With Antifa in the spotlight again, what is the longer-term significance of the recent brutal assault on journalist Andy Ngo?
What is Antifa exactly, and what are its historical origins?
How has media coverage of Antifa influenced its behavior today? And how do anti-masking laws fit into the picture?
Epoch Times senior editor Jan Jekielek recently sat down with Jack Posobiec, a One America News Network host, who was once a U.S. military intelligence officer and later acted as special projects director for Citizens for Trump. He is the author of “4D Warfare: A Doctrine for a New Generation of Politics.”
Jan Jekielek: Jack Posobiec, wonderful to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Jack Posobiec: Jan, thank you so much for finally having me on here.
Mr. Jekielek: So let’s talk about Antifa. You’ve actually been assaulted by Antifa. You have exposed Antifa. You’ve led to Twitter banning Antifa accounts. You’ve written extensively. You’ve compared Antifa to the Red Guard in your book “4D Warfare.” Why don’t you break down Antifa for us?
Mr. Posobiec: They are the street forces that are pushing the front line of communism, not through dialogue, not through learning, not through facts, not through persuasion. They are the militant wing of communism. And Antifa in the U.S., as we see them today, they’ve gained a lot of notoriety and a lot of popularity. But what a lot of people don’t understand is that there’s a historical basis to what Antifa is doing.
This has been part of the toxic ideology that we’ve seen go across the world. It really encompasses the world from the Soviet Union to the Spanish Civil War to of course, China and the Chinese Communist Revolution to Cuba and many others. So when we see one of these communist revolutions, there’s always a preceding sort of leading-edge, and it’s typically youth. It’s very, very much typically a group that’s encompassed of youth that’s pushing in the streets, that’s pushing violence in order to achieve the ends of the political leaders and the organizations that are above them that are pushing for radical change in a system. So when we see the Antifa groups of today, we have to know that Antifa existed long before Donald Trump existed. Antifa existed in Europe for many, many years, and Antifa goes back all the way, even to prewar Germany. We saw this was funded by the Soviet Union.
Mr. Jekielek: Right.
Mr. Posobiec: Trotsky basically said Antifa is going to be the militant arm, the international arm of communism. This was set up by the Soviet Union to push and foment communism in other countries during that sort of prewar time.
And we see this throughout history. We saw [this in] China in a very interesting way. Of course, they had the communist revolution. And then about 10, 15 years into it, they had another revolution inside of the first revolution called the Cultural Revolution, which saw the rise of the Red Guards again, which is essentially another version, a Chinese version of Antifa. Because, essentially, Mao thought that he was losing his grip on the Party. He was losing his grip on the society. So he decided to really reinforce that and just unleashed violence and terror campaigns for almost a complete decade inside of China.
Mr. Jekielek: Right. So why is it that we seem to be seeing Antifa becoming active only after, let’s say 2015. I don’t know if that’s exactly accurate, but certainly they only really came into my consciousness after about 2015.
Mr. Posobiec: Oh, for the United States?
Mr. Jekielek: Yes, yes. For the United States. Exactly.
Mr. Posobiec: Because Antifa had not really been embraced in the West, specifically in the United States, they weren’t possibly as notorious as they should have been. But you can look throughout history and see them across Europe, you can see them. Even in the 2010s, there’s a little bit of an Antifa presence within the U.S. I would say the Occupy movement is really the start of Antifa, so 2011, 2012. And then as they grew, the more of the social justice movement kind of followed along through academia, through pop culture. We see it now corporate America is pushing social justice culture. And that’s fed into Antifa. That’s fed into the rise of Antifa. We see this hand in hand with the rise of the DSA, that’s the Democratic Socialists of America, which is more of the quasi-political wing of this militant left, whereas Antifa is just the straight militant wing.
