Andrew Kerr on December 18, 2018
Editor’s note: The subject of this story is being identified because he’s pushed radical rhetoric and has advocated for politically-motivated violence from behind a mask. The Daily Caller News Foundation does not and will not publish truly private information such as home addresses.
- The Daily Caller News Foundation has determined that an influential Antifa leader uses aliases to spread radical and often violent rhetoric while concealing his actual identity.
- Joseph “Jose” Alcoff works with congressional Democrats as part of his day job as a manager with a DC-based advocacy group. But he spreads socialist and communist propaganda when going by the name “Jose Martin.”
- Identifying as “Chepe,” Alcoff advocates for the violent overthrow of the government and for the murder of the rich. He has relished the mainstreaming of Antifa’s militant tactics in the Trump era.
- A 2017 book identified Chepe as an organizer behind Smash Racism DC, the Antifa group that mobbed Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s home in November and ran Ted Cruz out of a restaurant in September.
Smash Racism DC organizer Jose Martin, also known as “Chepe,” is a radical communist and Antifa leader operating in the U.S. He advocates for the violent overthrow of the government and for the murder of the rich and claims to have international involvement in left-wing movements.
Smash Racism DC is the Antifa group that protested in front of Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s house and berated Sen. Ted Cruz at a restaurant until he and his wife were forced to leave. It’s only one of the Antifa leader’s radical left-wing projects.
But the agitator has made great efforts to separate his fanatical personas from a third identity, his legal name: Joseph “Jose” Alcoff. Under that identity, the 36-year-old has worked as a payday campaign manager for Americans for Financial Reform since 2016, where he advocates for reforms of predatory loans before members of Congress.
Alcoff left nearly no connections between his real identity and Jose Martin and Chepe, but a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation of public records, social media posts, media reports, books, protest videos and podcasts dating back to 2004 found that all three identities are actually one person, posting online from the Twitter handle @Sabokitty.
He has used his Jose Martin identity to make public appearances to promote socialism, once calling for a society without police. But his communist Chepe alias makes his Jose Martin identity seem moderate, using it to advocate for violence to achieve his goal of eliminating capitalism and the U.S. government.
Alcoff did not respond to multiple requests for comment. His Twitter account was made private shortly after TheDCNF reached out for comment Tuesday evening, as did the account of his brother, Sam Alcoff, a producer for Democracy Now. Alcoff’s mother, Linda Alcoff, also made her Facebook page private Tuesday evening after TheDCNF contacted Alcoff.
Alcoff, who’s been involved in radical movements for decades, seeks to create “a world that is without capitalism, without private property … that is socialist and communist,” he’s said as Chepe.
He’s been an organizer for left-wing movements such as Occupy Wall Street; has close ties to left-wing legal groups such as the National Lawyers Guild; has conducted legal trainings for protesters as a member of Cop Watch; and has frequently appeared on mainstream and far-left media to discuss his radical vision for society.
The Department of Homeland Security has classified Antifa groups’ tactics as “domestic terrorist violence.”
Meanwhile, in his professional capacity as Alcoff, he’s been quoted in press releases from Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and appeared at an event with Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia outside the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in March and has been pictured alongside Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters.
Honored to have speakers from 3 national organizations as part of our Summit today.Thank you toJose Alcoff, Americans…
In the 2017 book “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook” by Dartmouth College professor Mark Bray, Chepe was listed as a Smash Racism DC organizer. As Chepe, Alcoff described the organization as a “loose affinity group” working to “make DC and the surrounding area too unsafe for outright neo-Nazi groups and fascists.”
TheDCNF was unable to identify any other Antifa members going by “Chepe.”
Alcoff rose to prominence in Antifa circles as Chepe during the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, where his leadership earned him the title “King Communist,” a co-host of the progressive podcast Radio Dispatch joked in 2012.
Smash Racism DC is the Antifa group that posted Carlson’s address online and sent a mob to his house in November. “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!” the protesters chanted.
Carlson is a co-founder of The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The DC police are treating the incident as a “suspected hate crime,” according to a police report. The mob spray painted an anarchy symbol on Carlson’s highway and left signs on his property that made reference to his political affiliation. The investigation is ongoing.
The Antifa group was also responsible for chasing Cruz, a Texas Republican, out of a D.C. restaurant in September and sent the senator the message: “You are not safe. We will find you. We will expose you. We will take from you the peace you have taken from so many others.”
Alcoff claimed on Twitter he had no involvement with the mob at Carlson’s house, though he frequently interacts with on Twitter with Smash Racism DC co-founder Mike Isaacson, who said on his blog that he had advanced knowledge of the mob action at Carlson’s house.
The mob tactic also appears to align with statements Alcoff has made in the past.
“We have got to dispense with nonviolence,” he said as Chepe on Radio Dispatch in December 2016 during a discussion on how to approach those he perceives as fascists.
“You have to expose them and you have to expose where they live, their names, what they do for a living,” he added. “Never let them be anonymous, and never just push their rhetoric without directly countering it.”
