In Focus: The 04 November protests are this Saturday, focusing on 19 cities. I’ve talked about how these marches have been blown completely out of proportion. The click bait websites that depend on high volumes of traffic to sustain ad revenue began using terms like “revolution” and “civil war” and hyped up the events. There’s a near zero percent change of a revolution happening this weekend. If we go back to the idea behind this march, we find that Refuse Fascism points to South Korea, the Arab Spring, and other countries where mass protests led to the peaceful removal of a president or other positions of power. That’s the intent here: a multi-day effort to protest in cities across America, sending a message to the Congress, the electorate, and to the White House that Trump needs to resign.
We could see protestors block traffic and be generally disruptive — there may even be a some violence in the Bay Area, Seattle, Portland, New York City, and other places where antifascist violence is usually prevalent — but unfortunately too many Americans are buying into this false “revolution” narrative. Other than that, I’m just not seeing these marches going the way the organizers want them to go.
It’s really important that we separate the Refuse Fascism protests, which are being organized and supported as peaceful, nonviolent protests; from antifascist activity which trends towards violence.
There are really only three outcomes for any march location. Outcome A is that the march fizzles. Outcome B is that the march is significant (500+), with little to no violence. Outcome C is that the march devolves into riots and other violence.
Here are the updated march locations:
- Falmouth, MA
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- Omak, WA
- San Francisco
- Seattle *
- [source: https://refusefascism.org/protests-and-events/]
(* While Antifa and Refuse Fascism protestors will be in the same place at the same time, Refuse Fascism says that their protest is not affiliated with the Antifa protest. There will likely be disruptions in Seattle during the “Stand Up To Trump, Fight White Supremacy” rally organized by antifascists.)
I was looking at the Refuse Fascism site for any indications of size and strength of these marches. I noticed that the latest post is from 30 October and it had 26 Facebook shares in the first three days. It’s up to 80 as of Friday mid-morning. The event page itself has just 16,500 shares since the protests were announced months ago. If these posts had hundreds of thousands of shares, then I would be more inclined to believe this was going to be a big weekend.
Browsing through the first few Facebook event pages, I saw that most Refuse Fascism has not made attendance numbers public. One reason is for security, I presume, but another reason is because they’re probably not very large. The Chicago page reported Thursday morning that they had just 2,000 people ‘interested’ in the event. The Atlanta protest had raised just $500 through their GoFundMe account. The New York Refuse Fascism protest had raised less than $30,000 over the past four months; that’s just 20% of their $150,000 goal. The New York City Facebook event page has just 940 ‘going’ and 5000 ‘interested’. The Salem, OR Facebook event page has 13 ‘going’ and 107 ‘interested’. The San Francisco event page has 322 ‘going’. The Seattle page has 150 ‘going’. An official post on the Boston protest page reads, “Thousands will gather in cities across the nation.” A full-page ad in the New York Times yesterday reads, “Be there. Join with the Thousands.”
Additionally, major left wing political resistance organizations like Indivisible and Organizing for Action don’t appear to be throwing their weight behind these protests, although some local Indivisible chapters are supporting the protests. That’s a good indicator.
Given what I’ve observed over the past few months, and especially over the past few days, it does not appear that these planned protests are gaining the mass participation the organizers had hoped. Outcomes A and B are likely in most locations; and Outcome C is probable in other places where violence has previously occurred (the Bay Area, Portland, Seattle, etc.).
For instance, there was a call to action for all “anarchists and anti-capitalists” to defend Portland on Saturday. Portland is ground zero for antifascist organizing. [source: https://itsgoingdown.org/call-for-anarchist-bloc-defend-portland-far-right-threats-nov4/]
I will add one caveat to this, and it’s that these protests are unpredictable. The presence of right wing groups is likely to cause unrest or violence, and the presence of firearms could make these protests very volatile.
Priority Intelligence Requirements
- PIR1: What indicators describe the Alt-Left movement’s strength, sentiment, and capabilities?
- PIR2: What indicators describe the Alt-Right movement’s strength, sentiment, and capabilities?
- PIR3: What are the new indicators of future politically-related violence?
- PIR4: What is the current threat index score for the Alt-Left movement?
- Alt-Left Roll-Up
PIR1: What indicators describe the Alt-Left movement’s strength, capabilities, sentiment, initiatives, and infighting?
