Daniel Alan Baker was arrested by the FBI on January 15 for “threats of violence”. Baker is a veteran of the US military and people’s protection forces in Rojava and a committed leftist. He took seriously both the idea that the January 6th storming of the Capitol was a near-miss coup and the one The FBI’s own warnings that similar inauguration day events could take place in state houses across the country. In online comments and a physical flyer, he urged armed volunteers to defend democracy in Florida’s capital, Tallahassee.
I thought of Baker as I read a piece The nation I ask the Biden Justice Department to throw the book at about 800 people who “broke through the Capitol” that day. Like Baker, Elie Mystal believes what happened on January 6th was not just an ugly right-wing uprising, but an “attempted coup”.
“Either these people are all being prosecuted,” he writes, “or the government openly allows white violence.”
In the same vein, Matt Yglesias wrote On the day the Capitol was stormed, anyone identified by the “extensive photography” should be prosecuted. USA today Has pushed its readers help identify individual members of the crowd. Adam S. Wandt, a professor at John Jay College, has claimed that at one point a protester “walks in[ed] the Capitol ”, they were“ really insurgents ”and as such could be prosecuted.
Daniel Bessner and I have argued elsewhere that January 6th did not reach the level of a coup attempt. There was never a chance the rioters would overthrow the government, and it is not even clear that most of them took this as their goal.
Whatever we call it, January 6th was terrible. The flag of the slave-owner rebels was carried through the convention halls. Some attendees sang about hanging the vice president. Others fought with the Capitol Police. One officer later died of his injuries.
I don’t doubt for a moment that the chorus of commentators who have suggested that anyone who has been there be prosecuted are right to suggest that a predominantly non-white crowd storming the Capitol in a similar fashion would have been treated very differently . The double standard is insane. However, we should be wary of calls to address the discrepancy towards tougher raids.
Some of the protesters who entered the Capitol were literally violent. They shouldn’t be let off the hook. Even the legislature, who has taken an oath in defense of the constitution, should not shirk accountability for its actions. But what about the hundreds who just wandered around taking selfies or singing slogans?
The simplest argument to prosecute them is that entering locked areas of the Capitol is a crime in itself – albeit an extremely minor one. Another who was raised by, among others Congressman Ted LieuSince policeman Brian Sicknick died of his injuries after a demonstrator hit him on the head with a fire extinguisher, the other 800 or so members of the crowd could be charged under the extraordinarily draconian statue of “crime murder” that applies to anyone who does so tut played a role in a crime that resulted in someone being killed – even if the persecuted person had nothing to do with the murder and may not even know it was happening.
I can see for sure where these commentators are from. It is annoying that Capitol Police, having no qualms about cracking down on Code Pink protesters or disabled veterans protesting Medicaid cuts, did nothing more to stop the rioters. It would be outrageous if Daniel Alan Baker were prosecuted for what he said in his flyer, while the hardcore reactionaries who actually brandished guns in the Capitol were sacked with a warning. Still, I can’t help but think that the chorus of voices demanding that anyone who has entered the Capitol be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law” is making a mistake.
In 2011, a crowd of union-friendly protesters stormed the state capital of Wisconsin to protest Governor Scott Walker’s attack on collective bargaining rights. I have enthusiastically supported this “breach” of a Capitol building, and I imagine the vast majority of nation The readers felt the same way.
There is no moral equivalence between a protest aimed at pressuring lawmakers to refuse to confirm the results of a democratic election and protest aimed at pressuring workers’ rights no longer attack. However, the underlying “crime” is the same. I’m glad there weren’t any mass arrests of everyone who breached this capital city, and I would be bothered by a precedent that would be used to justify similar mass arrests following Wisconsin-like events in the future.
It is true that there was no violence in Madison. But there was certainly last summer at CHAZ / CHOP. Anyone involved in the illegal occupation of Seattle’s Capitol Hill area could have been charged with crime and murder after autonomous “security” forces killed Antonio Mays Jr.
During a protest in 2019, right-wing hacker Andy Ngo was doused with a milkshake and then hit in the head. He was hospitalized overnight with a brain hemorrhage. If he had died of his injuries and the crowd of demonstrators was demonstrably involved in a much milder act of illegality, such as entering state property, would everyone have been jailed for murder, even if they were not near the attack on Ngo? I certainly hope not.
The left has rightly spoken out against the incarceration of the masses. Demanding the toughest legal theories available to imprison our enemies undermines this attitude unnecessarily. It is also a serious strategic mistake at a time when an expanded security state is by Calls For a new domestic version of the war on terror, this realistically poses a greater threat to democratic rights than any number of MAGA dead-ends storming the Capitol.
The Daniel Alan Baker law enforcement is a troubling sign of things to come. That’s the story lately said to me by Israeli leftist Bryan Atinsky, one of the website’s founders IndyMedia Israel. Following the hate campaign that led to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli liberals pushed for new laws that broaden the definition of “incitement.” The same laws were used against Atinsky and his comrades after they published a cartoon alleging that Ariel Sharon was a fascist.
Progressives and the cancerous state are not natural allies. We shouldn’t give the bastards any ideas or encouragement.