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Exposing Fascists: Best Practices

This document came out of numerous discussions with anti-fascists across the country. There has been repeated concern among ourselves and our comrades about a culture of anti-fascist activism that views exposing fascists online as the end-all be-all of anti-fascist organizing. Online exposés are one tool of many that anti-fascists use to materially disrupt fascist organizing in our communities. An exposé of a Nazi by itself is meaningless if it does not have a material impact on that fascist, their organizing, or the communities they threaten.

Here we address some common stumbling blocks and best practices for outing Nazis in a way that sustains our movements, protects our communities, and most importantly, materially impacts fascist organizing.

tl;dr: Prioritize long-term impact on the community’s safety over Twitter engagement

Be Clear About Your Goals

  • Why are you exposing this Nazi? Are you informing local radicals? Trying to get liberals to call in to a fascist’s job to get him fired? Getting people to show up to their house? Exposing the hidden beliefs of a local right-wing political group? Trying to get law enforcement to pay attention to a certain Nazi? (If so, see: “Don’t Work with Cops”)
    • Outing Nazis is a tactic that can be used to leverage certain material results, and those results will differ based on the target and how the exposé is written and disseminated.
    • Being clear about your goals will help your campaign be more effective in achieving them.
    • Sometimes all we can do is inform the community about a certain fascist or fascist group, but know that when you publish a Nazi exposé, you are telling the fascists that they are being watched, and you will probably get significantly less information about them as a result.
      • Barring certain circumstances, it may be better to wait until you have more information and capacity to materially impact this fascist, rather than putting out something scanty (e.g. a Twitter thread of a Proud Boy that only includes his unverified approximate location, name, and a photo.)

Flyering campaigns are a great way to create a material consequences for fascists.

Make sure all information you publish is 100% verified.

  • You don’t want something to happen to an innocent person who moved into the Nazi’s house.
  • Publishing bad information hurts your reputation, and the reputation of the broader anti-fascist movement.
  • To verify an address, see if they posted pictures of their home recently, get them or their friend to tell you their address, find an excuse to knock on their door and see who answers, etc.
  • The same goes for phone numbers: use a burner phone or burner phone app to call and ask for the Nazi, and then act like you’re selling something so they hang up.
  • To verify a place of employment, you can call up the business and ask to speak with the Nazi. You can also try to find their vehicle at their place of employment.
  • If you can’t 100% verify these details, don’t publish them.

Work with Local Anti-Fascists

  • Anti-fascism should be rooted in community defense. Anti-fascists will usually be best equipped to respond to fascists in their area.
  • If you have found a fascist in another area, reach out to AFA crews in that area and ask how you can help.
    • AFA crews are very busy, and usually have a backlog of work to get through. The more work you can do for that crew, the faster they can use it.
    • Writing up a full exposé for the local crew to use is the fastest way to get your work out in an effective way.
  • While well-intentioned, publishing an exposé of a fascist outside your area can result in a number of problems that make anti-fascist organizing in that fascist’s area more difficult.
    • Local anti-fascists may already be monitoring that fascist, and have intentionally waited to out them for legitimate reasons, such as:
      • They are tailing the fascist to meetups, which will no longer be safe to do after the fascist has been tipped off that anti-fascists are looking into them.
      • They are working with other community groups to ensure that the exposé does not cause collateral damage.
      • They are involved in a deradicalization process with the fascist, which is no longer effective after the exposé has come out, resulting in no more information coming back from the fascist about their komrades.
      • The fascist lives in an area that is dangerous for anti-fascists to be in. Tipping the fascist off before on-the-ground work has been done, such as flyering, address confirmation, or direct action, can ensure that those actions do not happen, or make them much more dangerous to do.
      • Community members and organizers use their local AFA crew’s website for information on local fascists, and will not see or trust one coming from a group or individual that is unknown to them.
  • If you can’t find an active AFA crew to collaborate with, you can still publish your exposé, but it will be harder to verify the information and/or create a material impact. The community defense element is important, so consider mailing flyers to the fascist’s neighbors if you can confirm their address.

Publish Anonymously

Anonymity is our best defense against both fascist and State retribution, so don’t publish under your own name, and don’t use your publishing handle/crew to publish any information that could identify you. While you might not be afraid of fascists confronting you, there is a growing trend of fascists suing anti-fascists, as well as the State targeting anti-fascist activists. You could also put your comrades at risk by giving your enemies a node in a social network to gather info from. You would be surprised how much information we have gotten about fascists from their loose-lipped friends and family members.

Don’t Chase Clout or Career

  • The purpose of this work is not to promote yourself or to gain celebrity or a career; it is to protect our communities and defeat fascism.
  • Avoid falling into the trap of working towards internet clout or career instead of community defense.
  • View people who do anti-fascist work for clout or money with skepticism.

Don’t Just Publish on Social Media

If you’re on lefty Twitter, you have likely seen fascist exposés posted to the platform. While mainstream social media platforms are a good way to get information to a wide audience, that audience probably is not in the fascist’s immediate area. Publishing solely on social media also means your content is subject to the whims of major corporations who have no interest in fighting fascism.

We recommend setting up a resilient website to host your work. NoBlogs and BlackBlogs are free, anarchist-run WordPress instances that allow you to easily set up your own website. NoBlogs does not allow you to directly publish addresses on your blog, but has better uptime than BlackBlogs. For either, you will need a RiseUp email account to register, which you can get an invite code for from a comrade.

Exposés that are posted on a blog usually rank better in search engines compared to ones that just exist on social media sites like Twitter, and will survive after your Twitter account is suspended. Exposés posted to Instagram and Facebook will only be accessible to users of those platforms.

Consider an email list like Atlanta Antifascists use. This can be a great way to communicate directly to local community members and organizers, who may not be on social media or don’t have the time to sift through your feed.

Don’t Work with Cops

Like fascists, the police are our enemies, and will protect fascists more often than they hinder their activities. While law enforcement does repress fascist organizing to some extent, they repress left-wing, anti-capitalist, anti-colonial, and autonomous movements far more. Any short-term benefit gained from reporting illegal fascist behavior to the police legitimizes and builds institutional efficacy for our enemies in law enforcement.

Don’t Work with Abusers

  • Even if they do good work, you are exposing yourself and your comrades to immense risk by working with abusive people. Misogynists make great informants and will rat you out the second you become inconvenient to them.
  • Supporters and allies of your abusive friend’s victims won’t trust you or work with you, lessening the effectiveness of your work.
  • Most importantly, by legitimizing and sharing space with abusers, you are enabling them to abuse more people, potentially even yourself.

Consider The Implications of Your Language & Actions

  • Don’t lean into oppressive hierarchies to “dunk” on fascists. We want liberation from ableism, queerphobia, racism, classism, colonialism, and misogyny.
  • Leveraging insults based on those oppressions will be seen by far more impacted people than the fascist and their buddies.
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