Vice News posted a video report yesterday in which correspondent Dexter Thomas claims to have discovered a secret strategy used by Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson to make Antifa look bad. What is the secret strategy? Gibson shows up, gets attacked, and refuses to fight back.
I know what you’re probably thinking. There must be more to this theory. I must be ridiculing it unfairly. But no, I promise you that’s the whole insight. Joey Gibson is making Antifa look violent by, um, well…I’ll let Vice News explain:
On Saturday, Patriot Prayer held a “Freedom March” in Portland. Around a thousand counter protesters showed up, far outnumbering the 200 or so people who came to support Patriot Prayer.
But Gibson isn’t playing a numbers game. His strategy appears to focus more on creating moments that will make leftists look violent — and himself look like a victim.
In the clip below, Thomas explains the secret formula in more detail, “He’s got a formula. Walk into counter-protesters. Provoke a violent reaction. Then retreat back behind the police line.” Maybe you can already see the problem here, but in case you don’t let me try to explain it with an analogy.
If a trans rights protester walked up to a masked mob of anti-trans rights counter-protesters, got slapped around a bit, then retreated behind the police line, I don’t think anyone would be asking him or her, ‘Why are you provoking this mob to violence?’ Most people would be asking ‘Why are we tolerating this violent mob that can’t keep its hands to itself? Walking up to people and talking to them is not an excuse for violence unless you believe, as some on the far left do, that speech is violence.
It’s also somewhat odd to see Vice News calling out someone on the right for doing what left-wing protesters have done for decades. How many times during Occupy Wall Street did protesters get in the faces of police and then, when they are arrested or pushed back, claim they were victims of state violence. In fact, you may remember that the stat Occupy pointed to most proudly on social media was the number of people who had been arrested for the cause. In the end, it began to seem as if that was the only thing the group agreed on. From the NY Post:
The movement’s lack of leaders only made things more chaotic and confusing as the months have gone on.
There were marches, arrests and plenty of YouTube videos of protesters getting pepper-sprayed. In the end, though, it appeared that eliciting these kind of moments—provoking the police until they overreacted — was the movement’s primary, if not only, goal.
The bottom line is that even if this was a conscious strategy by Joey Gibson, he’s not making anyone in the mob do anything. He’s not making them show up. He’s not making them dress in black and bring weapons. He’s not making them cover their faces. He’s not making them threaten people. And he’s definitely not making them hit anyone. They are doing those things because they believe in them.
In short, the far left looks violent because the far left is violent. It’s not even a secret. The most distinctive aspect of Antifa is that they openly embrace violence against their enemies. So all Gibson is really doing is showing that the far left is exactly who they say they are. Until the left decides to rein in some of their more extreme elements, they are going to keep getting violent and looking bad to the majority of Americans who don’t support violence and don’t believe speech is violence.