Back in June, Donald Trump and his henchman at the “Injustice” Department, William “Coverup” Barr, asserted that the hundreds of thousands of Americans in the streets of America protesting the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers were “antifa” provocateurs.
Just to be clear, “antifa” is short for anti-fascist. Do you know who is anti-fascist? Americans. Millions of Americans served and hundreds of thousands died in World War II, a war to rid the world of fascism. America is proudly anti-fascist. Logic dictates that the only people concerned about anti-fascists are fascists, which speaks volumes about Donald Trump and his corrupt attorney general.
In any event, there was Little Evidence of Antifa Links in US Prosecutions of Those Charged in Protest Violence:
Attorney General William Barr promised a crackdown on members of the anti-fascist movement known as antifa and other “extremists” he blamed for helping to drive the violence.
But a Reuters examination of federal court records related to the charges, social media posts by some of the suspects and interviews with defense lawyers and prosecutors found mostly disorganized acts of violence by people who have few obvious connections to antifa or other left-wing groups.
There was plenty of evidence that far-right extremist provocateurs had embedded themselves in the protests, and were instigating acts of violence. Leaked Documents Show Police Knew Far-right Extremists Were The Real Threat At Protests, Not “Antifa” (excerpt):
[W]hile the White House beat the drum for a crackdown on a leaderless movement on the left, law enforcement offices across the country were sharing detailed reports of far-right extremists seeking to attack the protesters and police during the country’s historic demonstrations, a trove of newly leaked documents reveals.
Among the steady stream of threats from the far-right were repeated encounters between law enforcement and heavily armed adherents of the so-called boogaloo movement, which welcomes armed confrontation with cops as means to trigger civil war.
A genuine act of fascism was the aforementioned William “Coverup” Barr assembling a secret police force drawn from federal agencies wearing uniforms without identification or insignia to patrol the streets of Washington, D.C. The infamous “battle of Lafayette Square,” in which Barr ordered these secret police to clear out peaceful protestors to make way for Trump’s ridiculous photo-op at St. John’s Church is the clearest example.
Lawsuit Seeks Documents on William Barr’s Role in Federal Crackdown Outside of White House: The government watchdog group American Oversight filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. on Friday after several federal agencies failed to respond to the organizations Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
So imagine my surprise today when I read in the Washington Post this shocking headline: ‘Their tactics are fascistic’: Barr slams Black Lives Matter, accuses the left of ‘tearing down the system’:
Nearly two weeks after Democrats grilled Attorney General William P. Barr over the Justice Department’s crackdowns on racial justice protests, Barr on Sunday evening lashed out at the opposition party and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Speaking to Fox News host Mark Levin, Barr said liberals are intent on “tearing down the system” and called protesters’ tactics “fascistic.”
“They are a revolutionary group that is interested in some form of socialism, communism,” Barr said of Black Lives Matter. “They’re essentially Bolsheviks.”
This may be the purest example I have seen of something I have mocked for years. Republicans have absolutely no idea what different political ideologies are, so they randomly assign “bad” words they know they’ve heard somewhere as an invective to describe anyone who does not share their authoritarian views. It is a multiple choice test, but instead of “choose one,” Barr checked all the boxes here because he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about.
Just to be clear, Barr is calling African-Americans socialists, communists, and bolsheviks, simply because they are challenging America’s 400 year history of white male patriarchy and privilege, and reducing African-Americans to second-class citizens (previously they were reduced to non-human chattel property under slavery). Historical note: this is what the Segregationists of the 1950s and 1960s also called leaders of the Civil Rights Movement as well. It’s a tired trope.
Barr’s comments in the hour-long interview on “Life, Liberty & Levin” represent some of his harshest critiques yet of the [ Black Lives Matter] protest movement, which he equated with antifa and compared to guerrilla warfare, and of the Democratic politicians who have accused the attorney general of subverting the Justice Department to do President Trump’s bidding.
On Sunday, Barr accused Black Lives Matter of being an anti-government operation that has been co-opted by violent antifa members. Barr argued the group is part of a coordinated effort to push Trump out of office.
Now Barr is oscillating between antifascists and fascists interchangeably, because to the elderly white shut-in audience of Fox News, these are just code words meant to scare them. As noted above, court records find no evidence of “antifa” at these protests.
“The left wants power because that is essentially their state of grace in their secular religion,” he said. “They want to run peoples’ lives so they can design utopia for all of us and that’s what turns them on. And it’s the lust for power and they weren’t expecting Trump’s victory and it outrages them.”
Ladies and gentleman, this is your attorney general. You should feel dirty that such a man holds the venerable position of Attorney General. He is a disgrace to his office, and to the legal profession.
Two points. First, Barr is correct about one thing: the majority of Americans who are proudly anti-fascist want to push Trumpism, the new American fascism, out of office, because it is antithetical to American democracy and freedom. Again, logic dictates that the only people concerned about anti-fascists are fascists, so this is an unintended admission by Barr.
