Marius is an example of someone suffering unduly at the hands of a government that was more interested in punishing him under the rubric of “terrorism” than in ending the atrocities against the environment that he has spent his life trying to correct. And now once again he is watching the state manufacture an imaginary threat: Antifa. No matter that Trump lacks any authority to designate “antifa” a terrorist threat in any legally meaningful way. His announcement will function to broadcast to law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and juries that they may severely punish people not only for their conduct, but for their political beliefs.
Just as Marius must endure an unconscionably long sentence for actions that would otherwise have been less severely punished, we can anticipate similar state repression of many others painted with the intentionally broad brush of “Antifa.” The protections of the first and fourth amendments will lose force in the face of law enforcement and prosecutors invoking the specter of the terrorist at the gate. The deeply racist and anti-semitic discourse of the white outside agitator will authorize the same kinds of outrageous prosecutions and draconian sentences that Marius was and is now subject to. We must gather together in solidarity and make clear: our speech will not be chilled, our actions will not be quelled, our righteous anger and commitments to justice will not be diminished by these bullies and these laughable claims about our beliefs. Our communities are strong. We fight for and stand with each other in a genuinely anti-racist, gender inclusive, class- and ability-conscious coalition.
This is the conversation we need to have. Marius stands with all oppressed people, and the political uprisings that represent them, from Stonewall, to Black Lives Matter, to concerted antifascist action, Marius sends deep revolutionary love and solidarity.