By framing Trump as an existential threat to America, the Left can justify extreme action
It might not seem immediately apparent that Joe Biden would have anything in common with insurrectionary anarchists. After all, Biden has been deeply entrenched in the uppermost echelons of American political power for nearly five decades straight — whereas insurrectionary anarchists generally seek to overthrow those systems, by violent force if necessary.
The former Vice-President is not exactly the type you would imagine clad in all-black combat-style street apparel, hurling commercial-grade fireworks at police officers. Rather, he drafted the infamous 1994 omnibus crime bill in concert with the National Association of Police Organizations. He is even known to venerate the arcane institutionalist ethos of the US Senate — whereas to insurrectionary anarchists, such institutions could only be tools of oppression.
But the Trump Era has an odd way of bringing about unexpected ideological convergences. In the announcement video that formally kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden paid homage to what he called the “courageous group of Americans” who descended upon Charlottesville, VA in August 2017 to confront an assembly of Right-wing rally-goers. Among that “courageous group” were Left-wing activist factions broadly classified under the banner of “antifa”.
For Biden, what transpired in Charlottesville was a “defining moment,” and formed the basis for his decision to launch a third campaign for the presidency at age 76. While Biden did herald generic American idealism in that announcement video — which would be anathema to most insurrectionary anarchists — in the gravity he assigned to the Charlottesville episode, he also affirmed a core tenet of the “antifa” worldview: the notion that a uniquely pressing fascistic threat has gripped the country, and crushing this threat is a matter of unparalleled world-historic urgency.
Certainly, if you picked any “antifa” member at random, there’d be an almost 0% chance that they would express any kind of personal enthusiasm for Joe Biden. But there’d be a virtually 100% chance that they’d express a great deal of enthusiasm for the theory that “fascism” is an accurate characterisation of America’s current state of governance. Biden would be similarly enthused to present a variation of this analysis, albeit from a slightly different ideological angle. He typically intones things like, “This is not who we are”, rather than “All Cops Are Bastards”.
Still, where Biden is united with “antifa” is in assigning such outsized importance to the role of small-time “fascist” agitators like the ones who gathered that weekend three years ago in Charlottesville (despite ultimately being outnumbered by Left-wing activists) on account of the validation they are purported to have received from Donald Trump. For both Biden and “antifa,” this dynamic constitutes the chief prism through which contemporary American political affairs must be viewed.
And for both Biden and “antifa,” this mode of analysis has been hugely successful. “Antifa” has succeeded in stoking nationwide insurrectionary fervour on a scale unseen in decades. Given their opposition to Trump as the alleged fascist-in-chief, as well as their appropriation of the “Black Lives Matter” protest mantle, they’ve received an extraordinary amount of mainstream liberal legitimation. [ … ]