ADMIN NOTE: The Holiday Season is upon us. Being the week of a holiday, this report is shorter than usual. Both Strategic Intelligence and Low Intensity Conflict will be published the week of Christmas (25-29 December), although both reports will be a Year in Review, identifying the trends of 2017 and looking forward to 2018. 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.
Priority Intelligence Requirements
- PIR1: What indicators describe the Alt-Left movement’s strength, capabilities, sentiment, and capabilities?
- PIR2: What indicators describe the Alt-Right movement’s strength, capabilities, 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?
University of Illinois instructor arrested after confronting students (Strength)
A Ph.D. candidate and graduate instructor at the University of Illinois was arrested and is facing criminal charges after he allegedly assaulted a conservative student and damaged the student’s phone. Conservative students interrupted the instructor, Tariq Khan, as he spoke at an anti-Trump rally on campus. “Khan immediately charged us, pushing us,” said the student whose phone was damaged. Khan is facing charges of criminal destruction of property. There’s video of the engagement. [source]
Author Shane Burley joins the IGD Podcast to talk about antifascism (Sentiment/Initiatives)
Shane Burley, author of Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It joined the It’s Going Down Podcast recently. Burley is very well versed in both Alt-Right and and antifascist movements and activity in America. Although he is an avowed Leftist and antifascist organizer, he takes an even keel approach to the interview. He admits that President Trump is not a fascist, but does call him potentially an enabler of fascism. “I think it would be hyperbolic to say that anything at least in Western Europe or the U.S., anything in the last couple of decades could be called fascist,” Burley says. Here’s a summary of the interview:
- The Alt-Right movement is an insurrectionary movement that would love to come into political power.
- Street-level organizing and action is more important than organizing for the mid-term elections, implying that voting in Democrats is not the answer to the fascist threat in America.
- White nationalist movements have a tendency to seek moderates and mainstream platforms to spread their message, but the movements split between moderates and radicals. As a result, radical white nationalist movements adopt violence as a last resort of desperation. Burley says that “we’re hitting that period now” as the Alt-Right is being disavowed by mainstream conservative and populist elements, and implies that Alt-Right violence is the only logical and most likely next step. “Seemingly random acts of violence” is the next step for the Alt-Right movement. Burley then back tracks to say that he’s not predicting an uptick in violence, but he is bracing for it.
- Burley also says that the Alt-Right is being de-platformed and are struggling to do “basic operational functions”. (AC: I see them being de-platformed, however, I also see them adopting new platforms. They still have websites and podcasts, they’re still getting their message out through flyering campaigns and YouTube videos; they just have fewer mainstream outlets through which to spread their message. I disagree that this de-platforming will lead to the increase of random acts of violence Burley is suggesting. Random acts of violence have occurred in the past, which is a good indicator that they will continue — on both sides. If the Alt-Right openly or clandestinely turns to violence, it will likely end their movement. They’ll be forced underground, they’ll be isolated and marginalized, they’ll be labeled a domestic terrorist group and hunted down by law enforcement, and they’ll lose even unspoken support. Being forced underground is not a great growth strategy for the Alt-Right. I’ve not been impressed by the strategic thinking of Alt-Right movement leaders, however, they must know that violence is not a winning strategy.)
- Burley also addresses right wing attempts at building autonomous support systems in communities, which compete with Leftist efforts to do the same. He describes that jobs and services are gone from much of Oregon’s rural countries. Because of a shortage of ambulances, Oath Keepers will take the sick and injured to the nearest hospital. “The right wing has actually been able to go in, provide options for people and create a different narrative. And it’s up to us to figure out a way of countering that narrative and bring it back to collective action.” Burley then suggests that the Left study how right wing groups have been able to build mutual aid networks in rural areas.
- Redneck Revolt is involved in food distribution and other community-building and autonomous network projects in Appalachia and other areas.
- Since Charlottesville, the Alt-Right “have been losing. They’ve been losing big time… It’s really hard to be the Alt-Right right now.” (AC: Burley says that the Alt-Right has been “kicked off of everything” which is patently false, for now. We know that Twitter still allows some Alt-Right figures to exist as long as the Terms of Service is not violated. That may be changing, but for now the Alt-Right still has strong voices and a strong following on Twitter. The traditional Alt-Right websites and blogs are still operational. A handful of Alt-Right Twitter accounts have been removed, the Daily Stormer was de-platformed from its hosting account, and several social fundraising companies have deleted Alt-Right fundraisers, which is not insignificant. I will cover more on this in the next Analyst Comment. Other than that, the Alt-Right blogosphere and social media presence remains.)
- The Alt-Right is trying to rebuild. It’s been easy for antifascist organizers to have Alt-Right speakers dis-invited or kicked out of private places, but state institutions, like universities and public venues, are another matter. That’s why Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer chose a campaign to speak at state universities.