Alcoff has been arrested at least twice in connection with his radical brand of activism. He was arrested in New York City in 2004 during demonstrations outside the Republican National Convention. He was let off with a pledge to behave and one day of community service, according to USA Today.
Then, as a member of Anti-Racist Action, Alcoff was arrested and charged with rioting in New Jersey after a clash in the streets with a neo-Nazi group in 2011.
Alcoff typically uses his Jose Martin persona for appearances in mainstream media. Under this alias, he’s been cited as a Chicago Copwatch organizer and as an Occupy Wall Streetorganizer, as well as an unofficial organizer for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
Jose Martin is often introduced to audiences as an “organizer,” “activist” or “militant researcher,” and has published articles with Rolling Stone and The Indypendent, and regularly appears on BBC radio programs. He discussed his vision of a police-free society on MSNBC in 2015.
Alcoff calls for the rich to ‘die in a fire’
The significant efforts Alcoff takes to separate his true identity from his radical personas appear to be intentional, and his comments become more extreme when he has more anonymity. Through his Twitter account, which he’s managed to keep anonymous, Alcoff has said that Antifa organizations need to operate “both an above board group and a below one.”
Operating groups within the bounds of the law is necessary to “get press” and “to have a base of support,” while underground groups are necessary so activists can’t be “linked by prosecutors or press,” he wrote. Alcoff said to avoid too much overlap between lawful and unlawful groups “to keep the press from blowing the open secret.”
Alcoff appears to operate similarly.
For example, Alcoff spoke on the Joint Economic Committee Democrats’ “Opportunity Agenda” podcast in August, where he stressed the importance of a stable and depoliticized regulatory environment so that “companies and industry figures out how to profit from more responsible lending.”
In October, Alcoff advised his law-abiding Twitter followers that they’re “doing it wrong” and later offered advice on how to execute “a good neck punch.”
Alcoff holds an especially militant view towards law enforcement, an institution he believes should be dismantled completely.
“Police lives don’t matter. They can all burn in Hell,” he tweeted in September, for example.
His tweets also glorify the killing of his political opponents. For example, in July 2015 he tweeted that Donald Trump would make for “such a spectacular public guillotining” shortly after the mogul declared his candidacy for president.
“I truly hope he has a very public death at the hands of the pitchfork wielding exploited, a public execution that befits Trump’s stature,” he wrote.
Alcoff, through Twitter, frequently calls for the complete dismantlement of America’s system of government. In a 2013 tweet, Alcoff said he wanted to join “a conspiracy to destroy the United States from within” — a position that doesn’t seem to have changed.
Alcoff, whose job puts him alongside lawmakers, tweeted in September that most members of Congress are “imbeciles,” and later said that “it wouldn’t be hard” to “push an antiimperialist, antimilitarist line” on incoming left and center-left members.
One tweet suggested that Alcoff’s D.C. colleagues aren’t aware of his radicalism.
Meanwhile, Alcoff is much more moderate by comparison when speaking to the media as Jose Martin.
For example, Alcoff said as Jose Martin on “BBC Business Matters” in October 2017 that “we need to go in a socialistic direction.”
“This is about changing how we produce value and how we produce wealth, not just how we consume it,” Alcoff said. “And I think that then becomes the first part of how we democratize it so that people then make decisions that have a better impact on the whole.”
But speaking as Chepe in August 2015 on Radio Dispatch, Alcoff said:
“I am on the radical left, the far left, that believes in rupture and social revolution.” He added that he “doesn’t really think that you can engage in change in a gradual way. Social transformation of society can’t be a gradual thing.”
He’s even more abrasive on the streets.
“I’m a communist, motherfucker,” Alcoff said before spitting at a cameraman at a March 2005 protest in Chicago. He recorded himself again yelling the phrase at a Ron Paul supporter at a six-month anniversary event of Occupy Wall Street in March 2012.
Alcoff seeks to radicalize others, build infrastructure of resistance
As mainstream news outlets have faced criticism during the Trump era for excusing or ignoring violence carried out by Antifa groups, Alcoff said it “feels good” to see “militant tactics” “mainstreamed.”
Alcoff also said he isn’t concerned about those put off by his calls for violence. His message, he tweeted in 2015, is intended to “radicalize those who aren’t” repelled by his extreme views.
Alcoff views his radicalism as an embodiment of what the left should aspire to be. He scorns reporters who criticize Antifa for “turning people off the left” and calls the “bourgeois media” the “enemy of the people.”
And Antifa has seen a resurgence since the 2016 presidential election against what radicals perceive as “fascist” policies from the Trump administration. But as an influential figure within the movement, Alcoff says he doesn’t care whether or not the president is actually a fascist.
Rather, the longtime Antifa operative views Trump as a tool to be exploited as radicals seek to move society closer to social revolution.
“If we’re wrong, if [Trump] is just George W. Bush somehow … then at minimum, what we’re doing is building the infrastructure that builds space for other forms of resistance — for resistance against everyday white nationalist and white supremacist policies,” Alcoff said as Chepe on Radio Dispatch in December 2016.
