Leaders of the far left National Lawyers Guild (NLG) in San Francisco have written an opinion piece for the San Francisco Chronicle titled “We are all Antifa.” The piece not only glosses over violence which took place in Berkley, it seems to endorse future violence.
Last month, thousands gathered in San Francisco and Berkeley to defeat the hatred of fascism and white supremacy. A united front of labor, clergy, students, socialists, anarchists and others successfully prevented the fascists from holding their rallies…
Despite our victory, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin called for antifa to be classified as a criminal gang. The lesson here is that we cannot depend on the government to meaningfully intervene and prevent the rise of fascism. That is up to us.
A couple points before we continue. First, it’s true the Mayor of Berkeley has brought up classifying Antifa as a gang though his comments were ultimately directed at both sides, “There are organized groups — violent extremists groups — on the left and right that have encouraged people to come to Berkeley and physically confront the antifa or to confront the alt-right,” the mayor said.
Second, the reason the mayor was so upset is that black-clad Antifa members were beating people in the streets of his city. Some of those people were on the right (some haven’t been identified) but it’s not clear that any of them were fascists or white supremacists. In fact, some of the victims have explicitly denounced those groups.
Third and most importantly, the authors are aware of the violence in Berkeley yet they offer blanket support for efforts to “prevent the rise of fascism.” It’s not an explicit endorsement of violence since they don’t mention that violence at all, but they certainly don’t exclude it. Toward the end of the piece, the authors go a bit further:
This campaign to recast antifa as a violent, leftist suppression of speech is a dangerous effort eerily reminiscent of the left-baiting that accompanied the Nazi rise to power.
The National Lawyers Guild won’t stand by as fascists and white supremacists seek to take power in the streets and halls of government. We stand in solidarity with all who fight hatred. We will continue to show up, to defend activists who challenge fascism, and we call on all people of conscience to do the same.
No one has to “recast” Antifa as violent. As for their desire to suppress speech, that’s practically in the bylaws. Okay, they don’t really have bylaws but they do have goals and ‘no platform for fascists’ is one of those goals. In other words, don’t give them any space to speak. If that’s not suppression of speech, what is it?
As for the comparison to Nazis, that would make more sense if the group that organized one of the rallies was not multi-racial and explicitly opposed to Nazis.
Finally, when the NLG says it stands in solidarity with “all who fight hatred” that can be taken in a couple ways. In light of the violence in Berkeley, it could be read as solidarity with those who literally fight with their fists and various weapons. Is that what they mean? What you don’t see anywhere in this article is the National Lawyer’s Guild denouncing Antifa’s violence.
Sorry, but we are not all Antifa. A majority of Americans don’t support or endorse violence and vandalism as political tactics. Does the National Lawyers Guild? Read the piece yourself and you can decide.