Wisconsin

WI Assembly Dems Pivotal Moment: The Antifa Resolution

Policy

Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly will soon face a moment of reckoning: do they reject violence as political discourse from anyone who perpetrates it? Last month the Assembly approved a resolution authored by Majority Leader Jim Steineke that called out white supremacists by name for violence at Charlottesville, Virginia. Steineke has now authored a resolution calling for condemnation of unprovoked violence against peaceful protesters at Berkeley by the anarchist group Antifa.

Antifa members stormed a police barricade and began attacking right-wing protesters. Up to that point, right wing and left wing protesters marched without any serious conflict. Judging by Twitter, it appears at least some Democrats aren’t entirely comfortable with Steineke’s resolution.

Anderson seems to be referring to Charlottesville, where Antifa and white supremacists engaged in violence on each other. But the violence in Berkeley was unprovoked and entirely one-sided:

Jumping over plastic and concrete barriers, the group melted into a larger crowd of around 2,000 that had marched peacefully throughout the sunny afternoon for a “Rally Against Hate” gathering.

 

Shortly after, violence began to flare. A pepper-spray-wielding Trump supporter was smacked to the ground with homemade shields. Another was attacked by five black-clad antifa members, each windmilling kicks and punches into a man desperately trying to protect himself. A conservative group leader retreated for safety behind a line of riot police as marchers chucked water bottles, shot off pepper spray and screamed, “Fascist go home!”

 

All told, the Associated Press reported at least five individuals were attacked. An AP reporter witnessed the assaults. Berkeley Police’s Lt. Joe Okies told The Washington Post the rally resulted in “13 arrests on a range of charges including assault with a deadly weapon, obstructing a police officer, and various Berkeley municipal code violations.”

Yet Anderson persisted in accusing Steineke of equivocating:

As for Anderson’s contention that Antifa poses a “miniscule” problem; it’s true the movement isn’t as established as the white supremacist movement, nor does it have the violent, deadly history of both. Nazism killed tens of millions of people and the Klan terrorized African Americans for two centuries. But there is ample evidence to suggest Antifa is a growing threat.

First, there was last month’s unprovoked attack at Berkeley. Then, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that Berkeley was “bracing” for an appearance this week by conservative talk show host Ben Shapiro. While the “bracing” headline was mocked on Twitter as being melodramatic, Berkeley is, in fact, expecting more Antifa violence.

Reveal reported last week that Antifa was preparing to “enter homes and break bones.”

One antifa activist, who would give only the name “Dominic,” talked proudly in a series of interviews with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting about forming this broader alliance of “Nazi hunters” to seek out, reveal and fight these enemies wherever they might show up. Their goal became even more specific after Charlottesville: to prevent more casualties like that of activist Heather Heyer.

 

“We’ll go to their house, I’ll put it that way. We’ll go to their house,” said Dominic, an imposing, muscular man in his 30s. “I don’t want to hurt anybody, but I want those people to stop it. If I have to put Richard Spencer or Nathan Damigo into the hospital critically, and it would have saved Heather Heyer’s life or the next potential Heather Heyer, I would do it without question.”

And The Intercept reported that Antifa’s attacks are becoming less discriminant.

In Boston last month, a bald, white man with tattoos who traveled to Boston Commons to protest racism was beaten by antifa activists after being mistaken for a white supremacist. In Berkeley, antifa chased and violently attacked the leader of Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson, a Japanese-American who says he disavows white supremacy. Journalists, in particular, have been threatened and attacked by antifa during recent demonstrations, including a local CBS News photojournalist in Richmond, Virginia, who was sent to the hospital with stitches and a KTVU reporter who was struck in Berkeley for filming a public demonstration.

Despite all this, Wisconsin’s  left continues to paint Steineke’s resolution as “a distraction.”

It bears repeating that there was no racial element to Antifa’s Berkeley attacks. As of this writing, no vote has been scheduled on Steineke’s Berkeley resolution. Clearly there are those on the Left that wish the vote wasn’t happening at all. If any Democrats vote no when the time comes, their explanation for failing to reject unprovoked violence will be telling.