Over the past several decades, the political right has been systematically vilified as a hate group made up of violent extremists who represent a serious threat to society. But the tables are turning in the Trump era, as the political left is now showing itself to be the true domestic terrorist group in America today, instigating violence on an almost regular basis because it isn’t happy with the outcome of the most recent presidential election.
Radical groups like Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and BAMN (“By Any Means Necessary”) continue to antagonize police and members of the public while claiming to fight fascism. Many of their tactics involve disruption and violence, which has gotten so bad that it’s caught the attention of many in the mainstream media, including a number of left-leaning publications that in times past would have exclusively blamed the right for such actions.
VICE News, for instance, recently interviewed Brian Levin, a former officer from the New York Police Department who specializes in domestic extremism. Levin’s original focus when he first began his post-force career centered around the quintessential scapegoat of what liberal society has deemed as the problem in today’s culture: Conservatives. But upon further investigation, Levin found that it’s actually liberals who are causing the most trouble these days.
When Levin attended a KKK meeting last year to study the group, he actually found that those protesting it were more violent and threatening than the Klan itself. At this particular event, Levin actually ended up protecting one of the Klansman from being attacked by an extremist from Antifa, rather than the other way around, which surprised him.
Throughout his travels, Levin has seen many similar cases where violence was a product of the extreme left rather than the extreme right. Most of the problems over the past year on college campuses and at political rallies have been instigated by groups like Antifa and Redneck Revolt, a new pro-minority, anti-supremacist group that claims to promote love rather than hate.
“I think we’re in a time when we can’t ignore the extremism from the left,” says Oren Segal, director of the Center on Extremism, and arm of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The people screaming ‘love trumps hate’ are the most violent in today’s society
Ten years ago, it would have been unheard of for the ADL to call out anyone on the left for misbehaving in public. But that’s how bad things have gotten in response to Donald Trump’s presidential win, and even the most hardcore leftist groups are having to admit that there’s a real problem brewing as the nation grows increasingly divided both politically and socially.
“When we have anti-fascist counter-protests – not that they are the same as white supremacists – that can ratchet up the violence at these events, and it means we can see people who are violent on their own be attracted to that,” says Segal. “I hate to say it, but it feels inevitable.”
As far as what Levin has observed as part of his investigation, he says he’s documented some two dozen episodes just in California in which political events turned violent due to instigation from both sides. The similarities to left-wing extremism from the past are striking, including when groups like Weather Underground and the Black Panthers incited violence after 9/11. Many will recall from the past when ecoterrorism and animal rights extremism were also in vogue – also products of the political left.
“What we’re seeing is the democratization of extremism and the tactics of radicalism,” says Levin, adding that despite repeated warnings, very little is being done at the law enforcement level to address the problem.