ANTIFA and Intolerance: The Reemergence of Puritanism in America  

The Puritans were members of the official state church of England, the Anglican Church. They did, however, felt that it needed to be reform to resemble Protestantism. They protested and complained against the Anglican Church and its hierarchy, and even went as far as criticizing the English monarch and Parliament.
Here is a passage from a famous speech given by a prominent Puritan leader at the time:

“Behold, I am as new wine which hath no vent and bursteth the new vessels in sunder. Therefore, I will speak, that I may have a vent. I will open my lips and make answer, I will regard no manner of person, no man will I spare; for if I should go about to please men, I know not how soon my maker will take me away.”

Sir Peter Wentworth (February 8, 1576)


In 1630, William Laud, a pro-Catholic, anti-Puritan church leader was made the Archbishop of Canterbury. This lead to a bulk of England’s Puritan population fleeing to the Americas.

 

Laud harried them out, putting a price on the heads of more outspoken and powerful Puritan ministers, making it a criminal offense to attend Puritan worship services, and generally doing his best to squash all opposition to the Anglican Church.0 

The Puritans were forced out because they wanted to reform the Anglican Church. What exactly did that entail?

  • Reform human civilization through religion
  • Wipe out poverty
  • Make heaven on Earth in which everyone was free to discover God’s will for themselves

Scholars cite the sermons of Lever and Latimer as passages that ultimately led to the reformation and introduction of the Puritan tendency:

The rich man by liberality must dispose and comfort the poor

 Thomas Lever 

 The poor man hath title to the rich man’s goods; so that the rich man ought to let the poor man has part of his riches to help and comfort him withal

 Hugh Latimer

It is important to note that the Puritans did NOT believe that any religion could reach such paradise and goals.  They believed that only their reformist version of Anglican Christianity could reach such objective.

To reiterate their main goals:

  • End poverty1
  • Demanded that all people, even women, be taught how to read2
  • Required its members to work hard to improve the world on a person-by-person basis3

Essentially, their idealist goals and disenfranchisement from other sectors of religions made for the discouragement of religious diversity. In addition, Puritans did not tolerant opposing religions.  This was evident in their hostility of Quakers who also fled England from religious persecution.

In all, from 1656 to 1661, at least forty Quakers came to New England to protest Puritan religious domination and persecution. During those five years, the Puritan persecution of Quakers continued, with beatings, fines, whippings, imprisonment, and mutilation.4


Here, I will compare the progressive, far-left group ANTIFA to a classical Puritan.

 

Just like the Puritanism, there are many denominations of the progressive movement; there is no one size fit all.

There were those in the early Protestant reformation that believed in more tolerance than the other members. Those were known as dissenters: dissenters challenged the beliefs and way of life in the colony.

NYC Antifa opposes all “progressive,” radical, and countercultural projects that collaborate with the Far Right, including allowing them to use space, and we oppose normalizing this behavior.5

 

Those damn dissenters!

 

In all seriousness, this type of thinking is dangerous and is why I wanted to shed light on it. It is important to consider: What does Antifa classify as Far Right?

Well, they did shut down Milo talk at UC Berkeley. So, let’s examine his rhetoric. How far-right is he?

  • “Donald Trump is obviously the most pro-gay candidate in American electoral history.”
  • “I know you’re scared, but grow a backbone.”
  • “Fuck your feelings.”

 

Of course, I am cherry-picking; this does not paint the most accurate picture of Milo. I am well sure he has said far worst things. But is violence really necessary?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x643kcoc8FU

 

“And we shall be as ready to take any of your lives as ye shall be to lay them down.”

vs.

“Anarchists Vow to Halt Far Right’s Rise, With Violence if Needed.”

 

Almost there.

 

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