Commentary

Pro-Immigrant Groups Post Flyer Depicting Antifa Symbol, Burning Border Patrol Vehicle, Molotov Cocktail

CORRECTION, July 31, 2019: This commentary was originally published under a headline that claimed a stronger connection between antifa and the border resistance event than the commentary itself was able to demonstrate. We have therefore edited the headline and added additional information to the story to clarify that connection.

UPDATE, July 31, 2019: This commentary has been updated to include the images from the Hecate Society posted to Facebook, a link to the same image posted by the Tornillo: The Occupation group, a quote from the Hecate Society to Lead Stories denying any affiliation with antifa and the image of the registration form.

UPDATE, August 1, 2019: A Hecate Society spokesperson issued an additional statement indicating that the group would no longer be using the black-and-white flyer pictured in The Western Journal’s commentary and Andy Ngo’s tweet. “A flyer posted on the event’s website that featured a sketched cartoon of arrows being shot at border guards has been removed to avoid a misunderstanding,” the spokesperson told Lead Stories. “It was a satire not intended to suggest there would be violence at the event, the group said. A Facebook post using the image from July 20, 2019, however remained online.”

Members of a number of far-left groups are planning to converge near the U.S.-Mexico border in September to protest conditions at migrant detention facilities.

And what they may aim to do in El Paso, Texas, is concerning, to say the least.

One of the promotional images for the event shows a Border Patrol vehicle being set on fire, as well as a Molotov cocktail flying through the air. Next to the vehicle is a figure that appears to be adorned with the well-known three-arrow antifa symbol.

Several people are wielding bows and arrows, and at least one Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer is on the ground after being hit with arrows.

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A spokesperson for the Hecate Society, one of the groups organizing the event, told Lead Stories that they have “no affiliation with Antifa,” though in the image above, the figure just to the right of the burning vehicle appears to be adorned with the three downward-pointing arrows often used by antifa.

three arrows on the back of a figure
(Facebook screen shot)

“While there is not necessarily a central antifa symbol, since there is no central antifa organization in the U.S., one symbol commonly seen on antifa flags and other possessions during the Charlottesville counter-protests consisted of a circle containing three arrows,” according to Bustle’s Sarah Friedman.

“This symbol is known as the anti-fascist circle. It has its roots in German anti-fascist movements of the 1930s,” Friedman explained.

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The same image was posted on Facebook by another of the event’s organizing groups, “Tornillo: The Occupation.”

It is possible, of course, that the image was posted by an individual or individuals who failed to recognize the symbol or understand its significance. However, the registration form for the event does specifically refer to “Anti-Facism,” increasing the likelihood that group members would be familiar with the three-arrow symbol, or at least reasonably be expected to note it:

Anti-Facism
online registration form (borderresistance.com / screen shot)

Moreover, the groups associated with the event must certainly understand the significance of the violent imagery depicted on the flyer — the dead Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer, the burning Border Patrol vehicle, and the figure in the bottom right marked with “ACAB” — an acronym that stands for “All Cops Are Bastards.”

The event in El Paso, which will last Sept. 1-10, is officially called a “Border Resistance Convergence,” according to the event’s website.

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“Local and national organizers are working together to build 10 days of trainings and direct actions for the Border Resistance Convergence in El Paso, TX — September 1-10th,” the site says.

“We are calling on affinity groups everywhere to come together and help us address US-funded genocide and local concentration camps.”

It’s not clear what those “trainings and direct actions” will entail, and the website itself certainly does not seem to advocate violence. But considering the promotional image above, there would appear to be at least some cause for concern.

“There are two locations that can house around 20 people each for the time span of the convergence. There are also local organizers who will be opening their houses. These spaces will be used to host QTPOC [queer, transgender, people of color] folks that are traveling to El Paso,” the website says.

“We are very much relying on white comrades to donate money and throw down on renting temporary spaces for our more vulnerable friends as camping can affect us all in different ways.”

Quillette editor Andy Ngo tweeted that the event will involve “militancy training” and a “10-day siege,” although it was unclear from where he was drawing those conclusions.

“Antifa is leading a ‘Border Resistance’ militancy training tour that will converge on a 10-day siege in El Paso, TX,” Quillette editor Andy Ngo tweeted Monday. “The promotional image shows border enforcement officers being killed & government property fired bombed. Organizers asking for ‘white comrades’ to pay for others.”

Ngo himself was brutally assaulted by antifa protesters last month in Portland, Oregon, and a self-proclaimed antifa activist showed up to a detention center in Washington state earlier in July with a rifle and improvised explosive devices.

After that activist was killed by police, antifa’s Seattle faction posted a call to action for others to follow in his footsteps, labeling its “comrade” a “martyr” and urging a call for “direct action.”

George Upper contributed to this story.

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Joe Setyon is a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who has spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon is deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
Birthplace
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