While Houston and large parts of Texas are under water, there was another rally in Berkeley. The rally was billed as a “No Marxism” rally, mainly attended by Trump supporters despite the official cancellation following the horror at Charlottesville. There were meant to be police there to keep the peace. You can guess what happened. That’s correct, the police disappeared, and so did the peace. Once again, street conflict stemming from political polarisation and identity politics reared its ugly, violent head.
Once again, those wishing to practice their First Amendment Rights in a non-violent manner were prevented from doing so by a black-bloc mob of Antifa thugs. They are almost the exact mirror image of the alt-right thugs we witnessed turn Charlottesville into a vehicular war zone. The only difference between the two groups is that Antifa hasn’t killed anyone yet. Having seen how far they’ve gone in the last couple of months, it won’t be long before they do.
As usual, the apologists for the black-clad anti-fascist fascists called them counter-protestors. They are apparently engaged in noble work holding back the ravening hordes of neo-Nazis unleashed by Donald Trump’s election, rather than being the main cause of America’s further descent into violence, and responsible for feeding the hatred and violence that lurks just beneath the surface of the extreme alt-right.
The Guardian made the counter-protestors out to be peace loving, love-conquers-all happy liberals. And it is true, there were many non-violent protesters there. Still, they were specifically there to prevent others exercising their constitutional rights. The polarisation displayed by these protests is now so bad that it is almost laughable to picture each side regarding the other as fellow citizens of a democratic republic.
The Guardian and other more left-wing news outlets, of course, whitewashed the Antifa violence. There were gangs of Antifa roaming the streets of Berkeley, beating any Trump supporters to hand or that they could reach with their pipes and sticks. One man was chased down by a pack of Antifa and surrounded, while another was beaten to the ground and then set upon far maybe being alt-right with sticks. Meanwhile, a father and son were chased by Antifa members and set upon, narrowly escaping an ugly fate.
A journalist in a red shirt was also attacked as Antifa members attempted to take his phone and his camera, an incident recorded by Lizzie Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle. She also recorded hundreds of Antifa members marching in formation through the park chanting “Our Park”, and stated that the police were stood down, retreating to” the station and the northern streets at Civic Center Park,” which was not meant to happen.
We have seen this before. The police have stood down before in Berkeley, upon orders from the mayor. Back in June, the pro-Trump free speech rally attendees fought back against Antifa in what is now colloquially known as the “Battle of Berkeley”. There were alt-right members mixed in but they were not the majority. Charlottesville was the only other time we have seen the (far) right-wing go on the offensive, and this time it was in a deliberate manner, and we all saw the consequences.
At the moment, the Left rules the online space, with many centrist and right-wing social media users being cut-off for incorrect opinions. Antifa, meanwhile, rules the streets in places like Berkeley when these events happen. They have undermined the state’s monopoly on the use of force, the foundation in Weber’s view of the state’s legitimacy. What is alarming is that things can only get worse from here if action is not taken soon.
President Trump must clamp down on this mass unrest that is sweeping the nation. Antifa is a law unto themselves and is rapidly resembling a growing Marxist insurgency in America. On the other side, the response from the far-right has so far not been as large as it might be. The offensive at Berkeley in June was haphazard and an instance of good fortune for the pro-Trump side, who despite their numbers were still ridiculously out-manned by the Antifa protesters. In Charlottesville, the far-right were the majority of the right-wing protesters and came prepared for a fight. As such, they came out on top. However, there were only several hundred; again, not a large number especially in comparison with the huge pools of manpower that Antifa can draw on.
The likelihood is though that this situation will not last long. If Antifa is allowed to continue to run riot as they have been, more and more people will either be pushed, grudgingly or willingly position themselves alongside the far-right in response to Antifa’s violence. If and when this happens, and if guns are brought into the equation in substantial numbers, things really will start to resemble Weimar Germany extremely quickly.
As a result of this escalation in tribal street violence, many people will grow warmer to the idea of a more authoritarian use of state power to restore law and order. Should this come to pass, all those liberals who have been fretting about Trump’s authoritarian tendencies will see how far he will go in his use of the police, national guard and state troopers to restore the rule of law. The irony is that they will have helped usher this situation in by their failure to explicitly call out the violence of Antifa whenever it is in evidence, making excuses for it as just part of the “#Resistance”.
To avoid letting the situation slide even further into a war of all against all, all the time, Trump must act now, and enforce the rule of law before it is too late. He must ensure that the police presence is substantial enough to contain and suppress the violence, as happened at the G20 summit in Germany. This is the only solution. His detractors may argue that if he left office, the violence would cease. They are deluded. First Antifa hates all government, given their anarchist nature. Second, that solution will be a victory for Antifa, and for mob rule more generally. That would set an extremely dangerous precedent.
Again, it must be emphasised that the centrifugal forces of tribal political and identitarian violence that are currently tearing American civil society apart is already becoming far too dangerous and widespread for a democratic republic to function properly. We have already seen a far-left terrorist shoot up a Republican baseball game, Antifa rampage through towns and cities with bats, sticks and pipes, the far-right do the same and use a car as a weapon.
The next escalation will be to the use of firearms, in the vein of the Oathkeepers on the right, and Redneck Revolt on the Left. Once that happens, America really will be in a state of war, and the consequences could be dire.