An antifa organizer who marshaled violent protests and called to “kill the rich” was arrested this month on suspicion of aggravated assault against a group of Marines.
Joseph “Jose” Alcoff, who also goes by the online alias “Chepe,” was charged on Jan. 20 in Philadelphia with 17 counts of violence and aggression — including ethnic intimidation and threats of terrorism — in connection with a November 2018 attack by members of the Anti-Fascist movement against the Marines, who were mistaken for far-right protestors.
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Two of the Marines, Luis Torres and Alejandro Godinez, testified in a Philadelphia court in December that about a dozen leftist anti-fascist demonstrators had mobbed them after mistaking them for part of a right-wing Proud Boys rally that was taking place nearby. The antifa members called the Marines “Nazis” and “white supremacists,” they said.
The activists did not relent even as the Marines tried to explain that they were not in fact part of the rally. Godinez claimed that after he shouted, “I’m Mexican,” the alleged attackers called him “a spic” and “wetback.”
Soon after the attack, Thomas Keenan, one of the chief organizers of the movement’s Philly branch, was arrested along with another member. Two months later, on Jan. 10, Alcoff, who led a Washington, DC antifa chapter, was also arrested, after Torres’ recognized him as one of the attackers, thanks in part due to an expose by The Daily Caller.
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Alcoff was revealed last month to be one of antifa’s most ubiquitous voices. Under his real name, he would appear on mainstream media as a compassionate, non-violent political organizer. But online he assumed multiple identities, through which he would disseminate a more radical, Marxist agenda (he would occassionally sign his Twitter posts with “kill the rich”) and co-organize violent antifa demonstrations, including the siege of Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s home last November.
Despite its taste for violence and inciting rhetoric, the antifa movement has largely gotten a pass from prominent news outlets and media figures, who may grouse about some of its actions, but nevertheless tend to view it as merely a reaction to far-right agitation, and a threat in and of itself.
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro has repeatedly argued that the left in its current form lacks the ability (and motivation) to self-police. Whereas as the right, per Shapiro, is regularly on high alert for bigots, liberals are slow to recognize the possibility that bigots and agitators may exist in their ranks, too.
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