- Richard Spencer’s decision to target college-aged kids will backfire because students are so heavily invested in their future, and they’ll back away from support of the Alt-Right for fear of academic or professional repercussions. [AC: The point is interesting and may be true in some cases, however, dedicated supporters of the Alt-Right look at academic or professional persecution as a hurdle to overcome, not a death knell. Alt-Right supporters aren’t content with being persecuted, although martyr status does bring its own level of prominence and another talking point about the demise of white culture at the hands of the Left. Ultimately, supporters want to change the acceptability of the Alt-Right platform. The ‘Overton Window’ describes the relationship between extreme and mainstream. In this case, the Overton Window describes culture, thought, and speech. The window has been opened so far to the political Left that what was mainstream thought 20 or 50 years ago is now extreme (i.e., that America is a white Christian nation, that Americans need to protect their European protestant heritage, etc.) . The Alt-Right wants to push the Overton Window back towards the political Right. How do they make the Alt-Right platform acceptable to new generations? By pushing the window so far Right that the basic Alt-Right message is once again palatable. So in that regard, Alt-Right supporters who understand the objectives in the culture war have a few options: change institutions and hire/promote like-minded individuals once inside, create new institutions where Alt-Right political speech is promoted, and/or destroy existing institutions that push a Leftist, cultural Marxist agenda. Burley seems to have a fatalistic view of the Alt-Right where their self-destruction is imminent. He implies that it’s only a matter of time before the Alt-Right is so alienated that they lash out and commit violence just to stay relevant. I take the opposite approach and say that the Alt-Right has the opportunity to successfully adapt, reach new audiences, push new buttons and agitate to new crowds to push the Overton Window back to the Right. That’s their first step in immediate survival and ultimate success. Every case of illegal immigration, racially-motivated attacks against whites, and anti-white, cultural Marxist ideology is an opportunity for the Alt-Right to reach young whites in America and elsewhere with their basic message that ‘demographics is destiny’ and whites will be a minority one day among social justice groups who will not treat white minorities favorably. That message already resonates among Generation Z, and I don’t see that the end is near for the Alt-Right.] [source: https://itsgoingdown.org/shane-burley-trumpism-nativism-building-mass-antifascism/]
Revolutionary Left Radio launches a new podcast: The Guillotine (Sentiment)
Revolutionary Left Radio recently launched a new podcast called The Guillotine, which “covers current news from around the world from a revolutionary communist and anarchist perspective”. The Guillotine takes revolutionary speech a step further than RevLeft Radio when one of the hosts calls for violence. Speaking about the pro-nationalist, independence day rally in Poland where 60,000 people took to the streets in support of a traditional Poland for the Polish, co-host “Dr. Bones” says that similar movement in the United States must be met with force. “So when you see these fascists organize, it’s not just an existential threat… We need to start taking this even more seriously and shut it down as soon as we see it with force.” The hosts then say that the situation in America “is only going to get worse” and that Leftists must “defeat fascism”. (Analyst Comment: Opposition to fascism is hardly revolutionary, however, the hosts don’t intend to stop after ending the small, fringe fascist movement in America. Ironically, the hosts admit that neo-liberalism creates an environment where fascism can rise, and therefore they call out neo-liberals as part of the problem in America, as well. One significant issue facing the revolutionary Left is their willingness to label “fascist” even non-fascist political speech and movements. )
Anarchists vandalize boutique stores in Atlanta (Initiatives)
On Thanksgiving Day, anarchists used fire extinguishers filled with white paint to vandalize two boutique stores in a gentrified part of Atlanta, Georgia. According to the admission statement, the anarchists said, “We used simple means to accomplish our task and we hope to see more free actions taken against gentrification and capitalist developments.” [source: https://anarchistnews.org/content/atlanta-ga-two-boutiques-vandalized-thanksgiving]
PIR2: What indicators describe the Alt-Right movement’s strength, capabilities, sentiment, initiatives, and infighting?
Fascist group ‘Patriot Front’ continues propaganda flyer campaign (Initiatives)
In the past week, openly fascist group Patriot Front (formerly Vanguard America) posted flyers at the University of Texas at Arlington, Citrus College, Bunker Hill Community College, Maryland, Gig Harbor (Wa.), and other places. [source: https://twitter.com/FrontPatriot] (Analyst Comment: This is a common trend among Alt-Right groups. Patriot Front’s messages are anti-communist and pro-nationalist, and are intended to target young conservatives, who might then learn more about fascist politics. Identity Evropa also encourages activism via poster and flyering campaigns.)
PIR3: What are the new indicators of future politically-related violence?
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.