And this new push for socialism in America by a new name. And it’s all socialism with just different marketing. And…[these are] the same groups. Other times people would call them—or they would call themselves—Rev Com. In other chances they would call themselves Occupy. Now they’re going by Antifa, but of course, they never officially refer to themselves as Antifa. Each chapter will sort of use a different name, a different sort of front group. So in the San Francisco, Berkeley area, they’re referred to as By All Means Necessary, or BAMN. In Washington, D.C., they’ve called themselves Smash Racism D.C. They’re now going by All Out D.C. But it’s essentially the same district. And we see the same tactics being used again and again in these different areas. So we know that it is a central focus in terms of the ideology, a central focus in terms of the tactics that they’re using.
And then, of course, we see books, like Mark Bray, who is a pro-violence, public intellectual coming out and writing this book called “The Anti-Fascist Handbook,” which justifies the sort of violence that they’re doing. So they know what they’re doing. And they’re just very clever about it. In many cases, very sophisticated as well.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s interesting that you mentioned Bray. There was an article on Quillette, which I’m sure you looked at, which basically looks at how there’s certain journalists out there in the mainstream—and not mainstream—media that seemed to be egging on the Antifa or at least are supportive of it, or are downplaying its violence and so forth. What do you make of this trend? That seems to be like a new thing.
Mr. Posobiec: Yeah. We saw this in the Middle East as well with certain journalists who would be very supportive of al-Qaeda. We saw journalists who were sort of in bed with the al-Qaeda organization and try to bring forward their perspective and their side of things, their worldview. But essentially we all knew inherently that what these journalists were doing was not journalism. It was propaganda. It was PR releases for these organizations in order to try to find ways to justify their violence and justify their violent means.
Mark Bray has this line essentially where—I’m paraphrasing of course—but he talks about how it’s: Well, if they’re fighting intolerance than any means you use to fight intolerance is therefore justified because intolerance leads to fascism, and fascism is evil. So in order to fight it, you must be able to use whatever tactics you want to use, which of course is why we see violence being conducted against people who—
And then of course, what’s the definition of intolerance? Who defines what that is? Is that a guy like Andy Ngo walking down the street and live-streaming, a guy like Jack Posobiec walking down the street and live-streaming. No, that’s not intolerance. That’s live-streaming. That’s documenting what’s going on. So for them to use violence though, they have to play these sort of word games, these sort of mind games on themselves in order to justify these violent impulses.
And it’s really sort of very low instinctual driver that’s pushing them forward, that’s pushing this violence forward. And a lot of members of Antifa, former members that have come forward, they’ll tell you straight up that: Look, we went into this thing because we wanted to fight. Look, I was in the military, I was in the Navy. I knew guys who used to like to go out and have a few drinks, found a few, and just they would go look for fights, right? They would go out to the bar. And we’re going to pick a fight tonight. Don’t know who it’s going to be. Don’t know where it’s going to be. Not me, of course, I’m well-known for my sobriety. But we would know guys like that.
So there’s an element within Antifa that’s also sort of just looking to pick a fight. And there’s organizers—this is the difference—there’s organizers within Antifa that are utilizing it as a tool. And then there’s people like Bray and there’s people like these journalists and these bloggers who are going out there and providing air cover for it to try to justify. CNN, as a great example, right, they said seeking peace through violence. This is like straight out of George Orwell, right? Peace through violence. Chris Cuomo at CNN comparing Antifa to the soldiers at Normandy storming the beaches of France.
Nazi Germany controlled France, and they’re comparing these street thugs and these kids who are beating up in some cases elderly people and other cases journalists like Andy and comparing that. It’s a complete joke. It’s absolutely a complete joke.
But to understand that this air cover, this sort of psychological manipulation is not meant for people outside of the group. It’s meant for inside the group very much in order to justify them to continue what they are doing, right? It allows them sort of the mental justification, the emotional justification to continue their violence because they’re told their violence is correct because they’re fighting against fascism. They’re fighting against intolerance. Therefore, their fight is a righteous fight. Chris Cuomo has a monologue that he’s never disavowed, that he’s never said he disagrees with that says not all punches are equal.
