Over the last year we’ve seen a lot of confusion and misinformation about antifascism in the press. In an effort to clear up some of the misconceptions about our work, we wanted to reach out to you as researchers, and fellow Portlanders, to offer our services. We’ve published a wealth of information about the insurgent far-right in the Pacific Northwest on our website, including detailed information about the organizing of the local Proud Boys who recently participated in the January 6th riot at the Capitol. Additionally, we have a great deal more information and context about the far-right that goes unpublished but may be of value to your reporting.
We are happy to work with the media whenever we can in order to ensure that you have the information and context you need for your reporting. Our capacity for recorded interviews can vary at times but we can almost always respond to emailed questions in a timely manner and we work very hard to make time for other formats whenever possible. Going forward please reach out if you need anything!
1. What do antifascists do? How do you do it?
** While antifascism is a broad ideology, we define it as actions taken against the insurgent right-wing. To this end, our work includes in-depth research into far-right groups and provocateurs, educating the community on the findings of our research, and taking steps to directly oppose these groups and individuals. We primarily use open-source intelligence to conduct this research and work within the Portland community to build a sustainable antifascist culture in Portland.
2. What is Rose City Antifa’s role in recent political protests?
** Rose City Antifa has not been organizing recent protests, although we stand in solidarity with those who express opposition to current systems of oppression. Our focus is on combatting the insurgent right wing, so we keep our scope small and specific to opposing far-right groups and individuals that actively threaten our community. In general, when we are involved in any events as an organization, we promote it on our social media and include our group name and logo on flyers or other promotions. If an event does not have our name on the promotional materials, it is safe to assume we are not involved in it.
The Axis of Anarchy barely missed a beat with the elections and continues small organized actions against our ICE facility and in opposition to homeless sweeps as the city desperately tries to restore its deserted downtown and economy–in nearby Olympia they recently took over a Red Lion inn with a list of demands. The Democratic Party headquarters has been one of their targets. Their defeat of an attempted homeless sweep, characterized by them as an “eviction defense”, initiated their brief occupation of a neighborhood around the so-called “Red House”. Their reign of intimidation gained them no love from neighbors who had to navigate roadblocks to come and go and shelter in their homes. Regular Portlanders, though rarely asked, are wearying of it all and in some neighborhoods ducking for cover in the resultant lawless atmosphere.
I suspect the Axis is less popular now than ever. Rose City Antifa is one of the more established groups, organized during the Obama years and focused on fighting “right wing” threats. Like Andy Ngo; I recall watching one of them trying to intimidate Ngo, holding a fist with an RCA rose tattoo in his face.
Their letter is the first time any of the subsidiary organizations of the Axis has moved to publicly distance themselves from the actions of the rest.
Axis Twitter is all aflutter with outrage at local free paper Willamette Week for characterizing this distancing as such.
I don’t know if anyone noted the contradiction of “antifa” fighting an “insurgent” right wing–on behalf of the System. The idea right wingers of any sort “threatening” Portland is laughable, but RCA taken at their word is at least more sophisticated than their allies, who seem to think the Proud Boys represent the System. Antifa says it’s defending a fascist system under threat by fascists. It illuminates their broad strategy, such as it is–to first purge America of us, then to turn on the System with which they are currently collaborating to purge us.
3. How has the “antifa movement” been involved in recent protests?
** While many of the people involved may consider themselves antifascists in ideology, we narrowly define antifascism as actions taken to oppose the insurgent right-wing. Under this definition, protests that are not involved in direct opposition to far-right violence and instead combat the state, capitalism, etc. would not be considered antifascist protests. Instead, these would be more accurately described as anarchist, anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian, or another term reflecting the specific ideology of the participants. We recommend reaching out to groups who have promoted events or, if they are unresponsive, researching their ideologies in order to determine the most accurate description of their goals and tactics.
4. How does RCA feel about the Biden administration?
** We always remind people that our group was founded shortly before the Obama presidency, an administration during which Biden served as vice-president, and one during which we saw the rise of the alt-right to the national stage and the rapid growth of fringe, anti-government militia movements. Trump did not create those conditions, he was supported by them. While we are glad he is gone, the systems that empowered him and emboldened white supremacist groups in this country are still very much in place. Changing administrations has not eradicated the threat of fascism and it’s plausible that as insurgent right wing groups lose power in more mainstream political channels that they will adopt violent guerrilla tactics like we saw on January 6th.
Again, we’re reaching out to you because we recognize that our work is often mysterious or misunderstood and we want to make sure that you know that we’re available to you as a resource. We post information when we have it on both our website and our Twitter, both linked below. If you have any further questions about our group, the state of far-right organizing in the Pacific Northwest or anything else regarding our work please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Stay healthy and stay safe,
The Axis is riven with divisions that we only get a peek at. Unfortunately, they have no real enemies seeking to take advantage. The powers that be are content, still, to sic them on dissidents, cops and courts, you.
Once right wing dissent is no longer a “threat” to power, presumably, they’ll turn their attention to their antifa goons. Those goons are akin to Viet Cong. When Saigon falls to North they will be dealt with by their erstwhile allies in power. Those few capable and willing to sell out will find places, and the rest will be shown the door.