The people leading Black Lives Matter (BLM) have some Americans worried about what is to come as this summer of civil unrest continues. Are rioting, looting, and vandalizing statues going to lead to widespread violence? If this is merely the leading edge of chaos and anarchy, American history may provide some valuable lessons for radicals.
The Red Scare
Almost exactly a century ago, the U.S. faced a similar period of civil unrest as far-left radicals, anarchists, and those who identified as communists began a violent uprising. This so-called Red Scare resulted in coordinated bombings at the homes of well-known and wealthy people, including John D. Rockefeller and Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer.
The bombs were all timed to detonate across the country at an appointed time. Explosions hit a church in Philadelphia, the homes of the mayor of Cleveland, a federal judge in Pittsburgh, an immigration chief – the list goes on and on. Accompanying each explosion was a pink flyer that read:
“War, Class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call order, in the darkness of your laws. There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder: we will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions.”
Fast Forward to the Summer of 2020
Today, people who openly call themselves Marxists have issued a stark warning: “If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.” That was a threat issued by the president of the Greater New York Black Lives Matter, Hawk Newsome, on a Fox News program in June. BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors can be heard on YouTube saying that she and a comrade “are trained Marxists … We are super versed on sort of ideological theory.”
It Doesn’t End Well
What did government authorities do to end the Red Scare? For those who love liberty, the response is scary. The Palmer Raids included arrests without warrants, illegal searches and seizures, and deportation of hundreds of people who were “suspected” anarchists. The Bureau of Investigation (which later became the FBI) under the leadership of a young J. Edgar Hoover used the Espionage and Sedition Acts to arrest some 10,000 people.
It’s likely that efforts to change the American system of government will fail in 2020, just as they did in 1920. The Marxists at BLM should take note of these historical facts as they sally on down the road toward more violence.