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10 April 2021

Antifa: Fighting right wing extremism

By Brad Smith

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Over the last few years, "Antifa" has become a term demonized in the media by conservative politicians and organizations.

Last summer, Donald Trump took to social media and held Antifa responsible for the violence that occurred at the numerous rallies and protests held at the time. Trump wanted Antifa groups to be classified as a terrorist organization -- despite the fact there was no evidence linking said groups to violent activity.

And, in September 2020, FBI Director Chris Wray testified on Capitol Hill that Antifa wasn't a cohesive organization but an ideology. Wray's statements put him at odds with Trump -- who later had a social media meltdown about the subject.

During the Black Lives Matter rallies held throughout Southern Oregon, many claimed that Antifa operatives were in buses and headed for area communities -- to commit violence and arson. None of that happened. Rogue owner Greg Roberts posted on social media that Antifa was responsible for the September fires and even claimed Antifa and BLM allies were hiding among the homeless living at Hawthorne Park. A scanner group, one overseen by Ryan Mallory, echoed the same false information.

Someone even created a fake Medford Police Dept. press release stating that Antifa members were arrested for the fires.

Even more shocking, some Republicans still believe Antifa was behind the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill attack -- something actually planned and carried out by right wing extremists.

According to an August 2018 USA Today article, Rose City Antifa is the oldest known active Antifa group in the United States, forming back in 2007. According to an RCA member identified as "Milo," RCA's mission "is to combat and deplatform the far right while organizing in solidarity with others struggling for collective liberation."

In Mark Bray's 2017 book, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, Rose City Antifa was formed over 14 years ago to help others oppose a Portland music festival organized by neo-Nazis allied with White Aryan Resistance, a white supremacist organization. Since then, Milo said the RCA has been tracking fascists and other far-right groups.

"We monitor the rhetoric and activity at fascist and far-right events occurring in our area," he said. "We also track fascist activity online, in both public and private channels. We rely a lot on tips from our community members as well -- so when people see fascist activity in their area, whether on social media or in real life, we encourage them to send us those tips so we can investigate the activity. Our goal is to connect fascists' public identities with their hateful organizing activities, so that their community can keep themselves safe and hold fascists directly accountable for advocating genocide and white supremacy."

Milo said he joined because his community was threatened by the presence of fascists.

"I have the capacity to do something about it. I care deeply about community solidarity," he said. "As well as dismantling systems of oppression -- it's hard to build a better world when you have Nazis running around."

Milo said that's what Antifa wants: A better world.

Recently, RCA published in depth information about local neo-Nazis Keith "Biome" Michael Erickson and Gregg Marchese. Andrew Patterson, who once organized a very small neo-Nazi group here in the Rogue Valley, has been mentioned - -albeit briefly -- in an article. "We have definitely monitored some other instances of far-right activity and fascist organizing in Southern Oregon," Milo said. "Because we're a Portland-based and mainly Portland-focused group, local activists and journalists elsewhere in Oregon are often more familiar with the important far-right figures in their area than we are."

Milo and his fellow RCA members have noted the increased activity by white nationalists over the years.

"The election of Donald Trump certainly emboldened white nationalists, who saw an ally in the Trump administration," he said. "However, we want to make sure people don't falsely conflate emergence of white nationalism with Trump's election. There have always been white supremacists in the United States, and even the Obama presidency didn't do much to stem the growth of the far-right. We have to remain vigilant in our work regardless of who our elected officials are, because we can't rely on existing systems to do our work for us."

In response to Trump's social media posts about Antifa and violence, Milo said:

"When antifascists engage in violence, it is out of community self-defense. In our case, when Proud Boys and their ilk descend on Portland with the intent to cause harm to our communities, sometimes we have to meet them in the streets," he said.

Milo added:

"We also find it interesting that antifascists frequently get accused of violence when we see violence enacted against people at the state level constantly. If we define violence as 'things that do harm,' and we see people struggling with low wages, food insecurity, lack of housing, lack of health care, etc., and our state pours resources into policing, incarceration, and tax breaks for the rich, who is really enacting
violence on a large scale? It's not us."

