Berlin -- It is three days before May Day in Berlin. Near my place in Berlin-Kreuzberg, I am having lunch in a small cafe a short walk across what used to be the Berlin Wall. To the sound of Turkish music, I see a headline in the Berliner Morgenpost stating that the "Linksautonomen" will be allowed to march here in the big celebration on May Day without obtaining a permit.
This is news, as leftist anarchists have often provoked May Day violence in the past. The responsible Berlin city official explains that "the police are the guarantor of the right of free assembly in our country." But the article goes on to say that the police will be reinforced by uniformed officers brought in from Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Nordrhein-Westfallen, Hessen, Rhineland-Pfalz, and the federal police.
Toward evening, on the big plaza in front of the Bethanien Arts Center, I see young men and women lined up with revolutionary flags and banners practicing for May Day. They are in a military formation and are being instructed on what to do in case of clashes, presumably with right-wing trouble-makers or with police. On command, the leaders challenge them to a shoving scrum. A few fall to the ground. They back off and do it again. This looks like more than free assembly.
Meanwhile, in an ironic coincidence, America's right-wing economic anarchists have been planning their attack on federal revenues at none other than the Cafe Berlin on Capitol Hill, according to the Washington Post. Larry Kudlow, Steve Forbes, Arthur Laffer, and Stephen Moore gathered there last week to sketch out new tax legislation over dinner and were joined by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. Laffer, we should all remember, does his economics on napkins, which is apparently the reason they are meeting at the Cafe Berlin rather than at the Treasury Department. Make no mistake; this group is about starving the government, ballooning the federal deficit, and endangering national security. Tax cuts do not pay for themselves and everyone knows it.
Both of these varieties of anarchists, from the left and the right, are dangerous. May they both fail.