The left is having a meltdown over a proposed new law that would increase the punishments for “anti-fascists” (Antifa) and other radical extremists who assault or commit acts of violence against their political opponents.
Known as the Unmasking Antifa Act of 2018, the bill would clamp down on folks who injure, oppress, threaten, or otherwise intimidate others while concealing their faces with masks – which also includes members of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan that many people associate with the far right (even though the KKK was started by Democrats).
Introduced by Representative Dan Donovan, a New York Republican, and co-sponsored by Reps. Pete King (R-N.Y.), Paul Gosar (R-A.Z.), and Ted Budd (R-N.C.), the legislation proposes increasing the fines associated with illegal activity committed by the likes of Antifa, as well as prison terms, which would increase to as high as 15 years.
State-level legislation such as this already exists in places like Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, and West Virginia, aimed mostly at the KKK. But the Unmasking Antifa Act of 2018 would have nationwide ramifications, addressing the more recent phenomenon of extreme violent behavior by many on the left in response to Donald Trump winning the presidential election.
With the exception of Halloween, Mardi Gras, and other similar dress-up holidays, concealing one’s identity with unusual clothing and masks while vandalizing, rioting, or committing other violent acts in public would carry with it harsher penalties and punishment under the new law.
“Anyone wearing a mask [who] violates another person’s constitutional rights is subject to a fine and a maximum sentence of 15 years, and two years can be added to the sentence if they destroy property,” writes Susan Duclos for All News PipeLine.
It didn’t take long for the liberal media to start blasting the bill immediately following its proposal – in many cases completely misconstruing both its intent and provisions. Reason Magazine, for instance, lied to its readers in declaring that the legislation would somehow make it a federal crime to protest while wearing a mask.
Speaking to Vice, Carmichael Monaco, a member of the New York-based activist group Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council, presented a similar narrative, claiming that the Unmasking Antifa Act of 2018 seeks to silence all voices that oppose the current administration and its agenda.
“[The unmasking law] takes a pro-fascist stance in its very name, and doubtlessly in its enforcement,” Monaco stated.
“In the current political climate, antifascists who speak out against fascism, racism, xenophobia, etc. are routinely harassed, threatened, and attacked by the far right, often supported by the police, who are notably exempted here. Families and friends of antifascists also become targets of far right violence. The wearing of a mask is an act of self-defense often necessary to ensure one’s right to free speech,” she added, failing to pinpoint even one single instance in which an Antifa terrorist has ever been harmed by someone from the “alt-right” – though there have been many instances of the opposite happening.
Neither she nor anyone else complaining about the bill has addressed the fact that unmasking laws are nothing new, and that many states already enforce them. New York, Monaco’s home state, just so happens to be one of them, with laws currently on the books dating back to the mid-1800s that contain similar provisions.
“These are intellectually dishonest arguments because the bill does not criminalize ‘protesters’ wearing masks, just those that are violating another person’s constitutional rights, and/or destroying property,” adds Duclos. “Another bit of dishonesty, by omission, is the Constitution protects the right to ‘peaceably’ assemble.”
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