Since the events in Charlottesville there has been a growing discussion about “ANTIFA,” the nearly 100 year old organization thats sole purpose to stop the threat of fascism worldwide.
ANTIFA, short for Anti-Fascism, is made up of thousands of dedicated members who are willing to stand up and if necessary fight back against the militant rise of fascism. As white supremacists in Charlottesville began attacking non-violent counter protestors, ANTIFA members defended them. Dr. Cornel West said “that he felt that the antifa saved his life” as he stood with faith leaders singing “this little light of mine.”
Dr. Mark Bray, a lecturer at Dartmouth University has quickly emerged as the expert on ANTIFA and has recently spoken on a number of cable news outlets and Sunday talk shows.
Bray who authored the book, “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook” has come under fire for his comments on Meet the Press this week. As the Union Leader reports, “Bray argued that ‘when pushed, self-defense is a legitimate response to white supremacist and neo-Nazi violence.’”
Dr Bray’s comments were then twisted by a right-wing news agency called “Campus Reform.”
“Following an article on the website Campus Reform that accused Bray of ‘endors[ing] Antifa violence,’ he has been subject of death threats and targeted online harassment,” wrote the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) that represents educators at Dartmouth. “We have recently seen a surge in politically motivated, targeted harassment against academics, especially those in ethnic and gender studies.”
Dartmouth President Phillip Hanlon quickly chastised Bray’s comments in a statement:
“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.”
Since Hanlon made his statement over 100 faculty members at Dartmouth have called for him to retract the statement.
“We continue to call on college and university leaders to denounce the targeted online harassment of their faculty members and to more forthrightly defend academic freedom, including the freedom of faculty members to speak as private citizens, even when their comments may provoke controversy or outrage,” said Henry Reichman, first vice president of the AAUP and chair of Committee A on academic freedom.
Reichman is right, Dr. Bray has done nothing wrong. He spoke as a private citizen about a book that he wrote. He never called for violence against white supremacists but stated that “self-defense is a legitimate response to white supremacist and neo-Nazi violence.”
I want to be clear, I do not condone violence but there is a significant difference between self defense and starting a fight. Some people are ready, willing and able to stand up against these fascist white supremacists and defend those people who cannot.
Below is an interview from Democracy Now that recaps Dr West’s experience in Charlottesville before Dr Bray explains what Antifa is.
(Video should begin at 1:35 mark.)