As leftists who write for ideologically diverse publications, we often receive harsh criticism—or total dismissal—from others in our political circles who have determined we are not sufficiently leftist enough. No true leftist could publish in The Post Millennial or (God forbid) Quillette, after all. The extreme polarization of the mainstream ideological spectrum has effectively placed tolerant association in the same category as endorsement or sympathy. Criticism of the in-group is treated even more harshly. That was a consistent theme in the aftermath of the horrific events in Portland, where Journalist Andy Ngo was brutally beaten by Antifa while covering their unchallenged riot in the streets. Our disavowment of Antifa and our absolute support for Ngo’s human right to do his job without the threat of harm somehow meant we couldn’t possibly have been leftists. How could we have been? We didn’t support Antifa’s clearly heroic stance against the fascist bogeyman.
And a bogeyman it was. Mythical, elusive, and completely unreal. If anything was obvious by the end of day June 29th, it was that Antifa and their clapping monkeys had not a single clue what fascism was. Nothing Ngo had ever done could be described as advancing the ideology of fascism or neo-fascism, and yet the allegations had been thickly laid onto his name, many times by influential individuals and unofficial talking heads for the leftist side. Further, anyone who contested the allegations on Ngo’s behalf, ourselves included, were also quickly labelled fascists or fascist sympathizers.
It was a watershed moment for us, and it was at this time that we recognized the dire need for anti-fascism to finally be disassociated from Antifa as an organized movement. As of June 29th, two are officially mutually unintelligible.
Anti-fascism itself is not an amoral concept. It is common sense. One should be against fascism. And just to make it even more clear: Fascism is bad. The issue with Antifa is that they haven’t a clue what actual fascism is. They employ the term to casually slander those they intend to dismiss or, in Ngo’s case, take action against with a sense of moral impunity. Perhaps most concerningly, anyone merely disagreeing with Antifa’s conceptualization of fascism is always labelled a fascist.
It is ironic, considering that the anti-fascist movements of history’s past were incredibly politically diverse. The Italian anti-fascists under Benedetto Croce were nationalists and libertarians who saw Mussolini’s fascist government as threatening the unique intellectual and cultural traditions of the Italian nation. The anti-fascist Résistance of France was made up of nationalists, communists, anarchists, and even high-society liberal bourgeoise who banded together to confront the French far-right and German Nazi occupiers.
The stringent ideological litmus tests that are applied to discussion of Antifa defy both this rich, meaningful history of anti-fascist action, and seek to encourage an environment of fear, control, and authoritarian suppression. The treatment of any criticisms as an act of fascism in and of itself is a dictatorial act which defies all notions of progressivity. It proves they are intellectually and morally bankrupt. Simply, they are mobocratic and fall far closer to the ideology it allegedly exists to combat.
Like Andy, we, too, were called fascists. It mattered not that our ideological stances of the major issues that define place on the political spectrum are absolutely, overwhelmingly progressive. It mattered not that we ourselves had associated with anti-fascist, Marxist, socialist, and anarchist groups in the present and past. It only mattered that we condemned the actions of the group the popular moment.
And, to be clear, what were those actions? The battering and bloodying of a man. A man who was unarmed. A man who had not attacked or threatened anyone. While the left and right on Twitter exchange barbs over Ngo’s status as a journalist, a conservative, or his identity as a gay, Vietnamese, second-generation immigrant. There is one thing that cannot be disputed: He is a human being. At the Portland riot, it matters not what he was doing beyond simply existing in a public space. It was the thoughts of those around him, the political projections and ideological interpretations, which led to fists and objects bearing down on his person with the intention of causing him harm.
This is far from the first time this has happened.
One case of particularly egregious, arbitrary cruelty comes from the same Rose City Antifa responsible for Ngo’s assault. Antifa descended on one of their own, Paul Welch, for simply carrying an American flag. Welch was clubbed in the back of the head and left in a pool of his own blood. But there are far more cases to note. In 2017, two Global News journalists were attacked, their camera equipment destroyed, while filming Antifa in Montreal, Canada. In 2018, Antifa attacked NPR and NBC reporters who were covering their demonstrations against Unite the Right. That same year in Philadelphia, two Latino marines visiting their helicopter unit at Fort Dix were assaulted by Antifa while touring the historic landmarks on Chestnut street.