That’s CNN, right? One of their lead hosts saying not all punches are equal, that it’s OK to punch people that have different political views than you. I’m of the mind that—I’m a peaceful guy. I call myself the leader of the new peace movement. We cannot have political violence of any stripe because when you start to agree and decide that political violence is justified, that sends you down a very dark spiral and a very deep situation that gets out of control very quickly. Because when one side decides that violence is OK, inevitably there will be an element of reaction to that. And that is going to spin things way out of control. So that’s why myself, personally, I’ve stood against all violence regardless of what side it is—red, blue, black, green, any of these movements you have to say that we’re going to use our words, we’re going to use our ideas, we’re going to use tweets, but we’re not going to use fists. We’re not going to use weapons of destruction. We’re not gonna use tools of violence to attack each other. Because when that starts, it is very hard to be able to stop that. And I’ve stood against violence regardless of where it stands on the spectrum.
And now you’ve got these media groups that are providing them air cover, and they’re also sending out a propaganda campaign against those political opponents in order to get the public at large to start to think that, you know what, maybe it is OK to be intolerant to someone in a red hat supporting president Trump or red MAGA hat because, well, this article says that those people are intolerant. This article says that those people are bad, right?
And this is the essential difference that instead of my political opponent just having a difference of opinion with me, it’s that my political opponent is bad and that I must therefore have a reaction to stop the bad thing rather than say, look, you voted for a different guy for president than me, and they won and we lost and better luck next time, which is kind of how it used to be in politics. Now it’s we must stop the other, we must stop the enemy. And it’s tribalistic. It’s in-group. It goes back to some very, very primal, very medieval, very barbaric kind of cultures that a lot of human civilization has been moving away from. But these groups and a lot of the organizers of these groups, they’re doing it quite deliberately, are tapping into some of these baser instincts in order to further their own ends.
Mr. Jekielek: So speaking of Andy Ngo, you’ve seen the video of his recent assault by Antifa, it’s part of the reason why we’re having this interview right now. It looks very chaotic. But I think, you’ve been documenting that some of this stuff is extremely systematized, and there’s different types of people that are involved in guiding the way the violence works and so forth. Can you explain a little bit what you saw in the video?
Mr. Posobiec: Yeah, so to kind of break down, if you watch what happens in the Andy Ngo video, and you can watch this from multiple angles. I had the opportunity to speak to Andy over text while he was in the hospital, and you can understand, what was done to him was a strategy, right? This was a tactic that was used against him.
If you’re watching the video, you might think, oh, this is just chaos. Everything’s happening so quickly. There’s no actual rhyme or reason to it. It’s just people going crazy. But actually look at what happens, and document what happens, right?
They sort of pop out with masks, with the black bloc, everyone’s in black. Everyone’s covered. Those people then begin to strike him. They strike him in the head specifically. They’re going for the head. They’re going to create head injuries. Then those people slink back into the black bloc.
You can’t find them. You can’t track them because of their outfits, right? This is a tactic. This is something that has been predetermined. This idea of incapacitate your opponent’s ability to see, incapacitate them in order [to make them lose] their ability to reason, shock them. Then go in, create the attacks, go for head attacks, which they know could create lasting damage. We know that this created brain bleeding. Hopefully I pray to God that everything’s OK, but that could cause lasting damage to Andy or to anyone that they target with these tactics.
And, essentially, what Antifa does is they organize their black blocs in three levels. The three levels are green, yellow, and red. And it’s like a pyramid. Green is the biggest, then yellow, then red. And what do I mean by that? So green level of the black bloc is, those are just sort of your hangers on. Those are your people that’ll maybe show up, hold up a sign, chant the chant. They’re not there to really get their hands dirty. But what they serve is a very essential purpose for the people who do want to get their hands dirty—
Mr. Jekielek: Kind of a cover?