Death threats are fairly routine for the RCA, Milo said.

"We frequently get ill-wishes in our inboxes and voicemail. It comes with this work. Some of the insults get really creative, which is an amusing part of our day.

"Most are . . . the opposite of creative."

Sometimes, law enforcement has used Antifa doxxed information.

"We have seen a few instances where information published by antifascists has garnered mainstream media attention, and that media attention has put pressure on law enforcement to eventually arrest a
fascist organizer," Milo said. "It also does appear that federal law enforcement have been taking advantage of their preexisting monitoring of online antifascist activity to collect evidence from doxxes to use against individuals arrested for participating in the Jan. 6 far-right rally in Washington D.C. That said, we continue to see little evidence that law enforcement are inclined to track the far right and white
nationalists overall, or beyond the scope of that single event in January."

When it comes to increased violence from neo-Nazis and a growing number of groups, Milo said the RCA was committed to the fight against such things.

"We never want to be complacent in our work, because we know that for too many people, being a decent human being that doesn't espouse antisemitism, racism, misogyny and homophobia is simply too high a bar," he said. "But we do believe that a combination of community building work, community education, and creating material consequences for hate speech for fascists is a good way to make sure that far right ideology doesn't root itself in the places we live."

Rose City Antifa doesn't accept donations nor look for financial support.

"Not currently, and we would encourage people to route their financial support to explicitly BIPOC organizations doing liberation work in their local areas," he said.

If people wish to pass on information, 
Milo said the RCA can be emailed at

"Sometimes a tip comes our way that isn't relevant to the area we serve, so when we can, we pass on that information to antifascists in that particular area," Milo said. "We are also part of the Torch Network, which is an affiliation of antifascist groups in North America, and we do maintain
regular contact with other groups within that network."

Meantime, Rose City Antifa continues taking a stand against neo-Nazis and other right wing extremists.

02 April 2021

Stine's Tweet angers houseless advocates. UPDATED: Stine shutdown Twitter account

Marie Antoinette: "Let them eat cake."

Kevin Stine: "Hold my McFlurry."

Medford city councilor Kevin Stine upset a number of his constituents with a seemingly snarky Twitter post:

Stine posted the Tweet after a Thursday night meeting during which he and five other councilors voted for a controversial ordinance that bans camping along the Greenway -- as well as banning homeless from using tents while in so-called "noncamping zones" within Medford city limits. The only councilors who opposed the ordinance were Clay Bearnson and Sarah Spainsail. 

Social media lashed back.

"If Kevin Stine is afraid of his constituents he should resign."

"I hated him before, but after last night, I am so utterly disgusted with this piece of shit! He will definitely be hearing from me!"

"Kevin Stine is a Medford city council member who presents himself as a leftist but is pretty right wing. He wants to be a career politician. He voted yesterday to harass and antagonize Medford's homeless population under the guise of trash accumulation and fire prevention. He brings up open beds at shelters that number in the 10s (the beds, not the shelters) when the homeless population numbers in the hundreds . . . . He's been antagonistic to homeless people at every opportunity and then paints himself as the victim for his constituents speaking up."

"The very next death of exposure is going to be laid at your (Stine's) feet, along with the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that."

Some flooded Stine's Twitter feed with attacks and insults -- to which a callus Stine retorted by saying he got "M&Ms McFlurry."

"He needs to get a fucking clue or a better moral compass," one person said. "However, you can say the same thing about the other councilors or the (county) commissioners. We have leadership that lacks decency and compassion. That's our problem."

Houseless advocate and Hawthorne mutual aid volunteer Melissa Jones soon posted this on her Facebook page.

The image has been reposted and shared all over social media.

Earlier this week, local lawyers have announced that they will fight the ordinance in the courts. Over the last few years, similar ordinances have been struck down in Boise and Grants Pass.

Stine is now blocking people from his social media.

Stine has shutdown his Twitter account. 

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