Archive for the ‘Antifa’ Category

Conservatives, ‘Antifa’ Clash at Evergreen State College – Mediaite

Conservative activists clashed with far-left antifa counter-protesters on Thursday at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, as the former held a free speech rally that spotlighted the ongoing race-based controversy on the liberal campus.

CBSs local affiliate in Seattle, KIRO-TV, covered the dueling protests in a Thursday write-up. The report first noted that a conservative, pro-Trump group protested at The Evergreen State College because they believe that political correctness and hatred has taken over the campus.’

The organization, Patriot Prayer, is active in the Pacific Northwest. On their Facebook page, they disclose that they us[e] the power of love and prayer to fight the corruption both in the government and citizen levels that seek to gain power through division and deception.

KIROs article pointed out how the news outlet captured several Patriot Prayer protesters taking down a man for having a knife. There was one arrest during the evening demonstrations.

Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson underlined that contrary to claims from left-wing activist, his group wasnt white supremacist.

I love all people, because theyre human. It doesnt matter what the color of their skin is. Ok? And Im sick of hearing about that, Gibson said. If were white supremacists, why do we have more people of color rolling with us than they do? Thats what I want to understand. All those people dressed in all black, theyre the most whitest (sic) people Ive ever met in my life.

Campus Reform also zeroed in on the face-off at the Washington State campus in a Friday report. The conservative website posted video footage taken that shows the scuffles between the black-clad antifa demonstrators and the American-flag waving conservatives (see video above).

Riot police had to intervene to separate the two sides. Campus Reform outlined that the violence ensuedwhen a member of the Patriot Prayer chapter was attacked by one of the antifa protesters. The attacker was removed by police, but this failed to dissuade another antifa member from assaulting the leader of Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson, by macing him in the face.

Gibson also revealed to the conservative website that he supports proposals by Washington State legislators that would end public funding of Evergreen State College.

[image via screengrab]

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Conservatives, ‘Antifa’ Clash at Evergreen State College – Mediaite

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‘Boomer antifa’: White supremacists rip into paramilitary Oath … – Washington Post

On the surface, the white supremacists of the burgeoning alt-right movement seem to have a lot in common with the Oath Keepers, the anti-government militia group made up of former military and law enforcement people from around the country.

They share a deep contempt for the federal government. They loathe political correctness in all its forms. They relish a good fight with left-wing activists. And, generally speaking, they support President Trump.

But a confrontation at a recent rally in Houstonexposed some crucial differences between the alt-rights standard-bearers and the older, somewhat less radical Oath Keepers, and the fallout showed just how far they have drifted from one another.

Last Saturday, hundreds of protesters supporting the group This Is Texas, reportedly an Oath Keepers affiliate, gathered at a park in Houston after reports circulated that a statue of slaveholder and former Texas governor Sam Houston was going to be removed. The reports turned out to be fabrications, as the Houston Chronicle reported, but a large crowd of demonstrators turned out, many of them wearing camouflage and carrying guns.

A smaller contingent of white supremacists also attended, among them followers of the popular neo-Nazi hate site the Daily Stormer and the National Vanguard, a neo-Nazi splinter organization dedicated to racial cleansing.

At some point, the two sides started arguing, with attendees from This Is Texas denouncing the white supremacists message. The tension erupted when a when young white supremacist the Daily Stormer called him one of ours was briefly put in a chokehold by an armed protester, then forced away from the demonstration by one of the organizers, David Amad, and a throng of others.Someone filmed the incident and postedthe footage to YouTube, and the confrontation was highlighted by theSouthern Poverty Law Center.

Racists are not welcome amongst us, because racism is just plain stupid, Amad said in the video. And if you dont like that, I dont give a damn.

The scuffle drew a flurry of attacks this week from the Daily Stormer and the white nationalist Altright.com, which blamed Oath Keepers for the incident and chided the militia group for not being as racist or radical as theywould prefer.

Vicious, Freedom-Hating, Anti-Constitution Oath Keepers Might as Well be the Feds, read one headline. Oathkeepers turn against the alt-right, read another. The sites ridiculed the militia group as geriatrics, normies and cucks, using an insult popular on the alt-right for conservatives who arent right-wing enough.

The Daily Stormer referred to the group as Boomer Antifa, a riff on the Oath Keepers perceived age range and the black clad anti-fascist protesters that have clashed with conservative activists at numerous political rallies this year. (As antifa refers to an anti-fascist movement on the extreme left, hurling this term at an ultraconservative is designed to be the ultimate insult.)

They are obsessed with not being perceived as racists, due to their boomer brain programming, which leads them to believe that a racist is the most evil of all things, wrote Daily Stormer founder and editor Andrew Anglin. In fact, Im not even sure what their goal is exactly.

In Facebook posts this week, the Oath Keepers denied that the armed demonstratorwho roughhoused the white supremacist was one of its own. The group said it couldnt confirm whether members of its Texas chapter had participated in the rally.

Clearly some in the white nationalist movement will do anything they can to attribute every such incident to us, whether we were involved or not, because we are civic nationalist rather than white nationalists, wrote Oath Keepers president Stewart Rhodes.

Oath Keepers was founded by Rhodes, an Army veteran, in 2009 and claims to have some 35,000 members nationwide. Its stated goal is to defend the Constitution at all costs.

The groups members have become fixtures at political rallies and protests, where they show up wearing military gear and carrying assault weapons, for the self-proclaimed purpose of protecting controversial speakers and demonstrators from counterprotesters.

They drew criticism for patrolling the streets of Ferguson, Mo., with semiautomatic rifles during the 2014 protests and riots over the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. A handful of Oath Keepers were present during the armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge in January 2016, and the groups leaders urged members to patrol polling places on Election Day in 2016.

More recently, members have appeared as self-appointed security at conservative-led demonstrations in Oregon, California and elsewhere, ostensibly to defend attendees against antifa activists who turned out in opposition.

Advocacy groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have dubbed the Oath Keepers and extremist patriot group, saying they have shown violent, racist and conspiratorial tendencies. The same organizations have dubbed Daily Stormer a dangerous hate site and a malignant presence.

The Daily Stormers gripes over the incident in Houston gave way tofull-throated invectives against Oath Keepers this week. Put simply, the group isnt extreme enough for them.

An anti-government militia that the ADL and SPLC say are planning to overthrow the government sounds pretty cool huh? Well, thats sadly not what they actually are, wrote Anglin, the editor.

It seems theyre not keeping an oath to the Constitution, but rather an oath to John Lennons Imagine,’ he added. But as long as theyre out there, be weary. With what happened in Houston, theyve made it clear that they are hostile and violent toward us, meaning they are our enemies.

A Daily Stormer author who attended the Houston demonstration wrote Tuesday: We have a worldview. These people have stale, meaningless talking points and vague principles that they dont even live up to if someone crosses a line they dont agree with.

The Oath Keepers have been accused of racism and bigotry fortheir useof Confederate imagery at rallies and their defense of anti-Muslim activists, among other issues.

Rhodes, the founder and president, seems concerned about being associated with white supremacist movements, and he has spoken out against racism as the alt-right has gained traction in recent months.

Frankly, I dislike the neo-Nazis more than Anti-fa, since they try to worm their way in and by doing so, they harm the cause of liberty far more than the radical leftists could ever do, he wrote in April following a protest in Berkeley that was attended by Oath Keepers. I made it very clear that this is about CIVIC nationalism, and not white nationalism, and the white nationalists want to destroy all my family fought to preserve, and are as deadly to this Republic as any communist.

Were not white nationalists. Were not racists of any kind, he told SPLC recently. And if they show up, I am going to personally, physically remove them. Because they are trying to co-opt what were trying to do.

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‘Boomer antifa’: White supremacists rip into paramilitary Oath … – Washington Post

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Inside the Underground Anti-Racist Movement That Brings the …

At lunchtime on May 19, 2012, 18 masked men and women shouldered through the front door of the Ashford House restaurant in Tinley Park, Illinois, a working-class suburb of Chicago. Some diners mistook the mob for armed robbers. Others thought they might be playing a practical joke. But Steven Speers, a stalactite-bearded 33-year-old who had just sat down for appetizers at a white nationalist meet and greet, had a hunch who they were. The gang filing in with baseball bats, police batons, hammers, and nunchucks were members of Anti-Racist Action (ARA) and the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement (HARM), two groups dedicated to violently confronting white supremacists.

Hey, bitches! one of the anti-racists shouted before charging Speers table. ARA is going to fuck this place up!

Speers stood up and warned his seven companions to prepare to fight. His girlfriend, Beckie Williams, who had organized the lunchtime gathering on the white supremacist website Stormfront, grabbed a butter knife. Francis Gilroy, a homeless man who had driven up from Florida to find work for whites, as an online ad for the meeting promised, tried to pull the attackers off his companions. Williams was clubbed on the arm. Speers was hit on the head so hard he vomited.

An 80-year-old woman celebrating her granddaughters high school graduation at a nearby table was also pushed to the floor. A retired cop who believed he was witnessing a terrorist attack used a chair to knock out one of the masked intruders. Thats when they ran off, dragging their dazed companion.

In less than two minutes, the anti-racists had unleashed a flurry of destruction. A mosaic of smashed glass covered the floor. Blood polka-dotted the ceiling. Three people required medical care.

One group of attackers raced away in a cherry red Dodge Neon. Jason Sutherlin, a 33-year-old with the words TIME BOMB tattooed across his knuckles, rode shotgun. His half-brother Dylan drove, and his half-brother Cody, along with their cousin John Tucker, squeezed into the backseat with 22-year-old Alex Stuck, whod been decked in the restaurant. They sped toward Interstate 80, which would take them home to central Indiana.

An off-duty police sergeant whod heard a radio call about the attack spotted the Neon and turned on her siren. When she looked inside the parked car, amid the sweaty men she saw a baton, a baseball cap that said Anti-Racist, and a black and red scarf spelling out HARM. The men were arrested and charged with felony mob action and aggravated battery, which together carried up to seven years behind bars. (Speers and Gilroy were also arrestedSpeers for a charge of possessing child pornography.)

Jason Sutherlin Andrew Spear

Sutherlin and his four compatriots would soon come to be known as the Tinley Park Five. Though they had launched the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement just six months earlier, the attack would make them the public faces of a small yet militant movement that had been waging war on right-wing extremists for decades. HARM was part of Anti-Racist Action, a national group that had spent more than 20 years trying to expose and combat radical right-wing activity with tactics that ranged from counseling kids in neo-Nazi gangs to harassment and physical violence. Most of their actions received little attention, though they occasionally made headlines, like after the 2002 Battle of York, where ARA members attacked a white supremacist march in a Pennsylvania town, or the time in 2009 when pepper-spray-wielding ARA members broke up a New York City speech by the British Holocaust denier David Irving. But mostly, this war was invisible beyond the predominantly white working-class youths caught up in it.

As the election of Donald Trump has ushered white supremacists and their ideas from the fringes to the mainstream, their most militant foes have also come out of the shadows. On Inauguration Day, Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who coined the term alt-right, was punched in the face on a Washington, DC, street corner. The blow was caught on video, spawning countless remixes and a debate over the ethics and efficacy of Nazi punching. That same night, a Trump supporter shot and wounded an anti-fascist, or antifa, who was protesting a speech by Breitbart provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of Washington in Seattle. Less than two weeks later, black bloc protesters in Berkeley, California, helped force the cancellation of another Yiannopoulos speech, setting fires, smashing windows, and punching a Milo fan. Nationwide, new militant groups like Redneck Revolt are recruiting the next generation of activists who believe that white liberals are not up to the challenge of beating back right-wing extremists. The story of HARMs rise and fall is a prequel to this moment, and a revealing tale about an underground war thats been simmering for years and may now be poised to explode.

The seed for HARM was planted in Peoples Park, a tangle of trees and footpaths in downtown Bloomington, Indiana, where in 1968 an African American graduate student named Clarence Turner opened a small store called the Black Market. In a state with a long history of white supremacism (in 1925, nearly one-third of all adult white males there belonged to the Ku Klux Klan, and the governor was a sympathizer), the shop celebrated African and African American culture by selling dashikis and Malcolm X speeches. A few months after it opened, two Klan members firebombed it on Christmas. This will not be an open season on niggers, Turner shouted during a rally in front of the ashen skeleton of his shop.

By the 1990s, Peoples Park had become a hangout spot for punks, ravers, hippies, petty drug dealers, and college kids looking to score. It was there around 1996 that Jason Sutherlin met Telly, another teen from a nearby town. Telly introduced Sutherlin to Nomad, a hulking, half-Puerto Rican tattoo artist. (These names are aliases that they asked me to use to avoid being targeted by white supremacists; the investigation into the Tinley Park assaults is ongoing.) Long before they would become leaders of the local anti-racist movement, the three teens chased the same cute punk girls, Sutherlin recalls. At first, they were my competition, but then we became pals.

The trio shared a love of hip-hop and punk and a hatred for bullies. It was at house parties and concerts that they got their first introduction to Indianas numerous white supremacist gangsspecifically, the Hammerskins and the Vinlanders Social Club. Sutherlin recalls attending a show where a Hammerskin stabbed a Latino kid. At another show, concertgoers tried to kick out a group of neo-Nazis, one of whom fired a gun into the air. (More recently, three Vinlanders nearly beat a homeless black man to death in Indianapolis in 2007.) Sutherlin was shocked by the neo-Nazis boldness, but he was just as impressed by how the older punks stood up to them. That culture of not taking any shit seeped into my consciousness.

A rampaging neo-Nazi shot Won Joon Yoon outside the Korean United Methodist Church in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1999. Andrew Spear

Sutherlin had grown up in a diverse, working-class family that moved frequently between Indiana, Texas, and Florida. We were crazy white trash, but my mom ran a very multicultural household, he said. He had a gay Latino babysitter and his younger sisters dad is black. Sutherlin recalled walking down the street with her near their home outside Bloomington when she was four. Look, a man shouted from the window of his pickup. Hes got his own little nigger! When the 14-year-old Sutherlin launched a bottle of Snapple at the truck, the man jumped out and beat him up. In that moment, I realized that if theres anything in life worth throwing down over, he said, that was it.

In July 1999, a 21-year-old Indiana University student who had fallen under the sway of a neo-Nazi cult called the World Church of the Creator went on a two-state, three-day shooting spree, wounding nine people and killing two, including a Korean graduate student in Bloomington. Still, Sutherlin and his friends werent overtly interested in politics yetthey just liked hanging out in the park, going to shows, drinking, and getting into fights. Sutherlin describes himself during his teens and early 20s as a hoodrat. One night in 1999, after hed dropped out of school, he burglarized a house, stealing several computers to get money to buy cocaine. He was sentenced to two years. An acquaintance who was also an inmate at the same facility later joined the prison branch of the Vinlanders Social Club. He wasnt even racist, Sutherlin said, but I think the power of the group appealed to him. If youre a disaffected young man, any strong masculine identity will hold sway over you.

Sutherlin became active in politics after getting out of prison and having a child. Bringing a son into this world made me feel like I had to make things better for him, he said. Punk, rap lyrics, and his familys diversity had fostered his interest in left-wing ideas, but now he read voraciously about slavery, capitalism, and sexism. Michelle Alexanders book The New Jim Crow, which documents the link between race and mass incarceration, blew my mind. He became fascinated by the militant 19th-century abolitionist John Brown. He went on a diet and lost nearly 150 pounds.

When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, Sutherlin took it as a sign that America might finally be reckoning with its racist past. He was the first president I ever believed in, he says. Like, I was telling my family to vote for him. But after Obamas election, the political climate seemed to sour and the racial progress Sutherlin had hoped for never materialized. America just would not accept a black man as its leader. It enraged me to fully realize that.

Fanning the flames of Sutherlins anger was the emergence of the tea party and birtherism, and the failure of mainstream Democratic or Republican politicians to aggressively challenge these movements racist and nativist messages. This frustration led him to Peoples Park, where a small crowd gathered at the former site of the Black Market one night in October 2011. Just three weeks after Occupy Wall Street took over New Yorks Zuccotti Park, Occupy Bloomington was born. Sutherlin helped build a kitchen and cook communal meals, and he didnt sleep for two days. He was thrilled to be involved in activism of some kind, even if it wasnt directly addressing racism.

Toward the end of the year, Thomas Buhls, a former Marine and organizer for the Knights, the public wing of the Ku Klux Klan, showed up around Peoples Park handing out recruitment pamphlets and talking about white genocide. Buhls was part of a new wave of young white supremacists who pioneered the recruitment approach since adopted by the so-called alt-right: rebranding white nationalism not as a philosophy of racial superiority, but as a common-sense extension of identity politics in which the white working class is portrayed as victims of immigration, affirmative action, and multiculturalism. In this world-view, white anti-racists were an especially loathsome threat to racial solidarity. If I tell the obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews, wrote Robert Whitaker, a former Reagan administration aide, in his Mantra, a mini-manifesto that appeared online in 2006 and has served as a touchstone for white nationalists. They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white. Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

Buhls was telling people the recession happened because of the Jew bankers, because the Latinos were stealing jobs, Sutherlin remembers. He and Telly would confront Buhls when they got the chance, and Sutherlin told him not to bother people in the park. His audacity, man, of showing up at the spot where the Black Market had been firebombed.