Mr. Posobiec: And do want to commit this. Right. So they create a cover in terms of like think of a school of fish, right? Can you point out one tuna in any school of tuna, right? You can’t. They all look exactly the same, and that’s the idea. So within that black block, you’ve got the greens. The yellows, then, your middle block, those are your organizers. Those are the ones kind of deciding the next move, they’re deciding what’s going to happen next. They’re deciding when to strike. They’re deciding who’s going to strike. And then you get to your reds. And your reds are the smallest group, but those are also going to be your most violent.
So they are going to commit violence, they’re going to commit destruction of property, they’re going to do what Antifa refers to as “direct action.” And these will be separated. So in Antifa planning meetings, which I’ve sat in on, I’ve actually infiltrated Antifa groups and sat in on their planning meetings, and they’ll even separate the greens and the reds in terms of the circles at the meetings. So they’ll have a private meeting with the greens and then another private meeting with the reds. So the greens have a sense that there might be something going on called direct action, but it doesn’t involve them. And they’re told to be quiet, don’t talk to media, don’t talk to reporters.
Whereas, the reds will be told, OK, this is what we’re going to do. This is who we’re going to hit. This is when it’s going to happen. You throw the milkshake first. If you have a brick, if you have a weapon, you aim for the head. That’s what the reds are all told, you smash, this property is going to get it. We’re going to break this window if we have the opportunity. And then they have sort of calls that they’ll go out for. One of them is alerta. So alerta is everyone gets quiet and then listens to the leader. Then the leader explains what’s going to happen next. They’ll do mike check. Mike check, everyone stops talking, and you’re about to hear instructions. So once they learn these different calls, these different behaviors, and I’ve tracked this across the United States. I’ve gone over to Europe.
I’ve seen these same calls being used even in Europe. So we know that there’s essentially TTP transfer. So when I was in the intelligence community, we would see what’s called TTP transfer. That’s tactics, techniques, and procedures that are then shared throughout multiple groups.
The most famous one or infamous one of all time is that IRA. So the IRA bombings that would go on in the ’70s, we would then see those same bombing tactics used by the Palestinian Liberation Organization, so the PLO. And so a lot of people would kind of look at that and say, well, wait, what are Irish people doing helping the Palestinian terrorists, right? There’s no connection. Sure, but there’s a tactical connection. And so you’ll see this TTP transfer to multiple groups in terms of one group will see something that becomes effective, and then the other group will adopt it.
This has only been fueled by the rise of social media because social media makes it easy. You don’t even need to call people anymore. You can just watch on social media, see what’s happening. And so milkshaking was an example of this tactic, which is something that originated in Britain. It originated in the United Kingdom. Nigel Farrage was milkshaked, right? We saw tweets from even some companies, fast food companies saying, hey, get your milkshakes today. Whereas, other ones were saying, we’re not going to be providing milkshakes because there’s a political rally going on, and we know you’re using this tactic. That tactic was very effective. And so it then migrated to the United States, and we see it happening in the United States as well. It happened in Portland. The Portland Police put out a report that there was a worry that there was mixing of chemicals actually into the milkshakes.
But then you see the media running cover for this by saying, oh, it’s OK. It’s just milkshakes. There’s no problem with that. It’s OK that you’re resorting to violence. It’s funny, this is a joke. We can all laugh about this without understanding that look, whether or not there’s chemicals in these milkshakes, I hope to God they’re not doing something like that. But even if they’re not, they’re using that as a tactic to incapacitate their opponent, to blind them, where then the reds can strike in with it, with tools, with implements. We saw someone with a crowbar at Portland that was bashing people in the head. This is the purpose of the milkshakes. The purpose is to blind you so that the other people can then move in with a second wave attack and come in and commit actual real physical injury.
Mr. Jekielek: So what strikes me about them—the fact that a lot of these people are masked, most of them, that creates this anonymity. You can commit violence with impunity because you won’t be found out that you were the one that did it. I think there’s about 15 states that have anti-masking laws and gatherings and so forth. I think even New York is one of them.
