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: One strength I see in the radical anarchist movement is that they’re radically focused on their own local areas. These collectives’ activities include service projects, outreach and relief efforts, building good will with the community, and what we call ‘developing the human terrain’. Through these collectives, they’re trying to organize a mass ‘revolutionary’ movement. Consider a movement of 5,000 people across the nation. Basically nothing. But now consider a movement of 5,000 people as a tightly-knit community in a city or a specific part of town. These anarchist movements push for the abolition of government first at a local level. Their anarchist revolution begins locally, which is why they’re so heavily invested in setting up food co-ops and autonomous spaces — decentralized networks, local solidarity, and mutual aid.
I’m going to go off on a slight tangent, but I’m bring this all together. Napoleon was the first national leader to unite the government, the military, and the people into warfare. In fact, that’s part of what made his campaigns so successful — all these people and parts of society aiding his efforts. He was greeted as a liberator during his Italy campaign, where he famously said, “People of Italy, the French army is here to break your chains. Our only quarrel is with the tyrants who have enslaved you.”
When we look at these collectives and radical anarchist groups like the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM), this is essentially their message. RAM celebrates the creation of autonomous enclaves in Athens, Greece as a model for an anarchist society, but they point out that it only occurred because the weakening of the central state. According to their own doctrine, RAM states:
“[A] revolutionary political movement must reawaken…
Our historical mission is clear. We must burn down the American plantation once and for all…
The State is in a weaker position today than it has been in decades, and since the moment we go into action is up to us, the government invariably remains in a defensive position. We can act when we choose and we should act wisely.”
At a local level, this is the ‘appeal of program’. This is why they organize autonomous relief efforts in Houston, Puerto Rico, Chiapas, Mexico, and other places, and their message is clear: ‘You’re living on a plantation eager to enslave you but incapable of meeting your needs. Burn it down.’ These anarchist movements are small, but I believe they’re growing. Radical anarchist organizing and propaganda have both increased. And while they mainly thrive in Leftist strongholds, these organizations are absolutely attempting to create ‘revolutionary forces’. For now, their rhetoric is much stronger than their movement, however, increased political instability and the perception of repression against antifascism and other movements is likely to make their outreach easier. There’s still a great deal to be learned about these local movements. If you’re interested in volunteering for a crowd-sourced intelligence project looking at the localized, radical, and violent revolutionary collectives, please drop us a line.
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?
France 24 broadcast features ‘Antifa CIA’ (Capabilities/Initiatives)
Around the 4:20 mark, a France 24 broadcast features a woman named Laura Sennett, who calls herself the Antifa CIA. Sennett goes on to say that her work “is pretty powerful stuff” as she combs through photos and people-finder websites to find and publish personally identifying information on members of the Alt-Right. [source: http://www.france24.com/en/20171110-focus-usa-antifa-antifascists-charlottesville-neo-nazis-white-supremacists-radical-left-dox]
Analyst Comment: This practice is referred to as ‘doxxing’, or finding documentation or documents on a anonymous person’s identity. It’s probably the number one offensive practice in the antifascist movement, and often leads to online and physical harassment. As far as the “Antifa CIA” goes, I find it curious that this woman gave a name, which may not be real, and had journalists in her home because most antifascists take every measure to ensure their identities remain secret. Nothing she’s doing looks terribly complex, although I imagine that there are some semi-professional doxxers who use advanced tools like Maltego, my tool of choice for social network and cyber exploitation. When it comes to doxxing, many of the screenshots I see come directly from Facebook where basic biographical/identity details are gathered. Potential targets either underestimate the level of interest that antifascists have in them, or are unaware that their Facebook profiles can be locked down for increased security. The search then usually goes to the ‘people-finder’ websites to look up official documentation of an identity. These doxxers are looking for any signs of identity or association; so a name and a college, or town, or work place is generally enough to begin narrowing down their target. These ‘people-finder’ websites, like People Finder and Spokeo, gather vast amounts of information from social media and public/official records, and then are able to attach those official records to an identity (birth dates, known addresses, family members, etc.). This is generally the path taken when it comes to doxxing, and because it’s effective, there’s usually no reason to pursue more advanced techniques like hacking. Most of the people who are doxxed said or did something stupid to draw the ire of the Left, and are not high profile enough to warrant being hacked. That said, Facebook makes doxxing incredibly easy, and it appears to be one of Sennett’s main sources of information.