I wasnt sure if I was racist or anti-racist, recalls Alex Stuck. I just knew I was pissed off. A high school dropout from Terre Haute, Indiana, who also participated in Occupy Bloomington, Stuck worked at a pizza shop beneath the pub where Sutherlin was a bartender and bouncer. Stuck had a cockatiel Mohawk, a teardrop inked beneath his right eye, and an underbite reminiscent of a French bulldog. I was your average dumb kid, he says. Id tell a racist joke or use a racist slur. But Sutherlin began to school him about white privilege, sexism, and structural racism. Before that, I was a muggle, Stuck says, referring to the term for Harry Potter characters without magical powers.

The magic Sutherlin introduced him to was the history of the secret war between anti-racists and white supremacists. Like most wars, this one had its own martyrs and heroes. There was the tragedy of Greensboro, North Carolina, where in 1979 Klansmen and neo-Nazis opened fire on a Death to the Klan rally, killing five participants. There were the Baldies, a 1980s Minneapolis street crew, whose shaved heads, bomber jackets, boots, and braces mirrored the attire of the racist skinheads they booted out of town. And then there was Anti-Racist Action, which merged the moralism of Americas abolitionist tradition with the nihilism of punk rock and viewed the culture war as a literal war on racists, sexists, and homophobes, whom they denounced as fascists. Racism is an idea, an anonymous ARA member said in the 2000 documentary Invisible Revolution, but fascism is an idea mixed with action. It took fascism to establish Jim Crow and before that, slaveryAnti-Semitism has been around a long time, but it took fascism to [make] the HolocaustWhen you cross that threshold, you negate your rights to a calm, collective conversation.

If ARA was the brawn of the anti-racist movement, its most prominent brain was Noel Ignatiev, a Marxist, an ex-steelworker, and a former lecturer for Harvard Universitys African American studies department. He founded a journal, Race Traitor, as a vehicle for his theories about how to attack and erode white privilege. Anti-racist whites must commit treason to whiteness by rejecting the benefits skin color confers upon them, Ignatiev argued. Be reverse Oreos, he told the New York Times in 1997. Defy the rules of whitenessflagrantly, publicly. When someone makes a racial slur in your presence, say, You probably think Im white because I look white.’ He added that challenging people on their whiteness can lead to harsh confrontations, even blows. Breitbart described him as the Harvard professor [who] calls for the destruction of the white race.’

Sutherlin, Telly, and Nomad cited this legacy as inspiration for the group they formed in the winter of 2011, just before Occupy Bloomington was evicted from Peoples Park. The feeling was that Occupy had been too moderate and unfocused, says Sutherlins cousin John Tucker, who worked with Sutherlin as a bouncer. He credits his interest in HARM to teenage run-ins with neo-Nazis and to the times he heard his mother, who has a dark complexion, being called wetback and squaw by strangers in Bloomington. This was going to be something more effective, Tucker said. Protesting and camping is nice, but this was going to have results.

At HARMs first official meeting, a few dozen people showed up at Sutherlins apartment with potluck dishes and beer. Telly stood before the crowd and announced the new groups name and mission. Adopting Anti-Racist Actions four-point platform, HARM promised to fight racists with direct action, eschewing protests or legislative efforts in favor of, say, hacking neo-Nazis email accounts, providing security at gay pride parades, and exposing the shady pasts of bigoted candidates. This is a war, Telly said, and we intend to win.

Thats when all but about 10 people left. Some of them were hipster liberals, said Stuck. Once it came down to the nitty-gritty and we started discussing tactics, they were like, We dont wanna be a part of this.’

Those who stayed included Tucker, whod never been involved in politics before, and Sutherlins affable 23-year-old half-brother, Cody. Nomad arrived later that night. Stuck recalls seeing himmuscular as a middleweight, his head Bic-razored, his throat adorned with a tattoo of a switchbladeand thinking, Thats who I want to be. I was a disenfranchised white youth, Stuck says, and thank God that [HARM] got to me first. I could have easily went the opposite direction.

Nomad had that exact fear about his 14-year-old son, who had recently come home with a neo-Nazi recruitment flyer. White supremacists had even shown up at the tattoo parlor where Nomad worked and tried to recruit him, not realizing he was a militant anti-racistand half Puerto Rican. They are poisoning these kids, Nomad said.

Telly was particularly alarmed by the growing acceptance of extreme right-wing ideas and figures. It was terrifying, he said. The birther movement and Arizonas 2010 anti-immigrant law were barely veiled racist sentiments that sounded like stuff white supremacists would advocate, not what members of the Republican Party would typically find acceptable. Telly recalled J.T. Ready, an Arizona Republican committeeman and a former member of the National Socialist Movement who killed his family and himself after the FBI began investigating his border militia group for the murder of undocumented immigrants. There was also Jack Hunter, who had worked as an aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) until it came out that hed made pro-Confederate statements and written that John Wilkes Booths heart was in the right place. These people didnt have much influence, Telly acknowledged, but it was fucking insane that they had any influence whatsoever. Things had gone so far to the right, and we wanted to pull them back to the left.

With its core members assembled, HARM planned an action: It would confront Buhls, who was holding a European Heritage rally in downtown Bloomington. In preparation, the activists lifted weights in Sutherlins garage to beef up so we could break bones better, says Stuck, half-seriously. On the day of the rally, in April 2012, more than 100 people came out to protest Buhls, who showed up with just one friend. The HARM members didnt have a concrete plan to challenge Buhls, and before they could do anything two protesters ran up and punched him. His Celebrate White Heritage sign capsized into a sea of counterprotesters. Police whisked him away in a patrol car for his own safety.

A few weeks later, HARM stormed the restaurant in Illinois. While Sutherlin and the rest of the Tinley Park Five sat in jail, their comrades found their next target: the newly formed White Student Union at Indiana University. Matthew Heimbach, a white nationalist leader from Maryland, had pioneered the first White Student Union at Towson University outside Baltimore before helping spread the concept to other schools. Bloomingtons White Student Union announced its presence on campus by planning an American White History Month.

But less than a week after the White Student Union made its debut, a disturbing notice was posted on the groups Facebook page by its founder, an IU undergrad:

I just spent all night in the hospital.

While walking down 10tha blue van pulled up and four figures poured out of the vehicleAll of them wore all black clothing and had either ski masks or bandanas covering their faces

Whats up? Thats the only thing they said. I got hit in the head with something from behind. I fell down and told them that was enough. At this point allof them proceeded to kick me for what felt like hours. At some point I passed out. I didnt think I would ever wake up again.

None of it was trueit was an elaborate psyops scheme. HARM had plastered flyers all over Bloomington denouncing the White Student Unions founder as a racist and then promised to stop only if he handed over access to the groups Facebook page. Amazingly, he did. Then HARM invented the story of the beating to elicit notes of sympathy from other white supremacists. Once the post was up, they doxed those who replied, posting their real names and email addresses online.

Though we support direct action against white supremacy, an anonymous HARM member gloated on the groups website after revealing the hoax, we also believe in proportional responses and it is our belief that this fictitious action would have been overkill. In other words, actually beating up the college kid who started the White Student Union would have been a step too far, but harassing him and outing his sympathizers was not. Heimbach found a young naive conservative kid and turned him into the next battle in the war against racial supremacy, the HARM member wrote, adding that the student had agreed to disband the White Student Union as a result of the hacking. White supremacists are like rabid dogsJust like rabid dogs, putting them down is always the most humane approach.

I met Telly and Nomad in Columbus, Ohio, several months after the Tinley Park attack. Sutherlin and his brothers, his cousin, and Stuck were in Chicago awaiting trial, and Telly and Nomad were participating in a fundraiser to pay bail. They led me to a carriage house behind a big-ass, beautiful mansion, as Nomad described it, where a crowd of about 50 people greeted us. Many were HARM and ARA members, and I wondered if any of the remaining 13 fugitives were among them. (I never found out.) They were dressed in Mad Max-style punk garbblack jeans, black hoodies, bomber jackets, and combat boots, with neck and face tattoos, septum piercings, and rainbow-colored bandannas. They included a few African Americans and a dozen women. As Bob Fitrakis, a political-science professor and voting rights activist who hosted the event, wrote, they exuded an aura that made the Weathermen look like the Brady Bunch.

Fitrakis, a paunchy man with a ducktail mullet, was running for Congress as the candidate of the Green Party, which had co-sponsored the evening with ARA. His supporters, who had paid $25 to attend, mingled awkwardly with the radicals. Circulating among them was the Green Partys then-vice presidential candidate, an anti-poverty activist named Cheri Honkala. Dude, Nomad said to me after a woman wearing a pearl brooch offered him a glass of zinfandel on a silver tray. The switchblade tattooed across his throat wiggled as he spoke. This is a little out of my league.

These kids are the future, said a sweaty, elderly man who asked that I not use his name because he was a prominent professor. He wore a black blazer over a T-shirt with a peace sign. This is what the left needsworking-class, radical youth who arent afraid to get their hands dirty and scare the bejesus out of the teabaggers!

I guess theres a time and a place for everything, even electoral politics, Nomad said as he handed me a PBR, glaring at the clean-cut and middle-aged partygoers around us. He took a swig from a bottle of Southern Comfort hed stashed in his back pocket. Butand I hate to use gendered language like thisliberals are fucking pussies, man. Sometimes youve got to put on the big-boy boots and stomp through some mud.

After Honkala made a speech about her work as a housing activist in Philadelphia, Telly and two other ARA members sat at the front of the room and described what had happened at the Ashford House. Nomad, standing beside me, snorted tearfully into a red handkerchief when Telly read a letter Jason Sutherlin had sent from jail. People might think our actions are extreme, Telly told the crowd, but these guysneo-Nazisare often so far beyond the law that they dont respond to legal appeals. They dont care if hate crime legislation is enacted; it makes no difference to them. The situation in America has reached a critical tipping point, and we need to fight back with whatever tactics are effective at sending these guys back into the caves they crawled out of.

Right on, brother, a snowy-haired man said.

Other Green Party members golf-clapped. The professor in the black blazer raised his champagne glass.

A hand suddenly shot up in the crowd. Am I hearing you right? asked an elegant African American woman with a bundle of silver-streaked hair and a No War in Iraq button on her straw purse. You guys advocate violence? Shed never heard of HARM or ARA and had been attracted by their names, she explained, but werent they just as bad as the people they were fighting? Doesnt your approach make you just like the Nazis?

Bullshit, an ARA activist fake-sneezed, flashing a shit-eating smile. The questioner stormed out of the room. Telly ran a hand over his shaved head and sighed. Were not remotely the same, he told the remaining crowd. We support a diversity of tactics. He reminded listeners that most of ARAs actions were nonviolentremoving swastika tattoos from ex-convicts, counseling juvenile offenders, providing security at protests. Violence is never our default response, and its a tiny fraction of what we do, he said. But it is one weapon in our tool kit. Were not afraid to acknowledge when nonviolence is obviously not working. What youre doing, what the liberal left is doing, frankly isnt working.

Five months later, I met Jason Sutherlin at East Moline Correctional Center, a turreted fortress circled by razor wire rising out of the cornfields of western Illinois, where hed been sentenced to six years following a plea deal. His brothers, his cousin, and Stuck were sent elsewhere in the state to serve terms ranging from three and a half to six years. (A sixth Ashford House attacker, 28-year-old Jason Hammond, was later arrested and sentenced to three and a half years. His twin brother, Jeremy, is serving a 10-year sentence for hacking the security company Stratfor.) The rest of the Tinley Park attackers remain at large and are unknown.

Sutherlin shook my hand, the T-I-M-E on his knuckles interlacing through mine, as he sheepishly slipped the B-O-M-B hand into the pocket of his prison denims. That guy acts tougher than he is, he said, nodding toward a beefy prisoner sitting near us in the visitation room, bouncing his son on a leg adorned with a large swastika tattoo. Sutherlins eyes are cottonseed blue and heavily lidded, and his slightly upturned nose gives him a wary, porcine appearance. On his bicep is a tattoo that says Fools Rush In, and he has the physique of a dead lifter, a huge torso held up by a pair of tiny sawhorse legs. My best friend in here is a queer black dude, he told me, grinning. But the Nazis dont mess with us.

White supremacist gangs have an active presence in some Illinois prisons, and Sutherlin told me a story about a white guard who had approached him one day and said, menacingly, I know why youre in here. Later, Sutherlin found himself alone with the same guard. The guard walked up to Sutherlin and flashed a photo of his wife, who is African American. I think youll be all right in this prison, the guard said. I totally misread the dude, Sutherlin told me. He was congratulating me.

Why risk so much to fight racism? I asked. Is this even his fight?

My sister is black, he said, and that gave me a different experience of growing up in Indiana. Today, racism has reached a whole other level. It literally makes me sick to my stomach.

But why is violence necessary? I pressed him. You seem awfully preoccupied with moralityisnt violence wrong?

Part of me feels bad for the whole attack, he said. Some central part of me thinks that all violence is oppression, and its never, ever right to oppress another person for their beliefs, identity, sexuality, or any other reason, no matter how heinous. But another part of me thinks that these guys arent worth that considerationtheyre such scumbags. All you can do is stop them from influencing others at this point.

Is it a danger to dehumanize them?

Yeah, man, it is. I think about that every day. I dont want to dehumanize anybody.

I later spoke with Brandon Spiller, whom Sutherlin had hit in the head with a steel baton at Tinley Park. He told me that being attacked had strengthened his conviction that whites are under siege in America. In the months after the assault, he said hed received dozens of threatening phone calls from ARA members at his home in Wisconsin. Its definitely made me more likely to use my gun next time, he said.

This is one of the paradoxes of militant anti-racist tactics: Attempting to stop hate crimes by policing thought crimes may reinforce the narrative of victimization that radicalizes some extremists in the first place. Research also suggests that violent protest may drive would-be allies toward more reactionary positions. Even Ignatiev, the anti-racist intellectual, doubts the efficacy of attacks like the one at the Ashford House. Activists should focus on dismantling the institutions and social structure that perpetuate racism, he has written. Race is not the work of racists.

Heimbach, now the head of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, told me that groups like ARA help his cause. (Heimbach was filmed shoving a protester at a Trump campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky, in April 2016.) They help reinforce our narrative of white victimization and make recruitment easier.

Beckie Williams, however, wrote two weeks after the attack that the incident had caused her to abandon the white power movement. Because of the relentless harassment by the ARA TERRORISTS, she posted on Stormfront, my already tenuous health is being impacted in a extremely severe way. My only recourse is to step away from activism for the sake of my continued survival. (The other targets of the Tinley Park attack could not be reached for comment.)

After buying Sutherlin another microwave cheeseburger, I suggested that, while his actions might be appropriate in a society like Nazi Germany, in a democracy like ours, maybe theyre not. But he didnt buy that; he believes its the responsibility of groups like HARM to police the boundary between democracy and fascism, keeping right-wing extremists in check, disorganized and unable to spread their ideas in public or harass people. Were not living in a fascist society, Sutherlin said. I know that. But its happening all around us, in fits and starts.

As Sutherlin scarfed down a third vending-machine cheeseburger, I asked him about Tony Horwitzs book Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War, which Id mailed him. I feel like that book found me at just the right moment, he said, a bead of grease dribbling down his chin. Wed been discussing the lesser-known details of Browns life, like his murder of slavery advocates at Pottawatomie Creek in Kansas in 1856, and the fact that his raid on Harpers Ferry was widely denounced as fanatical violence, even by President Abraham Lincoln. I dont know if were headed for a similar moment in American politics, Sutherlin continued. But if we are, I want to be someone who did something to stop it, not someone who played it safe and stood by.

Ten feet away, the guy with the swastika tattoo kissed his son goodbye, and a guard led him away. The brawny, bearded Nazi could have been mistaken for one of Sutherlins brothers, the resemblance was so strong.

In January, just before Trumps inauguration, I spoke with Sutherlin and Telly. All six of the Tinley Park attackers had been released from prison and HARM had gone dormant. Telly lives on the East Coast and has helped create a new group, the Torch Network, which combines several of the most radical ARA chapters, including those in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Central Texas. It promises to be just as militant as ARA, if not more. New groups call me up and ask for advice, Telly said. He cited the emergence of anti-fascist groups like the John Brown Militia, Redneck Revolt, and the Bastards Motorcycle Club as reasons to be optimistic, but otherwise he was gloomy. I dont know what to tell them, he said. We lost. Someone like Trump is what we were trying to prevent from happening.

I thought we were being alarmist, Sutherlin said with a chuckle when I called him at his home outside Bloomington, but it turns out things were way worse than even we imagined. Hes no longer on parole and has been lying low, taking care of his six-year-old son and going to anti-Trump rallies but avoiding more militant activism. Since the election, he said, hed also heard from people who were inspired by his example and seeking his advice. One was a childhood friend, a gun-loving backwoods survivalist who had never been political until Trump was elected but recently bought more weapons and talked about defending himself against the radical right wing. I think a lot of people are now realizing that you cant be neutral, Sutherlin said. A lot of people are suddenly realizing you have to pick a side and go to war.

