[9.1: I’ve updated the post below with some video]
I”ve long thought the lawyers representing the January 6 rioters should feature in their defense this crucial point, if not build a case around it: their clients were inspired by a clear precedent set by the legal and political indulgence of months of co-ordinated nationwide BLM riots.
Trump’s supporters thought the rules had changed. But the rules had been thrown out.
The Capitol riot was the culmination of the greatest troll in history.
It’s been pointed out the term “insurrection” more properly belongs to the BLM riots that began in 2020. But that campaign was more in the nature of a coup, disguised as an insurrectionary revolt–a color revolution as some were quick to point out. The coup’s aftermath is being implicitly presented as revolutionary governance. It has been successful in drastically changing the nation over the course of two years with little or no genuine popular support for its goals. We live with its bloody consequences and our rulers promise more.
So I’m heartened to read a lawyer representing some of the January 6 defendants is making the point. American Greatness:
In an interview this week, Joseph D. McBride said he is building a case to sue the federal government for millions of dollars over the abuses his clients have suffered.
The devout Catholic told the Blaze‘s Daniel Horowitz on his “Conservative Review” podcast Monday that he has witnessed the “deepest part of evil” while representing the political prisoners.
“They are gaslighting the entire American public,” McBride said. “They are calling these people extremists and terrorists, but the extremism and the terrorism lies with them!”
“January 6 did not happen in a vacuum,” he continued. “In the year or so that preceded January 6, you had all the BLM and Antifa riots all over the United States of America. We saw the burning down of cities, the attacking of police officers. Members of antifa out there in black bloc covered head to toe in full riot gear going at it with police, the looting of stores—you name it, we saw it.”
McBride posited that the left-wing agitators got a pass in 2020 because of new and expanded definitions of “civil disobedience, and political protest” which allowed government entities to view even violent riots “as grounded in the First Amendment, not criminality.”
In the wake of this, he explained, the pro-Trump protesters showed up in Washington, D.C. on January 6 with the impression there was this “new and modern definition of political protest.” Of course, most of the January 6 rioters came nowhere near the levels of violence the nation saw during the George Floyd riots, McBride was careful to point out.
Furthermore Trump’s supporters were acting while under the boot of the new regime of censorship–that does not extend to George Floyd’s rioters–their voices and concerns were, are, being censored everywhere. They took to the streets as citizens who were and are being demonstrably silenced in the public square.
The troll-’em-and-try-’em model playing out in DC has played out on a smaller scale here in Portland.
On August 22 of 2020 and 2021 Portland authorities officially abandoned the city to political street fighting. On the first hot August day police posted blocks away from their own barricaded central precinct downtown where conservative “patriots” and anarchist “antifa” were squaring off, warning over a loudspeaker they would not interfere but were observing crimes and combatants could be charged later. The following summer Mayor and Police Commissioner Ted Wheeler announced ahead of time police would not intervene after patriots provocatively scheduled a downtown rally on the date of the previous year’s brawl and antifa, growing more impassioned as the day approached, promised to chase the patriots out of town all over again by whatever means necessary.
Such scenes were already familiar in Portland by the summer of 2016. Trump’s campaign shocked and enlivened the local protest community; his election kicked off a week of rioting and was a propaganda and recruiting boon for antifa. The trend was national. By 2017 Berkeley students were rioting ferociously over a Milo Yiannopolis speaking engagement, and that particular hot August brought the Charlottesville Unite the Right debacle, in hindsight a watershed event which would provide a template for the State for dealing with such as Portland’s patriots.
This wasn’t evident in 2017 when Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer “free speech” group, a loose organization of maybe two dozen people allied with local Proud Boys and a motley collection of opportunists, MAGA types and even some genuine “far right” figures, set out to troll Portland’s radical left by holding rallies downtown supporting the police, or Donald Trump–one “Him Too” demonstration–daring the anarchists to respond with violence and thereby be exposed as, the politically opportunistic but unsophisticated patriots might say, “the real fascists.” It worked only too well: a patriot was shot and killed for walking downtown a week after cops stood down that first August in 2020, by a member of a notorious antifa “security” team.
It did not matter; the narrative didn’t blink and the patriots won no sympathy from the media, from the city or even police they defended, for whom they were an expensive problem in a sea of problems. Unfortunately for the patriots they were the one problem that could be dealt with, using the strategy the city and its woke prosecutor won’t deploy on antifa: a few high profile prosecutions.
The conflict’s dynamic held from the start, always antifa seeking out the patriots; without antifa the patriots would have merely held their rallies and gone home–disappointed perhaps, but not having sacked the city like Visigoths, as antifa claims in defense of its violence. In a notable exception for which Joey Gibson faces felony riot charges, patriots disrupted a meeting organized by Rose City Antifa, heckling anarchists until a fight broke out.
Officially antifa claims to be defending the city’s BIPOC from bands of wilding racists all hopped up on hate, despite this never having happened. But they’re forthright about shutting down peaceful protest, declaring the patriots’ “fascism”–support for Trump and police being enough to qualify–demands violent opposition.
But the patriots were also a boon for antifa: they adapted to them as they adapted to Trump, making of them the ultimate propaganda and recruitment opportunity. With a pliant media they were easily fed into the narrative of Trump’s “fascism” that was radicalizing Portland’s fervent progressives and hapless liberals alike. The patriots’ challenge presented a chance to train and toughen up, to scrimmage with real live “fascists” and develop tactics, conveniently enough as the BLM summer of 2020 and antifa’s hour approached.
That hour coincided, even more conveniently, with that of thirty five year-old BLM enthusiast and restorative justice practitioner Mike Schmidt, who took over as Multnomah County District Attorney on August 2 of 2020, beginning his term early when his predecessor bailed out of the mayhem. He was just in time to toss the bulk of rioting cases against antifa and consider cases against the patriots–brought to him by antifa. The rules had changed with the guard and the patriots–the least politically sophisticated players in the game–were last to catch on. After antifa fought for years to shut down the patriots, the state would step in and do it for them. Among other things, this is the story of how anarchists won the case of the State v Alan Swinney.
Swinney drew a ten year prison sentence and two more face five years each for actions that wouldn’t normally merit serious assault charges–prosecutors set a precedent successfully arguing a paintball gun is a dangerous weapon–even absent the particular context, in which antifa aggressors confronted patriot demonstrators. The prosecutions are further undermined by the District Attorney’s previous publicly announced policy indulging violence in political demonstrations. The combination of the city abandoning the streets and antifa’s role as aggressor seems all the more pertinent: how does the state justify suspending the maintenance of law and order only to come back later and prosecute select acts that took place in the ensuing chaos–actions taken by those who were sought out by their “victims”?
This question has occurred to no one, apparently, including a defense team and a Portland jury, so far.