- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Nina Farnia, the president of the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, has a message for America: “We are all antifa.”

A collection of left-wing groups claiming to be bulwarks against fascism under President Trump was the topic of debate in an op-ed published Wednesday in the San Francisco Chronicle. Ms. Farnia, along with co-writers Rachel Lederman and Meredith Wallis, released “We are all antifa” on behalf of “thousands of lawyers, law students and legal workers across the country” who see the group as a victim of skewed reporting.

The authors specifically criticized the newspaper’s coverage of local protests that took place Aug. 27, along with Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin’s call to label antifa a criminal gang.

“The lesson here is that we cannot depend on the government to meaningfully intervene and prevent the rise of fascism. That is up to us,” the authors wrote. “The Chronicle’s coverage of the Aug. 27 rally would have you believe that it is the ‘alt-right’ that seeks to protect speech. This couldn’t be further from the truth.”

The op-ed comes less than two weeks after hundreds of left-wing activists gathered near Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park to counter a planned “No to Marxism in Berkeley” rally. Police arrested 13 people during the day as random citizens were beaten with sticks or targeted with projectiles.

“We’re just puzzled as to why people consider violence a valid tactic,” local resident Kristin Leimkuhler, 60, told the San Francisco Gate on Aug. 28. “We felt disappointed and surprised by how many people were not in any way discreet about being with antifa — in fact being very bold and prepared to be violent.”

Ms. Farnia argued that National Lawyers Guild members have received death threats and other forms of harassment as a result of defending antifa.

“One attorney was stalked inside the courthouse by a man with a swastika tattoo and a shaved head wearing quasi-military-type attire. He then left, and shortly thereafter she received threatening messages and had to seek protection at a safe house,” she wrote.

She added that “far-right extremists have successfully twisted the right to free speech to cast themselves as victims of exactly what they strive to promote — hate and violence.”

Antifa raised its profile after an Aug. 12 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly. Police arrested 20-year-old Alex Fields Jr. after he careened his vehicle into a group of people and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

The rally was organized by white supremacists who were upset over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, although antifa members armed with baseball bats arrived to counter-protest.

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