The United States is facing the largest wave of protests and demonstrations in its modern history after the video of the killing of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis, now famously known as George Floyd, went viral on social media. Our focus is not necessarily the context of these protests but how the events have revealed contradictions in American foreign policy.
There are protests in major American cities now for several days including Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Austin and others. Two things have stood out more than anything else since those protests began.
One is the use of excessive force by police against protesters including pushing, kicking, pepper spraying, running over protesters with vehicles, shooting at protesters with rubber bullets, shooting protesters with paintballs, beating people with batons, and verbal abuse. By no means is that an exhaustive list of police abuses. Ironically, these abuses are being recorded and shared via the internet for the whole world to see while those same types of actions resulted in the death of George Floyd are the reason people went out into the streets.
The second thing that stands out is the many recorded instances of looting and vandalism. Videos showed people raiding retail stores and even high end brand names around America. The public has reacted in various ways towards the very public looting. But the narrative that’s dominated headlines, both in main stream media coverage as well as on social media, is the infiltration of Antifa agent provocateurs among the protesters. In at least one case a video purports to show an Antifa member paying a young white man dressed in black an unknown amount of money to African American man to cause some destruction around protesters and encourage others to join. In several other videos there are protesters preventing people from causing destruction to businesses and looting stores by forming human shields and stopping the looters from reaching the buildings.
Whether we all agree that they are actually ANTIFA members that have infiltrated the protest movement and have hijacked the momentum to instigate a “fall of the empire” scenario in the United States is not the issue at hand here. What is more interesting is that the President of the United States Donald Trump has adopted this theory and using his signature “Twitter diplomacy” finally tweeted “The United States of America’s Will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization”.
The only problem is that Antifa is not a stranger to the United States. The secretive anti fascist militant group fought alongside US special forces in the battle to push the Daesh terror group out of the north eastern Syrian city of Raqqa. They also have a strong working relationship with America’s main ally in Syria, the PKK (also designated terror group by the US) terror group’s Syrian wing, YPG. The United States welcomed their presence, however small it may have been, in anti Daesh operations. The US ally, the YPG terror group, also celebrated the death of some Antifa members as so called “martyrs”. All along, these Antifa groups stand openly against US imperialism and consider US style free market capitalism as fascist and aim to establish a socialist state, much like the YPG/PKK terror groups advocate for. To make matters worse many of the people who travelled from Europe and the United States to fight alongside the YPG terrorists backed by the US, we’re able to travel back to their home countries with little or no questions asked. Their role in past protest movements in the United States may have been an issue of disagreement but now the President of the United States has put them on blast and brought the secretive group out of the shadows. Ironically, it’s possible that some of the instigators of the looting and destruction in US cities today may have received training from US special forces and fought along side them, as well as other US designated terrorists working with the American military in Syria. If President Trump really wants to deal with the fact that terrorists may have hijacked legitimate civil rights grievances for their own purposes in American cities then he should start by questioning his military brass on why they continue to insist on working with those same terrorists in Syria to the behest of America’s strongest NATO ally in the region?