a violent birth in Germany to the target of the far-right, terrorist, freedom fighters against fascism, but who are they really?
On August 29, 2020, protest support for the “Blue Lives Matter” movement and President Trump’s election moved late into the evening. Aaron Jay Danielson of the Patriot Prayer was shot and killed by Michael Reinoehl, an Anti-Fascist but not Antifa. Reinoehl claimed he was security for the BLM (Black Lives Matter); he was not paid for his support. But he was seen as an excellent person to de-escalate conflicts in protests. He had battled the Far-Right in fights before.
Every march by BLM, he had been a part of in Portland, Or. Rose City Antifa, the Anti-Fascist group in Portland, had existed since 2007 and was highly involved in the August 29 protest. But Reinoehl was not a part of this group but claimed he supported them.
Reinoehl claimed that the Patriots Prayer supporters were armed with “Bear spray” and weapons when he followed Jay Danielson into a parking garage. Later, he crossed a street where he confronted him and shot Danielson two times, killing him.
Reinoehl fled Portland fearing retaliation by right-wing groups and Federal law enforcement. In an Interview, Reinoehl said, “the country was bordering a Civil War, and Jay Danielson’s killing was the first blow.
On September 3, 2020, with a federal arrest warrant, a task force of FBI and U.S. Marshals shot Reinoehl killing him in Lacey, Washington. Attorney General William Barr called Reinoehl a violent agitator that was removed from the protest with his shooting. President Trump cheered the Marshals for the fast work killing him.
Michael Reinoehl’s death was for Trump a victory and his proof of the threat of Antifa as a terrorist group. Still, the killing by Reinoehl was the only one associated with Antifa since the group’s existence in the 1980s.
Reinoehl claimed that his killing may mark a war between the Far-right and the United States.
World War Two Anti-Fascist fighters in Spain.
Antifa, or the Anti-Fascist movement, started in Germany and grew out of the Auberparlamentiarishe, a student left-wing in 1970. In Germany, several Anti-Fascist groups were driven to fight the Neo-Nazi elements.
In East Germany, the German people were facing “Sovietization,” which claimed anti-fascism was a part of the nation. However, the West Germans faced a revolt against The industrialists, Political leaders, and law enforcement. The latter embraced groups socially struggling with their perception of oppression like racism, sexism, and Zionism.
By 1980 the Anti-Fascist movement had expanded to England, known as the United Against Fascism (UAF), and then to the U.S. via the various Universities and supported Anti-Racist, Homophobia, and Sexism. But their primary battles were with the white supremacist, Neo-Nazis and Militias.
In Germany, the center for Far-Right extremism has expanded since 1980 to more than Neo-Nazis. They have included attacks on refugees and specifically Muslims and Africans.The Anti-Fascist movement that grew in the 1970s had its roots in the Marxist students. They rejected the rise in German Industrialism. The students leftist rejected the German government’s assessment that Denazification in East and West Germany was working. Many of the German people believed that former Nazis and their collaborators had infiltrated the German government.
The communists were outlawed as political power and had been the primary opposition to the Nazis. The two main political parties, the SDP, the Social Democratic, and the Pro-Nato, FDP (Free Democratic party), joined forces and controlled the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag).
The U.S. Vietnam war was an essential connection for student protest against the Bundestag. The U.S. military bases located in Germany and the German industrial companies that supplied parts that they needed. These companies were supported by the Far-Right groups and the neo-Nazis, resulting in violent clashes between working-class Germans and students.
In 1970 a group of Marxists formed a group known as the Red Army Faction or the RAF. Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Horst Mahler, and Ulrike Meinhof became a group dedicated to fighting the right-wing using the military tactics of Che Guevara. And a Marxist political plan of Terrorism against the German Industrialist and the governments that they supported.
The RAF from 1972–1977 committed assassination, robberies, bombings, and airline hijackings. In 1977 they killed three policemen and kidnapped a former Nazi SS officer Hans Martin Schleyer, the leader of one of Germany’s most influential companies. He was murdered in France. The RAF hijacked a plane and demanded the release of members of the Terrorist group (PFLP), The Popular Front For The Liberation Of Palestine. The pilot was killed and thrown out of the plane, but the German Commando group killed the hijackers.
The RAF members were dead or in prison; by the year 2000, The power of the anti-fascist was politically diminished in the world. The anti-fascist movement of RAF killed 35 people, and 27 of its members were also killed. In 1998 the RAF sent a message to the Reuters news service that the RAF was dissolved.
The end of Russian control of East Berlin damaged the political influence of the anti-fascist movement. Still, it began to connect with the American anti-fascist who battled white extremism over violence against anti-racist and other left-wing rights groups. This marked the beginning of what is known as Antifa in the U.S.
