Antifa Is Not the Problem

 
Members of Antifa march in Portland, Oregon, in this August 4, 2018, photo from shutterstock.com

Last week, Republican Congressman Jim Banks responded to the Antifa violence in Portland with the following tweet:

In light of events this weekend in Portland, Oregon, I call on @POTUS, @TheJusticeDept, & @FBI to investigate #Antifa & declare them a domestic terrorist organization. Their avowal of violence & routine intimidation, harassment, & assault of Americans has no place in our country.

At first, my response was a firm, “Yes!” I couldn’t help wondering why Antifa had not been designated a domestic terrorist organization. Didn’t they fit all the criteria? But as I researched domestic terrorism, and Antifa in particular, I realized that the domestic terrorist label was not going to end the violent protests, for a number of reasons.

First, Antifa appears to have sufficient funding to keep it active indefinitely; George Soros, for one, has been a funder. I realized that even if Antifa were banned as a domestic terrorist organization, it would probably just resurface under another name with a new logo. We might even think of it as a nasty, toxic weed that we simply can’t get rid of.

Another problem is that the media is claiming that Antifa has already been designated a domestic terrorist organization; this claim is simply untrue. Politico wrote the original story and others picked it up, stating the following:

Federal authorities have been warning state and local officials since early 2016 that leftist extremists known as ‘antifa’ had become increasingly confrontational and dangerous, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security formally classified their activities as ‘domestic terrorist violence,’ according to interviews and confidential law enforcement documents obtained by POLITICO.

Please note that DHS labelled Antifa activities as “domestic terrorist violence,” but did not designate it as a domestic terrorist organization; there is a difference in terms of application of resources.

No one denies that their actions fit the bill according to the criteria of the Patriot Act:

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended – (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

That sounds about right to me. Unfortunately, because they are a domestic group without foreign ties, and they haven’t killed anyone yet, they are protected by the First Amendment.

Another problem with designating them a terrorist group is that the resources we use for security for foreign terrorism would need to be shifted to the U.S. Andrew McCarthy wrote an excellent article explaining why that might not be the best idea. He explains that domestic terrorist acts have not been criminalized as such, nor is there even a process in place to do so. He also points out the following mindset:

The designation of foreign terrorist organizations exploits the fact that their operatives do not have the same degree of constitutional protection as American citizens. Much as we revile domestic terrorists, we do not want Americans — citizens, presumed innocent, fully protected by the Constitution — treated the same way, particularly when they are easily investigated, infiltrated, prosecuted, and imprisoned under domestic law, primarily state law.

At first glance we might ask whether we care about the Constitutional rights of Antifa. But McCarthy made this salient point:

Someday, maybe sooner than we’d like to think, Democrats are going to be in power again. Do we really want to give them enhanced federal powers to harass ideological opponents under the guise of ‘designating’ domestic terrorist threats?

Portland, OR is the latest high-profile attack of Antifa on June 29, 2019. Andy Ngo, a reporter for Quillette, suffered several injuries, including a brain bleed which has led to his difficulty in speaking and remembering words, as well as other difficulties. To date, no one has been arrested from that protest. The Portland Police Association called out the Mayor to take action:

So is Antifa free to attack whomever, wherever they wish? Do we have to tolerate the violent acts that they perpetrate?

The emphatic answer is “NO!”

We must demand that local and state law enforcement crack down on these violent groups. They can no longer turn their heads, make excuses for them, or stand and watch Antifa or any other violent groups attacking our citizenry. Certainly, the federal government can provide assistance that falls into its purview, but it is outrageous that we are expected to accept these activities as demonstrations of free speech.

I’d like to hear your ideas about steps that could be taken to wake up the local and state governments to the dangers of letting these people run free. For one, throwing them in jail is key. Using tear gas and other means to discourage these people from attacking others should also be used. We must do something, and soon.

Otherwise, more people are going to die.

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There are 43 comments.

