It’s Going Down, June 2, 2021
On, May 31, 2021, the Washington Post published an incredibly dishonest, defamatory and reactionary smear piece by a reporter named Scott Wilson with the headline: “Anarchists and an increase in crime hijack Portland’s social justice movement.” The entire framing, starting with the headline itself (which was predictably amplified by supposedly high-minded, “nuanced” reactionaries like Jonathan Chait and Glenn Greenwald), is that anarchist resistance is in some way connected to the city’s recent increase in gun violence, which isn’t directly supported (nor directly claimed) anywhere in the article. In reality, as researchers have pointed out for years, the rise in gun violence is directly related to systemic white supremacy and poverty created by capitalism – all things which anarchists exist to oppose.
This isn’t even getting into Wilson’s direct claim that anarchists—who have been active in the Pacific Northwest region in a variety of social movements throughout the decades, have somehow “hijacked” (subliminal terrorism association) “legitimate” resistance (read: non-establishment-threatening, non-Democratic Party aligned, non-profit ordained and managed) over the past year. This same false claim has been repeated ad nauseam by Portland mayor Ted Wheeler and other neoliberal opinion columnists.
Last year, Farah Stockman of The New York Times, after reaching out to local activists who pushed back against her narrative, used an out of town far-Right conspiracy theorist, Jeremy Lee Quinn, a former YouTube comedian, as the main source to push false conspiracy theories about anarchists in Portland supposedly derailing the Black Lives Matter movement. Since the opinion piece appeared, Quinn has gone on to push further conspiracies about the attempted pro-Trump coup on January 6th, which he attended and filmed. Quinn claims that the 6th was partially instigated by ‘Antifa’ and inspired by “anarcho black bloc tactics which have origins in West Berlin in 1982 & Seattle 1999.” In numerous editorials on far-Right websites, Quinn would downplay the violence on January 6th, along with the role of far-Right, militia, and white nationalist groups in the storming of the capitol, writing: “Are these fringe outliers truly representative of the wider mass? We could ask the same of the left.” Such conspiratorial talking points have gone on to form the backbone of the Republicans opposition to an inquiry into the January 6th attempted coup, while Trumpian forces openly call for a military dictatorship.