The list is near-endless. For every legitimate threat, Antifa has attempted to counter in the last five years, two illegitimate attacks by Antifa on absolutely, unquestionably non-fascist entities could be reported.
If this is not something which can be criticized by we as leftists, then we can do nothing else without hypocrisy. We can chirp about human rights no longer. We can take the moral high ground not a single time in the future. Nothing we say anymore has any value beyond simple intellectual masturbation amongst ourselves.
Leftists would assert that Andy Ngo’s life had less value, and that Antifa’s actions were justified, because he was allegedly conservative, and was an intolerant bigot. On Anna Slatz’s Twitter feed, some pointed to the paradox of tolerance. That we must be ‘intolerant of intolerance in order to foster tolerance,’ but here there is an issue. If the definition of intolerance continues to broaden, and we are expected to be intolerant in kind, then at what point have we fostered anything resembling tolerance?
While we disavow Antifa today, we can remember that Antifa used to be a movement that had actual meaning. While the original Antifascistische Aktion developed with the German Communist Party in response to the Nazis in the 1930s, its modern adaptation developed when an influx of skinheads and neo-Nazis overtook the punk rock scene in the West during the ’80s. What initially started as Anti-Racism Action (ARA), a protest movement against actual far-rightists developed into Anti-Fascist Action, or Antifa. If there is one thing that differentiates these movements from the modern manifestation of Antifa, it is resistance to an overt, tangible presence of a correctly identified threat. When the Socialist Worker’s Party battled the National Front in Lewisham, over 500 neo-nazis had taken congress. When the 62 Group took on Oswald Mosley’s fascists in Trafalgar Square, there had been 800 of them gathered.
Today, Antifa stall streets, torment pedestrians, and cause chaos even when no demonstrations to counter are occurring. If there is no one who identifies as a fascist, like in Portland, Antifa will arbitrarily apply that label to whoever they’d like to justify both their existence and violence. This is a strict deviation from the Antifascist organizations which worked to liberate Europe from the Nazis, and kept fascism at bay through the upsurge in the post-WWII era.
As leftists who actually wish to see a greater propagation of the leftist cause, we feel that Antifa needs to reevaluate itself as a movement. Propagating violence against journalists, dissenters of leftist policies, and the arbitrarily applied label of “fascist” does nothing but disenfranchise those who have to defend the entire left while they’re out buying new riot masks and collapsable nightsticks.
Which brings us to a final, solemn reminder—to those on the right who conflate the entire left-wing with Antifa, we finitely assert that the left includes a diversity of opinion and thought and is just as multifaceted as conservatism or libertarianism. Simply, leftist politics are far more mature and developed than some masked sophomoric violent insurrectionists. To Antifa, we say heal thyself! You defy the honorable history of those who came before you, and until you cease engaging in threatening free speech and civil society, we will continue to expose your moral bankruptcy, and draw attention to the cavernous chasm growing between you and the actual left.
Disclosure: Andy Ngo is the editor-at-large for TPM.
The names of numerous donors to journalist Andy Ngo’s GoFundMe have been released by antifa activists on Twitter, doxxing the names of those donating to the journalist’s medical funds.
Ngo is one of America’s foremost hoax specialists, consistently debunking false claims and stories such as the Jussie Smollett fiasco.
The doxxing was done on the belief that Andy Ngo faked a brain hemorrhage after being subjected to a public beating on June 29 at an Antifa protest in Ngo’s hometown of Portland.
In response to the doxxing, Ngo had this to say on his Twitter:
“Last night an antifa account decided to go after those who donated to my GoFundMe when I was hospitalized in June by releasing their photos & personal info. This is depraved & a new low, even for antifa. I have reported this to Twitter and GoFundMe,” said Ngo.
“If you want to go after someone, go after me. Leave those around me—my family, my supporters—the hell alone.”
