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< Back to question How do we think about the George Floyd murder? Show more Show less

On May 25 2020, George Floyd was suffocated to death by the police. Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. In chilling footage that would go viral within 24 hours, officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes ignoring Floyd's repeated pleas for him to move. The asphyxiation led to his cardiac arrest. Floyd's death has so far inspired protests across more than 75 US cities, calling for an end to police brutality and institutional racism. The responses to these riots have included state-wide curfews, the threat of military intervention, attacks on the media and civilian arrests. The situation has given rise to a complex debate with commentators arguing over what precisely it has exposed about contemporary America. So, who are these groups, what do they stand for, and why?

Our freedom is at stake: the murder exposes a crisis of civil liberties Show more Show less

This approach believes that this crisis hinges on the relationship between the state and the individual. It focuses on police brutality and state-sanctioned violence against innocent citizens.
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America risks turning into a surveillance state

President Trump's intentions to label Antifa an official terrorist group is a dangerous move towards a heavy-handed surveillance state. The group has neither leadership nor ideology, and organises itself informally. To outlaw, it would effectively sanction arbitrary policing.
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The Argument

President Donald Trump has said he wishes to ban Antifa because it is a terrorist organization which has created serious civil unrest during the George Floyd protests. He is using the confusion created by a complicated issue to enact authoritarian policies and shift blame. Although some people using the label 'Antifa' have been violent, they are not masterminding widespread anarchy.[1] Critics have claimed that an organized attempt is being made by a structured terrorist organization to create chaos. Antifa is not an organization at all; it is an umbrella term for people who hold anti-fascist views. There is no way to join Antifa officially, and groups are locally organized wherever far-right groups gather. Although the right-wing press seeks to give Antifa a concrete political label, people using its symbols do not hold one particular political viewpoint.[2] It is dangerous to outlaw a group which is not a real organization, but a loose collective of people with different political ideas. Banning them is a serious infringement on civil liberties. Anybody protesting against what they view as authoritarian, whether peacefully or not, could be arrested under counter-terrorism laws.[3]

Counter arguments

President Trump's decision to brand Antifa terrorists is wholly justified. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that Trump is right to ban Antifa because they are an organization linked to Kurdish militants in Turkey. The Turkish government has stated that they have evidence that terrorists in Northern Syria have trained members of antifa.[4] The US Attorney General and President Trump have claimed the police and the FBI know that there are organized groups of Antifa protestors being flown around the US to cause trouble at protests.[5] William Barr has asserted that police chiefs have informed him that Antifa were the main cause of the violence in every city where rioting has taken place. The group is causing widespread violence, which demands a controlled response. Those who break the law must face the rule of law and held to account.[6]

Premises

[P1] The President has not addressed the true causes of the riots but instead has used antifa as a scapegoat. [P2] Antifa is not a structured organization and banning it is an easy excuse to make arbitrary arrests. [C] The President is trying to prohibit protests and infringe on free speech.

Rejecting the premises

[P1] Antifa has been causing violence at every major riot according to some sources.

Proponents


References

  1. https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/06/02/antifa-is-not-the-problem-here/
  2. https://www.vox.com/2017/8/25/16189064/protests-george-floyd-antifa-president-trump
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/06/01/trump-antifa-terrorist-organization/
  4. https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2020/6/9/turkeys-erdogan-claims-blm-protesters-working-with-pkk
  5. https://www.deccanherald.com/international/world-news-politics/us-attorney-general-william-barr-says-antifa-flying-around-the-us-to-incite-violence-881766.html
  6. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/30/william-barr-george-floyd-protests-290792

This page was last edited on Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 06:51 UTC

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