“You Might Be the Fascist”: MSNBC Host Joy Reid Defends Antifa Despite Its Violent, Anti-Free Speech History

This week we discussed the California Government teacher Gabriel Gipe who boasted about his flying an Antifa flag at Inderkum High School and explaining that he has only “180 days to turn them into revolutionaries.” On MSNBC, host Joy Reid went to social media to defend Antifa as an organization as merely those fighting fascism. She based that claim entirely on the name rather than the well-documented violent history of the group. Since I have written previously about Antifa and testified in the Senate on that history, I wanted to offer a counter view.  What is breathtaking is that Reid defends Antifa despite its attacks on journalists, bloggers, and other writers but says that criticism of the group indicates that you are also a fascist.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid went to Twitter to remind everyone that Antifa is “literally” short for anti-fascist. Thus, if you have a problem, you are by definition a fascist:

“If you’re constantly yelling “Antifa!” — which literally is short for “anti-fascists,” ding-ding-ding! … you might be the fascist they’re focused on. Just a thought…”

The first obvious response to this posting is that few journalists or thoughtful people who simply take an organization’s title as proof of its motives or its history. Few abusive organizations actually label themselves as violent or thuggish organizations.

The most extreme example is the most despised of all fascist organizations known as the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Despite the name and adopting socialist programs, the Nazis also hunted down socialists, labor union members, and communists in addition to the commission of genocide and other unspeakable crimes. It would have been breathtaking in the late 1930s as they were cracking down on dissidents for a host in the United States to insist “If you’re constantly yelling “Nazi!” — which literally is short for “National Socialist German Workers’ Party” ding-ding-ding! … you might be the anti-labor people they’re focused on. Just a thought…”  In reality, the Nazis were the ultimate fascists, but their name said they were something else.

I have been a long critic of Antifa because of its violent history on college campuses and campaigns of intimidation and threats against anyone who opposes it. Antifa members regularly attack reporters, academics, and others in the name of anti-fascism.  Antifa is now the largest and most violent anti-free speech movement in the United States.  It is at its base a movement at war with free speech, defining the right itself as a tool of oppression. That purpose is evident in what is called the “bible” of the Antifa movement: Rutgers Professor Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. Bray emphasizes the struggle of the movement against free speech: “At the heart of the anti-fascist outlook is a rejection of the classical liberal phrase that says, ‘I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’”

As I have written, Antifa is indeed more of a movement than a specific organization, but it has members and associated groups. Indeed, it has long been the “Keyser Söze” of the anti-free speech movement, a loosely aligned group that employs measures to avoid easy detection or association.  FBI Director Wray told Congress “And we have quite a number — and I’ve said this quite consistently since my first time appearing before this committee — we have any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists and some of those individuals self-identify with Antifa.”

I have repeatedly emphasized that extreme right groups are also responsible for recent violence and Wray made clear that far right violence still dominates in terms of a threat profile.  Moreover, I have opposed declaring Antifa a terrorist organization.  We have ample laws to deal with such extremist violence from the far left or far right. We do not need to rely on terrorism laws or most recently suggested sedition laws. Yet, Antifa is more than some “idea” and it has a discernible and violent organization. Indeed, the Antifa Handbook discusses how it uses an association of groups, including self-identified Antifa groups, to carry out attacks on critics and those with opposing views.

There are a variety of Antifa groups with long history of organized violence including Rose City Antifa. The RCA is arguably the oldest reference to “Antifa” in the United States was the Rose City Antifa (RCA) in Portland, Oregon. In 2013, various groups that were part of ARA, including RCA, formed a new coordinating organization referred to as the “Torch Network.” I detailed the violence of these groups in my Senate testimony”