Second, his “lust for power” argument actually describes what he and the Party of Trump is all about, as long time Republican campaign manager Stuart Stevens, author of the forthcoming book, It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump, described to David Corn at Mother Jones. The Republican Party Is Racist and Soulless. Just Ask This Veteran GOP Strategist. (excerpt):
“The Republican Party has been a cartel,” Stevens said excitedly. “And no one asks a cartel, ‘What’s your ideological purpose?’ You don’t ask OPEC, ‘What’s your ideology?’ You don’t ask a drug gang, ‘What’s your program?’ The Republicans exist for the pursuit of power for no purpose.”
Read the full interview, then read his book.
Barr then went on to attack Democrats on their religious faith, just as Donald Trump falsely said Joe Biden, a practicing Catholic, is “against God“:
The attorney general also accused Democrats of abandoning their traditional values.
“They’re not interested in compromise, they’re not interested in dialectic exchange of views. They’re interested in total victory,” Barr said. “It’s a secular religion. It’s a substitute for a religion.”
Remember, this is coming from a man who worships a false idol, the “Dear Leader” of the personality cult of Donald Trump. This is a false religion, and God is most displeased.
Barr went on to project the actions of far-right extremist provocateurs onto the mythical “antifa” boogeyman:
Barr went on to call antifa a “new form of guerrilla warfare,” arguing the group, which he said is “highly organized,” hides among peaceful protesters for protection.
“What they do is, they are essentially shielding themselves or shrouding themselves in First Amendment activity,” Barr said. “They hijack these demonstrations and they provoke violence. And they have various tiers of people from the sort of top provocateurs down to people who are their minions and run the violent missions.”
Barr also accused the media of willfully ignoring any coverage of alleged antifa violence at protests.
The Post fact checks him:
Despite Barr’s claims, there have been no arrests or solid proof connecting antifa to violence at Black Lives Matter protests, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker reported in June. The far-right boogaloo movement, meanwhile, has been tied to a murder and several bomb plots aimed at escalating violence.
In case you were thinking this is just theatrics for the GOP crazy base at Fox News, Politico reports that this is actually now the strategy of the Trump campaign. They are going the full racist, anti-civil rights “white backlash” campaign of George Wallace redux. I was there, and I have heard this all before. Facing bleak November, Republicans look to stoke BLM backlash (excerpt):
Facing possible electoral calamity, Republicans are now turning to a familiar playbook: stoking fear by trying to redefine the Black Lives Matter movement as a radical leftist mob looking to sabotage the white, suburban lifestyle.
Republicans are using two lines of attack: the Trump administration, candidates in safe red seats and right-wing social media channels seek to label the entire movement “Marxist” and anti-family as they try to energize their conservative base. Republicans running in swing districts and states, meanwhile, are tying their Democratic opponents to activists’ demands to defund police departments, while avoiding explicitly mentioning Black Lives Matter. Instead, Republicans running in competitive general election races have focused recent ads on more abstract targets like “left-wing radicals” and the “liberal mob.”
It’s a distinction Democratic pollsters and lawmakers attribute to the dramatic shift in public views on police brutality, and who and what people associate with the declaration that “Black Lives Matter.” The new broad support for the movement, they say, makes it harder to tie Black Lives Matter to one person, organization or ideology.
“People putting ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs on their lawns, it’s not an endorsement of a particular organization so much as a value statement uniting a lot of people from many backgrounds,” said Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowksi, whose predominantly white New Jersey district was held by Republicans for decades before he won in 2018.
That hasn’t deterred Republicans, who have increased their criticism of the movement over the past month. On the same day President Donald Trump tweeted that Black Lives Matter was “a symbol of hate,” his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, declared to a group of reporters at the White House that “Black Lives Matter is a Marxist organization … Black Lives Matter has been planning to destroy the police for three years.”
Other Trump administration officials and Republican lawmakers, particularly those running in tough primaries, followed suit, warning, in addition, that the movement wanted to destroy the “nuclear family.” Fox News hosts, conservative talk radio personalities and think tanks such as The Heritage Foundation joined in, as well. Prager University’s “Black Lives Matter is a Marxist Movement” video released this month has over a million views on YouTube and is one of several popular videos it has produced on the topic.
Once again, these racist yahoos have no idea what a “marxist” is, nor do they care. It is simply a code word for boogeyman fear mongering.
It appears that the majority of Americans are smarter than Republicans give them credit for:
So far, the GOP attempts to discredit the movement have yet to stick. With just under three months until the election, Black Lives Matter has won mainstream support across racial and partisan lines that would have been almost unthinkable six months ago. But the battle to define the movement is not over, as Trump bets he can turn the suburbs, lost to Republicans in 2018, in his favor by attempting to cast a movement for racial equality as a threat to white voters.
