Youth Liberation Front

Introduction

The Youth Liberation Front (YLF) is a self-described “decentralized network of autonomous youth collectives dedicated to direct action towards total liberation….”* YLF describes itself as part of the umbrella of “anarchist projects” online. * YLF social media accounts call for attendance at rallies and protests against symbols of authority. These accounts also provide suggestions on how to prepare for protests.* YLF groups began to emerge on social media in 2018 but gained greater prominence in 2020 with the spread of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial inequality.* YLF has at least seven affiliates across the country, all of which act independently of each other.* While YLF groups only loosely connected, a common denomination among them is their call for “direct action” in pursuit of their goal of tearing down the allegedly racist and inequitable political and capitalist systems.*

YLF is declaredly anti-fascist and anti-capitalist. Members who have spoken to media remain anonymous. During these interviews, they have declared YLF’s belief that the current political system is broken and needs to be replaced rather than reformed. The nationwide protests that erupted after the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd in police custody reportedly provided YLF with a recruitment boost over social media.* YLF propaganda declares “the time for discussing reform is over,” and calls for “full abolition for our communities to be safe and free from rampant police terror.”*

Leadership

YLF is made up of independent, leaderless cells. The leaders of these cells remain anonymous.*

Base of Operations

The YLF is based in the Pacific Northwest region with chapters throughout Washington and Oregon.* The group also has chapters in Florida, California, and the Carolinas.* A chapter in London, England, launched in 2021.*

Website

https://pnwylf.noblogs.org/

Membership Size and Relevance

YLF does not maintain public membership records. Each chapter acts independently. As of October 2, 2020, PNW YLF had 274 followers on Mastadon* and 36,300 followers on Twitter.* As of that same date, a Twitter account belonging to the Seattle Division had 5,782 followers and had been temporarily restricted but remained online.* The NorCal YLF had 744 followers,* while the Carolina YLF had 166 followers,* the Bay Area YLF had 276 followers,* and the Fort Lauderdale chapter had 223 followers.*

As of July 29, 2022, PNW YLF had 761 followers on Mastadon but the account had not been updated since February 2021. The most recent posts reported the group had repeatedly been locked out of its Twitter account.* PNW YLF had grown to 34,300 followers on its Twitter account, which had continued to be updated through May 2022.* As of the same date, the PNW YLF website had not been updated since July 2020.* Also, as of July 29, 2022, the Seattle Division Twitter account had 7,487 followers.* The Fort Lauderdale chapter Twitter account had grown to 1,385 followers.* The Florida YLF Twitter account had 1,385 followers.* The NorCal YLF and Carolina YLF Twitter accounts had been deleted, while the Bay Area had been suspended.* Created in July 2020, the Southwest YLF Twitter account had 1,667 followers as of July 29, 2022.* Its Instagram account had only 19 followers.*

Created in August 2020, the DC YLF Twitter page had 4,746 followers as of July 29, 2022.* The Maryland YLF Twitter account had 1,270 followers as of July 29, 2022, but a June 30 tweet proclaimed the group was transitioning and “passing this account on to the next generation of anarchist who inspire us to keep going” as most of its founding members had “outgrown” YLF. These members were transitioning to the Baltimore Liberation Front.* Created in July 2019, the Baltimore Liberation Front claims to be anti-capitalist and supportive of the “ACAB”—All Cops Are Bastards—philosophy. It calls for a “Free Baltimore.”* Launched in August 2021, the London, England, YLF Twitter account had 255 followers as of July 29, 2022.* An Atlanta YLF Twitter account launched in June 2021 and had 369 followers by July 29, 2022.*

Recruitment and Propaganda

YLF claims to be a network of “loosely connected autonomous groups of kids” fighting against fascism, the state, and capitalism.* PNW YLF encourages visitors to its Twitter page to find “some other kids and form your own affinity group,” suggesting that there is no formal process for creating YLF affiliate chapters.* Per its name, YLF targets youth for recruitment. The operator of the PNW YLF Twitter account admitted in a September 30, 2020, post to being a current high school student.*

The YLF utilizes a black flag in its imagery to symbolize anarchy.* YLF chapters are active on social media, particularly Twitter. Twitter temporarily suspended the PNW YLF in September 2020, which led the group to create an account on the anarchist social media forum Mastadon.*

Violent Activities

YLF has not be linked to specific violent attacks.

