March plan­ner will­ing to take beat­ing from an­tifa ac­tivists

Says leftist move­ment will suf­fer black eye

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON

Pa­triot Prayer founder Joey Gib­son wants to de­feat the so-called an­tifa move­ment so badly that he is will­ing to take a punch or even a beat­ing, and he wants oth­ers on the right to do the same. Mr. Gib­son im­plored his back­ers to re­main peace­ful and not hit back when and if they are at­tacked by mil­i­tants of the far-left-lean­ing an­tifa, or anti-fas­cists, at the Peace­ful Port­land Free­dom March and Texas Do­na­tion Drive in the heart of lib­eral Ore­gon.

“It takes courage to take a beat­ing, to take a beat­ing and to not re­spond in ha­tred, but to re­spond in love,” Mr. Gib­son said on Face­book Live. “This is how we will win over Port­land. This is how peo­ple will turn on an­tifa, and we will fi­nally have a right, a priv­i­lege to march in Port­land, or any of th­ese ar­eas, once the left and the me­dia be­gin to call them out.”

The an­tifa suf­fered a pub­lic re­la­tions back­lash on Aug. 27 when Mr. Gib­son and Tusi­tala “Tiny” Toese were hit and pep­per-sprayed by a mob of black-masked ac­tivists in Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia. The episode, caught on video, spurred a back­lash against the left-wing ex­trem­ists.

House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat, had ac­cused the free speech group Pa­triot Prayer of at­tempt­ing to hold a “white su­prem­a­cist rally,” even though nei­ther Mr. Gib­son nor Mr. Toese is white. She de­nounced an­tifa by name for the first time af­ter the vi­o­lence.

In his mes­sage, Mr. Gib­son urged those plan­ning to at­tend the Port­land rally to fol­low the ex­am­ples of Je­sus, Mo­han­das Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in em­brac­ing non­vi­o­lent re­sis­tance to counter the nar­ra­tive that “we’re a bunch of ex­trem­ists.”

In Berke­ley, he said, “So many peo­ple were so dis­gusted about how they treated us. The lib­er­als were lit­er­ally stand­ing around with peace signs and love signs while an­tifa is just yelling and cussing and beat­ing the crap out of us and pep­per-spray­ing us.”

Per­suad­ing oth­ers on the right to shrug off the blows may be eas­ier said than done. At the Pa­triot Prayer rally in Port­land on Aug. 6, a brawl broke out be­tween small bands of an­tifa coun­ter­protesters and right-wing ac­tivists.

“As Port­land Po­lice Stand By, Alt-Right and An­tifa Protesters Beat Each Other Bloody,” said the head­line in the Wil­lamette Week.

One of those who mixed it up with coun­ter­protesters was Mr. Toese, who was clob­bered in the nose and was cited for dis­or­derly con­duct, but Mr. Gib­son said his friend threw no punches in Berke­ley.

Mr. Toese’s her­itage is Samoan, and Mr. Gib­son de­scribes him­self as half-Ja­panese. Another prom­i­nent Pa­triot Prayer or­ga­nizer, Will John­son, is black.

“You know how Tiny is. Tiny doesn’t put up with a lot of crap. And we marched in there, we marched in there with our hands up ready to take the beat­ing with the cam­eras rolling so ev­ery­one can see, so we can ex­pose an­tifa for who they are,” Mr. Gib­son said. “That was the goal the whole time. So we took a beat­ing.”

Not every­body is on board with non­vi­o­lent re­sis­tance. One fringe right-wing Port­land fig­ure, Allen Pucket, said last week on Face­book that “any move­ment for­ward in the fu­ture will in­evitably have blood­shed.”

Mr. Gib­son in­sisted that vi­o­lence will only back­fire on those fight­ing so­cial­ism and com­mu­nism, even though he agreed that lib­er­als who have de­nounced an­tifa are ly­ing. “They’re just try­ing to cover their asses,” he said.

“Yes, that is true, but the tides are turn­ing,” he said. “If we would have gone in there and just had a huge fight, huge brawls, it would have been like, ‘See, we need to shut down th­ese ral­lies. We need to shut down th­ese ral­lies; they’re just a bunch of ex­trem­ists.’”

Rad­i­cal an­ar­chist groups such as an­tifa and By Any Means Nec­es­sary have de­fended their use of force to sup­press right-of-cen­ter speech as a “self-de­fense” strat­egy against the rise of fascism.

The an­tifa web­site It­sGo­ingDown.org hailed the Berke­ley melee as a vic­tory, say­ing ac­tivists “pre­vailed against the far right in Berke­ley, push­ing back their po­lice pro­tec­tion and chas­ing them out of Martin Luther King Jr. Park.”

Thou­sands of mostly peace­ful protesters showed to counter a sched­uled “No to Marx­ism in Amer­ica” rally spon­sored by trans­gen­der Trump sup­porter Am­ber Cum­mings, who can­celed on the day be­fore the event over fears of vi­o­lence.

“We take the re­cent con­ser­va­tive and lib­eral back­lash against an­tifa as a con­fir­ma­tion of our sound judg­ment and rec­og­nize the es­tab­lish­ment’s con­dem­na­tion of our ac­tions as noth­ing more than white noise from white supremacy,” the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Abo­li­tion­ist Move­ment said in a post.

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