After years of in-your-face protests, confrontational tactics and working with America-haters, Darby eventually experienced a political epiphany. He rejected the radical Left and its culture of political violence. He came to realize that America, for all its faults, wasn't such a bad place after all.Here's one of the RNC Welcoming Committee posters:
"I felt I had a duty to atone after badmouthing my country for so many years," Darby told me in an interview. "I love my country."
But Darby didn't always love his country.
Darby previously considered himself a revolutionary. His charisma and militant anti-Americanism made the intense Texan a larger-than-life figure among leftist activists in the South.
He openly called for the overthrow of the U.S. government, which he considered too corrupt and oppressive to be reformed. He expressed his hatred of police as guardians of the status quo. He consorted with eco-terrorist tree-spikers, radical feminists and black nationalists. He was approached to rob an armored car and asked to commit arson to fight gentrification. He mouthed politically correct slogans and platitudes about the Bush administration. Government didn't care about people, and in his eyes, the much-maligned response to Hurricane Katrina proved it.
But around the same time, the former radical community organizer was turning away from radicalism, and at tremendous personal risk, he undermined a left-wing terrorist plot to attack the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. If he hadn't taken action, Americans exercising their free speech rights and police offi cers might have been killed.
Without informing his fellow anarchists, Darby offered his assistance to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and, at the FBI's request, infiltrated a left-wing group known as the Austin Affinity Group. The outfit had joined with a larger coalition of progressive organizations that facetiously called itself the "RNC Welcoming Committee." The committee hoped to lay siege to the GOP convention that nominated the presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin.
The FBI sent Darby to meet with anarchists who were developing their plan at a bookstore in Austin.
"It was a group of people whose explicit purpose was to organize a group of ‘black bloc' anarchists to shut the Republican convention down by any means necessary," he explained. "They showed videos of people throwing Molotov cocktails, and they were giving people ideas." ...
During a search of a residence, police found gas masks, slingshots, helmets, knee pads and eight Molotov cocktails consisting of bottles filled with gasoline with attached wicks made from tampons.
"They mixed gasoline with oil so it would stick to clothing and skin and burn longer," Darby told me.
Convicted cop-killing activists Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal are legends on the Left. Black Panther Abu-Jamal in particular enjoys a cult following among radicals even though no serious person -- including Abu-Jamal himself, who failed to claim to be innocent at his trial -- contests that in 1981 he shot and killed Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in cold blood.But of course, none of this fits the narrative of the liberal media that it is the Right that incites violence, so it's no wonder this may be the first time you've heard of this if you're not a TH mag subscriber.
Peltier and Abu-Jamal are heroes to the Left no matter what they did, and to some precisely because of what they did.
This is because on the Left there is a presumption of good intentions even by fellow-traveling terrorists. As left-wing talk radio host Thom Hartmann told me last year: "My left-wing crazies are better than your right-wing crazies."
Hartmann explained: "Your right-wing crazies are incited to violence based on fear and hate of people because of whom they are, because they're gay, because they're Catholic, because they're Jewish, because they're black, because they're Hispanic. And our left-wing crazies are incited to violence because they're trying to create a better world. They're trying to save the environment in the case of the eco-terrorists. They're trying to end the Vietnam War in the case of the Weather Underground. They're trying to bring about civil rights in the case of the Symbionese Liberation Army and some of the other black terrorist groups that were operating in the 1970s."
To the Left, violent acts aimed at desirable ends are worthy of praise, especially if aimed at the other side. Internationally known Marxist author Naomi Klein has praised the riots that took place during the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle and openly called for violence at the 2004 Republican convention, urging protesters to bring the Iraq War to the streets of New York City. The Canadian writer wasn't ostracized by the Left after her outrageous statement; if anything, her public stature has only grown since 2004.
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