It Was Not Spontaneous

While talking heads on television routinely described it as a spontaneous eruption of anger at racial injustice, it was strategically planned, facilitated and advertised on social media by anarchists who believed that their actions advanced the cause of racial justice. In some cities, they were a fringe element, quickly expelled by peaceful organizers. But in Washington, Portland and Seattle they have attracted a “cultlike energy,” Mr. Quinn told me.

Don’t take just Mr. Quinn’s word for it. Take the word of the anarchists themselves, who lay out the strategy in Crimethinc, an anarchist publication: Black-clad figures break windows, set fires, vandalize police cars, then melt back into the crowd of peaceful protesters. When the police respond by brutalizing innocent demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets and rough arrests, the public’s disdain for law enforcement grows. It’s Asymmetric Warfare 101.

An anarchist podcast called “The Ex-Worker” explains that while some anarchists believe in pacifist civil disobedience inspired by Mohandas Gandhi, others advocate using crimes like arson and shoplifting to wear down the capitalist system. According to “The Ex-Worker,” the term “insurrectionary anarchist” dates back at least to the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, when opponents of the fascist leader Francisco Franco took “direct action” against his regime, including assassinating policemen and robbing banks.

If that is not enough to convince you that there’s a method to the madness, check out the new report by Rutgers researchers that documents the “systematic, online mobilization of violence that was planned, coordinated (in real time) and celebrated by explicitly violent anarcho-socialist networks that rode on the coattails of peaceful protest,” according to its co-author Pamela Paresky. She said some anarchist social media accounts had grown 300-fold since May, to hundreds of thousands of followers. Read more»

Farah Stockman, “The Truth About Today’s Anarchists,” The New York Times September 30, 2020.


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  1. Most Americans think in terms of political parties, not Political Movements. The parallels between our current time and what was going on in the 20th century Weimar Republic illustrate this.

    • The main thing that makes the current domestic “movement” (and evidently that term is one used by the insurrectionists themselves because there’s a sign in front of a house in our neighborhood saying ,”It’s not a moment it’s a movement”) different from pre-war fascist Germany is that those mid-20th Century rioters had a leader and a strong sense of nationalism in mind. These warped cowards who lurk among the protesters, run out an vandalize and loot, and then slip back into hiding again have no such thing in mind – it’s just “destroy America” without the feintest idea of what should come next or where that would leave them in the aftermath of such anarchy.

      • Hi George,

        There’s good evidence that Antifa, though decentralized, is highly organized. They have a plan. They want to break down the American system the way the Communists in Spain sought to do. As Communists, their goal is to replace the American system with a Communist system.

  2. RSC – so does that mean the rest of the unsuspecting protesters who make up most of the mass of these events are simply being “duped” by the Leftists? IIRC, that word was used by the Communists as well.

  3. George, if you can find MrAndyNgo on twitter you will see who these folks are, as he posts their booking photos and info nearly every day after riots in Portland. They are not all from Portland, and in fact there was one from Vermont posted the other day. They run from street thugs to “people who should know better” (students, rich kids, social workers, teachers, etc). They have bought the lie that this country and this culture is corrupt, racist, unfair, and evil to its core and needs to be completely dismantled. Dupes maybe, but I fear the word tends to absolve them more than it should.

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