For weeks, maybe months, the site WeSearchr was raising money to finance another street fight with the black clad Antifa guys. It was pretty obvious that the point of the “rally” was not free speech or to support Trump. It was an effort to have a rematch with Antifa, which kicked the crap out of the normies at the Berkeley Milo event back in February. The WeSearchr guys did everything but offer to drive the Antifa people to the event. It was such an obvious setup, it is surprising that someone did not shut it down in advance.
The social media reports from the event strongly suggest the cops were told to stand aside and let things take their course. That appears to be the style in Berkeley, where they just assume the numbers are always on their side. On the other hand, there’s a protest every day at Berkeley. It’s just part of the culture. It’s entirely possible that the level of cynicism has reached the point where the cops simply don’t care. There’s no way to know, but the Alt-Lite people see to think the cops were told to stand down.
From his secret lair in suburban Washington DC, Richard Spencer declared the resulting melee a win for his team, even though the people who organized it seem to hate Richard Spencer. The various schisms and feuds in the “alt” community have reached the point where it is hard to keep track of the sides. Regardless, the vanguard of the proletariat smashed the other vanguard of the proletariat, resulting in some hilarious video on social media. Judging by the coverage, it looks like Antifa was on the losing end of it this time.
Spencer is completely wrong in his assessment. He really, really wants to jam current events into his narrative of Weimar Germany and the rise of Hitler, but history never repeats itself so neatly. As the old saying goes, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.” The rhythms of this age have some things in common with the rhythms of past ages, but that’s as far as it goes. Spencer is not Martin Heidegger and there is no young Adolph Hitler lurking in the local art school, contemplating a political future.
More important, the street theater we see going on between Antifa and the Alt-Lite, and it is the McInness wing doing the fighting, is nothing like the street battles that went on in the Weimar days. The Freikorps battling communists were not bored college boys killing a weekend with some live action role playing and a few brews with the bros. The Freikorps were an important German cultural institution that dated to the Seven Years War. These were former soldiers, organized into a civil political force.
Comparing the ProudBoys to the Freikorps is laughable on its face and reveals a fundamental lack of seriousness on the part of Spencer. Comparing these Antifa idiots to the Spartacus League is even more absurd. German citizens after the abdication of the Kaiser thought the two paths forward were socialism or communism. Exactly no one supports Antifa’s political agenda, if they even have one. Similarly, Spencer has a following in the hundreds and no one thinks his ethno-state idea has a future.
To be fair to the Alt-Lite people, and again, it is the Alt-Lite out there doing the fighting, they just want to have their events without being harassed by lunatics. If the adults running the campuses and policing these political events did their jobs, none of this would be necessary. You really cannot blame them for taking matters into their own hands and laying into these Antifa nutters. If the people in charge refuse to do their duty and maintain civil order, then people will do it on their own. That’s an immutable fact of life.
Even so, America is not Weimar Germany. It is not even 1960’s America. The days of hard men enforcing ideological discipline on the streets are long over. The days of disaffected youth upsetting the social order are also past. Ricky Vaughn did more for the disaffected with his twitter account than any of these guys playing make believe on the streets of Berkeley. The bros had a good time beating up on the punks from Antifa and that’s not a terrible result in itself, but it is not the Spartacist uprising.
If there’s any lesson here at all it is that in the current crisis, the old tactics are more for theater and entertainment than advancing a political agenda. Going on campus to harass Charles Murray is not changing minds and it is not intended to change minds. It’s just something to do in order to show off to friends. Its bored children coloring on the walls, even though they know mom will be pissed. Since mom is not going to give them up for adoption over it, the act is just pointless, risk-free theater.