AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File
Antifa is a problem in this country. Calling themselves “antifascists,” the group more closely resembles Hitler’s Brownshirts than any anti-fascist movement I’ve ever seen. They’re quick to resort to violence and have since before the 2016 election. They’ve done everything from setting fires at their colleges over speakers to hitting people with bike locks. They’ve weaponized milkshakes and beaten journalists.
They’re already a problem.
The thing is, they’re also an armed problem.
Liberals are notoriously loath to take their own side in a fight. But their reticence may well be changing in an age of vigilante, white nationalist terror—openly condoned and supported by an incumbent president who has suggested that his armed devotees won’t stand for his removal from office. Increasingly, the antifa left is arguing—and training—in response. They are worried not only about an armed reckoning following a contested election, but also about rising violence from the paramilitaries loyal to President Donald Trump.
Such paranoid fantasies may be familiar to heavy consumers of YouTube and Reddit, but watching them transposed on to the structures of governance is a novelty. As a result, many leftists and even some liberals are beginning to reconsider their feelings about firearms, joining a loose amalgamation of gun groups, from John Brown Gun Clubs (which take their name from the abolitionist) to the Pink Pistols (an LGBTQ group), Liberal Gun Club, and Socialist Rifle Association. Some of these organizations are moderate and traditionalist, others radical and revolutionary. But all share one implicit goal: to normalize firearms ownership and training among liberals. Some of their members hope such efforts will at least make Republicans think twice before attempting a massacre.
OK, I’m going to stop here to point and laugh at the inclusion of the Pink Pistols.
The truth is that the Pink Pistols has a history of defending the Second Amendment, and yes, some of their members are probably liberal. Many of their members aren’t, though, and I know that for a fact.
Methinks the writer just looked up LGBT gun groups and assumed that they have to be liberal because LGBT folks can’t be conservative or libertarian.
Anyway, back to Antifa gearing up:
Whether that approach will inflame political violence—especially in hot spots like the Pacific Northwest—or deter it remains uncertain. In April, Shea spoke at an “open carry” rally in Olympia, which drew hundreds of people, many armed with AR-15s and shotguns. About ten members of the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club were also there, handing out flyers mocking Shea and another speaker, Joey Gibson of Patriot Prayer, who, they said, “attracted and embraced” rapists, pedophiles, and skinheads. “Want to defend your community from people like Matt Shea?” one flyer asked. At the moment, the Puget Sound JBGC, which was founded less than four months after Trump took office, has around 30 active members. But its firearms safety and marksmanship workshops fill up faster every time the club hosts them. Full members undergo lengthy vetting, but anyone can come learn how guns work, what the parts are, and how to handle them safely, before going to the range and learning to shoot. “We’re talking about white liberals, mostly women, who are like ‘let’s get this class going,’” the club’s founder, Duke Aaron, said. “Two years ago these people would be like ‘Guns? This is terrible.’ That’s not the reaction now.”
Now, let me be clear here. These people have as much a right as I do to arm themselves. Further, if they’re worried about the United States becoming a totalitarian state, they probably should train up and be ready to fight.
Where I have a problem is that these are also people who see fascists around every corner and are far too willing to resort to violence. The way someone once described it was as a knob versus a switch. People on the Left are like a knob, slowly increasing the violence, the severity increasing along the way. It starts with riots and ends with shooting.
People on the Right, by contrast, are a switch. They’re perfectly peaceful until they get pushed too far, then the switch flips, and it’s time for the bugaloo.
Of course, I can already hear the criticism. There will be people who will look at videos of Antifa-aligned groups and laugh at them “training.” They’ll criticize it as little more than plinking or whatever.
The thing is, they’re actually training. They’re training as groups.
In a post from a couple of years ago, the writer makes a very valid point about the difference between the Right and Left.
The organizational capacity required to build a new world is the same organizational capacity have Lefties built to pressure government. So who’s in a better position to shape the big moment when it comes? Hell, if tomorrow civilization goes completely Mad Max: who’s got existing local networks of people who they’re used to turning out and doing stuff with on a regular basis? Answer to both questions: not the Right.
Passivists say activism accomplishes nothing. What it actually accomplishes is practice. Practice for networking, practice for turnout, practice for speed, practice working as a team. Anybody who’s ever tried to get five people together for dinner knows it’s a pain, but look at the airport protests after the travel ban, and see how many people the hard Left can turn out on next to no notice. Say the balloon were to suddenly go up: forget having a detailed and specific plan; in that first five minutes, do you — not some veterans’ network you’re hoping will salvage things, not some imaginary Great Man; *specifically you* — even know who you’re going to call?
The Lefties do. And that’s why righties who say the Right has nothing to learn from the Left are wrong. That’s because righties don’t read lefty books. I read lefty books and organizational manuals, and I can tell you: they’re smart.
The collectivist nature of the Left means they’re very group-oriented. They’re good at organizing, and you’re a fool if you think they’re not using it.
So we know they’re arming and training and organized. We also know they’re quite ready to resort to violence. I’m sorry, but this is not a happy-making set of circumstances.
However, until these individuals cross the line, there’s nothing we can do.
Well, there is one thing. It’s something we all probably should do. We should learn a few lessons from them and start networking and planning defense strategies to protect our families, neighborhoods, and such should these people decide to get rowdy. We should start training as a group with standards and work to bring everyone up to those standards.
While it’s possible they won’t do anything, I don’t think it’s a good idea to assume it. Instead, sensible precautions make the most sense.