“The signature of the group is a self-righteous, rage-fueled violence that parallels the fascistic groups that they claim to oppose. In 2002, ARA activists attacked a neo-Nazi demonstration. Twenty-eight ARA members were arrested but all of the charges were later dropped. In 2005, ARA protested National Socialist Movement (NSM) members in what became known as the 2005 Toledo Riot. Such counter protests by Antifa routinely result in violence. For example, in 2012, ARA members attacked a meeting of the Illinois European Heritage Association with hammers, bats and other weapons. Five members were convicted of assault and other crimes.That same year, almost two dozen members of the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement, part of ARA, broke into the “Fifth Annual White Nationalist Economic Summit and Illinois White Nationalist Meet-and-Greet,” a group containing white supremacists and white nationalists.The attack on the Ashford House Restaurant led to criminal convictions of five members. In 2016, a confrontation between neo-Nazi groups and Antifa counter protesters resulted in a violent brawl. Seven people were stabbed and nine others were injured. Although the exact affiliation of each of the victims is unknown, both neo-Nazis and Antifa members were among the victims. In 2017, Antifa members joined an otherwise nonviolent counter protest and attacked five neo-Nazis, kicking, punching, and pepper spraying them until stopped by police. Thirteen individuals were arrested on charges including assault with a deadly weapon, obstructing a police officer, and other violations. On July 13, 2019, an Antifa member showed up at a privately owned ICE detention center and began “throwing incendiary devices at vehicles . . . and attempting to burn down buildings and a propane tank.” He was ultimately killed after pointing a gun at police. Antifa have also attacked journalists, including conservative journalist Andy Ngo, who was punched and hit with bear spray while trying to cover one protest.

Antifa mayhem is well-known to the courts. Violence between Antifa and Alt-Right protestors was addressed in Virginia, where “people were hurt and beaten on both sides” after Antifa members attacked protesters with baseball bats, mace spray, canes, sticks, bricks, bottles, and a metal pipe.The Ninth Circuit recently reversed a lower court that dismissed a battery claim against an Antifa member, who allegedly helped “unnamed assailants who attacked Plaintiff with pepper spray, bear mace, and flag poles, by participating in surrounding Plaintiff and by shining her flashlight in such a way as to enable the direct attacks,” may be liable on an aiding and abetting theory. In Arizona, Antifa members threw rocks, bottles, tear gas, an incendiary device, and a spear-like object at officers who set up a perimeter around a rally held by President Trump.”

Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook speaks proudly of Antifa’s organized violent history. He makes clear that what Antifa calls “self-defense” includes violence against police or anyone deemed a fascist. In a recent Washington Post opinion editorial criticizing President Trump’s attacks on Antifa as “delegitimizing militant protest,” Bray stated:

“I believe it’s true that most, if not all, members do wholeheartedly support militant self-defense against the police and the targeted destruction of police and capitalist property that has accompanied it this week. I’m also confident that some members of antifa groups have participated in a variety of forms of resistance during this dramatic rebellion.”

Antifa groups, including groups calling themselves Antifa like RCA, have regularly engaged in violence. Bray again describes the attacks during the Trump inauguration as a defining use of violence by the group:

“Fascists in tuxes were pelted with eggs and several MAGA hats set on fire. The next morning, an ‘anti-capitalist and anti-fascist’ black bloc – that is, a mass of anonymous, black-clad militants—set off from Logan Circle to disrupt ‘business as usual,’ while a man whom liberals had bemoaned as a literal fascist was being sworn into the White House. Some of the black bloc, though certainly not all, engaged in target property destruction of corporate enterprises to smash Trump’s ‘façade of legitimacy.’ Most notably, the glass storefronts of Starbucks and Bank of America were rapidly demolished, similar destruction forced a McDonald’s to shut down and ATMS and other corporate property spray-painted or destroyed. The most iconic moment of the day may have been when a limousine was set ablaze.”

It takes an impressive act of willful blindness to ignore the Antifa violence, including the arrest of Antifa supporters allegedly responsible for violent crimes like one of our own GW students.