Mr. Posobiec: And a lot of that actually goes back to the KKK. A lot of those are actually KKK laws. Because the Klan was doing this—this is also Democrats, by the way—that were coming up in and they would create their lynch mobs. They would go after Catholics, they would go after Republicans and, obviously, African Americans, freed slaves, particularly in the South because they had the mask on, and that was the purpose of the mask. The purpose of them was obviously to strike fear and intimidation, but also the secondary purpose of that was you didn’t necessarily know who it was.
So when they put the mask on to create a psychological sense of the wearer that they’re invulnerable, that they’re not going to be held accountable for their actions, that they’re not going to be found out. All of which, of course, is certainly not true in this day and age. I was involved in a search about two years ago when there was a bike lock used in a Berkeley protest that turned into a riot. And an individual there had brought a bike lock, that he had purchased on Amazon several days before, specifically to bash people in the head with it. And he struck one Trump supporter and split his head open.
We—and I know I say we, but myself and many people on the Internet, specifically the website called 4chan—dug through every single item they could find this guy wearing. So yeah, we can’t see his face, but you know what, we could see his watch, we could see his shoes, we could see his backpack. Right? And they then went and searched all of the other photos of the group and its organizations until they found exactly who the guy was. And his name was Eric Clanton, and he was actually a university professor of all things, given probation for bashing someone in the head with a bike lock.
So those tactics, as well as the police now, is able to use cell phone data. So if these groups are organizing in a specific area to hold their planning meetings, the police can track the data of which cell phones were at that meeting and then physically geolocate them as they move from that meeting over to the riot and back.
So now you’ve got a group where you can at least pinpoint if it’s 20 people, if it’s 30 people, if it’s a hundred people, you can get those hundred numbers and now you’ve got 100 people, which is a number that you can start to whittle down who you think it might be. This is just basic investigative process, but because the police have the ability to do that, and if they are worried about further texts going depending on the warranting, they can track text messages, they can track phone calls that were made during that time period, during that window frame. They can issue a warrant to Verizon, Sprint, whatever, T-Mobile and get all that information. So for these folks who think that the masking is going to protect them, it may delay law enforcement, but it’s not going to protect them completely.
That said, the ordinances that are being passed and new ones that are being talked about, Portland just mentioned this, that passing new ordinances, that if you are attending a political event, political demonstration, that you cannot wear masks.
I think that’s absolutely going to be effective because we know, right, we know this throughout history. We know this throughout different instances of this that once those masks come off, the violence dies down because people realize that they will be held accountable for their actions because they are not masked. And the effect it has is a chilling effect in terms of violence. I think that’s good, right? I’m all for like, if these, if these groups, they don’t like Donald Trump, they don’t like Jack Posobiec. They want to go protest, by all means. That is America. And they have a First Amendment right to do so. What they don’t have a right to do is throw punches, throw milkshakes, and bash people in the head with crowbars.
Mr. Jekielek: So the Portland police have been accused of just standing by while some of this violence was happening in the past, but it seems now actually this anti-masking rule that they want to pass has been, I don’t know if it’s been proposed, but certainly endorsed by the police chief who’s curiously, her name is Outlaw. So it seems like there’s some kind of a shift, if you were to believe that the police were being bystanders, and I think there’s compelling evidence that was happening to some extent. You think that this video is actually what prompted that shift? What caused that?
Mr. Posobiec: Oh, I think so. I think we’ve seen a police in multiple instances, not just this, but also with officer-involved shootings that a lot of policing tactics and policies will change in response to viral video. They call it the Ferguson effect, of course, what happened in Ferguson. But this is, it’s not the same as that, but it’s similar in terms of a viral video—because of the content of the video—it’s having an effect on the policing policy, and in this case with the police putting forward an endorsement for this new idea of unmasking, essentially, which is law in many states, by the way. I think it’s a fantastic idea. I think they should absolutely push that forward. Look, the police are there for public safety, and the police have limited resources.
