I have seen the face of antifa.
He is gray and gaunt with age, and needs glasses. When he isn’t presumably burning down cities or ransacking Congress, he helps candidates get elected to local office.
Oh, and he enjoys a rousing Sunday afternoon volleyball match.
At least he did before Covid.
“It was the one thing I really looked forward to,” he laughs. “But I’ve gotten my shot, and once everybody else has their shots we can start playing again.”
If you believe the likes of Donald Trump, Kat Cammack and Matt Gaetz he is the very personification of evil. Why, he was probably one of the guys who invaded Congress, cleverly disguised as nazis, neoconfederates, Qanonites and other true American patriots.
Scott Camil has heard it all before.
Heck, John Mitchell once tried to put him in prison for the crime of calling Richard Nixon a warmonger.
“I was really surprised that they got so far,” Camil said of the Trumpsters who really did occupy the Capitol. “And I was surprised by how gently they were handled. We were always handled like the enemy, those guys were handled more like friends.”
It may seem like ancient history now, but once upon a time the government of the United States tried to railroad Camil and the rest of the Gainesville 8 for conspiring to violently disrupt the Republican National Convention.
They did nothing of the sort. Like the Chicago 7 defendants, they were just convenient scapegoats for scheming politicians who wanted to divert public attention away from their own bloody failures.
It took a Gainesville jury of their peers almost no time at all to decide that the feds were trying to railroad the G8 for their real offense – opposing the Vietnam war.
Not that acquittal was the end of it. Having failed to convict him, a federal agent would later shoot Camil in the back – a botched assassination attempt disguised as a drug bust.
Half a century later, what the government did to Camil and his co-defendants is as relevant as today’s headlines.
“It’s always been painted that the left are the bad guys,” Camil reflects. “It’s always been clear that the right is much more violent.“
So it should surprise no one that before the dust had even settled in D.C., duplicitous politicians were blaming the Capitol invasion on…antifa. Because even after all these years it still suits the Republican narrative that liberals must be the real terrorists among us.
“We were veterans of a war that was still going on, and we had friends who were still fighting it,” Camil recalled. “We knew what we were talking about and we wanted to stop it. And the majority of Americans agreed with us. It was only the authorities who wanted to keep us down.”
The Gainesville 8 was the antifa of its time. Straw men targeted by the government to steer public attention away from the fact that Nixon’s prosecution of an unjust war was going horribly off the rails.
I suppose it is to his credit that Trump hasn’t squandered tens of thousands of American lives on an unnecessary war half a world away. All Trump wanted to do was keep his cult of personality engaged and loyal in the face of his monumental incompetence and dishonesty.
But, by all means, let’s blame antifa – whatever and whoever that may be.
Camil’s been there and done that.