• Alison Kartevold

Defunding Police, an Antifa Stepping Stone

As cities across the United States buckle and burn under riots, and the Black Lives Matter movement seeks to disband police departments, Antifa affiliates rioting alongside it aspire to "destroy the state, police, military and all those who run the American Plantation." For those of you unfamiliar with Antifa, Gist Say’n explains.

After more than a week of protests and riots, members of Minneapolis's city council say they are looking into abolishing the city's police department. If this shocks you, it shouldn't. If it doesn't scare you, it should.

It should be no surprise that Antifa was quick to capitalize on the fry in Minneapolis after the homicide of George Floyd nor that the movement has support from elected officials in that city and others. Various modern incarnations of Antifa have been present in the Twin Cities since the 1980s.

(If you want to learn a bit more about its history, follow this link and listen to the episode or read the article I wrote back in 2018 explaining why people needed to be aware and wary of the Alt movements, both right and left.)

What Antifa is Really About

The current form of Antifa operating in the United States is comprised of multiple autonomous, left-wing groups loosely affiliated by their militant opposition to ideologies they believe to be right-wing, including law enforcement, capitalism, and democracy.

The movement's roots of targeting fascism and white supremacy are now secondary since organized groups professing this doctrine are less prominent than in the past. However, due to the public's visceral response to these groups, Antifa is still quick to label all its targets as such. Participants in this movement are predominantly communists, socialists, radical environmentalists, and anarchists.

Today's Antifa and its founding Anarchists are also adept at co-opting and infiltrating other far-left movements creating temporary alliances to advance their goals. The definition of their enemies has gotten broader and broader to accommodate each group's single identity issues.

This broadening helped legitimize the movement in the eyes of centric none activists. It also made it easier for extremists to piggyback their less palpable goals onto the broader ones, at least for a while. Even though their final destination may not the same, far-left extremists don't mind using others to help shift popular thinking a few stops further along their ideology track.

Antifa has intertwined with the Black Lives Matter movement since the Ferguson protests and riots in 2014, but that doesn't mean they are necessarily true believers of its causes.

Longtime anarchist author and strategist, Tom Nomad, who believes that capitalism is not sustainable, says working with other extreme left causes presents challenges.

"When we engage in single-issue campaigns, the things that end up resulting from that are not the kinds of escalations that we hope for," Nomad said on the anarchist podcast, "It's Going Down." "What ends up happening is that the liberals compromise and we get left on our own, and what we need to figure out as anarchists is how to break that dynamic."

Going Legit

You need to look no further than the past week's events to find examples of the groundwork that has been laid for the extreme left to achieve its goals.

Even after nights of destructive riots, when President Trump announced, "The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization," an elected city official was quick to jump to the movement's defense.

"I hereby declare, officially, my support for ANTIFA," said Jeremiah Ellison, a member of the Minneapolis City Council, wrote on his Twitter account Sunday. "Unless someone can prove to me ANTIFA is behind the burning of black and immigrant owned businesses in my ward, I'll keep focusing on stopping the white power terrorist THE ARE ACTUALLY ATTACKING US!"

In response, if you go to that thread and scroll down, you will see multiple videos of peaceful protesters confronting Antifa members who are working to hijack protests. On Thursday, Attorney General William Barr announced that the Federal government had already made 51 arrests on federal crimes in connection with the violent riots.

Jeremiah's father, Keith Ellison, who is Minnesota's Attorney General, is now in charge of the prosecution of all four police officers involved in Floyd's death, doesn't see a clear connection, though. Like his son, he has a history of, if not affiliation, then at least a fascination with Antifa.

In January of 2018, while a sitting Democratic congressman, Ellison posted a picture of himself holding the "Anti-Fascist Handbook."

The tweet that was later deleted read, "At MoonPalaceBooks and I just found the book that strike fear into the heart of @realdonaldtrump."

The elder Ellison has also spent time with a prominent member of Rose City Antifa, Luis Marquez. Even taking pictures together. Just this week, Marquez tweeted a video of himself encouraging his "comrades" not to use racial slurs, but to continue to "burn those motherf***ers down."

