The vague and dangerous ideology of leftist violence
There is currently, on the streets, smashing storefronts and setting things on fire, a group called “Antifa,” for “anti-fascist.” Antifa are not a new phenomenon; they surfaced during the Occupy movement, and during the anti-globalization protests of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Antifa movements began in early-20th-century Europe, when fascism was a concrete and urgent concern, and they remain active on the Continent. Lately, Antifa have emerged as the militant fringe of #TheResistance against Donald Trump — who, they maintain, is a fascist, ushering into power a fascist regime. In Washington, D.C., Antifa spent the morning of Inauguration Day lighting trash cans on fire, throwing rocks and bottles at police officers, setting ablaze a limousine, and tossing chunks of pavement through the windows of several businesses. On February 1, Antifa set fires and stormed buildings at the University of California–Berkeley to prevent an appearance by Breitbart provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. (They succeeded.) In April, they threatened violence if Ann Coulter spoke on the campus; when the university and local law enforcement refused to find a secure location for her to speak, she withdrew, saying the situation was too dangerous.
These and similar episodes call to mind Woody Allen’s character’s observation in the 1979 film Manhattan: “A satirical piece in the Times is one thing, but bricks and baseball bats really gets right to the point of it.”