Today the news is reporting that a lot of people Trump has named as political enemies have been the subject of attempted bombings. In particular, George Soros, the Clintons, and the Obamas received explosive devices that were apparently similar. CNN’s offices were evacuated after what was suspected to be a pipe bomb. An explosive device addressed to Eric Holder was labeled with a return address for Debbie Wasserman Schultz whose return address also appeared on the bomb sent to Soros. A suspicious package addressed to Maxine Waters was intercepted by Capitol Police and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his Manhattan office received a suspicious package.
As the saying goes, the past doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. This rash of murder attempts using bombs is reminiscent of the Anarchist Bombings of 1919. Those bombs were carried out by Italian anarchist followers of Luigi Galleani.
In late April 1919, at least 36 booby trap dynamite-filled bombs were mailed to a cross-section of prominent politicians and appointees, including the Attorney General of the United States, as well as justice officials, newspaper editors and businessmen, including John D. Rockefeller. Among all the bombs addressed to high-level officials, one bomb was notably addressed to the home of a Federal Bureau of Investigation (BOI) field agent once tasked with investigating the Galleanists, Rayme Weston Finch, who in 1918 had arrested two prominent Galleanists while leading a police raid on the offices of their publication Cronaca Sovversiva.
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These bombings fed into the Palmer Raids, the Red Scare of 1919-1920, persecution of immigrants, and contributed mightily to the rise of J. Edgar Hoover and all of the civil rights abuses he stood for.
Some of the bombs at that time were accompanied by a flyer that said:
War, Class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call order, in the darkness of your laws. There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder: we will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions.
The Palmer Raids were a series of raids to capture and arrest suspected radical leftists, mostly Italian and Eastern European Jewish immigrants (especially those accused of being anarchists and communists), and deport them from the United States. Palmer had told a House Committee sometime earlier that radicals would “on a certain day…rise up and destroy the government at one fell swoop.” A trial run by Palmer was thrown out on First Amendment grounds and he learned to take advantage of “powerful immigration statutes that authorized the deportation of alien anarchists, violent or not.” A young J. Edgar Hoover led the effort, and the raids led to thousands of arrests, many of them legally dubious.
I can’t say what the fall out from today’s bomb attempts will be, but likely nothing good. Opponents of Trump will claim, with justification, that his rhetoric concerning his political opponents is dangerous and condones violence. His supporters who don’t think the violence is justified will likely dismiss the bombs as unrelated to his rhetoric or as a false flag operation. The government can use the attempts as justification for diluting civil liberties and cracking down on disfavored and politically weak groups, be they immigrants or some other undesirable group. Threats of violence will further exacerbate tribal divisions among U.S. citizens, as citizens with differing political opinions increasingly seeing each other as enemies rather than adversaries.