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Antifa member uses flagpole with nail to attack police horse: Cops. You’ll love the group’s reply. – TheBlaze.com

Police in Pennsylvanias state capital said a member of the leftist antifa group known for assaulting supporters of Republican President Donald Trump at rallies across the country was arrested after using a flagpole with a silver nail at the top to hit a state troopers horse in the neck at a demonstration Saturday.

AuthoritieschargedLisa Joy Simon, 23, with aggravated assault to police, taunting a police animal, prohibited offensive weapons, obstruction to law enforcement function, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. She was arraigned and taken to Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail, WPMT-TV reported.

Harrisburg police said Simon was among antifa members protesting those marching against Islamic Shariah Law an event that took place in more than20 U.S. cities Saturday and drew similar counter-protests.

Shortly after 11:30 a.m. EDT, multiple mounted Pennsylvania State Police Troopers and Harrisburg police were attempting to control the crowd when police said Simon attacked a troopers horse named Sampson with the flag pole.

State police told PennLive other protesters were seen carrying weapons such as sharpened bamboo poles and baseball bats.

Police said the horse was able to continue working with minimal injury. Pennsylvania State Police on Wednesday told TheBlaze the alleged attack was a swipe against the horse and that the animals skin was not broken.

Heres what the South Jersey ANTIFA Facebook page had to say about the incident, according to WPMT:

A comrade was arrested while trying to demonstrate against an anti-Muslim rally in Harrisburg, PA. The charges are entirely fabricated and do not reflect what actually happened during the incident. The bail is set at an extraordinary $100,000. It is clear that this person is being held as a political prisoner, and we must make it known that we will not be intimidated by a militarized police, that we will remain resolute in standing by the values of our movement, and that we will continue to combat fascism wherever it attempts to spread.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 6, the station said.

(H/T: Heat Street)

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Antifa member uses flagpole with nail to attack police horse: Cops. You’ll love the group’s reply. – TheBlaze.com

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Philly counterprotest woman charged with allegedly striking police horse at conservative rally – Metro US

A Philadelphia woman attending an ACT for America rally in Harrisburg was arrested last weekend when she allegedly struck a Pennsylvania State Police horse in the side of the neck with a flag pole.

According to police, Lisa Joy Simon, 23, was arrested on Saturday after she used a flag pole with a silver nail at the top of the pole to strike a police horse named Sampson in the neck at about 11:32 a.m.

Simon was in attendance, police said, at one of several marches held in protest of alleged Sharia law across the country last weekend organized by the conservative group ACT for America.

An ACT spokeswoman said Simon was not one of their members and was in attendance as part of a counterprotest.

“Our people are normally very respectful of the police. I dont think they would purposefully stab a police horse in the neck,” spokeswoman Carrie French said. “It really sounds out of character for our people. Other reports have said she was with Antifa.”

Law enforcement officials said the rally marchers headed north on North ThirdStreet into Harrisburgs midtown area, and multiple Pennsylvania State Police mounted units were working to keep the marchers from blocking the 1200 block of North SixthStreet.

At that time, police said, Simon struck the police horse, Sampson, in the neck and obstructed other officers from being able to move the crowd onto the sidewalk along that block. After the incident, police said that the officer and Sampson were able to continue to work after suffering only a minimal injury.

Simon was arrested and charged with assault to police,taunting police animals,prohibited offensive weapons,obstruction to law enforcement function, resisting arrest anddisorderly conduct.

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Resist movement, violence are tearing America apart – Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The first skirmishes of a second American civil war have begun.

No, this is not a metaphorical analogy to that bloody conflict that killed approximately 620,000 Americans. It is an objective statement of the reality in America.

Since the election of 2016, the left has gone crazy. Their version of the tea party is called Resistance, and the spearhead of that is a loosely formed terrorist group called Antifa. Antifa is short for Anti-Fascist. The irony of their name is not lost on those who actually know history, as their tactics are straight from the fascist playbook.

In the past few months, these groups have repeatedly disrupted peaceful pro-Trump rallies. They have called for and used violence against people who support the president or disagree with them and even against members of the media who will report things Antifa doesnt want reported.

Just a few days ago, a woman associated with Antifa attacked a police horse, using a flagpole with nails extending from it. At the same incident in Pennsylvania, other Antifa terrorists had sharpened bamboo poles and baseball bats.

Conservatives and those perceived to be conservatives have been attacked. The weapons have included glitter-filled gel, urine bombs, chains, bicycle locks and baseball bats. As their violence becomes more intense, it is now only a question of when, not if, someone will be killed.

Violence is not limited to pro-Trump rallies. The same Antifa group has made college campuses virtually no-go zones for conservatives. Noted conservatives such as Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro cannot go onto many college campuses to speak without having their events disrupted to the point where they cannot go on.

If this violence continues, the choices are not good. The left-wing academic establishment has quickly surrendered to these groups. They are allowed to riot on campus and even given relief from homework and exams so they can riot.

Is there a solution short of a real, violent civil war in America?

California and Hawaii have recently announced that they would sign agreements with other nations so they could join the Paris climate change accord. Liberal states have this amazing ability to find things in the U.S. Constitution that people havent been able to find for over 200 years, but they ignore the plain language of the document that organizes the United States of America.

At this point, is there any way that America can hold together as a single, united country?

When states are wanting to sign their own treaties with other nations and when one-half of the political spectrum in this nation wants to strip the other half of its rights and engage in violence against them, survival seems improbable.

After Donald Trump was elected as president, the hashtag #Calexit started trending on social media. Members of the radical left pushed the idea of California leaving the United States. That idea was tried once before with less-than-great results, but maybe it is time for a peaceful solution that would allow California to leave the Union.

There was a time when Americans, despite their differences, clearly identified as Americans above all else. That time has now passed.

Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest tea party groups in the country and the No. 1 national tea party site on the internet.

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Antifa Stabs Police Horse in Neck at Pennsylvania Demonstration – Heat Street

A Philadelphia member of Antifa, the anti-fascist protest group thats caused a number of incidents across the country in its effort to resist President Donald Trump, is in jail after she allegedly attacked and stabbed a Pennsylvania police horse.

The horse, Sampson, and his human partner were part of a small group of Pennsylvania State Trooper mounted police, performing crowd control at a March Against Sharia on Saturday.

Lisa Simon, an Antifa counter-protester of the March, reportedly attacked the horse with a flag pole that had a nail driven into one end in an effort to get the horse to run, causing chaos in the crowd, according to law enforcement.

Simon stabbed the horse in the neck with the weapon, but the horse was able to keep composure and continued to work despite his injury. Simon, realizing she had not made headway in her effort, then attempted to obstruct police from moving the crowd along the block where they were working.

She is now is facing a host of charges, including aggravated assault, illegally taunting a police animal, prohibited offensive weapons, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstruction of administrative law. She was arraigned Tuesday, and is currently being held on $100,000 bail.

Antifa, of course, disputes that Simon did anything and is urging their comrades-in-arms to rally to her defense on their Facebook page.

A comrade was arrested while trying to demonstrate against an anti-Muslim rally in Harrisburg, PA. The charges are entirely fabricated and do not reflect what actually happened during the incident, their statement says, going on to describe Simon as a political prisoner, and the charges as fabricated.

They also say they will continue to abide by the values of their movement, which include anti-corporatismwhich apparently doesnt include not posting on a heavily corporate social media network.

Sampson, the horse, is said to be recovering and is still able to work.

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The Lost History of Antifa – jacobinmag.com

The origins of the word antifa shorthand for decentralized, militant street activism associated with its own aesthetic and subculture might be murky to most readers. Even in Germany, few know much about the popular forms of antifascist resistance that coined the term.

The movements short but inspiring political legacy proved too uncomfortable for both Cold War-era German states, and was ignored in schools and mainstream history. Today its legacy is almost entirely lost to the Left.

By 1945, Hitlers Third Reich lay physically destroyed and politically exhausted. Basic civil society ceased to function in many areas, as the Nazi grip on power faltered and regime supporters, particularly in the middle- and upper classes, realized that Hitlers final victory was a fantasy.

On the Left, many Communists and Social Democrats had either been outright murdered by the Nazis, or died in the ensuing war. The unimaginable human and material destruction wrought by Nazi rule killed millions and turned German society upside down, decimating the labor movement and murdering most of the countrys Jewish population. Millions who had supported or at least acquiesced to the regime including many workers and even some former socialists now faced a new beginning in unknown political terrain.

Yet despite its failure to stop Hitler in 1933 and veritable dismantling in subsequent years, Germanys socialist labor movement and its decidedly progressive traditions outlived Hitler in the factories of its industrial cities, and began gathering up the fragments as soon as open political activity became possible. As historian Gareth Dale describes:

Of all sectors of the population, it was industrial workers in the major towns that showed the greatest immunity to Nazism. Many trade unionists and socialists were able to maintain their traditions and beliefs, at least in some form, through the Nazi era. A courageous minority, including some 150,000 Communists, took part in illegal resistance. Wider layers avoided danger but were able to keep labour movement values and memories alive amongst groups of friends, in workplaces and on housing estates.

These groups, oftentimes launched from the aforementioned housing estates, were generally called Antifaschistische Ausschsse, Antifaschistische Kommittees, or the now famous Antifaschistische Aktion Antifa for short. They drew on the slogans and orientation of the prewar united front strategy, adopting the word Antifa from a last-ditch attempt to establish a cross-party alliance between Communist and Social Democratic workers in 1932. The alliances iconic logo, devised by Association of Revolutionary Visual Artists members Max Keilson and Max Gebhard, has been since become one of the Lefts most well-known symbols.

After the war, Antifas varied in size and composition across the former Reich, now divided into four zones of occupation, and developed in interaction with the local occupying power. Emerging seemingly overnight in dozens of cities, most formed immediately after Allied forces arrived, while some such as the group in Wuppertal liberated themselves in street battles with Hitler loyalists before the Allies could.

Pivotally, these circles were not spontaneous instances of solidarization between traumatized war survivors, but the product of Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Communist Party (KPD) veterans reactivating prewar networks. Albrecht Lein reports that the core of the Braunschweig Antifa was made up of KPD and SPD members in their forties and fifties who had avoided the front, though Catholic workers organizations and other forces were also involved.

The Antifa groups numbered between several hundred and several thousand active members in most cities, while the openly decried lack of youth involvement can be ascribed to twelve years of Nazi education and socialization, which annihilated the once widespread proletarian-socialist attitude among most young Germans. Though the material needs of war and reconstruction incorporated women into economic life in new ways, the male dominance characteristic of German society at the time was also reflected in the Antifa movement, which consisted largely (but not entirely) of men.

Antifas tended to focus on a combination of hunting down Nazi criminals and underground Nazi partisans (the so-called Werewolves) and practical concerns affecting the general population. Braunschweigs Antifa, for example, printed a twelve-point program demanding, among other things, the removal of Nazis from all administrative bodies and their immediate replacement with competent antifascists, liquidation of Nazi assets to provide for war victims, emergency laws to prosecute local fascists, and the reestablishment of the public health-care service. Typical of an organization led by socialists and thus keenly aware of the need for print media as an organizing medium, the programs twelfth and final point consisted bluntly of a Daily newspaper.

Although surviving records indicate that many Antifas were dominated by the KPD, the political mood in the early months was far from the Third Period adventurism of the late Weimar period. Across the board, local Antifas were motivated by a desire to learn from the mistakes of 1933 and build a non-sectarian labor movement bridging divisions. This was buoyed by a widespread sense at the wars end that the horrors of Nazism had been a result of the instability and inequality of capitalism, and that a new, egalitarian economic system was needed for the postwar order.

Demands for nationalization of industry and other left-wing policies were widespread. Even the forced marriage between KPD and SPD into the Socialist Unity Party (SED) in the Soviet zone drew on this sentiment and recruited many former oppositionists in the first year. In British-occupied Hamburg, a joint KPD-SPD action committee convened in July 1945 with broad support from their respective memberships to declare:

The will to merge into a powerful political party lives in the hearts of the millions of supporters of the once warring German workers parties as the most meaningful outcome of their shared suffering. This desire is deeply etched into all of the surviving prisoners from the concentration camps, prisons, and Gestapo institutions.

The rest of the document consisted of practical demands around which to unite Hamburgs fragmented labor movement.

Antifas enjoyed varying degrees of success depending on the composition of the local movement and the amount of leeway allowed to them by occupying powers. Despite forming outside of the Allied administration and pushing forward popular de-Nazification policies against occupying forces who sought reconciliation with the old authorities, they were in no position to contest Allied hegemony and represented militant minorities at best.

The southwestern industrial city of Stuttgart, for example, was fortunate enough to be involved in territorial maneuvering between the United States and France, which occupied the city preemptively. Keen to avoid civil unrest and thus give the Americans a pretext to take it back, French authorities allowed Stuttgarts antifascists considerable leeway in dismantling the Nazi-era German Labor Front (DAF), rebuilding shop-floor organization in the factories, and organizing the population in cross-party antifascist alliances.

Stuttgart is also noteworthy for the presence of the Communist Party (Opposition), or KPO. This group around former KPD leaders August Thalheimer and Heinrich Brandler had recruited a large number of the citys mid-level KPD factory activists and functionaries following that partys ultra-left turn in 1929. The KPOs vocal advocacy for an anti-Nazi front of all workers organizations in the run-up to 1933 allowed it to consolidate a small but considerable base of experienced Communist cadre repulsed by the Stalinization of their party.

Although never a mass organization and only a shadow of its former self after the war, what remained of the KPO had a decisive influence over Stuttgarts metal workers union for several years and was able to play a role in the factories. These activists and others provided the city with a core of capable militants who understood, through experience, the need to unite workers on a cross-party basis around basic social demands.

Like everywhere else in Germany, Stuttgarts Antifa movement was soon neutralized and diverted back into the old divisions between SPD and KPD, but the citys rebellious tradition and penchant for unity in action would reemerge in 1948, when widespread anger at drastic price rises triggered a citywide general strike that encompassed 79 percent of the workforce and spread to several other localities.

The Antifa movement faced an almost impossible situation in 1945. The country lay in ruins in every sense imaginable, and had gone through a phase of destruction, brutality, and wanton murder unprecedented in scale.

The Antifas predicament was by and large overdetermined, in the sense that historical forces beyond their control would ultimately seal their fate. These socialists and antifascists, though numbering in the tens of thousands across the country, could not have been expected to provide a plausible political alternative to the overwhelming might of the Cold War.

Germany in 1945 was set to become the staging ground for the longest geopolitical confrontation in modern history, and there was no way the fragments of a shattered socialist movement could have influenced developments in any meaningful way. Nevertheless, statements and documents from the time reveal thousands of determined antifascists and socialists, keenly aware of the unprecedented nature of their historical moment and putting forward a political perspective for what remained of the countrys working class.

Although their numbers were comparatively and regrettably few given the movements former glory, their existence refutes the notion that the prewar German left was entirely destroyed by Nazism. Hitler certainly broke the back of German socialism, but West Germanys postwar prosperity laced with anti-Communist paranoia would finally bury what remained of the countrys radical prewar traditions.

Albrecht Lein recounts how the incredibly difficult conditions facing the Antifa also necessarily restricted their political perspective. Though they attracted thousands of socialists and were soon bolstered by returning Communists and other political prisoners from the concentration camps, briefly becoming the dominant political force in cities like Braunschweig, they were unable to offer a political road out of the countrys social misery.

Lein argues that the labor movements failure to defeat Hitler and the fact that Germany had required liberation from without drove antifascists to a largely reactive policy, vigorously pursuing former Nazi officials and purging society of collaborators, but neglecting to build a plausible vision for a new Germany beyond both fascism and Cold War machinations.

After the Communists dissolved the National Committee for a Free Germany (NKFD) in the weeks after the war, underground Nazi resistance groups began calling themselves the Movement for a Free Germany. Lein argues that this circumstance was symbolic of the overall political trajectory at the time: Other than the notable exceptions of Leipzig, Berlin and Munich, the antifascist movements described themselves as fighting organizations against fascism, and not as Committees for a Free Germany. Leaving the task of gathering social forces for liberation and thus, implicitly, renewing Germany to the Nazis and reactionaries characterized […] their defensive position.

Germans failure to engage in popular resistance to Hitler even in the second half of the war understandably demoralized the Left and shook its faith in the masses capabilities a trait historian Martin Sabrow also ascribes to the caste of Communist functionaries operating under Soviet tutelage in the East.

In the French, British, and American zones, Antifas began to recede by the late summer of 1945, marginalized by Allied bans on political organization and re-emerging divisions within the movement itself. The Social Democratic leadership under Kurt Schumacher sided with the Western occupiers and returned the party to its prewar anti-Communist line by the end of the year, decreeing that SPD membership was incompatible with participation in the Antifa movement.