While Antifa is a collection of groups and individuals, it is both organized and violent. The fact that Antifa regularly resorts to violence reflects its rejection of debate and dialogue with opposing views. Tellingly, the Antifa Handbook starts with the following quote from Buenaventura Durruti: “fascism is not to be debated, it is to be destroyed.”  The group then defines a wide array of intellectuals, reporters, and others are assisting the fascist cause. The result is license to threaten, beat, and intimidate anyone who stands in their way.

What is most chilling is that Reid uses the very tactic of Antifa to paint any critic as by definition a fascist to be attacked.  It has been a successful method to intimidate many into silence.  Of course, that is a favorite tactic of  . . . well .. . fascists. Ding-ding-ding.



103 thoughts on ““You Might Be the Fascist”: MSNBC Host Joy Reid Defends Antifa Despite Its Violent, Anti-Free Speech History”

  1. Her ridiculous claim that Antifa is simply fighting fascism because their name says so is as absurd as the claim oft repeated by right wingers that the Nazi’s were socialists because they call it National Socialism.

    The problem is we have two sides screaming at each other over valid objections to unacceptable behavior and practices while ignoring the exact same behavior and practices on their own side.

    Sooner or later reasonable men and women are going to step up and present a candidate not lost in this staged and controlled virtual civil war being waged by politicians, the rabble that support them and the politicized media that perpetuates it for profit, and then we’ll begin to move forward again.

    Until then we’re just spinning our wheels, two sides screaming at each other and never hearing themselves because they’re too busy screaming at the other side. Like we see in this blog every day, highlighted by the 500+ email notifications I got this weekend from one single thread of back and forth comments between left and right commenters which I can easily summarize herein;

    L “you’re stupid” R “no you’re stupid” L “I’m not stupid you’re stupid” R “nuh uh you’re way more stupid” L “I called you stupid first” R “uh uh I was already thinking how stupid you were”
    L “that’s stupid” R “you’re stupid” … “L “no you’re stupid” , ….. – ∞ infinity

    1. Chris,

      How many lawyers and academics have been driven away from contributing to this blog by this unrelenting and insipid back and forth?

      It’s a shame Res Ipsa Loquitur is not better managed to eliminate this constant chatter!

      1. The irony of one of the chief culprits bemoaning his own doing is as the professor would say, “remarkable”, or would be if it weren’t another of your perpetual attempts to sell your sides absolutely demonic and unamerican fervor for blatant censorship on my comments, as if we “agreed” on that. We don’t. Got it “Jeff”?

        So you might as well stop tagging your nauseating left wing censorship propaganda on my comments pretending as if you don’t realize I’m talking about individuals exactly like you.

        I can’t stop you nor would I want to as I’ve expressly stated now repeatedly over the past few months. Freedom of speech means freedom for left wing trolls too.

        But hopefully there’s enough of a character underneath there to stop himself. That’s all it takes. One individual, at a time. And even trolls can have a moment of clarity, if they can just shut up long enough to hear themselves talk.

        1. Aren’t you the Chris Weber who was bemoaning all the mindless back and forth chatter filling your inbox? I guess I got the wrong Weber.

          1. No that doesn’t even remotely represent my statement and yes you are definitely confused if you think you’re going to engage me in your endless troll nonsense while you parse out a single peripheral sentence from my statement then use it to change the meaning into your liberal talking point promoting your lust for censorship and silencing free speech.

            This is the 3rd time you’ve done this on my comments, all three times ignoring my clear and unmistakable point while parsing a single phrase or sentence then twisting it out of context to support your calls for public censorship of free speech. And all three times I corrected you like I am doing now. And all three times you act like its the first. aka “trolling”.

            And before you bother, don’t bother, … with the “so what’s your point then?” troll tactic as if you can’t understand plain spoken English.

            If you’re having a reading comprehension issue then go back and read it a few hundred times more.

            Try reading it in the bathroom. Read it on the bus. Read it at the coffee shop. Read it to your wife. Write it on your bathroom mirror in the shower steam. Paste it to your ceiling and stare at it as you go to sleep. Read it out loud into a tape recorder and play it back all night long while you sleep so as to drill it into your head.

            Do whatever you need to do to understand a plain spoken statement written in English.

