White Nationalists/”Antifa”

Today is the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about January 6.  Director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, is testifying.  It is interesting.  Only the most hardy will watch it all (I’m not among that group, but I’ll catch quite a bit of it.)

The opening statements of Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Chuck Grassley were of particular interest to me.  One focuses on White Nationalists and January 6; the other one might loosely be called “Antifa”, largely in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.  Of course, the intent is to try make one equivalent to the other.

There is no equivalence.

For a number of years after 9-11-01 I was a peace activist (I’m still very active, but not necessarily an activist – there is a difference, much relates to simply getting older!)

Peace March Minnesota Sep 1, 2008 photo Dick Bernard

My “peak years” so to speak would probably be late 2001 through late 2008.  Three of those years I was president of an organization called Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, of which I’m still a member, as an organization, AMillionCopies Initiative, whose sole intent is positive.  I also have been active in matters relating to Haiti, which I visited twice, in 2003 and 2006.  All the evidence about that remains on-line and accessible to anyone.

And in May, 2020, the restaurant of a friend of mine was torched and destroyed in Minneapolis.  I thus have a personal investment in this issue.  In that incident, to my knowledge, no perpetrator has yet been identified.  The restaurant owner was very much involved in community issues that would be considered “progressive”.

In all these past years, I have yet to meet, or have identified to me, anyone who would fit the “antifa” label.  I was never in a demonstration which was anything other than peaceful.

There are doubtless violent kinds of people around – in a country of 330,000,000 people those people exist.  But they are in the underworld, and most likely unorganized.  They exploit opportunities like parasites.  Anyone who wishes to believe that there is such an organized group called “antifa” ought to seek out a neutral source of information.  About the best I can do for starters is the wikipedia entry, which you can read here.

As I write I think back to the first demonstration I attended after 9-11-01.  It was in the first week of October, and the occasion was a demonstration on the steps of the Minnesota Capitol.  It was my first demonstration.  I had heard about it and went over to listen.  I knew no one.  It was a relatively small group.

I don’t remember who spoke.  What I do remember was the counter protestors on the other side of the street.  They were very loud and brandished their American flags almost like weapons.

I thought of the when I saw the demonstration become a riot become a catastrophe in Washington DC on Jan. 6, 2021.

As I close this blog the Senator is using his time to question Wray about the right wings other favorite bad guys: street gangs, Isis, al Qaeda, etc.

Stay tuned.

Minneapolis Star Tribune front page Jan 10, 2021


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