In Stuttgart, the Antifa and what remained of the old trade union bureaucracy fought each other for political influence from the outset. The old leadership of the ADGB, prewar Germanys central trade union federation, sought to reestablish formalized employment relations in the occupied zones, which would at least mean a return to normalcy for Germanys working class. This ran counter to the approach of the Antifas, however, who cultivated strong ties to leftist shop stewards and factory committees, and usually called for nationalization and worker control of industry. These demands were ultimately not realistic in a shattered economy occupied by powerful foreign armies.

The prospect of stability and a degree of economic recovery under the SPD simply proved more appealing to workers forced to choose between that and the principled but harrowing struggle put forward by the Antifa.

Antifas were further hindered by the decision by the Allies, particularly the United States and Britain, to cooperate with what remained of the Nazi regime below its most executive levels. Antifas seeking to imprison local Nazi leaders or purge municipal bureaucracies were often stopped by occupying authorities who preferred to integrate functionaries of the old state into new, ostensibly democratic institutions.

This had less to do with any particular affinity between the Allies and ex-fascist functionaries so much as it served the practical interests of keeping German society running under exceedingly difficult conditions without ceding influence to the reemerging radical left. Outnumbered and outgunned by the occupying powers and outmaneuvered by the SPD, the Antifas influence in the three western zones of occupation would evaporate in less than a year. West German society stabilized, the Cold War polarized the continent, and the political forces of old Germany in alliance with Social Democracy and the emerging Western bloc consolidated their hold over the country.

The KPD, for its part, initially took on waves of new members, as its prestige rose in light of the Soviet victory over Hitler and broad anticapitalist sentiment. The party soon rebuilt its industrial bases, and by 1946 controlled just as many shop floor committees in the heavily industrialized Ruhr Region as the SPD. In his classic study of the German labor movement, Die deutsche Arbeiterbewegung, German scholar Arno Klnne places its total membership in the three Western zones of occupation at three hundred thousand in 1947, and six hundred thousand in the East prior to the founding of the SED in 1946.

Following a brief period of participation in postwar provisional governments, however, the Allies sidelined the KPD, and the party soon returned to its ultra-leftist line. It sealed its political irrelevance in 1951 with the passage of Thesis 37, a position paper on labor strategy riddled with antiSocial Democratic and anti-trade-union slurs. The motion, passed at the party conference, obligated all KPD members to obey party decisions above and against trade union directives if necessary. This move obliterated Communist support in the factories veritably overnight and relegated the party to societys fringes. It failed to re-enter parliament in the 1953 elections and was banned by the West German government outright in 1956.

Developments were markedly different in the Soviet zone, but ultimately ended in perhaps an even grimmer dead end: that of SED leader Walter Ulbrichts thoroughly Stalinized German Democratic Republic (GDR). An old-school Communist cadre from the partys early years, Ulbricht had survived twenty years of Stalinist purges and fascist repression to lead the Ulbricht Group, a team of exiled KPD functionaries who now returned from Moscow to rebuild the country under Soviet occupation.

Though the Red Army generals certainly did not have a particularly democratic or egalitarian vision for East Germany in mind, they rejected cooperation with the old Nazi hierarchy for their own reasons and for a while permitted Antifas and related institutions to operate relatively freely. Eyewitness accounts from as late as 1947 report of factories in East Germanys prewar industrial centers like Halle (traditional Communist strongholds) where KPD-led works councils exerted a decisive influence over factory life, confident enough to conduct negotiations and argue with Soviet authorities in some instances.

In an interview with Jacobin to be published later this year, veteran KPO activist Theodor Bergmann tells of Heinrich Adam, prewar KPO member and mechanic at the Zeiss optics factory in Jena who joined the SED in hopes of realizing socialist unity. Heinrich was an active Antifa and trade unionist who organized protests against the Soviets decision to take the Zeiss factory as war reparations (he suggested building a new factory in Russia instead). Adam was kicked out of the party for his independent views in 1952, although never persecuted, and lived out his days in Jena on a modest state pension for antifascist veterans.

In Dresden, a group of roughly eighty Communists, Social Democrats, and members of the left-social democratic Socialist Workers Party (SAP) formed a committee in May 1945 to surrender the city to the Red Army, citing broadcasts from the NKFD as inspiration. In cooperation with Soviet authorities, this group subsequently raided food and weapons stores from the German Labor Front and other Nazi institutions, and organized a distribution system for the citys populace in the first postwar weeks.

Reports from Soviet officials and the Ulbricht Group describe rival antifascist groups, generally tolerated by the occupation, which beyond arming residents and organizing shooting practice also arrested local Nazis and opened soup kitchens for refugees from the eastern provinces. Internal communications reveal that leading Communists thought little of the Antifa, dismissed by Ulbricht as the antifascist sects in a communiqu to Georgi Dimitrov in mid-1945.

The Ulbricht Groups initial goal was to incorporate as many of these antifascists into the KPD as possible, and feared that repression would repel rather than attract them. Former Ulbricht Group member Wolfgang Leonhard would later claim in his memoirs, Child of the Revolution, that Ulbricht explained to fellow Communist functionaries: Its quite clear its got to look democratic, but we must have everything in our control.

This period ended as the German Democratic Republic began to establish itself as a Soviet-style one-party state in the late 1940s, particularly after relatively free elections in 1946 delivered disappointing returns. Former KPO members and other oppositionists permitted to join after the war were investigated for past political crimes, purged, and often imprisoned. In the workplaces, the SED sought to rationalize production and thus neutralize the instances of factory control and democratic representation that had emerged.

The establishment of the Free German Trade Federation (FDGB) in 1946 marked the beginning of the SEDs attempt to establish party control over the factories. These unions in fact organized East German workers in line with the interests of their practical bosses, the East German state, and sought to buy their loyalty through socialist competition schemes, piece work, and union-sponsored vacation packages.

However, the free unions could not afford to phase out competitive elections overnight. Antifa activists were often elected to FDGB shop floor committees in early the years, thus exercising continued influence in the workplace for a bit longer. Some were integrated into mid-level management, while others refused to betray their principles and stepped down or were removed for political reasons.

The public split between the Soviet Union and Titos Yugoslavia in 1948 accelerated Stalinization in the Soviet occupation zone, and these limited spaces of self-organization were soon shut down entirely. Subsequently, the GDRs antifascist tradition would be diluted, distorted, and refashioned into an ahistorical national origins myth in which the citizens of East Germany were officially proclaimed the victors of history, but where little space remained for the real and complicated history, not to mention ambivalent role of Stalinized Communism, behind it.

Following their collapse in late 1945 and early 1946, Antifas would disappear from the German political stage for nearly four decades. The modern Antifa with which most people associate the term has no practical historical connection to the movement from which it takes its name, but is instead a product of West Germanys squatter scene and autonomist movement in the 1980s itself a unique outgrowth of 1968 considerably less oriented towards the industrial working class than its Italian counterpart. The first Antifas functioned as platforms to organize against far-right groups like the National Democratic Party (NPD) in an autonomist movement still numbering in the tens of thousands of active members and capable of occupying entire city blocks in some West German metropoles.

As the far right began to rebuild in the wake of German reunification, expressed in shocking mob attacks against asylum-seekers in several eastern provinces in the early 1990s, Antifa increasingly became a movement unto itself: a national network of dedicated antifascist groups organized into the Antifaschistische Aktion/Bundesweite Organisation (AA/BO).

In some ways, these groups were the inverse of their progenitors: rather than a broad alliance of socialists and progressives from separate, ideologically distinct currents, they were single-issue groups, expressly radical but vague and deeply heterogeneous in their specifics. Rather than a point of departure for young activists into a broader socialist and political left, Antifas outside of major cities are often the only political game in town, and function as a counter-cultural space with their own fashion styles, music scenes, and slang, rather than a component of a rooted mass movement within wider society.

After the AA/BO split in 2001, Antifas continued to work locally and regionally as dedicated networks of antifascists opposing far-right demonstrations and gatherings, though many also take up other left-wing issues and causes. What remains of the squats and infrastructure built up between the 1970s and 1990s continue to serve as important organizing and socializing spaces for the radical left, and Antifa as movement, trope, and general political outlook will no doubt continue to exist for quite some time but it would appear that this iteration of antifascism has also exhausted its political repertoire.

The movement has shrunken continuously since the late 1990s, fragmented across ideological lines and unable to adjust its original autonomist strategies to shifting patterns of urbanization and the rise of right-populism. Its most promising products of late the mass mobilizations against neo-Nazi marches in cities like Dresden, as well as the formation of a new, distinctively post-autonomist current in the form of the Interventionist Left mark a departure from rather than a revival of classical Antifa strategy.

Antifascism has surged to the fore of debates on the American left under Trumps presidency, and many of the tactics and visual styles of the German Antifa can be seen emerging in cities like Berkeley and elsewhere. Some argue that with the arrival of European-style neo-fascist movements on American shores, it is also time to import European Antifa tactics in response.

Yet the Antifa of today is not a product of a political victory from which we can draw our own strength, but of defeat socialisms defeat at the hands of Nazism and resurgent global capitalism, and later the exhaustion of the autonomist movement in the wake of the neoliberal turn and the sweeping gentrification of many German cities.

Although Antifas continue to function as important poles of attraction for radicalizing youth and guarantee that the far right rarely goes unopposed in many European countries, its political form is of an exclusive nature, couched in its own aesthetic and rhetorical style and inaccessible to the masses of uninitiated people getting involved in activism for the first time. A left-wing subculture with its own social spaces and cultural life is not the same thing as a mass social movement, and we cannot afford to confuse the two.

Of course, the Antifas experience in 1945 offers us equally few concrete lessons for how to fight a resurgent far right in the Trump era. Looking back at the history of the socialist left is not about distilling victorious formulas to be reproduced in the twenty-first century, but rather understanding how previous generations understood their own historical moment and built political organizations in response, in order to develop our own (hopefully more successfully models) for today.

The Antifas in Stuttgart, Braunschweig, and elsewhere faced impossible odds, but still sought to articulate a series of political demands and a practical organizational vision for the radicalizing workers willing to listen. Antifas refused to capitulate to their seemingly hopeless predicament and dared to dream big. Facing an even more fragmented and weakened left than in 1945, American antifascists will have to do the same.

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The Lost History of Antifa – jacobinmag.com

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Trolls Trick Alt-Right to Defend Confederate Statue – Daily Beast

Older members of the crowd carried Confederate flags, while the younger, internet-driven masses wore patches with 4chans Kekistan banner. Rally-goers in homemade armor and semi-automatic rifles paced Houstons Hermann Park, waiting for an enemy to appear.

The crowd, several hundred strong, gathered in the park on Saturday to defend a statue of Sam Houston, a slaveholder. They had gathered in response to reports that leftist protesters had planned a rally to remove the statue, despite Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner publicly stating that removing the statue wasnt even on my agenda. But as sniper rifles and Infowars-branded jackets crowded the park, it became evident that the left protesters were not coming. They had never planned to come. The rumors of an antifa protest were actually a hoax, orchestrated by an anti-left group defending Confederate monuments.

The rally began, as so many armed conflicts do, with Facebook posts.

Were about to have a huge event in Houston June 10 with the combined forces of several large groups, perhaps our biggest ever, the page Texas Antifa (short for anti-fascists) posted on May 18. The Fascists better not show up with violence or they will be limping home bruised, broken, hurt, and crying with their tails tucked between their legs.

The Texas Antifa is not a real group. The page is the latest in a growing genre of anti-antifa hoaxes, perpetrated by anonymous internet users on the right. Texas conservatives still fell for it.

Antifa have emerged as a perfect bogeyman for the alt-right, who have spent years online stoking fear about violence from imaginary enemies (usually people of color), or the perceived loss of their rights (usually at the hands of liberals, feminists, or family court). In antifa, the nebulous alt-right found an equally amorphous foe, one whose members openly boasted of punching the alt-right in the face. Alt-righters who go outside began planning armed counterprotests against antifa. And alt-righters on the internet began creating fake antifa accounts to discredit the largely anonymous movement.

One such parody account, @OfficialAntifa on Twitter, stirred outrage from the general public after it tweeted pictures of vandalized cemeteries on Memorial Day, purporting to have destroyed soldiers graves in an act of protest. The images, which actually contained images of years-old graffiti, were quickly picked up by alt-right conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, and disseminated to thousands of enraged followers. (@OfficialAntifa currently tweets anti-trans and anti-Muslim jokes.) A page purporting to be Boston Antifa drew the ire of actual New England antifa after it was revealed to be run by trolls.

In Houston, where Saturdays protests took place, multiple antifa pages claim legitimacy. The Houston Antifa appears to be the longest-running account, active since January 2016 with photos of its demonstrations dating back to that month. But theres also Antifa Texas-Oklahoma, as well as Texas Antifa (a public figure profile run by an alt-right user), Texas Antifa (a community page created last month that first advertised the June 10 protest against the Sam Houston statue), and Houston Antifa (a community page created last month that also advertised the protest and attempted to delegitimize the old Houston Antifa page).

In a Facebook messenger conversation, the older Houston Antifa page described the confusing state of affairs.

Ah the beauty and the horror of anonymous decentralized organizing, Houston Antifa told The Daily Beast.

Shortly after the Texas Antifa posted their plans to rally in Houstons Hermann Park, the Houston Antifa took to Facebook urging readers to unlike and unfollow this fake ass Texas Antifa page. Do NOT attend the June 10th Rally! This account was started a month ago and is in NO way, shape, or form affiliated with any actual Antifa Organization, PERIOD. Nice try, #MAGA chuds, go fuck yourselves.

The Houston Antifa told The Daily Beast that we are 100% positive that this group are outside actors/provocateurs and not just liberal centrists who are mistakenly proclaiming themselves Antifa.

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But just three days after the brand-new Texas Antifa page advertised its rally, the much-larger conservative group This Is Texas announced a counterprotest in response.

Antifa has come out saying they will be bringing several large (communist) groups together to host a rally around the Museum District in Houston, Texas on June 10, 2017, This Is Texas organizers wrote in a post to their nearly 4,000 members. This list includes Black Panther Party, Antifa & more. Their goal is to remove the Sam Houston statue. (This Is Texas did not return The Daily Beasts request for comment.)

But the so-called Texas Antifas goal was actually the opposite. The page was secretly run by a group claiming to be affiliated with the hacktivist collective Anonymous. In a Facebook conversation with The Daily Beast, the group claimed to have 11 members, although it refused to offer proof that it was affiliated with a larger Anonymous group.

In a video uploaded to the Texas Antifa YouTube channel (not to an Anonymous account) on June 7, the group declared that they had actually created the page as a hoax to drive gun-toting conservatives to defend the Sam Houston statue, which Houstons mayor has stated is not being considered for removal.

It was always an Anonymous event to drive support and attention to an expired Texas law that protected its historical monuments, the group said in its video. It never made it to the floor because the Democrats used a filibuster to run out the time so it could not be voted on.

The right rarely has but 5-30 people at any given event, the Texas Antifa page told The Daily Beast. We gave them a well known enemy, a righteous cause, and an immediate threat.

Some local media saw through the hoax. The Houston Press Craig Malisow debunked the Texas Antifa page as an alt-right prank on June 1, although the pages moderators, still proclaiming their authenticity, took to Facebook to attack Malisow by name.

The other group only partially duped were alt-righters who were better acquainted with internet hoaxes.

This is from a shitty satire page, a 4chan user posted last week about the alleged antifa rally, ignore it.

The normies are gethering [sic] in Houston, another 4chan poster wrote the day of the event. Proof that America can be trolled into being great again.

The statue defenders stormed the park, ready to defend themselves against the antifa and Black Panthers they had been told would be rallying. One young attendee, who was wearing an undersized Roman-style chestplate over makeshift military fatigues with a 4chan arm patch told the Houston Chronicles Evan Mintz that hed donned the armor out of fear that antifa would stab him.

But no leftists appeared. Outside the amplification chamber of the internet, the rally goers were just a crowd of people wearing ill-fitting armor to the park on a sweltering Texas day.

After the crowd ambled home, This Is Texas leaders returned to Facebook to address allegations that the whole event had been driven by a hoax.

For those who didnt know Antifa showed up and was putting on their mask in the bathroom by the amphitheater, once they turned the corner & saw the crowd they thought twice about it, the group posted. The [sic] did tag downtown up with posters on street signs & the metro rail area. So to those that said this is a hoax, maybe think twice before you speak next time.

The Houston Antifa said it was possible that the rally goers had spotted some antifa on their way to counterprotest at a nearby anti-Islam event, though its members had agreed to skip the hoax-driven in the park.

At least one This Is Texas organizer realized the makeshift army had been tricked.

In a now-deleted post, a This Is Texas administrator named Dave confessed his disillusion to the pages followers.

People – you were duped, he wrote. The charges you have heard about this being based on a hoax are all true. Did you see ONE Antifa, Black Panther, Black Lives Matter, or street gang member there??? At all?? ANYWHERE???

We were told Black Panthers were mobilized from Atlanta and we were told buses and buses of antis were on their way – never saw them, Dave wrote. Oh yeah – I saw a black guy with an AR-15, dressed in black, near the restrooms and thought YES! I found them! Then he stood up and I saw a Texas flag sweat towel in his pocket.

