Human Events senior editor Jack Posobiec is back with his newest book. The Antifa: Stories from Inside the Black Bloc (BUY IT HERE) looks at a group that has done more than any other to shape the ground tactics of the modern left, yet which remains quite mysterious thanks to the deliberate obtuseness of the professional press. Even though Antifa is present in almost every major American city and regularly riots, loots, and burns, the press has often tried to claim that Antifa doesn’t even exist.
Revolver spoke with Posobiec about his discoveries researching the group and its tactics up close.
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Revolver: At the very beginning of your book, you describe President Trump repeatedly clashing with FBI Director Christopher Wray over targeting antifa more forcefully. Wray reportedly told the president that going after Antifa was unacceptable because it was a “political ideology,” yet his FBI had no problem going after even peaceful MAGA supporters in the wake of January 6. How do you think a future Republican president could reform the bureaucracy to prevent a repeat of this?
Jack Posobiec: In my own time serving in the intelligence community, I saw the stark difference between military intelligence, where I got my start, and civilian intelligence, where I ended up. I’ve had the misfortune to work with just about every 3-letter agency in the government both in their DC area headquarters and while deployed. My area focus was mainly East Asia with my Mandarin background, but I also spent a tour at Guantanamo Bay in the detainee interrogation operations center.
For the most part, as intel goes from its most raw form at the point of collection in the field, it becomes more watered down and co-opted by politics as it moves along the chain to DC.
While the vast majority of military intel analysts and officers are patriotic and sign up for the right reasons (as I like to think I did), they are beholden to a politicized civilian leadership and an increasingly subverted general officer corps.
We went from General Patton to General Milley in just one generation.
A true overhaul of the US government’s bureaucracy would start with firing every SES-level civil servant all the way down to GS-13, as well as anyone in a management track. This is precisely what Bolsonaro did when he was first elected, purging hundreds of ideological government functionaries. While this tactic is unlikely for an American president, let alone a Republican, there may be space for a populist-conservative to be elected with a voting bloc in Congress that targets specific agencies and Beltway slush-funds for summary termination.
This would entail a Church Committee-style auditing of the national security agencies, the military (particularly the War Colleges), and the connections between the bureaucracy and front groups in DC such as think tanks that are funded by corporate and foreign interests.
The legislative backstop would be required here for the US Congress to re-assume its oversight role of the federal government, and the eradication of any policy or program that is not deemed in the national interest of the United States, of which there are many. An undertaking of such proportion must be underpinned by a movement that rejects the distorted moral framework of the elites and radical Left in favor of traditional American values. In this sense, Antifa is a symptom of elite corruption rather than a cause of it.
Revolver: Did you ever fear for your life while investigating Antifa? What are the most threatening behaviors you encountered?
Posobiec: The most threatening situations I’ve been in were the armed occupation of CHAZ and the Lincoln State incident in DC that is depicted on the cover of the book. If they had identified me in CHAZ, it could have gone bad. Other reporters who went undercover but were unmasked, as well as a Christian street preacher, were attacked and badly beaten by gang members and Antifa thugs. In CHAZ we were frequently around the armed barricade guards and thankfully our cover always held, and we knew how to blend in enough with the lingo and basic identity information. COVID actually helped in that walking around masked both day and night did not draw our team any undue attention. Several nights after we got out, those same armed groups shot up a pair of kids inside CHAZ. There ended up being 5 shootings on 4 separate occasions between the guards and local criminal gangs that operated within the zone after dark.
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As far as the Lincoln Statue, a group of Antifa attacked me while reporting on a planned BLM protest in DC, they had planned to pull down the original national statue of Abraham Lincoln. That is where the picture comes from of me squaring off with the Antifa anarchist. At the time I had told the producer who was with us to keep an eye out for anyone coming up to hit the back of my head as I had no way to see behind me while dealing with threats pressing in from the front and sides.
The Antifa there began to rile up the crowd around us, screaming extreme epithets and hoping for a quick show of mob justice to take me out, but instead of responding physically, I assessed my most favorable course of action was to stand my ground while staying silent. I knew what they wanted and I didn’t give it to them. Instead, I was saying the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel in my head. This was all being live-streamed and all know how the media would spin it if I lashed out, but I was prepared to defend myself with necessary force if required.