Rhetoric

  • DC YLF, Twitter post, June 30, 2022: “#EverybodyOut! Let’s go #DC. F*** the USA and the State. F the courts, SCOTUS, & the cops! Where black, bring a mask (for covid), water/snacks, keep together & each-other safe. #WeKeepUsSafe! Let’s go!!!!!”*
  • DC YLF, Twitter post, June 25, 2022: “F*** SCOTUS & the Police”*
  • DC YLF, Twitter post, June 24, 2022: “The more protests the more police have to split their pigs.”*
  • DC YLF, Twitter post, June 21, 2022: “Y’all know what to do! Bring water, a buddy, mask, and wear black. Keep each other safe and look out for one another. Fuck the SCOTUS! Fuck the anti-choice chuds! Fuck the police! Fight back!”*
  • Atlanta YLF, Twitter post, May 28, 2022: “From the murders of people on college campuses like Scout Schultz to the countless and increasing amounts of arrests of children in primary school. The police ‘protect and serve’ the brutality and violence of this society.”*
  • Maryland YLF, Twitter post, February 5, 2022: “Its Us vs Them let them know that they fucking killed someone!!! be fucking angry burn shit! break shit! show them how bad it hurts, let them know that their actions have consequences.”*
  • Maryland YLF, Twitter post, November 17, 2021: “the best system is no system”*
  • Maryland YLF, Twitter post, September 21, 2021: “mandatory cops are mega doo doo tweet”*
  • London YLF, Twitter post, August 12, 2021: “YLF is back in London. Let’s fuck shit up!”*
  • DC YLF, Twitter post, August 12, 2021: “Start your own YLF or antifascist group and fuck fascists up!”*
  • Atlanta YLF, Twitter post, July 23, 2021: “youth liberation is when youth do anarchy”*
  • PNW YLF, Mastadon post, November 4, 2020: “Counterinsurgency say what??? If your action can be used as pig propaganda, you’re either on their side intentionally or you’re just completely fucking incompetent. No bad protestors, no good cops. Support all those taking risks in the streets, even the innocent ones!”*
  • PNW YLF, Tweet, September 26, 2020: “Great to see Portland show up today to oppose some piss babies, and the level of support infrastructure that folks built was fantastic. The day isn’t over and the threat from vacationing chuds continues. Stick with your crew, be alert and stay dangerous. See ya in the streets!Black heart.”*
  • PNW YLF, Mastadon post, September 22, 2020: “Expect us to use this platform and other alternative media platforms more and more frequently, as anarchist projects continue to be censored from corporate social media.”*
  • PNW YLF, Twitter post, September 19, 2020: “we’d encourage bringing banners against the US Supreme Court and all other colonizer courts and judges.”*
  • PNW YLF, Twitter post, September 16, 2020: “Reduce the prisons to rubble”*
  • PNW YLF, Twitter post, September 13, 2020: “Youth Liberation: Burn the Schools and Destroy the Media! https://warzonedistro.noblogs.org/post/2017/09/07/youth-liberation-burn-the-schools- and-destroy-the-media/”*
  • PNW YLF, Twitter post, September 13, 2020: “Solidarity with Zoom (and Google Meet, etc.) bombers, DDOSers, and all brave school saboteurs in these trying times”*
  • PNW YLF, Twitter post, September 6, 2020: “Surveillance is crucial to extending the reach of the police state; not all the violence of policing is physical. Be real fucking conscious about the line between journalism and surveillance, because many of y’all keep crossing it. Stick to journalism, not surveillance.”*
  • Blog post, PNW YLF website, July 23, 2020: “Time and time again, the neo-liberal state has offered promises of ‘reform’ with no real action ever taken. The time for discussing reform is over, we need full abolition for our communities to be safe and free from rampant police terror.”*
  • PNW YLF, Twitter post, July 5, 2020: “Be like water, keep moving. If you see someone smashing windows, shut the (expletive) up. Walk, don’t run. Hold the front and back lines.”*

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