On Sunday, Aug. 27, a “rally against hate” was scheduled in Berkeley, California, by a small group of relatively conservative Christians, led by Amber Cummings, a transgender Trump supporter and a leader of a group called Patriot Prayer, and a Japanese-American named Joey Gibson.
Their event never took place. The left-wing group known as antifa, a contraction of “anti-fascist,” showed up in large numbers. Videos shows its members pouncing on one of the rally supporters, knocking him to the ground, and preparing to beat him with sticks and rocks. The Washington Post reported:
“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!’”
There’s no consensus of what antifa stands for, or if their tactics will achieve their stated goals. Is it, as leftist professor Todd Gitlin asserts, simply a “particular strand of aggressive left-wing activism,” that is a “defensive response to the growing presence of right-wing extremism,” or is it, as liberal editor and columnist Josh Marshall writes, a group which empowers “violence over law… the surest route to the destruction of democracy and dictatorship?”
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