On August 21, Dartmouth College president Philip J. Hanlon issued a relatively mild public statement disavowing recent comments by one of the college’s lecturers in support of the violent actions of the anarcho-communist group Antifa. Now, more than 100 Dartmouth faculty members have signed a letter in support of the lecturer, Dr. Mark Bray, and are calling upon Dr. Hanlon to retract his statement.
Dr. Bray is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, and since the deadly battle in Charlottseville, Virginia, between Antifa cadres and neo-Nazis on August 12, he has shot to stardom, thanks to friendly interviews with NPR, CNN, NBC, Slate, Vox, Vice, and more.
As we noted in our August 29 article, Liberal Media: Cheerleaders for “Antifa” Communist Thugs, the violent Antifa extremists have been generously showered with sympathetic coverage by much of the media. On August 14, for example, Yahoo! News posted a story titled, “As neo-Nazis grow bolder, the 'antifa' has emerged to fight them.” Like many similar reports in the “mainstream” media, the article paid an obligatory nod to objectivity by quoting Antifa critics, but the upshot for many readers will be: “Finally, someone is standing up to the Nazi-KKK bullies!”
The masked, black-clad Antifa radicals scored a big media boost from NBC shortly after Charlottesville when Meet The Press featured a powderpuff interview by Chuck Todd of Mark Bray on August 16. Todd then brought Bray back for another friendly gabfest on August 20. Bray, a longtime militant activist and a visiting lecturer in Gender Studies at Dartmouth College, publicly let it be known that he is a supporter of Antifa. In other words, he is not coming under criticism merely because he is a scholar who has written a book about a subject he has researched. He has not, as far as we know, publicly admitted to taking part in violent and illegal Antifa activities, but he vocally endorses their actions and is viewed by both supporters and opponents as the chief theoretician and “public intellectual” of the militant movement. Bray previously wrote a sympathetic book promoting the Occupy Wall Street movement, which provided the training ground where the Antifa leaders recruited many of their activists, refined their Marxist-Leninist rhetoric, and honed their violent communist tactics.
Media Research Center (MRC) president Brent Bozell condemned the NBC whitewash of Antifa. “Violent leftists have broken into the mainstream and Chuck Todd is guilty of aiding and abetting,” Bozell charged. “It is abhorrent that NBC and Todd believe it acceptable to normalize extremist groups like Antifa which use terror to silence their opposition.”
Bozell continued: “After the initial interview with Bray, Chuck Todd had the opportunity to correct his mistake but instead chose to again allow a radical to promote domestic terrorism with little push back. Can you imagine Chuck Todd inviting a member of a militant right-wing group on his show to rationalize violence against the left? NBC must cease giving legitimacy to supporters of this violent left-wing movement immediately.”
Responding to pressure generated by MRC and other conservative groups, President Hanlon’s office issued the following statement on August 21: "Recent statements made by Lecturer in History Mark Bray supporting violent protest do not represent the views of Dartmouth. As an institution, we condemn anything but civil discourse in the exchange of opinions and ideas. Dartmouth embraces free speech and open inquiry in all matters, and all on our campus enjoy the freedom to speak, write, listen and debate in pursuit of better learning and understanding; however, the endorsement of violence in any form is contrary to Dartmouth values."
A letter to President Hanlon defending Bray, reportedly signed by more than 100 Dartmouth faculty members, goes a long way to confirming charges (as if more confirmation were necessary) that much of academia has become totally dominated by the far-left. Bray’s Dartmouth comrades see no problem with his support for Antifa’s violent approach to shutting down speech of opponents. Antifa violence, of course, is not only limited to censoring speech, nor is it directed only at genuine fascists and racists. As we have seen repeatedly (and as we will show presently) the black-clad goons broadly apply the “fascist” label and viciously attack anyone who stands in the way of their radical anarchist-communist agenda.
The Dartmouth supporters cite the cornucopia of media attention Bray has received as evidence of his importance as a scholar, and then note that even more media glory is on the way with his upcoming nationwide book tour. “With the appearance last week of his new book on the subject — which has already sold 10,000 copies and been reviewed in the New Yorker--he is embarking on a 30-city book tour,” the faculty letter breathlessly relates. “He is speaking by invitation at campuses like Duke, NYU, and Colby. In short, his historical expertise is in demand around the country and internationally.”
The letter continues: “This is, of course, the kind of public recognition of Dartmouth scholarship that is celebrated in most situations. Instead, in this case, Professor Bray has been disavowed by Dartmouth at the request of a right-wing organization, Campus Reform.” That is very rich: an anti-free speech, pro-communist “scholar” who defends masked, violent thugs and favors denying a platform to anyone arbitrarily defined as fascist, will be a featured speaker at the very same institutions he would deny other speakers the right to address. And his fellow academic radicals who support his endorsement of physical violence whine that he is being persecuted after merely suffering a verbal rebuke from his university’s president.
Unmasking the Red Fascists
But the media love affair with Bray and Antifa goes beyond giving legitimacy to their criminal activities, as MRC’s Bozell charges. Many in the media have far exceeded that, to the point of virtually serving as promoters and public relations agents for the militant anarchists. The liberal-left website Vox interviewed Mark Bray on August 25, providing another friendly platform for the Antifa author to spread the “movement’s” message.