During the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Presidency, the anti-fascist movement in Europe and America was focused on Anti-Capitalism. The Occupy Wall. St. and Occupy Portland were examples of these efforts by several groups to continue the anti-Industrialist movement. Anti-fascist were a part of this protest. Antifa existed from these different groups at war with the Capitalists who caused the U.S. recession and were the cause for climate change. The period saw a rise of the far-right and political groups like the Tea Party and a Klu-Klux-Klan and Militias return.
DONALD TRUMP “Our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa, and others.” The organizers of “domestic terror,” he said, were now “on notice,” and “this includes Antifa and others who are leading instigators of this violence.”
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 provided a cause to fight with the far-right groups who supported him. The Breitbart News Network
Was an Alt-right media group run by Trump’s supporter Steve Bannon who embraced the far-right groups like the neo-Nazis and viewed Antifa as a terrorist organization.
The FBI also acknowledged using its most advanced surveillance aircraft to monitor BLM protests in Baltimore after the police killing of Freddie Gray in 2018, and again this month at the BLM protests in Washington DC
The Protest in Charlottesville, VA., unite the right was an example of the violent conflicts with the far-right and Antifa.
The DHS in 2016 reported that Antifa members were connected to anarchists in Greece, Italy, and Mexico. But this was done by the Trump administration, who wanted to declare Antifa as a terrorist organization with connections to foreign agents.
But the FBI has never found that Antifa was a terrorist organization in the U.S. because it has no hierarchical leadership and unlike the far-right organized plans on targets. The far-right has targeted members of Antifa in January of 2020. Three members of a white supremacist cell known as the base (neo-Nazis) plotted to kill a couple linked to Antifa. The couple was doxing the identity of a white supremacist in the community that they lived in. The base was created by a neo-Nazi James Mason, a member of the international white nationalist group Atomwaffen.
Mark Bray is a professor at Dartmouth College and author of the book Antifa the anti-fascist handbook. His work has been the playbook of those connected to the organization’s history and actions. The principal objective for Antifa is to fight fascism. He claims whatever means necessary can be used, even violence. Antifa has no political loyalty to any group but will defend any group fighting racism or far-right extremism.
An example of this was at Berkeley University on February 1, 2017, Antifa members started a riot after a white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulos attempted a speech. The Black Lives Matter group was able to stop the address with a protest, but Antifa started a riot fighting with the Proud boys right-wing.
But following the clash with the Proud Boys, Antifa went underground from the social, political world and did not emerge until George Floyd’s death. Antifa has no specific leaders or political members that it follows as a group. The office is located in Portland, Or. Known as the Rose City Chapter of Antifa has a website reflecting on the causes the organization supports. But it never reveals its members because it does not know the names of its members.
On May 28, 2020, the Protest for George Floyd’s death in Portland was the largest in America for his killing. More than 1 thousand people took part in the protest march. They would last for months with nightly battles with the Portland Police, ICE, and several federal law enforcement organization. This was the largest gathering of members of Antifa at one protest in its history in the U.S. Antifa embedded itself with many Black civil rights organizations and socialist supporters. The protest was generally peaceful, but some looted and started fires.
The Federal Building in Portland became the center of the protests protected by Federal officers sent by the Trump administration and Attorney General William Barr.Attorney General Barr stated, “The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.” The Trump Presidential campaign used this image of Antifa and created conspiracies of groups its members traveling all over the country to loot and start fires in a protest.
Donald Trump claimed, “He said the government had numerous reports of people flying to protests and was monitoring Antifa crossing the country to join “riots.”
But none of these claims were found to be accurate by the FBI or any law enforcement organization. After months of daily Protest, Governor Kate Brown and Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security, agreed to remove the federal agents and replace them with the Oregon State Police.
On July 29, 2020, the federal Officers with Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement would depart downtown Portland. But the protest would continue with Antifa changing from the support of Black Protest to confrontative with the Portland Police and Oregon State Police. The Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, claimed that the federal officers were a threat to the community. Still, he was viewed by the protestors as an enemy. Wheeler had requested an investigation into the police in 2019 texting with members of right-wing groups like the Patriots Prayers. He was the target of both Antifa and Black protest groups. Still, he was able to bring the Democratic leaders together to study Portland’s problems.
Antifa was not invited to participate and treated as an outsider. Black Lives Matter leaders also treated them as outsiders. The state legislature and the city began working for Police reform, which impacted the protests, leading the George Floyd protest.The protest faded in numbers who attended the nightly demonstrations and conflicts with the police, which ended with no fires or battles with right-wing Militias.
