Rantz: Local professor said ‘hell yes’ to Antifa violence

Oct 30, 2019, 5:57 AM | Updated: Oct 31, 2019, 11:21 am
A counter-protester wears a jacket with an Antifa symbol during an alt-right rally on August 17, 20...
A counter-protester wears a jacket with an Antifa symbol during an alt-right rally on August 17, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

A professor of Nordic Studies at Pacific Lutheran University said “hell yes” he supports violence towards people anti-fascist activists perceive to be Nazis or fascists. This included violence against an independent journalist severely beaten up in Portland while simply covering a protest. It even includes violence against individuals who pose no immediate physical threat.

Seattle Times columnist Matt Calkins recently published a piece highlighting the concern from some fans over the decision by members of the independent supporter’s group Emerald City Supporters (ECS) to fly the Iron Front flag at games.

While most ECS members wouldn’t speak to Calkins, not trusting mainstream media outlets to tell their story, professor Troy Storfjell, PhD and his son gave an interview. Storfjell volunteered he is a professor at the school and even teaches a course on fasicsm (it almost sounded as if he was bragging the fact). But his positions seemed alarming to Calkins, telling the columnist that he endorses “violence against fascists.” When asked about journalist Andy Ngo getting beat up while documenting a recent Antifa protest, Storfjell said:

He’s not just a journalist. I don’t have a problem with it. There are children dying of lack of medication in concentration camps in the U.S. If one fascist gets a milkshake thrown at him… And beaten up. I don’t have a problem with it.

Ngo isn’t a fascist and his attack was unprovoked. The assault was so severe he ended up in the hospital with a brain bleed.

This opinion is, of course, alarming. The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH reached out to the professor for an on-air interview, but he declined. He said: “Given the way I was creatively quoted and mis-framed in the newspaper article, I am uncomfortable making further statements to the media.”

This disturbed me. Had Calkins misunderstood the comments by the professor? Did he use some editing tricks to unfairly target Storfjell?

I reached out to Calkins. It turns out, he taped the entire exchange and the comments are arguably worse than printed.

Storfjell repeatedly justifies violence against perceived fascists, which goes to the very controversy over Antifa thugery.

Antifa members, collectively in regional groups and as individuals, routinely condemn all conservatives as Nazis, and all cops as fascists. They simply use the term “fascist” as cover for their violence and hateful rhetoric.

“We have a president who, if he isn’t fascist, certainly makes room for fascism, encourages fascism,” Storfjell told Calkins. “I’m not going to go into the ins and out of is he fascist or just fascist friendly, but under him, the fascism that’s already been there, is growing and spreading.”

And sometimes, Storfjell acknowledges, it’s okay to strike first.

“I mean, is it okay to punch a Nazi? Yes, because Nazism fascism is violence, right? [It’s] advocating extermination of people,” Storfjell said (though he later clarified that he personally would never strike first).

This is a shared talking point among Antifa members and supporters. Indeed, a masked Antifa member from Rose City Antifa in Portland recently told NBC News:

I think self-defense can look violent if you’re looking at it is the person who responds in self-defense is as culpable, but we don’t see it that way. We see ourselves as engaging in self-defense from groups who want to do our community harm, whose ideology is the ideology of genocide and mass murder. So in a sense of reaction we see if fascism as an inherently violent ideology so when we disrupt it’s organizing, we see that that as self-defense.

Storjfell went one step further, arguing you can actively assault people just for their association with a group you interpret as meaning you harm:

I think you need to be able to disagree. But I think self defense is collective. It’s not individual. Self defense is collective. So when you see people collectively organizing to harm you, self defense means acting against him. Even if you act against an individual of that collective who may not have done anything violent. They’re part of an organization, that’s part of an action to promote violence. Collective self defense means acting collectively.

Calkins admitted this sounds frightening since it’s open to interpretation: just because you think someone poses a threat to you, especially when they haven’t acted out in any violent way, what gives you the right to proactively attack?

Storjfell said that Antifa does more than violently attack their perceived enemies: “what antifascists do most is dox fascists.”

How much of this dangerous rhetoric bleeds into the classroom remains unclear. Storfjell did not respond to a request for comment. Lace Smith, spokesperson for PLU, would not directly comment on the content of the interview nor confirm or deny whether Storfjell teachers on the topic. She did declare: “PLU is, and always will be, committed to nonviolent civic participation, patient and empathetic dialogue, and an ethic of caring — even, and perhaps especially, across cultural and political differences.”

And since Storfjell declared his interview to be creatively edited, we’re posting it here for you to decide.

Were the quotes in the Calkins piece taken out of context? Do you think I misinterpreted the professor’s interview?

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Rantz: Local professor said ‘hell yes’ to Antifa violence