Professor: Antifa a 'vital form of collective self-defense'

Dartmouth history professor Mark Bray, who recently made headlines with a defense of violence committed by Antifa against "fascists," stepped in it again on Meet the Press on Sunday.

The author of "Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook" refers to the mayhem created by Antifa as "an activity of social revolutionary self defense."

Washington Times:

It's a pan-left radical politics uniting communists, socialists, anarchists and various different radical leftists together for the shared purpose of combating the far right," Mr. Bray said Saturday when asked to specifically define Antifa. 

Mr. Bray's remarks came just over two weeks since 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed during a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Police arrested 20-year-old suspect Alex Fields Jr., after he accelerated his vehicle into a group of counter-protesters.

The professor was then pressed on what he means in his book when he says that violence perpetrated by Antifa represents a "small though vital sliver" of its activity.

"Even if a group does not intend for that to be the way to go about it, if you're organizing against violent fascists, being able to defend yourselves can unfortunately come in handy," he replied. "I agree most of the time, in most circumstances, non-violent means are effective and it's really very fundamental to building a popular movement to influence public opinion."

The professor asserted that critics take his words out of context before he was asked if he considers charging down peaceful neo-Nazis a form of self-defense.

"I try not to wade too far into 'What about this and what about this,'" the professor told NBC. "I like to leave it as general as 'I support collective self-defense against fascism and Nazism.'"

"So basically, you don't want to take a clear position on that specific distinction (between self defense and preemptive attack)," countered reporter Benjy Sarlin.

"In the abstract. I'm going to leave it at that if you don't mind," said Mr. Bray.

The professor's comment came just one day before roughly 100 Antifa members chased off attendees at a Patriot Prayer rally held Sunday in Berkeley.

The San Francisco Chronicle documented some of the violence at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center, which included an innocent man who was "pummeled" with "fists and sticks" until a stranger came to his defense.

Police also had to protect organizer Joey Gibson, who was hit with sticks and chased down by a mob.

As numerous news sources have pointed out, the Sunday assaults by Antifa were not against shield-carrying, helmet-wearing fascists, but against ordinary people who wanted a dialogue on free speech.  There were no racist signs, no Nazi slogans chanted, no clubs being carried by free speech and anti-Communist demonstrators.  Professor Bray has an extraordinary definition of "self-defense."

Meanwhile, the Democratic response to the violence sounds like crickets chirping:

California Democrats who whipped up opposition to the weekend's free speech rallies had little to say after radical leftist protesters, led by the antifa movement, attacked police and Trump supporters on Sunday in Berkeley, injuring six.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who last week denounced the Patriot Prayer gathering in San Francisco as a "white supremacist rally," had no public comment on the leftist violence.

Neither did Rep. Barbara Lee of California, who joined other local Democrats last week at a press conference to condemn "bigotry and hate" ahead of what they called a "white nationalist rally in Berkeley."

Those familiar with recent right-of-center rallies in the Bay Area, Boston and Portland, Oregon, say it's a familiar pattern: Democrats play to their base by hyping fears of neo-Nazis while ignoring or glossing over any leftist violence.

"There has been nearly complete silence from Democrats regarding the violence of antifa in Berkeley and elsewhere," said Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson. "This silence only emboldens and encourages those who seek to turn our streets into battlegrounds. Leading Democratic politicians need to go on record unconditionally rejecting and condemning antifa."

Joey Gibson, leader of Patriot Prayer, who was chased and struck by masked antifa protesters in Berkeley before police rescued him, called on Mrs. Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to denounce the leftist violence.

"I'm asking Mayor [Ed] Lee and I'm asking Nancy Pelosi to speak against this violence and speak against this hatred, and be consistent with your message," Mr. Gibson said at a press conference after canceling his event.

"Nancy Pelosi, she's trying to further her own agenda, and she's putting her own citizens in danger, directly in danger," he said.

If Donald Trump "enables" the Nazis and KKK by refusing to condemn their violence, what does that say about Democrats who refuse to condemn the violence by Antifa? 

Even the WaPo and the San Francisco Chronicle reported on the peaceful nature of free speech protesters and the unprovoked nature of Antifa's attacks in Berkeley.  But the value of Antifa to the Democratic Party makes it impossible to criticize the group.  Democrats and the media have made a conscious decision to brand all conservative pushback against radical left Democrats as "hate speech," all pro-Trump supporters as "fascists," and all groups that oppose them "white supremacists."  The only good white people are liberal white people, and Antifa is doing the Democrats' bidding by attacking any opposition and defending its actions as "anti-fascism."