In California, Homeland Security Claims Antifa Poses Greater Threat Than White Supremacists
Since last September, investigative news site MuckRock has been tracking every fusion center in the country run by Homeland Security, along with their investigations into political clashes between anti-fascist group Antifa and white supremacist groups. Muckrock discovered evidence points to higher wariness of the Antifa movement as opposed to the white supremacy movement.
MuckRock is a non-profit, collaborative news site that brings together journalists, researchers, activists and regular citizens to request, analyze and share government documents, making politics more transparent and democracies more informed.
What is the Antifa movement?
The Antifa movement is a conglomeration of autonomous, self-styled anti-fascist militant groups in the United States. Their principal feature is an opposition to fascism, far-right and white supremacist ideologies, paired with the use of direct, rather than political, fighting in their efforts. They engage in militant protest tactics, which has included property damage and physical violence. Antifa tends to be anti-capitalist and is predominantly far-left and militant-left, which includes anarchists, communists and socialists.
Antifa and White Supremacy Clashes
Several incidents from last year have been disclosed, detailing altercations between Antifa and far-right or white supremacist groups in California and the rest of the U.S.
On March 28 of last year, conservative commentator Ann Coulter was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a GOP fundraiser event in the Modesto Centre Plaza in Northern California.
According to reports, Central California Intelligence Center (CCIC) had safety concerns for “potential violence” at the event due to anti-fascist (Antifa) extremist activities, posing “the greatest threat to public safety”—as opposed to the white supremacist groups that Antifa was formed to oppose.
CCIC claimed that previous events viewed as being in support of President Trump in the Eastern District of California (EDCA), neighboring counties, as well as greater California had been met with protest activity. Subsequently, those protests were exploited by Antifa extremists as an opportunity to start riots, cause property damage, and to attack attendees.
Demographically, in the state of California, the Central and Northern regions do not seem to skew either way toward Republican or Democratic, but there is a notable divide between western and eastern California (i.e. coastal versus inland). The coast is significantly more Democratic, whereas inland is more Republican.
Department of Homeland Security calls Antifa “principal driver” of violence at rallies
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a report on August 11, 2017 identifying Antifa as the “principal driver” of violence at rallies where both Antifa and white supremacists were attending. The report was released the day before Heather Heyer was murdered by a neo-Nazi in Charlottesville, Virginia while she was protesting a white nationalist demonstration.
This is in line with the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) where MuckRock noted their reports about the “radical left and radical right violence,” blaming Antifa for instigating violence in every single altercation involving their opposition.
An example of such an event was in April 2017 in Berkeley, California, where altercations occurred at a right-wing “Free Speech” gathering, resulting in 15 arrests and multiple injuries. Weapons confiscated included bats, poles, bricks, and knives.
In an email from the State Threat Assessment Center (STAC), California’s information-sharing clearinghouse of strategic threat analysis and situational awareness, MuckRock noted a familiar hyper-focus on Antifa. Rather than ask about the well-documented recruiting efforts of fascist groups on college campuses in the U.S., STAC posed the question of what college campus recruiting efforts Antifa was employing.
White supremacy groups not wholly ignored
This release and many others did include intel on white supremacists. They were not being completely ignored. The problem is the possibility of false equivalencies, at the detriment of important investigations into groups that are more explicitly and radically violent. As the white supremacist murder rate skyrockets, perhaps more attention should be on them, along with Antifa.
Another factor may be that in all of the reported incidents, the alt-right is holding an event, so Antifa is naturally on the offense. Conversely, there have been no major reports of physical threats against “left-leaning” events such as March For Our Lives or the Women’s March held earlier this year, which drew large crowds, with 600,000 participants in Los Angeles alone.