Antifa violence will feature prominently in the lead-up to this year’s election. The left-wing movement’s numbers skyrocketed following President Trump’s 2016 victory and campaign staffers for Bernie Sanders have already predicted serious street violence should Trump win again.
Busy alongside Antifa this year will be the movement’s unofficial legal arm: the National Lawyers Guild.
Although much lower profile than their enablers within the establishment media and among the more extreme elements of the Democratic Party, the National Lawyers Guild is actually far more important when it comes to keeping Antifa’s program of extreme political violence going.
Made up of thousands of hard-left lawyers spread out in over 150 chapters across the country (not including over 100 student chapters), and funded by giant philanthropists like the Ford Foundation and George Soros, the NLG explicitly and openly coordinates legal action and public relations in support of the Antifa movement. As one chapter states online, the guild’s member-lawyers “understand that legal support is critical in the planning and aftermath of any action,” and “can usually mobilize NLG volunteer lawyers to handle initial court appearances, and . . . often continue to defend activists pro bono.”
Their chapters’ contact details and telephone helplines appear across Antifa websites and social media, while NLG attorneys advertise their services on Antifa podcasts and blogs, such as “It’s Going Down,” the biggest of either in the United States. Unsurprisingly then, in 2018, when mass arrests accompanied Antifa’s armed mob-attack on a “No to Marxism” rally in Berkeley, police reported that 21 activists had called NLG for help, most of whom admitted to being Antifa.
In spite of the movement’s over-the-top brazenness and ultraviolent tactics (see their 15-on-one attack against an unarmed journalist), just two violent Antifa attackers have actually received prison time. Much of this lack of accountability can and should be directly pinned on NLG: Antifa’s most important enablers.
Antifa With Law Degrees
NLG makes open justifications for its broad and deep support for Antifa on its website and through the media. In the process, they usually recite, practically verbatim, Antifa’s frantic slogans and frenzied talking points showing how indistinguishable the two are in terms of ideology and temperament.
For instance, in a 2017 op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, top guild officials explain how the group’s lawyers counsel Antifa members to protect Americans from “fascists and white supremacists seek[ing] to take power in the streets and halls of government.” The American people, readers are told, “cannot depend on the government to meaningfully intervene and prevent the rise of fascism.” That is “up to us,” they write.
Police apparently cannot be depended on to curb these supposed “take over” threats. They apparently have “sympathy toward the ideas being espoused at alt-right rallies” and cannot be considered an “effective solution.”
Due to the government and law enforcement’s supposed connivance with “fascists” and “white supremacists,” nonwhites in particular, we’re told, are in need of NLG and Antifa’s help.
“People of color,” the guild lawyers contend, are “in vulnerable legal positions” and apparently “cannot participate in confrontations [with fascism] for their own safety.” The essentially all-white Antifa movement, therefore, lets people of color “benefit from the risks taken by those with more privilege.” Andy Ngo has also pointed out the movement’s overwhelming whiteness (in addition to its overrepresentation of LGBT-identifiers).
NLG’s History of Enabling Extremism
Older readers of American Greatness likely will be familiar with NLG and its tactics. According to Discover the Networks, in the 1940s and ’50s, the group and its members defended figures such as Alger Hiss, Judith Socolov, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, as well as members of the Communist Hollywood 10. For these and other efforts, the House of Un-American Activities Committee labeled NLG the “legal bulwark of the Communist Party.”
By the 1970s, like most Communist groups, NLG moved into racial politics, representing ethno-terror groups including the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican independence movement (whose members attempted to kill Harry Truman, among others).
As former senior guild lawyer William Kunstler put it in an interview, “Whether it’s the American Indian Movement, or the Black Liberation Army, or H. Rap Brown . . . I’m really interested only in spending my talents and any assets I have to keep the revolutionaries functioning.”
Also in the 1970s, NLG represented groups most closely resembling today’s Antifa: the white middle-class hard-left Students for a Democratic Society and its ultra-violent spin-off, the Weather Underground.