[Vision2020] What's the Difference between BLM and Capitol Rioters?
ngier006 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 26 13:34:10 PST 2021
For those of you who do not get the DNews, this was my column from
yesterday. The long version, which has been submitted to Pocatello's *Idaho
State Journal, *is attached.
One item that I just discovered yesterday was this tidbit:
One of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s associates and Capitol insurrectionist
Anthony Aguero said: “We were all there. It was not Antifa and it was not
BLM. It was Trump supporters that did that yesterday.”
It looks as if the GOP will now be the Party of January 6, 2021.
*What’s the Difference between BLM and Capitol Rioters?*
*The Capitol is not a liquor store.*
—Rabbi Yosie Levine
At the beginning of the Black Lives Matter protests, I was
dismayed that some BLM leaders were saying that rioting was justified.
This incendiary declaration from New York City’s BLM leader Hank Newsome
was most unfortunate: “If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then
we will burn down this system and replace it.”
What troubled me even more was misquoting Martin Luther King to condone
violence. In a 1967 speech “The Other America,” King made his position
crystal clear: “Let me say, as I’ve always said, that riots are socially
destructive and self-defeating.”
BLM leaders argued that police shootings and the insidious persistence of
racial discrimination justified these actions. These same excuses were
offered to King 60 years ago, but he bravely adhered to what he had learned
from the non-violent teachings of Gandhi and Christ.
To their credit Democratic Party leaders have condemned the rioting. House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned: “Our democracy has no room for inciting
violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who
commit such acts.”
At the time President Joe Biden said that “protesting police brutality is
right and necessary and the American response. But burning down communities
and needless destruction are not.”
Republicans are now pointing to infractions associated with BLM, and they
are crying “they did it too” as an answer to the Capitol insurrection. By
condoning violence, BLM leaders have lost the moral high ground that King
It is true that many white nationalists (those, for example, in Richmond,
VA) were found marching under BLM banners setting fires and breaking
windows. On the other hand, they were largely absent from weeks of rioting
The largest civil rights movement in American history has been marred by
violence, and one poll showed a 9 percent drop in approval for BLM—from 61
to 52 percent from June to September of last year.
That difference, however, pales into insignificance when we learn that 81
percent of those polled condemn the Capitol rioters and 58 percent blame
I submit that the difference in response is a recognition that BLM was
fighting the Ugly Truth of systemic racism and police brutality, whereas
Trump spread the Big Lie about election fraud that led to an assault on the
seat of our democracy.
Wide-spread burnings and window breaking are certainly criminal, but, as
New York Rabbi Yosie Levine tweeted: “The Capitol is not a liquor store.”
One commentator put it this way: “The two events were fundamentally
different. One was an intentional, direct attack on a hallowed democratic
institution, with the goal of overturning a fair and free election. The
other was a coast-to-coast protest movement demanding an end to systemic
racism that occasionally, but not frequently, turned violent.”
The largest number of domestic terrorist attacks have come from far-right
militants, and 275 deaths in the last decade have been attributed to them.
Only one murder, which happened during the Portland protests, was committed
by an anti-fascist.
Although 70 percent of Republicans believe that Antifa was involved in the
insurrection, this claim is demonstrably false. *Newsweek* fact checkers
have concluded that John Sullivan, the one suspected anti-fascist, was not
“a member of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, or any other left-leaning group.”
It is significant that GOP leader Kevin McCarthy stated: “There is
absolutely no evidence of Antifa’s presence.” One of Rep. Marjorie Taylor
Greene’s associates and Capitol insurrectionist Anthony Aguero said: “We
were all there. It was not Antifa and it was not BLM. It was Trump
supporters that did that yesterday.”
White nationalists infiltrated BLM protests, but no left-wingers were at
the Capitol that day. Furthermore, six Capitol policemen were suspended and
29 others are under investigation for enabling the rioters. White
nationalists within our police forces are a serious problem.
Race-baiting Donald Trump and his rogue attorney Rudy Giuliani
are being sued under the 1871 “Klu Klux Kan” law, which criminalizes anyone
who uses “force, intimidation, or threat” to prevent people from performing
the duties of their office.
It is truly ironic that a law aimed at the most vicious form of racism is
being used against a person who invited racists and neo-Nazis to storm the
Capitol of the United States of America.
Nick Gier is professor emeritus at the University of Idaho.
Read his articles on civil rights at
webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/CivilRights.htm. Email him at ngier006 at gmail.com.
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they
shall never sit in.
“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.
Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance
from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause lies not in
lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without
guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to use your own
understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.
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