VICE Media publishes “The Black Bloc: Inside America’s Hard Left” (Sentiment/Capabilities)
VICE published an in-depth video about black bloc antifascist protestors. It’s full of interviews with black bloc protesters who appear to be very open and honest about what they do, along with how and why they do them. The featured subject is named “Violet,” who’s a self-described Jewish, anarcho-communist, trans-woman, queer individual. “Violet” goes into detail about her experience in black bloc protests, while others go into other aspects of antifascism. It’s at times difficult to watch because VICE doesn’t call out abject lies presented by the antifascists during the interviews, however, this is a very good video. One particular take away is when Violet says, “After we got the Trump march shut down [through threats of violence], they haven’t come back to Philadelphia. This works.”
Eugene, OR Antifa publishes a “Do Not Serve” List (Initiatives)
The Eugene Antifa chapter published a Google Document with names and pictures of known/suspected Alt-Right members. This document is supposed to serve as a “Do Not Serve” list as area bars. And we’ve seen in different instances, antifascists in their ideological strongholds may have the capability to mobilize to ‘confront the fascist’ at a buy or other locality, after being tipped off usually by text or a phone call. (AC: The Proud Boys fraternity are not “Alt-Right,” although it’s a distinction without difference to Antifa.)
** Also, one warning about this link. The source link will send you to the tweet, but in this tweet there’s a link to a Google Document. If you’re logged into Google and you access the link, your email address will show up as having accessed it. Use a different browser and/or ensure that you’re completely logged out of Google if you don’t want to show up as having accessed it. ** [source: https://twitter.com/eugeneantifa/status/925076983750410240]
Antifa Twitter account posts III% vehicle (Initiatives/Capability)
On 30 October, an antifascist Twitter account posted a picture of a vehicle with a III% decal, and reported the license plate number. It was later retweeted by the Seattle Antifascists Twitter news account. (Analyst Comment: We’ve observed antifascists organizing to confront a right wing bar patron before, usually through text messages; however, this is the first time we’ve seen an identification of a vehicle and license plate. Typically, Antifascists are looking for ways to doxx known or suspected Nazis, so this is not surprising. But it should be pointed out that the Three Percent is an anti-Nazi organization. This reveals Antifa’s intellectual dishonesty when they label any conservative or right wing individual a Nazi, as they are prone to do.) [source: https://twitter.com/anarcistacos/status/925100769174462464]
First annual Obama Foundation Summit took place this week (Initiatives)
The first annual Obama Foundation Summit took place this week in Chicago, over 01 and 02 November. After the Opening Session, entitled “The Urgency of Now”, attendees went to breakout sessions, some of which included:
- Activating Young People for Your Cause
- Redesigning Civic Education for the 21st Century
- Building Civic Muscle
- Building the Civil Leadership Pipeline
- Mobilizing Communities for Change
- The Responsibility of Powerful Online Platforms
- The Race Card Project: What’s Your Story?
- The Role of Fiction to Expand Our Civic Imagination
- Those Who Tell the Stories Rule Society
- Digital Outreach Brainstorm
- Old Guard, New Guard: What Should Movements Look Like Today?
- [source: https://www.obama.org/summit/schedule/]
(Analyst Comment: Upon leaving office, Obama promised to not give up his fight for social and economic justice. So this summit was about reinvigorating the “magic” of his campaign in the face of loss and an uncertain future for his legacy. As one speaker said, “We need to invent new systems, new economies, new ways of life to seize the magic while redressing the loss.” We know that Organizing for Action has been active in fomenting unrest towards the Trump administration, but we’ve seen them mainly focused on political goals. I’ve seen accusations that Obama is helping to prepare for a violent revolt or revolution against Trump, but those who say that are incorrect. Obama is likely against antifascist violence, in general, and likely views violence as a last resort if community organizing and election turnout fails.
Many modern insurgencies feature a political wing and a paramilitary wing. Paramilitary violence creates an incentive for the opposition to negotiate with the insurgent political wing, and in a worst case scenario, this may be the relationship between antifascists and radical political parties. But the antifascists are typically too radical for even the Democrat Party (antifascists are typically revolutionary anti-capitalists), and so I still fail to see this kind of relationship forming between Antifa and the Democrats. One charge often leveled against the Democrat Party is that they still support private market solutions, which favors corporatism, instead of 1) state-directed solutions from state-owned entities or 2) autonomous solutions from radical anarchists without state power. Mainstream Democrats, often the target of scorn from antifascists, currently favor neither of these solutions.The most likely course of action for Organizing for America and the Obama Foundation is to continue being a force multiplier, training new community organizers to enable a political revolution instead of a violent revolution, especially so long as America’s trends in demographics favor a peaceful revolution.