I was actually in Baltimore during the Freddie Gray riots, and I saw that the rioters were not touched. They were looting, they were burning the city. They were burning cars, they were flipping over cars. It was mass hysteria, right? The veil of civilization fell for a time. And the police were really just cordoning off specific areas of the city. They weren’t stopping the rioters, they weren’t going after them. And the decision that was made by the mayor at the time was resoundingly criticized, and she eventually stepped down as mayor. And the mentality on the police side was that we don’t have enough resources to stop all of them. So what is the most good we can do with the least resources that we have?
Ultimately, I think that was sort of a failed idea. And they called in the National Guard, and that put a stop to things very quickly. And, obviously, we would like to not have a situation where we have to resort to military force to be able to quell these things. And so stopping them off in terms of preventative ordinances like an unmasking law would be far more sufficient.
Mr. Jekielek: So, Jack, I came across this interesting tweet from Tim Pool, which caught my eye. I’ll read it to you. “I love how far the leftist simultaneously saying Andy Ngo should have known this was going to happen.” That’s one thing. And then saying “It’s a disinformation campaign to smear Antifa as violent.” So you’re kind of seeing both these sorts of narratives out there. What do you make of this?
Mr. Posobiec: So the media doesn’t particularly call out violence on the left, and they don’t call out Antifa. Compare that or contrast that with their response to Covington Catholic—14-year-old boy standing on the steps of Lincoln Memorial smiling while someone pounds a drum in his face. But because he was wearing a MAGA hat, the media attacked them, accused him of all sorts of horrible things, atrocious, racist things were said about him. Atrocious violence was encouraged against this child. And in the end, it was found that all he did was stand there with a smirk on his face. Sort of an awkward situation and, to be honest, I felt that he had dealt with it quite admirably given the circumstances. But when you see the left—and actually just yesterday, there was an incident where a left-wing protester went to the White House, didn’t have a permit—you need this on White House and public grounds—[he] didn’t have a permit to do this, set an American flag on fire.
And when the Secret Service came over to put it out with fire extinguishers—because he didn’t have a permit to do that there, which is required on public property. Not illegal, right? We’ve got the First Amendment, but you do need a permit. So the Secret Service came over to put it out, and they threw the burning flag at the secret service officer. And then, of course he was arrested for felony assault after that.
But media just completely silent on this violence. The media completely overlooks it. I mean, compare that to any situation where a Trump supporter or someone in the right does anything the least bit, untoward. If I have a spicy tweet, I get headlines across Newsweek in the Washington Post. If I’m making fun of someone on the left. But when you have actual physical violence being committed by leftists against police officers, against other conservatives, it’s completely downplayed or even in a worse situation, which I think as Tim is explaining here, is that it’s almost justified in a way. It’s almost supported in a way, in the sense that, hey, we don’t support violence, but… You shouldn’t have done that, but… And it’s victim-blaming. In a lot of these cases, it’s victim-blaming. They say, Andy Ngo shouldn’t have gone there without security. Andy Ngo shouldn’t have showed up to a group where he’d been critical of. He should have known what was gonna happen. That’s victim-blaming. That’s textbook victim-blaming.
Mr. Jekielek: Which is bizarre because this is precisely the thing that I think would be a progressive issue. You can’t blame the victims, right? The victims are always right. It’s kind of the mantra, right?
Mr. Posobiec: Exactly. So progressivism is built that the highest principle of progressivism is victimhood, right? And victim status. So victim status is this inverted pyramid where instead of your accomplishments or your merits being how you’re defined, instead, they define people by their past oppressions or past victimization. And so that’s why they sort of rack and stack to see who’s become the most victimized. Even if it’s not you personally, but maybe your family, maybe your identity. And that’s not to say that oppression victimization hasn’t happened, but the left really upholds that more than anything else. And so now we’ve got a group of people that have become victims of the left. So victims of violence, victims of assaults, victims of doxing, they’ve doxed Tucker Carlson time and time again. I was able to get to call attention to that, get Twitter to ban accounts that were doing it.