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  1. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    RICO seems like a marginally better avenue for cracking down on Antifa organizers who indulge in criminal activity.

    The trick is proving a direct causal connection between organizers and the yahoos who commit acts of violence.

    I wager that would be a fairly difficult task. It’s unlikely organizers give explicit orders to beat up journalists.

    • #1
    • July 29, 2019, at 10:26 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    RICO seems like a marginally better avenue for cracking down on Antifa organizers.

    The trick is proving a causal connection between organizers and the yahoos who commit criminal acts of violence.

    I wager that would be a fairly difficult task. It’s unlikely organizers give explicit orders to beat up journalists.

    Yes, Andrew McCarthy mentions using RICO, Mis. There is a lot of online communication that takes place within these groups, so we could hope there is someone foolish enough to mention these instructions. But I’m sure there are other ways–we need to have the will and keep the Left out of the way. Thanks.

    • #2
    • July 29, 2019, at 10:32 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    RICO seems like a marginally better avenue for cracking down on Antifa organizers who indulge in criminal activity.

    The trick is proving a direct causal connection between organizers and the yahoos who commit acts of violence.

    I wager that would be a fairly difficult task. It’s unlikely organizers give explicit orders to beat up journalists.

    It sounded like Mr. Ngo was identified as a target by someone in Antifa. They’re probably going to have to obtain information from confidential informants, and suddenly Democrats will rediscover their distaste for spying on those whose activities the Government seeks to uncover.

    They will call it “spying” too. No more “surveillance.” 

    • #3
    • July 29, 2019, at 10:42 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  4. Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    Antifa is just another Democrat shock group organization. Simular to the Klan before it, the teamsters, (or most unions) and the federal government employees. It is not going anywhere and it will not be charged with anything. Why should it. It does what the Democrats and their progressive membership want.

    • #4
    • July 29, 2019, at 10:49 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Percival (View Comment):
    They’re probably going to have to obtain information from confidential informants

    @percival, it seems like I heard somewhere that getting people into these groups to spy on them was difficult. Have you or anyone else heard this is true, and if so, the reason why (aside from the usual difficulties to infiltrate)?

    • #5
    • July 29, 2019, at 10:53 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. PHenry Member

    Antifa is the modern replacement for the Democrat party’s first terrorist enforcement and intimidation organization, the KKK. 

    Same face masks, same intimidation. Can lynchings be far behind? 

    • #6
    • July 29, 2019, at 10:56 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  7. Percival Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    They’re probably going to have to obtain information from confidential informants

    percival, it seems like I heard somewhere that getting people into these groups to spy on them was difficult. Have you or anyone else heard this is true, and if so, the reason why (aside from the usual difficulties to infiltrate)?

    It could be. The entrance requirements must not be very stringent: have you seen the mugshots of the ones that have managed to get themselves arrested?

    There’s more than one reason for them to wear masks. It covers up the lack of chins.

    • #7
    • July 29, 2019, at 11:01 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Stad Thatcher

    The masks must come off, and it can be done with ordinances:

    “No masks unless it’s freezing cold or Halloween” . . .

    • #8
    • July 29, 2019, at 11:03 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    PHenry (View Comment):

    Antifa is the modern replacement for the Democrat party’s first terrorist enforcement and intimidation organization, the KKK.

    Same face masks, same intimidation. Can lynchings be far behind?

    Isn’t what they’re trying to do to Trump? And since we support him, we’re in their sights, too, I expect.

    • #9
    • July 29, 2019, at 11:04 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    The masks must come off, and it can be done with ordinances:

    “No masks unless it’s freezing cold or Halloween” . . .

    They’re thinking about it in Portland. I love this response to prohibiting masks:

    “A policy that prohibits wearing a mask to a protest not only risks chilling First Amendment-protected activities, particularly for those who wear ‘masks’ for political and religious reasons, it misses the issue entirely,” American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon spokeswoman Sarah Armstrong said in an email to WSJ. “Behavior is the issue, not the mask.”

