Liberal attacks, ‘antifa’ thugs threaten rights
BY SETH GALINSKY
The propertied rulers in the U.S. face an unprecedented political crisis today, precipitated by the changes in class reality that were reflected in the election of Donald Trump as president and the deepening crisis of their capitalist system that stand behind that vote. Both of their political parties — the Democrats and Republicans — are wracked by deep divisions.
A facet of this crisis is the relentless resistance of liberal Democrats and media, some Republicans and the middle-class left against Trump’s presidency. All tactics are fair game in their effort to get him indicted or impeached. And against those they label as racists and fascists they say have been unleashed by Trump.
As part of this effort, liberal Democratic politicians and self-proclaimed antifa thugs are mounting attacks on freedom of speech and assembly. Their attempts to shut down conservatives and alleged white supremacist speakers and rallies give a handle to the government to go after the working class and its political rights.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin — who calls himself a “real progressive” — is pushing the University of California there to cancel “Free Speech Week” Sept. 24-27, organized by the conservative student group Berkeley Patriot.
Arreguin said the presence of rightist Milo Yiannopoulos and conservative Ann Coulter, who the group has invited to participate, could provoke antifa thugs to “create mayhem” and cost “the city hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing the windows of businesses,” adding that “there is a line between freedom of speech and then posing a risk to public safety.”
The university administration is charging the College Republicans $15,000 for security costs for a Sept. 14 speech by Ben Shapiro, a former Breitbart News editor. Speech is “free” — if you can pay for it.
House Democratic Party Leader Nancy Pelosi called on the National Park Service to deny a permit to a conservative “Liberty Weekend” in San Francisco Aug. 26, saying it was a “white-supremacist rally.”
Acting as enforcers for the liberal politicians, the next day antifa thugs beat up Trump supporters and others they claimed were white supremacists, as well as reporters, during an anti-racist protest in Berkeley.
An anonymous anarchist replied to criticism of antifa thuggery with a post on itsgoingdown.org titled “Eternal Liberal Handwringing: Response to Antifa Smears.” The essay is marked by the group’s glorification of violence, its anarchistic elevation of small-group actions over politics, and its alienation from the working class — all features that point toward the transformation of its members from “anti-fascist” to fascist.
In the history of the workers’ movement, others have travelled this road, including left Socialist Benito Mussolini, who ended up leading the fascist forces to power in Italy in 1922.
Attacks on workers rights
The New York Times published an opinion piece Aug. 29 calling on the Internal Revenue Service to take away the tax exemption of white supremacists and others with viewpoints that are “fundamentally untethered from American values.” The liberals believe those they disagree with should be “nudged” off the playing field — or knocked off, if antifa is at hand.
Calls for the IRS to decide who is eligible for tax exemption based on political criteria opens the door the rulers will gladly use to go after working-class organizations
The American Civil Liberties Union has come under attack for filing a suit supporting the right of organizers of “Unite the Right” to hold its Aug. 11 rally in a downtown park in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Within the week, the ACLU caved. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero told the Wall Street Journal that “if a protest group insists, ‘No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms,’ well we don’t have to represent them.”
I guess they don’t think the Black Panther Party should have gotten legal help from civil libertarians, or the Deacons for Defense and Justice in the fight for Black rights in the 1960s.
The biggest danger to the political rights of the working class today comes from the liberal Democratic politicians, radical groups and antifa-style forces that cut off political discussion and debate. Allegedly aimed at stopping racist and rightist groups, their thug attacks and efforts to restrict the rights of those they target will increasingly be turned against the working class as the class struggle heats up.