They’ve attacked Tucker’s house, they’ve gone after his wife. She was hiding in the cupboard, calling 911. And still the media will play these games of saying, well, Antifa has got some bad members just like any group, but the goals they stand for are altruistic and morally justified. And it’s quite ridiculous to hear them try to say these things.
So I actually welcome them when they do it because it just destroys their credibility, and it really lays naked and bare their absolute, skewed bias in this situation. And so you’ve got a problem where instead of denouncing violence, they end up kind of encouraging more of it because they’re not denouncing it, and because they’re told that it’s going to be OK. Or, in even a worse situation, they’ll sort of build up the person who is committing the violence.
There was a guy in 2016 who rushed the stage at a Trump rally screaming that he was going to get Trump, and CNN gave him an interview. CNN, interviewed this guy who knows what he would’ve done—throw a punch, whatever, arrested by secret service. But CNN gave that guy an interview, and they gave him a platform. What message does that send to everybody else then? That if you commit violence, that if you are anti-Trump, because Trump and Trump’s supporters, therefore, are the out-group and we’re the in-group, that the in-group will elevate you, that the in-group will give you a platform, the in-group will popularize you and support you and platform you. Whereas the out-group, anything that happens to them because they’re the out-group, that’s OK. That doesn’t matter.
I mean, it’s like you’re talking about internecine warfare between Greek city states, right? It doesn’t matter what happens to them. Those are the Athenians. You can do whatever you want to an Athenian. And instead of living in a constitutional republic like we’re living in, it’s almost like the rules are devolving into a much more primitive tribalistic state. And to see this continue to be upheld, this sort of new formation, this new subversion of American politics, of American civil liberties, it’s truly dangerous.
Mr. Jekielek: And this is precisely what the left will accuse the right of. Hey, look, there’s alt right, there’s, I think you’ve been accused of being alt-right. I don’t even fully understand what that means.
Mr. Posobiec: Well, the left says that everyone that they don’t like is a Nazi. So the left, immediately in their mind if they disagree with you on a certain policy or they think that you’re not on our side, they think that everyone to the right of Joseph Stalin is a Nazi. So Tucker Carlson’s a Nazi, Trump’s a Nazi, I’m a Nazi, you’re probably a Nazi. Everyone’s a Nazi, right? Even Andy Ngo who’s a gay Asian, he’s a Nazi. Everyone becomes a Nazi, which is interesting because for a few years we were all Russian agents. But now we’ve been converted back to Nazis because the whole Russian thing fell apart. And the reason for the labelization is quite simple.
It provides them an emotional cheat and an intellectual out instead of having to confront someone on what they have said, instead of having to confront someone on their actual policy positions or the actual opinion statements that they make, you can just label them and then write them off.
And it’s also, in a sense, it’s not just group fence behavior or grouping behavior of in-group and out-group, which is something that we’d, by the way, see in terms of a lot of these sort of cult groups will have their own in-group mentality and that the rest of the world is against them. Right? And so we see this on the left quite frequently now. And the ability to throw a label on someone creates an intellectual cheat, where instead of having to deal with the things that they’ve said or deal with them as a human, you can dehumanize them under that label. So you’re dehumanizing them by saying, oh, they are a Nazi, even if they completely opposed the Nazis.
I, myself, I’m Polish, right? The idea of anybody, as you know, the idea of a Polish supporting the Nazis is ridiculous. It’s ludicrous. It’s really ignorant of history and ignorant of truth. But it doesn’t matter to them, right? Because they don’t care, and they’re using it in order to dehumanize their opponents, and they want to dehumanize their opponents so that they can justify any action that they take against them.
Mr. Jekielek: So that actually makes me think of the Russiagate shooting where basically, this guy believed this reality and ended up basically shooting these Republican congressional members. Wow.