In fact, I later found out that while my name was trending online during all of this, and in danger of never seeing my family again, Brandy Zaraodzny of NBC was tweeting out vile things about me and cheering on the anarchists. The anarchists eventually pressed in and assaulted me, trying to steal my phone and knock me off the steps onto the concrete slab below us. I was able to keep my footing as the mob advanced, and then finally, Good Samaritans in the form of Don Folden of DC Black History Tours and Kevin Corke of Fox News and his security detail stepped in to break the standoff. They brought me out to police who were waiting outside the park.
Revolver: What is the chief misunderstanding that ordinary American patriots might have about Antifa? What is it most essential for them to understand if Antifa is to be defeated?
Posobiec: Both of these questions have the same answer. The common political psychology that I have encountered from people asking about Antifa is if they have a central leadership and if this is foreign-backed, with China being a common suggestion. The answer is, Antifa is a home-grown extremist phenomenon in the West, and that they are commonly the vanguard of the corporate agenda, not opposed to it.
Antifa is, in many ways, a symptom of the decline of the American political system which itself is a symptom of the general decline of America as a nation. Antifa is in almost all cases found attacking and targeting true dissidents against system and patriot groups. This serves to further the influence of the powerful oligarchic interests of Silicon Valley, Washington DC, and Multinational Corporations, rather than to advance the cause of anarcho-communism that they profess. This is the key difference between Antifa and the doctrinaire non-violent anarchists.
In every instance now, Antifa no longer is animated by the 99% vs 1% ethos of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Instead, there has been a co-opting operation performed where they now recruit and field shock troops for the system. As the system gains ever-more power, Antifa only becomes further emboldened against its enemies.
Revolver: In your chapter on the Boogaloo movement, you write: “Curiously, the FBI has not sought to link the events on January 6th to the Boogaloo movement, even though members claim several of their groups took part, and it is an event specifically in line with the movement’s ultimate goal.” Why do you believe the FBI suddenly lost interest in the Boogaloo threat just when it superficially seemed to be fulfilling their warnings?
Posobiec: One of the biggest mysteries of Jan 6 has been the complete disappearance of the Boogaloo boys. Coverage of this movement in the corporate information space throughout 2020 came in second only to the coverage of QAnon.
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As I go into in great detail in the book, there is a feedback loop that runs between corporate media, academic, and the national security state. As such, once Jan. 6 occurred, the media psychological operation no longer had need of the Boogaloos as a boogeyman to smear patriots with, they now had the means to smear them all as extremists. The Boogaloo narrative of 2020 became detrimental to this effort, and thus was dropped. The FBI and DOJ, now completely in sync with their system-approved leadership from the Biden admin has now begun to actually speak of all American patriots with the rhetoric employed by Antifa and laundered through media channels.
Revolver: You describe Antifa’s goal as the “overthrow” of the United States government, yet as you also note, their chief targets are small business owners and other ordinary Americans whom they deprive of the right to live in peace and express their beliefs freely. Almost none of their activities truly threaten the current ruling caste in American society. In this regard, they are very different from the Russian revolutionaries of 1917 or the original antifa of Weimar Germany. Given the differences in how they operate, is it really that useful to trace their history back to these groups?
Posobiec: Antifa are most certainly the shock troops of the current system. Analyzing the long history of the ideologically-aligned groups and conflicts they derive from gives us the ability to understand their motivations, as well as predictive ability to discern their future tactics, and potential outcomes.
As seen in Soviet Russia, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and Weimar Germany, these types of street forces are not pulled back until the system is firmly in place and they have outlived their usefulness or if the system itself collapses.
Revolver: Antifa is famously decentralized. As you point out, if it has any base of operations at all, it’s America’s four thousand college campuses. There, they can riot with little risk of punishment, and they enjoy implied or explicit support from faculty and senior administrative staff. They enjoy these advantages even at schools in GOP-controlled states. What should conservatives be doing in their state legislatures to prevent publicly-funded schools from becoming revolutionary incubators?
Posobiec: Conservatives need to abandon their veneration and financial support of universities the same way universities abandoned academics and education. Conservatives need to end the free flow of money to these enemies of the republic, end their tax breaks, and seize their endowments. Patriotic education must be restored across K-12 as well, and CRT propagandists fired.