Portland’s city made several changes due to the protest for George Floyd. Portland City Council’s reduced the police bureau’s funding by $15 million in June 2020, reallocating some of that amount to the Portland Street Response team.
The city elected a progressive District Attorney that dropped the majority of charges against protestors. Portland State University disarmed the police on its campus and the city.
But the most damning charge was that there continued to exist favoritism by law enforcement with the right-wing extremist like the Patriots Prayers group. Mayor Ted Wheeler and the city continued an investigation into the connection.The end of the Portland protest was not the end of Antifa in America. President Joe Biden’s election still caused Antifa to protest even against his administration.
OREGON :A STATE THAT BANNED BLACK AMERICANS AND A HISTORY OF RACISM.
Portland, Oregon, has been a community within a state, a center for anti-racism. The state’s origin in 1844, when the Provisional Government of Oregon voted to exclude black settlers from Oregon’s borders. The city, in the beginning, was a place that excluded non-whites and developed a history of racism that was excepted. But as the Black population grew in the 1970s, white supremacist and neo-Nazis’ repression also did.
In 1988 Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian student who was beaten to death with a baseball bat by three neo-Nazi White Aryan Resistance members.
The community’s reaction was to join together against the neo-nazis. The murder was given a life sentence and the others a twenty-year prison sentence.It became the rallying cry for many to become politically active against the far-right.
The life and death of an Antifa warrior: Sean Kelliher.
Few anti-fascists were as influential on Portland’s recent protest scene as Sean Kealiher, a young anarchist who became a fixture on the city’s streets after he joined an Occupy Portland encampment in 2011, when he was 15.
Sean Kelliher was one of those who joined groups like Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice, or SHARPs to fight the neo-nazis. Sean Kelliher fought with many of the far-right groups with his fists and any weapon he could get, but he was never a leader. He was known for his writings and work to give a positive image for Antifa by supporting any group that attacked the far-right or establishment. Sean knew about Portland and Oregon’s history as a “whites only” state with Portland as a center for white hate.’ As in Jeremy Christian’s case, a white supremacist stabbed and killed two men and injured a third who had intervened after calling two young Black women racial slurs. He complained about the Portland police, many of who were openly sympathetic to the far-right; he hated them.
Donald Trump’s election only gave his supporter far-right acceptance, and to Sean, it was a call to battle. Trump made Antifa the perfect enemy and created conspiracies between BLM and Antifa for every riot in 2020. Sean did not see this as a threat; in fact, he was inspired to fight back against Trump.On Oct. 13, 2019, Sean D. Kelliher, 23, was hit by an SUV a little after midnight. Friends drove him to the hospital, where he died. He had become the anti-fascist movement best-known figure in Portland and in America. He was struck by an SUV after leaving a Pub that the Anti-fascist crowd frequented. There a brief argument between his friends and another group; they drove away around a corner and struck Sean, and a friend fired shots at the SUV. The men fled on foot, and no one has been arrested. It has been more than a year since Sean Kealiher’s death, and there are no known suspects; his family has been at war with the Portland law enforcement and faced taunting from right-wing extremists.
The Pub, the Cider Riot, has been the subject of attacks by the Patriot Prayer group. The Multnomah County district attorney’s office has filed criminal charges against Joey Gibson, Vancouver-based Patriot Prayer leader.
But The Rose City Antifa claimed that his death was not connected to its battles with the far-right.
But their response is a part of the “street code” of never cooperating with law enforcement.
Sean’s death left the community with apathy toward Portland law enforcement and the effort to find his killer.
His sense of community was felt even by Mayor Ted Wheeler called the incident “alarming and heartbreaking.” Teressa Raiford
2020 mayoral candidate said she’s known Kealiher since he showed up looking to help organize after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Gregory McKelvey, a social organizer in Portland, said he was working with him since he was thirteen years old on social activist issues in Portland.
He was a dropout but had knowledge of the anti-fascist movement in America and World War Two.
Though not the lead of Antifa in Portland, Sean was just an organizer and supporter of any group fighting his view of oppression.
He was in stark contrast to Michael Reinoehl, who had no political sense of Antifa. Michael Reinoehl had a need to fight the right-wing and shared their belief that an American revolt is the only solution to America’s divide. The question that now exists is what role Antifa with a Democratic President will play. Still, a far-right supported by a Republican party believes the 2020 election was stolen. Congressional members openly supported the January 6 insurrection, and 70% of Republicans believe that the election was stolen.
In those states where they control the statehouse, the Republicans are attempting to alter the voting regulations. On March 29, the trial of Derek Chavin for the murder of George Floyd began. The circle may be closing on America based on the outcome of this case. In that case, This may be what the far-right and Antifa have been looking for a second civil war.