We’ve witnessed decades of violent and militant acts among right-wing extremists. Everything from incidents like the 1995 Oklahoma bombing, to more recent events like the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Right-wing extremists seem to be more heavily armed and motivated to do greater harm than their leftist counterparts.
There are many examples of armed right-wing militants engaging in violence. So, those on the left can sometimes forget that extremists also exist on the left.
The following provides some material for those on the left to consider. While most conservatives and liberals who have moderate reasonable views realize that violence is counterproductive, there are still some people who justify and advocate violence.
Extremists are Similar but Different
A big part of extremist culture on the Right is to get hopped up on steroids and testosterone and then foment anger based on conspiracy theories. These are meat and potatoes guys. Leftist extremists are usually motivated by injustice, and their members are typically skinny, pale, malnourished white guys dressed all in black with masks so as to be unidentifiable. Their sustenance consists of Mountain Dew, Yahoo, and pizza.
While they look different and have different issues that motivate them, their methods and outcomes are usually similar. Each side believes their ideology is the way, the truth, and the life and they are unwilling to compromise or listen to the other side or anyone in the middle.
Joe Biden Inauguration Sparks Violence on Left
Within hours after the inauguration of Joe Biden, and calls for peace, leftists in Portland smashed windows and spray-painted “F— Biden” on the Democratic Party headquarters there. Portland police said some of the group of about 150 people carried weapons “including Molotov cocktails, knives, batons, chemical spray and a crowbar.” [Source: NBC News, 21 Jan 2021]
These are people who apparently haven’t heard the saying that the pen is mightier than the crowbar.
To leftist extremists, Joe Biden is seen as a corporate capitalist sellout and Wall Street puppet. To extremists on the right, Biden is considered to be a socialist and shill for The Squad to do their bidding. So, Biden is likely to continue experiencing resistance from the far-right and far-left. Each side is 100% convinced of their own baseless “truth.”
Since I’m not sure of your political views, let’s say for the sake of argument that those on the left who oppose racism are on the right side of history. While their position may be correct, their actions (the illegal actions of violent extremists) are not likely to produce the best long-term outcomes or win hearts and minds. For more about counterproductive activism read, “Counterproductive Activism: How Direct Action Protests Could Harm the Progressive Movement in America.” [View]
Comments from Black Leaders in Response to Violence
The videos below are powerful messages from Black leaders in response to those who use violence as an expression of protest. These are possibly some of the best statements currently available describing how violence is counterproductive.
For those on the left who think they are doing Black communities a favor by escalating riots and looting in Black neighborhoods, the following messages should emphasize that peaceful protests are the only effective response to violence.
One tends to be suspicious of white conservative anchors on Fox News sharing comments about protests on the left. So, the comments below are from Black community leaders appearing on left-leaning news sources.
(Below) Killer Mike’s Emotional Speech at Atlanta Mayor’s Press Conference. (30 May 2020)
(Below) Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms addresses the protests outside the CNN Center over the death of George Floyd. (30 May 2020)
(Below) Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and Chief of Police Reneé Hall held a press conference on Saturday, May 30, addressing Friday night’s protests in honor of George Floyd. They called for peace and calm in anticipation of more protests. (30 May 2020)
(Below) Looting and property damage has been reported throughout downtown Chicago overnight. The looting continued into early Monday morning and police could not provide details about specific incidents or numbers of arrests. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown and Mayor Lori Lightfoot are scheduled to discuss the overnight violence. (20 Aug 2020)
Whether you consider yourself an enthusiastic conservative or liberal, look for ways to turn down rhetoric and quell violence. It will help your cause.
When the Black Panthers turned to violence, they received their training and weapons from Richard Aoki who was believed to be an FBI informant tasked with radicalizing the Black Panthers. [Source: Democracy Now, 23 Aug 2012]
Be suspicious of anyone advocating lawlessness and violence. They probably don’t have your best interests in mind.