As part of its ongoing campaign to become the most reviled group in America, Antifa branched out from its usual behavior of smashing windows and beating people to engaging in some good old-fashioned cancel culture.  

This week’s victim was Winston Marshall, former Mumford & Sons guitarist and banjo player, who was forced to leave the band after praising journalist Andy Ngo for his new book “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.”  

“Congratulations @MrAndyNgo,” Marshall wrote in a since-deleted tweet posted in March. “Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.” The pushback was predictably swift.  

Faced with an onslaught of vitriolic and threatening posts targeted not only at him, but at his bandmates and family members, Marshall felt he had no choice but to leave the band and step out of the public eye. 

It bears repeating that Marshall did not do anything to elicit the left’s acerbic response. He didn’t encourage others to buy the book or disparage Antifa. By simply praising Ngo, the British banjoist put himself in the crosshairs. That he was only canceled for supporting Ngo is in some ways a light punishment.  

The mainstream press calls Ngo, a Portland, Oregon native, a “provocateur” and “agitator.” They dislike how he covers the left-wing violence that regularly wracks Portland. But the disdain for Ngo in leftist circles goes far beyond media outlets calling him a troll.  

The journalist has been physically attacked numerous times. During a June 2019 rally organized by Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group, Antifa agents violently assaulted Ngo. They punched him in the head, kicked him, and threw milkshakes at him. Ngo suffered a serious brain injury.       

In May 2021, a group of thugs broke off from a larger group of rioters and then chased Ngo and tackled him to the ground. They repeatedly punched him in the head and bashed him into the sidewalk. Ngo managed to flee to a hotel, where the mob pounded on the windows and screamed obscenities at him. 

The clip below contains graphic language.  

>>> Watch: [Hostile group surrounds The Nines Hotel]

It’s impossible to exaggerate the chilling effects this type of violence has on opposing speech. While the so-called hecklers veto has existed for decades, the regularity and brutality of Antifa’s suppression of ideas it disagrees with evokes images of a far darker time in history. The broken windows and bloodied dissenters do not have to be imagined; they can be seen on the news in places like Portland.  

The Antifa angle makes the recent canceling of Marshall even more horrifying. It’s one thing to angrily call a business and demand someone gets fired. It’s another issue entirely when members of the group that threaten to kill you, your friends, and your family have repeatedly shown that they are perfectly willing to physically harm their philosophical opponents. 

There are two solutions to this ongoing issue.  

First, the American public needs to stand up to Antifa and its ilk. The Heritage Foundation’s President Kay C. James said it best, “Don’t give a damn about cancel culture. If you do, you’re giving small-minded people control over you that they don’t deserve. Realize that these are often people who want to silence your ideas because they’re afraid if others hear them, they might agree.” 

>>> The Daily Signal is the news and commentary platform of The Heritage Foundation.

Second, those in positions of authority, including the press, elected officials, and business leaders, need to hold violent leftists accountable. To his credit, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has begun to encourage the public to stand up to violent protesters. Better late than never, I suppose. 

If Antifa loses its protected status, it can no longer act with impunity. It continues to push the limits of its violent behavior because it’s tolerated, or worse, encouraged. Sapping its support will sap its strength.

Each day Antifa and the broader cancel culture aren’t addressed, another journalist like Andy Ngo will suffer. For the sake of American values, that cannot continue. 

We must act now or consign free speech to a legacy of black-clad thugs and shattered glass.   

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