State Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, has introduced a resolution condemning the recent leftwing violence in Berkeley, California by a group known as “Antifa.” The resolution reads in part:

Whereas, the group calling itself antifa has determined to use violence despite calls for peace; now, therefore be it

Resolved by the assembly, That the members of the Wisconsin Assembly condemn the violence perpetuated by members of the group calling itself antifa, as well as groups that use similar means to achieve an end.

The violence in Berkeley occurred at a peaceful “Rally Against Hate” gathering in the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Sunday. The group Antifa has been condemned by both House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA. The name “Antifa” is short for “anti-fascist,” and claims to be opposed to fascism even as it supports violence to achieve political goals and stifle opposition.

Steineke’s resolution references an August 17th Assembly resolution that condemned the violence in Charlottesville, VA, and says the Assembly condemned at the time, “all those who rely on violence and hatred to advance their cause.” The current resolution calls upon the Assembly to follow through by condemning Antifa.

“The Dems were all up in arms, as were we, over the violence in Charlottesville,” Steineke said in an interview on Wednesday. “We worked together and put together a resolution on that and part of that resolution was basically saying that anytime we see political violence in the future we need to stand up and be vocal in our opposition of it.”

“With the escalating nature of these Antifa rallies, I think that clearly sooner or later, unfortunately, we’re going to see the same result as we did in Charlottesville if nothing is done to stop them,” Steineke said.

Asked if we could see Antifa violence here in Wisconsin, Steineke said, “Absolutely.”

“I think at this point we could see it virtually anywhere in the country,” Steineke said. “There is nothing about Wisconsin that would prevent the same thing from happening here.”

“If you had a large gathering of conservatives in Milwaukee or Madison, the violent left would target them as well,” Steineke said. “So that’s another reason why, as leaders in the state Assembly, we need to be standing up prior to anything happening here and letting them know they’re not welcome here.”

Asked if Steineke thought the reluctance of his Democratic colleagues to support the free speech for UW campuses bill would be a sign of their reluctance to support this resolution, Steineke said, “I would certainly hope not.”

“I think it will give a clear indication of just how far gone Wisconsin Democrats are if they can’t even stand up to radical violent groups like the anti-fascists,” Steineke said. “If they’re not willing to take a stand against those folks, all hope is lost for the Wisconsin Democrat Party.”

Steineke’s resolution has already earned the reluctant support of one Democrat, state Rep. Jimmy Anderson, D-Fitchburg, who complained on Twitter that Steineke was “equivocating.”

 


However, Steineke said political violence was wrong regardless of the source:

The threat of violence from Antifa is causing Berkeley’s Mayor Jesse Areguin to ask the University of California-Berkeley to cancel “Free Speech Week” scheduled for September 24-27. “I am concerned about these groups using large protests to create mayhem,” Arreguin told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Steineke said the resolution condemning the violence by Antifa will be taken up during the first floor session date after the budget, likely the second week of September.