The doxxing is the latest in a string of Ngo-related harassment, including visiting his home on Halloween dressed in Andy Ngo masks, ringing his doorbell, and standing in front of security cameras.
The “doxxing” was committed by one user on Twitter who goes by an alias. The Twitter thread is made up of names and Facebook profiles of donors, which has been excluded to protect their identities.
Montrealers will officially be able to cover their faces with masks or bandanas during protests again, as the city moves forward with scrapping a bylaw prohibiting it.
The bylaw, which was originally put in place 50 years ago as a measure to force demonstrators at protests throughout the city to rally with their faces revealed, allowing police to better identify participants who may be violating other lies, mayor Valerie Plante announced on Wednesday.
During a speaking event to the city’s executive committees, Mayor Plante said that the city’s police are well-equipped enough with the tools of the Criminal Code and the Highway Code to give ample ability to monitor and control public demonstrations.
The bylaw, which originally passed in 1969 as a means to maintain public safety and order, was amended during the Montreal student tuition hike protests in 2012 to include bans on all facial coverings during demonstrations. The bylaw also places obligation on protest organizers to provide city officials with march routes.
Then-opposition Projet Montreal criticized the 2012 amendments, claiming that they were put into place as a reactionary measure to the protests. In the years since those protests, the move to remove the bylaw has been supported by “a serious of court judgments, overturning the amendments as unconstitutional.”
Plante said a motion calling for the elimination of the bylaw will be tabled at the next meeting of city council on Monday.
Montreal’s history of masked protests
The city isn’t prone to masked protestors causing trouble, though. Recent May Day celebrations, a day chosen by communist and socialist groups as International Workers Day, have proven dangerous.
The 2012 protest in downtown Montreal, led by the anti-capitalist group CLAC Montreal (convergence des luttes anti capitalistes: Translation, ‘convergence of anti-capitalist struggles,’) quickly turned into a violent riot in which 108 people arrested and 33 charged, many of them masked.
In 2017, two masked members of the Black Bloc assaulted two Global News journalists, going so far as to announce a call to violence against journalists covering future protests, in order to “make demonstrations safer.”
The group released a post on Montreal Counter-Information titled “No face, no case: in defence of smashing corporate media cameras.”
The post read: “Sometimes, it is necessary to go against what the mainstream considers ‘acceptable,’ to break the law in order to do the ethical thing,” the post read. “Those who mask up to fight the racist far-right have decided, at great personal risk, that they will use any means necessary to shut down fascist organizing.”
A 2019 Anti-capitalist rally in downtown Montreal saw a group of 300 protesters throw smoke bombs and firecrackers, all while smashing windows of businesses on route.
Police arrested five people for what they described as “multiple criminal acts” and handed out multiple tickets for vandalism and mischief, such as breaking windows. Many of these protestors were masked.
The far-left extremist group Antifa receives support from The Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAN). They have also commended and disseminated far-left conspiracy theories.
In an article in The Federalist, CAN’s relationship with Antifa was uncovered, in which the organization’s members were found to be supporting Antifa by advising and protecting the extremist group in the media.
The latest example involved free-speech rally in Hamilton that took place on Mohawk College’s campus. The event was organized jointly by Dave Rubin and Maxime Bernier. Before the rally was held, a member of CAN published an op-ed in a local newspaper where they demanded the group be de-platformed. This was because the rally was allegedly “ushering people into the neo-Nazi movement.”
Following this op-ed, Rubin claims Antifa activists threatened the venue and its participants, resulting in higher security costs.
“They absolutely got threats which is why the security fee was increased. Also at the event itself there were clearly plenty of threats outside,” Rubin told The Post Millennial.
College spokesperson Bill Steinburg told the CBC Mohawk did not receive any threats to cancel the event.
When the rally began, Antifa activists appeared and subsequently gained nation-wide attention when they refused to allow an elderly woman with a walker to cross the street. They did so by blocking her path so they had sufficient time to scream, “nazi scum” at her. They refused to listen to the women and were thus unaware that her family had fought against the Nazis in World War Two.