On a final note, Obama did give some indication of one of his obvious priorities – countering Steve Bannon and Breitbart News. During the summit, Obama remarked, “You know … Bannon and Breitbart did something pretty interesting. Now, they didn’t create a whole new platform but they did shift the entire media narrative in a different direction — in a powerful direction. The question is are you able to do that in reverse but to things that are true and are not designed simply to churn anger and resentment and frustration. So — solve that will you?” Countering Steve Bannon is a top priority among Democrat politicos.)
DSA encourages growth of ‘independent’ media outlets (Initiatives)
In the early 20th century, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in America operated some 90 newspapers. While that’s no longer the case, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is encouraging the development of their own media outlets to push their message to America and counter the Alt-Right’s strength in alternative media. “What DSA and other left organizations need to do is build our own independent media sphere, one that has reach across the country and is not limited to purely digital realms. DSA National’s Democratic Left is not enough; every local, or at least every state, should have its own publication.” (Analyst Comment: The development of media outlets was covered earlier this year during the Democrat Party’s strategy summit to counter the Trump administration, as well as during the first Obama Foundation Summit. Whether it’s called digital outreach or independent media, this is nothing more than propaganda. The DSA’s goal of building a propaganda outlet in every state is a significant development and is likely to lead to the growth of the DSA.) [source: https://chicagodsa.org/2017/10/30/building-media-to-build-power-a-mass-media-strategy-for-dsa/]
PIR2: What indicators describe the Alt-Right movement’s strength, capabilities, sentiment, initiatives, and infighting?
Reconstructing the White Lives Matter rally (Strength/Initiatives)
There were two White Lives Matter rallies scheduled for this past weekend in Tennessee. 200-300 supporters showed up for Shelbyville, although Murfreesboro was later cancelled.
Event organizers at the League of the South, a white nationalist/Southern secessionist organization, wanted another prominent, public rally to “turn the page” on the unmitigated disaster of the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, and prove that they hold peaceful rallies without the presence of violent protestors. Moreover, event organizer Hunter Wallace has a ‘never again’ approach to holding rallies in liberal cities where the local government and law enforcement are more likely to drag their feet to stop violence directed towards rally goers. That’s why Shelbyville and Murfreesboro were chosen. In that regard, mission accomplished. There was little violence and no rioting due to a heavy police presence and the well-separated protest groups. It appears that law enforcement has learned that the farther away they stage the competing protest areas, the less violence they’ll have.
After meeting at a staging area in Shelbyville, rally goers headed over to the protest location. Although it appears that Nazi flags were banned, there were many national socialists there who had on Nazi paraphernalia.
Towards the end, event organizers decided to call off the Murfreesboro rally scheduled for later that day. There are two official stories for the cancellation. The first story was that it was cancelled due to a warning of a “lawsuit trap” in Murfreesboro. (AC: Perhaps Antifa would have started violence and later sued the League for any injuries. It’s unknown exactly to what this is referring.) Later, the League of the South said that they’d accomplished their mission in Shelbyville, so the Murfreesboro event was unnecessary.
And on that point, there was another cancellation that day. Event organizers had planned, for after the rallies, a candle light vigil at the church where a black man shot at the congregation of a white church, killing a mother of two children and injuring several others. Apparently, news of this planned vigil leaked to reporters, which was leaked to Antifa groups, and the League decided to cancel the vigil to prevent an ambush or any violence at the church.
Analyst Comment: If the goal of the League of the South is to spread their message and appeal to a broader group of white Southerners, then the national socialist and neo-Nazi movements are certainly self-destructive to those goals. The League is in a battle for hearts and minds, raising awareness of white identity in the South. In the current climate of anti-white social justice movements, that should be an easy sell to a great many white Southerners, especially among youths. For many, the Nazi paraphernalia is a step too far and alienates would-be supporters of their message.
Here’s a summary of ‘lessons learned’ from the event organizer:
- The protesters had better sound equipment, and the League and other groups will likely bring sound equipment to future rallies.
- Go Pros and other recording equipment
- Due to showing up late, the League didn’t have time to vet rally goers as they’d planned.