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Trolls Trick Alt-Right to Defend Confederate Statue – Daily Beast

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Conservatives, ‘Antifa’ Clash at Evergreen State College – Mediaite

Conservative activists clashed with far-left antifa counter-protesters on Thursday at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, as the former held a free speech rally that spotlighted the ongoing race-based controversy on the liberal campus. CBSs local affiliate in Seattle, KIRO-TV, covered the dueling protests in a Thursday write-up. The report first noted that a conservative, pro-Trump group protested at The Evergreen State College because they believe that political correctness and hatred has taken over the campus.’ The organization, Patriot Prayer, is active in the Pacific Northwest. On their Facebook page, they disclose that they us[e] the power of love and prayer to fight the corruption both in the government and citizen levels that seek to gain power through division and deception. KIROs article pointed out how the news outlet captured several Patriot Prayer protesters taking down a man for having a knife. There was one arrest during the evening demonstrations. Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson underlined that contrary to claims from left-wing activist, his group wasnt white supremacist. I love all people, because theyre human. It doesnt matter what the color of their skin is. Ok? And Im sick of hearing about that, Gibson said. If were white supremacists, why do we have more people of color rolling with us than they do? Thats what I want to understand. All those people dressed in all black, theyre the most whitest (sic) people Ive ever met in my life. Campus Reform also zeroed in on the face-off at the Washington State campus in a Friday report. The conservative website posted video footage taken that shows the scuffles between the black-clad antifa demonstrators and the American-flag waving conservatives (see video above). Riot police had to intervene to separate the two sides. Campus Reform outlined that the violence ensuedwhen a member of the Patriot Prayer chapter was attacked by one of the antifa protesters. The attacker was removed by police, but this failed to dissuade another antifa member from assaulting the leader of Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson, by macing him in the face. Gibson also revealed to the conservative website that he supports proposals by Washington State legislators that would end public funding of Evergreen State College. [image via screengrab] Have a tip we should know? tips@mediaite.com

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‘Boomer antifa’: White supremacists rip into paramilitary Oath … – Washington Post

On the surface, the white supremacists of the burgeoning alt-right movement seem to have a lot in common with the Oath Keepers, the anti-government militia group made up of former military and law enforcement people from around the country. They share a deep contempt for the federal government. They loathe political correctness in all its forms. They relish a good fight with left-wing activists. And, generally speaking, they support President Trump. But a confrontation at a recent rally in Houstonexposed some crucial differences between the alt-rights standard-bearers and the older, somewhat less radical Oath Keepers, and the fallout showed just how far they have drifted from one another. Last Saturday, hundreds of protesters supporting the group This Is Texas, reportedly an Oath Keepers affiliate, gathered at a park in Houston after reports circulated that a statue of slaveholder and former Texas governor Sam Houston was going to be removed. The reports turned out to be fabrications, as the Houston Chronicle reported, but a large crowd of demonstrators turned out, many of them wearing camouflage and carrying guns. A smaller contingent of white supremacists also attended, among them followers of the popular neo-Nazi hate site the Daily Stormer and the National Vanguard, a neo-Nazi splinter organization dedicated to racial cleansing. At some point, the two sides started arguing, with attendees from This Is Texas denouncing the white supremacists message. The tension erupted when a when young white supremacist the Daily Stormer called him one of ours was briefly put in a chokehold by an armed protester, then forced away from the demonstration by one of the organizers, David Amad, and a throng of others.Someone filmed the incident and postedthe footage to YouTube, and the confrontation was highlighted by theSouthern Poverty Law Center. Racists are not welcome amongst us, because racism is just plain stupid, Amad said in the video. And if you dont like that, I dont give a damn. The scuffle drew a flurry of attacks this week from the Daily Stormer and the white nationalist Altright.com, which blamed Oath Keepers for the incident and chided the militia group for not being as racist or radical as theywould prefer. Vicious, Freedom-Hating, Anti-Constitution Oath Keepers Might as Well be the Feds, read one headline. Oathkeepers turn against the alt-right, read another. The sites ridiculed the militia group as geriatrics, normies and cucks, using an insult popular on the alt-right for conservatives who arent right-wing enough. The Daily Stormer referred to the group as Boomer Antifa, a riff on the Oath Keepers perceived age range and the black clad anti-fascist protesters that have clashed with conservative activists at numerous political rallies this year. (As antifa refers to an anti-fascist movement on the extreme left, hurling this term at an ultraconservative is designed to be the ultimate insult.) They are obsessed with not being perceived as racists, due to their boomer brain programming, which leads them to believe that a racist is the most evil of all things, wrote Daily Stormer founder and editor Andrew Anglin. In fact, Im not even sure what their goal is exactly. In Facebook posts this week, the Oath Keepers denied that the armed demonstratorwho roughhoused the white supremacist was one of its own. The group said it couldnt confirm whether members of its Texas chapter had participated in the rally. Clearly some in the white nationalist movement will do anything they can to attribute every such incident to us, whether we were involved or not, because we are civic nationalist rather than white nationalists, wrote Oath Keepers president Stewart Rhodes. Oath Keepers was founded by Rhodes, an Army veteran, in 2009 and claims to have some 35,000 members nationwide. Its stated goal is to defend the Constitution at all costs. The groups members have become fixtures at political rallies and protests, where they show up wearing military gear and carrying assault weapons, for the self-proclaimed purpose of protecting controversial speakers and demonstrators from counterprotesters. They drew criticism for patrolling the streets of Ferguson, Mo., with semiautomatic rifles during the 2014 protests and riots over the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. A handful of Oath Keepers were present during the armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge in January 2016, and the groups leaders urged members to patrol polling places on Election Day in 2016. More recently, members have appeared as self-appointed security at conservative-led demonstrations in Oregon, California and elsewhere, ostensibly to defend attendees against antifa activists who turned out in opposition. Advocacy groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have dubbed the Oath Keepers and extremist patriot group, saying they have shown violent, racist and conspiratorial tendencies. The same organizations have dubbed Daily Stormer a dangerous hate site and a malignant presence. The Daily Stormers gripes over the incident in Houston gave way tofull-throated invectives against Oath Keepers this week. Put simply, the group isnt extreme enough for them. An anti-government militia that the ADL and SPLC say are planning to overthrow the government sounds pretty cool huh? Well, thats sadly not what they actually are, wrote Anglin, the editor. It seems theyre not keeping an oath to the Constitution, but rather an oath to John Lennons Imagine,’ he added. But as long as theyre out there, be weary. With what happened in Houston, theyve made it clear that they are hostile and violent toward us, meaning they are our enemies. A Daily Stormer author who attended the Houston demonstration wrote Tuesday: We have a worldview. These people have stale, meaningless talking points and vague principles that they dont even live up to if someone crosses a line they dont agree with. The Oath Keepers have been accused of racism and bigotry fortheir useof Confederate imagery at rallies and their defense of anti-Muslim activists, among other issues. Rhodes, the founder and president, seems concerned about being associated with white supremacist movements, and he has spoken out against racism as the alt-right has gained traction in recent months. Frankly, I dislike the neo-Nazis more than Anti-fa, since they try to worm their way in and by doing so, they harm the cause of liberty far more than the radical leftists could ever do, he wrote in April following a protest in Berkeley that was attended by Oath Keepers. I made it very clear that this is about CIVIC nationalism, and not white nationalism, and the white nationalists want to destroy all my family fought to preserve, and are as deadly to this Republic as any communist. Were not white nationalists. Were not racists of any kind, he told SPLC recently. And if they show up, I am going to personally, physically remove them. Because they are trying to co-opt what were trying to do. More from Morning Mix Rod Rosenstein issues cryptic warning about truth of stories attributed to anonymous officials Christopher Ruddy, the Trump whisperer: Im honest with him Trump calls mayor of shrinking Chesapeake island and tells him not to worry about it

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Inside the Underground Anti-Racist Movement That Brings the …

