In this episode of the People Who Read People podcast, I interview a self-described anti-fascist who has frequently taken part in the more militant and unlawful aspects of the BLM-focused protests and riots that have occurred in Portland, Oregon in the wake of George Floyd’s death. This person has also taken part in physical confrontations with alt-right pro-Trump groups, like the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer. I ask them about the motivations and goals for these violent protests, why such behavior is justified, and the reasoning behind physically confronting rightwing groups.
Want a transcript? See Transcript of Portland protester interview. And as a follow-up to this interview, I did an interview with Dr. Omar Wasow, who did research showing that the violent protests and riots of the late 1960s turned public opinion and voting trends in the U.S. more conservative/Republican.
Links to the interview of the Portland antifa/BLM protester:
Topics discussed include:
- What is a night like in downtown Portland during these protests/riots?
- What is the reasoning behind wanting to abolish the police? What exactly would that look like?
- What is the intellectual justification for the more militant, aggressive form of protests?
- Are there established goals? How will the protesters know when they’ve succeeded and when to stop?
- What is the logic behind fighting with groups like the Proud Boys?
- What are the potential negative effects of this behavior?
- What is his opinion on the role of guns in the police brutality debate?
- The state’s monopoly on force and its negative and positive aspects.
Related content and resources:
- NY Mag article about Omar Wasow’s research showing that riots make America more conservative.
- A New Yorker article talking to Omar Wasow about the impact of riots on politics.
- Article that talks about the lessons from Nazi Germany and how socialist street violence was a factor that helped the Nazis.
- The Atlantic article: The overlooked role of guns in the police reform debate.
- Vox article: Police shootings are also part of America’s gun problem.
- WaPo op-ed: No police reforms would be complete without gun reforms.
- The Atlantic article: The Proud Boys’ real target.
- Sam Harris’ podcast on George Floyd and police brutality issues (even if you dislike Sam Harris, I think he makes some very good points that are hard to refute and that you don’t often hear).
- Article about Rojava, an area of Syria which apparently is held up by some as a template of how a society without cops could function
- Washington Post op-ed: Black Lives Matter and Antifa are not the same thing.
- A blog post expressing revolutionary, ‘let’s rise up’ points of view, which I think play a role for some militant protesters
- LA Times article about history of militant activism in Portland
- Some ideas for things to say when conservatives attempt to use the bad behavior of liberals as a reason to support Trump