Is there going to be a US Civil War today? (Hint: no)

I first became aware of the latest bit of utter insanity that has been bubbling away inside the right-wing information bubble when a friend on Facebook posted this …

Guys, my mom thinks Antifa is going to start a civil war on November 4th that will lead to power outages because her pastor told her so.

Initially my first reaction was the thought that one lone pastor had simply said something daft (well gosh, that never happened before). Being curious, I googled a bit and discovered I was quite wrong. Bubbling away inside the alt-right information bubble is a belief that there is a planned US revolution scheduled for today Sat 4th Nov. It is pervasive and is all over the alt-right networks …

Well yes, if you have even one iota of common sense then this just triggered your BS alarm.

Some insights

Mic has an article by Chris Ceaser explaining some of the origins of this, and also why it  has been taken seriously by the alt right …

Have you heard about the left’s evil plans on Nov. 4?

According to some online conservative circles, anti-fascist activists — or “antifa supersoldiers,” depending who you ask — have plans to “behead all white parents” and attack “small-business owners,” “kill every single Trump voter,” team up with violent gangs and go on a rampage, killing every conservative they can find.

The actions have been billed as “bigger than anything the likes of which we’ve ever seen,” with supporters of President Donald Trump urged to “prepare with bullets, food and water.” Conservative activists have been reporting alleged antifa accounts for making serious, violent threats to conservatives in the build-up to the day of action.

One account, @KrangTNelson, was mass-reported until he was finally suspended from Twitter. The only problem? Krang isn’t a violent antifa thug — he’s a left-leaning humorist. And the “threat” that got him kicked off Twitter was an obvious joke.

For the curious, it was this tweet …

… and so yes, this latest alt-right frenzy is all BS …

What’s more, the Nov. 4 conspiracy theory is — you guessed it — a baseless lie. There is no evidence for an attack. There is no evidence of planned violence. 

He then proceeds to explain the bizarre and strange story of how this utterly baseless nonsense went viral …

The Nov. 4 conspiracy centers on alleged antifa documents that call for violence aimed at fomenting a “civil war” between Trump supporters and antifa on Nov. 4. Much of this wild speculation seems derived from a deeply dubious and widely shared report on right-wing conspiracy hub InfoWars by YouTuber and blogger Paul Joseph Watson.

The InfoWars post links to a statement on the website of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, which indeed calls for demonstrations against Trump in numerous U.S. cities on Nov. 4. At no point, though, does it call for “violence” or “riots,” let alone a “civil war,” as Watson reported.

Watson seems to parse the statement’s fleeting reference to a book published in 2005 by Communist Party Chairman Bob Avakian — The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era — as a sign that thousands of people are actually planning to start a civil war.

From there, things really flew off the rails. On Sept. 29, InfoWars’ Alex Jones told his viewers that “we have a flood of antifa saying that they’re preparing with weapons, knives and guns to kill conservatives, patriots and white people en masse.”

If you had no idea that any of this thinking was going on, then do not despair, because unless you are inside the Alt-Right information bubble and supping on complete and utter BS as part of your daily information diet then you also will have been completely oblivious to it all.

Does Snopes have anything on all of this?

TL;DR; … Of course.

Despite what random people might say in homemade YouTube videos, they offer no proof that any anti-fascist groups are planning even a skirmish.

There are a few interesting insights here into the deeper origins of all this …

The rumors seem to have originated from a video originally published on 30 August 2017 by an individual named Jordan Peltz. Peltz was widely (and incorrectly) identified as a “U.S. Marshal” in the video, which shows him wearing what looked like an official badge that is actually simply printed on his shirt. However, he is not actually law enforcement or military

Things got escalated by the usual pundits of utter BS …

On 29 September 2017, InfoWars published an article using Peltz’s “civil war” wording:

… and so the conclusion there is ….

When a wave of rumors about 4 November anti-fascist protests began, his clip became part of the claim as “evidence” that a “federal officer” warned of coming violence. In reality, a list of apparently peaceful protests were paired with an older, unrelated video to create the impression of a looming threat. Peltz himself walked the claims far back after his video brought him unwanted attention and scrutiny. 

That snopes article was published 10 Oct, and so rather obviously things simply kept on escalating.

Even the UK’s Guardian is now writing about it all

There is an article published there last Wed that mulls over the complex origins of all this. It also fingers InfoWars as one of the primary vectors for this…

the rumor was picked up and amplified by Alex Jones, the radio star with an audience of millions. As Sunshine explains, Jones “is a kind of meta-conspiracy theorist now” who “harvests other people’s theories” and repackages them to fit his narratives and his audience.

Once Jones had mentioned it, Sunshine explains, the rumor mill exploded: “Once Jones says something, even more people pick up on it and put their own spin on it.” Jones’s website was still running the story on Wednesday morning.

… and also explains why Krang’s joke tweet got taken seriously …

Gateway Pundit, a longtime conservative blog that has recently expanded into news coverage, published a story by its White House correspondent, Lucian Wintrich, claiming that an “antifa leader” had promised to “behead white parents” on 4 November.

The tweet the story was based on, however, was a joke from an account that had no apparent ties to any antifa groups.

How can these people be so stupid?

You need to remember that there is a roughly 30% demographic out there that truly thinks Trump is doing a fine job and fully supports him.

When you live inside an information bubble, and your only source of News consists of a constant stream of fiction from InfoWars, Fox News, and Alt-Right FB discussion groups, then the rise of Urban Legends that pander to this mindset should not be a surprise.

Today is 4th November, and as you look around you will observe that there is no civil war – it was all BS. But of course you did not need to wait until today to discover that. If you are reading this, then you most probably already knew it was all BS.

Will those within the alt-right now pause and reconsider things?

If you appreciate that neither rationality nor evidence plays any role here then I suspect you will be `able to guess the answer to that.

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