Revolver: In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed an anti-rioting law that imposes stricter penalties for violent demonstrations and allows police to detain arrested protesters for longer periods. It also gives drivers the right to drive through demonstrators trying to illegally block a road. Why haven’t these laws been passed in every Republican state, and are there any other laws that could be passed that you think would be helpful?
Posobiec: Ron DeSantis’ anti-riot laws are quite charismatic and this needs to be the lens through which all new legislation is viewed. Conservatives have much more influence at the state level than they do at the federal, where it barely exists. This is partly why the Trump administration ran into so many roadblocks, even after establishing a populist beachhead in the Oval Office.
Other laws that must be considered in the states: unmasking at protests, citizen self-defense against riot protections, and empowerment of state and local law enforcement to prosecute Antifa under gang laws.
Revolver: How “controlled” is Antifa, in your view? Obviously the liberal establishment views Antifa’s violence as useful to their ends, but do they have much ability to dictate when and where they act out (and where they don’t)?
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Posobiec: Antifa’s relationship to the establishment is like a dog-walker with multiple dogs at once. They are pulled by the dogs as much as they direct them, but if need be, the dogs can be kenneled or made to heel.
Revolver: Antifa has proven adept at arson and other physical destruction. But with a few important exceptions like the murder of Aaron Danielson in Portland, they have rarely been as murderous as historical Antifa groups in other countries and time periods. Is this a tactical decision on their part, and is there a risk they could become substantially more homicidal while still enjoying the support of left-wing institutions?
Posobiec: The Antifa of today are acutely aware that information and psychological warfare holds the highest degree influence over society today. People like Michael Forest Reinoehl, mass murderer Conor Betts, or the Antifa who traveled to Syria and fought on the battlefield of Rojava were radicalized and went over the edge and couldn’t hold back.
Unpersoning, character assassination, social media deplatforming, and debanking are all Antifa tactics they employ in concert with corporate media apparatchiks against truthful dissidents, Christians, and patriots who dare speak out.
The dual use of information warfare and street warfare has had its most sophistication in Portland, where Antifa was able to engender both political and media support even while attacking federal police on a nightly basis for weeks. Antifa will continue to refine this method of employing cultural / social justice narratives combined with physical assaults to achieve their goals. Portland is their model for national strategic operation.
Revolver: As you note, Antifa is overwhelmingly white. Why do you think the group holds little appeal for black, Hispanic, and Asian leftists?
Posobiec: Antifa is far more WASP-y than anyone on the Left would like to admit. So is the DSA for that matter. Yes, they have their token minority members, like any country club would, but by and large Antifa is made up of privileged, white college-aged individuals, the majority of whom really do live with their parents. Similarly, cities like Seattle and Portland are both extremely left and extremely white.
The BLM and Pro-Open Borders protests I have covered were largely more diversified than any Antifa action.
Antifa, like Wokeism, and corporate support of BLM is largely a cope for the actually-privileged to virtue signal that they are doing something for society, while in reality they are subverting it. Notice Antifa never demands their own families personally eschew their own wealth and social status.
Why isn’t Antifa holding protests on Wall Street while they gobble up neighborhoods and force millennials and zoomers into a renter class?
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The dog isn’t barking.
I recently spent some time in Southern Maine, not far from the Bush compound, and many of the old money towns up are proudly flying the updated Pride flags that include black and brown stripes, yet these are some of the whitest areas of America, and only a few miles down the road from economically-depressed former factory towns like Sanford that face real poverty today. I guess its easier to put up some flags around your winery than actually care about your neighbors after you closed down the factory and shipped it overseas.
Antifa, like so many other performative copes in modern America, will continue to expand until we end our current national pastime of ignoring actual reality in favor of sensationalized media pseudo-narratives such as CRT, exotic claims of police brutality, patriotic extremism, vague accusations of systemic racism, and the general hatred of our own country for the benefit of multinational corporate authoritarians.
Many Republican lawmakers I’ve spoken to are terrified of their families ‘being next’ if they oppose legislation Antifa supports.
The truth is, Antifa really is helping to destabilize America. But, just like in 1932, they don’t even realize who they are putting in charge.