At lunchtime on May 19, 2012, 18 masked men and women shouldered through the front door of the Ashford House restaurant in Tinley Park, Illinois, a working-class suburb of Chicago. Some diners mistook the mob for armed robbers. Others thought they might be playing a practical joke. But Steven Speers, a stalactite-bearded 33-year-old who had just sat down for appetizers at a white nationalist meet and greet, had a hunch who they were. The gang filing in with baseball bats, police batons, hammers, and nunchucks were members of Anti-Racist Action (ARA) and the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement (HARM), two groups dedicated to violently confronting white supremacists. Hey, bitches! one of the anti-racists shouted before charging Speers table. ARA is going to fuck this place up! Speers stood up and warned his seven companions to prepare to fight. His girlfriend, Beckie Williams, who had organized the lunchtime gathering on the white supremacist website Stormfront, grabbed a butter knife. Francis Gilroy, a homeless man who had driven up from Florida to find work for whites, as an online ad for the meeting promised, tried to pull the attackers off his companions. Williams was clubbed on the arm. Speers was hit on the head so hard he vomited. An 80-year-old woman celebrating her granddaughters high school graduation at a nearby table was also pushed to the floor. A retired cop who believed he was witnessing a terrorist attack used a chair to knock out one of the masked intruders. Thats when they ran off, dragging their dazed companion. In less than two minutes, the anti-racists had unleashed a flurry of destruction. A mosaic of smashed glass covered the floor. Blood polka-dotted the ceiling. Three people required medical care. One group of attackers raced away in a cherry red Dodge Neon. Jason Sutherlin, a 33-year-old with the words TIME BOMB tattooed across his knuckles, rode shotgun. His half-brother Dylan drove, and his half-brother Cody, along with their cousin John Tucker, squeezed into the backseat with 22-year-old Alex Stuck, whod been decked in the restaurant. They sped toward Interstate 80, which would take them home to central Indiana. An off-duty police sergeant whod heard a radio call about the attack spotted the Neon and turned on her siren. When she looked inside the parked car, amid the sweaty men she saw a baton, a baseball cap that said Anti-Racist, and a black and red scarf spelling out HARM. The men were arrested and charged with felony mob action and aggravated battery, which together carried up to seven years behind bars. (Speers and Gilroy were also arrestedSpeers for a charge of possessing child pornography.) Jason Sutherlin Andrew Spear Sutherlin and his four compatriots would soon come to be known as the Tinley Park Five. Though they had launched the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement just six months earlier, the attack would make them the public faces of a small yet militant movement that had been waging war on right-wing extremists for decades. HARM was part of Anti-Racist Action, a national group that had spent more than 20 years trying to expose and combat radical right-wing activity with tactics that ranged from counseling kids in neo-Nazi gangs to harassment and physical violence. Most of their actions received little attention, though they occasionally made headlines, like after the 2002 Battle of York, where ARA members attacked a white supremacist march in a Pennsylvania town, or the time in 2009 when pepper-spray-wielding ARA members broke up a New York City speech by the British Holocaust denier David Irving. But mostly, this war was invisible beyond the predominantly white working-class youths caught up in it. As the election of Donald Trump has ushered white supremacists and their ideas from the fringes to the mainstream, their most militant foes have also come out of the shadows. On Inauguration Day, Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who coined the term alt-right, was punched in the face on a Washington, DC, street corner. The blow was caught on video, spawning countless remixes and a debate over the ethics and efficacy of Nazi punching. That same night, a Trump supporter shot and wounded an anti-fascist, or antifa, who was protesting a speech by Breitbart provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of Washington in Seattle. Less than two weeks later, black bloc protesters in Berkeley, California, helped force the cancellation of another Yiannopoulos speech, setting fires, smashing windows, and punching a Milo fan. Nationwide, new militant groups like Redneck Revolt are recruiting the next generation of activists who believe that white liberals are not up to the challenge of beating back right-wing extremists. The story of HARMs rise and fall is a prequel to this moment, and a revealing tale about an underground war thats been simmering for years and may now be poised to explode. The seed for HARM was planted in Peoples Park, a tangle of trees and footpaths in downtown Bloomington, Indiana, where in 1968 an African American graduate student named Clarence Turner opened a small store called the Black Market. In a state with a long history of white supremacism (in 1925, nearly one-third of all adult white males there belonged to the Ku Klux Klan, and the governor was a sympathizer), the shop celebrated African and African American culture by selling dashikis and Malcolm X speeches. A few months after it opened, two Klan members firebombed it on Christmas. This will not be an open season on niggers, Turner shouted during a rally in front of the ashen skeleton of his shop. By the 1990s, Peoples Park had become a hangout spot for punks, ravers, hippies, petty drug dealers, and college kids looking to score. It was there around 1996 that Jason Sutherlin met Telly, another teen from a nearby town. Telly introduced Sutherlin to Nomad, a hulking, half-Puerto Rican tattoo artist. (These names are aliases that they asked me to use to avoid being targeted by white supremacists; the investigation into the Tinley Park assaults is ongoing.) Long before they would become leaders of the local anti-racist movement, the three teens chased the same cute punk girls, Sutherlin recalls. At first, they were my competition, but then we became pals. The trio shared a love of hip-hop and punk and a hatred for bullies. It was at house parties and concerts that they got their first introduction to Indianas numerous white supremacist gangsspecifically, the Hammerskins and the Vinlanders Social Club. Sutherlin recalls attending a show where a Hammerskin stabbed a Latino kid. At another show, concertgoers tried to kick out a group of neo-Nazis, one of whom fired a gun into the air. (More recently, three Vinlanders nearly beat a homeless black man to death in Indianapolis in 2007.) Sutherlin was shocked by the neo-Nazis boldness, but he was just as impressed by how the older punks stood up to them. That culture of not taking any shit seeped into my consciousness. A rampaging neo-Nazi shot Won Joon Yoon outside the Korean United Methodist Church in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1999. Andrew Spear Sutherlin had grown up in a diverse, working-class family that moved frequently between Indiana, Texas, and Florida. We were crazy white trash, but my mom ran a very multicultural household, he said. He had a gay Latino babysitter and his younger sisters dad is black. Sutherlin recalled walking down the street with her near their home outside Bloomington when she was four. Look, a man shouted from the window of his pickup. Hes got his own little nigger! When the 14-year-old Sutherlin launched a bottle of Snapple at the truck, the man jumped out and beat him up. In that moment, I realized that if theres anything in life worth throwing down over, he said, that was it. In July 1999, a 21-year-old Indiana University student who had fallen under the sway of a neo-Nazi cult called the World Church of the Creator went on a two-state, three-day shooting spree, wounding nine people and killing two, including a Korean graduate student in Bloomington. Still, Sutherlin and his friends werent overtly interested in politics yetthey just liked hanging out in the park, going to shows, drinking, and getting into fights. Sutherlin describes himself during his teens and early 20s as a hoodrat. One night in 1999, after hed dropped out of school, he burglarized a house, stealing several computers to get money to buy cocaine. He was sentenced to two years. An acquaintance who was also an inmate at the same facility later joined the prison branch of the Vinlanders Social Club. He wasnt even racist, Sutherlin said, but I think the power of the group appealed to him. If youre a disaffected young man, any strong masculine identity will hold sway over you. Sutherlin became active in politics after getting out of prison and having a child. Bringing a son into this world made me feel like I had to make things better for him, he said. Punk, rap lyrics, and his familys diversity had fostered his interest in left-wing ideas, but now he read voraciously about slavery, capitalism, and sexism. Michelle Alexanders book The New Jim Crow, which documents the link between race and mass incarceration, blew my mind. He became fascinated by the militant 19th-century abolitionist John Brown. He went on a diet and lost nearly 150 pounds. When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, Sutherlin took it as a sign that America might finally be reckoning with its racist past. He was the first president I ever believed in, he says. Like, I was telling my family to vote for him. But after Obamas election, the political climate seemed to sour and the racial progress Sutherlin had hoped for never materialized. America just would not accept a black man as its leader. It enraged me to fully realize that. Fanning the flames of Sutherlins anger was the emergence of the tea party and birtherism, and the failure of mainstream Democratic or Republican politicians to aggressively challenge these movements racist and nativist messages. This frustration led him to Peoples Park, where a small crowd gathered at the former site of the Black Market one night in October 2011. Just three weeks after Occupy Wall Street took over New Yorks Zuccotti Park, Occupy Bloomington was born. Sutherlin helped build a kitchen and cook communal meals, and he didnt sleep for two days. He was thrilled to be involved in activism of some kind, even if it wasnt directly addressing racism. Toward the end of the year, Thomas Buhls, a former Marine and organizer for the Knights, the public wing of the Ku Klux Klan, showed up around Peoples Park handing out recruitment pamphlets and talking about white genocide. Buhls was part of a new wave of young white supremacists who pioneered the recruitment approach since adopted by the so-called alt-right: rebranding white nationalism not as a philosophy of racial superiority, but as a common-sense extension of identity politics in which the white working class is portrayed as victims of immigration, affirmative action, and multiculturalism. In this world-view, white anti-racists were an especially loathsome threat to racial solidarity. If I tell the obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews, wrote Robert Whitaker, a former Reagan administration aide, in his Mantra, a mini-manifesto that appeared online in 2006 and has served as a touchstone for white nationalists. They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white. Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white. Buhls was telling people the recession happened because of the Jew bankers, because the Latinos were stealing jobs, Sutherlin remembers. He and Telly would confront Buhls when they got the chance, and Sutherlin told him not to bother people in the park. His audacity, man, of showing up at the spot where the Black Market had been firebombed. I wasnt sure if I was racist or anti-racist, recalls Alex Stuck. I just knew I was pissed off. A high school dropout from Terre Haute, Indiana, who also participated in Occupy Bloomington, Stuck worked at a pizza shop beneath the pub where Sutherlin was a bartender and bouncer. Stuck had a cockatiel Mohawk, a teardrop inked beneath his right eye, and an underbite reminiscent of a French bulldog. I was your average dumb kid, he says. Id tell a racist joke or use a racist slur. But Sutherlin began to school him about white privilege, sexism, and structural racism. Before that, I was a muggle, Stuck says, referring to the term for Harry Potter characters without magical powers. The magic Sutherlin introduced him to was the history of the secret war between anti-racists and white supremacists. Like most wars, this one had its own martyrs and heroes. There was the tragedy of Greensboro, North Carolina, where in 1979 Klansmen and neo-Nazis opened fire on a Death to the Klan rally, killing five participants. There were the Baldies, a 1980s Minneapolis street crew, whose shaved heads, bomber jackets, boots, and braces mirrored the attire of the racist skinheads they booted out of town. And then there was Anti-Racist Action, which merged the moralism of Americas abolitionist tradition with the nihilism of punk rock and viewed the culture war as a literal war on racists, sexists, and homophobes, whom they denounced as fascists. Racism is an idea, an anonymous ARA member said in the 2000 documentary Invisible Revolution, but fascism is an idea mixed with action. It took fascism to establish Jim Crow and before that, slaveryAnti-Semitism has been around a long time, but it took fascism to [make] the HolocaustWhen you cross that threshold, you negate your rights to a calm, collective conversation. If ARA was the brawn of the anti-racist movement, its most prominent brain was Noel Ignatiev, a Marxist, an ex-steelworker, and a former lecturer for Harvard Universitys African American studies department. He founded a journal, Race Traitor, as a vehicle for his theories about how to attack and erode white privilege. Anti-racist whites must commit treason to whiteness by rejecting the benefits skin color confers upon them, Ignatiev argued. Be reverse Oreos, he told the New York Times in 1997. Defy the rules of whitenessflagrantly, publicly. When someone makes a racial slur in your presence, say, You probably think Im white because I look white.’ He added that challenging people on their whiteness can lead to harsh confrontations, even blows. Breitbart described him as the Harvard professor [who] calls for the destruction of the white race.’ Sutherlin, Telly, and Nomad cited this legacy as inspiration for the group they formed in the winter of 2011, just before Occupy Bloomington was evicted from Peoples Park. The feeling was that Occupy had been too moderate and unfocused, says Sutherlins cousin John Tucker, who worked with Sutherlin as a bouncer. He credits his interest in HARM to teenage run-ins with neo-Nazis and to the times he heard his mother, who has a dark complexion, being called wetback and squaw by strangers in Bloomington. This was going to be something more effective, Tucker said. Protesting and camping is nice, but this was going to have results. At HARMs first official meeting, a few dozen people showed up at Sutherlins apartment with potluck dishes and beer. Telly stood before the crowd and announced the new groups name and mission. Adopting Anti-Racist Actions four-point platform, HARM promised to fight racists with direct action, eschewing protests or legislative efforts in favor of, say, hacking neo-Nazis email accounts, providing security at gay pride parades, and exposing the shady pasts of bigoted candidates. This is a war, Telly said, and we intend to win. Thats when all but about 10 people left. Some of them were hipster liberals, said Stuck. Once it came down to the nitty-gritty and we started discussing tactics, they were like, We dont wanna be a part of this.’ Those who stayed included Tucker, whod never been involved in politics before, and Sutherlins affable 23-year-old half-brother, Cody. Nomad arrived later that night. Stuck recalls seeing himmuscular as a middleweight, his head Bic-razored, his throat adorned with a tattoo of a switchbladeand thinking, Thats who I want to be. I was a disenfranchised white youth, Stuck says, and thank God that [HARM] got to me first. I could have easily went the opposite direction. Nomad had that exact fear about his 14-year-old son, who had recently come home with a neo-Nazi recruitment flyer. White supremacists had even shown up at the tattoo parlor where Nomad worked and tried to recruit him, not realizing he was a militant anti-racistand half Puerto Rican. They are poisoning these kids, Nomad said. Telly was particularly alarmed by the growing acceptance of extreme right-wing ideas and figures. It was terrifying, he said. The birther movement and Arizonas 2010 anti-immigrant law were barely veiled racist sentiments that sounded like stuff white supremacists would advocate, not what members of the Republican Party would typically find acceptable. Telly recalled J.T. Ready, an Arizona Republican committeeman and a former member of the National Socialist Movement who killed his family and himself after the FBI began investigating his border militia group for the murder of undocumented immigrants. There was also Jack Hunter, who had worked as an aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) until it came out that hed made pro-Confederate statements and written that John Wilkes Booths heart was in the right place. These people didnt have much influence, Telly acknowledged, but it was fucking insane that they had any influence whatsoever. Things had gone so far to the right, and we wanted to pull them back to the left. With its core members assembled, HARM planned an action: It would confront Buhls, who was holding a European Heritage rally in downtown Bloomington. In preparation, the activists lifted weights in Sutherlins garage to beef up so we could break bones better, says Stuck, half-seriously. On the day of the rally, in April 2012, more than 100 people came out to protest Buhls, who showed up with just one friend. The HARM members didnt have a concrete plan to challenge Buhls, and before they could do anything two protesters ran up and punched him. His Celebrate White Heritage sign capsized into a sea of counterprotesters. Police whisked him away in a patrol car for his own safety. A few weeks later, HARM stormed the restaurant in Illinois. While Sutherlin and the rest of the Tinley Park Five sat in jail, their comrades found their next target: the newly formed White Student Union at Indiana University. Matthew Heimbach, a white nationalist leader from Maryland, had pioneered the first White Student Union at Towson University outside Baltimore before helping spread the concept to other schools. Bloomingtons White Student Union announced its presence on campus by planning an American White History Month. But less than a week after the White Student Union made its debut, a disturbing notice was posted on the groups Facebook page by its founder, an IU undergrad: I just spent all night in the hospital. While walking down 10tha blue van pulled up and four figures poured out of the vehicleAll of them wore all black clothing and had either ski masks or bandanas covering their faces Whats up? Thats the only thing they said. I got hit in the head with something from behind. I fell down and told them that was enough. At this point allof them proceeded to kick me for what felt like hours. At some point I passed out. I didnt think I would ever wake up again. None of it was trueit was an elaborate psyops scheme. HARM had plastered flyers all over Bloomington denouncing the White Student Unions founder as a racist and then promised to stop only if he handed over access to the groups Facebook page. Amazingly, he did. Then HARM invented the story of the beating to elicit notes of sympathy from other white supremacists. Once the post was up, they doxed those who replied, posting their real names and email addresses online. Though we support direct action against white supremacy, an anonymous HARM member gloated on the groups website after revealing the hoax, we also believe in proportional responses and it is our belief that this fictitious action would have been overkill. In other words, actually beating up the college kid who started the White Student Union would have been a step too far, but harassing him and outing his sympathizers was not. Heimbach found a young naive conservative kid and turned him into the next battle in the war against racial supremacy, the HARM member wrote, adding that the student had agreed to disband the White Student Union as a result of the hacking. White supremacists are like rabid dogsJust like rabid dogs, putting them down is always the most humane approach. I met Telly and Nomad in Columbus, Ohio, several months after the Tinley Park attack. Sutherlin and his brothers, his cousin, and Stuck were in Chicago awaiting trial, and Telly and Nomad were participating in a fundraiser to pay bail. They led me to a carriage house behind a big-ass, beautiful mansion, as Nomad described it, where a crowd of about 50 people greeted us. Many were HARM and ARA members, and I wondered if any of the remaining 13 fugitives were among them. (I never found out.) They were dressed in Mad Max-style punk garbblack jeans, black hoodies, bomber jackets, and combat boots, with neck and face tattoos, septum piercings, and rainbow-colored bandannas. They included a few African Americans and a dozen women. As Bob Fitrakis, a political-science professor and voting rights activist who hosted the event, wrote, they exuded an aura that made the Weathermen look like the Brady Bunch. Fitrakis, a paunchy man with a ducktail mullet, was running for Congress as the candidate of the Green Party, which had co-sponsored the evening with ARA. His supporters, who had paid $25 to attend, mingled awkwardly with the radicals. Circulating among them was the Green Partys then-vice presidential candidate, an anti-poverty activist named Cheri Honkala. Dude, Nomad said to me after a woman wearing a pearl brooch offered him a glass of zinfandel on a silver tray. The switchblade tattooed across his throat wiggled as he spoke. This is a little out of my league. These kids are the future, said a sweaty, elderly man who asked that I not use his name because he was a prominent professor. He wore a black blazer over a T-shirt with a peace sign. This is what the left needsworking-class, radical youth who arent afraid to get their hands dirty and scare the bejesus out of the teabaggers! I guess theres a time and a place for everything, even electoral politics, Nomad said as he handed me a PBR, glaring at the clean-cut and middle-aged partygoers around us. He took a swig from a bottle of Southern Comfort hed stashed in his back pocket. Butand I hate to use gendered language like thisliberals are fucking pussies, man. Sometimes youve got to put on the big-boy boots and stomp through some mud. After Honkala made a speech about her work as a housing activist in Philadelphia, Telly and two other ARA members sat at the front of the room and described what had happened at the Ashford House. Nomad, standing beside me, snorted tearfully into a red handkerchief when Telly read a letter Jason Sutherlin had sent from jail. People might think our actions are extreme, Telly told the crowd, but these guysneo-Nazisare often so far beyond the law that they dont respond to legal appeals. They dont care if hate crime legislation is enacted; it makes no difference to them. The situation in America has reached a critical tipping point, and we need to fight back with whatever tactics are effective at sending these guys back into the caves they crawled out of. Right on, brother, a snowy-haired man said. Other Green Party members golf-clapped. The professor in the black blazer raised his champagne glass. A hand suddenly shot up in the crowd. Am I hearing you right? asked an elegant African American woman with a bundle of silver-streaked hair and a No War in Iraq button on her straw purse. You guys advocate violence? Shed never heard of HARM or ARA and had been attracted by their names, she explained, but werent they just as bad as the people they were fighting? Doesnt your approach make you just like the Nazis? Bullshit, an ARA activist fake-sneezed, flashing a shit-eating smile. The questioner stormed out of the room. Telly ran a hand over his shaved head and sighed. Were not remotely the same, he told the remaining crowd. We support a diversity of tactics. He reminded listeners that most of ARAs actions were nonviolentremoving swastika tattoos from ex-convicts, counseling juvenile offenders, providing security at protests. Violence is never our default response, and its a tiny fraction of what we do, he said. But it is one weapon in our tool kit. Were not afraid to acknowledge when nonviolence is obviously not working. What youre doing, what the liberal left is doing, frankly isnt working. Five months later, I met Jason Sutherlin at East Moline Correctional Center, a turreted fortress circled by razor wire rising out of the cornfields of western Illinois, where hed been sentenced to six years following a plea deal. His brothers, his cousin, and Stuck were sent elsewhere in the state to serve terms ranging from three and a half to six years. (A sixth Ashford House attacker, 28-year-old Jason Hammond, was later arrested and sentenced to three and a half years. His twin brother, Jeremy, is serving a 10-year sentence for hacking the security company Stratfor.) The rest of the Tinley Park attackers remain at large and are unknown. Sutherlin shook my hand, the T-I-M-E on his knuckles interlacing through mine, as he sheepishly slipped the B-O-M-B hand into the pocket of his prison denims. That guy acts tougher than he is, he said, nodding toward a beefy prisoner sitting near us in the visitation room, bouncing his son on a leg adorned with a large swastika tattoo. Sutherlins eyes are cottonseed blue and heavily lidded, and his slightly upturned nose gives him a wary, porcine appearance. On his bicep is a tattoo that says Fools Rush In, and he has the physique of a dead lifter, a huge torso held up by a pair of tiny sawhorse legs. My best friend in here is a queer black dude, he told me, grinning. But the Nazis dont mess with us. White supremacist gangs have an active presence in some Illinois prisons, and Sutherlin told me a story about a white guard who had approached him one day and said, menacingly, I know why youre in here. Later, Sutherlin found himself alone with the same guard. The guard walked up to Sutherlin and flashed a photo of his wife, who is African American. I think youll be all right in this prison, the guard said. I totally misread the dude, Sutherlin told me. He was congratulating me. Why risk so much to fight racism? I asked. Is this even his fight? My sister is black, he said, and that gave me a different experience of growing up in Indiana. Today, racism has reached a whole other level. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. But why is violence necessary? I pressed him. You seem awfully preoccupied with moralityisnt violence wrong? Part of me feels bad for the whole attack, he said. Some central part of me thinks that all violence is oppression, and its never, ever right to oppress another person for their beliefs, identity, sexuality, or any other reason, no matter how heinous. But another part of me thinks that these guys arent worth that considerationtheyre such scumbags. All you can do is stop them from influencing others at this point. Is it a danger to dehumanize them? Yeah, man, it is. I think about that every day. I dont want to dehumanize anybody. I later spoke with Brandon Spiller, whom Sutherlin had hit in the head with a steel baton at Tinley Park. He told me that being attacked had strengthened his conviction that whites are under siege in America. In the months after the assault, he said hed received dozens of threatening phone calls from ARA members at his home in Wisconsin. Its definitely made me more likely to use my gun next time, he said. This is one of the paradoxes of militant anti-racist tactics: Attempting to stop hate crimes by policing thought crimes may reinforce the narrative of victimization that radicalizes some extremists in the first place. Research also suggests that violent protest may drive would-be allies toward more reactionary positions. Even Ignatiev, the anti-racist intellectual, doubts the efficacy of attacks like the one at the Ashford House. Activists should focus on dismantling the institutions and social structure that perpetuate racism, he has written. Race is not the work of racists. Heimbach, now the head of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, told me that groups like ARA help his cause. (Heimbach was filmed shoving a protester at a Trump campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky, in April 2016.) They help reinforce our narrative of white victimization and make recruitment easier. Beckie Williams, however, wrote two weeks after the attack that the incident had caused her to abandon the white power movement. Because of the relentless harassment by the ARA TERRORISTS, she posted on Stormfront, my already tenuous health is being impacted in a extremely severe way. My only recourse is to step away from activism for the sake of my continued survival. (The other targets of the Tinley Park attack could not be reached for comment.) After buying Sutherlin another microwave cheeseburger, I suggested that, while his actions might be appropriate in a society like Nazi Germany, in a democracy like ours, maybe theyre not. But he didnt buy that; he believes its the responsibility of groups like HARM to police the boundary between democracy and fascism, keeping right-wing extremists in check, disorganized and unable to spread their ideas in public or harass people. Were not living in a fascist society, Sutherlin said. I know that. But its happening all around us, in fits and starts. As Sutherlin scarfed down a third vending-machine cheeseburger, I asked him about Tony Horwitzs book Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War, which Id mailed him. I feel like that book found me at just the right moment, he said, a bead of grease dribbling down his chin. Wed been discussing the lesser-known details of Browns life, like his murder of slavery advocates at Pottawatomie Creek in Kansas in 1856, and the fact that his raid on Harpers Ferry was widely denounced as fanatical violence, even by President Abraham Lincoln. I dont know if were headed for a similar moment in American politics, Sutherlin continued. But if we are, I want to be someone who did something to stop it, not someone who played it safe and stood by. Ten feet away, the guy with the swastika tattoo kissed his son goodbye, and a guard led him away. The brawny, bearded Nazi could have been mistaken for one of Sutherlins brothers, the resemblance was so strong. In January, just before Trumps inauguration, I spoke with Sutherlin and Telly. All six of the Tinley Park attackers had been released from prison and HARM had gone dormant. Telly lives on the East Coast and has helped create a new group, the Torch Network, which combines several of the most radical ARA chapters, including those in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Central Texas. It promises to be just as militant as ARA, if not more. New groups call me up and ask for advice, Telly said. He cited the emergence of anti-fascist groups like the John Brown Militia, Redneck Revolt, and the Bastards Motorcycle Club as reasons to be optimistic, but otherwise he was gloomy. I dont know what to tell them, he said. We lost. Someone like Trump is what we were trying to prevent from happening. I thought we were being alarmist, Sutherlin said with a chuckle when I called him at his home outside Bloomington, but it turns out things were way worse than even we imagined. Hes no longer on parole and has been lying low, taking care of his six-year-old son and going to anti-Trump rallies but avoiding more militant activism. Since the election, he said, hed also heard from people who were inspired by his example and seeking his advice. One was a childhood friend, a gun-loving backwoods survivalist who had never been political until Trump was elected but recently bought more weapons and talked about defending himself against the radical right wing. I think a lot of people are now realizing that you cant be neutral, Sutherlin said. A lot of people are suddenly realizing you have to pick a side and go to war.

