It’s useful to open this post up with a description of the colectivos in Venezuela:
The New York Times describe them as groups that “originated as pro-government community organizations that have long been a part of the landscape of leftist Venezuelan politics … civilians with police training, colectivo members are armed by the government”. They further state that “colectivos are appearing almost anywhere the government sees citizens getting out of line”. There are between 20 and 100 different colectivos in Venezuela, with the most prominent groups being the Tupamaros, Frente Francisco de Miranda, Alexis Vive, La Piedrita and Ciudad Socialista Frente 5 de Marzo, controlling about 10% of cities throughout Venezuela.
Colectivos say they are “dedicated to the promotion of democracy, political groups and cultural activities” in Venezuela. Some colectivos help with after-school programs, child care centers, puppet shows, drug rehabilitation, and sports programs; they also encourage voting by going door to door and protect communities from criminals. However, colectivos have been described as armed gangs or paramilitary groups by many organizations, with Human Rights Watch describing them as “armed gangs who use violence with impunity” who harass political opponents of the Venezuelan government. Colectivos have been accused of attacking Venezuelan opposition TV staff, sending death threats to journalists, and tear-gassing the Vatican envoy in 2009 after Hugo Chávez accused them of intervening with his government.
Antifa doesn’t have direct ties to the US government, and isn’t armed by them, and isn’t large enough to control actual physical territory. However, an “armed gang” or “paramilitary group” which uses violence with impunity and shows up whenever and wherever opponents of the US government try to gather, acting as unofficial enforcers for the regime? Gee, that sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?
The bottom line is Antifa has been attacking and disrupting conservative gatherings for some time now. They wear masks and often show up to peaceful rallies armed and ready for violence and mayhem. Typically, they are never arrested. If they are arrested, they almost never see a courtroom and are quickly released. The media refers to them as “peace protesters” and “anti-fascist activists” and other misnomers.
In fact, they are acting as an arm of the government to attack its conservative critics. I first began to realize Antifa has links to the government when the collusion between Berkeley’s police department and Antifa became clear:
To summarize that video, antifa attacked the crowd with police equipment. It is quite likely that Antifa and the Berkeley police were essentially the same group.
Another thing that made me sit up and take notice was when Tim Kaine’s youngest son, Linwood “Woody” Kaine turned out to be an actual member of Antifa:
Linwood Kaine, youngest son of vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, was arrested at the Minnesota State Capitol in March after disrupting a pro-Trump rally.
The Antifa mob was hurling punches and spraying Trump supporters with pepper spray.
Just to repeat that, the son of a man who was about 100,000 votes away from becoming vice-president of the United States is a member of a gang of thugs that terrorizes peaceful conservatives in the streets.
Finally, the incidents in Charlottesville happened. As has become clear in the days following the and from accounts of those who were there and those who watched, the police quite deliberately funneled the white nationalists directly into antifa to ensure that antifa would be able to attack them. The police then withdrew their protection from the protesters and sat back and watched as antifa assaulted the white nationalists. This negligence on the police’s part lead directly to people being hurt and killed.
It is perfectly reasonable to condemn Nazis, but it was quite noteworthy that not only did the entire political establishment fail to also condemn Antifa, who actually incited the riot, but they actually went further and praised Antifa’s actions. Marco Rubio’s Twitter was particularly noteworthy in its praise for Antifa’s attacks on the protesters:
When entire movement built on anger & hatred towards people different than you,it justifies & ultimately leads to violence against them 3/6
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
Once upon a time, I’d have agreed with Rubio and laughed at the white nationalists. The problem with Rubio’s praise for “justified violence,” though, is that Trump supporters are regularly derided as Nazis and Republicans have openly prevaricated in condemning Antifa attacks on their own voters. One of the most notorious examples is when Ted Cruz said that Trump was responsible for the attacks on his peaceful 2016 rally in Chicago:
“When you have a campaign that disrespects the voters, when you have a campaign that affirmatively encourages violence, when you have campaign that is facing allegations of physical violence against members of the press, you create an environment that only encourages this sort of nasty discourse.”
Of course, the real “disrespect” to the voters came from the Republicans, who were happily justifying violence against said voters as far back as 2016 because Trump said mean things, or something.
I doubt anyone in the federal government is calling up Antifa on the phone and telling them where to be and who to beat. The problem is, they don’t need to. All the government needs to do is create an atmosphere of permissiveness by refusing to enforce the law and having the police stand back, and turning a blind eye when local governments do actually give material aid and comfort to Antifa. Immunity from the law gives them impunity to terrorize whoever they want.
Have no doubt, Antifa is a very powerful weapon in the hands of the government. They can be turned loose on any government critics, which allows the government to neatly sidestep the first amendment. Even if members of Antifa are members of the government or have relatives of people highly placed within the federal government, as long as they don’t have on a government uniform on when they’re cracking Trumper skulls, the government is not “officially” suppressing speech. With the police and the justice system allowing such a workaround in the first amendment to exist, we might as well not have free speech at all… which is probably the point.
As I mentioned earlier, Tim Kaine has a son in Antifa. Who else in our government has friends or family that are a part of this hate group? Do our Congressmen have Antifa staffers? How many people in the government have direct ties to this group? This is what the group Marco Rubio and other GOP bigwigs praised does:
Charlottesville did not happen in a vaccuum. Had this happened during the 1990s, again, I’d have laughed it off as I’m sure many others would have. But in this climate, and with mob violence against helpless Trump supporters now a routine matter, I can only wonder when and how things against us will escalate. The government deliberately encouraging Antifa and egging them on to attack Trump supporters is bound to cause Antifa to escalate from just beating people to killing them. I truly dread the day when Antifa escalates to lethal violence.