Reason has a fascinating piece about a trans woman Trump supporter who went undercover within antifa in Portland during this summer’s simmering riots. Getting in was easy, just don black and wear a mask.
Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing. Here are a couple of takeaways.
There are different types of bloc organization styles. The building block of antifa is what’s called an affinity group, people you live and work with and trust and know in real life. All the planning is done within that closed bloc, and they don’t let everyone know [what they’re going to do]. I didn’t know that they were going to burn the Portland Police Association when I joined. What they did was put a call out that said, “Anyone show up in black that night at this place, and you can join the action.”
It’s like a combined arms type thing, almost like the military. They work together and are mutually reinforcing.
As far as whether antifa/black bloc is an “idea” or an “organization,” that may be the wrong line to draw. The answer is “yes.”
As we’ve seen with al Qaeda, once the idea is out there the cells organize themselves. The idea can spread well beyond any organization, to become part of the background noise of life and the conversation that seeps into everything.
Strategically what they’re doing is, they’re forcing a dilemma action. A dilemma action is when you put your opponent in a no-win situation. Your enemy has to react. If they don’t react, they look weak; if they do react, they have to react in a certain way where it looks like it’s an overreaction.
This is very similar to how the intifada terror campaigns against Israel worked in the past. The terrorists knew they could not win a full military confrontation against the well-trained and well-equipped Israeli military. Winning wasn’t even necessarily the goal. The goal was to undermine Israel’s legitimacy, its right to even exist.
The idea then is to create a scenario in which the more powerful side is provoked and uses the tools available to it, creating the illusion of an overreaction, and sympathy for the attackers and instigators.
I describe it as an open-source networked insurgency. They were incredibly efficient. They hit a target and vanished into the city and got away. Basically, they’re like skirmishers: They come in, they attack the cops, they get out.
As the piece notes, when President Trump deployed federal officers to protect federal property in Portland they were accused of overreacting. Antifa and the local and state Democrats pushed that lie and many in the media played it forward. Antifa caused the reaction and then, like those soccer players we all laugh at for rolling around on the ground faking an injury, they intentionally made the reaction look worse than it was.
One question that arises is, are the local and state (and national) Democrats in on the ruse? Or are they mere dupes?
The Democrat district attorneys and mayors who keep releasing violent rioters and undermining their own local police departments should be asked about this. So should Kamala Harris, since she proactively helped raise money to spring rioters from jail. Is she a sympathizer or a mere dupe?
Another question: Who is propagating antifa’s tactics and ideas? Where’s the ideological incubator? Who’s coming up with the ideas that animate this amorphous open-source intifada?
Antifa tend to be white and well-educated, with many being professionals in their late 20s and early 30s. That comes out in the Reason piece too. They went to college. Most are even affluent and have never truly struggled for anything meaningful in their lives. Antifa gives them their moment, at least in their own minds.
Student government at U-Wisconsin just voted to smear their campus police for doing their job. They didn’t even allow the campus police chief to speak prior to condemning her and her officers. An Oregon State University professor blames “white Christians” for the year’s wildfires, despite the lack of any evidence at all. In Texas, a professor calls for police to be “strangled with their own intestines.” Then he, like antifa, acts like the reaction to his words is worse than the words themselves. Behind all this, the New York Times’ insidious 1619 Project with its intentional error smearing the United States’ legitimacy by attacking its foundation as “racist.” And behind all that, for years, the firms and charlatans making millions teaching critical race theory to unsuspecting Americans who just want to be able to work and live in peace.