While I do not see the antifa on the same moral plane as the white supremacists, I still cannot see the usefulness, or the moral case for citizen violence, not in the immediate future. At least not until we have first demanded that our police and civic government do their jobs. (Charlottesville police should be sued and shamed.) We should not have to defend ourselves. I shouldn’t have to spend money on weapons, and when an arms race ensues, I don’t want to be matching neo-Nazis ever increasing fire power. (Let’s not kid ourselves that it will stay poles and clubs.)
I’m surprised this essay makes no mention of Boston. That police chief and police department made very different decisions — and then praised the counter-protestors for standing up for turning up to represent the true values of their city. Trump tried to say that there were many “anti-police” forces in the streets — but the police chief’s comments meant he would not be getting away with that. So then Trump had to tweet some half-hearted support for the counter-protesters.
I think Americans are paying more attention — and will show up in greater numbers next time. I think the white supremacists have come to the same conclusion. They’ll be back, no doubt, but the way this plays out over time matters. Right now I’d contribute to any legal team ready to sue the Charlottesville police for not doing its job. We don’t need individuals ready to fight — too many can’t — we need a civil society prepared to be just.
I appreciate the modeling of the clergy-marchers. I’m not hearing many say they’ll change their tactics next time — and bring their own guns. And they are rightly grateful to have been protected. They are not confused about who the real antagonists are — not the antifa, but white supremacy, in all its forms.