The Marxist-Anarchist Face of the Riots

Antifa's involvement is clear.

Numerous leftists are claiming that unnamed racists affiliated with the “far right” are responsible for much of the rioting that has taken place in cities across the United States since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. For example, Peggy Flanagan, the Democratic lieutenant governor of Minnesota, has accused such “white supremacists” of “burning down the institutions that are core to our identity and who we are” – and of thereby making it more difficult for people of good will “to come together … and mourn and grieve and demand change and justice in policing and every other racist system that we have that has been part of this state.”

Meanwhile, a number of reporters at CNN are likewise promoting the claim that “white supremacists” are responsible for the riots. The Chicago Tribune similarly asserts that “experts who track extremist groups” have “reported seeing evidence of the far-right at work.” And BET.com cites “the covert members of white supremacists’ groups using George Floyd’s death as an opportunity to infiltrate and derail the movement for justice.”

But there is little to suggest that these claims are anything other than attempts to divert attention away from the very solid evidence that the far-left, Marxist-anarchist Antifa movement is heavily involved in the rioting. As Fox News has reported: “Antifa sent the word out far and wide to burn buildings, loot stores, destroy cars and attack law enforcement officers.” And Antifa members – who often travel from far-flung locations to meet up with their allies in sites that have been pre-selected for rioting – have coordinated their violent efforts in a very organized way.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr alluded to this when he stated: “Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda. In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by anarchic left extremist groups — far-left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from outside the state to promote the violence.”  

U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien concurs that the violence “is being driven by Antifa,” whose constituent groups “are organized and use Molotov cocktails and fireworks and gas to burn down our cities.”

Some of the most powerful and detailed testimony about Antifa's involvement comes from John Miller, the New York Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, who told reporters in a telephone briefing that anarchists had planned to ignite chaos in the New York even before any unrest had begun. Some excerpts from Miller's remarks:

  • “[B]efore the protests began, organizers of certain anarchist groups set out to raise bail money and people who would be responsible to be raising bail money, they set out to recruit medics and medical teams with gear to deploy in anticipation of violent interactions with police.”
  • “They prepared to commit property damage and directed people who were following them that this should be done selectively and only in wealthier areas or at high-end stores run by corporate entities.”
  • “[T]hey developed a complex network of bicycle scouts to move ahead of demonstrators in different directions of where police were and where police were not, for purposes of being able to direct groups from the larger group to places where they could commit acts of vandalism including the torching of police vehicles and Molotov cocktails where they thought officers would not be.”
  • “We believe that a significant amount of people who came here from out of the area who have come here as well as the advance preparation, having advance scouts, the use of encrypted information, having resupply routes for things such as gasoline and accelerants as well as rocks and bottles, the raising of bail, the placing of medics. Taken together, [this] is a strong indicator that they plan[ned] to act with disorder, property damage, violence, and violent encounters with police before the first demonstration and or before the first arrest.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a black Democrat, says he “wouldn't be surprised if Antifa” was involved in some of the violence in his city, noting that “we have watched and intercepted, frankly, groups coming into Denver … that were heading to the demonstrations” with “assault weapons” in some cases.

In a similar vein, a Philadelphia Police Department bulletin said: “Domestic extremists, including anarchist extremists and other anti-government extremists, are using the unrest in Minneapolis to amplify and justify their calls for dismantling law enforcement agencies and carrying out attacks on law enforcement, government, and capitalist targets.”

Moreover, observers from both sides of the political aisle have noted the highly organized nature of the riots. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, for one, reports that “they had tactics deployed, prepping stations with additional weapons available.” And Chicago's Democrat mayor, Lori Lightfoot, says: “There clearly was coordination, they were clearly listening to our radio traffic. The number of U-Haul trucks that magically showed up in front of stores, car caravans that dropped people off and broke windows, and then were hustling the goods out into the backs of the cars. Absolutely, it was organized -- there's no question whatsoever about that.”

Another highly noteworthy characteristic of the riots is the fact that many of the participants have traveled far and wide to convene at the various sites of violence. As the NYPD's John Miller reported Sunday, nearly 100 of the 686 arrests that had been made in New York City over a three-day period were of people who resided in other states, including such faraway places as Iowa, Nevada, and Texas.

Meanwhile, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter told reporters last Saturday that all of the protesters who had been arrested in the region hailed from other states. Minnesota governor Tim Walz, for his part, said that the “best estimate” is that some 80 percent of the people rioting in the state were not from Minnesota. Those arrested in Minnesota included residents of such states as Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan.

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