Monday, November 06, 2017

CIVIL WAR CONSPLAY.

[The Sutherland Springs shooting required that I rewrite, as we say in the journalism business, my Village Voice column last night. But a rough version of the original still sits on my laptop and I figure you might get a kick out of it.]

Hear about the big antifa “civil war” last weekend? Kidding, it didn’t actually happen — and when it didn’t, rightbloggers took credit.

Rumors that The Left would go all Helter Skelter on Saturday had apparently been brewing on the right since August, when old-left group Refuse Fascism called for a nationwide “struggle” against Trump, Pence, and The Man, begining with demonstrations on November 4.

I’ve seen these guys as part (a small part) of anti-Trump events before, and their efforts probably wouldn’t have entered public consciousness were it not for rightwing reports by internet randos about a “civil war” that “antifa” — the randos’ generic term, apparently, for all leftist boogiemen — were planning for November 4.

Word spread among other conservative sites. “America is poised for revolution, and a date has been set, November 4, 2017,” warned Catholic Online.

“’Antifa' preps mass uprising to remove 'fascist' Trump,” reported WorldNetDaily. Like many of the story-spreaders, they started out talking about antifa (“The far-left group known as ‘antifa’ has dramatically increased its presence”), then suddenly switched gears to talk about Refuse Fascism (“On Nov. 4, the group Refuse Fascism is calling for gatherings around America to demand ‘the Trump/Pence regime must go’”).

And of course Infowars was all over it (“ALT-LEFT PLANS ANTI-TRUMP RIOTS IN MAJOR CITIES ON NOVEMBER 4”).

The story even got some play at Politico in a Taylor Gee story called “Inside the Left’s Plans to Occupy Trump.” Though Gee did wonder “whether Refuse Fascism can persuade anyone to show up on November 4,” the Politico placement gave rightboggers’ forebodings an air of legitimacy, and it was cited by rightblogger outfits such as Ben Shapiro's Daily Wire (“POLITICO is being generous when it calls the group's message ‘hazy’”).

All this publicity apparently got the Refuse Fascism guys so excited they took out a full-age ad in the New York Times — or as The New American, confused as to the nature of newspaper advertising, reported, “NY Times Promotes Antifa-Communist Coup Effort Against Trump for Nov. 4.”

As conservatives counted down the days to the new civil war, leftwing wiseguys teased them mercilessly; @KrangTNelson goaded, “Can’t wait for November 4th when millions of antifa supersoldiers will behead all white parents and small business owners in the town square.” A retweet of this taunt was promptly picked up by the notoriously credulous Gateway Pundit: “ANTIFA Leader: “November 4th […] millions of antifa supersoldiers will behead all white parents.”

When informed of their pwnage, Gateway Pundit pretended to be mortally offended (“Imagine for a second if I, or any other conservative with a public voice, tweeted out a ‘joke’ about how we should ‘behead all black parents’”) while other rightbloggers banged the drum even harder:

“Antifa plans massive demonstration for one demand – and it’s about Trump,” cried Glenn Beck’s The Blaze.“Antifa Rallies Planned in at Least 20 U.S. Cities — Won’t ‘Stop Until This Regime Driven from Power,’” announced SGT Report.

“More than 20 cities across the nation fear protest marches on Saturday to demand Trump's removal from office could be hijacked by violent anarchists,” long-breathed the Daily Mail. “USA coast to coast RIOTS planned TODAY as Antifa anarchists hijack anti-Trump protests,” claimed the Sunday Express.

Legit outlets like the Washington Post and Newsweek tried to calm them down, but why should patriots in the Age of Trump listen to the Fake News L├╝genpresse — especially since Fox News was out there telling the real story: “Anarchist group's plan to overthrow Trump 'regime' starts Saturday,” Caleb Park told Fox’s audience of terrified elderly shut-ins at their website; the TV station, of course, did the same.

The 4th came and went and only a few small and non-violent rallies materialized. Did the brethren admit at last they’d been conned? On the contrary: They declared victory.

“Antifa Activists Overwhelmed by Huge Trump Supporter Contingent in Austin, Texas — Forced to Slink Away (VIDEO),” announced Gateway Pundit.

“George Soros may want his money back today after Refuse Fascism's mass insurrection failed to materialize on November 4,” laffed Debra Heine at PJ Media.

“Nationwide Soros-Funded, Antifa 'Uprising' To Remove Trump From Office Fails,” reported Zero Hedge, which further reported that the protests fizzled even though they had “received widespread attention in the mainstream media for the last week” — without mentioning the “widespread attention” was mostly from rightbloggers or people revealing it as a fraud.

“ANTIFAIL: LOW TURNOUTS AT NATIONWIDE ‘REFUSE FASCISM’ PROTESTS,” hollered Breitbart. “In contrast to previous Antifa rallies, there haven’t been any reports of violence as of yet,” they reported, “although independent journalist Tim Pool did report being yelled at for asking questions about communism. That’s the thing about commies, they never admit it. Except when they wave Soviet flags in the middle of Seattle. So I guess they sometimes admit it.” Save a vitrine at the Newseum!

It makes sense in a way. For a year liberals have been holding huge anti-Trump rallies while pro-Trump rallies have been more modest — over which conservatives could only fume. How much better, then, to fabricate the specter of a violent leftist mother-of-all-rallies, and then stand in the empty public square, fists balled up, crying "aha -- so you're scared, are ya?"

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