    Umm.m.m… isn’t putting on a mask a behavior? But, what do I know . . .

     

    • #10
    • July 29, 2019, at 11:07 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. DonG Coolidge

    I like using all tools against violent socialist groups. The terrorist designation will allow the use of financial tools that are not otherwise available. RICO is good too, but is more useful against a fixed hierarchy. Civil rights laws might push local authorities to do their job.

    • #11
    • July 29, 2019, at 11:08 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    DonG (View Comment):

    I like using all tools against violent socialist groups. The terrorist designation will allow the use of financial tools that are not otherwise available. RICO is good too, but is more useful against a fixed hierarchy. Civil rights laws might push local authorities to do their job.

    I agree, @dong. Isn’t a person’s civil rights being violated when you throw liquid concrete (cement?) at them? Or isn’t that assault?

    • #12
    • July 29, 2019, at 11:10 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    The masks must come off, and it can be done with ordinances:

    “No masks unless it’s freezing cold or Halloween” . . .

    They’re thinking about it in Portland. I love this response to prohibiting masks:

    “A policy that prohibits wearing a mask to a protest not only risks chilling First Amendment-protected activities, particularly for those who wear ‘masks’ for political and religious reasons, it misses the issue entirely,” American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon spokeswoman Sarah Armstrong said in an email to WSJ. “Behavior is the issue, not the mask.”

    Umm.m.m… isn’t putting on a mask a behavior? But, what do I know . . .

    The legal distinction between “expression” and “action” is notoriously fuzzy when discussing non-verbal and non-textual forms of expression.

    Is baking a cake a form of protected speech? Is wearing a mask a form of protected speech? It depends on the judge.

    • #13
    • July 29, 2019, at 11:34 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    The masks must come off, and it can be done with ordinances:

    “No masks unless it’s freezing cold or Halloween” . . .

    They’re thinking about it in Portland. I love this response to prohibiting masks:

    “A policy that prohibits wearing a mask to a protest not only risks chilling First Amendment-protected activities, particularly for those who wear ‘masks’ for political and religious reasons, it misses the issue entirely,” American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon spokeswoman Sarah Armstrong said in an email to WSJ. “Behavior is the issue, not the mask.”

    Umm.m.m… isn’t putting on a mask a behavior? But, what do I know . . .

    There are lots of prohibitions and precautions in place in 2019 that are there pretty much based on the idea “We can’t have nice things anymore“. You can’t get medicine or even some foods without having to go through extra protective coverings because of tampering, and it’s the same thing here with Antifa and their masks — you need a mask law because the people who’ve chosen to wear masks can’t behave themselves (and I’m sure Antifa would have no problem with an anti-mask law for the Klan in southern states. They simply think the same rules shouldn’t apply to themselves, because when they beat people up, they do it because they’re compassionate and caring about the future of society).

    • #14
    • July 29, 2019, at 12:52 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    They simply think the same rules shouldn’t apply to themselves, because when they beat people up, they do it because they’re compassionate and caring about the future of society).

    You nailed it, @jon1979! Well done! ;-)

    • #15
    • July 29, 2019, at 12:55 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    The masks must come off, and it can be done with ordinances:

    “No masks unless it’s freezing cold or Halloween” . . .

    They’re thinking about it in Portland. I love this response to prohibiting masks:

    “A policy that prohibits wearing a mask to a protest not only risks chilling First Amendment-protected activities, particularly for those who wear ‘masks’ for political and religious reasons, it misses the issue entirely,” American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon spokeswoman Sarah Armstrong said in an email to WSJ. “Behavior is the issue, not the mask.”

    Umm.m.m… isn’t putting on a mask a behavior? But, what do I know . . .

     

    I guess all the Antifa will “convert” to Islam and “identify” as women. Put on the burkha!

    • #16
    • July 29, 2019, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Stad Thatcher

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):
    Is baking a cake a form of protected speech? Is wearing a mask a form of protected speech? It depends on the judge.

