Skip to comments.Extremism experts are starting to worry about the left
Posted on 06/16/2017 7:57:40 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
In the spring of 2016, Brian Levin found himself in an uncomfortable position: trying to save the life of a Ku Klux Klan member.
Levin, a former New York City cop who studies domestic extremism as the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, was documenting a Klan rally in Anaheim, California, when a counterprotest suddenly took a violent swing forcing Levin to physically place himself between a Klansman and a furious, anti-fascist mob that seemed ready to kill.
It made Levin wonder if in his focus on the obvious subject the white supremacists hed overlooked a growing source of extremism: the far left. At that point, I said we have something coalescing on the hard left, Levin told VICE News.
Wednesday mornings shooting of Republican lawmakers at a baseball practice in Virginia seemed to raise the question again. The shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, was a Bernie Sanders-supporting man from Illinois with a record of anti-Trump rantings on social media. His politics have quickly become a talking point among some conservative pundits seeking a quick political score: proof of a looming leftist campaign against the government.
Experts in homegrown extremism say its not so simple Hodgkinson had no known association to any left-wing extremist group. But they also say that the past few months have seen enough of a rise in politically motivated violence from the far left that monitors of right-wing extremism have begun shifting their focus, and sounding the alarm. They see indications that the uptick in extremist rhetoric and anti-government activism that characterized the early years of the Obama presidency are beginning to manifest on the far left in the early days of Trumps, and that the two sides are increasingly headed for confrontation.
I think were in a time when we cant ignore the extremism from the Left, said Oren Segal, the director of the Center on Extremism, an arm of the Anti-Defamation League. Over the past few months, the ADL, which hosts regular seminars on homegrown extremism for law enforcement officials, has begun warning of the rising threat posed by far-left groups, most recently at a seminar just this past Sunday. When we have anti-fascist counterprotests not that they are the same as white supremacists that can ratchet up the violence at these events, and it means we can see people who are violent on their own be attracted to that, Segal said. I hate to say it, but it feels inevitable.
The evidence is so far largely anecdotal. Levin says that since December 2015, hes documented nearly two-dozen episodes in California where political events turned violent because of agitation on both sides, something he says he hardly ever saw before. Now, there are violent clashes on college campuses involving groups like Antifa, the anti-fascist group, taking on the alt-right; and aggressive anti-Trump rallies attended by members of the Redneck Revolt, a new pro-minority, anti-supremacist group that encourages its members to train with rifles. Online, hard leftists increasingly discuss politics in dire terms, and rationalize violence as a necessity even the true inheritor of traditional progressive activism. (Or, in the case of the Punch a Nazi meme, a fun game.)
Left-wing extremism, of course, is nothing new. Groups like the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers have deep roots, and in the years after 9/11, Segal says, the largest source of extremist violence was from the Left: eco-terrorists and animal rights activists. But those later organizations mostly targeted institutions; in the modern era, politically motivated violence perpetrated by angry lone-wolf attackers bearing automatic rifles, of the sort carried out in Wednesdays attack, has until now largely been a modus operandi of the far right.
In a recent interview with VICE News Tonight, a chapter leader of one newly formed anti-fascist group called Redneck Revolt said the group has taken up guns only in self-defense. We are a response to a rise in politically motivated violence and intimidation against vulnerable communities, said the chapter leader, who asked to be identified only by a first name, Mitch. That doesnt mean that were, like, looking for a fight. Were just trying to defend ourselves.
Redneck Revolt doesnt self-identify as left, but its ideals tend to fall along the liberal side of the spectrum: pro-Muslim, pro-immigrant, pro-LGBT, antieconomic inequality. But Mitch said that as the group has reached out to other organizations, like the local Three Percenter Militia, a largely right-wing, anti-Obama group, they found unlikely sources of commonality, particularly in their focus on local sovereignty, and general concerns about the direction of the country. Some former members of Three Percenters have even become involved in their activities after extensive vetting, Mitch said.
