As much of the state of Texas lost power recently due to a series of late February ice storms, a series of self-described “Mutual Aid” groups moved under the slogan “solidarity, not charity.” Heavily promoted by mainstream media organizations, these groups were largely lauded uncritically for their volunteer efforts. But closer investigation shows that hundreds of thousands of dollars provided for charity in this effort was directed to a network of radical organizations which included armed extremist groups.
In this report, Risks Abound as Antifa-Aligned “Mutual Aid” Groups Respond to Texas Storms Kyle Shideler, the Center’s Senior Analyst for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism documents how “mutual aid” efforts serve as merely another form of “direct action” for radical anarchist and abolition groups seeking to propagandize, recruit cadre, and undermine local government authority. He examines specific Antifa-aligned groups involved in the Texas effort such as the Elms Fork John Brown Gun Club (JBGC), and the close ties between armed groups and “mutual aid” organizations.
Moving from specific groups involved in the Texas effort, Shideler traces examines the role of mutual aid in the larger strategy by radical groups to establish “dual power” by asserting themselves into roles traditionally held by local government. He also looks at how powerful national groups like the Sunrise Movement and the Democratic Socialists of America supported the mutual aid effort and rapidly transitioned the effort from helping those struggling in the aftermath of severe weather to securing points for their radical political agenda.
Risks Abound as Antifa-Aligned “Mutual Aid” Groups Respond to Texas Storms also contains warnings for local law enforcement and state officials who may face mutual aid groups during national emergencies to better understand the nature of such groups and the risks involved, including documenting how mutual aid efforts can rapidly transform into illegal protest activities such as building occupations, illegal squatting and criminal trespass.
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