From Christmas tree lightings and Thanksgiving Day parades to your daily commute, it is now impossible to ignore that the left has opted to replace the traditional politics of constitutional government with the revolutionary politics of “disruption.” Whether the topic is the Israel-Hamas war, election fraud, climate change, gun control, policing, or the latest transgender craze, the left is convinced it can win the day with strikes, blockades, occupations, and — when necessary — “mostly peaceful” low-intensity violence, sabotage, and intimidation.
This is the politics of “civil resistance,” a series of organizing strategies researched and identified for the purpose of overthrowing governments in places like Serbia and Burma, featuring protests, strikes, boycotts, and other actions intended to look like they represent a popular majority, when in fact they constitute only a minuscule percentage of the population.
But don’t take my word for it. Pay attention instead to Paul Engler, author of “This Is an Uprising” and one of the founders of Momentum Strategies, a left-wing organizing school that is, as Vice News reported, “training every movement that matters.”
“In the monolithic model,” Engler wrote, “if people without privileged political access want to affect the behavior of government in a democracy, the best they can do is try to elect a candidate more sympathetic to their views. … Needless to say, this process often ends in disappointment for voters.”
Engler then added: “Because noncooperation can command the attention of otherwise unresponsive politicians and business leaders, many tactics from the civil resistance canon are relevant across different political contexts.”
In other words, for people who regularly spout the phrase Our Democracy™, elections don’t need to have consequences. They intend to get their own way on every policy and political issue, and they’re prepared to drag the country through hell — by disrupting the safety, security, and day-to-day life of regular citizens — until the mob gets what it wants: a tyranny of the minority.
Prepare for trouble in 2024
As the 2024 presidential election comes into focus, the tempo and pitch of these disruptions are going to get worse. You can be assured that left-wing organizers are already preparing to lay the groundwork for “civil” resistance in the event a GOP candidate should come out ahead on election night, as they have openly admitted they were prepared to do in 2020.
They have only increased their capabilities since.
What can red-state elected leaders do about the rising use of intimidation to replace republican constitutional government, which, as elected officials, they are sworn to uphold?
In the coming session of state legislatures, many of which Republicans hold with large or even supermajorities, they should work to pass a suite of legislation directly aimed at the illegal protest tactics of these revolutionaries. This requires studying their illicit tactics in order to successfully draw up lawful countermeasures.
State legislators should consider the following:
- Strengthen penalties for rioting. Several states, including Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Iowa have already done so.
- Consider strengthening penalties for the deliberate, unlawful blockading of streets and thoroughfares, with sentence enhancements if the blockading is done while carrying weapons or while wearing masks. Not only are illegal street blockades a favored tactic of Antifa types, but these incidents can result in the death or injury of protesters and innocent drivers.
- Where they do not exist, write laws prohibiting the picketing of an individual’s home with the intention to harass or intimidate. Such ordinances were used when Antifa-linked Shutdown D.C. attempted to torment the wife of U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) outside their Virginia residence.
- Pass laws prohibiting the malicious doxxing of law enforcement officers, judges, district attorneys, and other officers of the court.
- Toughen penalties for trespassing on property defined as “critical infrastructure.” Blockading trains and ports and the sabotage of electrical, communications, and other infrastructure are hallmarks of left-wing radicals.
- Be prepared to enforce historic anti-Klan laws, which many states have on the books and which prohibit a variety of mob and lynching-type activities intended to intimidate citizens. Such laws often contain prohibitions against conducting mass gatherings and protests while wearing masks.
Red-state executive leaders should also be prepared to deal with potential internal dissension from mob-sympathetic bureaucrats refusing to follow orders or uphold laws. Creating the appearance of defection or dissension among leaders is an essential element of the “civil” resistance playbook.
Enforce the law; maintain order
Where possible, red-state leaders should make clear that appointed officials and government employees — including chiefs of police within deep blue urban areas — will be held accountable for failing to maintain order. They must also be prepared to use state assets to uphold the law, as Texas Governor Greg Abbott was forced to do in the left-wing stronghold of Austin, after the city government essentially abandoned policing in response to Black Lives Matter protests.
State legislatures can also consider laws that would terminate or deny state and local government employment for anyone convicted of engaging in rioting, particularly at state universities and in the public school system, which are frequently bastions of radicalism.
Attorneys general in red states should consider launching investigations into the various networks of radical left-wing nonprofits and especially the bail funds that support rioters financially. Georgia showed the way earlier this year with its indictment of more than 60 people for conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism, money laundering, and charity fraud. Those charges stemmed from the ongoing riots and sabotage orchestrated by the Atlanta Forest Defenders against a planned police training center.
Of course, the appearance of heavy-handed or unlawful repression will be used by the revolutionaries to further stoke the chaos. While red-state governments crack down on unlawful and criminal acts, it’s crucial that they remain fully committed to supporting and protecting the free speech rights of all citizens. But the message should be clear: Lawful marches and protests are just fine and will receive all appropriate assistance. Acts of criminality and disorder will be shut down swiftly.
As Lincoln said in his Lyceum Address, there is no greater threat to republicanism than the spirit of mob politics, which dominated his time much as it now dominates ours.
While, on the other hand, good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws, and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country; seeing their property destroyed; their families insulted, and their lives endangered; their persons injured; and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better; become tired of, and disgusted with, a Government that offers them no protection …
The only way out is for well-meaning leaders to fortify the law, lest the anarchists go without punishment. That’s how to disrupt the disruptors.
Director and Senior Analyst for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.
EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.