Chris Hamilton, an expert on American extremist movements at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, says anti-authoritarian sentiment may be blurring what once seemed to be clear ideological lines. If you think about it, leftists never joined the National Rifle Association unless they were radicals, they never thought about stockpiling weapons, he said. Ok. Well, maybe were entering a period where leftists will start thinking about things in that way, like the eco-radicals did in the 70s.
Hamilton says that as he browses far-left websites and listens to left-wing talk radio, he hears some of the same sentiments hes been hearing for years on the right. These days, that kind of sentiment is popping up in the middle and on the left; its not just in the sovereign citizen movement, he said. Im really worried about rising civil strife in the U.S.
Levin is worried about it too: The embrace by the far left of tactics that were previously the purview of the far right means the level of political tension in the country can only go up. Ive been going up and down the state of California meeting with law enforcement officials about this. Im very concerned about it, he said. What were seeing is the democratization of extremism and the tactics of radicalism. Ive been warning about this, and nobody gave a sh*t.
This shooting is a product of the climate of hate created by the progressive left and the Democrats.
They have questioned the legitimacy of President Trumps election from the moment it happened, plotting action against him (including but not limited to impeachment) from about 10 PM Eastern on November 8.
Left-wing educators have called for Trumps assassination, and it is only after this shooting that the hypocrites at the Huffington Post pulled an article urging the same.
They have promoted and defended Kathy Griffin and the severed Trump head. they have supported and defended the assassination of Trump at Shakespeare in the Park. Madonna said she had given serious thought to blowing up the White House. Snoop dogg pointed a gun at a Trump head, done up like a clown.
Is it any wonder one of their little mind-numbed robots decided that the Republicans needed killing?
‘agitation on both sides’ - Turns my stomach when they say both sides are equally violent. Really?? Antifa and Ann Coulter folks? Really?? I don’t believe her supporters carried bike locks or wore masks.
A little late. They started attacking people at the rally in Chicago and haven’t stopped since.
If Vice is starting to say this coupled with what Pelosi said earlier, then you know there is a problem.
Violent left-wing extremists is not a new thing.
The left-wing has been using violent rhetoric and violent actions, since the beginning of the progressive movement.
It’s why we need to recognize the enemy and call it by it’s name, just like we do with the “Radical Islamic Terrorists”, and so, we should start calling the extremely violent left-wing what it really is, and that is: “Radical Left-Wing Terrorists”. I think everybody will recognize what is meant by that term, especially after witnessing what we’ve seen in the last 8 months or so.
....I think were in a time when we cant ignore the extremism from the Left,...
And so far, no one on the left has called for an end to the violence from that at Berkeley,
to professors calling for DJT death,
to professors asking for muscle needed,
To a professor hitting a Conservative with a bicycle lock, to riots in the street, to conservatives being pepper sprayed, to police being killed,
to Congressman being grievously wounded.
To loser Tim Kaine telling libs to take the fight to the streets.
There is too much to list.
It’s because the out of power leftist elite approves. It’s evil on the attack.
We should be damn glad that gun ownership skews Republican.
They’re “starting” to worry about the left?
A little late in the day to begin worrying, isn’t it?
Apparently the “Extremism Experts” missed the 20th Century if they’re just now starting to worry about the left.
“The embrace by the far left of tactics that were previously the purview of the far right...”
LOL! What about the Democrat Party?
Really. Just because the powers that be deliberately overlook the organized leftist thug groups doesn’t mean they don’t exist. BLM anybody? Oh, that’s a peaceful group, say the PTB.
They obviously can’t do the violence math.
Robert Creamer was the Democrat organizer for the leftist thug groups.
He was caught on tape admitting he organized the leftist thugs.
Revisionist History Alert!
I was there. The professional agitors of the left wanted a riot, but we wouldn't give it to them.
Instead, they only got a unrurly disruption. Had they got their riot, Trump never would have been elected President.
“In the past 10 years when you look at murders committed by domestic extremists in the United States of all types, right-wing extremists are responsible for about 74 percent of those murders,” Pitcavage says.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.