelash open their article explaining that individuals associated with antifa were the enemies of the white nationalists in Charlottesville in 2017. In explaining what antifa is, they quickly make sure the reader knows that antifa supporters “do not conform with the Democratic Party platform.” This, despite there never being a similar journalistic distancing between those deemed far-right not being representative of the Republican Party. CNN describes antifa members simply as “young voters” who “support oppressed populations and protest the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites.” The violence? According to Suerth and Asmelash, “Some employ radical or militant tactics to get their message across.”
Of course, CNN describes antifa’s origin as being Nazi Germany and those who secretly protested the rise of the Nazi Party, fascism, and Adolf Hitler.
Former antifa organizer Scott Crow was more open about the violence. He told CNN: “There is a place for violence. Is that the world that we want to live in? No. Is it the world we want to inhabit? No. Is it the world we want to create? No. But will we push back? Yes. . . . The idea in antifa is that we go where they [right-wingers] go. That hate speech is not free speech. That if you are endangering people with what you say and the actions that are behind them, then you do not have the right to do that. . . . And so, we go to cause conflict, to shut them down where they are, because we don’t believe that Nazis or fascists of any stripe should have a mouthpiece.”
In arguably his most dangerously honest statement, Crow said that antifa’s “radical ideas” are starting to be adopted and promoted by self-titled liberals.
If that is true, if the left wing of the Democratic Party is starting to adopt ideas that mirror the violent intentions of antifa, then the Department of Homeland Security should look more closely at labeling antifa as a domestic terror organization.
If someone doesn’t make a statement that violence is wrong in every case, then those dangerous actions are just being accepted by passivity. When one side pushes violently, the other side never lays down and relents. It can only escalate. And this is a war that needs to end before it involves thousands instead of hundreds, before free speech truly is dead.
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent 10 years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected]. He is also an occasional contributor to TBR history magazine and the current managing editor of Deep Truth Journal (DTJ), a new conspiracy-focused publication available from the AFP Online Store.