Yeah, Antifa in Richmond Is Real. Even the Mayor Admits It.

by James A. Bacon

Conservatives have been mocked for suggesting that “Antifa” members have numbered among protesters roiling Virginia the past two months, but yesterday Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith, with Mayor Levar Stoney at his side, said the police believe that Antifa and individuals influenced by Antifa participated in the predominantly white mob action that led to vandalism, arson and assaults on police Saturday.

To be sure, Stoney contended that white supremacist “boogaloo boys” were spearheading the event with the intent of discrediting peaceful protesters, according to this Blue Virginia summary. But he did not contradict Smith’s assessment that Antifa was involved.

Smith said he believes that the flyer promoting the demonstration (displayed above) originated from outside the Richmond region, as did some of the protesters arrested during the mayhem. Richmond police are conducting an investigation into the origins of the event.

Stoney’s reaction to the event is interesting in two ways.

First, the effort to blame “boogaloo” boys for the violence is pathetic. Even if extreme right wingers did organize the event — several armed individuals in Hawaiian shirts, a trademark of the boogaloos, were reportedly seen in the crowd — they accounted for only a tiny percentage of the participants and, more importantly, the people joining them thought of themselves as left-wing anti-fascists.

The second interesting angle here is that the demonstration was comprised mainly of white militants. Indeed, Smith thanked Black Lives Matter for sharing the flyer and not participating in the event. News reports from other parts of the country indicate that leaders of Black Lives Matter are increasingly concerned that white militants are hijacking the protest movement.

Stoney denounced Saturday night’s violence in no uncertain terms, saying that it was “disgusting,” that it “takes us backwards” and that it was “unacceptable in the city of Richmond.”

It’s good to know that Stoney is taking a strong stand against white violence. I’d have more respect from if he had done something to protect Councilwoman Kim Gray, who is running against him for Richmond Mayor, when a predominantly black mob held a threatening demonstration at her house a couple of weeks back. (See previous post.) Gray says that, though Richmond police monitored the demonstration, they never showed up at her house. But if the mayor is willing to take a hard line against nihilistic white punks sowing mayhem, that’s at least something.

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26 responses to “Yeah, Antifa in Richmond Is Real. Even the Mayor Admits It.”

  1. sbostian Avatar

    VCU’s response to the Sunday night social mixer at Monroe Park was somewhat interesting. The provost, not Michael Rao, sent a message this morning to VCU staff acknowledging about $100K in damage to buildings and other VCU property at the hands of some of the more unruly party attendees. She took the position that VCU expected Richmond police to identify and prosecute the offenders.

    It is somewhat amusing in the sense that Michael Rao has spent at least the last five years cultivating his relationship with BLM and ANTIFA. There has been hardly a fire of resentment that he wasn’t eager to add fuel to. Perhaps, he and his staff felt that they had purchased immunity from the mob, given the support provided to the “movement”. Mobs usually don’t like intellectuals and will turn on them eventually.

  2. NorrhsideDude Avatar

    Althought it is claimed that the flier originated outside RVA the locals were sharing it on Twitter and urging support from their “comrades”.
    I find this all so fascinating. It is really like watching a city go straight Lord of the Flies. I am particulary fascinated by what appears (on Twitter) to be a group of educated white 20 somethings, marching to a historcially black neighborhood (Jackson Ward), to threaten a self-identifying black woman and her children with violence, in an effort to end white supremacy and police violence against BIPOCs.
    That is really F’ing crazy!

  3. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Reads like my personal memo for Bacons Rebellion

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    Not that it matters that much but Antifas does not appear to be organized in the way that, say, KKK or armed militant groups are. It’s more of a loosely organized social media thing for birds of a feather who are disaffected by the government and it’s policies.

    We’ve had “crazies” organized and not – around for a long time. The guys who bombed Oklahoma or the Unabomber…

    And yes, the govt does need to identify the individuals by their behavior, get them on film and bring them to justice.

    How much of this is really more about the back and forth of the partisan divide?

    1. James Wyatt Whitehead V Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead V

      Read Antifa The Handbook by Mark Bray. Bray is very clear about what Antifa wants to accomplish. It’s amazing how far they have come. You can get this free or pay for it. Dozens of pdf’s floating around.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Note the footnote references and passage from Bray:

        “Antifa (/ænˈtiːfə, ˈæntiˌfɑː/)[1] is an anti-fascist political movement in the United States[2][3][4][5] comprising a diverse[6][7] array of autonomous groups that aim to achieve their objectives through the use of both non-violent and violent direct action rather than through policy reform.[8][9][10][11] Antifa political activists engage in protest tactics such as digital activism and militancy[8][12] against fascists and racists such as neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other far-right extremists whom they seek to combat.[13] This may sometimes involve property damage, physical violence and harassment against those whom they identify as belonging to the far-right.[14][15][16][17]

        Individuals involved in the movement tend to hold anti-authoritarian[18] and anti-capitalist views,[19] subscribing to a range of left-wing ideologies such as anarchism, communism, Marxism, social democracy and socialism.[20][21][22][23][24] Both the name antifa and the logo with two flags representing anarchism and communism are derived from the German Antifa movement.[25]

        Antifa actions have received criticism and praise.[26][27] Conspiracy theories about antifa which tend to inaccurately portray antifa as a single organization with leaders and secret sources of funding have been spread by right-wing activists, media organisations and politicians including Trump administration officials.[28][29][30] There have been multiple efforts to discredit antifa groups via hoaxes on social media, many of them false flag attacks originating from alt-right and 4chan protagonists posing as antifa backers on Twitter.[31][32][33] Some hoaxes have been picked up and reported as fact by right-leaning media.[31][34][35] ”

        ” According to Dartmouth historian Mark Bray, an expert on the movement,[42] the “vast majority of anti-fascist organizing is nonviolent. But their willingness to physically defend themselves and others from white supremacist violence and preemptively shut down fascist organizing efforts before they turn deadly distinguishes them from liberal anti-racists”.[43] Antifa involvement in violent actions against far-right opponents or the police has led some scholars to characterize the movement as far-left[7][44][45][46] and as militant.[47][48][49][50]”

        I have no trouble what-so-ever throwing anyone in the hoosegow who going around threatening others or engaging in violence or vandalism but it’s also clear that folks on the right want to portray Antifas as a leftist boogeyman… I just take it with a grain of salt – as it’s obviously partisan.

