by Wade Rathke
New Orleans Ol’ Donald Trump dropping like a rock with no one to catch his fall. He doesn’t want to talk about race, because he sounds even more the fool than usual. Most recent example was his description of George Floyd, hardly in his grave after being killed by the police as “having a great day,” as Trump grasped at the straws of a better than expected jobs report. If Trump was right and Floyd was looking down, trust me on this, he was spitting. Protests in towns large, small, and even tiny for racial justice and against police brutality, and Trump and his sidekick William Barr are gasping and groping for anyone but themselves to blame and for anything to talk about other than the pandemic and the justice of the protest.
They cry out for antifa, like children cry out for Peppa Pig, to come save them from this horror. Where is antifa when they need them most? The country and the world are on the streets crying for justice. Can’t everyone see that if this doesn’t stop, that there might be real change? Can’t everyone see that none of this helps the president’s re-election? If Trump can’t find a fall guy, then he’s the falling guy. Where is antifa?
Remember antifa was a small, loose network of activists who were willing to suit up and stand their ground as anti-fascists at white supremacy rallies and the like. They were willing to go toe to toe and not back down. There weren’t many, but the specter that they existed at all as opposed to the gun toting, fat bellied, MAGA hat crowd is the kind of thing that keeps the president up at night with his tweet finger wagging.
The problem is that no one can find any evidence of antifa in these protests. A study in Minneapolis found that 85% of the arrests were local Minnesota-nice folks. Those arrested for any vandalism were also locals, but with police records in some cases. These are all home-grown inside agitators. Trump now is facing the horror that beset Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson and hundreds of redneck sheriffs down south and up-south as they tried to paint everyone with a happy face and blame it on the commies or the outside agitators. Trump can’t blame it on the commies probably because he doesn’t want people to think Russia or make his big buddy Vladimir Putin unhappy. He’s left with antifa, and there’s no one to call in that loose network or to stand as the face of the troubles.
A movement is a problem for power. It’s everywhere, and there is no quick call to co-opted leaders or a way to threatened the funding of any specific organization to get it to stop. The marches and actions are multiplying. The targets are becoming local. The only way it might stop is when there is evidence of real change. Trump knows nothing about that.