Communist groups—including the extremist organization Antifa—are hijacking what started out as peaceful protests over the death of an unarmed black man to usher in a revolution, according to officials, experts, videos, and anarchists’ own words.
That charge comes amid an unprecedented and coordinated effort behind the riots, the likes of which have never been seen before and which spans across multiple states and involves often violent street-level tactics.
Officials from both sides say outside groups have exploited the recent momentum to further their own agenda. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, noted that “bad actors continue to infiltrate the rightful protests” and that 80 percent of the rioters have come from outside the state. Federal officials including President Donald Trump have pointed to Antifa.
Bernard B. Kerik, former Police Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, said Antifa “100 percent exploited these protests,” noting that their various websites control and dictate where protests start.
“It’s in 40 different states and 60 cities, it would be impossible for somebody outside of Antifa to fund this,” he told The Epoch Times. “It’s a radical, leftist, socialist attempt at revolution.”
Operations, including coordination, equipment, and travel costs would likely cost “tens of millions of dollars” Kerik said. A friend of his, an FBI agent, told him she was at Newark airport on May 29 where she observed “probably 25 of these Antifa kids walking in through the airport.”
“They’re coming from other cities,” he said. “That cost money. They didn’t do this on their own. Somebody’s paying for this.”
“What Antifa is doing is they’re basically hijacking the black community as their army,” Kerik added. “They instigate, they antagonize, they get these young black men and women to go out there and do stupid things, and then they disappear off into the sunset.”
Photos pulled offline appeared to show protesters with military grade communications radios and earpieces Kerik said, noting, “They have to be talking to somebody at a central command center with a repeater. Where do those radios go to?”
Andy Ngo, a journalist who has covered Antifa extensively, said the group is organized in “multiple units” with scouts that monitor the perimeter of an area providing live audio or text updates. Others carry out violent missions with weapons and firebombs.
The extremist group is “horizontally” organized, it does not have a public leader since it is part of their ideology that there should be no authority, Ngo said.
These outside radical groups have organized scouts, medics, and even supply routes of rocks, bottles, and accelerants “for breakaway groups to commit vandalism and violence,” according to John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism. These groups have planned for violence in advance using encrypted communications, he said.
Mike Griffin, a longtime political activist from Minneapolis, told The New York Times there were people he never witnessed before demonstrating, including “well-dressed young white men in expensive boots carrying hammers and talking about torching buildings.”
“I know protests, I’ve been doing it for 20 years,” he said. “People not affiliated with the protests are creating havoc on the streets.”
Communism expert Trevor Loudon, meanwhile, told The Epoch Times that Antifa is only one part of the picture, noting that “every significant communist or socialist party in the United States has been involved in these protests and riots from the beginning.”
According to Loudon, “Communist Party USA, Liberation Road, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Democratic Socialists of America, Revolutionary Communist Party, Workers World Party, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation,” have been involved, among others.
One protester who stumbled upon a pile of bricks while filming live called it a “setup,” as a man by his side quipped, “Ain’t no damn construction around here.”
Police departments in different states have in recent days warned of materials being purposely planted in certain locations so as to fuel rioting.
The Kansas City police department in Missouri said they “learned of & discovered stashes of bricks and rocks” in some areas “to be used during a riot,” and asked people to report such cases to authorities to be removed.
Days later, the Minneapolis Police department warned of “Incendiary materials and accelerants” such as water bottles filled with gasoline, found hidden in bushes and neighborhoods.
Bricks and similar objects have popped up in Manhattan, Baltimore, North Carolina, and more. Protesters outside the White House were caught throwing bricks. There have also been false alarms as the Frisco Police Department found one pile was from a legitimate construction project.
Some videos, meanwhile, show African Americans returning bricks to people who had allegedly handed them to their peers.
Loudon said the bricks and other examples were part of a “terrorist military operation” and that the whole thing had been “completely organized and long preplanned.”
“If the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis hadn’t sparked these riots, the next one would have,” he said. “People need to understand that there are hundreds of foreign-trained agitators and organizers operating in this country, and tens of thousands more disciplined communists.”
Numerous social media posts and videos also depict African American protesters objecting to rioting perpetrated by groups of white men clad in full black outfits—the black costume has long been associated with Antifa.
In Oakland, a group of Caucasians dressed in full-black gear and armed with hammers started destroying and breaking into a building as African Americans nearby voiced their opposition.
One video appears to show a predominantly white crowd of people destroying a Minneapolis Police Department building, some also dressed in full-black gear. Another video purportedly in Baltimore shows African American protesters begging white people, also clad in black, to stop rioting.
Peaceful protesters in Washington, meanwhile, tackled an “Antifa rioter” who was hammering the pavement to get blocks of concrete to throw. Protesters then handed over the rioter to the police.
At a May 30 press conference Attorney General William Barr said the violence appears to be “planned, organized, and driven by far left extremist groups and anarchic groups using Antifa-like tactics.”
And In a twitter thread, Ngo said the destruction of businesses is not only opportunism but is tied to Antifa and Black Lives Matter ideology to “abolish capitalism & have regime change. To do that, they have to make economic recovery impossible.”
“Militant antifa cells across the country mobilized to aid BLM rioters,” Ngo said. “Every part of the rioting has a purpose. Fires destroy economy. Riots can overwhelm police & even military. All of it leads to a destabilized state if maintained.”
Gabriel Nadales, a former Antifa member, told Jan Jekielek, host of The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” series, that to really be a part of Antifa is to do two things:
“One is to share their violent ideology and be willing to fight for them at any turn, and the second is to actually do it. It’s not just about having anti-conservative beliefs,” he said.
Communist groups have played a role in the recent protests. On May 27, the Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) Twin Cities chapter issued a call for supplies for “comrades protesting at the 3rd precinct (at Lake and Minnehaha).” An autozone store was set ablaze in the same area, amid widespread looting.
Such groups also appear to have played a role in funding. On May 28, DSA’s Twin Cities chapter asked on Twitter to “Please also give to the TCDSA solidarity fund, because people will need help in the days and weeks ahead!” DSA Chapters in Seattle, Memphis, Los Angeles, and Metro Atlanta have called for donations amid the protests.
The DSA also formed a national anti-fascist work group at the convention in 2019.
Other communist groups such as the Workers World Party have backed the protests, while some groups such as the Revolutionary Communist Party called for an “actual revolution.”
Liberation News, a newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation wrote in a staff statement that it’s a “critical period” to “sharpen our resolve to build organizations capable of waging militant class struggle. “
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report