“And we don’t stand to lose if we’re building that infrastructure,” he continued. “That’s what we should have already been doing, even if [Hillary] Clinton had won and even if Trump is not a fascist.”
In 2013, Alcoff, speaking as Chepe, said his ultimate goal is to tear down all existing societal structures to make way for a new post-state world “without capitalism, without private property, without patriarchy, without white supremacy and without imperialism.”
He also said that radical social revolution can only come about on the heels of smaller, more mainstream progressive victories, such as minimum wage increases.
“Capitalism, especially North American capitalism, is so based on this individualistic and neo-liberal perspective that we all exist as automatons — as individuals,” Alcoff said in 2014 as “Chepe” on Radio Dispatch. “So if we’re going to engage, we have to remind people that collective struggle wins us victories. What we have to do before the big final collective victory — social revolution — is we have to win a lot of small ones.”
He also claims to be involved in campaigns worldwide. Speaking as Jose Martin on “BBC Business Matters” in 2014, Alcoff said he has injected himself into movements as a “militant researcher” in Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Spain, Portugal and France.
“Basically, if I’m traveling I’m going to be engaging in some level of militant research,” he said.
In practice, Alcoff has acted as a thought leader and legal coordinator within radical movements.
“I began as one of the arrogant veteran leftists who came in and said, ‘This is wrong, that is wrong, that is wrong,’” Alcoff said of his entrance into the Occupy Wall Street movement on Radio Dispatch in 2012. “I was humbled by it and tried to position myself a little bit as a theorist and also have participated in … the Mutant Legal Collective.”
The now-defunct Mutant Legal Collective was a coalition of legal activists in New York City that worked closely with the National Lawyers Guild, a progressive bar organization that Alcoff also coordinated with during Occupy Wall Street.
Alcoff is also close with the former president of the New York City chapter of the guild, Gideon Orion Oliver. The two appeared to have developed their relationship during Occupy Wall Street, having delivered a “know your rights” training together on the street for protesters.
The National Lawyers Guild provides legal support for Smash Racism DC.
Here’s How TheDCNF linked Jose Alcoff to “Chepe,” “Jose Martin”
Alcoff attended a panel discussion at Left Forum 2015 as Jose Martin, where the event’s moderator noted that he co-wrote an article on autonomism — anti-authoritarian and localized form of Marxism — in the April 2015 issue of the Marxist journal Science & Society. Alcoff later acknowledged during the discussion he wrote an article in the issue titled “Marxist Encounters with Anarchism.”
But the journalshows that the article’s authors were Jose Alcoff and his mother, Linda Alcoff, a professor of philosophy at Hunter College and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Ten months before he attended the panel, Alcoff said on Twitter he was working on an article on autonomism for a scholarly journal.
“Hey Chepe,” an audience member said during the panel’s question-and-answer session. The greeting provoked what appears to be an affirmative response from Alcoff. “Chepe and I are friends. I’m an anarchist and he’s a communist and we talk about this stuff a lot. We actually don’t find much in opposition to each other.”
Beside Alcoff was Bray, the professor that would later write the 2017 book identifying Chepe as a Smash Racism DC organizer.
Photos of Alcoff in his professional capacity are almost non-existent. His picture was featured in the accompanying PowerPoint presentation for a webinar he attended in August, and Americans for Financial Reform posted a photo of Alcoff at an event with Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in April 2016 on its Flickr account. Earlier that year, in March, the organization tweeted a photo of Alcoff standing to the right of Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California.
— AFR (@RealBankReform) March 16, 2016
Alcoff frequently promotes his Jose Martin and Chepe media appearances through his Twitter account, @sabokitty.
He tweeteda link to his 2015 MSNBC appearance and sent multiplet tweets about his BBCappearances as Jose Martin between 2015 and 2017. Alcoff also has similarly promoted his numerous appearances as Chepe on Radio Dispatch.
— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallStNYC) May 1, 2012
Alcoff also made references to his mother on his Twitter account, providing a connection from his online persona to his true identity.
In late October, Alcoff tweeted that his mother was in Brazil when Jair Bolsonaro won the nation’s presidential election.
His mother, Linda Alcoff, also posted over a dozen photosof Alcoff to her Facebook account. In many, she identifies him as her son, “Chepe.”
Alcoff’s radicalism appears to have been bred at a young age.
“I was raised in a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist family that understands intersectionality,” he said at Left Forum 2015. “On the other hand, much of my adult life has been in anti-authoritarian movements ranging from counter-globalization to some of the anti-militarist wings of the anti-war movement to Occupy Wall Street to Cop Watch.”
Alcoff’s mother reminisced in a December 2016 Facebook post that when Alcoff and his brother, Sam Alcoff, were teenagers, they “began to ask for presents of cans of spray paint” and “duct tape, bulk cutters [sic], gas masks.”
“But I was a good Mom,” she wrote. “One Christmas I wrapped up a bull horn and put it under the tree. Those days may be returning. Happy holidays guys.”
Click here to view more tweets from Alcoff and his associates archived by TheDCNF.
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