- Apparently, the League is going to try to crack down on Nazi paraphernalia for future events, although the national socialist elements are likely to continue to be invited. [source: http://www.occidentaldissent.com/2017/10/30/white-lives-matter-an-autopsy/]
Radios in use at White Lives Matter rally (Capabilities)
Combing through pictures and videos of the White Lives Matter rally on 28 October, I noticed that a couple of Traditional Workers Party (TWP; a national socialist/white nationalist group) had radios. In the first picture below, a ‘tradworker’ has a Bao Feng UV5R, an entry level VHF/UHF radio that’s easily intercepted. Looking through photos from previous rallies, I noticed TWP leader Matthew Heimbach and other TWP members carrying microphones and ear pieces. There’s obviously an element of command and control involved at their rallies. If they’re using Bao Fengs or other VHF/UHF transceivers to communicate, then there’s a significant opportunity to eavesdrop during their next event, which may provide additional clues as to their organization and capabilities. (I should also note that several TWP members were carrying Nazi paraphernalia during the event.)
Patriot Front engages in campus flyer campaign (Initiatives)
In previous weeks, we’ve covered the white nationalist group Identity Evropa’s campaign to put up flyers and stickers on college campuses. Another white nationalist group, Patriot Front, which is also openly fascist, has a similar campaign. Patriot Front recently put up stickers at Texas Christian University, Texas State University, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg Collect, Rutgers University, and others in the past month. [source: https://twitter.com/FrontPatriot]
Overview of Alt-Right groups (Strength)
The Alt-Right umbrella undoubtedly contains national socialist and fascist groups, but not all who call themselves Alt-Right subscribe to race-based or class-based authoritarian ideologies. That said, I came across a Leftist document (You Can’t Punch All Nazis) that does a pretty good job of surveying the various Alt-Right-affiliated organizations. Pages 10-16 attempt to overview the different kinds of “Nazi” ideologies, some of which is true; at times poorly written and frequently biased. And then pages 17-21 contain the symbols and logos of the various groups.
I read the entire thing and I wouldn’t waste my time reading it again. That said, pages 10-21 are valuable if you want to familiarize yourself with the Alt-Right; albeit from a biased source. [DOWNLOAD]
“It’s Okay to be White” campaign sparks investigations (Initiative)
Earlier this week, flyers with the words “It’s Okay To Be White” were taped to 10 entrance doors of a Maryland high school in the early morning hours before class. The surveillance footage from the school appears to show a white student with his face covered by a hoodie posting the pieces of paper to the doors. Their discovery has sparked outrage and accusations of racism, and school officials are now investigating the matter. “We are taking this seriously and are investigating this incident,” said the school’s principle. Since then, similar incidents have occurred in Massachusetts, Tulane University, and a town in Ohio. (Analyst Comment: This campaign originated on the 4Chan forum, where brilliant trolling often originates. But the fact of the matter is that these signs, which are not hateful, are being described as a form of racism. The backlash from the statement “It’s Okay to be White” is exactly what the organizers were hoping for — signs, they say, that it’s not okay to be white.) [source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/signs-saying-its-okay-to-be-white-found-at-maryland-high-school/2017/11/01/92013a26-bf3b-11e7-959c-fe2b598d8c00_story.html]
PIR3: What are the new indicators of future politically-related violence?
04 November – Nationwide – Refuse Fascism Day [source: https://refusefascism.org/protests-and-events/]
11 November – Communist Party USA’s National Party Building Conference [source: http://www.cpusa.org/event/national-party-building-conference/]
TBD – Richard Spencer speech at University of Cincinnati
“Fight back against Trump November 4th”
According to a group calling themselves Insurrectionary Youth Action, on 04 November there will be an Antifa/black bloc counter-demonstration to protest the protesters of the Refuse Fascism march in at City Hall in Seattle, WA. See poster below.
Richard Spencer to speak at University of Cincinnati
On 13 October, University of Cincinnati president announced his decision to allow Richard Spencer to speak on campus. The president diverted from policies at other universities, saying that he stood with students and faculty who decided to protest the appearance. “At other public universities, presidents have asked their constituents to steer clear of such events… Frankly, if or how you engage with Spencer’s event is your decision to make, and I will respect and support whatever civil and peaceful course you take.” As of right now, the specific date is yet to be announced. [source]
Status of Richard Spencer speaking appearances
After being turned down by Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State, Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer and the National Policy Institute are in various stages of suing each school to allow his appearances.
PIR4: What is the current threat index score for the Alt-Left movement?
Indicators of Revolutionary Activity
Strong Indications: 7
Weak Indications: 5
No/Negligible Indications: 8
I moved one ‘weak’ indicator to ‘strong’ this week, due to the increased coordination and chatter among Alt-Left groups ahead of tomorrow’s protests. We remain at 12/20 total indicators, which is where we’ve been for most of this year.