Specifically, April Hitchcock, a former corporate litigator and current Scholarly Communications Librarian at NYU, recently published an essay, titled “On Antifa and Social Justice Struggle,” on her personal website justifying far-left political violence. “The anti-fascist resistance groups that have been fighting the public displays of hate and oppression of white supremacists and other Trumpsters have been declared ‘domestic terrorists.’ Apparently, some of their tactics have involved violence,” began Hitchcock.
“I don’t know. I haven’t been keeping tabs on all their actions. But I have seen all the finger-wagging hot-take think pieces from both sides of the political divide,” she continued, noting, “and to be quite honest, I just don’t care.”
To clarify, she stated, “I don’t care what or how Antifa is fighting oppression. I’m more interested in the age-old narrative emerging here in which the oppressed are only allowed to fight oppression in ways deemed acceptable by the oppressor. This is a tone-policing tale as old as time.”
Although “tone-policing” is really just someone asking another person to calm down and be civil so that a productive discussion can be had, many on the left, like Hitchcock, consider it to be an act of oppression. Consequently, they think it’s wrong to ask people to not destroy property and engage in violence.
To support her position, Hitchcock pointed to the past. “When Nat Turner led one of the largest American slave rebellions in the early 1800s, both slaveholders and so-called abolitionist allies alike decried his use of violent ‘terrorizing’ tactics. It got people seriously thinking about how to end slavery, though,” she explained.
“The Black Panther Party, which instituted the free breakfast program for kids and fought against police brutality (yeah, how are we doing with that nowadays?), was deemed by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to be ‘the greatest threat to the internal security of the country,’ added Hitchcock, who claimed that “today, [BLM] is constantly undergoing similar scrutiny…[even though] it constitutes an explicitly peaceful movement despite the oppressor’s determination to characterize it as otherwise.”
Later in her essay, Hitchcock inexplicably tried to compare “the violent acts of Antifa” to the people who marched in Charlottesville. “The same folks who decry the violent acts of Antifa were the exact same people calling for us to uphold the First Amendment free speech rights of the white supremacists marching on Charlottesville…As I’ve said before, free speech only applies to certain folks.” wrote Hitchcock.
By saying this, she is basically attempting to equate the two acts. Clearly, this is absurd. There’s a massive difference between peacefully marching on the street to protest the removal of a historic monument, which is an exercise of free speech, and engaging in violence or destruction to further a political agenda, which is essentially terrorism. With the former, no one is having their rights violated. The same, however, cannot be said about the latter, where people essentially lose the right to speak freely.
Hitchcock, however, doesn’t appear to understand this. “[The] thing is, fighting oppression is messy. It’s not always going to be done right or peacefully or with perfect grace. And that’s okay. It’s still vitally worth doing,” she argued in her essay, suggesting that violence is necessary for social justice
Before concluding, she quoted Frederick Douglas, who said, “the whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle…If there is no struggle there is no progress…This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”