            But don’t bother asking me to repeat it or restate it. Any 4th grader could understand it on the first read and I don’t bite on the troll bait, I don’t have the time nor the stomach for it.

            I said what I said. Not what you pretended I said.

  2. Marxists, like Antifa, have always claimed to be “anti-fascist” (see Stalin versus Hitler). That’s part of their PR campaign.

    At root, though, this is two forms of tribalism at each other’s throats. It’s like the Crips claiming that they are “anti-Bloods.”

  3. Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷
    Jul 18
    If you’re constantly yelling “Antifa!” — which literally is short for “anti-fascists,” ding-ding-ding! … you might be the fascist they’re focused on. Just a thought…

    Incredibly moronic, but what do you expect from MSNBC? Like the Proud Boys would be rendered innocuous if they changed their name to the Puppy Lovers. The name would even have a certain logic to it since Biden abandoned defense contractor military working and pets of US citizens n Kabul for what seems to have been no good reason.

    1. Why should the Proud Boys have to change their names in order to be rendered innocuous? If we have to believe that every organization’s name accurately reflects its purpose, methods, intent – then what’s wrong with some boys being proud?

      Joy Reid is a dope, but she’s not the only one I’ve heard using this “reasoning.”

  4. Unfortunately, we’ve seen lies from too many of our National Security, FBI, and other governmental agencies over the last few years. Clapper, Comey, Brennan, Schiff, – all made substantial misrepresentation/lies and even did so in front of Congress. I think Dir. Wray is following in the footsteps which was illustrated when “Wray made clear that far right violence still dominates in terms of a threat profile”. Absurd! For 18 months, cities have been invaded by leftists/ANtifa, public and private property destroyed, police and civilians killed, maimed, and harmed by the Left and their Antifa friends/allies. Anyone with critical thinking skills and eyes knows that The Left, their Antifa arm, and their “intersectional” allies dominate the violence and distruction. Dir Wray needs to show his definitions and facts to prove his assertion or be called out for lying.

    1. Suburbanwoman,

      You have no idea what intelligence the FBI has obtained on Rightwing militias, and yet you flatter yourself in thinking that you are in a position to know more than Wray! Turley obviously accepts that Wray knows of what he speaks, and he has no reason to think that Wray is lying!

      This Trumpist conspiracy theory mentality of a so-called “Deep State” as well as the perverse belief of world-wide pedophilia of Q-Anon followers has so poisoned our politics that it does not seem feasible that the Left and the Right will ever be able to come to terms. We are far to apart to find ANY common ground.

      For all his lamentations about our current age of rage, Turley does not propose any solutions apart from better speech. But who decides whose speech is better?

      1. At this moment it is people like you and Antifa – in the US as well as in the Netherlands – who try to decide whose speech is better or even who’s speech is allowed.
        But I understand that you are fine with that?

        1. Bion,

          Netherlands? Where the hell did that come from? I’ve been to Amsterdam. It is a very progressive and beautiful city.

          1. Yeah, I was born and raised there.
            Yeah, we now have a major who want to add activist controllers to policemen to check if they do not only “stop & search” black and arabic males.
            Bare in mind: 90% of the street crimes are done by black & arabic males.

            So please leave it, almost every born and raised ‘mokummer’ left the once beautiful Amsterdam, all due to the progressives.
            Sounds familiar?

            1. I’d like to go back to check out the Concertgebouw and the Rijksmuseum. I was only 16 the first time I was there.

  5. – Antifa is a direct and mortal enemy of the United States.

    – Freed slaves must have been deported in 1863 as the Naturalization Act of 1802 required citizens to be “…free white person(s)….”

    – Descendants, as corollary, shall not be beneficiaries of criminal acts.

    All are actionable.

    1. The American communist Deep Deep State in collaboration with the “dictatorship of the proletariat” mandates the propagandist appearance of physically impossible “equality,” and imposes compulsory indoctrination on national TV no matter the absence of logic, talent, merit or worth.

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