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June 15, 2017   Posted in: Antifa  Comments Closed

Antifa member uses flagpole with nail to attack police horse: Cops. You’ll love the group’s reply. – TheBlaze.com

Police in Pennsylvanias state capital said a member of the leftist antifa group known for assaulting supporters of Republican President Donald Trump at rallies across the country was arrested after using a flagpole with a silver nail at the top to hit a state troopers horse in the neck at a demonstration Saturday. AuthoritieschargedLisa Joy Simon, 23, with aggravated assault to police, taunting a police animal, prohibited offensive weapons, obstruction to law enforcement function, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. She was arraigned and taken to Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail, WPMT-TV reported. Harrisburg police said Simon was among antifa members protesting those marching against Islamic Shariah Law an event that took place in more than20 U.S. cities Saturday and drew similar counter-protests. Shortly after 11:30 a.m. EDT, multiple mounted Pennsylvania State Police Troopers and Harrisburg police were attempting to control the crowd when police said Simon attacked a troopers horse named Sampson with the flag pole. State police told PennLive other protesters were seen carrying weapons such as sharpened bamboo poles and baseball bats. Police said the horse was able to continue working with minimal injury. Pennsylvania State Police on Wednesday told TheBlaze the alleged attack was a swipe against the horse and that the animals skin was not broken. Heres what the South Jersey ANTIFA Facebook page had to say about the incident, according to WPMT: A comrade was arrested while trying to demonstrate against an anti-Muslim rally in Harrisburg, PA. The charges are entirely fabricated and do not reflect what actually happened during the incident. The bail is set at an extraordinary $100,000. It is clear that this person is being held as a political prisoner, and we must make it known that we will not be intimidated by a militarized police, that we will remain resolute in standing by the values of our movement, and that we will continue to combat fascism wherever it attempts to spread. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 6, the station said. (H/T: Heat Street)

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Philly counterprotest woman charged with allegedly striking police horse at conservative rally – Metro US

A Philadelphia woman attending an ACT for America rally in Harrisburg was arrested last weekend when she allegedly struck a Pennsylvania State Police horse in the side of the neck with a flag pole. According to police, Lisa Joy Simon, 23, was arrested on Saturday after she used a flag pole with a silver nail at the top of the pole to strike a police horse named Sampson in the neck at about 11:32 a.m. Simon was in attendance, police said, at one of several marches held in protest of alleged Sharia law across the country last weekend organized by the conservative group ACT for America. An ACT spokeswoman said Simon was not one of their members and was in attendance as part of a counterprotest. “Our people are normally very respectful of the police. I dont think they would purposefully stab a police horse in the neck,” spokeswoman Carrie French said. “It really sounds out of character for our people. Other reports have said she was with Antifa.” Law enforcement officials said the rally marchers headed north on North ThirdStreet into Harrisburgs midtown area, and multiple Pennsylvania State Police mounted units were working to keep the marchers from blocking the 1200 block of North SixthStreet. At that time, police said, Simon struck the police horse, Sampson, in the neck and obstructed other officers from being able to move the crowd onto the sidewalk along that block. After the incident, police said that the officer and Sampson were able to continue to work after suffering only a minimal injury. Simon was arrested and charged with assault to police,taunting police animals,prohibited offensive weapons,obstruction to law enforcement function, resisting arrest anddisorderly conduct.

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Resist movement, violence are tearing America apart – Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION: The first skirmishes of a second American civil war have begun. No, this is not a metaphorical analogy to that bloody conflict that killed approximately 620,000 Americans. It is an objective statement of the reality in America. Since the election of 2016, the left has gone crazy. Their version of the tea party is called Resistance, and the spearhead of that is a loosely formed terrorist group called Antifa. Antifa is short for Anti-Fascist. The irony of their name is not lost on those who actually know history, as their tactics are straight from the fascist playbook. In the past few months, these groups have repeatedly disrupted peaceful pro-Trump rallies. They have called for and used violence against people who support the president or disagree with them and even against members of the media who will report things Antifa doesnt want reported. Just a few days ago, a woman associated with Antifa attacked a police horse, using a flagpole with nails extending from it. At the same incident in Pennsylvania, other Antifa terrorists had sharpened bamboo poles and baseball bats. Conservatives and those perceived to be conservatives have been attacked. The weapons have included glitter-filled gel, urine bombs, chains, bicycle locks and baseball bats. As their violence becomes more intense, it is now only a question of when, not if, someone will be killed. Violence is not limited to pro-Trump rallies. The same Antifa group has made college campuses virtually no-go zones for conservatives. Noted conservatives such as Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro cannot go onto many college campuses to speak without having their events disrupted to the point where they cannot go on. If this violence continues, the choices are not good. The left-wing academic establishment has quickly surrendered to these groups. They are allowed to riot on campus and even given relief from homework and exams so they can riot. Is there a solution short of a real, violent civil war in America? California and Hawaii have recently announced that they would sign agreements with other nations so they could join the Paris climate change accord. Liberal states have this amazing ability to find things in the U.S. Constitution that people havent been able to find for over 200 years, but they ignore the plain language of the document that organizes the United States of America. At this point, is there any way that America can hold together as a single, united country? When states are wanting to sign their own treaties with other nations and when one-half of the political spectrum in this nation wants to strip the other half of its rights and engage in violence against them, survival seems improbable. After Donald Trump was elected as president, the hashtag #Calexit started trending on social media. Members of the radical left pushed the idea of California leaving the United States. That idea was tried once before with less-than-great results, but maybe it is time for a peaceful solution that would allow California to leave the Union. There was a time when Americans, despite their differences, clearly identified as Americans above all else. That time has now passed. Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest tea party groups in the country and the No. 1 national tea party site on the internet.

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Antifa Stabs Police Horse in Neck at Pennsylvania Demonstration – Heat Street

A Philadelphia member of Antifa, the anti-fascist protest group thats caused a number of incidents across the country in its effort to resist President Donald Trump, is in jail after she allegedly attacked and stabbed a Pennsylvania police horse. The horse, Sampson, and his human partner were part of a small group of Pennsylvania State Trooper mounted police, performing crowd control at a March Against Sharia on Saturday. Lisa Simon, an Antifa counter-protester of the March, reportedly attacked the horse with a flag pole that had a nail driven into one end in an effort to get the horse to run, causing chaos in the crowd, according to law enforcement. Simon stabbed the horse in the neck with the weapon, but the horse was able to keep composure and continued to work despite his injury. Simon, realizing she had not made headway in her effort, then attempted to obstruct police from moving the crowd along the block where they were working. She is now is facing a host of charges, including aggravated assault, illegally taunting a police animal, prohibited offensive weapons, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstruction of administrative law. She was arraigned Tuesday, and is currently being held on $100,000 bail. Antifa, of course, disputes that Simon did anything and is urging their comrades-in-arms to rally to her defense on their Facebook page. A comrade was arrested while trying to demonstrate against an anti-Muslim rally in Harrisburg, PA. The charges are entirely fabricated and do not reflect what actually happened during the incident, their statement says, going on to describe Simon as a political prisoner, and the charges as fabricated. They also say they will continue to abide by the values of their movement, which include anti-corporatismwhich apparently doesnt include not posting on a heavily corporate social media network. Sampson, the horse, is said to be recovering and is still able to work.

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June 14, 2017   Posted in: Antifa  Comments Closed

