Sunday, June 26, 2016

More political violence. Leftists attack protest and several people get stabbed.

Protesters at the Sacramento rally. Reuters.

Violence erupted in Sacramento between white nationalists and anti-fascist protesters, with several stabbings and injuries. Reuters. The Traditional Workers Party, described by their leader as a white nationalist group, had a legal permit for the rally. The anti-fascist groups, led by a group called Anti-Fascist Action Sacramento showed up to the rally armed with sticks and other weapons and attacked the TWP. The protest was against violence directed at Trump rally, and the leaders of the rally expected to be attacked. A statement by one of the anti-fascist leaders said they had a moral duty to shut down the protest and called it an act of "self defense"

My Comment:
Normally I wouldn't care if the far right and the far left got into a brawl with each other. I find them both odious. But it seems clear to me that this is part of a pattern of far left violence targeted against their political opponents. Though I completely disagree with the Traditional Worker's Party's white nationalism, I do think they are right to protest against leftist violence. And the leftists obliged and proved that they actually do have a point. 

And I have to point out that just because I think the TWP has a point in this specific case, I also want to make it very clear that I don't like white nationalism. Very few people actually support these losers when it comes to their beliefs about race, and I don't want to be painted as a Nazi just because I think that they shouldn't be targets of violence.

Oh wait, that totally happened already. Twitter is stupid.

Anyways, this level of political violence is greatly disturbing. There has been a recent trend of leftist protesters trying to shut down right wing events and protests with actual physical violence. It happened at several Donald Trump rallies. His supporters have been attacked and the man himself was targeted for assassination.  

And it's important to note that these attacks are going after Donald Trump and his supporters, who are mostly center-right Republicans. Trump isn't some kind of white nationalist, he just supports immigration law enforcement and is critical of Islamic immigration. Other then that he's fairly liberal for a Republican, especially when it comes to gay rights. He's certainly divisive but compared to actual far right groups he's harmless.

All that being said, even if Trump is rather mainstream, these people at the Sacramento rally were anything but. They are legitimate white nationalists, and believe some pretty disgusting things. Does that make it right to attack them? Absolutely not. In America everyone has a right to express their views, even if most people find them repulsive. 

For example, the Westboro Baptist Church is an odious group of protesters that push their views at such inappropriate places as soldiers funerals. Everyone agrees that they are evil people and their views are disgusting. When I heard a rumor that they were going to show up at my old high school I showed up to counter protest. They didn't show up anyways, but you know what I didn't do? I didn't make any plans to hurt them for what they say. 

That doesn't seem to happen when the left is attacking the right. A guy that I was talking to on twitter had an excellent point about this. He stated that Marxists tend to conflate views they disagree with as "violence" so they can respond to that "violence" with actual physical violence. That's how you can get something like the leader of this attack calling it "self defense". 

I honestly can't believe that these people actually think that there is no difference is someone saying "you suck" and actually punching them in the face. It has to be a cover right? They just want to justify their violence. They want to terrify people into submission so views opposed to them are shut down. Some of those views are legitimately scary but most of them are inside the Overton Window of acceptable beliefs. I don't think advocating enforcing immigration law or being concerned about terrorism are in any way unacceptable and they certainly aren't uncommon beliefs. 

In short, I think this is terrorism in the traditional sense of the word. People are using violence to intimidate others into not expressing themselves. It's just like the attack on the free speech event in Garland Texas. In that case people were protesting Islam and a couple of terrorists attacked. They failed completely but what is the difference between those terrorists and the ones that attacked people at various right wing events this year? The only difference I see is that the ISIS ones were trying to kill instead of wound. 

The worst part is that this is only the beginning. There are going to be massive protests at both the Republican and Democratic conventions. Given the rhetoric of these protesters, saying that it is ok to attack people with "wrong" beliefs is justified, I would not surprised if people are hurt in large numbers at both events and I am even expecting deaths...

Finally, I have to say that this violence is counter productive. Attacking people for their beliefs is a great way to get attention for those beliefs. How many recruits are the TWP going to get from this attack? How many people are now sympathetic to their beliefs? After all, a main point of their groups is that white people are going to attacked by minorities. People think that the best way to counter their views is to validate them? What a joke. 

It's much better to counter arguments and views you don't like through peaceful means. That doesn't mean you have to just let these views out their unchallenged. But there are ways to do so without resorting to violence. Even protest is fine if you don't try to hurt people. There is a line that should not be crossed and that line is violence. 

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