Last week I wrote several posts about the riots that took place at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. As I predicted in the final post, the riots did not end when the Summit was over. From the Local:
Violence continued to rage after G20 leaders returned home Saturday, with far-left protesters setting fire to a number of vehicles into the early morning hours, police said.
Demonstrators gathered after the close of the summit in the Schanzen district, a stronghold for radicals which was the site of multiple confrontations since Thursday.
Armed with glass bottles and targeting vehicles, many of which they set on fire, the rioters were pushed back by officers, using water cannon and tear gas, police said on Twitter.
At a news conference, the head of operations for Hamburg police, Hartmut Dudde, said 476 officers had been injured since Thursday in a deployment of more than 20,000 officers, and 186 people were detained.
The violence and arson led to some public pushback from a number of sources, including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own party. From the Local:
“Years of looking the other way and a mistaken liberality towards criminality [from the far left], has come back to strike us in Hamburg,” said Thomas Strobl (CDU), interior minister in Baden-Württemberg…
Günter Krings (CDU), permanent secretary in the Federal Interior Ministry, said that the port city urgently needed to lay out plans for “how it will dry out the swamps in parts of its inner city where lawlessness and contempt for the state prevail.”
Germany’s Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, criticized one notorious anarchist flop-house, known as the Rote Flora or Red Flora. The Red Flora is a 19th century concert hall which over the subsequent decades was a movie theater and then a shopping mall. In 1989, leftists occupied the building and it has been a flop house for radicals ever since:
Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière criticized the Rote Flora on Tuesday, saying that such places “cannot be tolerated”.
“When this becomes a habit, it is not so easy to solve it,” he said.
Members of the conservative Bavarian CSU party wrote in a paper released on Tuesday that “virtually extralegal spaces like the Rote Flora [in Hamburg] must systematically be shut down”.
“These places are breeding grounds for danger to the life and limb of the entire population. This must be stopped by all means.”
Admittedly, some of this is politics. Merkel is up for reelection in a couple months and given that she chose Hamburg as the site for the G20 knowing it was a haven for left-wing radicals, the riots last week look bad for her. But the fact that nearly 500 police officers were injured and dozens of cars set on fire means there is also a genuine reason for Germans to be upset.
What’s striking as a U.S. observer is that similar national conversations are not taking place here at home. If you’re first thought is, well, we’re not having left wing riots here, you’re wrong. We’ve had a series of similar riots in Seattle, at Berkeley, Middlebury, and in Portland. After the election, there were violent protests in Portland and Oakland and of course a rash of vandalism and violence by the far left at the inauguration itself which left half a dozen police officers injured. There have also been dozens of individual threats and acts of violence which appear to be politically motivated. Finally, we can’t leave out the recent attack on GOP members of congress in Alexandria, which appears to have been motivated by political animus.
There seems to be resistance to discussing this topic, from the left obviously, but also from the national media which is mostly made up of people on the left. In addition, the left has the extremely well-funded SPLC which routinely provides information and quotes to reporters about the threat of right-wing violence. But the right lacks a group dedicated to highlighting the threat of left-wing violence. The result is that you have a few articles about the growing trend of left-wing political violence, but nothing compared to the outpouring of newsprint we saw after the Tucson shooting (which it turned out had nothing to do with the political right).
The trend won’t go away simply because the media refuses to connect the dots. On the contrary, lack of attention guarantees this problem will continue to grow. We will eventually have a national discussion about this but, as in Germany, I suspect it won’t happen until something even more horrible than the Alexandria shooting takes place.