Don't buy the hype about Nov. 4 Antifa protest
There have been rumors, blog posts, YouTube videos, and much more circulating a rumor that Antifa, the leftwing group that doesn't like anybody, has planned a massive, hyper-violent day of protest on November 4th.
Our message to you: it's bunk. Will Sommer, a reporter for The Hill who covers such stories, writes:
The idea that antifa death squads will be unleashed on the country on Nov. 4 — like Pizzagate or the idea that Hillary Clinton murdered Seth Rich — is ridiculous on its face. But like those other conspiracy theories popular on the right, it’s only gotten more popular as it received more exposure on the internet.
Like a lot of conspiracy theories, Nov. 4 has a tiny bit of truth at its center. Some far-left activists really are planning to demonstrate in cities across the country on Saturday — it’s just that they intend to hang up banners and sell copies of their newspaper, instead of purging Christians.
Since the summer, the fringe Revolutionary Communist Party — best known for its membership’s devotion to leader Bob Avakian — have planned a protest for Nov. 4.
Organized through a front group called “Refuse Fascism,” the communists say it will turn into an ongoing Occupy Wall Street-style event meant to bring down the Trump administration. Attendees at one rally are asked to bring glowsticks.
Not exactly unnerving stuff. But the idea that the “Nov. 4” movement could be something far more sinister than a few lefties with megaphones received a major boost on Aug. 30, when a YouTube user named Jordan Peltz issued a warning that went on to earn millions of views.
So how did this nothing-burger get so much traction? Read on...
Peltz’s video takes place in the front seat of a car, the usual backdrop for YouTube political monologues in 2017. But Peltz’s car has dividing glass between the front and back seats and a rifle mounted over the seats. In several versions of the video, he’s even described as a deputy or a U.S. marshal.
Peltz looks, to the viewer, like a law enforcement officer. This is a guy who seems like he could really have police intel — and he says antifa is coming in November.
“They are calling for an open civil war that they will start here in the United States in November,” Peltz warns. “They are fundraising for weapons, training, ammunition, supplies.”
“If you’re white, you’re a Trump supporter, you’re a Nazi to them, then, and it will be open game on you,” he adds, before saying that antifa will start with attacks on “us first responders.”
But Snopes discovered that, despite the law enforcement trappings in his video, Peltz is actually a combination bail bondsman and bounty hunter — not exactly the kind of guy who gets the first intel on antifa plots.
Peltz didn’t respond to my requests for comment. He’s since sought to distance himself from the conspiracy theory as its spread across the internet brought him more scrutiny, and now claims that he “inadvertently” posted the original video on YouTube.
Even as Peltz shrinks from the spotlight, though, his theory has snowballed away from him. The same day that Peltz’s video went up, popular hoax site Your News Wire echoed his claim, saying that “armed antifa militants” were intent on “civil war” on Nov. 4.
Between Peltz’s video and the Your News Wire story, social media users who were looking for an excuse to take a macho “come and take it” stance on Facebook had all the proof they needed that civil war was just a few months away.
Meanwhile, it turns out that actual antifa groups appear to want nothing to do with Nov. 4. Antifa media hub It’s Going Down, for example, has been quick to distance itself from the Revolutionary Communists’ plans.
The Nov. 4 rallies earned their biggest publicity victory in September, when a handful of activists waded into a Los Angeles freeway traffic jam holding up signs that read “Nov 4: It Begins.”
Images of the stopped traffic — as well as police cars parked nearby that YouTube conspiracy theorists saw as proof that the police were in on the scheme — went viral and soon became a ubiquitous illustration on articles warning about the “day of rage.”
But even then, the Nov. 4 organizers did not exactly look like the kind of force that could topple a government, or even field a whole softball team.
According to LA Weekly, Nov. 4 organizers had originally planned to have each person in the highway protest hold up one letter spelling out their message. In the end, though, a couple people had to carry multiple letters — not enough people had shown up to help out.
Long story short: don't believe the hype.
There's every reason to keep a close eye on Antifa, and the activities of other groups bent on sowing discord in the nation. But far more often than not, claims that these groups are going to unleash a bloodbath on America's streets aren't just wrong, they are corrosive.