The mainstream media — silent on the Marxist ideology, violence, and militancy of groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) — deceptively reported that the protests they inflicted on over 200 U.S. cities in 2020 were “mostly peaceful.” It deceitfully transformed the mayhem into a “summer of love.” Widespread rioting, looting, arson, murder, assaults, and destruction of property and businesses went unreported. Such abject failure explains why polls consistently rank the media among America’s least trusted institutions.
Given media complicity with radical groups, it’s not surprising that the Los Angeles Times dismissed Andy Ngo’s Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy as unserious, “supremely dishonest,” and “self-serving.” While video-recording left-wing protests as part of his independent reporting in 2019, Ngo was assaulted and hit with a milkshake containing quick-dry cement. But the Times dismissed his allegation of a brain injury from that attack. It says he’s fixated on the “imaginary threat of Antifa” and ignores the “real danger” from far-right extremists.
Ngo’s book is a riveting exposé of the background, structure and workings of the collectivist militant group, set on destroying capitalism and America’s history, culture, and institutions. He presents an accurate, well-researched picture of this insurrectionist movement, its widespread network and its hostility to the rule of law and democracy.
Antifa origins trace back to 1932: it began as Antifascist Action, a paramilitary faction of the German Communist Party. It emerged in America in the 1980s as a marginal group, remaining so through the 1990s and 2000s. About five years ago, it surfaced in earnest, and now counts students, academics, journalists, lawyers, and politicians among its members and supporters. They use sophisticated methods of propaganda, outreach, recruitment, fundraising, and reconnaissance. They strategize violent protests with full security.
Even the name is a deception, for Antifa strives to overthrow liberal democracies and abolish capitalism. The group draws on dogma from Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfurt School, considered the “father of the New Left.” It believes that there is no objective reality or truth; that tolerance means suppression of the intolerant; and that unacceptable opinions are “violent.” Large factions of the Left sympathize with Antifa; some in academia, corporations, and Big Tech assist it in silencing opponents.
Antifa’s recent rise coincides with that of BLM, which draws on the black power movement of the 1960-70s. Now linked, they share the goal of upending liberal democracy and the rule of law while purporting to fight racism, sexism, homophobia, and capitalism. They aim to abolish law enforcement, property rights, national borders, American jurisprudence, free markets, and free speech.
Antifa advocates window-breaking, looting, and arson as valid and powerful protests, deeming such actions “self-defense” against an “unjust” system. Typically, Antifa announces a gathering to oppose an event it disagrees with through social-media blasts. Members arrive in intimidating and protective black bloc — black clothing, ski masks, scarves, sunglasses, and helmets. The use of pepper spray, batons, bats, brass knuckles, frozen water bottles, and “milkshakes” is encouraged. Many carry weapons and are trained to gouge out eyes, break ribs, and deliver hits to the liver and kidneys.
After George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in May 2020, Antifa and BLM spread disinformation with the help of a complicit media. Floyd’s extensive criminal history and his resistance to arrest were overlooked. In fact, the autopsy showed no evidence of strangulation but revealed a fatal level of fentanyl in his blood. Riots were fueled with the hackneyed trope of an “innocent” black murdered by racist police. Widespread violence, arson, looting, and assaults escalated. But police were prevented from responding. When a mob surrounded the Minneapolis Third Precinct, the mayor ordered the evacuation of the police station. Antifa and BLM replicated such planned violence in dozens of American cities.
Besides Antifa’s systematic violence, Ngo reports on its targeting of perceived enemies through tactics such as doxing: victims find highly personal, sensitive information amplified online, leading to harassment, assault and job loss. Other intimidation tactics include “community alerts” that broadcast the real-time whereabouts of a person or group online.
A nationwide network of bookstores where selling books is clearly not a priority serves as a front for Antifa training in street violence, coordinated attacks, and psychological tactics. Radical propaganda is available, but the bookstores’ main function is to spread radicalization, destabilize communities, and delegitimize the authority of local government. Ngo reports that Antifa fields and crowdfunds candidates in elections and organizes voter fraud.
Going undercover, Ngo reported on Antifa’s occupation of a large, densely populated area of Seattle in the same month as the Minneapolis riots. Antifa members designated the area as the country of CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone). There was complete lawlessness: assaults, robberies, six shootings, two homicides, and an attempted rape took place. The mayor’s edict against the use of tear gas rendered police impotent. Ngo debunks claims that it was an anti-racist zone: he exposes segregation there and writes that “CHAZ ended up with a 100 percent black victim shooting rate.” The city administration refused to restore order; instead, it provided street barriers, cleaning services, washing stations, and portable toilets to the occupiers. The city council was sympathetic to Antifa and never condemned the anti-police violence.
In Portland, Oregon, the Antifa-BLM attacks sparked by Floyd’s death went on for weeks, Ngo reports in his book. Rioters started at the Justice Center, moved downtown, smashed windows, broke into stores, started fires, looted everything in sight, brought down statues, and attacked police vehicles. The city council fanned the flames, accusing the police of racism and brutality. Police held back in the face of the allegations, so shootings and homicides skyrocketed. Mainstream media called the riots “spontaneous.” In fact, they were well-organized and funded by Leftist groups. Supplies such as water, food, “street medics,” and phone access were provided as well as projectiles and weapons. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised online over four months. Leftist lawyers and organizations filed 21 protest-related lawsuits against the police. The local media supplied favorable coverage. The progressive district attorney went easy on the violence: between May and October 2020, there were an estimated 1,000 protest- and riot-related cases, but the D.A. rejected 90% for prosecution. There were no arrests for vandalism.
Radical politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) of the Democratic Socialists of America, too, have helped mainstream Antifa. She participates in its events and supports its call for defunding the police, ending capitalism, and abolishing the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement. AOC promoted a bail fund for rioters and urged her 6.5 million Instagram followers to donate to an Antifa propaganda outfit. Together with journalists, academics, and left-leaning intellectuals, Ocasio-Cortez and her ilk justify rioting and looting in the name of “racial justice.” Some city councils sympathize with and legitimize Antifa-BLM’s violence.
In 2019, Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) sponsored a resolution to designate Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization, saying it “represents opposition to the democratic ideal of peaceful assembly and free speech for all.” Ngo’s book provides rigorous documentation that shows the senators’ fears are real. It warns of the influence amassed by this destructive movement and cautions against an insurrection proceeding with impunity.
Image: Screen shot from video from KPTV Fox 12 Oregon, via shareable YouTube.