Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Stay Away from the Hysteria-Mongers

By Vince

There’s a youtube video circulating claiming that outlaw motorcycle clubs are heading to Seattle to fight Antifa. The video uses years-old footage and provides no evidence whatsoever. The founder of the Hells Angels confirmed that this was fake, saying that this will “never happen.”

There are a ton of rumors out there, and this one appears to be promoted by rightwingers who would like to believe that all the tough-guy bikers are on their side. But this one is fake. There are actual fascist gangs and rightwing counter protesters confronting protesters across the country. In addition to legitimate news stories and videos I have witnessed this with my own eyes here in Portland.

There is no reason to blow this out of proportion, though. Antifa is the boogie-man for the right, though the Antifa phenomena is seriously mis-characterized. Likewise rightwing gangs are the boogie-man of the left. Though they certainly do exist they are not as numerous nor influential as people think.

The rumors and mystery swirling around around these movements and counter-movements remind me of the gang hysteria of my youth. I knew people in gangs, and I knew people who were seriously assaulted and even killed in gang related violence. Gangs certainly do exist, but the number of hardcore participants who are actually involved is usually very small, and they exist within a larger subculture that makes their numbers seem larger. News media typically amplified any and all violence around youths of color as “gang related” and wild rumors circulated among suburban parents about gang invasions, gang initiation rituals that involved killing random white people, etc. The same thing is happening with Antifa and counter protesters. The number of people involved in rightwing and leftwing violence is very small, and very blown out of proportion because it’s a good story that sells. These hardcore participants exist within the larger protest movement, so their numbers are thought to be much larger. So we end up with wild rumors about Antifa invasions of small rural towns and Hells Angels invading Seattle to beat people up. But none of it is true. Vet your information, people.

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