Last Thursday, Rose City Antifa published a letter co-signed by a long list of other Antifa groups. The gist is that they don’t like efforts by Sen. Ted Cruz recommended designating Antifa as a domestic terrorist group. Last week, Cruz also sent a letter to AG Barr which read in part:
Antifa’s violence is widespread and well-known. Earlier this month, the “Rose City” chapter of the domestic terrorist organization “Antifa” rampaged through Portland, Oregon, stealing and destroying property, disrupting traffic, and assaulting civilians. One journalist, Andy Ngo, was attacked so severely that he was hospitalized for a brain hemorrhage. This weekend, Willem Van Sprosen, an Antifa terrorist, attacked a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement center in Tacoma, Washington, igniting a vehicle and attempting to ignite a propane tank. This mayhem follows previous armed attacks and rioting by Antifa in Portland, as well as the arsons, destruction of property, batteries, and related crimes by Antifa following President Trump’s inauguration. These are not unconnected lawless incidents; they instead appear to be a pattern of racketeering activity. And they occur principally because Antifa’s members rely on masks to conceal which particular member committed any given crime…
Antifa’s violence is aimed to silence dissent from authoritarian left-wing views. Mayor Wheeler apparently agrees with those views. But the First Amendment guarantees Portland’s moderates and conservatives alike the right to speak, and the Equal Protection Clause prohibits Portland’s mayor and police force from refusing to prosecute assaults designed to suppress this First Amendment right-from, quite literally, denying to dissenting Portlanders the equal protection of Oregon’s laws against assault and robbery. Federal intervention is required to guarantee these citizens’ constitutional rights.
In a normal case, I might be tempted to say this is an unnecessary federal intervention in a problem best left to the city and state in question. But in this case, as Sen. Cruz points out, Mayor Ted Wheeler is apparently part of the problem. So getting anything to change in Portland may require some investigation and oversight of Wheeler as well. The response from Rose City Antifa is extremely tedious to read.
The vast majority of what anti-fascists do does not involve black outfits at protests. Anti-fascists are easy to dehumanize with superficial commentary on the clothing and masks that some use to protect themselves. But anti-fascists are your neighbors. Some anti-fascists are people fighting for our lives and dignity, because we are people of color, queer, trans, of a targeted ethnicity or religion. Some anti-fascists are people who are cashing in on our privileges to protect those who are more vulnerable. Anti-fascists are regular people: moms, teachers, carpenters, servers, healthcare workers, and veterans. Fighting against the oppression, bigotry, and violence that we call fascism requires ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Stopping fascist activity is a goal common to all people of conscience. These Senators would call us all domestic terrorists.
Not every person of conscience agrees on tactics, but they would all be considered terrorists according to this proposed resolution, because they declare themselves opposed to white supremacists and concentration camps.
And there you have it. We’re not bad people. We’re your neighbors! Neighbors with bats, wearing masks so we can get violent with impunity. Really the best they can say is that they aren’t all violent and therefore it’s not fair to label them all violent. Yes, except anyone who chooses to dress in black and travel with violent people in their midst is doing so to create camouflage for the violent as a matter of considered strategy. Here’s the final list of things the group condemns:
We, the undersigned, wholly condemn any attempt to criminalize community efforts to stop white supremacist assaults and close concentration camps.
Just a week after one of their own showed up at an ICE facility with bombs and a rifle, they’re demanding their efforts to stop “concentration camps” not be criminalized. So you can see they’ve adopted AOC language wholesale and that they have no regret for the attack on the ICE facility.
We condemn any attempt to persecute community groups who research racist threats in their community, and educate the people so that they might stop it.
I’m not sure but I think they mean doxing.
We condemn any attempt by the far-right to strike a blow against their political opponents by demonizing the actions of human beings of conscience.
It’s not the human beings or their consciences that are the target, it’s the bats and bike locks.
We condemn any attempt to protect the far-right gangs who make violent incursions into liberal communities.
You aren’t allowed to beat people in the street even if you disagree with them and find them repugnant. The police are there to protect everyone and that includes the people Antifa wants to “smash.”
We condemn any attempt to shield fascism, by attacking those who are in opposition to it.
The verbal and written attacks on Antifa will continue as they should. There’s a bit more if you care to read it but you probably get the gist: Do what we want and no one else has to get hurt. It’s not a defense so much as ongoing proof of the threat this group of violent losers poses to anyone they decide doesn’t belong in their safe space.