        1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
          Baconator with extra cheese

          Oh my goodness, Bray definitely demonstrates this is all just a rightwing ruse! His Phd proves he must be completely truthful and unbiased. Antifa is fake, the real boogeyman is the boogaloo….
          To be honest I beleieve most Americans are laughing at what these cities are becoming. I am all for RVA becoming as fully social justice leaning as they see fit. They can welcome whatever violence or protest they desire. I’m just not thrilled they will do what Minneapolis did and want funds to cleanup the burned out buildings.

        2. PackerFan Avatar

          Was waiting for you to finish that last thought where you were going to say “just as the left wants to portray people on the right as racists, alt-Right, white supremacist boogeymen”. Hope you don’t mind me finishing the thought for you. ?

  5. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    Wait, if ANTIFA is bad, is it BR’s position then that FA is good?

    1. idiocracy Avatar

      Two wrongs don’t make a right, but 3 lefts do.

    2. What an absurd question. All extreme anti-Democratic movements are bad.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        how about social justice movements?

        1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          As I said earlier, to some the Confederacy would have been the original BLM movement.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          zero murders? go on……….

          1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

            Yeah, who’da thought,eh? Apparently, people who don’t like fascists won’t just kill them. Must prefer that reeducation and indoctrination stuff instead.

    1. Yeah, it’s just the same, the only difference being that the kabuki dancers aren’t mobbing peoples’ houses, torching cars, throwing rocks, breaking windows, and vandalizing property.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        no. no. Kabuki is about PORTRAYING events… “law and order” is a tried and true election tactic… especially when it’s goosed up… for folks in the suburbs…

        1. PackerFan Avatar

          Is it really a “tactic” when there is an obvious lack of “law and order in a multitude of Democratic controlled cities in the US. I’ll have to say most footage I’m see is a bunch of white punks vandalizing Cities. The peaceful protestors aren’t even getting any attention any more from CNN, who of course want to say that things have only recently turned violent because of Trump sending in Federal law enforcement. I have children living in Seattle, Chicago, and DC (guess I wasn’t such a good parent after all), and believe it or not the violence didn’t just start when Trump sent in the Feds.

  6. djrippert Avatar

    Who can forget the days before the coronation of Wise King Ralph when he was a mere governor and apprentice tyrant? Way back in January. The evil specter of a second amendment rally in Richmond on Lobby Day had snowflakes swirling and kept the woke from sleeping. After the debacle of Charlottesville this 2A rally would certainly turn into the modern equivalent of the Battle of Tarawa. How could it not? Virginia’s intelligentsia knows that all gun ownder are white nationalists looking to start a war of bugaloo (whatever the hell that means). Northam decided to declare a pre-emptive state of emergency so that order could be maintained. The day arrived. The gunnies came toting various weapons, malingered on Capitol Square and peacefully wandered off. A fine time was had by all. No riots, no burning cars, no broken windows.

    So, where is Wise King Ralph now that there is violence in Richmond? Where are the preemptive emergency orders? Where are the special rules as to where guns can be carried? Where are the police standing at the ready for trouble?

    1. Matt Hurt Avatar
      Matt Hurt

      It seems to me that when it comes to politics, all’s fair in love and war. There are enough examples of ethical inconsistencies, pandering, straining a gnat while swallowing a camel, lack of character, etc on both sides of the political aisle to sink a battleship. While I have no doubt that a lot of this is conducted with good intentions, I also firmly believe that political outcomes and tribalism far outweigh practical concerns about what’s right in the calculus of these decisions. For example, I can clearly read that there is quite a bit of agreement on several issues addressed by this blog. However, there are several commenters who would rather rail against the other side (despite being in agreement on the particular subject) than side with someone from the other team. Until we all get on the same team (Virginians, Americans, etc) we are hastening the revolution, which will not end well for anyone. All this infighting serves only to dump vast sums of cash into the campaign funds of the Democrats and the Republicans so that they can keep the machines running.

      1. djrippert Avatar

        While there is plenty to complain about within the Republican Party Democrats hold a mortal lock on Virginia’s state government. Until that changes, the incompetence and outright buffoonery of our state government’s actions get laid at the feet of the Democrats who control the government.

        Northam has proven he is willing to be proactive in protecting Virginia when he protecting Virginia from largely conservative protesters. However, he has gone missing in action now that the protesters are largely progressive. The fact that there was no violence on Lobby Day and there has been repeated violence in Richmond only makes Northam’s unwillingness to act more glaring and more disgraceful.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          There is a reason WHY the Dems have a “mortal lock” that youse guys seem to contort yourselves to ignore and this is after how many decades of GOP “mortal lock” that refused to approve the Medicaid Expansion.

          Are the Virginia Dems THAT different than Dems in a lot of other states, not the least of which is Maryland?

          Northam has not “gone” … “missing in action” – the current critics felt that way from day one – like they would have really preferred the GOP candidate? 😉

          1. Matt Hurt Avatar
            Matt Hurt

            Exactly right Larry. Then, when the Democrats take it too far, it will swing back the other way.

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