The boo-birds are out and busily castigating George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley for floating the idea in The Hill that antifa is “the greatest movement against free speech in America.” He poses it as a question, but after years of watching these violent thugs, I can assure him that there is an answer to the query – an unequivocal yes.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter do a wholesale bang-up business of shutting down conservative thought online – blatant censorship – but nothing says retail silencing like a masked thug shouting in your face so that your literal message cannot be heard, or threatening you with physical violence to stop you from covering a riot.
These are the street thugs of antifa.
Turley makes quick work of the fools, such as Congressman Jerry Nadler, who claim the group is an apparition, and advances his idea that being anti-free speech is in the DNA of the group.
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Antifa has found allies while the movement has grown. It primarily targets conservatives and the free speech community, so it has not been a major concern of liberals. Former Democratic National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison, now the Minnesota attorney general, once said antifa would “strike fear in the heart” of Trump. This was after antifa had been involved in numerous acts of violence and its website was banned in Germany. His own son, Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, declared his allegiance to antifa in the heat of the protests this summer.
That fact is that antifa works to strike fear not in the heart of Trump but in the heart of anyone who will oppose the movement. The antifa handbook states how the group has rejected the idea of free speech and has spent years organizing protests to prevent opposing views from getting heard. That practice has been adopted by other groups as well. Antifa violence can give colleges or politicians cover for barring conservative speakers. Nancy Pelosi has called for the revocation of a permit for a conservative prayer group viewed as a security matter in San Francisco.
As someone who has had her life threatened by these knuckleheads (the police didn’t think the doxxing and written threats represented an existential threat) because of my writings, I’ve seen quite a bit. You may have just heard this odd-sounding antifa name recently, but I’ve been watching the far-Left mobs – ELF, ALF, Earth First, PETA , anti-Semitic mobs, “Portland Peaceful Response” – rule the streets of Portland for years–since at least 2000.
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I’ve seen these activists physically attack and pressure the Leftist “justice” machine in Portland to ruin the life and career of journalist Michael Strickland, who pulled a gun to stop antifa thugs from further beatings (no shots were fired).
They’ve beaten up relative newcomer Andy Ngo, who has watched the protest scene since 2016, and have physically tossed out, intimidated, and threatened anyone who dares cover their protests on public property. Because if you report about them, that’s snitching. “You’ve been warned.”
Portland prosecutors and Oregon courts have done that for antifa and Black Lives Matter in the case of Strickland, whose First Amendment and Second Amendment have been taken from him. A known antifa member went to court and actually got a Portland judge to consider shutting me up for continuing to report on Strickland’s case. He asked that Strickland’s probation be tied to my silence and his. Strickland was ordered to stop covering protests for a time – accomplishing officially what antifa attempted to do below.
Beating someone out of covering a protest is the order of the day for antifa. The last time I checked, it was legal to cover a public event on public property, but antifa gets away with physically intimidating people who want to cover them. Police do nothing.
Experienced videographer Brandon Farley tried to record a February 2020 memorial on public property for antifa member Sean Kealiher. Kealiher was run over by an SUV outside the now-closed antifa hangout, Cider Riot!
The organizers of Rose City Antifa surrounded Farley to prevent him from recording the event in order to allow a “woman to mourn her son in peace.” So sacred was the event that they screamed and shrieked profanity to get the guy to leave. If he’d stayed, who knows what would have happened to him.
The same bunch surrounded yet another videographer a short time after the attack on Andy Ngo in June 2019.
To cover antifa, you must declare your support and take an oath of omerta.
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This familiar collection of antifa screamers required the videographer to swear allegiance to antifa in order to record the gathering. He wouldn’t, and they kicked him out.
These videographers take recordings used by news organizations. Local TV news crews keep their distance from antifa.
This man was trying to move freely in Portland, a city where he was visiting. Watch the mob “direct traffic.” He’s lucky it was just his car beaten and not himself.
And who could forget the torching of the University of California at Berkeley when conservative speakers were scheduled? Antifa was behind that. Milo Yiannopoulos, Ben Shapiro, and Ann Coulter all got the shut-down-the-conservatives-or-the-school-gets-it business.
As Michael Strickland’s defense attorney Robert Barnes said after oral arguments in the Oregon Appeals Court in 2018, prosecutors and the courts are behind the times on these cases; they don’t see the danger to the free speech of citizens.
[R]ight now if you’re in the black bloc what do you think? I can harass somebody and get them arrested if they try to defend themselves. And then they want people not to defend themselves so that they feel terrified, so that the feel scared, so that they feel frightened, so that their behavior can be publicly and privately coerced. And that’s the danger. And that’s why this case is bigger than one person. This battle will be just the beginning of a long extended battle. If this can happen to him here it can happen to anyone, anywhere, and it means that nobody is safe. And that’s why this case is so significant.”
The courts and prosecutors are still are behind the times. And they’ve got lots of company among the American populace, who believe, as Nadler does, that antifa doesn’t exist.
The stifling of free speech is even worse than Professor Turley knows.
Free speech is enjoyed by people in inverse proportion to the number of antifa allowed the run the place.
And don’t you forget it … or else, you “fascist and racist.”