Dartmouth scholar endorses Antifa violence
- Mark Bray, a visiting scholar at Dartmouth College, has repeatedly defended Antifa's use of violence in response to white supremacist organizations.
- In a recent appearance on Meet the Press, Bray argued that violence is a "legitimate response" to groups with such incendiary views.
- UPDATE: Dartmouth has released a statement disavowing the opinions expressed by Professor Bray.
A visiting scholar at Dartmouth College has repeatedly endorsed Antifa’s violent protest tactics as a “legitimate response” to white-supremacist organizations.
Mark Bray, a self-described “historian of human rights, terrorism, and political radicalism in Modern Europe,” currently resides at the Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth (GRID), which once hosted Rutgers University Professor Jasbir Puar, who accused Israel of harvesting Palestinian organs.
Bray has recently been making the rounds on the media circuit to promote his new book, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, a topic he first drew attention for after writing a Washington Post article in which he called the group’s tactics “ethically justifiable.”
While he argued that “the vast majority of anti-fascist organizing is nonviolent,” he then acknowledged that they “preemptively shut down fascist organizing efforts,” suggesting that “physical violence against white supremacists is both ethically justifiable and strategically effective.”
That same day, Bray appeared on Democracy Now! to explain that “anti-fascists view their struggle as trans-national and trans-historical,” since their lineage can be traced “to Italian opposition to Mussolini’s Blackshirts, [and] German opposition to Hitler’s Brownshirts.”
During that appearance, Bray maintained that Americans must emulate such groups, saying “clearly we can see that rational discourse and debate was insufficient” during the rise of European fascism in the first half of the twentieth century.
“Clearly we can see that the mechanisms of parliamentary government were insufficient,” he stated. “We need to be able to come up with a way to say…‘By any means necessary, this can never happen again.’”
Bray concluded by encouraging viewers to “give up on the liberal notion” of “a regime of rights” that allows individuals to voice Nazi beliefs and reiterated his view that American white supremacists are “an enemy to humanity that needs to be stopped by any means necessary.”
More recently, Bray made an appearance on Meet the Press to debate Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“You seem to be a very small minority here who is defending the idea of violence considering that somebody died in Charlottesville. Why do you defend confronting in a violent way?” moderator Chuck Todd asked Bray, who disputed Todd’s characterization of him as a “minority.”
“Self-defense” in the face of “white supremacy and neo-Nazi violence” is a “legitimate response,” Bray argued, saying that “the way to stop” white supremacy from “becoming established” is to do “what people did in Boston, what people did in Charlottesville.”
Cohen, on the other hand, reasoned that “it’s a spectacularly bad idea to give one group of people the right to silence another group of people,” and suggested that doing so could escalate the violence.
Although Bray responded by again calling Antifa tactics a matter of “self-defense,” Cohen shot back by arguing that “it’s a very peculiar notion of self-defense to say you can censor people.”
Campus Reform contacted Bray for comment, but received no response as of press time.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Dartmouth provided Campus Reform with the following statement.
"Recent statements made by Lecturer in History Mark Bray supporting violent protest do not represent the views of Dartmouth. As an institution, we condemn anything but civil discourse in the exchange of opinions and ideas. Dartmouth embraces free speech and open inquiry in all matters, and all on our campus enjoy the freedom to speak, write, listen, and debate in pursuit of better learning and understanding; however, the endorsement of violence in any form is contrary to Dartmouth values."
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