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The New Yorker published an expose defending Antifa militants who are simply "protecting their communities," affirming that "confronting fascists with violence can be justified." Their defense of Antifa ignores the evidence that shows this loosely affiliated group to be violent and intent on the destruction of American democracy.
The defensive piece, entitled "In the Streets with Antifa," is prefaced: "Trump is vowing to designate the movement as a terrorist organization. But its supporters believe that they are protecting their communities—and that confronting fascists with violence can be justified."
In the promotional tweet, The New Yorker tagged the contributing writer, Luke Mogelson. According to the Twitter handle mentioned, the account had only seven followers at the time of publication and a bio that read: "Their Voices Will Become The Voices Of Creeps Their Joy Will Become Their Sudden Death."
Mogelson first described an afternoon gathering co-sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America's Portland arm on Sept. 26, in which approximately 1,500 Antifa activists congregated on the lawn of Peninsula Park in black bloc attire—the monochromatic clothing that anonymizes suspects to law enforcement.
"[B]ut the event was family-friendly..." Mogelson reported, detailing the hippie aesthetic of Woodstock with booths set up in a leafy grove that offered free barbecue, herbal teas and tinctures, arts and crafts, condoms and morning-after pills, radical zines, and organic vegetables.
Later that night, projectiles were launched at Portland Police Bureau officers including full beverages cans, firecrackers, and ball bearings fired from sling shots. Earlier in the day, one large banner hung on the pavilion above the stage read: "Everyday Antifascist / Come for the anarchy / Stay for the soup."
Mogelson attacked President Donald Trump for alleging "without evidence" that anarchists had weaponized cans and bags of soup to hurl at law enforcement. The president also cited bricks, rocks, bats, Molotov cocktails, and frozen bottles of water used to assault police officers.
"Somebody said last night, one of the protesters—I saw it—he said, 'It’s only water. How can water hurt you?' Yeah, they don’t say it’s frozen, in a bottle the size of a football. And they throw it at the police. It’s unbelievable," Trump mimicked.
"And then they have cans of soup. And they throw the cans of soup. That's better than a brick because you can't throw a brick. It's too heavy," Trump said at the July meeting with National Association of Police Organizations leadership. "But a can of soup, you can really put some power into that, right? And then when they get caught, they say, 'No, this is soup for my family.' They’re so innocent. This is soup for my family." Eventually, "soup for my family" turned into a tongue-in-cheek slogan at Portland riots.
"Other Presidential statements have been harder to make light of," Mogelson continued, claiming that Trump has "vilified demonstrators as nefarious insurrectionists" throughout the nationwide upheaval set in motion by George Floyd's death on May 25.
"Much as adversaries of the civil-rights movement once contended that it had been infiltrated by Communists," the president "invokes antifascists" to "delegitimatize" the Black Lives Matter movement, he wrote.
As civil unrest spread from the Minneapolis uprising to other Democratic-led cities, Trump factually declared as a "president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters" at a Rose Garden press conference just as rioters clashed on the opposite side of Pennsylvania Avenue: "Our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa, and others."
Stepping away from the podium, Trump headed for St. John's Church with Bible in-hand to illustrate the destruction of American values by far-left revolutionaries. The site of arson was jarring for those who witnessed the national historic landmark set ablaze.
"Some leftists compare the President's demonization of dissent to the anti-Communist fervor of the mid-twentieth century," Mogelson levelled. "Certainly, the right-wing culture of paranoia that he tirelessly fosters can look like mass delusion."
As the general election nears, Trump has portrayed Antifa as a "grave security threat," Mogelson instantiated, that the Democrats and their presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, will allow to upend the country.
During the first presidential debate last month, Biden minimized Antifa's organizable ability and reduced the network's widespread violence to a mere ideology. To which, Trump scoffed at Biden's notorious "idea" downplay, "You gotta be kidding me," telling the Democratic challenger: "They'll overthrow you in two seconds."
Project Veritas revealed in hidden camera recordings that a Colorado Democratic Party executive committee member is an Antifa militant hellbent on igniting a political revolution in America. Kristopher Jacks, an anti-Trump radical said on tape that a Biden administration would be used to advance his far-left objectives or else violence will ensue.
“Joe Biden was presumably left-wing, and he's got a functioning signing hand," Jacks asserted, alluding to the Democratic ticket's disputed cognitive decline. “As long as there's progressive legislation that comes across his desk, I am confident we can occupy his house."
Then the extremist referenced Biden's presumed residence at the White House if he were elected to the Oval Office in November, vowing that Biden will cooperate with the leftist agenda or face entrapment. "We know where he’ll live, and yeah, he wants to veto Medicare For All. Let him veto it! He's never leaving that house again without protest.”
Yet Mogelson still insisted that "[s]uch dire warnings are wildly disconnected from reality, most "who identify as antifascists don’t belong to any particular group, and "there is no national Antifa hierarchy or leadership."
