Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy by Andy Ngo

(New York: Center Street, 2021), 295

I first heard about this after reading an article (link) about how Winston Marshall from Mumford & Sons left the band because he read the book and commented about it on Twitter. He was attacked by the mob and ended up leaving the band to protect them from further criticism (his essay here: Why I’m Leaving Mumford & Sons).

It fascinates me that a high-profile individual would take a stand like this, and even more so that he quoted Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "Live Not by Lies" in doing so.

I was most interested by three things from Unmasked. First, despite the significant controversy surrounding Andy Ngo and taking an initially-skeptical view of anyone commenting on such contentious issues, his first-hand accounts of Antifa are startling. Second, he presents a history of Antifa (chapter 6) and the alignment between Antifa and BLM (chapter 7); especially interesting is his claim about their shared underlying Marxism. Finally, and again taking a skeptical view of anyone actively commenting on these issues, I appreciate Ngo's reference to Antifa and adjacent literature which speaks for itself.


  • Antifa literature:
  • Chapter 6 is Ngo's view of the history of Antifa / cultural Marxism in the United States:
    • Antifa's communist origins in Germany (ch 5), then in Britain's punk culture (113), then started in the Midwest in the late 1980's before moving to Portland/Seattle recently
    • Discussion of Antifa in academia
    • Antifa justification of looting: "The very basis of property in the U.S. is derived through whiteness and through black oppression, through the history of slavery and settler domination of the country. Looting strikes at the heart of property, of whiteness, and of the police. It gets to the very root of the way those three things are interconnected. And also it provides people with an imaginative sense of freedom and pleasure and helps them imagine a world that could be." --> In Defense of Looting by Vicky Osterweil
  • Chapter 7 is Ngo's view of the BLM-Antifa relationship:
    • "The most devastating consequence of BLM is that it provided the outlet for radical Marxist views to enter mainstream American media, politics, and society under the guise of 'racial justice.'" (131)
    • Ngo's summary: "Thought BLM has some differing goals from antifa (e.g., the more explicit promotion of communism rather than anarchist-communist), both ideologies now cross-pollinate and influence one another to the point that they are linked entities...Their convergence has been immensely mutually beneficial. Antifa get mainstream legitimacy on the back of American racial divisions while BLM gets a volunteer militia at helm." (140)
    • BLM's now-removed "What We Believe" page

Created: 2021-08-15
Updated: 2023-01-23-Mon