Antifa and Black Lives Matter may appear on the surface to be united in wanting to overturn society, but how that goal is accomplished is causing friction between the two groups.
BLM says “thanks, but no thanks” to antifa when the anarchists claim to be standing up for racial justice. The Los Angeles Times reports on BLM activists in Portland trying to wash their hands of antifa violence while working for “reforms beyond defund the police.”
“When people set fire to a building, it really does not liberate me one bit,” said Mingus Mapps, a Black resident who won a seat on the Portland City Council this month. “It does the opposite. It fuels the political culture that makes racism possible.”
“We’re going to get out of the game of smoke bombs and rubber bullets and dressing cops up like they’re Marines as we stand outside public buildings and yell at each other,” he said.
The anarchists believe working within the system is futile and say the political order and capitalist economy must be torn down.
But using the violence to amplify your voice makes you a party to it. Black Lives Matter leaders are apparently oblivious to that fact. They think they can pick and choose which sort of violence they can embrace and what they must condemn.
In June, Black community leaders denounced an arson attack by protesters on a building that houses a police station and Black-owned businesses on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
“When I hear about somebody burning something down, I think about that as an act that’s always been used against Black people,” Ron Herndon, a longtime Black activist, said at a news conference the morning after police used tear gas to disperse protesters firing paintballs. “You are not helping us.”
As for antifa, they are basking in their new-found celebrity as they seek to provoke the police even more. But where Black Lives Matter activists apparently believe the election of Joe Biden is an opportunity for major reforms, antifa saw the election as meaningless — two capitalists vying to run a corrupt system.
It took the anarchists 20 minutes to make their way through the Laurelhurst neighborhood Nov. 8 and arrive at the county Democratic Party headquarters.
Tall plate-glass windows lined the former car dealership on two sides, festooned with campaign posters for Biden and other candidates.
Two activists approached the building, one holding an umbrella to conceal the other, who spray-painted an anti-Biden epithet on a wall, adding an anarchist symbol. In red, he wrote “ACAB” — short for “all cops are bastards.”
Six more protesters pounded on the windows, shattering 13 of them before rejoining the group keeping watch in the parking lot.
Black Lives Matter is as much responsible for the violence in the streets as antifa. They have given the mostly white radicals a “cause” — racial justice — and the BLM mantle grants legitimacy to the rioters in the eyes of the media. It should also be noted that much of the violence, looting, and arson in big cities was carried out by organized black gangs who had nothing to do with antifa but may have had connections to Black Lives Matter. At the very least, some BLM activists actively defended the violence, burning, and looting.
You can’t have it both ways— at least, you shouldn’t be able to. In today’s media climate where Black Lives Matter can do no wrong, no one will call them to account. But you can’t allow antifa to piggyback their demonstrations onto yours, stand in solidarity with them on the front lines of protests, use the violence they foment as a way to augment and heighten your message, and then expect to disavow them when they are no longer needed.
But BLM is likely to get away with it because to question their integrity is racist and only done by white supremacists.