From Resistance to Revolution

A principal feature of those gathered under this political umbrella is the group's desire to take what it calls "direct action," using harassment and violence against those they oppose. Antifa does not believe in the right of free speech for those they target. Adherents feel that speech and ideas they find offensive should not be allowed a platform and that violence is justified to deny access to those who would speak it.

Andy Ngo is a journalist covering, targeted, and attacked by Antifa. He recently posted a link to the anarchists worldwide website to a page that lays out the goals of the "USA: Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement."

"They make their agenda very clear. Floyd has nothing to do with the riots being incited and carried out by far-left extremists," Ngo tweeted. "They've long desired to lead uprisings to overthrow the American state. They've been empowered by media & politicians."

Antifa's latest incarnation denounces a hierarchical leadership, and instead uses social media and the internet to organize small groups already familiar with one another, called "affinity groups."

They also used these methods to spread the word beyond their ranks to encourage things they refer to as "calls to action." While highlighting the May 31 raid of a Target store in Austin, which he says was coordinated by Antifa over the internet.

"The protest and looting of Target in Austin that was done and organized by an Antifa web page and of course, the surveillance that was provided over the Internet identifying where law enforcement resources were staged, was done over Antifa accounts," Austin's Department of Public Safety Director Steven McGraw said.

"We are talking about violent extremists. There's anarchists. There's Antifa, but there are also criminals that are using this as an opportunity to exploit and to loot and hurt others. That's happened," Reform Austin also quoted McGraw as saying.

Antifa's movement is purposefully fragmented and decentralized. Its structure makes it hard for outsiders to infiltrate and helps keep organizers and those who aim to misbehave, anonymous, and free from reprisal.

The first week of June, however, Project Veritas released an interview with an informant who claims to have been an Antifa initiate. His accounts seem to support reports that Antifa puts its recruits through a rigorous screening process and teaches them how to maim adversaries and incite riots. While a second video reportedly shows Antifa members learning to turn defensive combat technics into offensive ones.

During protests, members often employ the use of "black bloc," which is a tactic, not an organization. By dressing all in black and wearing masks, the insurgents are easily identifiable as a group, but not as individuals.

In addition to covering groups like the Aryan Nations and Militia of Montana in the 1990s, I also ran across some of those who helped lay the foundation for this current movement acting as Anarchists and Antifa groups at the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle and the G20 in Pittsburgh.

I witnessed their tactics at those events, and have noted changes in their approach over the 19 years since. They love to hide among peaceful protestors and blindside victims. They employ masterful manipulation tactics to incite violence in mob settings and unleash ruthless gorilla style attacks that prey on the weak, isolated, and vulnerable. In my personal experience, they are perfect examples of the fascists they claim to be fighting against.

Translated from the Greek, anarchy means "without a leader," ultimately what pure anarchists want to achieve is a stateless society, with horizontal consensus versus hierarchical leadership.

Since Anarchists reject authority, there are many types of anarchism, ranging from ones that promote absolute individual liberty to those that endorse more communist or socialist ideas. Antifa has provided shelter to all of them. Consensus can be hard to come by, but one thing they do agree on is that the use of violence is acceptable.

The FBI says that any combination of the need for power, excitement, affiliation, purpose, importance, and achievement play into the personal needs people are trying to fill when they become violent extremists. Those who are emotionally upset after a stressful event may be vulnerable as well, which describes a large segment of the population after months of pandemic lockdown.

The human need to belong runs deep and can be easily manipulated by those who are morally unencumbered. Leaders of extreme movements don't always share the same fanatic believes they inspire. Instead, for them, the movement, whatever the movement, is about procuring power.

In this context, elitist monetary sponsors of the Antifa and Black Lives Matter movements might view them as mere puppets on their strings to facilitate revolution and then be discarded. In much the same way that Adolf Hitler used the S.A. or "Brown Shirts" to help him come to power.

Keep in mind, when the "Brown Shirts" began to threaten Hitler's power, he had the S.S. carry out the "Night of the Long Knives." On that one night, he had some 500 followers and opponents executed.

The shadowy supporters backing groups like Antifa fail to grasp is that these puppets already desperately want to cut those strings and turn on their marinates.

Before supporting a movement, be careful that you understand its real long term objectives. If you align with a movement just because it seems to afford you politically correct virtue signals, don't be surprised by its "sudden but inevitable betrayal."

You can agree or disagree, I'm Gist Say'n.