He went on to state that only one American has been killed by an Antifa operative to date. However, the 2019 Dayton mass shooter Connor Betts retweeted Antifa propaganda, operating as @iamthespookster on Twitter. This summer, "100% Antifa" activist Michael Forest Reinoehl admitted to the fatal shooting of Trump supporter Aaron Danielson in a VICE feature interview, and then was taken out in a deadly shootout with an assigned federal fugitive task force. A young woman with a megaphone celebrated Danielson's death at the Multnomah County Justice Center, announcing: "He was a f—ing Nazi. Our community held its own and took out the trash...I am not sad that a f—ing fascist died tonight."
Mogelson quoted Trump out-of-context when he tweeted, "Everybody knows who this thug is," exhorting law enforcement to "do your job, and do it fast." The president's post was preceded by a call-to-action to detain Reinoehl: "Why aren’t the Portland Police ARRESTING the cold blooded killer."
That afternoon, the US Marshals opened fire on Reinoehl "while he sat in a parked car, and then again as he stumbled into the street," Mogelson pleaded his innocence, only noting that a gun was found in Reinoehl’s pocket. Witnesses at the scene reported that the suspect exited his vehicle and fired what was believed to be an assault rifle at surrounding SUVs, The Olympian reported. Bystanders heard nearly 50 shots, then officers returned rounds, hitting Reinoehl.
Mogelson moved on to juxtapose the Reinoehl incident with the Kyle Rittenhouse self-defense case built against the raging mob; the Illinois teenager shot two BLM rioters dead and injured a third out amid the Jacob Blake Riots in Kenosha, Wisc. "NBC News has reported that DHS officials were directed to make public comments sympathetic to Rittenhouse," Mogelson pedaled the disinformation campaign. In reality, the publication misrepresented an internal memo meant to brief the federal agency, leaving out key context that instructed officials to remain unbiased in future press statements.
For anti-fascists, Reinoehl's death is an "example of state-sanctioned murder" while the Rittenhouse case shows how "extrajudicial killing can be outsourced to civilians," Mogelson urged. An Antifa activist stated, "It feels like these far-right groups have basically been given the go-ahead to step in and commit this extralegal violence where the police cannot, but want to."
But just this month, NBC News affiliate 9NEWS hired unlicensed security guard Matthew Doloff—later revealed to be a long-time, Trump-hating leftist—who went on to kill conservative demonstrator and veteran Lee Kelter at a "BLM-Antifa Soup Drive" in Denver.
"The only known plot to 'overthrow' the government in recent months was hatched by right-wing militia members," Mongelson persisted, pointing a finger to the conspiracy plan to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer and his personal run-in with the alleged ringleader in June during a rally at the state's capitol. However, one of the accused militiamen was revealed to be an anti-Trump anarchist who called the president a "tyrant" and all government employees "your enemy."
The 2019 Tacoma terrorist Willem van Spronsen was an early member of the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club, an armed anti-fascist group in the Seattle area, who hurled firebombs at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility and attempted to ignite a 500-gallon propane tank attached to the building. Kyle Robert Tornow, a Seattle man who espoused support for Antifa causes, was federally charged for threatening to blow up a Portland police station with a bomb. According to the criminal complaint and a since-deleted Facebook post, Tornow shared a graphic of the anarchist flag popular with Antifa.
"It is true that, in response to such right-wing events, some leftists have mobilized under the name Antifa, following a tradition with specific principles, among them a willingness to engage in violence," Mogelson admitted, then recounting the memoir of 50-year-old black hip hop artist Mic Crenshaw, one of the "progenitors of this tradition" and the first speaker at the tranquil-painted Peninsula Park scene.
As a high school junior in Minneapolis, Crenshaw started a skinhead crew called the Baldies that believed in multiethnic solidarity, but then the White Knights gang began to harass people of color in his hometown. Crenshaw threw a chunk of concrete through the window of the opposing group leader’s house, an act which precipitated a “protracted period of street violence” consisting of weekly brawls with chains, pipes, knives, brass knuckles, and pepper spray.
The Baldies partnered with militant leftists and gravitated toward anarchist tenets of "mutual aid and community defense," Mogelson reported, as Crenshaw was drawn to communism. "Our politics emerged from our survival-based organizing," Crenshaw told Mogelson. Another former Baldie told the journalist: "Although many of us were interested in reading theory, what was driving our action wasn’t adherence to a particular ideology—it was meeting the threat as it needed to be met. It was very practical." For Crenshaw, the violence was "existential," insisting "[a]s a Black kid, I was fighting against people who wanted to kill me."
The Baldies learned from periodicals about Anti-Fascist Action, now a modern symbol on the red-an-black Antifa flag. Crenshaw then co-founded Anti-Racist Action, a precursor that evolved into Rose City Antifa—the oldest active Antifa group in America. The Post Millennial's editor-at-large Andy Ngo filed a lawsuit in June against Rose City Antifa and associated individuals responsible for assaulting him last year at a Portland riot and leaving him with a brain bleed.
