Cornel West & Rev. Traci Blackmon: Clergy in Charlottesville We...

In this Democracy Now interview, Cornel West and Rev. Traci Blackmon say that they and 20 University of Virginia students owed their lives to AntiFascists and Anarchists who protected them from thousands of white supremacists. Police stood aside to let neo-Nazi protestors attack the antiprotestors.

screen grab from the video

Cornel West:

The next day, for example, those 20 of us who were standing, many of them clergy, we would have been crushed like cockroaches if it were not for the anarchists and the antifascists who approached, over 300, 350 antifascists. We just had 20. And we’re singing "This Little light of Mine,"…

The antifascists, and then, crucial, the anarchists, because they saved our lives, actually. We would have been completely crushed, and I’ll never forget that. [emphasis mine]

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That is nice of them but antifa is a terrorist group. I abhor the ideology of white nationalism but throwing rocks at them is not a civil form of protest. Attempting to silence those you disagree with is a form of fascism. So, I view the clash of neo nazis and antifa as fascist vs fascist. I just happen to agree more with antifas ideology - not their tactics.

Totally concur John.

Gary, did you see signs of Antifa bringing weapons to the march? Ocarrying rocks or clubs? Did Antifa members use offensive or defensive mode? I haven't been following the story, and I have heard that Antifa carried no weapons and did not attack, and others say Antifa brought arms and they assaulted the white supremacists. I don't know whom to believe. 

While some people talk about Antifa as a terrorist group, the Southern Poverty Law Center doesn't classify them as a hate group. This article says that "Antifa wouldn't qualify ... since the movement's focus is on ideology, not demography, just like Black Lives Matter."

But it argues,

However, the FBI defines violent extremism as “encouraging, condoning, justifying, or supporting the commission of a violent act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social, or economic goals.” Antifa does seems to meet that definition of extremism.

To me it's a stretch to define a group as violent extremists because they're willing to commit violent acts to protect us from Fascist violence. Their goals aren't to promote their own power but to avoid a Fascist takeover similar to what happened in Germany.

Interviews with Antifa members are in the Salon article :LISTEN: Antifa is an organizing strategy, not a group

I think people get confused about the term ‘antifa,” said “Andy” (not his real name). "It is an organizing strategy. Antifa is not a group of people. It has a long legacy in this country of people resisting white supremacy, from slave rebellions all the way to the present.”

Though I can see how their chosen garb makes them look like terrorists.

I live in New Orleans. Confederate monuments were removed here. White nationalists and counter protestors descended on the city. Violence was prevented by a police force that knows how to deal with Mardi Gras. Two different areas were designated: one for the white nationalists and one for ANTIFA / counter protestors Neither side was permitted to hide their faces with scarfs or masks. Any signs of violence were immediately interrupted. That is how it should be handled.

John, you said,

I abhor the ideology of white nationalism but throwing rocks at them is not a civil form of protest. Attempting to silence those you disagree with is a form of fascism. So, I view the clash of neo nazis and antifa as fascist vs fascist.

I think you use the term "fascism" loosely here, in a way that seems to equally condem fascists and violent anti-fascists. In this regard, I see Jesse Bens' statement as relevant.

In the face of media, politicians, and GOP primary voters normalizing Trump as a presidential candidate—whatever your personal beliefs regarding violent resistance—there’s an inherent value in forestalling Trump’s normalization. Violent resistance accomplishes this. In spite of this, such resistance is apparently more offensive and unacceptable to societal norms and liberal sensibilities than the nastiness being resisted in the first place.

Sorry Liberals, A Violent Response To Trump Is As Logical As Any

That said, nonviolent resistance isn't just morally superior, it's more effective.

ANTIFA commits violence against anyone who disagrees with their ideology. They do not believe in the rights of people with opposing ideology to assemble or speak freely. How is that not fascist ???

There is an episode of South Park you should see called the Death Camp of Tolerance. That sums up antifa quite well.

Like Gary I totally agree.

"That is nice of them but antifa is a terrorist group."
No. We as non-theists should be very careful about defining groups we don't understand; it happens to us all the time.
This "antifa" is a fake name, made up by the farthest right. And most of the news about this supposed group is slander, not subject to fact-checking, and just plain lies. John, I don't know where you get your information, but this strikes me as badly slanted against people who are with us, not against us.

image source

I don't support anarchy, or violence other than in self defense. I view Antifa's resort to violence as self-defense in this situation, not provocation. I don't think Antifa acted like a goon squad when they put themselves between the group of singing clergy and students and the neo-Nazis. Remember too that the whole purpose of Antifa's presence there was to defend your rights and protect you from hate.

From Adele M. Stan's on the scene interview:

One counterprotester who was willing to talk went by the nom de guerre of Antonin Sotomayor .... spoke with great passion of the armed resistance, by people of all races in the South, to the wealthy people who owned mines and plantations. He cited the Battle of Blair Mountain. He saw the sticks carried by many AntiFa protesters, he said, as weapons of self-defense.

“Earlier in the day, and last night, you had the ‘alt-right’ coming and actively seeking out people — some of them really had no part in this — to assault. So this is community self-defense,” he said.

 He expressed admiration for the tactics of the Black Panthers, but also for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters under the leadership of the late Jimmy Hoffa, who went missing in 1975.

I suggest that some people would say that the Teamsters in those days were a goon squad.

“Well, the right has a goon squad,” he replied. [emphasis mine]

I Was in Charlottesville When the Nazis Moved In—They're Coming for...

Antifa may have good intentions. They are defending the targets of white nationalist bigotry - I agree. But they are violating the first amendment by attempting to silence people they disagree with. The ACLU even defended the right of the neo nazis to march, and voice their opinions, at Charlotsville and many times before. Go to the ACLU website and they explain why. The ACLU has black and jewish lawyers defending the freedom of speech for all, even neo nazis. We do not get to cherry pick who has first amendment rights. Everybody has that right regardless of how vitriolic their views are. If you start cherry picking who has those rights then you head down the road of totalitarianism.

I support the ACLU




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