The idea of “Antifa” (short for anti-fascism) has become a fixture in America’s popular imagination in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election, albeit in a way that tends to have very little basis in reality. The group—which has no formal organizational structure, and is best defined as a tactic associated with protesting against the threat of fascism—has been falsely blamed for everything from the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas to covert collaborations with the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). Now, “antifa” is apparently plotting a civil war in the United States that will begin on November 4, according to a pervasive right wing conspiracy theory.
This story, which can be found across social media, sometimes attached to the hashtag “#CivilWar2017,” is not only utterly fake, it’s also potentially dangerous, according to half a dozen left wing activists who spoke to Newsweek, expressing concerns that it could inspire senseless violence from people who believe it to be true.
GettyImages-854901252 SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 27: ANTIFA protesters demonstrate on the University of Utah campus against an event where right wing writer and commentator Ben Shapiro is speaking on September 27, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
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The spark of this conspiracy, as one might guess, emerged from Alex Jones’s InfoWars website. Paul Joseph Watson, a British YouTube performer who frequently functions as Jones’s sidekick, posted a misleading story with the headline, “CIVIL WAR: Alt-left Plans Anti-trump Riots in Major Cities on November 4.” The August 22 report, if it can credibly be called one, clocks in at less than 400 words, and features no first-hand reporting outside of a link to a page on the website of a far-left activist group, The Revolutionary Communist Party. Regardless, it performed well for InfoWars, generating more than 9,000 shares on Facebook and more than 2,000 comments on the InfoWars website.
About a week later, Yournewswire.com, another conspiracy website that frequently leeches off of content that first appears on InfoWars, posted another loosely sourced story with the headline “Antifa Plan Civil War to Overthrow Trump on Nov. 4.” InfoWars then returned to the content-fertile subject of Antifa-backed civil war on September 29, with a video featuring Jones citing Watson’s one-source reporting, as well as footage purporting to show antifa activists discussing their supposed plot, as evidence that “antifa” members are coming to “kill conservatives.”
“We have a flood of antifa saying that they’re preparing with weapons, knives and guns to kill conservatives, patriots and white people en masse,” Jones warns his viewers.
The idea has exploded online, taking on a proverbial mind of its own. One example of this is a “prepper” YouTube account hosted by a man called “A Glock Fanboy.” The user posted a video of himself talking into his cellphone camera in late September, called, “Antifa to Start the War on November 4th,” in which he talks about the different guns he plans to use during the war he believes is coming next month to American streets.
“If anyone from antifa is listening to this video I want you to think about the consequences of what will occur,” A Glock Fanboy says in the video, which has been viewed more than a quarter of a million times. “You will not survive this. If this is really, really what you want, then that’s fine.”
845395174 Antifa spray silly string at police during a protest to oppose the right wing group 'The Patriot Prayer Movement,' that was having a rally in downtown Portland, Oregon on September 10, 2017. NATALIE BEHRING/AFP/Getty Images
A more obscure example comes from a Twitter user going by the handle @DoesAnyoneGetIt, who writes, “ Why has Antifa chosen November 4th to "begin" their war? Because dates matter to terrorists... ” He then goes on to post a series of screenshots referencing 9/11, Obama’s election, Hitler and something called “#IslamicSocialism.”
What is actually happening on November 4? A protest is being launched by the activist group Refuse Fascism, which is intended to stir a non-violent mass movement to remove Trump from office, according to Perry Hoberman, a professor at the University of Southern California who is a member of the group’s steering committee. The idea is to mobilize people to hit the streets in a peaceful demonstration against Trump’s administration, Hoberman says, stressing that it has absolutely nothing to do with starting another American civil war.
“Right wingers will spin anything into anything,” Hoberman says of the civil war conspiracy. “It’s just an attempt to smear anyone who isn’t a fascist.”
The Revolutionary Communist Party (REVCOM), which according to activists who spoke to Newsweek is an active but not particularly large antifascist group, also issued a statement. On its website, the group said a 2005 pamphlet by its founder, Bob Avakian, called The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era, was inserted into Jones’s commentary about Refuse Fascism’s planned protests and conflated to be part of the same story.
"This statement being pushed by Jones is a lie,” the statement says. Sunsara Taylor, an activist who belongs to both REVCOM and Refuse Fascism, told Newsweek that the two groups are unrelated, and that the protest is intended to also include "Hillary and Bernie voters" who believe that the Trump regime "must go" if immigrants and people of color are to be protected, and if a nuclear war with North Korea is to be prevented. Newsweek reached out to InfoWars and Yournewswire.com for comment about their reporting, but did not immediately receive a response.
ANTIFA Groups Prepare for Guerrilla Warfare
An Antifa organization called Redneck Revolt is advocating for “revolution” against the rise of “fascism” in the United States, and the end of capitalism. To facilitate these goals, the group offers a variety of resources, including a training manual for conducting guerrilla warfare with sections for “executions” and “terrorism.” In the wake of the targeted shooting of Republican members of Congress earlier this year, nothing is more concerning than extremist organizations calling for armed revolts against civil society.
