I’m not sure how writing an article in opposition to fascism is a “gotcha” given that far-right extremist violence is the single greatest domestic terror threat in the nation, but ok. I guess you’re on the other side of this, which is … not a great place to be?
It’s a really good, article, too. It’s entirely based on the evidence documenting where the threat of extremist violence is coming from, which isn’t the left. It also dives into topics that disingenuous ideologues try to avoid, like the fact that murder is worse than graffiti.
As I’ve emphasized previously while discussing this very topic: There’s a difference between objectivity and neutrality. I strive for objectivity — for the truth — not neutrality, which in this case presents a false balance between two unequal sides.
Shall we use this as an opportunity to look at the many ways that disinformation actors have used the specter of “antifa” to distract from far-right extremist violence and growing national security threats? I think yes, let’s do that.
Well, there was the 4th of July shooting when disinformation actors and conspiracy theorists tried to claim that the shooter was “antifa”. He turned out to be a pro-Trump sh*tposter who was obsessed with gore.
Right-wing disinformation site Gateway Pundit is falsely claiming that the Highland Park shooter was connected to a bunch of left-wing movements, including antifa. This is a completely made-up claim, and their “evidence” is based at least in part on a fake Instagram profile.
Then there was 4th of July 2019, when far-right disinformation actors and conspiracy theorists created fake antifa accounts to stir up actual violence.
There are brand new fake antifa accounts spreading disinformation and threats of violence, and people are responding to them with *actual* threats of violence against antifa. Happy Fourth of July...?
my latest for @Canada's National Observer:
Then there was Jan. 6th, when the same people who helped incite a riot at the nation’s Capitol tried to blame the far-right attack on “antifa”.
Laura Ingraham sent texts on 1/6 to Meadows pleading with him to get Trump to stop the attack --"this will hurt us all."
Then she goes on Fox that night and says it was all antifa.
Also on Jan. 6th, far-right militia members said they wanted “antifa” to show up in large numbers and Starr fighting them so they could give Trump a reason to invoke the Insurrection Act and institute a militarized crackdown.
Far-right extremist groups like the Oath Keepers even explicitly said in internal comms that they wanted antifascists to show up on Jan. 6th and start fighting with them in order to “give President Trump what he needs” to invoke the Insurrection Act.
The weaponized narrative surrounding antifa is also a key part of how far-right extremists justify using violence against those who oppose them. It’s also used for recruitment — to create a “good vs evil” scenario, and make young men feel like they’re doing something righteous.
This has been happening for YEARS. It’s key to the success of far-right organizing. They know public support for them would plummet if people thought they were preying on innocent people, so they invented an enemy (antifa) and framed their violence as defensive.
The specter of “antifa” as told by far-right disinformation actors — which, to be clear, is entirely detached from reality — has also been cited by literal Nazis and people like Kyle Rittenhouse as a rationale for murdering people.
Jason Kessler and the other UTR defendants have also invoked the threat of a fictional antifa at their ongoing trial, and supporters of Kyle Rittenhouse are currently spreading disinfo about antifa planning to burn down Kenosha tonight in order to incite and bait people.
Then, of course, there’s literally almost every mass shooting in recent history, which disinformation actors have used as opportunities to falsely accuse “antifa” of being responsible — and each time they invoked “antifa,” they were distracting from an actual, real deadly threat.
So, people are trying to link Sutherland Spring's shooter Devin Patrick Kelley to antifa. Because of course they are.
Possibly the most egregious of these incidents was the El Paso mass shooting, which far-right disinformation actors & right-wing media tried to blame on antifa. In reality, the shooter was an accelerationist who inspired future massacres like the Buffalo mass shooting.
I actually wrote about that incident because it was so egregious. An accelerationist murdered two dozen people in the hopes of killing as many immigrants as possible, and far-right disinformation actors tried to blame the violence on immigration activists.
In the minds of far-right disinfo actors & conspiracy theorists, “antifa” is whatever they want it to be. There’s no connection to reality, yet at the same time, it’s deadly serious. They’re using a manufactured threat to distract from the very real threat of far-right extremism.
And not just that, but they actually use this manufactured threat to *justify* acts of far-right extremist violence and as a recruitment tool for far-right extremist groups. People are getting murdered because of this, so maybe find a better response than “LMAO.”
They use disinformation about antifa to scare people about the “decline of western civilization”, which then helps them with recruitment. It also lets them frame their violence as an almost theatrical, good vs. evil spectacle, which is particularly appealing to young men.