ADMIN NOTE: The Holiday Season is upon us. Both Strategic Intelligence and Low Intensity Conflict will be published on Friday, 24 November on the week of Thanksgiving. The week of Christmas (25-29 December), we will be publishing both reports in a shorter format. After the new year, Strategic Intelligence will be published regularly on Thursdays, and Low Intensity Conflict on Fridays. Thank you for the support, and we hope that you have a wonderful rest of the year with us.
In Focus: Our feeds were filled this week with competing right wing and left wing blogs playing offense and defense over Sunday’s Sutherland Springs, Texas shooter. Websites like Conservative Tree House, Your News Wire, and others — each of which has a history of, at best, making “analytical leaps” and, at worst, fabricating information whole cloth — began spreading fake news about the shooter’s affiliation with antifascism. In fact, the website called Your News Wire posted a doctored image of the shooter’s Facebook page, which showed an Antifa flag, along with screen captures of a text message conversation in which an alleged surviving church member said the shooter draped an Antifa flag over the pulpit and forced church members to read communist literature before executing them. Having seen the shooter’s Facebook page before it was taken down, I can tell you that no such picture existed at the time I saw it. Additionally, officials have not reported anything to substantiate Your News Wire’s claim. Your News Wire, which is likely to be a purely disinformation website, deliberately doctored images and wrote a story with, as near as I can tell, fabricated information, which began to circulate in social media channels. For their part, left wing blocks quickly denied any affiliation between the shooter and the antifascist movement, decrying yet another right wing conspiracy. At least one left wing blog countered by linking the shooter to the Alt-Right movement.
Here’s what we know and what we suspect. The shooter was an avowed atheist and, if his purported LinkedIn profile is real, he was interested in causes typically associated with the social justice movement. Furthermore, the shooter received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force, and was admitted to a mental facility after attempting to smuggle rifles onto an Air Force base to kill his superior officers. The shooter had a very checkered past and was clearly mentally deranged. My conclusion right now is that the shooter was more likely to have identified with Leftist ideology, but I cannot in good conscience support the narrative that Sunday’s shooting was an “Antifa hit”. As deranged as he was, and with as many death threats as the shooter made over the last years, I cannot see him being a productive or welcome member of any group. I’m entirely open to new information, and would not be surprised should it come out that the shooter has some affiliation with Leftist ideology. But until that happens or until I have reason to suspect affiliation with the antifascist movement specifically, I cannot and do not recommend that we peddle conclusions with little or no basis in reality, according to what we know to be true. As of Friday morning, investigators are still trying to unlock the shooter’s phone, and we all look forward to what that might reveal.
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?
15 members of the DSA elected on Tuesday (Strength)
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) issued a press release on Thursday claiming that 15 of its members had been newly elected to political positions across America, joining 20 already in power. Those wins included state and local seats in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. [source: http://www.dsausa.org/15_dsa_members_elected]
(Analyst Comment: Last week, I reported that DSA was spearheading an initiative to create ‘independent’ media outlets in each of the 50 states. I’m still studying DSA, but it would appear that after the 2017 elections, they are becoming a more popular alternative to traditional Democrat candidates, although many run officially as Independents.)
RAM announces new chapter in California (Strength)
The latest Alt-Left group, Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM), recently announced a new chapter, this time in Inland Empire, California. We reported over the summer the creation of RAM as an alternative to existing revolutionary groups. According to an official statement, RAM Inland Empire will “create an alternative political pole that will empower people to take matters into their own hands and constitute a truly liberatory future.” [source: https://itsgoingdown.org/revolutionary-abolitionist-movement-coming-west-coast/]
Winthrop poll finds black, white sentiments strongly divided (Sentiments)
Winthrop University conducted a survey across 11 Southern states, and found that black and white Southerners are deeply divided on a number of issues.
- 46 percent of whites polled “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement that whites are being attacked. 75 percent of blacks surveyed felt that they were under attack in the United States today.
- On the topic of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate statues, half of whites felt that they should remain. Just 17 percent of whites said that they should be removed to museums, while half of blacks said they should be removed to a museum and a fourth said they should be removed completely.