The Lost History of Antifa – jacobinmag.com

The origins of the word antifa shorthand for decentralized, militant street activism associated with its own aesthetic and subculture might be murky to most readers. Even in Germany, few know much about the popular forms of antifascist resistance that coined the term. The movements short but inspiring political legacy proved too uncomfortable for both Cold War-era German states, and was ignored in schools and mainstream history. Today its legacy is almost entirely lost to the Left. By 1945, Hitlers Third Reich lay physically destroyed and politically exhausted. Basic civil society ceased to function in many areas, as the Nazi grip on power faltered and regime supporters, particularly in the middle- and upper classes, realized that Hitlers final victory was a fantasy. On the Left, many Communists and Social Democrats had either been outright murdered by the Nazis, or died in the ensuing war. The unimaginable human and material destruction wrought by Nazi rule killed millions and turned German society upside down, decimating the labor movement and murdering most of the countrys Jewish population. Millions who had supported or at least acquiesced to the regime including many workers and even some former socialists now faced a new beginning in unknown political terrain. Yet despite its failure to stop Hitler in 1933 and veritable dismantling in subsequent years, Germanys socialist labor movement and its decidedly progressive traditions outlived Hitler in the factories of its industrial cities, and began gathering up the fragments as soon as open political activity became possible. As historian Gareth Dale describes: Of all sectors of the population, it was industrial workers in the major towns that showed the greatest immunity to Nazism. Many trade unionists and socialists were able to maintain their traditions and beliefs, at least in some form, through the Nazi era. A courageous minority, including some 150,000 Communists, took part in illegal resistance. Wider layers avoided danger but were able to keep labour movement values and memories alive amongst groups of friends, in workplaces and on housing estates. These groups, oftentimes launched from the aforementioned housing estates, were generally called Antifaschistische Ausschsse, Antifaschistische Kommittees, or the now famous Antifaschistische Aktion Antifa for short. They drew on the slogans and orientation of the prewar united front strategy, adopting the word Antifa from a last-ditch attempt to establish a cross-party alliance between Communist and Social Democratic workers in 1932. The alliances iconic logo, devised by Association of Revolutionary Visual Artists members Max Keilson and Max Gebhard, has been since become one of the Lefts most well-known symbols. After the war, Antifas varied in size and composition across the former Reich, now divided into four zones of occupation, and developed in interaction with the local occupying power. Emerging seemingly overnight in dozens of cities, most formed immediately after Allied forces arrived, while some such as the group in Wuppertal liberated themselves in street battles with Hitler loyalists before the Allies could. Pivotally, these circles were not spontaneous instances of solidarization between traumatized war survivors, but the product of Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Communist Party (KPD) veterans reactivating prewar networks. Albrecht Lein reports that the core of the Braunschweig Antifa was made up of KPD and SPD members in their forties and fifties who had avoided the front, though Catholic workers organizations and other forces were also involved. The Antifa groups numbered between several hundred and several thousand active members in most cities, while the openly decried lack of youth involvement can be ascribed to twelve years of Nazi education and socialization, which annihilated the once widespread proletarian-socialist attitude among most young Germans. Though the material needs of war and reconstruction incorporated women into economic life in new ways, the male dominance characteristic of German society at the time was also reflected in the Antifa movement, which consisted largely (but not entirely) of men. Antifas tended to focus on a combination of hunting down Nazi criminals and underground Nazi partisans (the so-called Werewolves) and practical concerns affecting the general population. Braunschweigs Antifa, for example, printed a twelve-point program demanding, among other things, the removal of Nazis from all administrative bodies and their immediate replacement with competent antifascists, liquidation of Nazi assets to provide for war victims, emergency laws to prosecute local fascists, and the reestablishment of the public health-care service. Typical of an organization led by socialists and thus keenly aware of the need for print media as an organizing medium, the programs twelfth and final point consisted bluntly of a Daily newspaper. Although surviving records indicate that many Antifas were dominated by the KPD, the political mood in the early months was far from the Third Period adventurism of the late Weimar period. Across the board, local Antifas were motivated by a desire to learn from the mistakes of 1933 and build a non-sectarian labor movement bridging divisions. This was buoyed by a widespread sense at the wars end that the horrors of Nazism had been a result of the instability and inequality of capitalism, and that a new, egalitarian economic system was needed for the postwar order. Demands for nationalization of industry and other left-wing policies were widespread. Even the forced marriage between KPD and SPD into the Socialist Unity Party (SED) in the Soviet zone drew on this sentiment and recruited many former oppositionists in the first year. In British-occupied Hamburg, a joint KPD-SPD action committee convened in July 1945 with broad support from their respective memberships to declare: The will to merge into a powerful political party lives in the hearts of the millions of supporters of the once warring German workers parties as the most meaningful outcome of their shared suffering. This desire is deeply etched into all of the surviving prisoners from the concentration camps, prisons, and Gestapo institutions. The rest of the document consisted of practical demands around which to unite Hamburgs fragmented labor movement. Antifas enjoyed varying degrees of success depending on the composition of the local movement and the amount of leeway allowed to them by occupying powers. Despite forming outside of the Allied administration and pushing forward popular de-Nazification policies against occupying forces who sought reconciliation with the old authorities, they were in no position to contest Allied hegemony and represented militant minorities at best. The southwestern industrial city of Stuttgart, for example, was fortunate enough to be involved in territorial maneuvering between the United States and France, which occupied the city preemptively. Keen to avoid civil unrest and thus give the Americans a pretext to take it back, French authorities allowed Stuttgarts antifascists considerable leeway in dismantling the Nazi-era German Labor Front (DAF), rebuilding shop-floor organization in the factories, and organizing the population in cross-party antifascist alliances. Stuttgart is also noteworthy for the presence of the Communist Party (Opposition), or KPO. This group around former KPD leaders August Thalheimer and Heinrich Brandler had recruited a large number of the citys mid-level KPD factory activists and functionaries following that partys ultra-left turn in 1929. The KPOs vocal advocacy for an anti-Nazi front of all workers organizations in the run-up to 1933 allowed it to consolidate a small but considerable base of experienced Communist cadre repulsed by the Stalinization of their party. Although never a mass organization and only a shadow of its former self after the war, what remained of the KPO had a decisive influence over Stuttgarts metal workers union for several years and was able to play a role in the factories. These activists and others provided the city with a core of capable militants who understood, through experience, the need to unite workers on a cross-party basis around basic social demands. Like everywhere else in Germany, Stuttgarts Antifa movement was soon neutralized and diverted back into the old divisions between SPD and KPD, but the citys rebellious tradition and penchant for unity in action would reemerge in 1948, when widespread anger at drastic price rises triggered a citywide general strike that encompassed 79 percent of the workforce and spread to several other localities. The Antifa movement faced an almost impossible situation in 1945. The country lay in ruins in every sense imaginable, and had gone through a phase of destruction, brutality, and wanton murder unprecedented in scale. The Antifas predicament was by and large overdetermined, in the sense that historical forces beyond their control would ultimately seal their fate. These socialists and antifascists, though numbering in the tens of thousands across the country, could not have been expected to provide a plausible political alternative to the overwhelming might of the Cold War. Germany in 1945 was set to become the staging ground for the longest geopolitical confrontation in modern history, and there was no way the fragments of a shattered socialist movement could have influenced developments in any meaningful way. Nevertheless, statements and documents from the time reveal thousands of determined antifascists and socialists, keenly aware of the unprecedented nature of their historical moment and putting forward a political perspective for what remained of the countrys working class. Although their numbers were comparatively and regrettably few given the movements former glory, their existence refutes the notion that the prewar German left was entirely destroyed by Nazism. Hitler certainly broke the back of German socialism, but West Germanys postwar prosperity laced with anti-Communist paranoia would finally bury what remained of the countrys radical prewar traditions. Albrecht Lein recounts how the incredibly difficult conditions facing the Antifa also necessarily restricted their political perspective. Though they attracted thousands of socialists and were soon bolstered by returning Communists and other political prisoners from the concentration camps, briefly becoming the dominant political force in cities like Braunschweig, they were unable to offer a political road out of the countrys social misery. Lein argues that the labor movements failure to defeat Hitler and the fact that Germany had required liberation from without drove antifascists to a largely reactive policy, vigorously pursuing former Nazi officials and purging society of collaborators, but neglecting to build a plausible vision for a new Germany beyond both fascism and Cold War machinations. After the Communists dissolved the National Committee for a Free Germany (NKFD) in the weeks after the war, underground Nazi resistance groups began calling themselves the Movement for a Free Germany. Lein argues that this circumstance was symbolic of the overall political trajectory at the time: Other than the notable exceptions of Leipzig, Berlin and Munich, the antifascist movements described themselves as fighting organizations against fascism, and not as Committees for a Free Germany. Leaving the task of gathering social forces for liberation and thus, implicitly, renewing Germany to the Nazis and reactionaries characterized their defensive position. Germans failure to engage in popular resistance to Hitler even in the second half of the war understandably demoralized the Left and shook its faith in the masses capabilities a trait historian Martin Sabrow also ascribes to the caste of Communist functionaries operating under Soviet tutelage in the East. In the French, British, and American zones, Antifas began to recede by the late summer of 1945, marginalized by Allied bans on political organization and re-emerging divisions within the movement itself. The Social Democratic leadership under Kurt Schumacher sided with the Western occupiers and returned the party to its prewar anti-Communist line by the end of the year, decreeing that SPD membership was incompatible with participation in the Antifa movement. In Stuttgart, the Antifa and what remained of the old trade union bureaucracy fought each other for political influence from the outset. The old leadership of the ADGB, prewar Germanys central trade union federation, sought to reestablish formalized employment relations in the occupied zones, which would at least mean a return to normalcy for Germanys working class. This ran counter to the approach of the Antifas, however, who cultivated strong ties to leftist shop stewards and factory committees, and usually called for nationalization and worker control of industry. These demands were ultimately not realistic in a shattered economy occupied by powerful foreign armies. The prospect of stability and a degree of economic recovery under the SPD simply proved more appealing to workers forced to choose between that and the principled but harrowing struggle put forward by the Antifa. Antifas were further hindered by the decision by the Allies, particularly the United States and Britain, to cooperate with what remained of the Nazi regime below its most executive levels. Antifas seeking to imprison local Nazi leaders or purge municipal bureaucracies were often stopped by occupying authorities who preferred to integrate functionaries of the old state into new, ostensibly democratic institutions. This had less to do with any particular affinity between the Allies and ex-fascist functionaries so much as it served the practical interests of keeping German society running under exceedingly difficult conditions without ceding influence to the reemerging radical left. Outnumbered and outgunned by the occupying powers and outmaneuvered by the SPD, the Antifas influence in the three western zones of occupation would evaporate in less than a year. West German society stabilized, the Cold War polarized the continent, and the political forces of old Germany in alliance with Social Democracy and the emerging Western bloc consolidated their hold over the country. The KPD, for its part, initially took on waves of new members, as its prestige rose in light of the Soviet victory over Hitler and broad anticapitalist sentiment. The party soon rebuilt its industrial bases, and by 1946 controlled just as many shop floor committees in the heavily industrialized Ruhr Region as the SPD. In his classic study of the German labor movement, Die deutsche Arbeiterbewegung, German scholar Arno Klnne places its total membership in the three Western zones of occupation at three hundred thousand in 1947, and six hundred thousand in the East prior to the founding of the SED in 1946. Following a brief period of participation in postwar provisional governments, however, the Allies sidelined the KPD, and the party soon returned to its ultra-leftist line. It sealed its political irrelevance in 1951 with the passage of Thesis 37, a position paper on labor strategy riddled with antiSocial Democratic and anti-trade-union slurs. The motion, passed at the party conference, obligated all KPD members to obey party decisions above and against trade union directives if necessary. This move obliterated Communist support in the factories veritably overnight and relegated the party to societys fringes. It failed to re-enter parliament in the 1953 elections and was banned by the West German government outright in 1956. Developments were markedly different in the Soviet zone, but ultimately ended in perhaps an even grimmer dead end: that of SED leader Walter Ulbrichts thoroughly Stalinized German Democratic Republic (GDR). An old-school Communist cadre from the partys early years, Ulbricht had survived twenty years of Stalinist purges and fascist repression to lead the Ulbricht Group, a team of exiled KPD functionaries who now returned from Moscow to rebuild the country under Soviet occupation. Though the Red Army generals certainly did not have a particularly democratic or egalitarian vision for East Germany in mind, they rejected cooperation with the old Nazi hierarchy for their own reasons and for a while permitted Antifas and related institutions to operate relatively freely. Eyewitness accounts from as late as 1947 report of factories in East Germanys prewar industrial centers like Halle (traditional Communist strongholds) where KPD-led works councils exerted a decisive influence over factory life, confident enough to conduct negotiations and argue with Soviet authorities in some instances. In an interview with Jacobin to be published later this year, veteran KPO activist Theodor Bergmann tells of Heinrich Adam, prewar KPO member and mechanic at the Zeiss optics factory in Jena who joined the SED in hopes of realizing socialist unity. Heinrich was an active Antifa and trade unionist who organized protests against the Soviets decision to take the Zeiss factory as war reparations (he suggested building a new factory in Russia instead). Adam was kicked out of the party for his independent views in 1952, although never persecuted, and lived out his days in Jena on a modest state pension for antifascist veterans. In Dresden, a group of roughly eighty Communists, Social Democrats, and members of the left-social democratic Socialist Workers Party (SAP) formed a committee in May 1945 to surrender the city to the Red Army, citing broadcasts from the NKFD as inspiration. In cooperation with Soviet authorities, this group subsequently raided food and weapons stores from the German Labor Front and other Nazi institutions, and organized a distribution system for the citys populace in the first postwar weeks. Reports from Soviet officials and the Ulbricht Group describe rival antifascist groups, generally tolerated by the occupation, which beyond arming residents and organizing shooting practice also arrested local Nazis and opened soup kitchens for refugees from the eastern provinces. Internal communications reveal that leading Communists thought little of the Antifa, dismissed by Ulbricht as the antifascist sects in a communiqu to Georgi Dimitrov in mid-1945. The Ulbricht Groups initial goal was to incorporate as many of these antifascists into the KPD as possible, and feared that repression would repel rather than attract them. Former Ulbricht Group member Wolfgang Leonhard would later claim in his memoirs, Child of the Revolution, that Ulbricht explained to fellow Communist functionaries: Its quite clear its got to look democratic, but we must have everything in our control. This period ended as the German Democratic Republic began to establish itself as a Soviet-style one-party state in the late 1940s, particularly after relatively free elections in 1946 delivered disappointing returns. Former KPO members and other oppositionists permitted to join after the war were investigated for past political crimes, purged, and often imprisoned. In the workplaces, the SED sought to rationalize production and thus neutralize the instances of factory control and democratic representation that had emerged. The establishment of the Free German Trade Federation (FDGB) in 1946 marked the beginning of the SEDs attempt to establish party control over the factories. These unions in fact organized East German workers in line with the interests of their practical bosses, the East German state, and sought to buy their loyalty through socialist competition schemes, piece work, and union-sponsored vacation packages. However, the free unions could not afford to phase out competitive elections overnight. Antifa activists were often elected to FDGB shop floor committees in early the years, thus exercising continued influence in the workplace for a bit longer. Some were integrated into mid-level management, while others refused to betray their principles and stepped down or were removed for political reasons. The public split between the Soviet Union and Titos Yugoslavia in 1948 accelerated Stalinization in the Soviet occupation zone, and these limited spaces of self-organization were soon shut down entirely. Subsequently, the GDRs antifascist tradition would be diluted, distorted, and refashioned into an ahistorical national origins myth in which the citizens of East Germany were officially proclaimed the victors of history, but where little space remained for the real and complicated history, not to mention ambivalent role of Stalinized Communism, behind it. Following their collapse in late 1945 and early 1946, Antifas would disappear from the German political stage for nearly four decades. The modern Antifa with which most people associate the term has no practical historical connection to the movement from which it takes its name, but is instead a product of West Germanys squatter scene and autonomist movement in the 1980s itself a unique outgrowth of 1968 considerably less oriented towards the industrial working class than its Italian counterpart. The first Antifas functioned as platforms to organize against far-right groups like the National Democratic Party (NPD) in an autonomist movement still numbering in the tens of thousands of active members and capable of occupying entire city blocks in some West German metropoles. As the far right began to rebuild in the wake of German reunification, expressed in shocking mob attacks against asylum-seekers in several eastern provinces in the early 1990s, Antifa increasingly became a movement unto itself: a national network of dedicated antifascist groups organized into the Antifaschistische Aktion/Bundesweite Organisation (AA/BO). In some ways, these groups were the inverse of their progenitors: rather than a broad alliance of socialists and progressives from separate, ideologically distinct currents, they were single-issue groups, expressly radical but vague and deeply heterogeneous in their specifics. Rather than a point of departure for young activists into a broader socialist and political left, Antifas outside of major cities are often the only political game in town, and function as a counter-cultural space with their own fashion styles, music scenes, and slang, rather than a component of a rooted mass movement within wider society. After the AA/BO split in 2001, Antifas continued to work locally and regionally as dedicated networks of antifascists opposing far-right demonstrations and gatherings, though many also take up other left-wing issues and causes. What remains of the squats and infrastructure built up between the 1970s and 1990s continue to serve as important organizing and socializing spaces for the radical left, and Antifa as movement, trope, and general political outlook will no doubt continue to exist for quite some time but it would appear that this iteration of antifascism has also exhausted its political repertoire. The movement has shrunken continuously since the late 1990s, fragmented across ideological lines and unable to adjust its original autonomist strategies to shifting patterns of urbanization and the rise of right-populism. Its most promising products of late the mass mobilizations against neo-Nazi marches in cities like Dresden, as well as the formation of a new, distinctively post-autonomist current in the form of the Interventionist Left mark a departure from rather than a revival of classical Antifa strategy. Antifascism has surged to the fore of debates on the American left under Trumps presidency, and many of the tactics and visual styles of the German Antifa can be seen emerging in cities like Berkeley and elsewhere. Some argue that with the arrival of European-style neo-fascist movements on American shores, it is also time to import European Antifa tactics in response. Yet the Antifa of today is not a product of a political victory from which we can draw our own strength, but of defeat socialisms defeat at the hands of Nazism and resurgent global capitalism, and later the exhaustion of the autonomist movement in the wake of the neoliberal turn and the sweeping gentrification of many German cities. Although Antifas continue to function as important poles of attraction for radicalizing youth and guarantee that the far right rarely goes unopposed in many European countries, its political form is of an exclusive nature, couched in its own aesthetic and rhetorical style and inaccessible to the masses of uninitiated people getting involved in activism for the first time. A left-wing subculture with its own social spaces and cultural life is not the same thing as a mass social movement, and we cannot afford to confuse the two. Of course, the Antifas experience in 1945 offers us equally few concrete lessons for how to fight a resurgent far right in the Trump era. Looking back at the history of the socialist left is not about distilling victorious formulas to be reproduced in the twenty-first century, but rather understanding how previous generations understood their own historical moment and built political organizations in response, in order to develop our own (hopefully more successfully models) for today. The Antifas in Stuttgart, Braunschweig, and elsewhere faced impossible odds, but still sought to articulate a series of political demands and a practical organizational vision for the radicalizing workers willing to listen. Antifas refused to capitulate to their seemingly hopeless predicament and dared to dream big. Facing an even more fragmented and weakened left than in 1945, American antifascists will have to do the same.

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June 12, 2017   Posted in: Antifa  Comments Closed

Trolls Trick Alt-Right to Defend Confederate Statue – Daily Beast

Older members of the crowd carried Confederate flags, while the younger, internet-driven masses wore patches with 4chans Kekistan banner. Rally-goers in homemade armor and semi-automatic rifles paced Houstons Hermann Park, waiting for an enemy to appear. The crowd, several hundred strong, gathered in the park on Saturday to defend a statue of Sam Houston, a slaveholder. They had gathered in response to reports that leftist protesters had planned a rally to remove the statue, despite Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner publicly stating that removing the statue wasnt even on my agenda. But as sniper rifles and Infowars-branded jackets crowded the park, it became evident that the left protesters were not coming. They had never planned to come. The rumors of an antifa protest were actually a hoax, orchestrated by an anti-left group defending Confederate monuments. The rally began, as so many armed conflicts do, with Facebook posts. Were about to have a huge event in Houston June 10 with the combined forces of several large groups, perhaps our biggest ever, the page Texas Antifa (short for anti-fascists) posted on May 18. The Fascists better not show up with violence or they will be limping home bruised, broken, hurt, and crying with their tails tucked between their legs. The Texas Antifa is not a real group. The page is the latest in a growing genre of anti-antifa hoaxes, perpetrated by anonymous internet users on the right. Texas conservatives still fell for it. Antifa have emerged as a perfect bogeyman for the alt-right, who have spent years online stoking fear about violence from imaginary enemies (usually people of color), or the perceived loss of their rights (usually at the hands of liberals, feminists, or family court). In antifa, the nebulous alt-right found an equally amorphous foe, one whose members openly boasted of punching the alt-right in the face. Alt-righters who go outside began planning armed counterprotests against antifa. And alt-righters on the internet began creating fake antifa accounts to discredit the largely anonymous movement. One such parody account, @OfficialAntifa on Twitter, stirred outrage from the general public after it tweeted pictures of vandalized cemeteries on Memorial Day, purporting to have destroyed soldiers graves in an act of protest. The images, which actually contained images of years-old graffiti, were quickly picked up by alt-right conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, and disseminated to thousands of enraged followers. (@OfficialAntifa currently tweets anti-trans and anti-Muslim jokes.) A page purporting to be Boston Antifa drew the ire of actual New England antifa after it was revealed to be run by trolls. In Houston, where Saturdays protests took place, multiple antifa pages claim legitimacy. The Houston Antifa appears to be the longest-running account, active since January 2016 with photos of its demonstrations dating back to that month. But theres also Antifa Texas-Oklahoma, as well as Texas Antifa (a public figure profile run by an alt-right user), Texas Antifa (a community page created last month that first advertised the June 10 protest against the Sam Houston statue), and Houston Antifa (a community page created last month that also advertised the protest and attempted to delegitimize the old Houston Antifa page). In a Facebook messenger conversation, the older Houston Antifa page described the confusing state of affairs. Ah the beauty and the horror of anonymous decentralized organizing, Houston Antifa told The Daily Beast. Shortly after the Texas Antifa posted their plans to rally in Houstons Hermann Park, the Houston Antifa took to Facebook urging readers to unlike and unfollow this fake ass Texas Antifa page. Do NOT attend the June 10th Rally! This account was started a month ago and is in NO way, shape, or form affiliated with any actual Antifa Organization, PERIOD. Nice try, #MAGA chuds, go fuck yourselves. The Houston Antifa told The Daily Beast that we are 100% positive that this group are outside actors/provocateurs and not just liberal centrists who are mistakenly proclaiming themselves Antifa. Get The Beast In Your Inbox! Start and finish your day with the top stories from The Daily Beast. A speedy, smart summary of all the news you need to know (and nothing you don’t). Subscribe Thank You! You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason. But just three days after the brand-new Texas Antifa page advertised its rally, the much-larger conservative group This Is Texas announced a counterprotest in response. Antifa has come out saying they will be bringing several large (communist) groups together to host a rally around the Museum District in Houston, Texas on June 10, 2017, This Is Texas organizers wrote in a post to their nearly 4,000 members. This list includes Black Panther Party, Antifa & more. Their goal is to remove the Sam Houston statue. (This Is Texas did not return The Daily Beasts request for comment.) But the so-called Texas Antifas goal was actually the opposite. The page was secretly run by a group claiming to be affiliated with the hacktivist collective Anonymous. In a Facebook conversation with The Daily Beast, the group claimed to have 11 members, although it refused to offer proof that it was affiliated with a larger Anonymous group. In a video uploaded to the Texas Antifa YouTube channel (not to an Anonymous account) on June 7, the group declared that they had actually created the page as a hoax to drive gun-toting conservatives to defend the Sam Houston statue, which Houstons mayor has stated is not being considered for removal. It was always an Anonymous event to drive support and attention to an expired Texas law that protected its historical monuments, the group said in its video. It never made it to the floor because the Democrats used a filibuster to run out the time so it could not be voted on. The right rarely has but 5-30 people at any given event, the Texas Antifa page told The Daily Beast. We gave them a well known enemy, a righteous cause, and an immediate threat. Some local media saw through the hoax. The Houston Press Craig Malisow debunked the Texas Antifa page as an alt-right prank on June 1, although the pages moderators, still proclaiming their authenticity, took to Facebook to attack Malisow by name. The other group only partially duped were alt-righters who were better acquainted with internet hoaxes. This is from a shitty satire page, a 4chan user posted last week about the alleged antifa rally, ignore it. The normies are gethering [sic] in Houston, another 4chan poster wrote the day of the event. Proof that America can be trolled into being great again. The statue defenders stormed the park, ready to defend themselves against the antifa and Black Panthers they had been told would be rallying. One young attendee, who was wearing an undersized Roman-style chestplate over makeshift military fatigues with a 4chan arm patch told the Houston Chronicles Evan Mintz that hed donned the armor out of fear that antifa would stab him. But no leftists appeared. Outside the amplification chamber of the internet, the rally goers were just a crowd of people wearing ill-fitting armor to the park on a sweltering Texas day. After the crowd ambled home, This Is Texas leaders returned to Facebook to address allegations that the whole event had been driven by a hoax. For those who didnt know Antifa showed up and was putting on their mask in the bathroom by the amphitheater, once they turned the corner & saw the crowd they thought twice about it, the group posted. The [sic] did tag downtown up with posters on street signs & the metro rail area. So to those that said this is a hoax, maybe think twice before you speak next time. The Houston Antifa said it was possible that the rally goers had spotted some antifa on their way to counterprotest at a nearby anti-Islam event, though its members had agreed to skip the hoax-driven in the park. At least one This Is Texas organizer realized the makeshift army had been tricked. In a now-deleted post, a This Is Texas administrator named Dave confessed his disillusion to the pages followers. People – you were duped, he wrote. The charges you have heard about this being based on a hoax are all true. Did you see ONE Antifa, Black Panther, Black Lives Matter, or street gang member there??? At all?? ANYWHERE??? We were told Black Panthers were mobilized from Atlanta and we were told buses and buses of antis were on their way – never saw them, Dave wrote. Oh yeah – I saw a black guy with an AR-15, dressed in black, near the restrooms and thought YES! I found them! Then he stood up and I saw a Texas flag sweat towel in his pocket.

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June 12, 2017   Posted in: Antifa  Comments Closed


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