In 2018, leftwing political violence continued to accelerate.
A year ago, I documented how this trend has nothing to do with the Alt-Right. It started during the 2016 presidential election in response to the Trump campaign. There was violence and riots at Trump events in St. Louis, MO, Chicago, IL, Dayton, OH, Salt Lake City, UT, Costa Mesa, CA, Burlingame, CA, San Diego, CA, Albuquerque, NM, Anaheim, CA and San Jose, CA. Antifa disrupted MILO’s “Dangerous Faggot” tour in 2016 and 2017. There were riots at UC Davis and a shooting at the University of Washington. This phase of Antifa violence culminated in the Disrupt J20 riots at the Trump inauguration, the attack on Cernovich’s Deploraball and the riot at MILO’s event at Berkeley.
The Alt-Right didn’t join the fray until March 2017 at the earliest at the Trump rallies in Berkeley and Huntington Beach. This phase of Antifa violence ended after Charlottesville in August 2017. There were Alt-Right and White Nationalists events after Charlottesville – Richard Spencer’s speech in Gainesville and the White Lives Matter rally in Shelbyville in October 2017 – but police went out of their way to keep both groups separated. This continued at the NSM rally in Newnan in April 2018. After the chaos and disruption at Richard Spencer’s speech at Michigan State in March 2018, the Alt-Right collectively decided that the police couldn’t be trusted to maintain order at these volatile events.
The trend of 2018 is fairly obvious to detect: the Alt-Right and White Nationalists shifted away from publicly announced events, especially after Michigan State, to AVOID being associated with Antifa violence. After the Alt-Right quit holding publicly announced events, Antifa violence continued to escalate. It simply shifted its focus to Alt-Lite and Patriot events. When Antifa lacked Alt-Lite and Patriot targets to attack, the violence shifted to vandalizing Confederate monuments like Silent Sam, the “Abolish ICE” campaign over the summer and Blue Lives Matter groups in the fall. When that wouldn’t do, Antifa attacked other leftists, the police, reporters and most recently the Marines in Philadelphia.
Nothing better symbolizes this trend than “All Out August” when over 71 Antifa were arrested at violent events all over the country from Portland to Charlottesville to Chapel Hill. The Unite the Right 2 rally is highly instructive – it was cancelled in Charlottesville because virtually no one in the Alt-Right trusted the Charlottesville Police Department to maintain order. Antifa showed up anyway for the Unite the Right anniversary and still engaged violence and got arrested in DC and Charlottesville.
By the end of 2018, the toleration of Antifa violence had spiraled to the point where Antifa felt bold enough to attack a group of Marines in Philadelphia, burn a federal grand jury summons on Facebook Live in front of a federal court, assemble a mob outside of Tucker Carlson’s home and threaten his family and attack the Proud Boys at the Republican Club in New York City. Antifa smashed out the windows of the Republican Club and vandalized the door. They left a note which said, “tonight, we put the Republican Party on notice, in defiance to the policy of mass misery they have championed.” In Russia, an Antifa suicide bomber attacked the FSB.
It will be interesting to see where this goes in 2019. Antifa started off this year attacking a Jewish man at Cernovich’s A Night for Freedom. They are ending it with an attack on the Marines and beating up another Jewish man in Philadelphia. How will the media continue to rationalize and justify toxic Antifa violence when fewer and fewer rightwing groups are willing to engage with them?