Mogelson acknowledged that Antifa is a "diffuse, anonymous network, communicating on encrypted messaging apps" that chooses rendezvous points each night. "Although Fox News and the Trump Administration characterize Portland as an apocalyptic war zone, some direct actions attract fewer than a hundred people, and even on well-attended nights their impact is undetectable beyond a few square blocks," Mogelson rebutted, but conceding that property destruction does occur. On the "Indigenous Day of Rage" over Columbus Day weekend, rioters toppled the presidential statues of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and vandalized the Oregon Historical Society, causing an estimated total of $50,000 in restoration repair. For being what the left calls "decentralized," Rose City Antifa joined the Torch Antifa Network alongside chapters as far-reaching as Illinois, California, and Texas. The network focuses much of its energy on "identifying proponents of bigotry" and doxxing them online.
In mid-September, Mogelson spoke with two current Rose City Antifa who used pseudonyms to disguise their identity: "Sophie," a transgender person, and "Morgan," a self-labeled butch lesbian. While Rose City Antifa purposefully does not disclose how many members exist underneath its elusive umbrella, Sophie estimated that "doxing investigations" take 100 hours per week. These "reports" must meet "rigorous standards," she informed Mogelson.
"We do what we can to make it an undeniable fact that the people we are doxing are tied explicitly to violent rhetoric or acts of violence. As muddied as the lines are right now, we don't want to go after someone for wearing a [Make America Great Again] hat."
Meanwhile, notorious Antifa doxxer Emily Gorcenski solicited her Twitter base for identifying information of those who participated in the peaceful multi-state "Trump Boat Parades." On one of the dark web's most malicious sites, unnamed Antifa agents doxxed black Trump supporter Andrew Duncomb, who was stabbed by an Antifa militant and convicted pedophile in a Portland riot, and his entire family.
Shane Burley, a Portland native and the author of Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It, told Mogelson that many Americans "recoil from such modern incarnations of no-platforming" because "it has been extended to people who aren't consensus Nazis—people who not everybody agrees deserve to be hit." But Burley argued that anti-fascists are "hardly to blame" for mobbing: "It's the Trump effect. Nazi rallies have merged with the Republican base, and now they're in the same space together."
Anti-fascist doctrine does not allow for avoiding confrontations across the political aisle, Mogelson explicated the Spanish Civil War's "They will not pass" precept. PopMob, short for Popular Mobilization, was created as a league of everyday anti-fascists, an offshoot of Rose City Antifa devised to be the "moderate" face of Antifa, to counter Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys.
PopMob co-founder Effie Baum stressed to Mogelson: "One of the tools of the state is getting us to create that dichotomy between 'good protesters' and 'bad protesters.'"
"The vandalism that I witnessed in Portland was perpetrated by a very small minority, but even fewer people attempted to intervene, and those who did were often disparaged as 'peace police,'" Mogelson ascertained. "The result was that the most extreme acts generally set the tone of the demonstrations—a tangible marker of the movement’s ideological drift."
Firefly, a nickname for a Marxist-Leninist source, told Mogelson: "It's more than just Black Lives Matter. We believe that racism is built into capitalism, and we want to destroy the system of oppression."
"The animating conviction that America's economic, governmental, and judicial institutions are irremediable distinguishes Portland protesters from others around the country," Mogelson narrated. "Many of them view inequality not as a failure of the system but as the status quo that the system was designed to preserve; accordingly, the only solution is to dismantle it entirely and build something new."
Mogelson emphasized: "There is no other city in America where a Black man can march on behalf of victims of police violence seven nights a week and be surrounded by devoted allies." Throughout American history, disparate factions have banded together in the name of anti-fascism, a broad coalition to achieve a common cause, he delineated.
On Aug. 22, a "Back the Blue" rally assembled to retake the Justice Center when Rose City Antifa and PopMob employed a midday downtown brawl. From both parties, pepper spray was unleashed several times, pipes were swung, and tasers were used.
The Department of Homeland Security arrived and reportedly escorted conservatives away from the scene. Then an unlawful assembly was declared as Antifa militants were driven from the area with batons and impact munitions. "They were openly taking the side of a hate group," writer Mac Smiff told Mogelson, surprised that the pro-police advocates were protected by law enforcement intervention.
Rose City Antifa and PopMob allege that the Portland Police Bureau, which Mogelson cited as 80 percent white, is "simply executing the core function of American law enforcement by aligning with white supremacists" and has "long tolerated crimes by far-right groups while cracking down on leftist demonstrators." However, a PPB spokesperson denied this to Mogelson: all lawbreakers "no matter their political alignments" are subject to arrest.
The Rapid Response Team tasked with dispersing unruly crowds no longer display name tags "to reduce the risk of being doxed," the police representative explained. In July, Jakhary Jackson, a black member of the team, was taunted by white protesters with racially-charged insults. In a released video, the prior Portland State University history major, exposed the anti-fascists for their fascist methods, "who have never experienced racism—who don't even know that the tactics they are using are the same tactics that were used against my people."