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Coordinated Blockades Are Shadow-Puppet Displays Of Mass Resistance That Doesn’t Exist

protestors shutting down the golden gate bridge with blockade
Image CreditNBC Bay Area/YouTube

It may look like the whole country is falling apart, but remember these incidents are not representative of your immediate community.

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On Monday, a previously unknown network identified as A15 Action launched what they described as an “economic blockade” seeking to “identify and blockade major choke points in the economy, focusing on points of production and circulation with the aim of causing the most economic impact” in order to “disrupt and blockade economic logistical hubs and the flow of capital.”

Disruptions took place at Chicago O’Hare and Seattle Sea-Tac Airports, where travelers were forced to abandon vehicles and run to catch flights. Key roadways were also blocked, including the Golden Gate Bridge, which remained closed for multiple hours. Major businesses were disrupted, including defense contractors that provide arms to the Israeli defense forces, but also unrelated businesses such as Tesla’s Fremont, California factory. Businesses, roads, and ports were also disrupted in multiple countries including Australia, Greece, and Ireland.

While the actions were conducted in support of the Palestinian movement, evidence indicates that the organizers were from an anarchist or Antifa orientation, and the network’s site linked to a bail fund, which played a key role in supporting the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots, funded by what The Washington Free Beacon described as the “left-wing dark money behemoth” known as the Tides Center. One can thus expect future large-scale disruptive actions tied to other left-wing causes in the near future.

Most people tend to believe that these occasional protests like blocking of roads, ports, railways, and businesses are intended to produce media coverage to highlight the protesters’ political speech. But A15 Action represents a growing trend in which the disruption is itself the strategic purpose, as the organizers themselves stressed in a tweet from the network’s account, which read, “The call was a reorientation from symbolic protest to material economic blockade.”

What is the true purpose of such national and even international days of disruption? How should Americans respond?

To begin, realize that these simultaneously orchestrated national or even international campaigns have proven effective around the globe at creating the appearance of mass or widespread opposition where it does not exist. What you see are highly interconnected networks of relatively small groups of trained demonstrators, amplified by astute use of social media, not a genuine expression of popular will.

Elected officials should remember that what looks like a massive uprising is a shadow-puppet display, intended to stampede them into making rash decisions. Citizens should understand that while it may look like the whole country is falling apart, these incidents are probably not representative of their immediate neighborhoods and communities.

These acts are not intended to convince but rather to shut down the delicate but extensive infrastructure of everyday life to which normal people have become accustomed. Port blockades mean packages that aren’t delivered. Airport demonstrations result in flights missed and important business meetings canceled. Roadblocks can be frightening events that turn already-stressful commutes into multiple-hour claustrophobic nightmares. The goal of such protests is not to convince you of the righteousness of the cause but rather to condition you to accept any outcome that will make the discomfort stop.

To be successful at countering these tactics, everyday Americans should take a page from the radical left’s book and “think globally but act locally.” While many cities faced hour-long chaotic traffic jams, Florida protesters were quickly cleared and arrested to the applause of local residents, thanks to the state’s “Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act”  signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2021.

Similar legislation has now been reproduced in multiple other states including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Iowa, meaning local law enforcement does not have to tolerate illegal roadblocks and similar tactics. Many states are now considering legislation to strengthen penalties for trespassing or blockading critical infrastructure, including ports and railways. Reach out to your state legislators to see whether they’d considered sponsoring a similar bill.

Legislation has also been proposed at the federal level by Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., which would create a federal penalty of up to five years in prison for people who “purposely obstruct, delay, or affect commerce by blocking a public road or highway.” One attractive element of the Safe and Open Streets Act is that it would also criminalize conspiracy to conduct such disruptions, meaning law enforcement could act against networks like A15 before lives are disrupted.

Unfortunately, given the lack of responsiveness from federal law enforcement, and especially the FBI, when it comes to addressing Antifa and other anarchist and far-left extremist activity, it’s unlikely the legislation, even if successfully adopted, would be routinely enforced, so state-level legislation that mirrors the federal proposal remains advisable.

Ultimately Americans must neither fall into despair and frustration nor allow themselves to be intimidated, instead demanding that their elected officials uphold law and order. If they do not, more and more days will look like April 15, and more and more public life will be disrupted.


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