Did Joe Biden make anti-capitalism illegal? Domestic Terrorism Strategy Explained
On June 15, 2021, the White House released a National Counterterrorism Strategy that represents the most comprehensive plan to tackle the problem of any U.S. administration.
The strategy, published in a 32-page document, describes the Biden administration’s classifications of different types of domestic terrorists and explains why the issue is so important to the current White House team and to future presidents.
“We cannot ignore this threat or wish it far. Preventing domestic terrorism and reducing the factors that fuel it require a multifaceted response within the federal government and beyond,” President Joe Biden wrote in the report.
“We need to take both short-term actions to counter the very real threats of today and longer-term actions to lessen the emerging threats of tomorrow.”
While the strategy offers several ways to combat domestic terrorism in the United States, parts of the plan will need to be formulated into politics and passed by Congress before it becomes law.
However, the strategy has already sparked controversy on Reddit, as users claimed on Saturday that it would classify “anarchist violent extremists” who “oppose all forms of capitalism” as “domestic violent extremists (DVE).”
Would the strategy make anti-capitalism illegal in the United States if created into law, or is it much narrower in scope?
What does the strategy propose?
Report 32 suggests different ways for the United States to tackle domestic terrorism, but states that its primary focus is “specifically to tackle violence and the factors that lead to violence.”
As part of that plan in the section titled “Today’s Threat,” the administration describes groups it believes should be classified as DVE, including “extremists and networks whose racial hatred, ethnic or religious leads them to violence “.
The report emphasizes ideologies “rooted in a perception of white superiority” but then singles out several groups “who take action to violently resist government authority or facilitate the overthrow of the US government.”
Included in this section are “violent anarchist extremists, who violently oppose all forms of capitalism, corporate globalization and governing institutions, which they perceive to be harmful to society,” according to the report.
The strategy adds that groups “may be motivated to violence by one-issue ideologies related to abortion, animal rights, the environment or the violent extremism of involuntary celibacy, as well as other grievances. – or a combination of ideological influences “.
Why did people say the strategy would criminalize anti-capitalist beliefs?
An article on Reddit on Saturday used quotes from the section describing those who “oppose all forms of capitalism,” to claim that people who believe in this ideology would be classified as DVE if the report becomes law.
The post was titled: “Joe Biden’s New Counterterrorism Initiative Classifies’ Anarchist Violent Extremists’ Who ‘Oppose All Forms of Capitalism, Corporate Globalization and Governing Institutions, Which Are Seen to Be Harmful to Society As “domestic violent extremists”.
A majority of commentators on the thread went on to criticize the strategy, with one saying it “seems like even using rhetoric will mean you’re a terrorist.”
Reddit users also pointed to a definition of domestic terrorism included in a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on March 1, 2021, which also included residents who “oppose all forms of capitalism.”
Using the two reports, several of the users claimed that the Biden administration would aim to criminalize opposition to capitalism by defining those who do as DVE.
Who does the strategy actually apply to?
Despite claims that the strategy would apply to anyone who believes in anti-capitalism, the report makes it clear that people would only be included as EVDs if they intended to harm others.
The strategy continues the section by explaining that domestic terrorism is only classified as such if it involves acts “dangerous to human life that constitute a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state.”
The report does not claim that US residents who agree with anti-capitalist beliefs would automatically be considered a DVE, as it states that they should also be “violent extremist anarchists.”
The March 1 report also makes it clear that “mere advocacy for political or social positions, political activism, the use of strong rhetoric, or the widespread philosophical adoption of violent tactics may not constitute violent extremism. and can be constitutionally protected “.
The White House rebuffed the claims in comments on a press appeal shared with News week, stating that “since January 20, the president has focused on combating the high threat of domestic terrorism.
“And he has also focused on ensuring that our efforts to counter that take place within the context of upholding American civil rights and freedoms. It is the very freedoms that make us unique.”
The White House added, “This is a strategy agnostic as to political ideology or off the spectrum. What matters is when individuals take their political or other grievances and turn it – unacceptably, illegally – into violent action.
“So it’s not political motivation or ideology that matters to us or, more importantly, to strategy and implementation; it is when political grievances turn into acts of violence. And we stay focused on that, and that’s how we will continue. “
News week has contacted the White House for comment.