Philly Antifa ‘Doxxes’ White Nationalists in Pennsylvania
Is doxxing a new viable way to combat “hate” or is it the internet weaponized in a new dangerous form?
Recently the Philadelphia Antifa chapter began a doxxing campaign attempting to expose fascists and skinheads operating in the Philadelphia area, most of whom belong to a group called Keystone United or as it was called until 2009, Keystone State Skinheads.
Starting September 10, Philly Antifa has published one Keystone United member’s contact info, criminal history, employment info and picture per day and will do so for 30 days.
Philly Antifa, Combating Fascism or Spreading Authoritarianism?
Antifa groups operate around the United States and worldwide, attempting to combat fascism and other manifestations of right-wing hatred, however they have also been the recipients of criticism as a result of their confrontational and sometimes violent tactics.
According to the Philly Antifa website, they “are an independent Anti-Fascist crew operating in Philadelphia, PA, and the surrounding area. This is followed with the statement “We are in direct conflict with Racism, Homophobia, Sexism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Transphobia, and all the various other flavors of Fascism. Philly Antifa are anti-authoritarians and anti-nationalist. We do not work with the state or any groups/individuals who seek to ‘reign us in’ or otherwise control us.”
Given these goals, it should come as no surprise that Philly Antifa is taking an aggressive approach towards combatting fascism and hate groups in the Philadelphia area. But is it acceptable to publish personal information and other details regarding certain individuals on the worldwide web because they are affiliated with unsavory quasi-political organizations?
Hate in the Home of Brotherly Love
Despite the fact that Pennsylvania is home to the city of brotherly love and was founded as a haven for religious freedom, the state is home to an incredibly large number of organizations that have been labeled hate groups. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Pennsylvania has more anti-government groups than any other state in the country and is home to at least 36 recognized hate groups. If one were to rank states based on number of hate groups, Pennsylvania would be number eight on the list.
Almost all of the persons who have been exposed by Philly Antifa thus far are associated with the skinhead crew Keystone United. On their WordPress website, Keystone United claims that since their inception they “have helped to create a positive atmosphere within the cause through our concerts, gatherings and family events.” They claim that they “have also been physically attacked, imprisoned, harassed and slandered for attempting to remove the destructive propaganda fed to today’s youth through the mass media.”
While Philly Antifa is currently “doxxing” one Keystone United member a day, they have also previously doxxed about 25 members of other white nationalist groups in the Philly area. Doxxing is the practice of publishing someone’s personal contact information or address online, typically for malicious intent.
In contradiction to many of the white nationalist groups’ peaceful intentions, many of the individuals exposed by Philly Antifa have criminal records for violent crimes, firearms offenses and some have been convicted of hate crimes.
But is it possible that by targeting these individuals and making their affiliations and activities known Antifa is almost giving these groups more credibility than they deserve and providing them with more attention and visibility than these groups would be able to achieve on their own?
Keystone United members at their annual Yule Party (phillyantifa.org)
Is Doxxing a Viable Solution?
Philly Antifa claims that the main goal behind their doxxing campaign is to put pressure on the employers of these individuals so that they lose their jobs and livelihoods. The information published includes license plate numbers, addresses, and criminal histories. They also include information on how to contact the member’s employer or suggest non-violent confrontation practices like passing out flyers to inform others of the members’ affiliations.
However, when Philly Antifa is also selling a shirt that proclaims, “I punched Richard Spencer”, is violence against Keystone members solidly out of the playbook?
Do white nationalists, skinheads and fascists deserve to be doxxed? If their ideology is based on a program of hatred, and many members have served time for violent acts and hate crimes, is doxxing a solution? If these individuals lose their jobs or livelihoods or are shamed for their affliations, would that be for the greater good?
Or will doxxing simply increase the divide between the disenfranchised whites who fill their ranks and the portion of the population in favor of a diverse but equal racial and religious society?