There is something wrong with protesters arriving with billboards and placards which they’re carrying only to use the stick as a battering ram, says journalist John Bosnitch.
Across the US thousands of left-wing activists showed up to confront a rally against illegal immigration.
Demonstrations took place in California, in the city of Boston, and many other places.
Tensions between America’s left and right have been increasing following the violence in Charlottesville, where a neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of protesters.
One of the sides has upped the ante by launching a petition on the White House website, calling for Antifa to be declared a “terrorist” organization.
About 162,000 people have already signed it, and now the administration has to issue a response.
RT: What do you make of the tactics used by the left-wing activists to show up at planned right-wing events? Does it help to prevent violence, or only add to the tensions?
John Bosnitch: Responsibility for keeping things peaceful lies with the police. We’ve seen several incidents in which the police have not done their job at all. I don’t know if that’s intentional to provoke a kind of crisis, or if it is just a failure to do their job. These two groups have to be separated. Especially in the US, where there is a constitutional right of freedom of speech, it is impossible to stop people from demonstrating legally. This is a problem that has to be dealt with within the system.
RT: People in the US are obviously appalled by what happened in Charlottesville. How do you think they should protest, if not by showing up at right-wing demos?
JB: There is nothing wrong with showing up at right-wing demonstrations. But there is something wrong with [protesters] coming with billboards and placards that you’re only carrying for the expressed purpose of using the stick on which the paper is fastened as a battering ram, or as a sword, or as a baseball bat to hit your opposing demonstrators. If the left, and also if the right, pursue peaceful demonstrations, there is nothing wrong here. What seems to be the case here is that – especially the Antifa side – has been showing up masked and carrying weapons and has been attempting to provoke a crisis in America. That falls right in line with the attempt by the mass media and by the stubborn supporters of Hillary Clinton to create a political crisis in America. So I would not be hesitant to guess there is a connection here.
RT: Are these right-wing events also a tool of provocation? What about a petition launched in the US, calling for Antifa to be declared a terrorist organization?
JB: It is a big step to go from accusing some members of Antifa of being violent, which many of them are and intentionally so – to banning an organization on the grounds that its purpose is to create terror. I don’t think the White House will approve this, and I don’t think they should, and I don’t think any Democrat would approve the banning of any organization that doesn’t expressly dedicate itself to terroristic violence. I think the White House is going to have to play a moderate line here and is going to have to reject the petition, but the petition will serve as a warning to Antifa organizers that they either have to police themselves, or they will be facing more serious sanctions in the future.
RT: Some of the rallies, like the one in California were to protest against illegal immigration, but they were immediately labeled fascist. Do you think it is all about labeling in the US?
JB: Absolutely. I think that if you interviewed 100 members of Antifa and asked them what the meaning of the word fascist is, and what the history of the fascist parties in Europe are – they wouldn’t know even the first word of how to answer that question. So it has become unfortunately trendy in America to call any representative of authority – either the police or elected government – a fascist organization. I can tell you as a person who is a descendant of a family from Europe, which lost hundreds of members of our own family to fascism – there is a big difference between a policemen who arrests you in America and reads you your rights and a fascist soldier who shoots you without even seeing or talking to you. Unfortunately, this is an example of [George] Orwell’s phrase in action: ‘ignorance is strength.’ And the Antifa movement is working on the basis of complete ignorance about what real fascism is.
RT: There are also extreme examples. One American claims he was stabbed because of his short haircut, however, he had no links to right-wing groups. Is it all turning into a witch hunt?
JB: Absolutely. They even have a phrase for it – a Salem witch hunt, which originates in the US, where they burned people if they didn’t float on water and so on. We have an under-educated mass population in America in which in high school the subject history is ‘optional.’ If people do not know history, you can tell them fascism is something completely different from what it was. If people don’t know their own national history, if they don’t know the history of Robert E. Lee, for example; if they don’t know the history of conscripted young men who were just marched straight into the gray uniform of the Confederacy without any choice; if they don’t understand that – the spitting that they are doing on their fellow Americans is going to be happening on their own graves when somebody in the future doesn’t know the history of this era and comes to spit on them.