Redneck Revolt is one of several organizations to spring up following Trump’s victory at the 2016 polls, and is purportedly one of the largest of these Antifa organizations currently operating in the United States with over 30 chapters across 20 states.
It describes itself as a group made up of “working class and poor people” with declarations of taking “meaningful action” against “our common enemy: the rich.” It lists “militant resistance” as one of the group’s guiding principles.
Conservatives finally are waking up to the threat posed by the masked, violent, far-left extremists known as “antifa.” Not surprisingly, the liberal media are trying to make sure conservatives go back to sleep.
Progressive hub Vox, which says its mission is to “explain the news,” accuses conservative media and Fox News of exaggerating the threat.
“Fox News panics about the menace of’ ‘leftist antifa thugs,’ local news networks worry about the prospect of anarchist invaders, and think piece after think piece warns that antifa’s tactics are going too far,” writes author Carlos Maza. “But so far, antifa have made up a small part of the protests they showed up at. They may look scary, but much of the hype around them is a product of sensationalized media coverage.”
Maza accuses the media of being “incentivized to focus on the most extreme and badly behaved members of any protest.”
However, the same could be said of the liberal media’s coverage of white racist movements and their attempt to link the groups to President Trump.
But unlike the so-called alt-right, antifa activists have powerful supporters within the mainstream media who consciously work to downplay the extremism of the masked radicals. Some establishment media members even proudly claim the label of antifa.
As James O’Keefe of Project Veritas recently exposed, Nick Dudich, audience strategy editor for New York Times Video, admitted he sees slanting the news against Trump as part of his job.
He also claimed to have been a member of the far-left terrorist group in his youth.
“Yeah, I used to be an antifa punk once upon a time,” Dudich bragged.
He also urged the kinds of tactics antifa commonly deploy against their political opponents to be used against the Trump family.
“Target that,” he said of Trump’s businesses. “Get people to boycott going to his hotels. Boycott. … So a lot of the Trump brands, if you can ruin the Trump brand and you put pressure on his business and you start investigating his business and you start shutting it down, or they’re hacking or other things. He cares about his business more than he cares about being president. He would resign. Or he’d lash out and do something incredibly illegal, which he would have to.”
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Despite the closeness and shared membership between journalists and antifa, the latter are widely known for their attacks on reporters who are documenting antifa tactics. As Breitbart News reported, despite liberal journalists complaining about supposed threats from Trump supporters, it is antifa which has been solely responsible for recent attacks on journalists attempting to do their job and document the news objectively.
A new special report from WND reveals reporters have been openly defending antifa and cheerleading violence against conservatives since the election of Trump. Rioting, property destruction marred the first day of President Tru...
But as the report documents, even before Trump’s inauguration, journalists were defending the masked thugs.
The report says: “Natasha Lennard openly defended antifa and implicitly called Trump a fascist in The Nation, condemning liberals who ‘cling to institutions,’ instead of fighting the right. ‘The decision to join the Women’s March or Disrupt #J20 [the inauguration riots] should not be a benchmark for division,’ she wrote. ‘The line instead should only be drawn when someone…would sooner condemn or even imprison anti-fascist, anti-racist actors before they would see a ceremony affirming and buoying fascism meet with interference.”
Actions from antifa have only escalated in recent days. In response to the antifa initiative “Deface Columbus Day,” vandals around the country attacked statues of the great Italian explorer.
Its violent tactics have been labeled “terrorism” by experts. But is the group now attempting to make the jump to revolution?
On Nov. 4, the group Refuse Fascism is calling for gatherings around America to demand “the Trump/Pence...
The group claims the Trump administration is “fascist” and must be resisted, channeling the rhetoric of the antifa, or “anti-fascists,” which have been active across the country.
Yet the group has a larger agenda than simply resisting “fascism.”
Refuse Fascism is a front group for the Revolutionary Communist Party, a fiercely anti-American leftist group noted for its overt call to abolish the United States. WND reported in July the group protested the United States and burned A...
The party has even drafted a “Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America” as a template for the post-American order.
The Revolutionary Communist Party is headed by Bob Avakian, a self-described “intellectual” who claims to have developed a new synthesis of communism.
Avakian also wrote a pamphlet called “The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in t.... The RCP has received criticism even among leftists for its efforts to build a cult of personality around its leader.
Now, the group is hoping mass protest will end the “hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pen...
The group declares:
Our determination to persist and not back down will compel the whole world to take note. Every force and faction in the power structure would be forced to respond to our demand. The cracks and divisions among the powers already evident today will sharpen and widen. As we draw more and more people forward to stand up, all of this could lead to a situation where this illegitimate regime is removed from power.
Such efforts will likely include violence.
The Refuse Fascism front group also enables the Revolutionary Communist Party to join with other leftist groupings, notably various factions of antifa. Some antifa, such as the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement, have already called for “expropriating,” or stealing, the property ...