The rise in leftist violence has become a disturbing trend, and people are finally taking notice. According to VICE News, experts in domestic extremism are now worried about political violence by leftist extremists. In the wake of the attack on Republican Congressmen in Alexandria, these experts gave a dire warning about domestic extremism in the United States. Since President Trump’s election, the number of incidents involving political violence has increased significantly, and leftist political activists are to blame for most of it.
Brian Levin is a former police officer and the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University. For most of his career, he examined white supremacy groups. In his interview with VICE News, he explained the event that compelled him to focus on leftist extremists.
During a Ku Klux Klan rally in California, Mr. Levin found himself in the awkward position of having to save the life of a Klan member from assault by left-wing protesters. It was then that he realized the left was growing more violent. He stated: “at that point, I said we have something coalescing on the hard left.”
Leftist violence has become more prominent as political discourse in the United States has intensified. Activists have used violence to prevent conservatives from freely expressing their political views. They have used force to shut down conservative speakers at universities. Left-wing agitators have physically assaulted Trump supporters, both at pro-Trump rallies and in random encounters on the streets.
VICE News reports: “The past few months have seen enough of a rise in politically motivated violence from the far left that monitors of right-wing extremism have begun shifting their focus, and sounding the alarm.” These experts fear that the right and the left are “increasingly headed for confrontation.”
The threat of political violence continues to rise. The political rhetoric from progressives is becoming more and more extreme. On the day of the Alexandria shooting, Democratic strategist James Devine posted a series of tweets in which he urged his followers to hunt Republican Congressmen. One of his tweets read: “We are in a war with selfish, foolish & narcissistic rich people. Why is it a shock when things turn violent?”
Currently, groups like Antifa instigate physical confrontations to disrupt conservative events. They have not yet used firearms in any of their attacks. However, the shooting in Alexandria shows that there are at least a few on the left who are willing to take up arms to promote their political agenda. Even some Antifa groups are now training with rifles, though they claim it is for self-defense only. Chris Hamilton, an expert on American radical organizations, told VICE News:
If you think about it, leftists never joined the National Rifle Association — unless they were radicals, they never thought about stockpiling weapons. Ok. Well, maybe we’re entering a period where leftists will start thinking about things in that way, like the eco-radicals did in the ’70s.
Mr. Hamilton brings up an interesting point. Until recently, most people on the left eschewed the use of firearms. However, the history of the left is rife with the use of deadly force to spread ideology. Liberty Nation discussed exactly this issue:
Groups like the Weathermen, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Black Panthers were prominent leftist organizations who resorted to violence. Violence was present at the very beginning of the leftist movement in the United States.
Leftists still idolize leaders who carried out numerous atrocities. Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who presided over the murders of thousands of civilians still adorns the T-shirts of young leftists. Fidel Castro, who imprisoned and murdered political opponents is also a subject of their admiration.
Like it or not, political violence is a fundamental component of the left’s ideological D.N.A. What we see today is part and parcel of the left’s history of using force to impose their political views on others.
If the hard left is ramping up the violence in their demonstrations, Americans on both sides of the political spectrum should be worried. We cannot allow our political discourse to devolve further into physical confrontations. It falls to both Republicans and Democrats to stand against the use of violence as a means of advocating their ideas. If we fail, what happened in Alexandria will have only been the beginning.