Keith Ellison (D-MN), the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, caused a circus of emotions on Twitter after praising the book Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook by Mark Bray. In the tweet, Ellison proudly displays the tome with a grin on his face:
— Keith Ellison (@keithellison) January 3, 2018
Bray’s handbook is a history and genealogy of anti-fascism with references made for today’s social and political climate. However, as Carlos Lozada of The Washington Post said in an Amazon review, the book’s “most relevant for today is its justification for stifling speech and clobbering white supremacists.”
In the introduction, Bray explains how and why he wrote The Anti-Fascist Handbook:
Based on sixty-one interviews with current and former anti-fascists from seventeen countries in North America and Europe, it expands our geographical and temporal outlook to contextualize opposition to Trump and the alt-right within a much wider and broader terrain of resistance.
Bray said he had to rely on research and information obtained from the anti-fascist press, mainstream media, and interviews of former and current members of Antifa as most of his sources. While providing the first “transnational history of postwar anti-fascism in English,” the former Occupy Wall Street author said his handbook “argues that militant anti-fascism is a reasonable, historically informed response to the fascist threat that persisted after 1945 and that has become especially menacing in recent years.”
Maybe the Antifa of decades ago was dedicated to ending the violence and racism of fascism, but today’s Antifa is much different, and this is why so many people are upset over Ellison’s tweet. As Liberty Nation reported, “Antifa has been labeled domestic terrorists according to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”
Perhaps if Ellison had better worded his tweet (including proper grammar), there might not have been such an uproar. But holding the Antifa handbook and saying that it will strike fear to the Trump Administration is like throwing boiling oil on conservatives and anti-violence groups worldwide.
As Mark Dice commented on Ellison’s tweet: “A terrorist manual should concern the president. Especially in the hands of a member of congress.”
Currently, the book only has a 2.9-star rating after 126 reviews. It’s clear the people are not supportive of Bray’s handbook, regardless of who promotes it. Just take a look at some of these comments from Amazon reviews:
David Spencer: Writer’s thesis essentially boils down to “We need to take pre-emptive action against fascism to prevent its rise.” This includes actions that are criminal and civil in nature…IF you’re a reasonable person, you have to condemn violence, and calls for violence, action to repress people’s rights wherever you see it. We either have the Rule of Law or the Rule of Might. The Rule of Law and being non-violent are essential elements of a free civil society with civil debate- rather than the alternative-fascist or communist hellholes.
Chet: It turns out that the author is hypocritically an evil profiteer after all! I can’t believe that someone who supports OWS and Anti-fa also behaves in such a bourgeoisie manner taking advantage of us in the proletariat. If one is pushing for the abolition of private property, profits, etc. then one should certainly practice what he preaches.
On Ellison’s tweet, Cliff Reuter wrote: “Where can I get one, Amazon? I’d like to learn how to put on a mask and dark clothes, smash some windows, torch some cars, physically attack/assault some folks and get away with it 😊”
Some of the positive quotes emphasized Bray’s definition of fascism and historical breakdown of the anti-fascist movement. But today’s Antifa is a lot more violent and act more like the fascists and racists they claim to fight against.
As we’ve previously explained here at Liberty Nation: “Antifa hides behind bandannas and other face coverings while they beat and torment Trump supporters – all the while calling out against hate, injustice and white supremacy. They show up in droves to intimate and berate those whose opinions differ. They promote violence, not tolerance.”
What kind of message is Ellison sending to his constituents and the American people? When is it acceptable to inflict violence while protesting against violence?