Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Left Needs To Stop The Incessant Infighting At Rallies, Protests

Scenes at Left -Liberal rally in Colorado Springs Sunday

The Left needs to get its act together and cease infighting. While the Nazis and White supremacists have evidently managed that feat with their Charlottesville marches, the Left appears to have a much longer way to go.

Particularly disheartening was to read in The Colorado Springs Independent ('Infighting Taints Rally'. Aug. 22-29, p. 17)  about an activist rally last Sunday in the Springs which descended into infighting, cross chants and shouting spats. While there were some "empowered moments, impassioned speeches and private conversations"  the "infighting left many attendees feeling disheartened."

What gives? Basically, the article pointed to "philosophical and tactical differences" between different Left groups including: the Colorado Springs Socialists, the Democratic Socialists of America, Industrial Workers of the World, Antifa, and the Greens.

According to the COS Indy report, the "source of consternation was the apparent failure of attendees to properly commemorate Heather Heyer, the young woman mowed down by a neo-Nazi in Charlottesville"

This alone is inexcusable as a "difference maker".  There should have been no issues of divergence on Ms. Heyer being commemorated and it ought not have taken some special 'contract' to agree on the form. Thus leftists bristled at the idea that liberals would co-opt her as a martyr, whether unwittingly or not.  Heated arguments broke out, too, over whether a prayer was appropriate at a political event and  
whether a combat veteran ought to lecture the crowd about nonviolence

That the Left factions couldn't even unify on this basic aspect of a memorial is not only disheartening but downright depressing. One of the white supremacists  (Chris Cantwell) featured in the HBO VICE episode on Charlottesville, e.g.


claimed "our opponents have more trust in each other". Well from the display on Sunday it doesn't appear so!

Evidently one group insisted that since Ms. Heyer was part of an actual activist bloc she ought to have been noted as a "comrade" not merely an "ally". Others maintained they weren't so sure of Heyer's activist bona fides so that the commemoration describe an "ally" only. Talk about arguing about tweedledee and tweedledum!

The most prolonged dispute broke out when a Socialist called out a solitary man in the crowd as an undercover cop. (Local socialists have reason to look out for infiltrators.) The interruption escalated into dueling chants of “cops get out” and “love lives here,” with people on both sides becoming exasperated and then furious. 

 None of this baloney ought to have happened, and the fractious images merely serve as fodder for the Right's claims that the Left are not about putting the nation's interests first. There is also the sad spectacle of Antifa members whacking racists or macing them without being provoked or defending other weaker protesters as in Charlottesville.  Antifa needs to grasp that images of unprovoked violence do not help the Left cause. Yes, bash a Rightie or Nazi over the head - but only IF he is trying to gouge a young female protester's face with a stick or beat a black protester with a bat.  That is what we term "self defense" or defense of weaker allies.  But don't go out looking for Nazis to attack without cause.

The COS Indy piece went on to note:

"In broad strokes, the debate playing out in the resistance movement revolves around the efficacy of nonviolence, though it’s more nuanced than it may seem. When a white guy flies a neo-Nazi flag, is he inciting violence? And, if so, does that justify punching him in the face? Or, do pacifists have the right to tell Antifa not to practice self-defense? Does bringing a firearm to a rally prevent or invite harm? Can you share a movement with those whose tactics you wouldn’t yourself choose? And, of course, what would the exalted Martin Luther King Jr. say about all this?"

These are all questions that Left activists at coming protests and rallies need to answer sensibly, and the sooner the better!

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