    Yes to the first, and “it depends” to the second. If the mask is to hide one’s identity to commit a crime (assault and battery, property damage, robbing a bank), then no, it’s not protected speech.

    • #17
    • July 29, 2019, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):
    Is baking a cake a form of protected speech? Is wearing a mask a form of protected speech? It depends on the judge.

    Yes to the first, and “it depends” to the second. If the mask is to hide one’s identity to commit a crime (assault and battery, property damage, robbing a bank), then no, it’s not protected speech.

    Even on the cake baking, @stad, the intention was a factor, don’t you think? It was protected speech because he refused to bake the cake because it would have violated his religion, not because the guy had purple hair. Actually, I’m not sure if his hair could have been a factor, too. . .

    • #18
    • July 29, 2019, at 1:31 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Barfly Member

    I’d like to have a we-get-to-see-your-face law, forbidding the wearing of masks or veils in public. 

    There are two key bonding agents that permit the existence of societies of individuals. They are predictability and trust, the latter being implicated here. As our society frays under the twin assaults of immature parenting and primitive invasion, trust becomes harder to maintain. I believe our communitarian trust has been eroded to a point that requires that every individual show his face in public, no exceptions. That’s not a sufficient condition for the continuation of civil society, but I think it’s a necessary one.

    • #19
    • July 29, 2019, at 1:47 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Tear gas? Sweet, gentle Susan Quinn proposing the use of tear gas?

    I’m somehow reminded of the old Virginia Slims ad campaign, but perhaps I’d get in trouble if I actually repeated the line from the ads.

    As a policy matter, it’s probably better for the Trump administration to leave this mess alone. It is a local law enforcement issue, and appears to be a problem only in Left-wing territory. It is useful for the nation to see the results of Democrat policies.

     

    • #20
    • July 29, 2019, at 2:11 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  21. E. Kent Golding Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    The masks must come off, and it can be done with ordinances:

    “No masks unless it’s freezing cold or Halloween” . . .

    Stad is correct. Wearing Masks in Public needs to be a felony; there should be a strong presumption of innocence / strong immunity for those violently defending themselves or others against people in masks. The mask needs to make the mask wearer more vulnerable, not less.

    • #21
    • July 29, 2019, at 2:57 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. aardo vozz Member

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    (and I’m sure Antifa would have no problem with an anti-mask law for the Klan in southern states. They simply think the same rules shouldn’t apply to themselves, because when they beat people up, they do it because they’re compassionate and caring about the future of society).

    This reminds me of a line from George C. Scott’s character in the movie “The Hospital”. When asked about his son, Scott’s character replies “ I don’t know where he is — presumably building bombs in basements as an expression of his universal brotherhood”.

    • #22
    • July 29, 2019, at 3:11 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. The Reticulator Member

    DonG (View Comment):
    I like using all tools against violent socialist groups.

    I don’t. I prefer to maintain constitutional limitations.

    • #23
    • July 29, 2019, at 3:17 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    As a policy matter, it’s probably better for the Trump administration to leave this mess alone. It is a local law enforcement issue, and appears to be a problem only in Left-wing territory. It is useful for the nation to see the results of Democrat policies.

    I agree, @arizonapatriot. The question is, how do we pressure the Left to be responsive at the state and local level.

    BTW, I’m tougher than you think, mister! ;-)

    • #24
    • July 29, 2019, at 3:54 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I don’t. I prefer to maintain constitutional limitations.

    I agree, even though it’s tough to stand by that commitment when they could care less about the constitution! Thanks, @thereticulator.

    • #25
    • July 29, 2019, at 3:56 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. DonG Coolidge

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):
    I like using all tools against violent socialist groups.

    I don’t. I prefer to maintain constitutional limitations.

    That was implied. I will state explicitly, if I ever endorse extra-constitutional means.

    • #26
    • July 29, 2019, at 4:58 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  27. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Unfortunately, due to the tremendous impact that the organized resistance to the Trump election had on the voters, it resulted in 2018’s election being “The Year of The Woman.”