“We recognize that this is not simply an issue fight, this isn’t simply a narrative war — what we think we’re experiencing is a social and cultural and political realignment,” said Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party and a leader with the Movement for Black Lives coalition. “We continue to give that backlash the adequate concern and respect one would give any dangerous opponent, even one that clearly is on the wrong side of history.”
Though Black Lives Matter is a decentralized ecosystem that encompasses more than 150 organizations, Trump’s allies are trying to wed the entire movement to the personal beliefs of a pair of self-described Marxists who formed the Black Lives Matter Global Network in 2013, in the aftermath of the killing of Trayvon Martin. Many other supporters and leaders organizing under the Black Lives Matter banner — which is now considered to be the largest racial justice movement in the history of the country — don’t identify with Marxism.
This is a tried and true GOP propaganda tactic of finding one guy who said or did something “scary” to them, and then attribute it to everyone in a class of persons. Back in the day of anti-war protests, Republicans would have found that one college student wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt in a photo of a crowd of anti-war protestors, then assert that all of the protestors in the photo are communists. This is how their simple minds work.
In a sign that the Marxism tag might already be falling flat, Giuliani took his attacks a step further Thursday, falsely accusing BLM activists of being terrorists. “These are people who hate white people,” Giuliani said on Fox News. “These are killers.”
OK, this man is seriously not well. Out of genuine concern for his health and mental well being, he needs to be held for a 48 hour psychiatric evaluation.
Some Republican strategists believe that the combination of early summer riots, the controversial stances of some BLMGN members, plus the mainstreaming of “defund the police,” have given them an opening to diminish Democrats’ current electoral advantage. Democrats and BLM organizers point to the polls, describing the GOP strategy as a nakedly racist last gasp that won’t gain traction outside the right-wing echo chamber.
“The average voter in that swing suburb is not thinking about BLM as [select] leaders of the movement,” said Jefrey Pollock, president of polling firm Global Strategy Group, who works with Democrats in swing House and Senate races. “They’re thinking about the larger conversation that is happening about African Americans and racial injustice.”
At the moment, more than 60 percent of Americans support the movement, according to recent polls. And 62 percent of white people say minorities are not treated equally in the criminal justice system — up 18 points since 2014.
Voters in urban areas support the BLM movement by 73 percent, suburban voters by 62 percent and rural voters by 54 percent, according to July Navigator research done by GSG and GBAO Strategies provided to POLITICO.
Note: Those protestors in Portland, Oregon that Barr sent his secret police to break up: the vast majority of these protestors are young, white middle-class Americans. This is also true in many other cities as well. The younger generation of white Americans supports racial justice and equality, not the white supremacy and white nationalism Trump s selling.
So far, Republican candidates who are currently airing ads have mostly refrained from directly naming the BLM movement. In ads that aired from May 25 to the end of July, only one GOP ad in a primary race used the words “Black Lives Matter,” while saying that liberals don’t care about Black lives, and another used the term “violent thugs,” according to an analysis provided by Ad Analytics.
[D]emocrats in vulnerable seats are bracing for more Republicans to step up their attacks.
“I actually stood up in front of 1,500 people at a Black Lives Matter rally and said explicitly that I disagree with the ‘defund the police’ slogan,” Malinowksi said. “And it will not stop them from accusing me of defunding the police because that’s just the Republican talking point everywhere this year.”
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has walked a similar tightrope — embracing protesters’ urgent condemnations of racial injustice without backing some of their proposed solutions, such as calls to “defund the police.”
Asked for comment about the co-founders of BLMGM, Biden’s campaign pointed to past statements on the campaign trail when he said, “I ain’t a socialist.”
As Stuart Stevens said in his interview with David Corn:
In our conversation, Stevens exploded with loathing for the party he once faithfully (and lucratively) served. He rejected the common view that Trump had hijacked the GOP. No, he explained, the triumph of know-nothing Trumpism marked the culmination of an internal conflict that had existed for decades between the party’s “dark side” and its professed ideals. Even William F. Buckley Jr., often hailed as a grand public intellectual and the founding father of the modern conservative movement, was “a stone-cold racist” in the 1950s, Stevens pointed out. (Buckley at that time considered white people more “advanced” and more fit to govern.)
“A lot of us in the party liked to believe the dark side was a recessive gene, but it’s a dominant theme,” Stevens, a seventh-generation Mississippian who was named for Confederate Gen. Jeb Stuart, told me. “And it’s all about race. The Republican Party is a white party and there still are more white people than non-white people.” So that is whom the party aims at—even if this will eventually be a losing proposition as the nation’s demographics continue to shift. Ronald Reagan achieved a landslide victory in 1980 by bagging 56 percent of white voters; 28 years later, John McCain lost with 55 percent of white voters. Perhaps the party’s fixation on white voters can work one more time with Trump in 2020. “But we’re talking about the Confederacy—literally,” Stevens said.
The Party of Trump is the party of white supremacy and white nationalism, and that is a distinct minority of American voters who hold this noxious racist view.