Sep 1, 2017

Feds sounded alarm on Antifa in 2016

Damian Dovarganes, Rainmaker Photo, Damian Dovarganes / AP

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have been warning state and local officials of violence coming from far-left anti-fascist ("antifa") groups for at least a year, including the potential of violence between those on the far right and the far left, per a new report.

"Department of Homeland Security formally classified [antifa] activities as 'domestic terrorist violence,'" according to confidential documents obtained by Politico's Josh Meyer. "These antifa guys were showing up with weapons, shields and bike helmets and just beating the s*** out of people," a senior law official told Politico.

Why it matters: "Both the racists and a segment of violent antifa counter-protestors are amped for battle in an escalating arms race, where police departments are outmaneuvered, resulting in increasingly violent dangerous confrontations," former New York City police officer Brian Levin told Politico.

The backdrop:

We published a summary of far-right extremist groups a couple weeks ago. Now we're also looking at four extremist groups on the far left.

Note: Most of the far-left organizations that have protested and counter-protested in Berkeley, Durham and Charlottesville in the past few weeks do not classify as "hate groups." They are not to be equated with groups like neo-Nazis and the KKK, which target people based on ethnicity, but they do represent a growing trend of left-wing groups whose members do not always shy away from violence.

The groups:
  1. AntiFa has become more visibly active since Trump's election, but the movement as a whole has remained relatively secretive. Until recently, they were most well-known for their violent protests of alt-right leader Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley. They often wear black masks and commit vandalism. Go deeper with this piece from the Atlantic on the rise of the violent Left.
  2. Redneck Revolt does not claim to be liberal, but supports most left-wing social causes. The group opposes white supremacy and hopes "to incite a movement amongst white working people that works toward the total liberation of all working people," according to their website. They are pro-guns, anti-racist, anti-capitalism and anti-Trump. Members of Redneck Revolt network showed up at Trump's speech in Phoenix last week armed to protect those protesting against Trump from Trump supporters and any law enforcement who might oppose them, according to their blog.
  3. SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) is an anti-racist group primarily led by white people, which works alongside multicultural leaders and organizations to counter white supremacist groups. SURJ believes that "none of us can be free until we end white supremacy," according to their website. While they aim to be instructive and inviting so that others will join forces with them, they also "organize to create tension and target people in power." SURJ led the protests in Berkeley last week. Although their protestors were encouraged not to be violent, many were trained in self-defense and held pastel painted, wooden shields, according to LA Times.
  4. Anti-Racist Action, founded in 1988, is an anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-discrimination group, which wants "a free classless society," according to their website. They are known to chase down and attack members of hate groups, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis, which they refer to as "boneheads," according to SPLC.

Go deeper

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

While economists predict that today's nonfarm payrolls report will show around 20 million Americans were unemployed in May, it's likely the real number is close to double that.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.

36 mins ago - Sports

How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The NBA's Board of Governors approved Thursday the league's 22-team plan to resume play at Walt Disney World — a plan that also includes tentative dates for both this season and next.

Why it matters: The league's proposed trip to Disney World not only impacts this season but could have a domino effect that impacts seasons in the future — and could permanently change what time of year the NBA plays its games.

Buffalo police officers suspended after shoving elderly man

Photo: Mike Desmond/WBFO via AP

Two Buffalo police officers were suspended without pay Thursday night after video emerged of them violently shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground while clearing a protest in the wake of George Floyd's killing in the city’s Niagara Square, WBFO reports.

The state of play: Before WBFO’s video of the incident went viral, a Buffalo police spokesman issued a statement that said "one person was injured when he tripped and fell."