“Antifa is winning.” Jonathan Turley, who just happens to be the Constitutional Law Professor at George Washington University, issued a dire warning to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz opened the door with a simple question and Professor Turley kicked it in.
Is Antifa anti-speech and violent?
Ted Cruz, a Republican Senator from the Lone Star State. wanted to clarify some of the things from earlier testimony. Professor Turley, he asked, “you testified that antifa is profoundly anti-speech and violent. Can you expand on that please?” You bet he can. Turley didn’t even need to look at his notes. “If you go through their antifa handbook and look at their literature, it’s quite express.” as thoughtfully set out in writing, “they reject the premise of what they call a classical liberal view of free speech. Specifically they object to statements like, ‘I may disagree with what you say, but I would give my life to defend it.’ They reject that. They believe that free speech itself is a tool of oppression.”
Turley gets upset when people call Antifa a myth. “What I thought was disturbing about these statements that ‘antifa is a myth’ is that many of us on campus have been dealing with antifa for years. And antifa is winning.” The student revolution of the sixties has devolved into evil New World Order anarchy. “There is a tremendous movement,” Turley explains, “an anti-free speech movement in the United States.” Turley notes, “Antifa members have been arrested in these protests. Antifa groups like Rose City Antifa have been leading some of these efforts.”
The message is the same at colleges from coast-to-coast, including California State University’s Berkeley campus. Once known as the birthplace of the free-speech movement, it’s now the place where free speech has come home to die. That bothers Professor Turley. “My greater concern and the one I would hope that members would look at is this anti-free speech movement that antifa is part of. I’ve been teaching for 30 years. I have never seen the level of fear and intimidation on campuses that we see today. Faculty are afraid to speak out about issues. We can’t have a dialogue about the important issues occurring today because there’s a fear that you might be accused of being reactionary or racist.”
Law professors physically attacked
Turley is shocked at the level of left-wing violence. “We’ve had law professors who have been physically attacked, have required police protection. That’s the environment that we’re developing.” If you think you can be friends with antifa, think again. “Those of us who have been teaching on campuses can tell you about these groups.” Turley says he’s “watching my profession, the teaching profession, die, with free speech. Administrators are not protecting academic freedom, why should they protect free speech?”
Time and again, conservative speakers “are being prevented from speaking on campus under various theories. The message is clear to faculty and to students: There’s a new orthodoxy that you should not confront and certainly shouldn’t disagree with.”
Senator Cruz took an opportunity to get it on the record that he thinks “it’s striking that in the entire course of this hearing, seven Democratic senators spoke in this hearing. Not a single Democratic senator condemned antifa. Not a one of them condemned antifa’s violence and terrorism. Do you think it is harmful that — the sitting attorney general of Minnesota, who is a Democrat, posed with the book you just held up in your testimony, the antifa handbook, gleefully modeling it? Do you think it’s helpful for elected Democrats to be holding out a violent, anti-speeching organization like antifa and acting as apologists for it? Is that good for our democracy?”
That’s not how this works
Turley’s response was the equivalent of “hell no.” What he actually said was “I criticized Mr. Ellison for that tweet. There are some Democratic politicians that have not only failed to denounce antifa but in that case seemed to give it a shout out. In that case, Mr. Ellison said they would put the fear in the heart of Donald Trump. But what he doesn’t see is that antifa is putting fear in the heart of many people other than Donald Trump.”
The professor wants every liberal to know, its not all about Trump. “If you go to campuses today you’ll find more advocates for limiting speech than protecting it. They’re winning. When you see pictures like Mr. Ellison’s picture with antifa, it’s very disturbing because antifa is not coming after him, they’re not even coming after Democrats, they’re coming after Republicans, conservatives, and those of us in the free speech community. They’re coming after us. But don’t think we’ll be the last ones. That’s not how this works.”