- On a scale of 0 to 100, blacks rated the Black Lives Matter movement as a 70 , while whites rated the movement at 35 in terms of favorability.
- On a scale of 0 to 100, whites rated the antifascist movement an average of 21, while blacks were at 42, in terms of favorability.
Those states included Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. [source: https://www.winthrop.edu/winthroppoll/default.aspx?id=9804]
Antifascist and Alt-Right members hang dueling posters at Clemson (Initiatives/Sentiment)
This week, antifascists and Alt-Right members posted competing flyers at the Clemson University campus in South Carolina. The Alt-Right’s poster read, “Attention: White People – Tired of being blamed for everything? Wondering why only white countries need multiculturalism? Tired of political correctness? Join the Alt Right,” followed by several Alt-Right affiliated websites
The Upstate Antifa group, which recently re-branded itself as the Upstate Anti-Racist Action (UARA), quickly responded with their own posters. “Hey, White Person. Tired of being appealed to by fascists who want to divide you from your friends and/or family because they aren’t white? […] Scared of how extreme and dangerous the right wing has become recently? Congratulations! You are a well-adjusted human being! Support your local Anti-Fascist Organization!”
(Analyst Comment: The label “Anti-Racist Action”, or ARA, became a popular name for groups espousing antifascist sentiment in the late 1990s and 2000s. Some Antifa groups have officially reverted back to using the ARA term, however, they remain the same Antifa branch.)
Virginia Tech Antifa organizes against “Nazi” teaching assistant (Initiatives)
Antifascists at Virginia Tech successfully forced a teaching assistant and alleged Nazi (AC: and apparently an avowed white supremacist) from his teaching assistant position, Mark Neuhoff. Apparently after posting to the Vanguard News Network website under his real name by accident, Neuhoff was discovered by antifascist activists and doxxed online, which revealed his association to Virginia Tech. [source: https://newriveragainstfascism.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/fascist-threat-in-the-nrv-profile-on-mark-neuhoff/] After weeks of protesting, IGD re-posted a statement from Neuhoff saying that he will not be returning as a teaching assistant. [source: https://itsgoingdown.org/virginia-tech-successful-driving-neo-nazi-mark-neuhoff/]
University of Wyoming group protests Dennis Prager (Initiatives)
Upon learning that conservative economist Dennis Prager was invited to speak on campus, the University of Wyoming student government director of diversity wrote an email to organizers threatening to protest and shut down the event. “I am scheduling a protest against your event. If you continue, you will have the entire campus against you. This will be another Milo situation,” wrote student Hunter McFarland. When police investigated, McFarland said that the protest was intended to be peaceful, and that her email was not a threat. That “Milo situation,” you may recall, is a reference to the riots at Berkeley that eventually forced the university of cancel the appearance of firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos. A Facebook page for the protest event claimed that Prager was a“racist, homophobic, xenophobic, red-baiting, anti-academic, climate-denying rape apologist”. The speech continued, uninterrupted by silent protestors on Thursday.
Antifascist author to donate book proceeds to Antifa groups, future protests (Initiatives)
Mark Bray, Dartmouth historian and Antifa apologist, recently announced that he’ll be donating half of the proceeds of his book, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, to Antifa groups, their future protests, and potentially their political violence. Bray, who without apology supports the use of violence against “fascist” political movements, remains on the Dartmouth University faculty.
CPUSA to hold National Party Building Conference (Initiatives)
Communist Party USA (CPUSA) holds its National Party Building Conference tomorrow and Sunday, primarily online, although CPUSA members will gather in Chicago, New Haven (CT), Los Angeles, and Orlando. Although details of the conference on their website were light , a previous blog post says that the first order of CPUSA is defeating fascism. “The resistance requires a bolstered struggle within the working class for a program that can unite workers against fascism. It requires building a broad movement including the working class, the peoples’ movements, and even sections of the ruling class… And seizing next year’s elections to break the power of the extreme right in the legislature is only a first step… We have a world to win; we must, and we shall, overcome!” [source: http://www.cpusa.org/event/national-party-building-conference/]
Refuse Fascism issues call to high school and college students to walk out of class (Initiatives)
Still not giving up after a horribly failed day of protests last Saturday, Refuse Fascism on Monday issued a call to high school and college students to protest by walking out of class this past Wednesday, the one year anniversary of Trump’s election. The post offered to arrange Revolutionary Communist Party members to come to schools and supply students with material. It’s unlikely that this campaign is being met with significant success. [source: https://refusefascism.org/2017/11/06/call-to-high-school-college-students-on-nov-8-walk-out-this-nightmare-must-end-the-trumppence-regime-must-go/]
(Analyst Comment: Earlier this year, Revolutionary Communists under the Refuse Fascism name appeared at an unnamed high school, distributed flyers, and spoke with students.)
