The world has been on fire these past few weeks, with the pandemic reaching into its third month and then the protests, rioting, and looting following George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Everything seems upended, and people are attempting to make some sense of the madness.
Capital Research Center is honored to be at the forefront of untangling the organizational structure behind the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, researching funding mechanisms behind Antifa and other anarchist groups, and discussing the role of police unions and their legislative supporters in the current turmoil.
The month of June found our organization particularly involved in educating Americans and their federal, state, and local leaders on what’s happening outside their doors.
Radical Political Correctness
CRC President Scott Walter was interviewed in a Politico piece on June 2 that detailed the organizing principles behind Antifa as they engaged in burning our cities and declaring “autonomous zones” in urban areas:
In a way, antifa is the political correctness that all kinds of conservatives dislike, in a really radical form,” said Scott Walter, the president of the Capital Research Center, a conservative-libertarian think tank that maintains a database of research on left-wing organizations. “And the most common place to find political correctness and antifa is on college campuses, where the essential thing is that you want to silence your opponents completely, and you want to have mob rule. That’s what, I think, almost all conservatives see.
Speech and Violence
Walter also worked with Wall Street Journal columnist Bill McGurn on his piece “The Mayhem Is the Message,” in which Walter told McGurn:
Radical mobs on campuses call speech they don’t like “violence.” Radical mobs in the streets call their violence “speech.” Either way, instead of highlighting the difference between peaceful protesters and rioters, they want to erase it.”
This led to a letter to the editor on Thursday, June 18, in which the writer asserted that the mob also considers silence speech, and we take his point.
Marxism, Anarchy, and “Autonomous Zones”
Thursday, June 18, also saw Walter as a featured expert in two other prominent articles, one in the Washington Times on the Black Lives Matter movement, and the other in Politico on the “autonomous zone” in Seattle known as the CHAZ (or CHOP, depending on when you discover it).
In the Washington Times article, Walters examines the recent resurrection of BLM as a group more palatable to the general public than they have been in the past, despite their continued association with Marxism and anarchy.
. . . it’s still not entirely clear who speaks for Black Lives Matter or what it stands for.
Scott Walter, president of the conservative Capital Research Center, which tracks public policy groups on its InfluenceWatch website, said pinning down the highly decentralized BLM network has been like “trying to untangle a bowl of spaghetti.”
“Early on, the first people to try to ride that slogan were some hard-left socialist slash anarchist slash communist entities,” Mr. Walter said. “But if you turn on your TV and you see hundreds of thousands of people protesting, and folks are holding signs saying ‘Black Lives Matter,’ well, most of those people are ordinary citizens who are sincerely upset about police issues or a particular police acts like the George Floyd case.”
And for Politico, Walters tries to help the left-leaning outlet understand the misnomer “autonomous” when describing the several city blocks the anarchists have taken over in the city of Seattle.
“To the extent they’ve avoided violence, that’s admirable. But even just trying to take it over is silly,” said Scott Walter, president of the conservative-libertarian think tank Capital Research Center, pointing out that the zone still relied on city services such as trash pickup.
CRC considers it a privilege to help the public understand some of the complexities behind the huge stories on television every night and in their news feeds. Hopefully, better understanding will provide a sense that some of what appears chaotic is actually quite organized behind the scenes.