A woman called Lauren B. Victor was having a meal at an outside table at a restaurant in Portland, Oregon. Then the mob arrived. The video of her being surrounded while the crowd screamed at her to raise her fist in a BLM support salute has been one of the most viewed YouTube clips of this summer’s explosive end.

There were about 20 other diners at the tables around her. They all complied at once. Ms Victor was the only one who refused. She tried to explain to them she was already committed to the cause, but she refused to raise her fist when ordered to do so and submit to the coercion of a crowd uniformly stretching clenched fists into the air

They screamed different chants at her including “white silence is violence”, fists rigidly raised; she didn’t buckle. 

One of the most chilling screams came in the form of an accusation masquerading as a question: 

“Are you a Christian.” 

It seems Lauren wasn’t, so the world never got to find out what this Black Lives Matter mob thought of ‘Christians’, but presumably they had worked out that they might be one group of people who didn’t easily buy into improving the world with mob violence, coercive terror and looting and followed a value system that resisted becoming a crowd-clone.

This shocking and blood curdling video has had an unexpected effect. It has inspired great kudos towards Ms Victor and more vivid understanding of what BLM is like under the skin.

At this point a few commentators have slipped into the easy connection with a chilling reference to the German rallies of the 1930’s. Then as now they were exercises in crowd control oozing with threat. The scale may have been different but the dynamics eerily similar prompting the sensible if obvious question “who the real Nazis are now?”

BLM are not the only group relying on the mob.  Extinction Rebellion gathers people together to force change too, but with more flair. 

They put their mob to a more strategic use in the UK in the last few days blocking the delivery of most newspapers over the weekend. They must have made a calculation that even being accused of threatening freedom of speech was worth the publicity and a growing reputation for clever and strategic disruption.  Of course, they argue that freedom of speech is a luxury too far if you are polluting the seas with plastic and violently upsetting the ecosystem with uncontrolled consumerism.

Democracy is always stress tested in crises, and both Marxist race activists and eco-anarchists are testing our democracy to the limits.  Each of us will find ourselves having to revisit our priorities and what we think matters to us most.

In the same way that a driving instructor might grab the controls of a learner driver to avoid and accident, the ideological mobs are grabbing for the levers of power to force a change.

But there are two problems. The first is the use of threat, disruption or force. But the second is just as bad but easy to miss at first.

Both the racist-anti-racist Black Lives Matter movement, and the XR creative anarchists want to destroy democratic capitalism. The BLM website in particular uses the most striking language and imagery to justify and describe what it wants to get rid of. But after they have broken society, unglued the hetero family, forcibly redistributed power and resources, neither knows what system to put in its place.

This might be the moment for the sharing of opinions, for democratic discovery, for a series of carefully constructed trade-offs from different interest groups to minimise injustice and unfairness and maximise opportunity for humanitarian aims. 

But there is nothing humanitarian about either BLM or XR. BLM want to punish and demean the white population. Revenge and redistribution are not humanitarian. XR tend to see humanity as a species not much better than a parasite wounding the planet. More planetarians than humanitarians, the planet takes precedence over people. Their plans to force societies into ecological emergency mode can’t be done without a vast cut in the production of energy and power. They threaten to push society back into a more primitive place with less power and fewer resources to protect the poorest and most marginalised.

Worryingly the power grab from both Green Things Matter and Black Lives Matter is managed only by silencing critics, outlawing questions, restricting thinking, silencing speech and crushing dissent.

At first sight both movements seem to have a strong moral attraction. Who would not be in favour of great inter-racial justice and a greener less polluted planet?

Two characteristics should warn us of a baited trap; and they are always the same. They were there in Moscow in 1917, and there in Berlin in 1933. The combination of the mob terrorising those who won’t conform, and the silencing or shaming of free speech and independent thought.

I found myself staring at my computer screen last night as I watched a benign weather man warn us of bad weather ahead. His face was all smiles but, on his lapel, he carried a little black square BLM badge. He beamed his forecast with a benign virtue signalling smile, which lost some of its charm when I saw behind square black badge the snarling, spitting, eye-bulging faces of the crowd surrounding Lauren B Victor, with all their fists raised to the ceiling to break her will and shame her into compliance.

“On one level, my best guess was no one was going to hurt me,” she said in an interview later; “but those things turn on a dime.”

Indeed they do. There is a depression ahead. It may be a storm. These things turn on a dime.