Other Group

Anti-Racist Action

Website:

antiracistaction.org/%20

Formation:

1987

Type:

Antifa group

Anti-Racist Action (ARA) is a radical-left group with chapters in the United States and Canada that is explicitly committed to the Antifa ideology. [1] The ARA uses “direct action” tactics including violence and violent protests to combat what it perceives to be white supremacy, fascism, and the “status quo.” [2]

The organization was founded in the late 1980s by anarchist skinheads who opposed neo-Nazi groups in Minnesota through gang violence. The organization expanded in membership and ideology as it spread throughout North America, peaking at 120 member groups many of which engaged in violence usually targeted at alleged far-right groups. In the 2000s, the ARA went into decline, and the organization only has 12 chapters remaining in 2020.

In the wake of the police-custody death of George Floyd, ARA has joined riots and protests across the United States. In June, the ARA organized a counter-protest in Columbus, Ohio, against an alleged gathering of Neo-Nazi groups including the Creativity Movement, National Socialist Movement, and Blood and Honor. [3] Throughout the summer of 2020, conservative activist group Project Veritas has released hidden camera footage of the Portland ARA chapter purporting to show members engaging in military training and illicit activities.

History

Anti-Racist Action originated in 1987 as an informal group of far-left skinheads known as the Baldies in Minneapolis and St. Paul who sought to expose and fight neo-Nazis, particularly the White Knights. [4] Its core membership was anarchist, but later grew to incorporate Trotskyists, Maoists, the Black Power movement, and radical feminists. [5] ARA chapters soon emerged in Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, and Front Range, Colorado, to challenge local far-right activity. By the early 1990s, ARA chapters had also sprung up in Toronto, Vancouver, and Edmonton. The networks met annually for an international conference where all groups had representative power and could vote on organization directives. [6]

In the mid-1990s, ARA added abortion and LGBT-interest advocacy to its goals. [7] In 1998, two members of the Las Vegas chapter of ARA were murdered by a group of neo-Nazis. [8] In 2001, 250 members of the Neo-Nazi National Alliance marched in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., to protest the U.S. government allegedly intervening in the Middle East on behalf of Israel. In response, the ARA and other far-left groups organized a 150-person counter-protest which attacked the neo-Nazis, leading to many injuries on both sides. [9]

In the early 2000s, the ARA went into decline and was nearly defunct by the middle of the decade. Numerous chapters closed due to sexual assault allegations. [10]

In 2007, Anti-Racist Action Portland rebranded as Rose City Antifa, the first organization in the United States with Antifa in its title. [11]

In 2012, 18 masked members of the ARA and the closely affiliated Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement stormed a restaurant in Tinley Park, Illinois, with hammers and baseball bats to assault members gathering for a meeting of the Illinois European Heritage Association. The ARA members inflicted ten injuries and the ARA acknowledged culpability on its website. [12] Five of the attackers were subsequently arrested and sentenced to 3.5-6 years in prison. [13]

In 2013, ARA rebranded as the Torch Network to signal a change in strategy befitting a new digital age. [14]

“Expose Antifa”

Right-of-center activist group Project Veritas has released three videos in 2020 entitled “Expose Antifa” which consist of footage taken by an infiltrator of Rose City Antifa. The footage purports to show the chapter training members how to engage in violent brawls against right-wing targets without being caught by the police, for instance by using eye-gouging tactics or brass knuckles. The video also shows the chapter plotting to hide weapons from the government, training with firearms, and practicing common indoctrination tactics. [15]

Chapters

At its height, the Anti-Racist Action claimed 120 chapters. [16] As of October 2020, the ARA claims twelve chapters, many of which function as joint-groups with other far-left organizations. The chapters are:[17]

  • Anti-Racist Action Los Angeles / People Against Racist Terror
  • Arch City Anti-Racist Action (Columbus)
  • Calgary Anti-Racist Action
  • Central Florida Antifa
  • Central Texas Anti-Racist Action
  • Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement (HARM)/ARA Bloomington
  • HARM/ARA Lafayette
  • HARM/ARA Circle City
  • Quebec City Anti-Racist Action
  • Rose City Antifa (Portland)
  • South Side Chicago Anti-Racist Action
  • Twin Cities Local 14 of the General Defense Committee of the IWW (Minneapolis)

References

  1. “Introducing The Torch Network, An Antifascist Network.” Anti-Racist Network. Accessed October 18, 2020. https://antiracistaction.org/introducing-the-torch-network-an-antifascist-network/. ^
  2. “History.” Anti-Racist Action. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://antiracistaction.org/history/. ^
  3. “Call to Action: June 2 – Creativity Movement, NSM, and Blood & Honor in Columbus, Ohio.” Anti-Racist Action. Accessed October 18, 2020. https://antiracistaction.org/call-to-action-june-2-creativity-movement-nsm-and-blood-honor-in-columbus-ohio/. ^
  4. “History.” Anti-Racist Action. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://antiracistaction.org/history/. ^
  5. Bray, Mark. “Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook.” Melville House. 2017. ^
  6. “History.” Anti-Racist Action. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://antiracistaction.org/history/. ^
  7. Stitt, Anna. “The Anti-Racist Action Network Fought Police, KKK In 1990s Minneapolis.” Teen Vogue. October 5, 2020. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/anti-racist-action-history-minneapolis. ^
  8. Stitt, Anna. “The Anti-Racist Action Network Fought Police, KKK In 1990s Minneapolis.” Teen Vogue. October 5, 2020. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/anti-racist-action-history-minneapolis. ^
  9. Bray, Mark. “Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook.” Melville House. 2017. ^
  10. Stitt, Anna. “The Anti-Racist Action Network Fought Police, KKK In 1990s Minneapolis.” Teen Vogue. October 5, 2020. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/anti-racist-action-history-minneapolis. ^
  11. Ainsworth, Scott. “Political Groups, Parties, and Organizations that Shaped America: AN Encyclopedia and Document Collection.” ABC CLIO. 2019. ^
  12. Rueff, Ashley. “Five Charged in mob attack at Tinley Park restaurant.” Chicago Tribune. May 21, 2012. Accessed October 18, 2020. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/chi-five-charged-in-mob-attack-at-tinley-park-restaurant-20120521-story.html. ^
  13. “5 charged in Tinley Park attack on white supremacists.” ABC7. May 21, 2012. Accessed October 18, 2020. https://abc7chicago.com/archive/8670964/. ^
  14. “Introducing The Torch Network, An Antifascist Network.” Anti-Racist Network. Accessed October 18, 2020. https://antiracistaction.org/introducing-the-torch-network-an-antifascist-network/. ^
  15. “Antifa: Their ultimate goal is regime change.” Die Weltwoche. October 6, 2020. Accessed October 18, 2020. https://www.weltwoche.ch/amp/2020-24/weltwoche-international/andy-ngo-die-weltwoche-ausgabe-24-2020.html. ^
  16. Stitt, Anna. “The Anti-Racist Action Network Fought Police, KKK In 1990s Minneapolis.” Teen Vogue. October 5, 2020. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/anti-racist-action-history-minneapolis. ^
  17. “Chapters.” Anti-Racist Action. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://antiracistaction.org/get-involved/chapters/. ^
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