The intel folks at Forward Observer have written a follow up piece on a possible second American civil war.
One of the central themes in contemporary insurgent movements is the relationship between armed combatant groups and their ostensibly peaceful political party cohorts.
The Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein in Ireland. Hezbollah, the Shi’ite militant group, and Hezbollah, the Shi’ite political party, in Lebanon. The YPG militant group and the Democratic Union Party in Kurdistan/Syria. Jaysh al-Mahdi and the Sadrist Party in Iraq. The Badr Brigade and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.
There are numerous other examples of political parties having militant wings, in addition to examples of militant organizations establishing themselves as political parties during a conflict.
Historically, insurgent campaigns are more likely to lead to political resolutions than martial victories, so militant organizations must have political representation. On the other hand, violence carried out by a militant wing provides leverage for the political party and an incentive for governments to solve political issues peacefully.
Neither side necessarily has direct influence or control over the other, but they often act to accomplish mutually beneficial goals. A militant wing can offer muscle to a political party, and the political party can provide judicial protections to the militant wing.
So what I want to draw some attention to today is the association of Leftist militant organizations and various factions of the Democratic Party, as one potential way forward in the current domestic conflict. Specifically, I want to point out that while these militant groups don’t necessarily seek or depend on permission to commit violence, some Democratic Party voices offer that permission none the less. And the relationship between Leftist militant groups and the Democratic Party is often tenuous. While many (maybe most) militant Leftists have a disdain for the Democratic Party for not being radical enough, that doesn’t prevent actions that could be mutually beneficial for both sides.
Whether we’re talking about 1970s radical and former attorney general Eric Holder (“Michelle [Obama] says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ [Applause.] No. No. When they go low, we kick ’em.”), Hillary Clinton saying that maintaining civility with Republicans is futile, California Democrat Maxine Waters encouraging her constituents to harass Republicans and Trump cabinet members, a campaign staffer for a Democratic politician saying that President Trump should be executed (an action for which he later denied his support), or other examples of green lighting incivility in the political and culture war, there’s ample evidence that major voices of the Democratic Party are dog whistling that violence is permissible, while officially denying support for political violence against opponents. There are many, many other examples beyond Holder, Clinton, and Waters. (See my last post for additional information.)
Beyond mainstream Democrats, there’s the growing “Democratic Socialist” faction whose ideologies are steeped in the revolutionary histories of Marxist and Leninist movements. Considering that many Leftist militant groups are supportive of “Democratic socialism”, a political movement that gains mainstream legitimacy — what we’re starting to see now — should be alarming. And then there’s also a growing communist movement in the United States, as revolutionary vanguard communist groups form across the country. There’s a very overt effort to label mainstream conservative voices as “fascist” and “Nazi”, in a successful effort to rationalize violence…