Build the Base, Take the Initiative: A Call to Expand Our Capacity (Capabilities/Initiatives)
Alt-Left website It’s Going Down published a call to action, which encourages anarchist collectives across the nation to make 20 January 2018 a day of collective organizing to “[build] capacity and community to sustain our movements and prepare for the year ahead… As a new year opens up before us, let’s come together to think about where we want to go from here.” After accusing a growing number of Americans as seeing the Trump administration as illegitimate, the call encourages anarchists to solidify their networks, “organize new projects… and bring people together to build our movements.” The day is scheduled to include community events and improvement projects, expansion of physical infrastructure, block parties, and fundraising events, among other activities. Autonomous groups are encouraged to “[identify] new issues that people in your neighborhood, city, or region are facing, and start an organizing project to address them in a way that puts our politics into practice. It’s time to find new ways to seize the initiative.” [source: https://itsgoingdown.org/build-base-take-initiative-call-expand-capacity/]
Error451: Burner Phones (Capabilities)
This week’s Error451 from Leftist radio show The Final Straw addresses the topics of burner phones. A security expert covers the rules and some general security practices for using burner phones. I haven’t listened to the entire podcast yet, however, the description says this episode describes “reasons one might use them, approaches to getting them and using them and how to dispose of them after usefulness has ceased.” [source: https://itsgoingdown.org/error451-2-burner-phones/]
Analyst Comment: This is the fourth article or podcast I’ve seen published this year that addresses the use of burner phones for antifascist action. We do know that antifascists have used burner phones during protests, however, their level of adoption is currently unknown.
Austin, TX middle school students stage walk-out protest against racism (Strength/Sentiment)
Students at Fulmore Middle School in Austin, Texas organized a walk-out in protest of alleged racism. A teacher allegedly told a Spanish-speaking student to “go back to Mexico”. After complaints were filed and the teacher suffered no consequences, students organized the walk-out where they began chanting, “Say it loud. Say it clear. Refugees are welcome here.” A video of the protest shows dozens of students aged 11-14 walking out of school. [source: https://twitter.com/MarissaElayne/status/930887084927344640/video/1]
Bray’s book tour doubles as Antifa recruiting circuit (Sentiment)
If I seem to cover Mark Bray each week, it’s because he’s a busy boy. Bray, of course, is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, and he’s speaking at book stores and college campuses across the country. But one thing I’ve noticed is that this is not just for book sales; rather, this is his opportunity to speak directly to an audience and convince them that the antifascist movement is a necessary part of resisting fascism in the age of Trump. I’m still in the process of reading the book, so one thing I notice is that Bray always frames 2017 antifascism as an extension of the antifascism against the Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s fascist Italy.
“Post-war antifascists have argued that you should treat every small fascist group as if they could be Hitler’s 54 or Mussolini’s 100, recognizing that most of them won’t be, possibly none of them would be, but if even one of them is, then it is worth shutting it down from the beginning. It is not always so clear when things have gotten bad enough to not defend ourselves, therefore antifascists argue that you don’t let fascist or white supremacist organizing take even the first step.”
Bray most recently spoke at the University of California at Berkeley, and will speak in Burlington, VT on 05 December. [source: http://news.berkeley.edu/2017/11/14/campus-speaker-who-is-antifa-anyway/]
‘From Resistance to Revolution’ – an Antifascism Teach-In (Initiatives)
On 18 November, the DC Antifascist Collective will hold an ‘antifascism teach-in’ at a church in Washington, D.C. Session 1 is entitled, “What is the fascist movement, and what can we do about it?” According to the collective they “want a classless, free society” and “intend to win.” [source: https://www.facebook.com/events/1691551317583826/]
U.S. Universities endorse Campus Antifascist Network (Strength/Initiatives)
According to a list of signatories published by the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN), over a dozen departments and organizations at U.S. colleges and universities have endorsed the antifascist network. According to their website, the CAN “is a group of faculty, staff, and students united in their opposition to fascism.” Their website provides advice and lessons learned on antifascist organizing. [source: http://campusantifascistnetwork.com/endorsements/]
IWW picket met with violence in Portland (Initiatives)
Protestors involved in an Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) event for “higher wages and job place improvements” claim that they were assaulted by security guards during last week’s picket. [source: https://itsgoingdown.org/iww-picket-met-violence-portland-solidarity-calls-needed/]
Analyst Comment: IWW is a socialist union organization we don’t cover very often, however, they do maintain active chapters across the nation.
PIR2: What indicators describe the Alt-Right movement’s strength, capabilities, sentiment, initiatives, and infighting?
IOTBW rally in Vancouver, WA (Initiatives)
Early this week, organizers staged an ‘It’s Okay to Be White’ rally on an overpass overlooking I-5 in Vancouver, WA. Portland and Seattle-area antifascists showed up to protest the rally, and exchanges of shouts, threats, and spit followed. Police say the event included about 50 antifascist activists and about 10 rally-goers, and no arrests were made. The invitation to attend the rally read, “Diversity shouldn’t mean less whites. Your skin color is not evil. You are not racist by birth. You are not a nazi. It’s Okay to be white.” At least one individual in attendance had Nazi paraphernalia. [source: http://www.oregonlive.com/clark-county/index.ssf/2017/11/group_to_hold_its_okay_to_be_w.html]
PIR3: What are the new indicators of future politically-related violence?
18 November – Boston, MA – Resist Marxism Rally
30 November – New York City, NY – Anti-Rape & Police Abolition March
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.