Few anti-fascists were as influential on Portland’s recent protest scene as Sean Kealiher. He rarely missed a protest, and he would have been front and center last summer when the insurrectionary activism he had long advocated for became a staple on Portland streets. But he wasn’t. In October 2019, at 23, he was killed in front of the state Democratic Party building, which protesters vandalized on Inauguration Day this year. Kealiher’s death, which was ruled a homicide, shocked Portland’s activist community. But no arrests were ever made, and no persons of interest were ever named. Those in Kealiher’s circle saw his unsolved murder as further confirmation of the police’s double standards and antagonism toward the left.
This week on Intercepted: While it was largely former President Donald Trump who elevated antifa, short for anti-fascists, to a household name, generations of Portland anti-fascists have for decades opposed far-right, racist extremists as well as police. Reporter Alice Speri dives into Kealiher’s ideology and murder, Portland’s legacy of anti-fascist activism and its deeply intertwined history of white supremacist violence, and how law enforcement’s obsession with antifa led to intelligence failures like U.S. Capitol riot.
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