“Anti-fascism originated in response to early European fascism, and when Mussolini's Blackshirts and Hitler's Brownshirts were ascendant in Europe, various socialist, communist, and anarchist parties and groups emerged to confront them,” Bray told Vox reporter Sean Illing. Well, since we all know that Mussolini and Hitler were evil men, and since the “socialists, communists, and anarchists” opposed them, then the socialists, communists, and anarchists must have been good guys, right? And since the Antifa socialists, communists, and anarchists of today trace their lineage to those anti-Hitler, anti-Mussolini fighters of yesteryear, the Antifa radicals must be, likewise, valiant champions of virtue, correct?
Well, no, that isn’t correct and Dartmouth propagandist Bray undoubtedly knows that. First of all, Bray perpetuates one of the most egregious lies about the political spectrum, designating socialists, communists, and anarchists as “left-wing,” while characterizing Nazis and fascists as “right-wing.” Naturally, the media “watchdogs” at NBC, Vox, CNN, et al, never bother to interrupt their sympathetic narratives to challenge this false paradigm. The full name of Hitler’s Nazi Party, it should be remembered, was National Socialist German Workers Party, and the neo-Nazis today are still national socialists (and racial socialists to boot). The communists are international socialists. They are both on the left, on the side of total government. They are not opposites; both are totalitarian in ideology and in practice. (We will have more to say on this in a subsequent posting.)
CNN has also been a major contributor to the Antifa public relations effort. In one PR segment of Jake Tapper’s “The Lead,” CNN reporter Sara Gamin goes inside Antifa to interview activist members, including an uncritical exchange with author/lecturer Scott Crow, a theoretician and elder statesman of sorts for the Antifa movement. While Tapper and Gamin do mention that Antifa militants often engage in violent activities, they allow the anonymous, masked Antifa gangsters to posture as the champions of freedom without ever calling them to account or even asking them basic questions, such as how do you define fascism, and how do you justify physically attacking people (College Republicans, President Trump, Trump supporters, conservative campus speakers, pro-life/pro-family advocates) who have no connection to — and, in fact, stand in opposition to —neo-nazis, fascists, and white supremacists. But no, the Fake News “journalists” epically fail Journalism 101 and reliably describe the Antifa fascists as “anti-fascists.” Of course, the same media luminaries refuse to use the “pro-life,” “pro-family,” “pro-2nd Amendment,” “pro-property rights” descriptors chosen by proponents of conservative causes.
Antifa’s Slippery Slope “Enemies” List
Not only do media interviewers regularly fail to challenge Antifa claims that they are acting in “self defense” when they initiate unprovoked violence (as for instance, during Mark Bray’s interview on NBC), they also prove themselves stupendously obtuse in failing to contest easily falsifiable Antifa claims that they are only about opposing fascism, racism, and violent oppression.
During the Vox interview, Bray is permitted to respond dishonestly and without a Vox rejoinder to questions about how Antifa defines fascism and what is their threshold for labeling an individual or group as “fascist.” Bray states: “Of course, there is no central command for a group like antifa. There is no antifa board of directors telling people where that line is, and so of course different groups will assess different threats as they see fit. But I suppose the question you’re raising has to do with the slippery-slope argument, which is that if you start calling everyone a fascist and depriving them of a platform, where does it end?”
“I don’t know of any empirical examples of anti-fascists successfully stopping a neo-Nazi group and then moving on to other groups that are not racist but merely to the right,” Bray fantastically claims. “What tends to happen,” he insists, “is they disband once they've successfully marginalized or eliminated the local right-wing extremist threat, and then return to what they normally do — organizing unions, doing environmental activism, etc.”
Of course, Bray’s claim is ludicrous and easily disproved by “mainstream” news stories virtually every day, in which Antifa marchers/protesters/rioters denounce President Trump and anyone who opposes their agenda as “racist,” “fascist,” “Nazi.” Hmm, let’s see, here’s a short list of some of the manyacademics and intellectuals whom Antifa hoodlums have prevented (or attempted to prevent) from speaking:
• Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers, author, former philosophy professor and current resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute;
• Professor Bret Weinstein of Evergreen State College in Washington State;
• Ann Coulter, author, political commentator, syndicated columnist, and lawyer;
• Heather Mac Donald, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, political commentator, and a contributing editor of City Journal;
• Charles Murray, author and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute;
• Ben Shapiro, author, commentator, radio host;
• Milo Yiannopoulos, “conservative” homosexual provocateur and former senior editor at Breitbart.com.
And unless they are disavowed, denounced, and prosecuted (when engaged in illegal activities), the Antifa terrorists will be emboldened and will surely accelerate their violence. As one Antifa activist told Time: “The standard for antifa ideology is anti-capitalism, anti-fascism of course. Those are kind of the two main pillars, but within that, encompassed, it also comes with being anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-ableism, anti-transphobia, anything like that and just protecting people who are marginalized and oppressed.”
"Anything like that." That makes for a rather elastic definition susceptible to infinite expansion and horrible abuse, does it not? Has not the promiscuous application of this malleable, stretchable label already resulted in enormous abuse and numerous victims?
As Mark Bray flits about the country on his Antifa book tour and campus speech circuit, concerned Americans should hold those book stores, organizations, public officials, and universities hosting him accountable, and demand of local media that any coverage of Bray be shorn of romantic propaganda and honestly reflect the dangerous and subversive agenda he is promoting.
Photo of Mark Bray: screen-grab from C-Span