When The Post Millennial approached CAN for a comment, they responded by saying that the op-ed “wasn’t what alerted anti-fascists to the event. Organizing was already underway–which we had absolutely no involvement with.” The CAN spokesman went on to say that “I didn’t say the rally was ushering people to neo-Nazism, but that a study analyzing 79 million comments and 330,000 videos found that Rubin is part of a radicalization process on Youtube … my intention in the op-ed is quite obviously to have Mohawk make the principled decision not to host the event.”
CAN’s executive director Evan Balgord has also provided advice to the extremist group, stating that they should be “media aware” in response to the group harassing an elderly woman. When The Post Millennial approached Balgord for comment, he did not address the tweet, stating instead that he “condemned what happened.”
More seriously, however, the Chairman of the CAN, Bernie Farber, praised a journalist’s lauding of Antifa’s “muscular resistance”.
When Balgord was asked about the allegation from The Federalist that Farber himself praised Anitfa’s use of “muscular resistance,” he said, “Bernie didn’t say that. You’re quoting Bernie [Farber] quoting [another journalist]. Further, muscular does not necessarily equal violence. Farber is quite explicitly anti-violence, and any implication to the contrary is defamatory.”
Nevertheless, Farber quoted the journalist’s comments and then went on to praise the journalist who said it, saying “the understanding [the journalist] brings to a difficult issue is well worth your read.”
Farber has also been tied to people who promote extremist ideology and has protected individuals who preach hate. Earlier this October, for instance, Farber spoke at an event with Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) speakers, which has been described by Canadian Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith as a “hateful and racist movement that singles out Israel.” The Centre for Israel and Jewish affairs describes BDS as “antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism.”
Additionally, Farber has regularly defended allegedly anti-Semitic individuals. In one case, Farber stated that an Imam who said “slay them one by one and spare not one of them. Oh Allah! Purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews,” had been treated unfairly.
When approached with this, the CAN spokesman said “At the time it was believed to be a mistranslation–I don’t know that it’s possible to know the truth of that one way or another given the different interpretations by different linguists … that’s the information Bernie [Farber] had.”
Balgord has a history of defending Antifa. In a blog post, he defended the amorphous organization by stating that there were “many examples of anti-fascists (Antifa) using violence to protect other protesters.” Balgord proceeded to state that the media presented “a distorted image of the movement.” He also co-wrote an article for Rabble with Kevin Metcalf, one of the protesters arrested by Hamilton Police three weeks ago for allegedly attacking a man at the aforementioned free speech rally.
In response to this, Balgord stated that he was a “proud supporter of the anti-fascist movement [not to be confused with the extremist Antifa group]. The vast majority of violence at the many Canadian demonstrations I have attended or reviewed footage of is began [sic] by supporters and sympathizers of hate groups, not anti-fascists.”
On writing an article with Metcalf, Balgord stated that “Metcalf is not affiliated with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, but I wish him the best of luck with his charges.”
For some context, U.S. Antifa has assaulted prominent journalist Andy Ngo (who is also now The Post Millennial’s Editor-at-large), leaving him with a brain bleed. The Canadian branch of Antifa has also attacked independent journalists in Quebec City. In response to this event, Antifa stated that “sometimes, it is necessary to go against what the mainstream considers ‘acceptable,’ to break the law in order to do the ethical thing.”
South of the Canadian border, Antifa has been criticized for its intimidation of broadcasters with the intent to de-platform speakers. They are also known to disseminate malicious conspiracy theories and attack innocent bystanders. Public intellectual Noam Chomsky has described Antifa as a “major gift” to the right.
Concerning the malicious conspiracy theories, the “Yellow Vests Exposed group,” who call themselves “CAN contributors,” have also encouraged outlandish conspiracy theories. This includes the organization repeatedly stating that “Andy Ngo is a threat to our community and provides kill lists to Atomwaffen” on Twitter without any evidence.
Balgord stood by these unproven claims. “It [was] not a conspiracy. Andy Ngo is dangerous and by pushing that non-study he got journalists on a kill list.”
This conspiracy theory has been widely disproven. Claire Lehmann, the editor of the magazine that published this article, has gone on record stating that “Andy Ngo played no role in the production of this article.” As well as this, Lehmann stated that “the whole situation is absurd … and [the kill list] has no connection to Quillette.”