Refuse Fascism issues another call to protest (Initiatives)
Refuse Fascism issued a call for another round of protests for Saturday, 11 November. After several thousand showed up last to protests in two dozen cities on Saturday, these are a continuation of what was supposed to be a days- and weeks-long effort to oust President Trump from office. Tomorrow they’ll be protesting President Trump’s response to North Korea. [source: https://refusefascism.org/2017/11/07/protest-sat-nov-11-no-fire-fury-against-north-korea-or-iran-no-u-s-aggression-in-the-middle-east-this-nightmare-must-end-the-trumppence-regime-must-go/]
PIR2: What indicators describe the Alt-Right movement’s strength, capabilities, sentiment, initiatives, and infighting?
Patriot Front holds flash mob event at University of Texas (Strength)
On 03 November 3rd, American Fascist group Patriot Front, formerly Vanguard America, led a surprise, late night rally of 25-30 members on the UT campus. Antifascist groups, including the Autonomous Student Network (ASN) and the Revolutionary Student Front (RSF), quickly alerted the police. According to the police report, the group was directed to leave, which they did without incident. Patriot Front conducted further actions the following day against the radical anarchist bookstore “Monkey Wrench Books” in Austin. After chanting for a period of time they left without confrontation. [Images and video via Patriot Front]
TWP separates itself from the Alt-Right
In a blog post this week, Matthew Heimbach writes that he’s decided to part ways with the Alt-Right, at their behest. Heimbach leads the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP), a national socialist and white supremacist group. Heimbach writes, “A large subset of the ‘AltRight’ or whatever you wish to call it has pivoted recently, coalescing into agreement on an ‘American Nationalist’ vision for White Nationalism. This essay is in keeping with their request that there be defined a vivid distinction in the public mind between themselves and National Socialists like ourselves… We agree entirely to their terms and conditions, gladly forfeit the ‘AltRight’ label, and now exist as a separate and distinct movement, at their request.” [source: https://www.tradworker.org/2017/11/we-are-not-american-nationalists/]
(Analyst Comment: The Alt-Right has long been accused of supporting and harboring neo-Nazi organizations, and for good reason. In last month’s White Lives Matter rally in Shelbyville, TN, TWP members showed up with Nazi insignia — some of them even wearing Stahlhelms, the German Nazi steel helmet from World War II. I’ve not had time to look into the reason for the split, however, this seems like an effort for the Alt-Right to distances itself from some of the pro-Nazi elements of the movement. The Alt-Right was the best thing that could have happened to national socialist groups like TWP, because it gave the TWP publicity on the white nationalist Alt-Right platform. Typically abiding by the maxim, “Don’t punch right,” competing factions in the Alt-Right were generally satisfied to agree that they were all pushing for white nationalist, despite their varying end-state ideologies. But the Alt-Right and the white nationalist platform has had a rough go because the pro-Nazi and natsoc imagery alienates potential supporters. Additionally, the last straw may have come after the last White Lives Matter rally, where Matthew Heimbach and other TWP members allegedly assaulted an interracial couple. There were likely words and possibly actions before the iPhone camera started recording, however, Heimbach is clearly involved in the altercation. Heimbach has a history of being sued for assault, and allegedly spent up to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to one charge.)
PIR3: What are the new indicators of future politically-related violence?
TBA – Richard Spencer speech at University of Cincinnati
TBA – Lawsuits still pending to allow Richard Spencer to speak at Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan State.
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
We remain at 12/20 total indicators, and there’s been no change in the last week.
Indicators added in the last 90 days: +2
Indicators added in the last 180 days: +4
Indicators added in the last 365 days: +12