There is a Long History of Self-Defense on the Left

❝ The Trump era has, so far, been a violent one. Since Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign in the summer of 2015, assaults of pro-Trump and anti-Trump protesters, as well as journalists covering the 2016 campaign, have made headlines. Meanwhile, Federal Bureau of Investigation data has found that hate crimes against Muslims increased by 67 percent in 2015, while the Council on American-Islamic Relations reports that those same crimes increased by 44 percent in 2016. In response, leftist activists and minority groups have turned to a form of activism that some might not typically expect from liberals: to counter and prevent violence, they are heading to the gym to learn self-defense.

The list of these new self-defense initiatives is long…the company Trigger Happy Firearms Instruction holds firearms lessons for women in several cities across the United States with the ultimate aim of teaching a million to shoot. And in April, the Chicago-based group Haymaker Collective formed—and is currently raising funds—to open a sliding-scale fee gym where anyone (except politicians and police officers, who the collective does not trust to keep them safe) can take self-defense classes and work out regardless of income, gender, sexuality, race, ability, or religion. Their end goal is to help people “learn the skills they need to stay safe in Trump’s America,” …

❝ In American culture, self-defense is usually associated with conservative policies that aim to preserve (and/or broadly interpret) the Fourth Amendment and national security. Consider Stand Your Ground laws, which allow residents of some states to use lethal force in self-defense against intruders without first attempting to flee; or the language of protection that Trump and members of his administration have used to promote the administration’s travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries. Nevertheless, leftists have long prepared for violent, politically divided times too — albeit with a very different approach. While conservatives have often organized measures that ostensibly help keep everyone safe but ultimately serve to preserve a status quo, leftists have historically practiced and taught self-defense techniques to empower marginalized communities.

Interested read, worthwhile for folks who haven’t grown up around guns or hunting or – for that matter – armed self-defense. Various times, I’ve been around all three, individually or collectively. Growing up in the “Arsenal of America” mine was the first generation in my family that didn’t spend time working for one or another firearms manufacturer in Connecticut.

Still armed. Still a good shot.

12 thoughts on “There is a Long History of Self-Defense on the Left

  1. Warm Gun says:

    “Not Your Grandparents’ NRA” https://everytownresearch.org/reports/not-your-grandparents-nra/#foot_note_10
    “The NRA has become politically divisive”. Letter to the editor, Casper Wyoming Star Telegram 7/29/17 http://trib.com/opinion/letters/scheibe-the-nra-has-become-politically-divisive/article_1573469f-ec23-51d2-82d6-dfc77156d2d9.html
    Also: “When the National Rifle Association endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for President in Louisville, Kentucky on May, 20, 2016, Russian president Vladimir Putin had his man on the inside watching. The deputy head of the Central Bank of Russia (and alleged “godfather” of the Moscow mafia), Alexander Torshin, was attending his fourth consecutive NRA annual meeting that weekend after forging a relationship with former NRA president (and current board member) David Keene, the former chair of the American Conservative Union. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/will-the-moscow-mafia-godfather-attend-the-nras_us_58ff539fe4b06c83622e7063
    “Mobster or Central Banker? Spanish Cops Allege This Russian Both” (Bloomberg) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-09/mobster-or-central-banker-spanish-cops-allege-this-russian-both ) “Torshin, a veteran politician who served as deputy speaker for more than a decade, said his network of contacts extends to the U.S., where he’s a member of the National Rifle Association. He said he’s met Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and in May shared a dinner table with the billionaire’s son, Donald Trump Jr., at the gun lobby’s annual convention in Louisville, Kentucky.”

  2. Snowflake says:

    “The B-Movie Power of “Bushwick” in the Wake of Charlottesville” By Anthony Lane (New Yorker August 29, 2017) https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-b-movie-power-of-bushwick-in-the-wake-of-charlottesville See also “A Second Civil War in “Bushwick” : Directors of the action thriller, in which an army of militiamen from Southern states invade Brooklyn, take a walk through the neighborhood.” https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/23/a-second-civil-war-in-bushwick
    Bushwick Official Trailer #1 (2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv_z5nyggJs
    Bushwick Official Trailer #2 (2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGIrOxM9Vbk

  3. Tango Down says:

    “More than 100 rightwing demonstrators marched with firearms through the streets of downtown Seattle on Saturday afternoon, in an event billed as a protest against an alleged tide of leftwing violence.” Guardian UK 8/19/18) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/19/rightwing-protest-seattle-march-against-alleged-leftwing-violence “Many demonstrators at the “Liberty or Death” rally wore camouflage, body armor, helmets and insignia of the “Patriot Movement”. Many had handguns at their waists, large semi-automatic long guns strapped to their backs, or both.
    A counterprotest organised by a coalition of leftist and community groups drew at least double the crowd. But it also contained demonstrators openly carrying firearms. Most were members of the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club, a group named for a 19th-century antislavery campaigner which says it carries out “liberatory community defense”. It had around a dozen members at the rally.
    The rightwing event was co-organised by the Washington state Three Percenters, and the Vancouver, Washington-based rightwing protest group Patriot Prayer. The Three Percenters are a paramilitary organisation which, according to monitoring group Political Research Associates, “pledges armed resistance against attempts to restrict private gun ownership”. Members of other branches have been involved in confrontations with federal government agencies in Nevada, Oregon and Montana.”

  4. Waving the bloody shirt says:

    “Trump warns of ‘left-wing violence’ if Democrats win mid-term elections” (BBC) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45340275 “An audio recording of Mr Trump’s closed-door meeting with Evangelical leaders at the White House was leaked to US media.
    During the meeting, Mr Trump said the mid-term elections were not just a referendum on him but also “on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment [guaranteeing basic freedoms]”.
    “It’s not a question of like or dislike, it’s a question that they will overturn everything that we’ve done and they will do it quickly and violently. And violently. There is violence. When you look at Antifa – these are violent people,” he said.”

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