    You can see for yourself the impact that this Trump Derangement Syndrome had on women deciding to run for office, including the many women running for offices in Congress and in gubernatorial races. One way to see this effect is to read the report issued by the Center for American Women in Politics (or CAWP) inside the following pdf:

    http://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/resources/a_closer_look_2018_outlook_final.pdf

    Although CAWP doesn’t report on how many women ran for the office of District Attorney in counties across the nation, the same influence is seen in those elections. Will newly elected Progressive women District Attorneys care if Anti Fa continue to manifest as a violent presence inside society? These DA’s are part of the problem, with many of them suspected to be CIA, especially those women who ran with the words “Army captain” after their name on the resume on their campaign literature.

    Also remember how the Attorney General for the state of California, Mr Becerra, has already made it clear that should employers assist ICE in any way if or when ICE shows up at their facilities, that person might be liable for charges against them for not acting in a manner protective of employees who are not here legally. The Globalist policies desired by both George Soros and the Koch Bros will not allow such minor points as American Federal Rule of Law to thwart the disintegration of our nation.

    • #27
    • July 29, 2019, at 5:03 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. DonG Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):

    I like using all tools against violent socialist groups. The terrorist designation will allow the use of financial tools that are not otherwise available. RICO is good too, but is more useful against a fixed hierarchy. Civil rights laws might push local authorities to do their job.

    I agree, @dong. Isn’t a person’s civil rights being violated when you throw liquid concrete (cement?) at them? Or isn’t that assault?

    Yes, it is assault and battery. When the local government does not protect citizens, then it becomes a federal civil rights violation (42 U.S.C. § 2000b).

    • #28
    • July 29, 2019, at 5:07 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  29. Unsk Member

    DonG: “Yes, it is assault and battery. When the local government does not protect citizens, then it becomes a federal civil rights violation (42 U.S.C. § 2000b).”

    Antifa is a conspiracy across State lines to violate people’s rights and to generally intimidate people from utilizing their rights of free speech, free expression and right of assembly. Antifa has successfully cowered far to many people over the last few years from exercising their political rights and is a grave threat to the proper functioning of our political system. The Federal Government should be all over this conspiracy, but apparently is not. Whether they use RICO, the Patriot Act or other statutes really is not the issue; the issue is that these people should be brought to justice with the greatest sense of urgency! It is outrageous that these groups of thugs funded by some of the most despicable and influential people in the Democratic Party have not been indicted by now. 

    That said, the real elephant in the room is that local authorities have not only looked the other way, not enforced the law and let these thugs openly assault people, it appears at least in the case of Charlottesville and Portland that local authorities have coordinated their efforts with Antifa to maximize the impact of Antifa’s acts of intimidation. As with the Mueller crimes, we have rogue individuals acting in official capacities in our government to openly assist in crimes in open defiance of law with little of no negative consequence. The Attorney General needs to come down very hard and get to the root of this problem immediately.

    We cannot let this situation spiral out of control which it easily could do. Antifa is openly hurting people and those people have a right to defend themselves, which could lead to violent counterattacks. This is not a local problem; it is a national problem and the Trump Administration needs to forthrightly defend the rights of the innocent who are being abused by Antifa, various local authorities and the powers that be in the Democratic Party. 

    • #29
    • July 29, 2019, at 8:47 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Unsk (View Comment):
    That said, the real elephant in the room is that local authorities have not only looked the other way, not enforced the law and let these thugs openly assault people, it appears at least in the case of Charlottesville and Portland that local authorities have coordinated their efforts with Antifa to maximize the impact of Antifa’s acts of intimidation.

    I don’t know whether it is planned and intentional, or not, but it is irresponsible and despicable. Their citizens, all of them, deserve to be protected. We pay taxes for law enforcement! Action must be taken to hold them responsible. Thanks, @unsk.

    • #30
    • July 30, 2019, at 6:06 AM PDT
    • 1 like
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