While election results trickle in, the country is bracing for the next round of demonstrations. After a summer of political violence from crowds supporting Antifa and Black Lives Matter, businesses — concerned about real damage to property from the street mobs known for burning and looting — have taken precautionary measures.
These measures, from boarding up their store fronts to hiring private security personnel, are unprecedented in modern American electoral history.
At least 375 demonstrations have been announced around the country from what’s being described as a coalition of 135 Left-wing advocacy groups in “Protect the Results” rallies in the case that President Donald Trump declares victory before all the mail-in and absentee ballots are counted.
In a recently released ominous video, “Protect the Results” identified Trump as a figure that “routinely undermines our democratic institutions.”
Another group, “Shutdown DC” is planning an eight-hour demonstration in Washington D.C.’s Black Lives Matter plaza. So far, the atmosphere has been one of a street festival.
Despite the number of groups invested in demonstrating about or protesting the election results, Antifa is a central concern. According to Ryan Mauro, director of Clarion Intelligence Network, Antifa-affiliated online chats show that Antifa is intent on building on its summer of violence.
From an #Antifa-affiliated online chat:
“No matter what happens….we riot.”
— Ryan Mauro (@ryanmauro) November 3, 2020
Increasingly, those coming out on the side of Antifa are identifying as anarchists. (While not all “anti-fascists” are anarchists, all anarchists are anti-fascist.) Below we explore this ideology and the attraction to it.
What is the ideology of anarchy?
While most of us use the word “anarchy” to denote chaos, the political ideology of anarchy is much more sophisticated than that – even if the end result would likely be the same (hence the colloquial usage of the term).
In an article published in Teen Vogue, “Anarchy: What It Is and Why Pop Culture Loves It,” Km Kelly explains to the magazine’s young readers,
“Anarchism is a radical, revolutionary leftist political philosophy that advocates for the abolition of government, hierarchy, and all other unequal systems of power. It seeks to replace what its proponents view as inherently oppressive institutions — like a capitalist society or the prison industrial complex — with nonhierarchical, horizontal structures powered by voluntary associations between people.
“Anarchists organize around a key set of principles, including horizontalism, mutual aid, autonomy, solidarity, direct action, and direct democracy, a form of democracy in which the people make decisions themselves via consensus (as opposed to representative democracy, of which the United States government is an example).”
Kelly goes on to describe the utopian view of society advocated by anarchists. She quotes from Mark Bray, a lecturer at Dartmouth College and author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook as well as the New York City-based anarchist group Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council (MACC), of which Kelly herself is a member.
“I would define anarchism as the nonhierarchical, nonelectoral, direct-action-oriented form of revolutionary socialism,” Bray says in the article.
From MACC’s website, Kelly quotes,
“We demonstrate a vision for a society in fundamental opposition to the brutal logic of contemporary capitalism — a society based on mutual aid, cooperation, and radical democracy.”
Kelly also identifies a vision of what she calls “classic anarchist traditions” – mutualism, community ownership of the means of productions, the abolishment of the state and capitalism, and individualism, which she explains as “emphasiz[ing] individual freedom above all.”
Why is anarchy so attractive to Gen Z and millennials?
This utopian view of an anarchist society painted by Kelly is first and foremost one of the strongest pulls of this ideology. Coupled with current and popular agenda of instigating victimhood mentality and “class solidarity” as the “only hope for survival” (in Teen Vogue, this was also done through Kelly in a glowing piece on Marx), it must sound quite appealing to a young mind unencumbered by the realities of history.
The problem, of course, is in its execution: Who decides the policies and values upon which the anarchist society is based? Even with consensus on policies and values, anarchy relies on a level of self-control and cooperation not seen in the annals of human history.
Unlike older generations, this age group didn’t live through the Cold War, where every American was acutely aware of the realities of communism, a similar utopian ideology.
As aptly noted by David Wright, a commentator on Quora to the question, “Do anarchist honestly think that anarchy would go well in reality?”:
“They want to think that government is unnecessary, and so they turn it into a piece of faith to believe it is.”
Another respondent to the same question, Jay Stern, wryly comments,
“Cooperation may be the key to a ‘gentle’ form of anarchy, one with a homogeneous and classless society. Perhaps the analogy would be holding the tiger’s tail while petting it.”
Some young people entralled with utopian visions will wake up from the dreams of their youth and buckle down to the hard work of building a rewarding life in the “real world.” But as we have seen in the past months, many have chosen not to.
Having been educated in universities where they are taught ideologies that are fundamentally an indictment of America at its core (namely, critical race theory and cultural Marxism), it is short step to the belief that the entire system must be destroyed.
This age group was raised in a world of instant gratification. They have seen almost every technological innovation of their time replaced — almost yearly — by something better and are impatient for that “change” to happen on a political level.
Moreover, the case for the moral imperative to do so – even though violent means — has been made almost daily by the establish media and more than a few politicians since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.
It is a toxic combination.
Meanwhile, the commentators note,
I never thought I would see so many buildings here in the nation’s capital boarded-up on the eve of a presidential election in anticipation of possible unrest. And it’s not just in DC. It’s happening in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere around the country. So sad! pic.twitter.com/fmPnUBbr8T
— Wolf Blitzer (@wolfblitzer) November 1, 2020
In cities across the nation, wary residents are preparing for violent demonstrations surrounding the election.
Businesses in Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Portland, Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, and many other cities https://t.co/T4ONk7XZkT
— American Greatness (@theamgreatness) October 30, 2020
The final outcome of the election is expected to take days. Two crucial swing states, Pennsylvania and North Carolina have provisions that allow ballots to be accepted that were mailed by Election Day but arrive later – three days in Pennsylvania and nine days in North Carolina, two crucial swing states.
We will all be waiting and watching.