CAN are only too eager to label conservative figures and groups as “far-right.” In a report, for instance, CAN stated that there were 300 hate groups in Canada. According to their arithmetic, there are 160 percent more hate groups in Canada than the U.S. per capita.
Clarification: An earlier version of this article claimed Mohawk College received threats before the Rubin interview with Bernier took place on the campus, in part from an op-ed written by CAN’s Evan Balgord. Balgord brought to The Post Millennial‘s attention that Mohawk College spokesperson Bill Steinburg told CBC there were no threats received. Rubin maintains otherwise, telling The Post Millennial: “They absolutely got threats which is why the security fee was increased. Also at the event itself there were clearly plenty of threats outside.” All of this has been added to the article to clarify the differing accounts of what happened.
A town hall event in Portland, Oregon, hosted by the Melody Centre has been targeted by the antifa extremists. The event was organized by the WalkAway Campaign, which had activist Brandon Straka, documentarian Dinesh D’Souza, radio host Lars Larson, and prominent journalist Andy Ngo, speaking to the audience on a range of topical issues. Disclosure: Ngo is the Editor-at-large at The Post Millennial.
Over the past week, antifa had tried to harass the centre into deplatforming the speakers. Despite the group attempting to intimidate the business, audience, and speakers, they failed to shut down the event.
Even before the event had begun, a group of 20 antifa members gathered outside the centre, intimidating the speakers and audience. Soon after, they began to circle the event, taking photographs of the attendees.
During the event, Ngo saw the antifa activist who attacked him whilst at the gym earlier this year in May and decided to name him on Twitter. The assailant’s name is John Hacker.
As they were circling the event, the antifa members chanted slogans like “I f****d God, now he’s gay,” and “all cops are bastards.” Despite there being a heavy police presence, and threats of violence, Portland’s police force largely remained in the background in light clothing, rather than the heavy riot gear they have worn at previous antifa demonstrations.
Due to the event being ticketed, the antifa members did not manage to disrupt the event. Nevertheless, the group still attempted to make as much noise as possible by honking horns and creating a general racket. These noises, however, failed to penetrate the event, only irritating the surrounding neighbourhood.
Over the past few days, antifa and other hard-left organizations had attempted to cancel the event. Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone also called for the event to be shut down, posting on Twitter: “There should be no safe haven for people affiliated with domestic terrorists and nationalist extremists.” This tweet was later criticized for inciting violence.
On Twitter, Iannarone has mentioned her support of antifa, announcing her support of her nickname, the “Antifa mayor.” antifa has long been criticized for its violent tactics and willingness to label moderate public figures as fascists. Even the notorious socialist Noam Chomsky has labeled antifa as a “major gift to the right,” due to their extremist tactics.
The main effort to get this event cancelled came from a group called Popular Mobilization, which is another coordinated left-wing organization. Popular Mobilization has publicly directed its followers to harass the centre by sending private messages and requests. After this failed, they then decided to call and email the centre into compliance. The group was responsible for distributing the milkshakes that were used to assault people in an antifa riot in June.
Portland has had a troubling history of far-left violence and intimidation. Earlier this year, Ngo was beaten and attacked with “milkshakes” on the streets of the city. As well as this, during the far-right, Proud Boys rally, antifa attacked multiple people including non-related bystanders. Despite this, very few charges were laid by the Portland police.
Ngo has been a constant target of antifa violence and conspiracy theories. On Halloween night, antifa activists arrived at Ngo’s family home so to intimidate his family. As well as this, Ngo has often been accused by antifa and their allies of providing “kill lists” to Atomwaffen.
Yesterday, Stanford University data scientist, Becca Lewis, also promoted this unfounded conspiracy theory.
TPM asked Ngo about the demonstration. “The masked protesters mocked my injuries from the beating when I was outside. They passed out flyers with the false claim that I provide a terrorist group with ‘kill lists.’ Clearly the aim is to lie about me in the most egregious ways to incite more violence against me,” he said.