Mr. Posobiec: Had a guy, James T. Hodgkinson, a little bit older than you would normally expect for a domestic terrorist, baby boom generation, drives across half the country, sells his business, gets out of his house, leaves his wife, drives across half the country to Alexandria, Virginia, checks in to a YMCA of all places and stakes out—this was very well planned out—stakes out at a baseball field for a month and is waiting, is checking all the vantage points, and eventually he shows up when a group of Republican congressmen, Senators Steve Scalise, Rand Paul, Jeff Flake were all there. He went in and shot it up with an SKS, which is a version of an AK-47 rifle and almost killed Steve Scalise.
He was eventually killed by police, and thank God that the Capitol Police were there because Steve Scalise was the house majority leader at the time. And so he warranted Capitol Police 24/7. Had he not had that Capitol Police 24/7 coverage, they may not have been able to take down the shooter, the Russiagate shooter, and he would have had to wait for local police to come. So he would have had almost a free hand in attacking that ball field without them. And so the last thing he posts on his Facebook page is that the Republicans are traitors to the country, and he posts up this pledge sign the pledge to get rid of the Russian traitors in the Republican Party. And so he had become so twisted and so warped by this reality that was fanned and promulgated by mainstream sources–MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post—that he decided to take matters into his own hands and commit possibly the most heinous form of leftist violence that we’ve seen and actually using a rifle to take shots at Republican congressmen because he believed that they were traitors.
Mr. Jekielek: So you’re the author of “4D Warfare,” right? And you’re thinking about how to basically help influence people’s thinking in different ways. This is a part of your work. It’s kind of like, speaking of Scott Adams, kind of like what he says: The country is watching the world through these two or more different screens, filter for how they see it. What is your prescription for helping people see the other side?
Mr. Posobiec: The biggest thing is to stop the dehumanization. The biggest thing is to stop the dehumanization of the other side, but also the acceptance of violence, of showing people that there will be consequences for your actions, that violence will not be tolerated.
And I’m actually quite critical of the justice system in a few of these cases because some of these assaults, including the bike lock, they were given probation. They weren’t even giving jail time. Actually, the guy who assaulted me in Washington, he was put behind bars because actually he initially had probation, but then he broke his probation. And so he was put in jail. And we have to make an example of the fact that political violence cannot be tolerated because if we as a country, if we as a system send the message that political violence might be OK, then you’re going to create an extremely toxic situation. You’re going to create a downward cycle of violence that will not end well, full stop.
And so in order to do that is you need to set these boundaries. These are boundaries done by law. There’s actually something that happened very recently, which I think is fantastic. But it also made me think in a way. So have you heard of the ice cream challenge? Have you heard of this viral thing called the ice cream challenge?
Mr. Jekielek: Yes. Yes.
Mr. Posobiec: And this is where—a lot of zoomers are doing, Generation Z—you go into a store, you open an ice cream container, you lick it, you close the top, you put it back on. Well—
Mr. Jekielek: Twenty years potentially.
Mr. Posobiec: In Texas, it turns out, that’s a felony. And you can face up to 20 years in jail. And, of course, these are kids that are filming themselves doing it as part of the challenge. It’s like, hey guys, let’s go commit crimes on camera, and then show everyone that we did it. It’s like a Darwin Challenge a little bit as well. But the reason that it’s a felony is because tampering consumer goods is a felony. And I said, my goodness, imagine if we treated political violence as strongly as we treated consumer goods, right? No, I think that’s good for the ice cream. And I think that we’ll have a chill, and it’s going to absolutely have a chilling effect. And it’s going to—
Mr. Jekielek: No pun intended.
Mr. Posobiec: No pun intended—of stopping this viral challenge. So why don’t we make it a felony to commit political violence? Why don’t we make it a hate crime? Put that modifier on there for people’s political persuasion, for people’s political ideology. Political ideology should be a protected class in the United States. You should not be able to discriminate because of someone’s political ideology, whether that be in social media, whether it be an organization, whether it be university, academia, etc, company, military, you should not be able to discriminate. That’s number one. And then number two is: If someone is attacked for their politics, it should be a felony.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s a great place to end, Jack, wonderful to have you.
Mr. Posobiec: Thanks so much, Jan.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.